Sunday, May 29, 2016

Seth's back! We went to see him!

My brother, Seth, came home from his mission in Chile in March, so I was dying to see him.  We left for Georgia on April 30.  We already knew that this was going to be an epic trip.  
 B was the tiniest bit disappointed that we weren't going in a water plane, but he handled it well.  Traveling with kids and layovers makes for a very long day, especially when there is a two and a half hour drive after we finally get to our flying destination.  It was long, but we made it.
 The fun began right away.  Sammy loved the little car.  He likes to be able to get around like the other kids can.
 This was supposed to be a cool cousin picture.  I'm sure they will be horrified when they look back at it and see that Jared wouldn't let me take a picture without trying to kiss Aaron.  Oh, well.
 We had so many things planned.  The first order of business, after Sunday, was going to see an alligator.  The weather wasn't too bad for a trip to Dawcett Trails.  We started with a picnic lunch, even though our west coast stomachs still felt like it was first thing in the morning.
 There is the baby alligator.  We had to see an alligator because of a comment Eloise made indicating that she had them categorized with dinosaurs as extinct oddities.  Benjamin thinks that reindeer are mythical like unicorns, so that may be next on our agenda.
 This center had different kinds of snakes, and charts and directions on how to spot poisonous ones.
 There was a zoo of rescued animals that can no longer survive in the wild.

 Why yes, my sisters and I do all have the same baby carrier.  Thank you for noticing.
 Aaron caught a minnow with his bare hands.  He just reached into the pond and grabbed it.  How does he do that?  He didn't get those reflexes from our side of the family.
 Sammy didn't take a lot of interest in the zoo animals until he suddenly spotted this mountain lion.  At a distance he mistook it for a dog and started yelling, "Shadow! Shadow! Shadow!"  I put him down on the ground to look at it.
 This picture makes me a little sad.  Cheyenne had this cute tiny kitten named Goat Warnock, which Sammy and Eloise bonded with.  Sammy even stopped calling all mammals "Shadow" and started saying "cat." I've never met a kitten like this that didn't seem to be made of claws.  The cat met an untimely demise just a week after we came home.
 Sammy and Victoria played together.  Mostly I think Sammy just wanted a turn in the car.
 B and McKay hung out.  They have instant bonding.
 Aaron had to go to school for most of the week, so one day I took Jared and we had lunch with Aaron.
 Andrew had been doing army training in Germany for a couple of weeks before we came to visit.  The day before he was set to come home, and we were set to arrive, he had an accident jumping out of a plane and broke his back.  His injury is almost identical to how I broke my back when I was 16 (his broken vertebra is one lower than mine was), so I know that he is in for a long, slow recovery.  Rather than stay in Germany without his unit, he toughed out the long flight home.  He was supposed to be lying down for most of the week while we were there, since he was still waiting to get in for an MRI, but it was really hard for him to not be able to roughhouse with the boys or pick Victoria up, especially after he had been gone for so long.  Jared, who had planned on Uncle Andrew providing lots of corn dogs, decided to excuse him from corn dog duty for this trip, considering his injury.
 Sammy discovered sitting on little chairs in Georgia.  He also discovered steamed carrots.  He is a carrot addict.
 Cheyenne, Anni, Jared, and Maren went to Aaron's school to do a science demonstration with his kindergarten class.  I was left with these kids, and a couple of napping Warnocks.
 The other adults were very helpful supervisors, as you can see.  The kids watched a show and then we took the dog for a walk so that James would fall asleep.
 Poor little Goat Warnock.  Eloise was so darn cute with the kitten.  If she ever asks for a cat, I will want to get her one.  I must be strong.
 Little baby sitting on a tiny chair.  This could only be cuter if the baby was actually looking at the camera.
 Sammy started walking!  The pavement outside was hot, and he wanted to chase the other kids around, so, when he got tired of waiting for an adult to hold his hand, he started walking to keep up.  By the end of the week he was walking most of the time outside, and some of the time inside.  Maren was still happy to help.  "Don't worry, guys, Maren is here.  She will help you."  Maren is a girl made of 80% confidence, 15% attitude, and 5% silly laughs.  We miss having her around.
 It was great fun to sit at the picnic table in the roundabout between Cheyenne's house and her neighbor's house (Andrew's aunt and uncle) and watch all of the kids play.  Our nine kids plus the six neighbor kids made for quite a fun crowd.
 Every time we got in the car, which B called our "lentil" car, he wanted Aunt Fafe to sit by him.  They did lots of mad libs as we drove around middle Georgia.
 One thing that I had wanted to do was go to Warner Robins to the museum of flight.  It's a free museum that is ten times better than Seattle's famous Air and Space museum.  It is also completely uncrowded.  We only had the stamina to visit a couple of the buildings, but there was so much to see and learn!
 We were delighted to find this tiny reproduction of China's Great Wall, considering our recent history studies.

 Jared and Maren piloting a helicopter.
 Eloise in the cockpit of a fighter plane.
 After the museum, we went to Chick-fil-a, which my kids associate with cousins, since the only times we ever go there are with cousins.
Sammy watched bigger kids dribbling and shooting a basketball at a hoop with wide eyes and rapt attention.  As soon as he found an abandoned ball, he picked it up and attempted to dribble it.
 Cute tiny Tori girl.
 For the last day of our trip, we went to Macon to see the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds.  This was really cool.
 I know that the purpose of this trip was to see Seth, and I haven't talked about him at all, but we did have some good times playing games after the kids went to bed, and chatting while we drove around together.  If he goes through with his current plan to move to Argentina, we will definitely be coming to visit.  Soon.
 Temple mound selfie with my cute husband.
 B got tired on the way back to the car for a picnic.  We walked pretty far in search of a wild alligator that a ranger told us about.
 Cheyenne was awesome to host all of us on short notice.  I really wish we lived closer together.  It is hard being so far from my sisters/best friends.
The kids found this very long snakeskin at the Indian Mounds.  They took it to the museum, where they left it for science.  I'm just glad we didn't cross paths with the actual snake this size.  
Aaaaand Sammy eats sidewalk chalk.  I can't take my eyes off of this kid for one second.  
This week in Georgia was amazing.  The kids played and ran wild with cousins.  The grown ups bonded.  It was really hard to leave after only a week.

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