Tuesday, Aug 4
After four days in New Jersey, we hit the road bright and early Monday morning, heading West for Sidney, Ohio. We originally planned on stopping at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia, but on road trips with kids, you have to be flexible. So we stopped at a Target somewhere in Pennsylvania. Clean bathrooms, smoothies, and a parking lot where we could do some jumping jacks and stretches, and we were in good shape.
We stopped one more time for lunch and then pressed on, through beautiful fields, past farms and chickens on the side of the road, to our destination. It was a gorgeous day for a ten hour drive, but man, were we happy to be with our friends! We enjoyed a delicious dinner together, Dimples did some Irish Step Dancing on the back deck, and then we popped in a movie so the big kids could watch the little kids while the grown-ups headed out to our hosts’ property to see the beginnings of their new home. And after spending so much quality time with the kids in the car that day, we were happy to break away, even if it was only for an hour.
I must say, something I didn’t expect about this road trip was just how good it would be for our children to stay in other families’ homes. They had to sleep wherever there was space. Bedroom floor in sleeping bag, up in the attic in a trundle bed, or in someone else’s bedroom with a bunch of other bodies sleeping around them — our kids rolled with it. They stayed up much later than they are used to, so they slept like logs. They even slept in most mornings! Not Little One, though. We put that girl in a Pack ‘N Play in a little room at every house we stayed at. She would sleep through the night, but she would wake up bright and early. At the Schmiesings, it was 4am when she woke up. Girlfriend’s gotta learn that when Mom is visiting until 1am with her college friends, waking up at 4am is just not nice! Somehow I snuck in a nap after breakfast and then we all headed out to Tawawa Park for some play time before we hit the road for our next stop.
Just as we were ready to leave, I asked all the kids to get together for a group photo (mom friends live for this — pictures of their children with their friends’ children is a necessity at every get together). Thunder started to rumble and we could tell the sky was about to open up. Just as the twelfth child, Tim, ran to get in the picture, I snapped this photo. Then we all yelled good-bye to the Schmiesing Family, ran at top speed to the van, and drove away in a torrential downpour. It was such a funny departure! One I won’t forget.
I don’t know that I could ever be intimidated by a sweet face like that on a football field, could you? And the picture of Bright Eyes standing sideways is to illustrate just how big some of these players are — they’re so big, our seven year old fit inside the model of a linebacker’s leg! For the boys, this visit was all about going to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. I don’t think they anticipated how much fun they would have just playing with the three boys in the Ortiz Family as much as they did. My guess is that if the Hall of Fame was never on the itinerary, they still would have had a wonderful time. We decided in advance that while the boys were enjoying their male bonding time, the girls should have some fun too. What could be more girly than afternoon tea?
A lovely time was had by all. After our tea, we went shopping and then headed back to the homestead where we got to hear all about the boys’ day. Needless to say, they weren’t enthused about hearing how our day was. We spent one more night with the Ortizes, then it was off to Mass and back on the road. By this part of the trip we were more than ready to get home and sleep in our own beds.
Next post: A little back-track to our time in Indianapolis, Indiana!