Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Break 2009- Chapter 4

So we left West Virginia and started our drive to Virginia where a burrito fete awaited us. When we planned the trip I realized that Matt's friends, Sarah and Tom, lived pretty close to my aunt and suggested we make an effort to see them at some point. The last time Matt saw either one of them was when he was serving his mission in France. He was really excited to see them and I was excited to actually meet some of his mission friends. I know all his mission stories almost as well as if they happened to me and I feel like I already know so many of the people he served with, so this was very exciting for me. Even better is the fact that Sarah and Tom have three adorable children who are all pretty close in age to our kids, except Finn he will have to wait for a"Mitchy" to be born to have his own Mitchell playmate.

So we set off out of cold and rainy West Virginia and headed for Ruckersville, Virginia. Dax fell asleep right away and surprisingly Piper followed not too long after. I read for a while, handed Matt fudge rounds as requested and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Once in Virginia we stopped at a rest stop and let the kids out to run around for a bit. Well it was freezing and Dax and I decided that we would much rather use the bathroom and then head back for the warmth of the van. Piper and Matt are two crazy peas in a pod and they opted to run up and down the mountain trail a few times- CRAZY!

We stopped at Rockfish Gap to take pictures and enjoy the view. Dax again decided he would much rather stay in the van and look at the pictures later, I stayed with him and Pi and Matt hopped out to take some photos. The view was amazing, but I myself am partial to the cute girl holding the camera.

Before we knew it we were pulling into Sarah and Tom's driveway. Their house is amazing! The pictures do not even come close to doing it justice and I wish we had had more time just to enjoy the beautiful property they live on- next visit for sure! They live on 50 acres or so in a gorgeous house. As soon as we got there the kids jumped out and Dax, our shy one, walked right into the house and announced that we were here. The kids made fast friends and were off to play and we didn't see them again until dinner. And what a wonderful dinner it was! We went with the "mission burritos" and they were delicious! I have enjoyed these many, many times over the last 9.5 years and I never tire of the delicious homemade tortillas and beans! Sarah made homemade guacamole and I was in heaven. Mmm how I love guac!

chez Southall

Dax and Asher

Is Piper ever not posing?!

Skye, baby Finn and Piper

After dinner we hung out and talked while the kids watched a movie and played. It was so fun to listen to old mission stories and catch up on the last 10 years. I look forward to seeing the Southall's again and spending more time together. Piper and Dax love their new friends, Asher and Skye, and have mentioned them several times since our visit. Piper is anxious to send her first email to Skye- that's the new thing these days, email pals :)

Fast friends

Photo by Piper

Thank you Southall's!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Break 2009- Chapter 3

We woke up on Monday morning to a chilly and rainy day. We had a nice breakfast and then we set about getting all of our gear together and loaded into the van. We were sad to be leaving, but looked forward to seeing more family and friends.

The most important part of Monday was making sure that we got a good family picture and a four generation Mitchell men picture. The weather was not cooperating and Great- Grandad is always cold these days so we wanted to spend as little time outside as possible. The goal was to have Matt, Dax, Grandad and Great-Grandad stand on the front porch and I would snap the picture and have everyone inside within 2 minutes tops. Well Dax was not feeling the importance of this picture and decided to throw a HUGE fit instead. Here are a few out takes.

We decided to try better luck with the Mitchell women. Besides Piper we are all women who have married into the Mitchell family- ah what a bond that makes! Piper was her usual self and was a total and complete diva while Matt was behind the camera. She is such a hoot!

The weather was miserable outside and we figured the best thing to do was come inside and eat some lunch. Food always makes me feel better when I am in a grumpy mood. A bowl of Great- Grandma's famous soup, a ham and cheese sandwich and chips and we were like new people.

We headed to the back porch for a group shot. We had the camera set up on an old stump on a timer and Matt would run to make it the porch when the light started to blink. It was a funny sight to see, but the pictures turned out great.

Once we had a nice group shot we once again attempted the four generation shot. This time Dax was a happy boy with a full tummy. I love these pictures. The Mitchell gene is strong, don't you think?

Once the pictures were taken it was time to load up and head out. We gave hugs and headed out. A few tears were shed as we pulled away from Mullins Drive and I reminded Matt again how lucky he was to be able to share that time with his children and grandparents together.

Spring Break 2009- Chapter 2

Spring Break 2009- Chapter 2

We woke up Sunday morning to the sounds of Piper and Dax happily watching Disney in the sitting room of their Great-Grandparents house and we decided it was time to get up and join the family. We were treated to a huge breakfa6st of eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit salad and toast with ample amounts of West Virginia apple butter. Piper told us it felt like Christmas morning and I agreed that it was pretty close to perfect.

