What a treat to spend almost a week in Virginia over Spring Break! We spent a beautiful day visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (at Lola Gray’s insistence – she loves visiting historic sites she has learned about in school!) We took the kids to see the church where we got married, and though it was closed and locked so we couldn’t see inside, it was so fun to go back. After finding the church we wandered through the woods and found a little stream full of frogs. Of course we also managed to fit in lots of grandparent and cousin time, though it is never enough.
It has been a summer full of travel for us, across 3 different countries, but sometimes you don’t have to travel far from home to find yourself a world away. We wrapped up summer just a few miles down the coast in St. Augustine, Florida with the Gaddy clan. The beach was spectacular – wide and clean and nearly empty. We rode waves, collected diggers, saw a shark and dolphins and a manatee, found a beautiful star fish and lots of not so beautiful sand fleas – we even witnessed the excavation of a turtle nest. Plus there were aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents, lots of ice cream and nightly movies on the big back porch. Oh if only summer could last forever!!
Just a few days after our return from Europe, we were on the road again, this time headed to Virginia to pick up Pepper and spend some long over-due time with the Waldvogel clan! It was a relaxing long weekend of swimming in NayNay and Grandaddy’s pool, picnicking and paddle boating at Carvan’s Cove, dinners outdoors, and lots of crazy cousin time. We even managed to squeeze in a father/daughter(s) outing to a concert in Rocky Mount.
A little sun, a little sand, Krispy Kreme donuts, green tomatoes and boiled peanuts from a roadside stand – throw in a spontaneous visit from Virginia cousins and you have a sure-fire recipe for a perfect Savannah spring break.
There have been a lot of changes in the Waldvogel family recently. Things I’m not ready to put down in writing yet. Things that bring into focus what is really important in life, and how everything can change even when you think it never will. But despite the changes, or maybe because of them, I found myself incredibly grateful for our Thanksgiving holiday in Virginia. Thankful for children with strong legs and strong lungs and the desire to run, even on a chilly morning when it would have been easier to stay in their pajamas. Thankful for cousins who pick right back up where they left off, despite the months and miles that separate them. Thankful for time with my sisters, for bowling and selfies and grilled cheese at Pops. Thankful for my incredible husband who is such a stable and calming force in the middle of the crazy drama. Despite all the sadness and loss in the world, despite the illusions that shatter and leave ugly reality in their wake, despite everything that is beyond my control and beyond my understanding, I still find myself surrounded by goodness and love and laughter and beauty. And for that, I am overwhelmingly thankful.
My sweet Lola Gray had two costumes this year – her Madeline costume for the Halloween concert, and this lovely jelly fish for Halloween night. It was supposed to be a bioluminescent jellyfish, but out glow sticks didn’t work. It didn’t matter a bit. I had a matching jellyfish, though mine wasn’t quite as fancy. Lola has always wanted us to do matching costumes, and I’m so glad we found a way to pull it off this year!
We’ve been back for weeks now, and I’m just getting our last photos from Disney World posted. Re-entry after a Disney trip is always hard . . . somehow posting these last photos makes it really final. The trip is over. But oh, what a trip it was!
Our last park day was, of course, a visit to the Magic Kingdom. We had a few special things planned – breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table (so exciting to finally go inside Cinderella’s castle!!) and lunch at Be Our Guest (Beast’s castle complete with magic rose, enchanted windows and lots of fun Disney touches – try the grey stuff; it’s delicious!) But we prepared Lola ahead of time for the fact that we would not be able to stand in line for hours to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen. So perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came 5 minutes after the park opened when we found ourselves 3rd in line to meet the Queen and Princess of Arendale!! Lo was thrilled. We probably could have gone home right then and called it a successful day.
Fletcher is a really good sport about the princess stuff, but for him Disney is all about the rides. This year we discovered the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game, and interactive game with trading cards of magic spells where you race around the park battling Disney villains. I think he could have done nothing else all day and been perfectly happy. But then, of course, he would miss the roller coasters!
The kids were already asking when we can go back before we left the park for the night. My guess is it will be a while before we return – we have some other adventures on the horizon . . . But I certainly hope it isn’t too long!