Catching up: Tuesday was spent at a local beach/pool combo on the Chesapeake. Nephew #1 was thrilled - the Chesapeake Bay! - and spent his time collecting shells to take back to all of his friends. Judging from the quantity in his haul, he'll have enough for those friends' friends and all his little brother's friends, too. (As he was explaining to me why they were so important and that he might need help packing them up to make sure they traveled safely, I assured him he was in the right place for that. I mean, I'm the one who has bags of shells from every beach we visited in Japan, Thailand and Hawaii sorted by type so I can use them for someday project. I think maybe I earned some cool Aunt points when I showed him my stash.)
All the kids had a great time but I learned I had to keep an extra-close eye on Natalie who will go as fast as she can into the waves if no one stops her. We're thinking that nephew #2 isn't as keen on the beach since he later reported that nothing about it was his favorite part of the day, but he did enjoy the pool. It's safe to say all the adults enjoyed it, too, since we were the only family there using it. Nothing like a beach, two waterslides, a kiddie pool, an adult pool, a diving board and four lifeguards all to yourself.
After taking a brief snack break (of apples we brought, not fruit we'd essentially stolen), we moved on to the strawberry field but realized it was nearing ferry time and that we ought to be quick. It went a little something like, "hurry up kids, pick strawberries! you have seven minutes to enjoy it!" The boys did a nice job finding the ripe beauties under the leaves and Natalie, well, let's just say I turned around to see juice dribbling down her chin. We hustled the kids back to the cars, assured them we'd get lunch as soon as we got back across the river and hauled it to the ferry...just in time to see it chug, chug, chugging away from the pier. Actually, it wasn't moving yet and the ramp wasn't pulled away, so I put the car in park and sprinted to the little hut. The men inside were unmoved by my "we have four little, hungry kids can we please? is there any way we can get on that boat?" pleas so we asked for directions to an eating establishment instead. And then we reversed across the little bridge. I had Nephew #1 and Natalie in my car, but apparently the little boys in the other car were quite amused with that, but also slightly concerned that meant we had to drive backwards the whole way home.
So we found our way to a pizza place (it turned out to be delicious and I think the waitress was fairly amused with our we-have-to-make-the-next-ferry-what's-the-fastest-thing-we-can-order plight), had a tasty lunch and then booked it back to the ferry. We got out of the cars and let the wind cool us a bit as we crossed back across the James.
No sooner had we gotten back in the cars and prepared to drive off the ferry than the boy in my car announce he had to potty. So we stopped. Again. And then finally, hours later than anticipated, we were headed home.
Thursday morning found us waking the kids early (horror!) so we could go see the Raptor demo at 0730. After chucking some bags of cheerios and drinking yogurts at the boys and getting out the door at five 'til seven, you can probably imagine our delight when we saw the demo pilot walking back out to his car in the squadron parking lot. Turns out the clouds pushed the takeoff until 11, so Jeff gave the standard Raptor tour before he headed into his office and we took off for a snack and the park. Then we got the "oh it's slipping another hour" call, so we worked in the Living Museum, too. We made it back to the base right after Zeke took off, saw most of the demo and - most importantly - helped two little, sleepy, noise-sensitive boys keep it together through the flight. And in perhaps our most brilliant move of the week, a sitter stayed with the kids so that we could enjoy an adult evening out.
Friday: the boys seemed to have some excess....something that wasn't pleasing their mommies (sweet Natalie is never a problem, except for her ear-piercing shrieks) so the daddies took them to the park to shoot rockets while the girls all went shopping (Natalie really loved H&M, let me tell ya) before meeting up with them for lunch. We decided to try a seafood place, this time across the James in a different spot. Despite the fact that Rescue, VA is unrecognized by our GPS, we made it to the restaurant five minutes after they opened and ordered a seafood extravaganza. And some corndogs for the little ones. One hectic yet entertaining lunch later, we headed home. It's worth noting that Susan and I were in the Camry (bless its paid-for heart and my husband for always driving it) and it needs new shocks and struts. Why am I mentioning this? Well, turns out the eastbound bridge was rather segmented and the entire drive back across felt as though we were cruising on four-foot swells. Andrew wanted to know if we were actually on the water. Susan and I could hardly stop laughing long enough to answer. Despite our seasickness, we made it home in one piece.
Naps were mandatory for my kids and it turned out the adults crashed, too. After everyone came to, we had a lovely dinner followed by round two of water balloon fighting. This time, however, my intrepid husband announced there would be playing-in-the-sprinkler time followed by get-your-bath-in-the-front-yard time. He figured once they were wet, it'd be easier to lather, rinse, repeat in the yard. He was right. And of course since he was the one doing it, it was fun. The little boys ran around in their skivvies, unfazed by the idea. Andrew, being older, wiser and almost seven, suggested he might be allowed to actually wear some clothes. Hard to argue with common sense. I was actually going to post some pictures of this event, but I think we'll save them for another occasion, like maybe a rehearsal dinner or something else where a mild amount of humiliation is acceptable.
And by Saturday morning, reality was dawning that the Hondo crew had to go home. With a late flight, we were batting around options for the day and couldn't quite decide what to do. So we let Andrew choose. Before we could even begin the list of choices, he requested a trip to the neighborhood pool. It turned out to be the perfect activity for the day. We spent about three hours splashing and only took a break for our Chick-fil-a lunch. By the time we came home and cleaned up, it was time to head to the airport. Goodbyes were said all around with Wyatt reminding us all that by next Easter, we'll be living in Kansas with everyone else. Safe to say we're all looking forward to it.