Years ago my dad decided he wanted family photo of the whole group like we did on my grandpa's 60th birthday. We made all the plans to travel to my brothers in Washington for a family weekend. But as my grandma got sicker mom and dad decided that having the photo planned would not be a good idea, not being sure if mom would need to still be with grandma or if we'd be attending a funeral instead. Added to all of that was that my oldest brother would just be getting back from National Guard training over the weekend and didn't know if he and his family would be able to make it to Washington for a picture.
At grandma's funeral in August we all talked about going up to Washington anyway. We could still get together, still go to the Duck game and celebrate not only Dad's birthday but Aunt M's and cousin B's too. We bought tickets for the UO Duck game versus Washington State and all continued with plans to stay together at my brother's in Washington.
I waited to tell the kids until just a couple days before the trip...you can never be to sure what will happen that will change plans. But we were able to pack up and head out of town. We recently added a third seat to our Tahoe so our packing ability was limited but we packed everyone in and started off.
The plan was to pick #1 up from school after lunch on Thursday. But when Mr. Wiedz got up that morning he thought we could get going even earlier and she should just stay home. She was fine with that but it was difficult for me to change my list of things to get done to get out of the house any earlier. We did though...leaving about 10:00.
The trip to Eastern Washington is L O N G from our house but we stopped a couple of times and the little boys took some good naps. The drive is also very pretty, up The Gorge, with it's winding river, steep cliffs and beautiful trees. Mr. Wiedz always wants me to just sit and look at the scenery as we pass. I'm not so good at that, I need something to do...I take after Grammie N that way.
We arrived at my brother's just before dinner. The kids got to run around, we got pizza and got a place to sleep for everyone. After some playing and getting settled Mr. Wiedz and I got the kids to sleep and had a fun evening visiting.
Friday, cousin K had to go to school, much to his and #1's complaining. We tried to take all of our passport stuff to the application place but that didn't work out. But we had a nice lunch out together as a family. Uncle K, Grandpa N and Mr. Wiedz went to Uncle K's football game a couple of hours away so Aunt M, Grammie N, 6 kids and I made dinner, kept the peace and waited for the rest of the family to arrive. My sister and her 3 kids and my cousin and his 2 kids all got to the house and set up in their rooms. At this point we had a FULL house but the kids were so excited about being together. I put my kids to bed early but after a full day of playing they were wiped out.
Saturday was the day we'd all come for. Dad's birthday and the Duck game. Aunt M had hired a babysitter for #3 and #4 so after she arrived and we'd given the information she'd need we headed out for the 3 hour drive. Uncle K had arranged car assignments so the whole group fit into three SUV's. We arrived at the game and had to walk a long way first to get some cheese from the college creamery (and ice cream for the kids) and then to the stadium...Uncle K and Cousin J had the longest walk as they had to walk the cheese back to the cars first to be in the cooler. Dad, still recovering from his broken ribs, went straight to the stadium once we realized how long we'd be walking.
We all arrived at our seats and settled in for a great game against Washington State. The Ducks killed them...actually the Cougar fans started leaving at half time and after the first half a wave of fans would leave after each Duck touchdown. The kids had fun...mostly with the candied apples, popcorn and duck calls. In hopes of saving dad a long walk Mr. Wiedz, Cousin J and Uncle K went to the cars and drove them closer to the stadium to pick us up.
After a long drive back and hauling all the sleeping kids to their beds we sang Happy Birthday to dad and cut his lemon cake with lemon frosting (most people passed on that combination at 9:30 at night!) and gave him his presents.
Sunday we packed up and got ready to celebrate Cousin B's 4th birthday. Aunt M and Uncle K had rented a bounce house for the kids to play in and made a delicious birthday lunch. After presents and cake most everyone got in the cars and started the long drive home. Again we tried to make the drive a pleasant as possible for the kids. We had a good stop for a snack and a new movie for the computer in the back.
We'd decided since Mr. Wiedz's next trip would leave so early the Monday morning we'd stay at Grammie N's. Dinner, some games on the Wii and running around making chaos at Grammie's then we got some nests built and kids to sleep. #4 had a hard time in another house and another bed so he was up and couldn't get settled so I finally had to just hold him and try to get as much sleep as I could. Mr. Wiedz headed out SO early after only hours of sleep himself. I was forced out of bed by 3 kids who had slept fine and thought nothing of it being 7:30AM. Grammie took #2 and #3 to get doughnuts while Grandpa N was returning the camper they'd used in Washington. After breaky, Wii and getting dressed we headed for home.
We were too late to make it to school for an worthwhile portion so we came home, ate lunch and since #3 and #4 had slept the whole way home they were not going to lay down again, had play time. The kids, having been gone from their own home for 4 days had so much fun together. I got to have some computer time and some time to adjust my attitude for the days without Mr. Wiedz.
Being home. Tucked into our own beds (which was really great for #4). Being home is great but being with the family is worth all the work, I still remember how frazzled and worked up I was trying to get out of the house. I'm so glad we take the time to get our kids in the same place. Having all of our kids so close together gives them the fantastic time of being cousins, it was hard in the baby and toddler days to get together but we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, how well they're getting along, how we can let them play while we visit. The memories of this wonderful weekend together will last a long time.
Can't wait for the next time.