v is for vacation, part 1

Did you notice I disappeared for a little while there? We were out of town for about a week visiting our bros. My little brother lives in Virginia, and Stu's big brother lives with his family in North Carolina, so our family of four flew out to see them. They live in towns separated by a mere 2-hour drive (Blacksburg, VA and Winston-Salem, NC, respectively). The visit was long overdue. We had a fabulous time, and my only regret is that we couldn't stay longer in each place. But you know, you don't want to wear out your welcome. We were blessed with many things on this trip: smooth flights, no lost luggage, beautiful weather, and children who were content to sit on airplanes and schlepp through airports with relatively little complaining (no small miracle, that).

All week I've been thinking about how best to write this blog post, because a play-by-play would be interesting to no one (except maybe all the kids' grandparents, none of whom joined us this time). I suppose some pictures and a list of highlights would be the best way to keep everyone's interest...

I haven't been to Blacksburg since my brother Joe moved there nearly eight years ago to begin graduate school (he's about to finish a PhD in electrical engineering, the smarty-pants). What a great little town, Blacksburg. It's not big, but it's beautiful and green and lively, and everyone there was so friendly. Seriously, I could live there. Joe lives in a bachelor pad with two other guys, so we got a hotel room. (Actually, we splurged on a 2-room suite so that he and his girlfriend M and others could hang out with us there. That turned out to be a very wise decision, especially the night Daniel was so tired he went to bed at 6:15!) Our kids love their Uncle Joe (or "Uncle Toe" as we sometimes call him, because of an amusing mispronunciation Daniel used to make). Loooooove him. They both pretty much engaged in full-body tackles when they saw him the first night we were there. Joe is a big goofball, so it was all good.

What did we do in Blacksburg? Well, we tried to balance kid-friendly activities with actual sight-seeing. We ate a few meals downtown, drove around the V-Tech campus, played at a park, played at the indoor pool at the hotel (probably Daniel's favorite thing, to be honest), did our best to avoid the insufferable douche Fred Phelps and his gang (who were protesting downtown on Friday), visited the duck pond at V-Tech, cooked food with Joe and ate it at our hotel suite with his girlfriend M, and one night with M's sister and her husband, and in general enjoyed each other's fine company.

At one point we drove past the memorial for the 30+ people who died in that awful shooting in 2007. Joe lives approximately 1/2 mile from the classroom building where it happened. I'm a little sorry I didn't get a picture of the memorial; it's a beautiful stone circle on the top of a hill overlooking the huge drill field, where hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people fled in terror that April morning.

Pictures, then? All right, in no particular order:

Uncle Toe!

"One two free cheeeeeese!!"

At the park:

Posing with one of the many decorative hokies around Blacksburg. This one is covered in legos:

Trying out Uncle Joe's motorcycle:

Daniel and Anya in their new matching Virginia Tech tie-dye shirts (because I couldn't resist), playing on a grate at the International Festival on campus:

The four of us at the duck pond on campus:

Best climbing tree evah:

Joe and M. Don't they look happy?

To be continued: our visit in Winston-Salem, and why my BIL is in desperate need of a proper pooper scooper...


Jessi said…
Looks like so much fun!
Anonymous said…
Finally. A glimpse of Joseph's motorcycle. Thank you!

But most importantly, I am so glad you had such a good time.

ML said…
Manu and I really enjoyed meeting you and your family! Hope you guys come back to visit again before Joe leaves.

Suze said…
thanks, Monica! We had an awesome time there. I hope we can go back again in the next year or so.

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