IMG_20130720_232645We arrived in Pennsylvania from our trip to San Francisco in a whirlwind.

The first night we decided that it would be nice to sleep together as a family. It was a family bed for those who have seen Away We Go. So we put two twin beds together and had a pack-n-play for Grace.

Needless to say the next morning we decided that family beds worked better in the movies and it was ok not continuing this whenever rooms were available.

IMG_20130702_165918For the week I was there, we did a lot of shuffling around and as is custom during one of our family adventures, not a ton of sitting around. We spent nights at Jenn’s brother’s house, we spent a few nights in Buffalo and a day in Canada.

There were many highlights during the trip, but a few were the fireworks on the 4th of July…Grace had already fallen asleep, but this was the first year that Nolin really enjoyed them. Grace also had her first boat ride…she slept through it, so once again, I guess she enjoyed it.

DSC_1026Niagara Falls…our time in Canada was short, but it was such a great experience. As we made our way to the end of the falls the water created its own rain storm, so Jenn and Grace ran for cover, but Nolin and I along with Uncle Rich, Hayden and Kelly ventured on. We were standing looking directly over the falls and Nolin had a grin from ear to ear.

IMG_20130704_215954Now Canada was not without its less memorable highlights. We learned traveling with a potty trained child can make things a little more difficult. After we crossed the border Nolin announced he had to pee. There was nowhere to stop and we had no way of contacting the other car. So Jenn handed Nolin a cup…he proudly announced I didn’t spill a drop.

Yeah, that may make our parenting highlight reel. We also had two other times at the falls that Nolin had to go, which sent me running through crowds of people trying to find a bathroom…it let me know I need to exercise more.

IMG_20130730_220017Finally back in Pennsylvania, we had an opportunity to spend time with an Amish family that Don is close with. They had a sick child whom we met a few years earlier who had just passed and they were also getting ready to move, but they welcomed us graciously.

The day before we had spent time with teenagers who sat 3 feet from each other and never looked up from their phones. The verbal conversation was simply “I just liked your picture“. So this was a welcomed relief to see Nolin and Grace play with kids with no technology and have a moment to truly enjoy being a kid.

Eventually, my time was up and I had to head back home while the rest of our family stayed up North. It was a long 2.5 weeks filled with house projects and a crazy work schedule.

IMG_20130719_235717Just because I was gone didn’t slow their pace up a bit. They visited Cook Forest, Pittsburgh, Knoebels Amusement Park, Ohio, Washington DC, and had several play dates. Every once in a while I could get them on the phone and pull Nolin away from Pap Pap long enough to see how he was doing.

Jenn pulled the solo flight home with both kids (and a layover) and I was ecstatic to have my family back again. Even though I missed them all, I did realize how lucky we are for them to have a place to go in the summer that will shape their childhood memories. Jenn had Ireland growing up, my mom had Rockport and they always talk about these places fondly…so I can’t wait for our kids to do the same.

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Drying off after the falls
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Enjoying the falls
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Sibling love
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One of Nolin’s new friends at the Amish farm
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Grace’s new friends at the Amish farm
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A rare opportunity to take a ride on a horse and buggy
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Taking a break at Knoebels
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Nolin’s personal train ride
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One of many play dates
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Future musical star
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Enjoying the nightly ritual of catching fire flies
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A break from the heat in the new pool