As promised i will write about what we did during our time in Virginia with M’s family. Nothing much is going on here anyways. With my being back at work, I really don’t remember much during the day.
We arrived in VA Thursday around noon and spent the rest of the day it seems unpacking the van and setting up at M’s aunt’s house. She has a huge house with a level below ground that they converted into a living area. Mostly it is his uncle’s home theatre, but there are other rooms down there, a room for crafts (i am SO jealous there) and one is a bedroom and a bath. Perfect for us as it is mostly soundproof down there. A must with three boys. Because the air conditioner for that level is the same unit as the 1 st floor, it was cold down there so i opted to stay with the baby in a bedroom in the upstairs as it was much warmer. They were holding a birthday party for M’s cousin’s wife so we got to see some of the family before the big party on Saturday. M has a huge family with 13 great grandkids, 8 or nine cousins and spouses, three aunts and uncles, his parents and grandparents. It is insane at family christmas as it is impossible to find a house to hold everyone. I always like it when his family does small gatherings of a few at once because after 5 years i still barely know any of them.
After everyone finished with the party we all went to bed. I was personally exhausted.
On friday we met with one of M’s cousins who has two boys and took the kids to the zoo. It is a smaller zoo, but perfect size for kids under 5 who like animals yet have limited attention spans. You can feed the giraffes, camels, goats, and sheep. J was very shocked to hear a sheep say Baa as he had only heard it on TV, it sounded nothing like that. Then there was a baby goat that escapes and eats the food dropped infront the pens. Very entertaining. There were peacocks that roamed free and even reindeer there that came up to the fence to see you. They stole M’s cousins cup right from her son’s hand! We all had a great time. It was warm and the shade was rapidly going away so we hightailed it out of there for air conditioning. We are such indoorsman! Since later in the day we were meeting with all the cousins, spouses and kids for a big family picture we headed back to the house to get the boys naps so that they would be semi-easygoing for this. I was worried that my boys would be the ones not wanting to cooperate, but they are always intimidated when the family gets together and are normally shocked into complacent boys. Nothing like actual life. M’s parents had come along to the photo place to help with the kids. The picture was a gift for M’s grandmother’s 80th birthday that we were in town to celebrate. She has been blacking out a lot this year and has a heart condition so her wish was to have her family together, all of them for her birthday. We all get together for family christmas, but there is a good chance she won’t make it to that.
The idea was to get a photo of all the great-grandchildren. Then one of the cousins and then one of the cousins, spouses and kids. It was a madhouse. The kids range from 9 years old to 2 months and are all boys. Now being that my boys were now possessed by pod children it seems, they went where they were told and sat down and didn’t cry. Where was this when J had his school pictures? Then two of the kids started melting down and D decided that nope, I’m not having any part of that and walked over to stand with us. J sat there like he was made of stone until we told to get up as the organizers finally decided that that picture was not happening. So they decided just to do the big group photo. A feat all in itself because we took up the entire space and there was practically no air in there. I would comment on how the guy taking the photos had it set to the wrong room and every time it snapped the flash went off next door (he did that EVERY time we set up for pictures) until someone pointed it out. So we got those taken. Then there was a photo with just cousins and spouses, no kids and then individual families could get their family portraits done if they wanted. M’s sister did hers and the we did ours. It has always been a dream of M’s for us to get a family photo done in his beloved redskins jerseys. So we all got one and the photo turned out great. Then he took a photo with two of his closet male cousins and their jerseys.
By this time the boys were surviving just on the granola bars and fruit snacks i had brought since the pictures took place during dinner. It was 6:35pm and people all wanted to go out to eat. Fine and dandy but we had 132 pictures to go through and decided on the best ones for each. *sigh* After 45minutes, the pictures were decided then the talks about pricing and sheets and blah blah blah started. The boys were being good, but were tired and hungry so i opted to go to the restaurant were one of the spouses was holding a table (he left before we started looking at the photos) and got the kids something to eat. M stayed to pay and decide on our photo package. Finally he got there and the photo place stayed open late processing everything and we were able to pick up our photos on the way home. We all pretty much crashed once we got to the house.
Here are some zoo photos as M has put any of the group stuff on the web. I doubt he will. Some of his family act like they are part of the witness protection plan when it comes to our posting photos with them in it.