Thursday, September 10, 2015

Epic Road Trip: Celebrations and more Celebrations!

After our triumphant return from London, there was no rest for weary travelers as we got ready for more parties! We were super fortunate to be able to celebrate James’ parents 50th wedding anniversary and my father’s retirement party in person! Parties are much more fun in person :-) John meanwhile spent more time on the rocking horse:

The James and Pas took the big kids to one of our favorite parks outside DC! They seemed to have a ton of fun!

Because we can never resist a good museum trip we all headed to the Air and Space Museum. Catherine hadn’t been since she was 6 months so we figured it was time to revisit :-)

Watching the planes at Dulles:

Catherine has really developed a thirst for knowledge recently and truly tries to understand things around her by asking questions and then repeating back her understanding. She was eager to explain separation minimums back to me and asked I take a picture.

Testing out the astronaut glove:

Luckily this was a hands on exhibit as John hasn’t quite learned not to touch things! Poor Catherine, the hangar is quite loud and echoey so she had her hands over her ears a lot!

Tiny baby, giant shuttle!

Exploring on his own:

All in all a very successful tour! Still overwhelming for the kids and still brought about those very difficult parenting moments where you try and explain war to a 5 year old and realize it just doesn’t make sense through their eyes, and maybe it should make sense through ours either.

Next up was a celebration honoring Mas and Pas golden anniversary! We had a great turn-out and it was fantastic to meet friends and family, old and new! We also had the AMAZING help of James’ aunt and cousins, without whom none of it could have happened!

The lovely couple. Pas brought his camera but was too busy chatting and telling stories that I’m not sure he took a single picture! I barely managed to snap any once all the guests arrived either :(

Sheryl let me take her wedding dress out of storage to be displayed for the big day! Every stitch was sewn by her and it was an absolutely gorgeous dress.

Cutting the cake!

The entry table! A digital shout out to my dear friend at The Lettery Co who designed the 50 memories cards for me. If you need cards, invitations etc. designed, she’s your gal! She took my crazy, discombulated idea and make it something fantastic.

That weekend the big kids had a sleepover at Uncle Matt’s house, and then with Amma and Papa while Uncle Matt was at a wedding. The kids had a ton of fun and even a month later, Catherine will look wistfully off in the distance (generally after I’ve asked her to finish her veggies or listen or something crazy) and sigh and say, “Uncle Matt spoils us a lot.”

John meanwhile went straight for the good stuff:

While we had Sheryl’s dress out of storage I had an idea about taking Catherine’s pictures in it. Catherine had a different idea and was not receptive to the fuss we were making:

Eventually we got a bit of cooperation and the shot I had envisioned, kinda :-)

The stress of not having a rambunctious 4 year old ruin a gorgeous 50 year old hand-sewn dress in 90% humidity and intense heat was more than I had bargained for, let alone the general issue of getting 4 year olds to cooperate for pictures!

And speaking of sewing, Mas and Catherine worked on this great little project of a dress! Catherine is also very proud to tell you the two different types of sewing and explain how she helped Mas make it.

As she will tell you, machine sewing is loud!!

And of course what’s a visit without lots of stories and cuddles:

Once we said goodbye to Mas and Pas, it was time to head back to Amma and Papa’s as we started to make our way back West. Papa set up the slip and slide for the kids and they had a blast!

John was less than certain about the whole thing:

So he mostly sat on the sidelines making adorable faces :-)

It was Catherine’s year to take a spin in Papa’s Porsche. Catherine still talks about riding in his car without a top when we see other convertibles.

Amma’s kindle is certainly a special treat:

We were able to celebrate Papa’s retirement at their favorite restaurant with some of their fantastic friends. Look at us all dressed up beforehand!

Two eager kiddos waiting for the cake to be cut!

The next night we had our second celebration of Dad’s well-earned retirement with his friends out at the plant. Matt and James manned the grill!

Sadly Uncle Matt had to head straight home from the BBQ :-( He was truly a rockstar in driving down multiple times and working remotely so he could spend extra time letting these monkeys climb all over him. We were all sad to see him leave.

Unfortunately it was also time for us to pack up and make the final push west too. The kids soaked up some last cuddles with Amma and Papa:

And some time on the Pozun rocking horse:

And we headed out on the next leg of our epic adventure full of ninjas, sharks, cowboys and more!

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