This year we travelled to Ohio for Thanksgiving to see Mark's sweet aunt and uncle. I was more than a little apprehensive about the drive, but the kids handled it beautifully. Mark and I were more than a little amazed. In fact, I'd say that was probably the greatest blessing of all!
This was the first time I'd been out of state for Thanksgiving in.. .well. . .my lifetime. But we'd been itching to get up north and visit and around Halloween we decided this would be the best time for everyone. My Mom-In-Law Extraordinnaire, Barb, travelled with us. She sat up front and I sat in back between Liv and Nate, an arrangement we worked out somewhere around Beckley, W. Va. when the "He's looking at me!!" stuff started (hey, we still had our standard sibling moments). Mark took command of our massive rental vehicle the whole way up and the whole way back, for which I am also truely grateful.
There were many cool, almost magical things that occurred on this trip that made it more than a worthwhile way to spend the holiday:
1. The kids got to see the street where Daddy grew up, an idyllic little stretch of Boardman, OH with one beautiful,Norman-Rockwellesque house after another.
2. The hotel we stayed in was simply awesome. It's called the Dutch House, and although it has 100-plus rooms it had a very country-inn feel. They were already decked out for Christmas, with two huge trees in the lobby and several decorated fireplaces. The buffet straight from their own bakery every morning didn't hurt either.
3. We got to see Mark's dear friend from high school, Bernie Vogel. At one point he told Nate, while pointing to Mark, "I would kill or die for this guy. Do you have a friend like that? That's important in life." Nate paused for a moment and said, "My Grandpa. And also Uncle Larry." I beamed.
4. Mark and Uncle Dew got to celebrate their birthdays together, with two adorable cakes presented to them by the kids. And nobody dropped one!
5. Four letters: S-N-O-W. The real stuff, people. It started coming down late Thursday night and by Friday morning we had a gorgeous 2-3 inches. We were the only yahoos out sledding in it, but we didn't care. Mark said I was as bad as the kids; my nose was pressed to the hotel window, watching each little miracle float to the ground at 7 a.m.
6. Mark's cousin Pam, a walking piece of awesomeness who happens to be a teacher too, brought scads of leftover Thanksgiving crafts from her classroom so the kids could get their creativity on while the adults visited.
7. The coffee. Oh, the coffee---Seattle's Best, specifically, at the hotel. And the scrumptious Peppermint Mocha from the drive-thru Starbuck's in West Va. on the way home. Just the eye-opener Mama needed. Thanks, Mark!
8. Watching Nate and Olivia gleefully push Dew in his wheelchair. His new way to roll is pretty cool in their eyes.
9. Playing Apples to Apples with Barb, Pam and Mark after dinner.
10. Stopping at Cracker Barrel on the way home. Oh, and making it home in under the estimated time. Hey, I'm Woodrow Boyd's daughter---it's all about making good time. Right, Dad?