Last week started and ended with a birthday party! In between, I went to New Hampshire and back. Talk about a busy week!
Last Monday, Lindsay held a playgroup birthday party for Reagan at Chuck E. Cheese. Randy & I joined them, just for the fun of seeing six 2 year olds running rampant in the restaurant. The fun comes when none of those kids are yours!! As grandparents, we are able to enjoy the chaos without the responsibility. What a blast!!
Actually, the kids were quite good. Most of the games and rides are made for their age group and you don't have to worry about them getting hurt. The staff was great, making it fun for everyone - including the adults! Chuck E. made an appearance, much to the chagrin of the kids. Only one, Austin, ran up to him to give him a hug. The rest of the kids weren't too sure about him.
From the party, I hit the road to my folks' house near Ocean City, MD. My mom and I were leaving on Tuesday morning for our road trip to Winchester, New Hampshire so Mommy could visit with her eldest living sister. They had not seen each other in more than 15 years. I was a little apprehensive about driving all that way because I do so little driving now. But, we were taking my folks' new Honda Odyssey van and it is very nice. I figured I'm a big girl (hey! no smart remarks!) and I could handle it.
So, bright and early, well not really early, about 8am, on Tuesday morning, armed with our Yahoo! Maps directions and Dunkin' Donuts coffee & croissant sandwich, we headed out. Now, our directions said the drive from Mommy's house to the motel would take about 7.5 hours. I figured it would be more like 9 hours with stops for food and potty breaks. And we did pull into the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel at 5pm. Not bad . . . especially when we had torrential rain through the state of Connecticut! We had a great time on the road, though. We laughed and talked and laughed some more. I gotta admit - it's nice to be able to say you enjoy spending time with your mom. Not a lot of daughters can say that, I think.
Wednesday morning was much prettier than Tuesday! We spent the morning with my Aunt Helen. She is 82 years old and is still living on her own. Her daughter, my cousin Wanda, and her husband, Bob, just live 3 miles down the road from Aunt Helen and check in on her daily. Aunt Helen hadn't been well recently and that's what motivated my mom to travel to see her. Mommy and Aunt Helen spent the morning catching up on all the family news as well as reminiscing about the old days. We left after lunch for a bit so that Aunt Helen could rest.
During our afternoon, we drove around the area. Winchester, NH where Aunt Helen lives is just a few miles from the Massachusetts state line. Northfield, MA is the first town you come to when you continue south on Route 10 from Aunt Helen's house. It is a nice little town and its claim to fame is that it is home to the Northfield Mount Hermon School. This school was founded by Dwight L. Moody, a renowned evangelist. Originally, there were two schools, the first one was founded in 1879 and was called Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies. The second school, Mount Hermon School for Boys was founded two years later. Moody wanted to provide a first rate secondary education for young people regardless of their background. Unfortunately, over the years the enrollment didn't support two separate schools, so the two schools were merged into one co-ed school in 1971 and then moved in 2005 to its new location in nearby Gill, Massachusetts. All of the buildings on the Northfield campus are still maintained and are simply beautiful. I took pictures of just two buildings, but they are gorgeous. Moody's childhood home is still standing on the Northfield property. You will recognize some of the alumni: David Hartman, former host of Good Morning America; Natalie Cole, singer & daughter of Nat King Cole; and Bette Davis, noted actress. Some you may not recognize, but will know their work: S. Prestley Blake, cofounder of Friendly Ice Cream; DeWitt Wallace, founder of Reader's Digest; and James McLamore, cofounder of Burger King.
From Northfield, we headed north, back into New Hampshire. In the area where Aunt Helen lives, there are several old covered bridges. Mommy and I didn't have a lot of time, but we wanted to see a couple of them. One sits over the very picturesque Ashuelot River. It was very odd driving through these bridges as they are narrow and you feel like you shouldn't be driving on them.
Back to Aunt Helen's house for dinner. Wanda was gracious enough to make a wonderful dinner for us and she and Bob came over to Aunt Helen's to join us for the evening. Once more we were privy to Mommy and Aunt Helen's reminiscing and yes, loving sisterly disagreements. Guess it doesn't matter how old you get, sisters are sisters! All too soon, it was time for us to go. I know it was hard for Mommy to say good-bye to Aunt Helen, feeling confident it would be the last time they would see each other. It was a little sad to watch, I'll admit. But, I'm sure glad I was able to be part of the visit.
Thursday morning, Mommy and I packed up and, after a good breakfast, headed for home. We did make a side trip to New London, Connecticut to see a couple of Native American-run casinos. Mommy had heard about how beautiful these casinos were and, since we were so close, it was too tempting to pass up. Unfortunately, we didn't hit the big one, so we left them with our money and started the trip home. Much better weather heading south and we pulled into my folks' driveway at 11pm Thursday night. Can we say "quick trip"? We put almost 1,000 miles on that van in just three days. And I did all the driving!! Not bad, not bad at all.
I ended the week, on Saturday, by attending Reagan's 2nd birthday party. What a wonderful way to spend the day. Lindsay outdid herself, as usual, with the party. Reagan had her family and friends in attendance and was the life of the party, of course. It's hard to believe that baby girl is 2 years old already! I can't begin to express the joy she has brought into our lives. Looking around the house at all the people who love her, I was filled with gratitude for the blessings God has continued to grant our family.
Gosh, we have less than two weeks before we leave for our fall trip. This summer has flown by. While I am looking forward to getting back on the road, it has been great being with family these last four months. It's gonna be tough to leave.
Until the next time . . .