Thursday, June 26, 2014

Driving Tanks Across the Country: Part 3

To read the first two parts, click on the following links:
I forgot to add one event from day 6. As I was walking Kevin around outside, we found a grey tree frog. Here's a couple pictures:

Day 7:

After our exciting day at Maymont Park, we decided we needed a down-day to spend with family. Grig was excited to show Kevin and me the woods around his house. His parents own quite a few acres, so we had a good time getting lost and then finding our way out again.
My man, back in his native element.

As we started away from the house, we gained an entourage. Their two dogs and various cats trailed us as we made our way through the woods. It was kind of entertaining, because we'd hear something crashing through the brush and it was just a couple of cats playing. 
Cat in a tree
Grig explained the different types of trees and other shrubbery to me, and we had a great time. Eventually we found the creek that runs through their property to his driveway and Grig and Kevin went wading into a pool that formed in their creek. I was going to get in, but I was wearing my only pair of jeans. We decided to come back later to swim, but it never ended up happening for reasons that I will explain later.

As we were walking back toward the house (Kevin needed a nap), Kevin started pointing at trees and saying, "This?" 

Grig would answer, "Tree!" 

Kevin would then point at a different tree and ask, "This?"

Grig would respond, "Tree."

This went on for quite a while until I tried to film it. Of course, then he stopped. It was very cute though. 

Once Grig's sister and brother-in-law woke up (they had flown in from Utah the night before), we spent some time with them. They didn't get in until really early in the morning, so they didn't wake up until we came back from the woods. Their flight had ended up being changed to a different flight when their first planes engines didn't work. They arrived at a different airport and their luggage got lost along the way. That was very frustrating for them.

The rest of the day we talked and watched Star Wars episode IV.

Good times.

I went to bed early because I wanted to get up early for the beach. Grig's Utah sister stayed up late because her luggage was supposed to arrive, but it never did.

Day 8:

This was now Friday, June 13. We had been planning to go to the beach the day before, but as we contemplated the hour that Grig's mom, sister, and brother-in-law would arrive, we decided to do it the next day instead. So, I woke up early and drove with Grig's mom to rent a minivan so we could go to the beach together. 

Unfortunately, I found out that Grig's youngest sister had spent the night throwing up, and so she and Grig's mom would be staying behind. That was really sad news. Grig's dad had to work for the day so he wouldn't be able to come either.

It took a while for everyone to get ready, and then we stopped for doughnuts. Even with my best efforts, we didn't get out until 11:30 or so.

That was okay though. It was only going to take 3 hours to get there, so we should have arrived at 2:30. Unfortunately, I had forgotten two important things.

1) It was a Friday.

2) It rains on the east coast.

As we got onto a rather busy highway, the rain began to pour. I was the only one who could drive because I had gone to rent the vehicle with Grig's mom, and so I got to experience driving in really heavy rain. It was rather exciting. We also were listening to the radio drama of Star Wars IV, so at least we were entertained for the long trip. 

The rain combined with the traffic made it so we didn't get to Virginia Beach until 4:30. We decided to try to go to the aquarium first. However, when we got there at 4:40 p.m., it turned out that the ticket stand had closed ten minutes before.

I was super frustrated at this point. Grig's siblings had told me that we shouldn't swim in the ocean after 5 because of sharks. 

We stopped and got something to eat. It was raining a little as we did so. We found a corner with several different restaurants and Grig and I went to McDonald's while the rest of his siblings went to Wendy's. While we were alone, I was almost in tears. It was a long trip for nothing and I wondered if we weren't supposed to go to the beach today. I had really been looking forward to this, and it seemed like it was ruined. 

After we ate, we prayed for guidance and then we decided to just go to the beach and see what happened. 

Another miracle. The weather cleared right up as soon as we got to the bay. We were able to swim in the bay until it got dark and we all had a fantastic time. 
The group who went to the beach Friday.

The ocean was the perfect temperature. We had a great time swimming and playing in the sand.

Grig and his brother wrestle, while the brother-in-law watches from the background.
At one point, I was jumping at waving at Kevin on the beach. Grig got a fantastic idea as I was jumping. As I jumped, he ducked under the water and came up under me, sending me tumbling backward.

I love the face-palm in the last picture

It was well-timed, and Grig's younger sister just happened to take the picture at the right moment.

The day's trip was totally worth it. Once we got to the beach, we didn't want to leave and we began talking about coming back on Monday. All the earlier frustration was forgotten and replaced by gratitude that the storm had cleared up so we could play. 

As it grew dark, we cleaned up and then went on a walkway to watch lightning in the distance. 
The only picture I got of the lightning
As we got back in the car, the rain came pouring down. We were waiting for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to return to the car, but they were taking their time. Finally we called my brother-in-law.

He answered the phone and asked, "Is Kevin allowed to have suckers? Can I buy him a sucker?" 

I told him sure. It turned out they were in the gift shop. We decided to all go back in and take a look around at it. 

Meanwhile, the woman who owned the gift store told my brother-in-law that he couldn't give a baby a blow-pop because it has gum in it.

The woman at the counter, who we'll call J, fell in love with Kevin. The instant we came in, the swooped over and said in a heavy southern accent, "Oh my goodness! Aren't you adorable? J has something for you!"

Immediately, to my brother-in-law's surprise, she handed Kevin a blow-pop. It was pretty funny. She then said, "He looks just like my babies! Come with me, I have something else for you." 

I followed her over to a bin full of small, stuffed toys. She pulled out a turtle and handed it to Kevin. 

I wasn't sure if it was a gift, and I didn't want to take advantage of J's kindness, so I said, "We'll have to see if we can buy that."

She shot me a (friendly) glare and said, "Don't you dare! This is a gift from J. You're gonna name it J, aren't you, honey?" she said to Kevin. I agreed we would name the turtle after her. It was the least we could do. Kevin let her hold him and she told him to give her 'some sugah' and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. She was absolutely delightful. We had a great time there and we were happy that we went in. We decided to buy a couple of things as well. 

Then, we piled back into the car and I drove home. It had been a fantastic day. Most people slept on the way home and Star Wars kept me company.

We got back late and went to bed.

Day 9:

This was my in-laws anniversary!
 We started off the day late (we all slept in), and then we celebrated with a cake and a family cook-out. More extended family was going to come, but my sister-in-law was still sick, so they decided to stay away so they didn't catch it. That was disappointing, but we still had a good time. We spent time talking and spending time together.

As it began to grow dark, my brother-in-law and I went out and dug a firepit. Then we built a fire and we ended the day around it making and eating s'mores. 

It was super relaxing. Nothing quite compares to talking around the campfire while fireflies shine around you in the darkness.

I like how Grig and his dad are sitting the exact same way.
One really neat thing that happened was that as we sat around the fire, we began to notice movement. A colony of wood ants evidently lived inside one of the logs. As we watched they tried to escape with their eggs from the burning log. It was kind of fascinating. I got some neat pictures.

Most of them seemed to escape, but we didn't see the queen, so we didn't know for sure.

Eventually we went to bed.

That's the end of part 3. Thanks for reading!

Here's the next parts as well if you want to continue: Part 4 and Part 5

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