Tuesday, July 3, 2012

best summer camp ever with the strangest ending ever

 On our way from D.C. we wanted to visit my brother in southwestern Virginia. We stopped Manassas, and looked over the peaceful hills that was the location of the first few land battles of the Civil War. It was a bitter-sweet place, so beautiful and tragic at the same time.

 But then we moved on to happier things: Cousins! We haven't seen these guys for years, and it was fun that our kids immediately reconnected and loved each other.
 It was like being at the best summer camp ever. They got to ride on a pony...
  and catch fireflies!
We couldn't get a picture of it, but this is one of the kids moving their jar of fireflies around. My family has never seen fireflies before, and it was magical the way they rose from every bush, tree and blade of grass along the rolling hills. Seriously stunning!

Then they all had to go wash their dirty feet off before bed. This picture of the bums made me laugh :)

 They were going to sleep out in the tent, but a sudden burst of wind knocked out the lights and terrified everyone. It was such a clear, calm night, then suddenly it seemed like a tornado touched down then disappeared. It left trees and branches everywhere. Everyone ended up sleeping back inside the house.
 My brother gives eye exams for fun. Just as I suspected, I have better than perfect vision. Chris needed new glasses, which was just as he suspected. But we got to look inside our eyeballs on the computer screen. It was so cool, and I see why he likes doing it for a living!

 Poor Ethan got stung by a wasp at the playground. We don't have many aggressive wasps in the Swamp, so it was kind of shocking for him. But everyone else had fun, even thought they nearly melted in the heat.

 The cousins took us to their friend's little pond where we got to to canoeing and swimming.

 Who could resist this little sweetheart?
I'm never baby hungry, but all the sweet little preschool cousins we spent time with all week made me toddler hungry.
I guess I should borrow one for a while to cure myself of that!

 The little boys got to build their own tent. They were going to sleep in it, but it kept falling down.

The morning we left to come back to The Swamp, the cousins wanted to go early-morning river-canoeing. We didn't get a picture of it, but at the very end of the ride, the canoes tipped over at a series of small waterfalls. The kids were stranded on rocks and clinging to overturned canoes. They were all terrified and each of them said they were saying prayers that helped them be calm and know what to do.
 On the way back to my brother's house to pack up the car and get the kids dried off, Kelly Clarkston's song "What doesn't kill you" came on and both cars had it blasting. We told the kids they were stronger for surviving the overturned canoes and praying for safety. They liked that.
Then we had to be "stronger" the rest of our drive home. My window fell down into the door in the middle of the 105* Southern heat and humidity, so we had to stop at Walmart to get a new classy plastic wrap/ duct tape window. Then we had to stop every hour to replace it because the freeway winds ripped it to shreds.

THEN...josh's backside exploded in a dirty old gas station restroom and Chris had to clean him up (aw shucks, it happened in the men's room and I couldn't help!), throw away a bunch of nice-but-now-poopy clothes and shoes, then mop up the floor.

So we lost a camera in the rapids, a window on the freeway, and some clothes in a gas station. But it didn't kill us!

We got home a little before midnight, and had a few poopy kids all night long, but there's no place like home. And we'd do it all again in a heart beat because cousins are forever friends, and we're glad ours love each other so much.


  1. FUN! What kind of trip is it without a pooping accident?

  2. We just got back from D.C. and went and toured Manassas too! Great place and great vacation!