I am hooooooooooome!!! Man, what a trip. I realized on our way home that we drove over a thousand miles this week. We must be insane.
According to Mapquest, it was more like 1,400 miles. Yes, definitely insane. But we actually did it in an intelligent way. We left Newport on Wednesday morning and headed to northern Virginia to see my family. That was the first leg of the trip that was 430 miles, or thereabouts. We got there in good time — just about nine hours after stopping for lunch. Then on Thanksgiving morning, we left DC and headed to North Carolina to be with Kurt’s family, which was another 230 miles. We got there in just about four hours, though. After spending two days there, we came back to DC on Saturday and stayed there till this morning. And now we’re home!
I was rather worried about going to see Kurt’s family in North Carolina. You see, Kurt has an enormous family. His mother is one of five children, and so is his father. So he has aunts and uncles and cousins out the wazoo, and I haven’t met most of them! My family is easy — there’s just my one uncle on my father’s side who had one daughter, and my mom has three siblings who are all married and have three kids. So I have thirteen cousins, all told. Kurt, on the other hand, has far more cousins than that. Most of his aunts and uncles had three kids, so there’s a good chance he’s got at least twenty-four cousins. And now most of those cousins are having kids, which adds even more members to the family.
Don’t ask him which side of the family a particular cousin is on. He couldn’t tell you which cousin belongs to which aunt, and whether that’s on his mother’s side or his father’s. It’s up to me to keep all this information straight.
For the record, we saw Kurt’s mother’s side of the family this time. We stayed with his Uncle Freddie, who is his mother’s brother, and his Aunt Diane. They have a really lovely house down there in North Carolina, on a nice-sized lot. Grace spent most of her time playing with her second cousin Jimmy, son of Kurt’s cousin Laura. Jimmy had brought his Power Wheels Jeep to his grandpa’s house (Uncle Freddie is his grandpa) for Thanksgiving, and he and Grace spent most of their time riding the Jeep around the property. When they weren’t riding around, they were tackling each other and basically being crazy kids. I had put Grace in a dress and white tights for the holiday. Needless to say, the tights weren’t white by the end of the day. Thank goodness they were knit tights; had they been the sheer stuff, they would have been riddled with holes after the first five minutes.
There were twenty (!!!) people at Uncle Freddie’s for Thanksgiving. Aunt Diane made one turkey, and the guests brought everything else. Diane’s daughter Katie brought appetizers galore — from pastry-wrapped brie to several different kinds of dip to this roll that she made from croissant dough wrapped around barbecue chicken. She must have brought ten different dishes! It was all amazingly delicious. I need to get with her and swap recipes, that’s for sure! I was so stuffed on the appetizers that I wasn’t hungry for the actual meal.
But shhhh… I think the appetizers were the best part anyhow!
On Friday, we went to see Kurt’s aunt Kathy, who lives on fourteen acres out in the middle of nowhere. She has two horses, two ponies, two llamas, and a bunch of chickens on her farm. The kids got to ride on the pony and brush one of the llamas, and it was so much fun watching them experience these animals for the first time. We hadn’t had lunch before we left, but once we came inside for some chit-chat and hanging out, Aunt Kathy set out a ton of food left over from the day before. I ate my weight in Ruffles potato chips and French onion dip, as well as this delicious shrimp dip with cocktail sauce, and about eight cream puffs. Yum. I love cream puffs, and these weren’t all the way defrosted yet, which made them even more yummy. The cream inside was super cold, but once it hit your mouth, it liquefied into creamy goodness.
While the adults yammered away inside the house, Grace and Jimmy found the Power Wheels Jeep that Aunt Kathy had on her porch for her grandkids. That was the last I saw of Grace for the afternoon until we were ready to go!
You can just see Grace and Jimmy in the Jeep coming towards the house down the driveway. And that’s just Aunt Kathy’s front yard!! (Photo taken by Kurt.)
As soon as we arrived back at Uncle Freddie’s house, Aunt Diane and my mother-in-law busied themselves with setting out leftovers for dinner. That was the last thing I wanted!! I’d eaten too much at Aunt Kathy’s.
We decided to head back to Dad’s house on Saturday with the idea that we’d be missing the worst of the traffic by not coming back on Sunday. That was the idea. It wasn’t a very succesful idea. We took I-95 North for much of the way, and once we hit mile marker 84, traffic slowed to a crawl. Every so often it would speed back up to 70mph or so, but then it would stop again. It was stop and go all the way to Fredericksburg, and then it was a total crawl north from there. It took us at least an extra hour and a half to get to DC than it should have. Ugh.
We took a lovely little detour through Petersburg, Virginia. I’m fond of Petersburg because that’s where Kurt and I spent our honeymoon. We didn’t want to go too far away since I had only a few days off from work (and it’s amazing they gave me any, since I’d just started working there two months before my wedding), and Kurt had found this cute little bed & breakfast in Petersburg. On our way back to DC this weekend, Kurt had found on the GPS what he thought was a Whataburger, the famous burger chain in the South and Southwest. It turned out to be a locally owned restaurant called What-A-Burger, and even through our disappointment, it was delicious! I had a cheeseburger with fresh fries and an egg nog shake, and even thinking about it is making my mouth water again. Yummy!
It was sad, though, seeing the majestic Civil War-era homes on the edge of decrepitude. So many were in such bad shape, and several were all boarded up. I’d love to win the lottery, buy up all those houses, and restore them to glory. I really wish I could.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!