Wednesday, September 21, 2016

family visit in washington, dc

After we drove away from the Blue House in NY, we had a six hour drive to DC.  
It was a pretty drive and we stopped at Cracker Barrel on the way which the kids loved.
On Sunday morning we went to The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for Mass.  
We had mass in the church crypt because the upper church is being renovated, but both were beautiful.  You could explore all the small chapels inside that place for days and still not see it all.
That evening we grilled at Ben and Michelle's house and played in their beautiful big backyard.
The kids helped Nano install Uncle Ben's horseshoe set...
The rest of the week we had lots of family time together at Nano and Nana's house...
The kids enjoyed some sprinkler fun in the yard...
We had a few park visits...
Zach took the boys to the National Air and Space Museum Annex which has a bunch of huge hangers filled with airplanes and a huge space shuttle.  The boys thought it was amazing!
I managed to squeeze in an outing with my college friend Kathleen and her kiddos...
I hope these kids can all be great friends someday in college...
Then we got to have a lovely dinner with more college friends at the Lively house...
And let's just zoom in on these two for a second...
The kids all had so much fun playing together and got nice and messy eating chocolate popsicles...
I am so grateful when I get to see these girls from time to time, but it also just makes me miss them more and wish we all lived closer together. 
We did venture to downtown DC one time to give the kids the full experience of the city. 
First, we went to the Natural History Museum...
The kids loved the hands-on insect exhibit...
And, of course, there were all sorts of bones to see...
The dinosaur exhibit is a little more minimal than usual because they are working on building a new one, but we got to see a T-Rex so the kids were not disappointed...
We almost passed up a nature photography exhibit and I am glad we didn't because this picture might be my favorite from the whole trip...
Nora thought it was pretty hilarious so she kept doing it and still does...
Then we headed to the Washington Monument so the kids could check out the National Mall.  
It was a good choice since we only had time to do one more place and the humidity was starting to get to us all.  They could see all the other main monuments in every direction.  Jimmy was for sure the most impressed and wanted a picture taken with the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building, even if cousins tried to prevent it...
We had a nice last night with the whole family grilling, playing in the yard, and catching fireflies (quite the novelty for my Phoenix kids)...
We got in a cousins picture and one with the grandparents...
They turned out so cute, but Aunt Nat pointed out that these pics will be out of date all too soon since another grandkid will be added to the mix in no time at all.   We can't wait to meet that little person and can't wait for all these wonderful family members to meet him or her also.  We had a wonderful and vacation, and thank God for the family members that made it all happen! We are so blessed!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