Once we were full we set outside to see what we could find. The air had a briskness to it, but we were fine with our jackets on and happy to be able to run and stretch out after a long day in the van the day before. Matt and his Dad set to straightening up the yard a bit and started out by shoveling the gravel driveway and filling the areas that had holes. This task included using the wheelbarrow to transport loads of rocks and the kids were only to happy to jump in after the load had been dropped. Matt raced them all over the place in that wheelbarrow over the course of the day. Great-Grandma told us that the wheelbarrow had belonged to her mother! They just don't make things they way they used to. As the kids played and Matt and his Dad worked I laid my blanket out in the front yard and read my book until I fell asleep. I woke up to the sun beating down on the backs of my legs and headed to the back of the house to see where everyone was. Did I mention that Matt's grandparents live on the side of a mountain? Their property is beautiful and often visited by deer, rabbits, an assortment of birds and other critters. The kids bounded up and down the rolling slopes and before too long it seemed that they had lived there their whole lives.

The sun heated up quite a bit by this time and the kids went inside to shed their jeans and trade them in for the pair of shorts that I had packed and then raced back. The day was beautiful with a high of 77 degrees and we all spent the day outside. Matt went on a treasure hunt and was rewarded with some old glass bottles for his growing collection. We had thought to bring the kids Razors (scooters) with us and they had a great time riding them on the walkway by the side of the house and giving all of us a few heart attacks as they went right to the edge before stopping. After a while Matt went down to the garage and opened up the trunk that held all kinds of fun things- wiffle balls, baseball bats, old skateboards, frisbees, footballs and more. Dax and Grandad decided to play some baseball with the plastic bat and ball and had a great time. Dax hit the first ball that was pitched to him and they happily played for about 45 minutes. While they were playing I sat on the porch with Great-Grandad, great-Grandma and Kelly and watched everyone and tried to capture everything with the camera.

Grandad's old skateboard

Grandma, Great-Grandma and Great-Grandad hanging out on the porch

Matt's treasures

The day was beautiful and we were outside all day enjoying the fresh mountain air. It was wonderful to be able to let the kids have freedom without worrying about cars zipping up and down the street or the fear that the kids would be taken. We were completely relaxed and enjoyed the day outside with our kids- no worries!

After a while we decided to head out for a bit and have Dad give us a tour of his hometown. He expertly drove around the sharp mountain curves and showed us the house his Dad was born in , where his paper route was, the hill he sled on during the winter months, etc. After our driving tour we headed to the state Capitol. It is a beautiful building and surrounded by the newly bloomed tulips it was a great spot for photos. After walking around for a bit we headed to the grocery store to get the necessary ingredients for dinner.

Kids at the Capitol

Me and my girl

Dax and Daddy


The State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia

Matt made ham and cheese crepes for dinner and I made a fresh salad to go along with it. We finished it off with cake and Matt's famous icing. The kids were exhausted after a full day of playing and I settled down with them to watch a movie in hopes of helping them drift off to sleep with ease and next thing I knew Matt's taking my glasses off and gently helping me into our bed. I guess the kids weren't the only ones tired!

To busy puking to blog

I have been an absentee blogger. There are so many things I want to blog about- the rest of our wonderful and amazing trip, the funny things Dax says to me on a daily basis, etc., but this pregnancy is kicking my rear. I had really hoped that I was going to escape the horrific sickness that has been the norm for me in the past, but alas, it has come to stay.

I am now 12 weeks pregnant and look like I am about 20 weeks or more. UGH! I just keep telling myself that this is baby #5 and baby #4 is only 10 months old. Somedays that works and somedays I just cry when I have to go anywhere. Amazing that there is any baby bump at all as, is typical, I have already lost 12 pounds. I always say that pregnancy is my best diet- ha!

We are very excited though and looking forward to June when we will know if the kids are getting a brother or a sister. I am thinking we are in for another baby girl- mainly because we have agreed on a boys name, but there is no hope of naming a baby girl.

I am going to try to post a bit about our trip, but just wanted to let our faithful reader (FINN!) know that we are all alive and mostly well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

March 30th was my birthday and it was one of the best I have had in recent memory. I had originally planned to spend the day at the Magic Kingdom (you get in free on your birthday this year!), but the morning sickness is kicking my butt a bit and the idea of walking around the park all day with Dax sounded like more than I had in me. So we went with the next best thing- Downtown Disney. Dax thought we were at Disney World and kept telling me it was the best day of his life over and over. Kids are soooo easy! We invited our two best friends, Auntie Amanda and Finn, along and had a wonderful day. Our first stop was the T-Rex Cafe where we had lunch while dinosaurs roared nearby and meteor showers happened every 20 minutes. It was so cool!

Here are our friends that sat by us and a cute one of Dax and Finn.

The restaurant is set up like the Rainforest Cafe but I thought the food was much better and since I was a dinosaur buff as a kid I got a real kick out of the place. What 28 year old woman wouldn't want to have her birthday lunch here?! Just take a look at my delicious french onion soup. Mmmm...it was so good!

After we finished eating we took the boys to the excavation site and let them dig for dinosaur bones. This was pretty neat and completely free you can do this even if you don't eat at the restaurant.

We walked around DTD and wandered in and out of the stores. Dax walked away with a new Stitch hat. How could I resist?!

And the boys tried on some Jamaican Mickey ears.

Then we headed over to ghirardelli's and had delicious ice cream sundaes and root beer floats. YUM!

