I also got to get to know my sister in person for the very first time ever! We had a very brief meeting years ago, but without the circumstances to really connect. We've chatted on the phone and exchanged emails, so it was a thrill to really get to spend time with her. I was able to meet her fiance, and he really took to the kiddos. Chased them around and around the yard and let them tackle him a time or two. And as a very special bonus, I was able to meet my brother for the first time as well! It was unexpected, and so very wonderful. His wife was there too, and our kids took to her immediately. They all are such beautiful people, and I cannot express how blessed I feel to finally have them in my life. I really treasure the family connection, so to have my family grow by four, all at once, feels incredible. I am a lucky girl, indeed!
This trip really was about family, so we kept our schedule light- we didn't want to pack in a bunch of activities and wear everyone out. So that's what we did. We met my grandparents at The Nautilus- the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. It is docked in New London and open for tours. The cool thing about this for me is that my grandfather was stationed on it for two years when I was very young. How fun was it to get a personal tour of the very sub he was on! The kids were excited to go on a submarine, but once there were more fascinated by the jellyfish they spotted in the water- go figure.
On Monday, Batman had some work he absolutely had to be online for. So he stayed at the hotel, and I took three children out to explore the quaint little town of Mystic. We spent the morning enthralled by the little drawbridge that opens at forty past the hour to let the boats through. We watched a seagull swoop down and snatch bread from the water without stopping, which delighted the little guys. Where did we stop for lunch? Mystic Pizza, of course! And it really is a slice of heaven! Tons of memorabilia decorates the walls, and the movie plays nonstop in each room of the restaurant. And it really is delicious.
We browsed in some of the stores and stopped for ice cream in the afternoon. Gabriel was covered in chocolate ice cream (doesn't it figure that the messiest child wants chocolate?), and was enjoying it so much he ran into his brother's cone! So there's a nice glob of strawberry ice cream right near his eye, which I guess complimented the dark brown that covered the rest of his face. My feeble attempts to keep the kids somewhat tidy with small, papery napkins were in vain. So I just let them have at it, then headed for the public bathroom to wash up. Sometimes as a parent, you just have to let it go. Those times often make the best memories.
Before we even left, my darling husband was already online checking out airfare, to see when I could go back to visit my family. Perhaps in the fall, and this time without the little guys. I just love that he really saw how much it meant for me to spend time with everyone.
As much as I enjoyed my visit, it felt really good to get back home. We're sort of back into our routine. We just got the list of school supplies for each grade in the mail, along with classroom assignments. There are all kinds of back to school and kindergarten orientation events. I cannot believe it is that time already. So we will really make the most of these last weeks of summer break. Lots to do and not do, while we still can. Tomorrow Batman will grill for dinner, and I think it might just be a good night to let the kids stay up late and catch fireflies.