farewell to blacksburg

I just spent a long weekend on a mini vacay with my kids. We were in Virginia to see Joe and his wife before they move in a few weeks. You see, my little brother is moving on in life. After more than a decade in Blacksburg, VA, where he not only received his doctorate, but also met and married my awesome SIL, who is also furthering her education with a second bachelor's degree, they are relocating up the east coast, and I realized that if I didn't fly the kids out to see them this spring, we'd miss our chance. I decided it was worth the cost of airfare, a few nights in a hotel, and yanking the kids out of school for a few days to see Joe and MJ. They adore their uncle and aunt and don't get to see them too often.

Blacksburg is a sweet little town...except, as it turns out, when  there is a spring football game going on. It might have been a scrimmage. Whatever. Alls I know is, all the nearby hotels were booked weeks (or months) in advance, and when I went running the day of the game, I had to weave my way around more than a few staggering drunks at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Anyway, inebriated college students aside (whom the kids didn't see, fortunately), we had a great time. We spent some time at a large playground the afternoon we flew in:

The next day it was pouring rain, so we spent the morning at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke:

They have a lot of trains at the Transportation Museum. And some other stuff:

We spent a day driving a little bit along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where there is a historic mill with a water wheel and everything. (Too bad the buildings are closed up until May 1, or we could have gone inside).

We visited Villa Appalachia Winery and had a picnic. The kids and I were introduced to bocce ball for the first time. Daniel loved bocce ball. Especially, Daniel loved winning bocce ball, not so much losing.  (We're working on that...)

We also ate lots of good food (how, exactly, did I grow up in the South and never heard of eating chicken and waffles for breakfast until last weekend??? Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: chicken. and waffles. And it's delicious, thanks.) and spent some time with MJ's sister and her husband and their 19mo daughter who is so cute it's almost unbearable. No good pics of her, sorry.

For Daniel, one of the most significant parts of last weekend is that he lost not one, not two, but three of his top teeth. After months of wiggling, they came out, one after the other. The second and third were  victims of a tree-climbing incident on the V-Tech campus, after which uncle Joe's t-shirt needed a good washing (no tissues or rags were handy for clean-up) and Daniel suddenly had a distinct lisp. We thpeculated hith piththa would need to be blended into piththa thoup for dinner that night.

I have to say, my kids are such good travelers. Here they are at the Detroit airport on the way home.

I just love traveling with my kids. They do it well. All the waiting in airports (or, conversely, rushing to catch a flight when the first one was late, as happened to us on the way there!) and sleeping in hotels and time changes and later bedtimes and unfamiliar surroundings - they just take it all in stride. Anya did not appreciate the Southern habit of calling cute little redheads such as herself "Sugar," "Baby," and "Sweetie Pie", and Daniel needed to pop a Dramamine before we went on the Blue Ridge Parkway (poor kid inherited a tendency towards motion sickness from someone other than me, my stomach is made of iron), but otherwise they both did just fine.

I know Joe and MJ will be sad to leave Blacksburg and their friends and family there. I'll be a little sad not to have an excuse to visit anymore. But they're moving to a new exciting place, and I have to admit, I'm already looking forward to our next traveling adventure together, whenever that may be!


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