Monday, September 17, 2012

With my sister in Virginia

Many months ago, in January I think, I made plans and reservations for my family to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA for homeschool week at Colonial Williamsburg.  In March, I started an intensely strict diet for intestinal healing and weaned Samuel, in April we went to Okefenokee Swamp and Jekyll island for a long weekend, in May we went to Ellijay for a week at a cabin and in July we went to Indiana and Michigan for Steve's annual family reunion and to visit our friends, the Mouro's.  By the week in Ellijay, I decided I couldn't pull off another family trip-with the diet I've been doing-and having to pack all my food and also all my large family's food-it's just too much.  I was exhausted at the thought of the preparation for a week long trip to Virginia as well as imagining how hard it would be to manage Samuel and Benjamin, our 18 month and 3 year old, in a non-young child friendly environment.  The idea occurred to me that maybe Steve would be willing to stay home with the little guys and our oldest son, who is now in a Classical Christian school nearby.  
We have been studying the colonial time period and the revolutionary war and a trip to Colonial Williamsburg seemed very fitting!  I also decided that since we would be in Virginia we couldn't go without visiting my sister and her sweet family in Fredericksburg.  Steve, being the amazing husband that he is, said yes!!!  So I made plans to spend Saturday evening, Sunday and Monday with my sister, going to Mass with her family and then spending Sunday afternoon in Shenandoah National Park, than Monday we met up at Mount Vernon.  Monday afternoon we said goodbye and the boys and I drove to Williamsburg, which was two and a half hours away.  We spent Tuesday at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown.  Wednesday and Thursday were spent in Colonial Williamsburg.  Since I have a zillion pictures, I'll just post about portions of our trip at a time.

This is my nephew, Silas.  Can't you tell how precious he is!  I just LOVE this baby!  I've got to figure out a way to see my little nieces and nephews more-they are all sooooo precious!  I just love them to bits.  

Andrew and Lark-young adventurers on a quest to collect as many magical acorns as they can find.

These two kind of "paired" up and really enjoyed playing together.  It was really sweet.  All the boys were going to ride in my sister's van, and the girls were going to ride in my car with Ginny and I on the way to the park.  But Andrew and Lark came over and informed us that they wanted to ride together!  Ahhh!

Ginny told me that this was going to be a really easy hike-just 1.6 miles round trip! More on this later ;)

Here Ginny is examining a tree she suspects to be the long lost American Chestnut.  I copied and pasted this from her blog, (Just in case you don't know-when you see highlighted text, you can click on it-in this case it will take you to my sister's blog)  "American Chestnut.  Wiped from eastern forests by a blight that was introduced a century ago, still sending up shoots from it’s root system.  The blight will kill these shoots before they reach a good size, but the root system, unaffected by the blight, will send up new shoots.  Once a giant, American Chestnut has been reduced to a shrub.  Those shoots though, they are a sign of perseverance and of hope.  Researchers are working to breed a cross between the American and the Chinese chestnut:  a tree that will have the disease resistance of the Chinese and the impressive growth habit of the American (I did laboratory research on American Chestnut in college, and I was really excited to see them growing all along this trail.)"

This is the one of the two cutest little girls in the world.  (The other one is Lark)  Her name is Beatrix and she is easily adored.

Wow, this trail just keeps going and going!  Here we have come upon the chimney leftover from a burned down ranger's cabin.  

There were giant ferns all along the trail.  They were beautiful!

I didn't have my wits about me and Micah got away from me with his older cousins.  Thankfully they left us little clues like this one as to their whereabouts.  It's kind of hard to tell, but in the picture from left to right you will see an S, and E, a T forming the shape of an arrow, and an H.  Seth is ingenious, I tell you.  He is almost 12 and confessed to me that he will soon be "one of those crazy teenagers."  

We finally found the boys here-on a rock that jutted out of a cliff.  Oh my, I am so thankful for these boys guardian angels.  They were certainly hard at work this day.

Although the lighting makes it hard to make this out, we found Keats, my 9 year old nephew, hanging out, literally, on a branch above the rock, that jutted out over the steep, high, cliff.  Oh Keats, how you scared us all!  Keats has been learning to play the violin for the past year, and is exceptional.  

We continue to climb, this short 1.6 mile long round trip trail rather long and exhausting trail to get to the tip top.  Now that we have these boys in our sight, to their dismay, we require that we travel together.  

The tip-top was amazing-and so worth the strenuous, yet lovely hike.  

I asked Andrew to come over and let me get his picture and within a few seconds the wind was blowing so hard it whipped his cape right over his face!  :)   

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."  
Psalm 19:1

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