Actually, it was more like thirteen trips in ten months. Spoiler alert: it was too many.
To be fair, the last one was a funeral, so that one was a bit of a surprise.
First, just three days (!!!) after we got back from our trip to the Outer Banks, Maelle and I joined Andrew on a work trip to Cincinnati so we could see the Wilhelms! We haven’t been to Dayton in years; I think the last time *might* have been when Emily and I were both pregnant in the spring of 2019.
Maelle and I enjoyed time with just Emily and Emmett while Andrew and Dan worked and Nora was in school, then we were able to spend a couple days all together. Upon our arrival at their house, Maelle spied this giant dollhouse in the garage and fell in love. This might have to be a Christmas gift idea in a couple years…
Emily planned a few activities for us, one of which was enjoying an evening at a local orchard for dinner, drinks, playtime for the kids and even a fire. Getting the fire started was quite a feat, and we were all very impressed with Dan’s survival skills!
On Saturday, we visited Carillon Historical Park. It’s a great place to bring kids, and Andrew and I never went while we lived here. There are lots of interactive exhibits for kids that tell the history of Dayton, much of which is focused on aviation and the area’s contributions to travel, business and development. The kids got to see what an original schoolhouse looked like!
We said our goodbyes to the Wilhelms on Sunday morning…spent two days at home…and then said hello to Alexandria on Tuesday evening! It’s one of our favorite places to accompany Andrew for work, since it’s charming and walkable, and near my parents’ house as well.
Sadly, during our drive, my mom called to let us know Grandpa Jimmy had passed away. He’d been suffering from dementia for a few months and was declining rapidly. Even though we knew it was coming soon, it was still hard. At that point, I hoped his funeral might be the following weekend while we would be in town.
Maelle and I did our usual while Andrew was at his conference: walking around, shopping at 529 Kids Consignment, hitting the local playground and eating smoothies and avocado toast for lunch at South Block. Old Town has an Athleta now–one of my favorite stores–and Maelle practiced her ‘tree’ pose, just like the kids in the window.
She also fell in love with the King Street Trolley! This was the first trip she really voiced a desire to ride it, so we did…more than a few times. She’s not asleep in this photo; Maelle loves to pretend these days!
We also met up with Phil, one of my college friends, and his wife, who live there. It’s always so nice to see old friends.
We left Old Town Saturday morning to spend the weekend at my parents’ house, where we called an audible and changed our travel plans for the following week after finding out Grandpa Jimmy’s funeral would be that Friday. Initially, Maelle and I planned to drive back Monday, while Andrew would stay in DC for work. Now that we’d have to return just a few days later, we decided to fly home Sunday and back Thursday to save us all that driving. It was so worth it; we left DC at noon and touched down in Buffalo at 1pm. I couldn’t believe how quickly we were home. After being away so much, home felt so good.
Maelle got to go to preschool and I was busy planning the Turk-EA Trot, tending to delinquent house and yard work, and even having a friend’s son over for sleepover while his mom gave birth to TWINS!
On Thursday, Maelle and I headed back to the airport and arrived at my parents’ house in time for dinner. The service was the next morning, followed by a ceremony at Quantico, where Grandpa would be buried. Afterward, we all went to The Harbor Grille, his favorite place to eat on the water. I really enjoyed being with my family (including cousins and aunts and uncles) there, making happy memories despite the sad occasion.
The following day, we all headed to a local pumpkin patch for some fun. We made the kids pose for photos with the pumpkins, enjoyed a small picnic ‘snack’ and let Maelle ride the tiny cow train.
That Sunday, the three of us left to drive home from DC one final time (let’s hope!), for this year at least. The weather was beautiful, so we stopped for lunch at the playground in Gettysburg. We’ve done so much driving on Sundays that we’ve had to listen to the Bills’ games on the radio!
In retrospect, those eleven trips were probably a bit too many. Some were planned, some were a bit more spontaneous, but all of them were spent with family and friends. I may have been longing for my own bed and our routine, but I’m glad we took them all.
I’m glad we chose to come back in March for Grandpa Jimmy’s 85th birthday, just a few weeks after we’d celebrated a belated Christmas with my parents in February. In April, we saw the Johnsons in PA, spent a week and a half in London and then attended a marriage conference. I’m glad we made it to Sewon’s bridal shower in May and her wedding to Aaron in June, even though they were just weeks apart. I even snuck in a trip to see Emily in between them! In July, we spent a week in Cabo, which also required us to drive eight hours to and from DC to drop Maelle off at my parents’ house. All of these trips took two days in the car. To say we were tired of driving was an understatement. In August, we got a bit of a break and only drove five hours to Maryland, but then made up for it with a 12-hour drive to the Outer Banks in September…which brings us to the remaining three trips to DC this year. My new car already has 5,000 miles on it!
All tiring, but all worth it.
We will, however, not attempt this travel schedule in 2023.