After a wonderful day we headed home exhausted, but the party wasn't over yet. When we got home Matt was making me a birthday cake after working all day and having to go back in later that night. What a guy, hu? Then we headed over to Ian and Amanda's and they made me a wonderful dinner. We had cheese fondue, a huge salad and finished it off with chocolate fondue. YUM-O! I think 28 is going to be a great year!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break 2009- Chapter 1

Spring break 2009

We set off for our grandest family adventure yet, we drove from Florida to West Virginia and then from there onto the DC area. I am currently writing all about it as we head home from a wonderful week full of family, friends and new faces and places. We left early (5 am) on Saturday, April 4th with Matt's parents in tow and headed for West Virginia where grandparents awaited us. We were so excited to be going to see Matt's grandparents and introduce them to their great-grandchildren for the first time. The van was loaded, the cooler was packed with sandwiches and treats, we had travel scrabble, good music and the anticipation of all that was to come ahead of us- we were ready!

Matt had worked until 3:00 am and had gotten home just in time to shower, have a bowl of cereal, help me lift sleepy children from their bed to their carseats and then crashed for the first leg of our trip. We thought for sure Piper and Dax would fall fast asleep as soon as we started moving, but they were like two kids on Christmas morning and were way too excited to close their eyes and risk missing anything. It wasn't too long though before they realized that there would be nothing fun to see for quite a while and they closed their eyes for a few hours. Grandad at the wheel we were a quiet van full of Mitchell's and we didn't awake until the Waffle House near Jacksonville. Matt opted to sleep while we ate inside the greasy shoebox and filled ourselves full of eggs, bacon and of course waffles.

The kids had their own table at Waffle House. Dax looks thrilled, hu?

Back on the road and before too long we were entering the state of Georgia! I was determined to get a picture of each state sign as we passed the state line. I was pleased with how well the first picture was accomplished and even more excited that we were out of Florida! By this time Matt was awake for the most part and decided to join Kelly and me in a game of travel scrabble. We didn't get too far before we stopped for a potty break and Matt decided to give Dad a break behind the wheel. Kelly and I sat in the back and chatted with the kids and handed out sandwiches, fudge rounds and water as needed. We hit bad traffic once we were in the Carolina's and it didn't ease up much until we crossed into Virginia. The major highlight while sitting in the slow moving traffic was seeing the Appalachian Mountains. Our kids have never left the state of Florida (well Piper did when she was 4 months old, but I think she would be hard pressed to tell you anything about California) and our state is boring and very FLAT! Their expression when seeing the mountains for the first time was priceless, even though the picture quality isn't great I am so glad I snapped this picture!

WOW! Don't be alarmed by the Stitch alien in the picture. He is as sweet and cuddly as they come.

The traffic was brutal as it seemed half of the east coast also thought this would be the perfect day to travel. We literally went 5 miles in about two hours while in North Carolina and while the state is beautiful it is horrible when it comes to coordinating road construction! The slowest 5 miles of our life were the result of taking the interstate from 2 lanes to 1 for no other reason to just put some cones in the right lane. Good timing! We were so happy to cross into Virginia and know that we were only a state away from Mullins Drive. The ride through Virginia was beautiful and with Scott behind the wheel Matt was able to take some picture from the passenger seat and we all ohhed and ahhed over the rolling hills and beautiful countryside that Virginia had to offer us. We also noticed how cold the air outside had changed and spent most of the time covered in our blankets. The kids were so excited when we passed through our second tunnel and when we came out we found our final state sign of the day! Welcome to West Virginia, indeed! We were driving up in the mountains and the road curved this way and then that way, but Dad seemed like he had never left his home state and took the turns with ease. I, on the other hand, was on the edge of my seat the entire time! We had hoped to be at Great-Grandma and Great-Grandad's by around 7:00, but the traffic we hit changed that and we found ourselves pulling into Dad's childhood home at 10:00 p.m. We all piled out of the van grateful to know that we would not have to get back in after a quick potty break and and headed up the stairs to the front door.

Great-Grandma met us at the door and we were so happy to see her and I think it is safe to say she was pretty happy as well. We introduced the kids and I watched as Matt took his Grandma into his arms and gave her a gentle hug and then headed down the hallway to see his Grandad. The kids followed behind and gave their great-Grandad soft hugs as to not overwhelm his 91 year old body. His eyes were lit up with a joy that I probably can't understand but hope to one day know when I take my own great-grandchildren in my arms.

We unloaded the van and got the kids settled and into their sleeping bags and they were sound asleep before too long. The rest of us headed into the kitchen to heat some of Great-Grandma's homemade vegetable beef soup. YUM! I have never tasted a soup so delicious before and made sure to have several more bowls before leaving on Monday. We ate until we were full and then the weariness of traveling for 17 long hours set in and we all headed to bed. The day had been long, but good memories were made and we were looking forward to the week ahead. As my head hit the pillow I thanked Heavenly Father again for a safe journey and to be safely tucked into a warm bed on the side of a mountain in Charleston, West Virginia.