weisse family reunion in ny state

Our summer vacation started out with a whirlwind of crazy airline problems.  Basically we discovered two days before leaving that our flight had not actually gotten "ticketed" (whatever that means American Airlines!).  It was some complication with purchasing the rest of our frequent flyer points but them never actually getting put toward the tickets we reserved.  So after a million phone calls and retelling the story dozens of times to dozens of different people one man finally threw us a bone and helped us out instead of trying to say it was our fault.  Unfortunately, our flight out was already full and the only way to get to Buffalo was to take three flights starting off with a flight to Seattle (which is just a bit out of the way).   When we got to the Phoenix Airport we found out our flight out has delayed by half hour which was problematic since our connection time was only 45 min.  They told us we should be fine, but of course we weren't and we ended up staying at a hotel in Seattle for three hours in the middle of the night.  Seattle was beautiful for the few dark hours we saw it.  But we did get to see Mount Rainier from the plane in the early morning and it was beautiful.  My kids and Zach all decided it totally counted as a trip to Seattle.  We flew to Charlotte and then one more flight to Buffalo where we got in at 6 pm instead of 10 am.  We came in very late to a big family dinner at a restaurant and everyone cheered for us since we had finally made it!!  The whole time, Zach kept saying, "It's an adventure!"  and ultimately he was right because the kids were darn good troopers through the whole thing and maybe even possibly thought it was a little bit fun.  Just the same I would rather not do that again.
Our first night we drove to see Niagara Falls at night and watched fireworks!
The next morning we went to Cave of the Winds to get soaked...
A big elevator takes you down to the bottom of the falls.
You have to wear ponchos and special shoes because you get really wet and it is slippery.
Jimmy was excited to finally see his favorite Weisse cousins, Owen and Ben...
The Hurricane Deck is the place you get the most soaked.  Jimmy and Aunt Nat were brave enough to venture it.  I could only take pictures from far away because my camera was getting soaked.
We managed to get a family picture without too many raindrops on the lens.
We wanted to do a boat trip, too, but being 4th of July weekend we didn't plan our time quite well enough and it was going to be too long of a wait with the kids.  We opted to spend our time getting ice cream instead.
Gus found a Buffalo with wings in the parking lot!
Then it was time to drive to Auburn, NY to stay at "The Blue House."
I was just a little bit in love with it...
The kids loved it a lot, too, and were so excited to spend a week at the lake!
This was the view from our porch...
We spent lots of time at Marty's cousin Patty's house in Skaneateles, NY for all the Weisse Family Reunion events.  The first night was rather informal and we all roasted s'mores by the fire.
The day of the official Weisse Reunion we managed to gather almost everyone for a group picture...
We tried to get a picture with Zach's immediate family, but some people took a little convincing...
At least Aunt Angie doesn't need to be sad that we took a great picture without her...
My kids all picked favorite relatives.  Gus' favorite has been Zach's cousin Brian since he was two.  
Gus was more excited to see Brian than any of the kid cousins.  Nora, however, told me in confidence that Ryan was in fact her favorite because he let her punch him all the time. 
But Brian was still high up there in the running for her as well...
Jimmy prefers the kids his own age and they are a close second for Gus as well.
Uncle Ben was another favorite because he let the kids tie him up and beat him up to their hearts content...
Nora was so excited to finally meet Penelope and Soraya.  She wanted to hug Soraya all the time.  Nora was pretty much in heaven with so many little girls around and also because of this swing...
The little boys spent most of their time playing corn-hole and other games...
There was tons of food and it was a great party...
The kids where all enthralled by Patty's husband George's flame thrower that he used to light the bonfire.  
Every time Gus saw him from then on he would whisper to me, "Mom, that is the guy with the fire!"
And that was all just the "official" reunion.  We still had 4th of July to celebrate at Aunt Patty's as well.  The little girls were very cute and festive...
Again, we attempted some family photos...
And there is always time for more competition in the Weisse Family...
Nora decided to befriend all the big girls who doted on her all day...
Then we had a whole week of relaxing and playing by the lake with lots of family staying nearby.   Our house owned two kayaks, a paddle boat, and a canoe so we kept ourselves pretty busy...
Jimmy was proud to catch a few fish (unlike his dad), but Aunt Nat was the one with most of the luck...
One day two of Zach's uncles rented a pontoon boat to take everyone around the lake.
Even Nana/GG got to come along for the ride.
The kid's favorite part was getting out of the boat to swim on a big sandbar...
We spent one day at the beach area of the lake which was very shallow and fun for the kids...
Close by was a cute little restaurant called Green Shutters that had great local ice cream...
We also just loved hanging out at our house.  
The front porch was my personal favorite spot...
I just wanted to sing "On the Front Porch" from Summer Magic every time I was out there.
Nora and I did a little photo tour of some of our favorite spots in the house.
The stairs leading up to the cupola were pretty fun (and check out the wallpaper!).  The kids all called it the secret room...
There were a few other secret places to be explored, but sometimes they were a little too scary to want to go inside of...
And at least once the two littlest girls managed to sneak off by themselves and get into a little mischief.  While I was showering and other people were busy/distracted, they managed to climb the stairs (which they were not supposed to do alone) and go play with a box of baby wipes in Ben and Michelle's room.   They were pretty cute when I found them.  I think at least Nora knew she was being sneaky.
Most of our nights we all gathered together at one rental house or another.
The kids enjoyed some quality cousin time...
The week went by fast because we were having so much fun.
We didn't want to say goodbye to the Blue House...

Or the lake...
But it helped that we still had some fun vacation time in Washington, DC to look forward to...