After San Francisco, I was on my way to the East Coast to spend my remaining time with family. First stop: Washington, DC
I visited my sister and her family for a few days here. I love seeing my nephew and niece grow up. And it was amazing to know that G felt closer to me since we had spent that time together in Disney World last year. He still loves his planes and construction vehicles. My niece, on the other hand, was a different story. She and I bonded last year, but this year she was aloof - she only apparently wants her mom. Terrible threes I guess. At one point, we were playing a game off and on in the living room while my sister was gone and she said, "I was hiding from you."
"Why?" "Because I don't like you."
… "What did you say?" "I don't like you."
"Why not?" "Because you're crazy."
"You really don't like me?" "No."
"Well that makes me really sad." "Don't be sad. G still likes you."
I was in shock, but it was cute as heck. However, I told her that I was going to play
Washington's tomb was opened due to an older veteran being there
outside with her brother then, and then she got sad. I guess I'm a mean auntie! My sister was a bit embarrassed about it but apparently this is a phase and she says it to everyone, even her father. I had bought her some t-shirts with Frozen and My Little Pony on it, and I guess one day she wanted to wear the "shirts from Crazy Aunt Alexis" - so I guess she does like me a little bit. 😉
Mostly, time with them was spent at home, but the last day we went to Mount Vernon, George Washington's plantation. I have to say it was really well done. It was like $18 for adults, but free for the kids. It was well maintained with competent and informed staff. The kids seemed to like it, especially the animals. G asked some good questions about the farming techniques, since gardening seems to be his new endeavor. The tomb was open just as we arrived, since an elderly war veteran was there (I thought they said WWII, but he looked good for 90+ so maybe Korean War instead?). Anyway, usually the tomb is gated so you can see into it but
can not go inside. The tomb has the sarcophagi of George and Marsha Washington, with an inner older tomb with other family members (I think I heard the guy say 28 members). There was a man playing a piccolo (?) to the tune of Yankee Doodle and told us the meaning of the song from both the British and American perspectives - very interesting as it was intended to mock the appearance of Americans. We paid a little extra to take the boat along the Potomoc. It was a 45 minute cruise where you got to see the estate and a few other locations from the water, which was nice.
Then, it was time for me to go, so they dropped me off at the Alexandria train station. Planes, trains, and automobiles indeed! Second Stop: New Jersey
I took the train to Philadelphia, 30th St Station. So, yes, I was on that
train just a few days before the derailment. Just sad because it seemed like the amtrak staff were incredibly friendly so I hope they are all ok. Anyway, I got off at the 30th Street station and got a Jersey Mike's sub. I
assumed that there would be plenty of food at my cousin's, but I was famished. The station is quite nice and I was able to get a taxi immediately. The guy took me over the bridge and into New Jersey we were. It was only a 20 minute ride, but dang was it expensive! Usually they come and get me, but it's from the airport and I always feel bad. I won't feel bad next time! And yes, there was plenty of food upon arrival. Including some delicious beef-on-weck my parents brought from home. Of course, I had to have one with some extra horseradish. So yum. It was good to catch up with everyone.
The next day (Friday) was another day of food and fun. My cousin's husband spent the day cooking, including putting together a delicious meat platter and pulled pork. My two cousins were doing a Buffalo wing competition as well. One of them was the traditional buffalo wing sauce, while the other was a yummy butter, garlic and parmesan sauce. My sisters and their families both arrived later that night, but went straight to my uncle's house to go to bed. Otherwise, almost all of
rain showers added some special fun
my cousins were on hand. There were also very intense washer competitions going on.
Saturday was the day of the wedding. Of course we had a big breakfast and chilled at the house for a while before getting ready. The wedding was about 30 minutes away and my cousin took the windy back roads at top speed. The wedding was nice, but it did start to rain a bit. Their vows both had to do with "weathering the storm" so they got quite a few chuckles. The reception was right next to the wedding site, so while the wedding party was getting photos, everyone else went into help themselves to the open bar and photo booth. Since I had not seen so many of these people for so long and we are quite close, it was easy to entertain ourselves until the bridal party's big entrance.
The reception was fun, but the two best parts were 1) my cousin got her husband's groom cake with a Star Wars theme (also part of her vows "I promise to give Star Wars a second chance) and 2) her maid of honor's speech - Jackie was unable to read it because
she is shy and was overcome with emotion, so my cousin tried to read for her, then finally her husband finished it off - it was hilarious.
So the wedding was great, and we went back home later that night and while everyone else partied til the wee hours of the morning, I passed out around 11. The next day was MOther's Day so we had a big brunch at the house with lots of moms in attendance. It was so nice. The rest of the day was mostly chilled out, though with the fryer going so still plenty of food.
Monday, my parents and I loaded up the camper and left, making a final stop in New Jersey. When I was a kid, we used to do a lot with my parents friends, G and S, and their three sons - we went camping and they even came to New York to visit with us as well as a combined Disney World trip. My sisters and I kept the boys as pen pals throughout most of our younger years. We hadn't seen them in years, but we stopped by for a delicious brunch to catch up. G
My parents and their old friends G & S from way back when we lived in NJ. In front of S's restored 1934 Ford - beautiful!
reads my blogs now (Hi G!!!!) so she knows for the most part what I've been up to, but it was nice to see how they and their sons have been doing over the years.
Finally, it was time to go and off to Pennsylvania we went. We took our time getting home by stopping at a random campground near Williamsport. It was a nice spot and I was happy to see lightning in the distance with some subtle thunder. It was also amazing to see a place that was so dark that you could really see the stars. So relaxing - probably the first relaxing night of my entire trip. And the following day was the final leg of my trip: home.
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