** Beware of a picture-heavy post! **
For the Fourth of July holiday, we drove back to Maryland and Virginia to see family. We had been counting down the days and looking forward to the trip for a long time. It had been several weeks, if not months, since we had seen some of our family. Too long!
Our first stop was in Maryland to stay with Jeremy’s parents. We enjoyed the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and fireworks at Oregon Ridge Park with Nana, Papa, Kristin, and a couple of other families. Despite it raining all day, right as we pulled into the parking lot, the skies cleared and a rainbow appeared. Seriously! It was like a good omen for the night.
Between the potluck food and our own food, we were definitely stuffed by the time fireworks started. We were very nervous that Cooper would want to leave early since he hates loud noises and has been miserable in the past. Thankfully we had brought ear plugs, and Nana rolled up a towel for him to wrap around his head as well. He made it through the whole show and even said he liked it! (I think Jeremy’s promise of a bomb pop the next day if he made it through had something to do with it. But I’ll take it however I can get it.) I have so many pictures of the fun, but here are some of my favorites.
After a very late night, we dilly-dallied the next morning. At the last minute, we decided to try to make it to the Towson July 4th Parade. With roads blocked, we took a very circuitous route to find parking. When we finally got there, it seemed like the parade was near the end (aren’t fire trucks always the last to come through on a parade?) Well, after an hour the parade was still not over! It was a lot of fun, but we were getting hot and hungry so off we went. We packed up a picnic lunch planning to eat at the Liriodendron, which is the mansion Jeremy and I got married at 10 years ago. Thinking there would be no one there since it was a holiday, I hadn’t called ahead. We got there and were taking pictures for about 5 minutes before someone came out to ask us to leave so the wedding that was happening inside could continue out where we were. Oops. I was a little flustered, but we managed to get the shots we wanted and then found a shaded spot next to a baseball field at a private school nearby to have lunch and hit a few balls. It all worked out in the end.
After an afternoon of chilling, a delicious BBQ dinner and a good night’s sleep, we headed down to Charlottesville to visit Jen, Scott, Hayes and Rhys. And Meema joined us too! It was so great to have the kids and Jeremy finally meet Rhys. And we got to see their new home, which is beautiful. Between the spray park, Dr. Ho’s pizza, Bodo’s, and their CSA farm, we relaxed on their screened porch and ate, drank and laughed a lot!
Rhys is so much bigger than when I saw him in April. And it’s always fun to see how Hayes interacts with Mason and Cooper. As he gets older, his reaction to them changes. When he was younger, Hayes really looked up to Mason and was unsure of Cooper. But now that he is getting to be a big boy (he’s 3 now!), he was really watching Cooper. I kept having to remind Cooper that Hayes would do anything he did so he had to be careful and not do anything stupid. By the time we left, I think Hayes learned to bounce down stairs while riding L’il Rhody, play swords with pool noodles and escape his bedroom gate by putting both his poufs on either side of the gate and climbing over. Not my proudest moment. (But I think it was Cooper’s!) Again, more pictures than I can share, but here are my faves.
It was such a great week, and we’re thankful for the time we got to spend with our family and friends. Luckily we don’t have to wait too long before seeing our family again. We have a few things planned for the summer, and we’re so looking forward to each of them. Because no matter where we are, when we’re with our family, we’re “home.”