Saturday, July 7, 2012

2012 Family Vacation, Take 1: To Grandma's house we go!

We did it. We survived 1,500+ miles of driving in the car together, and for the most part - it went smoothly!

We left Raleigh around 8:30am on Friday morning with a stuffed car and lots of snacks and toys to {hopefully} keep Valentino entertained - coloring books/crayons/markers, kid computer games {like MobiGo and Leap Frog toys}, library books, white board w/markers, and iPhones and laptops with apps and cartoons. Of course, Valentino immediately wanted to play with everything - his absolute favorite for the whole trip was the whiteboard and set of 6 Crayola whiteboard markers. He drew endless pictures and demanded that I take pictures of each of his creations so that we could show them to Great Grandma:

The three of us in our car w/our dog on a leash, Great Grandma is in the bottom right corner and of course the sun is shining!
This stuff kept him entertained up until the point we got to Pilot Mountain, NC {about 2.5 hours in}, at which point the whining started and he looked like this:

He was ticked that I took this picture - "MOM, I wasn't smiling!" A meltdown ensued.
Needless to say, we made a pit stop just outside of Pilot Mtn for gas and to stretch. This is when we encountered some super nice, but super Southern, Pepsi delivery men at the gas station. One of them may have very audibly farted several times while bending over as I was in close proximity to him, with no apology. Charming!

Pilot Mountain from the car - I really want to climb it one day!
{Side note - on the way home, I could see it from about 50 miles away on a mountainside in VA - cool!}
Back in the car and thankfully Little Mister occupied himself and then passed out, which I definitely didn't expect would happen {he's not known for sleeping in the car}:

Like a champ.
We arrived at my Grandma's in Michigan around 8:00pm, and my Mom and sister {who had driven in from Wisconsin that same day} were there waiting for us. Valentino hasn't seen my Mom or Grandma since he was 2, so he didn't really recognize them right away, but he was playing and bonding with them in no time. The weather was beautiful and because MI is on the west side of the Eastern Time Zone, it stays light there until 10pm so we were able to play outside for quite a while that night.

The next evening was my cousin's graduation party {the fact that he's graduated from H.S. blows my mind... I remember the day he was born!}. We ended up putzing around all morning at my Grandma's:

Valentino slaloming some cones on a bike we borrowed for him.
Can't keep this boy off his bike!
Sitting on a rock during a walk around the block - look at that happy face!
{PS: I used to sit on the same rock when I was kid and I went on walks with my grandparents}
Vic took me for a ride on my uncle's Harley. He's been wanting to take me on a motorcycle ride since we've been together. It was fun!
My mom was able to pick up my three year-old niece {my brother's daughter} earlier that day from my SIL. We haven't seen her since she was about one, so this was really the first time we got to "meet" her. She and Valentino got along great and they played so well together:

Playing trucks and cars in Great Grandma's kitchen
I really enjoyed spending time with and getting to know my little niece. She is a beautiful little girl and she has a really cheerful and happy personality, plus she says some hilarious things.

That's it for the first part of the trip - I'll be recapping the rest of our vacation in at least 2 more entries ;-)

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