Philip couldn't join us, unfortunately, but the kids and I took a short trip to see Andrew and Bethany and Lydia, since we are Starved for family these days!
July 6 - We had over nine hours of driving on the first day, but had time to stop and do a short, beautiful hike at a conservation area we found on the way:
Super fun to be out of the van for a bit!
We stopped briefly at a playground after that, and I got so hot that I took one of my shirts off and used it to tie up my hair. The kids were a bit mortified, but I didn't care - I don't know anyone there, right? ;)
I don't know why they were mortified ;)
Philip's cousin, Denise, and her husband, Dan, graciously hosted us for the night on the way to And from SC! The kids were delighted to be able to hang out with their second cousins, Dalton, Easton and Quinton. We had a delicious dinner, played a bunch of games, and the kids discovered "LARPing", (Live Action Role Play), where you spar and fight with weapons made out of PVC pipe covered in foam ;)
A shot of all of us before we headed out the next morning.
(the kids even got in a run at a nearby park first)
We got to Andrew and Bethany's in time for dinner and then Andrew had a surprise for the kids. He had the supplies and was going to let them help him install a Zipline!
They got to work on it that evening
They have Beautiful hydrangeas!
The kids Love the pets!
We are all super huge fans of Reecy <3
We took this right before Lydia went to bed to post and show the family where we were :)
The kids went for a run and I went for a walk run on the roads around Andrew and Bethany's house.
We saw this sign at the end of their road ;)
I love this old barn across the street from their house
Caleb and Moriah made this fort for Lydia downstairs
Back to work on the zip line. Andrew and Keenan both needed to put weight on it at the same time so Andrew could check something. It was pretty funny :)
Pretty lily out front
The girls swinging
Andrew taking the first trip down the zip line
Lydia getting suited up in a harness for her first ride
There she goes!
Reecy reminding Keenan to keep petting her :)
We roasted hot dogs and brats on the fire for lunch and I guess this is the only picture I took! Moriah found a comfy, shaded seat on the Kubota
More fort fun
A highlight for the kids was that afternoon when Andrew took them each for a lengthy motorcycle ride!
(He offered one to me, too, but I am a nervous backseat rider on a motorcycle)
Lydia was a hoot!
Caleb spent extensive time playing with and holding the cats... and then remembered he hadn't taken his allergy medicine the night before. He was in agony. I had him jump in the shower and I put all his clothes in the laundry.
His eyes were still really irritated, so I just had him lie down and rest them while he listened to music.
Lydia wanted Moriah to wear matching hair clips with her
While we were there, Andrew found out that Bethany's aunt and uncle were in need of a wheelchair ramp, so he designed one, got the supplies, and on Thursday, we all headed over there (along with Bethany's brother in law and two other men) to knock it out!
Andrew had a worksite set up in no time at all!
Lydia helped by being so sweet and content, sitting, watching and eating snacks so the rest of us could work!
Keenan got to use the miter saw (and cut a TON of boards with it!)
Look at those muscles! Caleb was a great board carrier and "fetcher of all things" for all of us
Bethany and I were the drilling team for the deck boards
Andrew let me use All the cool tools!!
Belt fed screw gun! I didn't even know this tool existed!
Moriah started to really enjoy the work when she got a drill in her hands
These guys did So much work!
Thank you Caleb for these pics!
A lizard Caleb found
Bethany took Lydia, Moriah and Caleb to the neighborhood pool (which was a great amenity to have at our disposal) in the afternoon, but Keenan opted to keep working. The project took from 10:30 to about 6:30!
Andrew's "builder's lederhosen" ;)
Man, this guy can run a worksite! He did soo well at managing so many of us with questions at the same time. He spouted off instructions (many of which I didn't even understand, so it's good they weren't aimed at me), and got all of us working on different parts of the project with so much grace and patience, and I never once saw him look at a paper plan of any kind!
The finished project! Isn't it beautiful?
Bethany's aunt and uncle felt so blessed, and we felt so honored to have been able to take part in such a fulfilling and fun project!
Since we finished later than anticipated and we were still an hour from home, Andrew and Bethany treated us to a very nice dinner at a nearby beautiful restaurant on the lake, what a treat!
Lydia was hilarious and kept hoarding all the crayons and would sweetly share the broken ones with Moriah ;)
We all had Delicious meals - Andrew had steak, Bethany had shrimp and grits, I had fried jumbo shrimp, Keenan had a bbq sandwich and I think the other two had burgers. Yum! We were starving and it hit. the.spot!
The view from the dock after dinner wasn't bad either...
Group sunset photo
On the way back to the house, it was Caleb's turn to ride in Andrew's work truck
On Saturday, us girls had the opportunity to do a fun "ladies outing" while Andrew and the boys worked on the zip line platform and kept Lydia occupied.
First up, flower arranging
The bouquet Moriah and I made
Bethany at work
The house and grounds were gorgeous and after we'd all made our bouquets, we went inside and had a delicious lunch, too!
Our bouquet on her porch before we left
Andrew and the boys had been busy while we were gone, and when we got home, the boys were getting to do some independent work on the platform while Andrew put Lydia down for her nap.
Even Caleb got pretty good with a drill!
Working on the steps
After that it was time to ride/drive the Kubota through the woods...
pick up the scaffolding...
...and give the kids turns to drive on the way back!
Andrew is way braver with sharing his machinery than most people would be, and even taught them how to drive his zero turn mower!
The kids all had a BLAST, but apparently Caleb almost ran Andrew over at some point!!!
We needed to get a decently early start on Sunday morning in order to be at the Barnhauf Kitsteiner by 11.
Keenan and Caleb out in the driveway saying goodbye to Reecy ;)
A quick snap of these three before we said our sad goodbyes
What a quick and fun filled trip to SC it was! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves - thank you, Andrew, Bethany and Lydia!!!
We drove three hours to Bulls Gap, Tennessee to see my dear friend, Wendi and her family. Even though we hadn't been there since this:
...the kids all did great and jumped right back in with each other!
Games were immediately pulled out
Wendi fixed us awesome lamb burgers for lunch and then all the kids tumbled outside while we got to catch up on the last few years, and especially the craziness of the past year and a half. It was SO good.
Moriah and Hannah dressed up - I LOVE these outfits!!
Updated kid pic - with two of Wendi's nieces as well
Wendi and I
Okay, okay, it actually looked like this! ;)
We are tentatively planning another trip back to the farm, possibly to help with their big chicken processing days!! Wendi sent us home with one of their processed chickens and two dozen eggs! Yum!
Minutes after we left their house :)
The drive went great, and the kids were awesome, but it was at some point in this day that I was just "over" the driving ;)
We got back to the Slaters that evening and the kids did some quick "larping" before we turned in:
That blur in the right bottom corner is Moriah! ;)
We got on the road just before eight the next morning and got home that evening after a stop at this cool park about 30 minutes from home:
Funny thing: Some people sitting at the park saw Keenan run and jump and try to climb up here. On his first grab he missed, and the woman said, "If you can get up there, I'll give you $10!!" Well, a minute later, he was up there and she couldn't believe it! She did actually send her son over with a 10 dollar bill for Keenan, but he turned it down. ;) So funny!
Home sweet home! Next time we go, I'll be sure to plan more days of visit than the number of days we need to drive ;)