Here's my mother-in-law, our family's West Virginia Mountain Mamma, in her office with my little girls. Don't believe the look on her face--Teensy was just trying to look grumpy for the photo as a joke (she's good, isn't she?).
A couple of weeks ago, we loaded up the off-spring for a five hour drive to my mother-in-law's new digs in The Middle of Nowhere, West Virginia. Actually, that's the "big city" nearest her house; she lives 21 miles outside The Middle of Nowhere. No lie.
Let me tell you, the drive through western Maryland into central West Virginia is beautiful and I mean gorgeous. If you know me at all, you know that I am a sucker for trees and greenery; the scenic views on our drive featuring both of those things did not disappoint. I couldn't shut up about how breathtaking it all was. It's not quite as perfect as Transylvania (which holds the place in my mind as the most beautiful place on earth), but it's close.
Teensy loves to have her dad flip her over his head and all around.
I forget what this little car-thingie is called, but Kenna and Teensy loved playing in it. They took turns at the steering wheel and opened and shut the windows about 37 times before moving on to their next adventure.
We went to my mother-in-law's house to celebrate her husband's 70th birthday. The plan was to camp on their property and have a big party on Saturday. Margaret and Bill had prepared a nice picnic area under some trees and next to their creek where the camping and partying would take place. Within minutes of getting out of their car seats, my kids were in that creek finding crayfish. They were a filthy mess in no time, but they were in heaven. They enjoyed the tire swing Grandpa Bill had made and loved hiking on Grandma Margaret and Grandpa Bill's 35+ acres of land with their cousins.
Kenna demonstrating the joys of the tire swing!
This is classic Mason--up a tree and brandishing a sword, to boot!
My sister-in-law had a hotel room in The Middle of Nowhere and "needed" someone to drive to it with her and keep her company for the night. I was volunteered for the job. It was tough, but I love Heather, and felt that this act of service would show her just how much I care. So, Michael kept the eldest three kids and slept in a tent in his mom's yard while I took Kenna and mooched a bed at the nearest Days Inn. Don't judge me here, people. That was the night that Michael Phelps won the 100-fly by a fingernail. If I would have missed that I never would have forgiven myself!! (My mother-in-law doesn't have a TV.)
Grandpa Bill giving a tractor ride to my nephew, Gavin, Kenna and Teense.
Saturday, the kids ran around like heathens again. Several of Bill's children came to the party; it was fun to meet some people we've been hearing about for the past 10+ years.
Kenna really learned to give her daddy more of her attention (for which this mom is Grateful!) while they had more time to spend together. She's holding her balloon poodle in this photo.
One of Bill's daughters, Merrily (I love that name) is a clown, for real. She brought some of her goods and was basically enslaved as the resident balloon-maker/face-painter. She really went above and beyond, let me tell you. My kids were thrilled with all her efforts!
Just a shot to give you and idea of the steady line of "customers" waiting for Merrily's services. Don't you love Bill's "Birthday Hat" there at the end of the line?
Hands down the cutest balloon animal on earth: the balloon caterpillar. Teensy loved that little guy so! I had "babysit" the thing and keep it wrapped in her blanket while she went for more ice cream!
Teensy loved the purple and pink face painting that matched her shirt. (Please note that the strawberry sauce remnants on her face are left over from her ice cream and are not part of Merrily's flawless face painting design.)
Maia and Nina looking so pretty with their faces painted!
Kenna had to get her face painted as "Superman," like her cousin, Ethan. Go ahead, you try to tell her that it's actually Spiderman.
Saturday night my Michael decided that we should all stay in a room at the hotel so that we could get ready for church easier in the morning. It was fun to have all our kids pass out (and Josiah and Heather's) and then open the connecting door between our rooms so that we could watch the Olympics together while finishing off Josiah's Oreo's. You gotta love a brother-in-law who brings Oreo's wherever he goes!
After church on Sunday, we went back to Margaret and Bill's for a quick lunch and change of clothes before hitting the road to return home. Sadly, we met up with some road construction which extended our trip home, but I just focused on those pretty vistas out the window! My kids are already asking when they can go camping at Grandma's house again.
(I just realized that I have soooo many more photos of the little girls than the older kids from this trip. What can I say? I keep the little ones with me while the older ones run around like lunatics with their cousins. It's easier to get pictures of children you're incessantly watching than ones who are off playing and climbing all over the place without you.)