The boys and I have just returned from Hagerstown, Maryland. We made a quick trip to see Baby Florie, Stella, Todd and Amy. We couldn't wait until Christmas to meet Florie and as we all know, little babies are only little once!
The weather was beautiful the entire time we were there and so we stayed outside as much as possible. Todd and Amy have this great long driveway and the boys made good use of it on every ride-on toy available.
My brother Todd is a teacher and the Chaplain at a boarding school in Maryland. He and his family live on campus. Their school was not on holiday during our visit so we were able to see many parts of their day to day routine that we'd never seen before. We attended Palm Sunday service in the St. James Chapel with Todd celebrating. We ate 2 times at the refectory. We watched the tail end of a Lacrosse match. And we were able to meet many of their friends and colleagues.
We loved each part of our trip. We were there 4 nights and while it may seem like a long way to go for such a short period of time, let me tell you why. Try to imagine my family and Todd's family mixing together. We LOVE one another, don't get me wrong. We have 3 boys, spaced 3 years apart and they have one almost 7 year old girl and one 4-month old girl. Their house is quieter, cleaner, slower, better smelling, calmer and really just plain opposite from ours. And Stella and Christopher, they are like oil and water. Love and hate. Sibling rivalry even though they are not siblings. So 4 nights is just right. We left wanting more time together and everyone had fond memories of the visit. At least that was what my family said. You'd have to check with Todd to get their side of the story.
Within 10 minutes of arriving, we'd let their indoor cat out, tied a rope around a bicycle and another ride-on toy to practice our doughnuts, changed an explosive poopy diaper, and given Uncle Todd a heart attack by stopping inches from the street on the said ride-on toys. For me this chaos is normal. For Todd, it makes his heart race and just provides him with endless sermon material.
Stella and Christopher got along famously this visit and each of the boys loved holding Baby Florie. Christopher had a particular fondness for her. He sneak away inside to check on her and to ask Amy questions about her. Or maybe get a chance to hold her while no one else was close by. I enjoyed sitting outside with Amy, watching my crazy children play in the sunshine with Stella, catching up with Todd, holding baby Florie, and just being together.
The children played for hours in the corn field behind their house. They collected corn, shucked the corn, attempted to make bird feeders out of the corn and they set up a picnic in the corn field. They even "washed" their hair in the bucket of kernels.
One afternoon, we headed to a dairy farm close by for a chance to feed the calves their bottles. What a treat. One of the calves was 1 week old! I've never seen a creature drink its mama's milk that fast!