We arrived at Nana’s after the trip down memory lane and proceeded to get right on some four-wheelers. We all rode for quite some time (taking turns since Anna was in the bed and someone needed to be inside with her). I actually rode the longest, making a few extra laps through the woods. I always enjoy riding and wish the opportunity was something I could offer the boys more often. I’m just thankful Nana and Papa have the machines and the awesome property to allow it when we visit.
I did all the prep work for our upcoming trip and we had a relaxing evening.
The next morning we had plans to pack up and leisurely head to Virginia, stopping for the night about halfway so the kids didn’t have to be in the car for six + hours all at one time. However, as happens when you own a business, work duties called and Papa couldn’t leave that day. We searched for a hotel in VA Beach and found that everything was booked solid. It was not looking good for us to leave on Friday, which was the goal, as we wanted to wake up and have the majority of Saturday in VA Beach. The alternative was looking like waking at 0500 and driving a straight shot. It would do, but it would not be best.
I put out an all-call on Facebook to see if anyone had a place we could stay for the night and, not at all surprisingly, one of our Army Families did! They were heading out of town and offered their entire house to us! After a quick swim to get all the wiggles out, we finished last minute packing and got on the road.
I took my five and my nephew Mason, Parker’s best bud. We only had one scary event when Hayden walked into the bathroom at a random McDonald’s and found a passed-out druggie. Yep. That happened.
Fortunately we had already eaten and were heading to the car when that happened… and thankfully I have a strict rule that no kid goes to the bathroom without a big kid. Hayden reported this to the management and they rushed to take care of it while we rushed to the car.
We made it to our destination and within an hour everyone was settled in for the night. Everyone but Anna.
Anna was NOT tired and would not stay in her pack-n-play. Nor would she rest quietly in bed with me. I finally gave up and took her to the couch where we scrolled through FB and looked at cute baby pictures together. At one point I realized I was very near where another friend lives (a friend from our pre-Army days who is now an Army wife… a friend for whom Matt was honored to fly home from Germany to perform her wedding, a friend whose parents were on the church committee to bring Matt on staff as a youth pastor… a friend of that sort… a life-long and precious friend). I opened my contacts and clicked on her name, then her address. Maps pulled this up (street names removed for privacy):
I messaged her the next morning and she was super gracious to let us come by for a quick hug, and, a great surprise: her parents were in town as she was due with Baby #4 any day! We got to introduce Anna to Mark and Cathy! Just six days later Candace had Catie Jo, her second beautiful girl!
After a short visit the kids and I headed toward VA Beach and on the way I connected with a former-Fort Hood friend of mine, Amy, who was generously passing on some much needed school stuff for Carson. We met at the NEX just a few hours before the President was to commission the USS Gerald R. Ford. Amy had met Anna and been a part of her earlier visits to see Mama Kim, so it was great to let her see Anna as a toddler!
As we were heading back to the car I received a text from Mama Kim and we decided to meet at a local park just a few minutes later. It was a park she had visited often as a child. It was very sweet watch her play with Anna at that park. We chatted some, but mostly we watched Anna climb and walk around.
My big kids were entertaining themselves skateboarding at the skate park and Parker and Mason played nearby on a larger playground. We pretty much had the place to ourselves… probably because it was the hottest two days of the summer! I believe we brought Texas weather with us to Virginia! After about an hour the bigs came to me and told me that they were literally baking in the metal skate park. I asked Mama Kim if she wanted to head to the beach and she said she knew of a perfect spot.
We loaded up in the vehicles and she took us to East Beach. It took a few minutes but I recognized the place from a picture she had sent me earlier this summer. It was of two hands making a heart with the sun setting in the background on the horizon of the ocean. The hands were her’s and Anna’s biological father. The text that came with the beautiful picture was: “So much love from Virginia!” A second picture came of the two of them, which I treasure. I got permission to post this version of it to maintain his privacy.
Our time at the beach was so fun! The water was the perfect temperate and Anna loved it. I am happy that we got to take Anna to the same spot where that picture of her first-parents was taken just a little over a month ago.
Mama Kim and Anna played with the seaweed and, later, Mama Kim told me when that she got to work her manager pointed out that she still had some in her hair! OOPS! Saving that for later, I suppose.
Our time at the beach was worth every single grain of sand that followed us around for the next week! We left on cloud nine, excited that we had another day planned with together.
When the kids and I reached the hotel, my parents had just gotten there and were in the process of checking us in. Perfect timing! I believe that night was the night Nana ran out for Wendy’s so we could avoid getting all of the kids back in the car. (Mine had already traveled over 1,600 miles and anytime we could avoid the car it was worth the effort.)
Bonus fact: the AC in our room didn’t work well so it was pushing 80* in our room the entire time we were there. It did cool down to 72-ish at night and the hotel sent an employee out to buy a few fans, but our room was not comfortable, in the least. Fortunately, the indoor pool was fun and offered a bit of reprieve from the heat. As tired as we were, though, I believe most of us slept very well after such an eventful day!
Our hotel’s pool provided the boys with a lot of fun!
The next post will share about Day 2 with Mama Kim.