Well, we are back home, and what a week it's been! The kids and I left last Friday to drive to WSS to pick up Nathan, who had finished up his 2 weeks of support staff there (he had a blast). After lunch at WSS, we drove on to my parents' house in Ohio, which was a trip that wouldn't end, due to nasty construction traffic in eastern Ohio. We finally got to my parents' house at 10:15, having left our house at 9:30. A long day of driving for sure. I am looking forward to when Nathan can help me on these drives--just another year and a few months!
We stayed with my parents for a few days, which was very relaxing. Then on Wednesday, Bob arrived in town, having driven with the L's who were continuing on their way to St. Louis for the wedding of their son Zachary. We picked up Bob and then spent a few nights with my best friend Amy and her family. I hardly got to see her when we were home over Christmas, so it was sooo nice to spend some time catching up with her! And the boys were so thrilled to play with Zach and Jacob. We tried something new and left the 3 girls over with my parents. They had a fun time playing at Grandma and Grandpa's house with all their toys, and I enjoyed not having to worry about keeping them entertained, LOL.
Friday morning we picked the girls up and then caravaned with my parents out to St. Louis so we could also go to Zachary and Karynn's wedding. We stayed at a SpringHill Suites, along with a ton of other guests and family members of Ed and Elizabeth, so it was like a fun party!
We really enjoyed the pool at the hotel--it was so refreshing after all the heat, humidity, and driving. Friday afternoon, after we arrived, we all went swimming, and then when we were back in the room getting ready to go to the rehearsal dinner, Micah microwaved our cell phones in the conveniently-located-right-at-his-eye-level hotel microwave. That probably would have started a fire, except that Caleb happened to notice and mention, "Ummm . . . the stuff in the microwave is burning . . ." What stuff?!? Ohhhh . . . Bob's phone is totally and completely dead. We thought mine was as well, but after recharging it, it will receive calls and the touchscreen does work. The buttons at the bottom don't work, so once I select anything on the screen, I can't actually go back to anything else, so it is definitely not a long-term solution. Don't leave me a message on there--I probably won't ever get it! Tonight we went to Costco and transferred Bob's number to the "extra" third phone we have for the boys, but tomorrow we are planning to visit the Verizon store. Micah--doing his best to star in unique stories that none of other children even thought of. Sigh.
Anyhow, after all that Friday afternoon excitement, we headed to the Old Spaghetti Factory for the rehearsal dinner, which was absolutely delicious. It was nice because all the kids except Micah sat at one long table with Amanda and Jessica L, among others, but Bob, Micah, and I sat at a different long table, so we got to have nice conversations with other couples, including the bride's parents, who we had never met before. And Amanda was a total life-saver, because she let us borrow her cell phone for the rest of the weekend, so at least we could coordinate stuff with my parents! Thank you, Amanda!!
Saturday we ate a delicious breakfast, went swimming, and the headed downtown to the St. Louis Arch. We toured the Museum of Westward Expansion and tried to not lose any kids in the crushing crowds. Some people were disappointed that we could not go up to the top of the Arch, due to time constraints, so we started making plans to come back on Sunday. We rushed back to the hotel, grabbing Taco Bell for lunch, changed into our wedding finery in record time, and headed over to the church, which was fortunately only a few minutes away, for the 2:00 wedding! Whew!
The wedding was absolutely beautiful. The dresses were lovely, the church was just the right size (and it was an actual church, with stained glass windows and everything!), and the decorations were lovely too. The service was God-honoring, but not-too-long, which was a huge blessing because the wedding was right at naptime, and Micah hadn't really slept all that well the night before, LOL. The reception was right downstairs, and Karynn's aunt did an amazing job with the favors and all the decorations. I told everyone not to have such high expectations when any of our girls get married, LOL. We had a lot of fun--I'll have to post pictures when I'm not so tired!
Sunday morning we had to get checked out, which is no easy feat with this big of a family! But finally we got all loaded up and left around 9:30. We drove back to the Arch, got in line, and bought tickets for Bob, Nathan, Luke, Jonathan, and Grace to go up to the top of the Arch, and for Caleb, Anna, Faith, and me to go to the documentary about the building of the Arch. Bob and I went through St. Louis on our honeymoon 19 years ago, and I went up in the Arch then. I am not a fan of heights or of small enclosed spaces, so I felt no need to repeat the experience, LOL. The absolutely wonderful thing was that Micah could go up in the Arch for free and riding on Bob's lap (there are only 5 seats in the little cars). He didn't sleep well either night in the hotel, and he was an absolute crab. I was dreading trying to keep him occupied and quiet during a movie, which would have probably been an impossible feat. So Bob took him, and he was entranced by the view, from all reports. The only problem was that we couldn't get tickets until 11:55, and then it took them until 1:15 to go up, spend 10 minutes up there, and come back down again. Our movie was only 30 minutes, so eventually I had to break down and buy a big bag of kettle corn to keep the natives from getting restless, LOL. But we finally got back on the road, with a 6 hour drive ahead of us, and the loss of an hour due to changing time zones.
Fortunately we were only driving back to Amy's, and we were all so very relieved to get back there. But first we had to meet my parents at a gas station and hand off Anna and Grace to them. They are going to stay for a week at "Grandma and Grandpa Camp", and my Aunt Claire is coming out too, as an honorary Grandma, and she is bringing their cousin Emily up from Texas. I'm sure you can imagine how excited the girls have been about this upcoming week!! Faith was quite upset that she is not old enough to go to "Grandma and Grandpa Camp", which was part of the reason we let her stay over at their house with Anna and Grace before we left for St. Louis--a mini-camp! She's fine now, and is enjoying having all the toys to herself here at home, LOL.
This morning we got up and got packed up from Amy's house at 9:30. We had to rush because Nathan and Luke had their first football practice of the season tonight at 6:00. We pulled into our driveway at 5:35, the boys raced inside to grab cleats and water bottles, and then Bob turned around and dropped them off. What a long day! Nothing like running around in the heat after a long day of snacking in the car, LOL. The rest of us headed over to Costco to deal with cell phones.
So it was a great trip--we wouldn't have missed the wedding for anything!--but I'm quite glad to be home now, with everyone sleeping in their own beds. It was nice to only have to give baths to Faith and Micah and put them down! This will be a quiet week without Anna and Grace! Hopefully it will be a quiet week for Micah too, LOL.