Our trip to Pennsylvania these last 2 weeks was very relaxing and a wonderful end to Bryan’s deployment return vacation. We took 2 days to drive up, stopping in Charleston, SC for the night. We made sure to have reservations at a hotel with a pool so the kids could burn some energy before bedtime….it worked, though Avi had a rough night sleeping. Seems that this boy just isn’t a happy sleeper. On our second day we visited Bryan’s cousin in Virginia before pushing it up to his parents house in the evening.
Staying at Bryan’s folks house was great. The kids love visiting Nana and Pappy and Bryan enjoyed some quality time with his parents. As always Zoe slept with Nana. Most of the time we just played, went for walks outside, and spent time together. It was also nice to go visit all the grandparents. The weather was a bit of a bummer – often cold and rainy, but on one super nice fall day we went up to the land for an afternoon in the woods crunching leaves and climbing stumps. We all loved it. The weather then got super cold and dumped snow!!! a couple days before Halloween. It was incredible to sled and build a snowman that early in the year. I was so excited we got to enjoy it!! Zoe was especially excited about sledding down the hill behind Nana and Pappy’s house. We are also excited to see what next year brings as they move to a new home on the land – should be great sledding up there!
Bryan and I took advantage of the free babysitting quite often. Was so nice to be running errands with my husband again….it is still not quite real sometimes …that he is home. The best time we had together, though, was our overnight trip. We had originally planned to do a backpacking trip, but then the snow (and fire restrictions) got the better of us. So, we changed plans and went to Ricketts Glen State Park, and it turned out sooooo well. The fresh snow covered the trail and seemed like a winter wonderland. It was gorgeous. The park is known for its waterfalls, too, and they were incredible. It was hard to realize we were in Pennsylvania, in the snow, looking at waterfalls together. The day was magical. Spent the night in a nice B and B nearby, then followed up with a quick hike at Worlds End State Park and an afternoon remniscing at Penn State.
As we left Bryan’s house we stopped in at my parents new cabin. The kids had fun running around outside and in the play basement. We enjoyed seeing the unpacking progress and lunch before getting back on the road to Pittsburgh. Our first stop: a bike shop. I know, I know, we have enough bikes. BUT, both Bryan and I sold one so we were both in the market for a nice hybrid/town bike for lugging kids and groceries or doing rail trails. I lucked into a nice one at the bike shop in Altoona one day when Bryan and I were out. Bryan had made arrangements to buy a Kona Ute from a shop in pittsburgh, so we picked it up! Very cool!
Of course the real reason we were in Pittsburgh was to visit Bryan’s brother Justin and the fam. It was a great visit and especially nice to see their new baby Gianna. All the girls ran around playing like nutcases for 2 days before we started our journey south. We couldn’t resist a visit to our land in Kentucky on the way. It was a beautiful day to hike around, dream, and spread Arlo’s ashes in Mitten Hollow. What a wonderful place to own. After that the rest of the car trip went smoothly – the kids do great in the car with some ideal timing. Zoe entertains herself with toys, coloring, or books. Avi mostly sleeps, but also enjoys playing a bit with Zoe or having some stare-out-the-window time.
We returned to our home in Valdosta well rested, but a bit bummed. Bryan had to shave his incredible beard and will be returning to work. The kids and I will miss having him at the house all the time…the last 4 weeks have been such a treat. At least he is home, though, and we love being back together as a family!