We moved away when my nephew was 7, my niece was 4, and the youngest wasn't even born. And we've made it back every year except for two... the year I gave birth (my SIL came and helped us out for a week) and last year when we saw them in July at the family reunion instead.
We drove up to Baltimore and let X-man run around the Children's Museum with MacTroll. I tried to go shopping on the inner harbor, but there was nothing I really wanted to buy. So I went to Barnes and Noble and looked at books. I ended up buying one for myself and one for MacTroll. Then I sat in a Starbuck's (because the one in B&N was full) and played the Sims. Seriously -- for like an hour and a half.
Afterwards, we could tell a rain was coming in, so we drove into the suburbs to the family's house. We got there 45 minutes earlier than expected, but it wasn't a problem, because the youngest two kids were home and my BIL works out of the basement a lot telecommuting. Plus, there was a tornado at the airport just a few miles away. It was lovely of them to let us in. :-)
And then X-man went crazy. He had three children to interact with. He got to share a room with the youngest. He got to play with the Nerf Gun that the oldest got at a party (which is forbidden at our house). He got to go sailing on his Uncle's boat for most of Saturday near Annapolis. (In this photo X has the GPS and niece has the radio -- that gets music channels).
BIL doesn't have a slip, so he takes the rigging down each time they sail. This takes about an hour, so I looked after the kids. In order to stay awake after a long sail in the breeze and sun, I needed some caffeine.
Then on Sunday, my SIL and niece went to the Balitmore Farmers' Market. It was quite crowded, and I know I shouldn't have been as overwhelmed as I was (I had, after all been in the Smithsonian in June just a few days prior), but it was crazy. I have a thing against waiting in line for food. I just -- don't believe in it. I'd rather eat with the blue haired people than wait in a line for food.
But after I got some breakfast in me, and we moved on to a quieter part of the market (away from the pickle guy, the pea line and the coffee line) I found Dirty Carrots a Vegan bakery and bought a wheat-free cupcake. The cake itself was pretty yummy, but the icing needed a little work. My SIL also found the West Virginia peach guy, who was cutting up samples that were amazingly sweet.
Then that afternoon, my niece wanted to go see Dark Shadows for her birthday. She has a thing for Johnny Depp, which I totally understand, because I had the same thing circa 1988. (Remember the Winona Forever tattoo? That was my era.) Anyway, we went to the movies while the boys went to Laser Tag. MacTroll won. (He was quite proud of himself.)
Me though. I was in a PG-13 movie with a newly minted 14 year old. And I had an I'm old moment when in the film (sorry if this is a spoiler), the witch takes off her red lace panties and puts them on Johnny Depp's face in his coffin (he's a vampire -- which isn't a secret). And here's my niece sitting next to me and her Mom and I'm like, "Really? Was that necessary? I have a kid here!" And then I remembered that they didn't have PG-13 when I was a kid. And that Ghostbusters had all kinds of foul language and violence and sexual what not (sleeping six feet above the covers!). And I just needed to get over it. For the most part I did, but for a lot of the sexual stuff, I was fidgety about it.
And I remember being the kid in that situation. I went to go see Pretty Woman with my dad. I have no idea why. That was a bad choice -- probably for both of us.
It was much easier to go see Lord of the Flies with him. Then the only embarrassing moment was in the first 10 seconds on the island when there's a bird call and my dad says, "That was a loon! There are no loons in the tropics!"
(If you don't know... my dad is a bird guy. He's not an ornithologist, but he was the past president of the American Birding Association. And yes, that's a real organization.)
I always told people who asked me why my dad vacationed so much in South America that he was a drug dealer. :-) But really, he was an attorney to pay for his birdwatching career. :-)
So, remind me when X is 13 and wants to go see a PG-13 movie with me -- the answer is no. We'll just stay in PG land forever -- together.
It was a great trip. And, as always, X-man has O'Hare airport down like the back of his hand. We can't wait to take him to California next month.