Friday, October 2, 2015

Monticello and Jamestown

This trip was somewhat last minute.  I was wanting to take the kids to Monticello when Brian was working in Richmond all summer, but you know I was growing a mammoth baby and was just too tired to do it.  So we planned a trip to Charlottesville and Jamestown to hit two more sites we have lived near for 5 years and never taken the time to go see.  I am glad we did.  Bobby is in an angel baby stage right now.  He doesn't sleep a lot during the day like Drew, but he more than makes up for it with his glorious nights.  On top of that, he is just a chilled baby right now.  I lay him down and literally forget he's there sometimes.  Our chaotic life just surrounds him and yet he doesn't make a peep.  

Anyway, I read a couple Thomas Jefferson books to the kids in the van on the way to review the main details of his life and such.  (We also listened to Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean which is a really good read.  Brian was shushing me so he wouldn't miss any of the story.)  SO when we got to Monticello and were escorted by a tour guide, the kids were really excited to see things that had been mentioned or pictured in the books we read.  I was very proud that they could answer so many of the guide's questions.  It was worth the trip for me to see them learning and remembering while having fun.  Judah rode in the Ergo on Brian and Bobby was wrapped on me.  Drew was excellent!  I was so proud of him for being quiet and not touching or leaning on anything.  He's are rambunctious one, you know!  He even surprised me by recalling a few details from the book about Thomas Jefferson.  Sometimes I wonder if he is hoodwinking us and he really knows a lot more than he's letting on.

This is the back of the house which is the most impressive view and the one that is on the nickle.  Look at my stair step children!  I love them so much!

The gardens were beautiful.  This is the vegetable garden.

This is the vineyard and the amazing view.

In the basement, Drew hopped into this and said, "Look, I'm in a picture frame."

The discovery Center had really awesome block sets to play with to build your own "Monticello."

It also had a copy machine that he invented for the kids to tinker with.  They got to actually write with the pen and see the other one move at the same time and make a copy of what they were writing.  The only trouble was that the "copy" pen would not lift up when the real pen did.

Hannah wrote a little note to a friend.

After leaving Monticello, we drove to Richmond and had dinner at a pub that had a gourmet food truck night.  There were a dozen food trucks to choose from.  We got the kids gelato as a special treat after they ate pizza and wings.  Brian had some kind of fancy tacos and I went to get this quinoa bowl, but was distracted by this bowl of gourmet mac-n-cheese.  A guy eating it told me that he comes up there on food truck night just for that dish.  I caved and got it.  Everything was delicious.

Then we drove the last hour to our hotel and got everyone baths.  After the two littlest ones were tucked in, I read to the other kids a book about Jamestown.  It's a biography type book but written a little bit more interestingly.  The hotel had two rooms with doors and a fold out sofa.  The girls slept in one room with Judah in a pack-n-play, Brian and I were int he other room with Bobby in his Moses basket.  Isaac and Drew were on the fold out sofa.

The next day we were headed out to Jamestown.  I read aloud more of our book on the way.  First we stopped at the Jamestown Park which was free and the kids did a scavenger hunt while we looked around at the museums and the old Jamestown Fort.  They each earned a prize, Jamestown bags, at the end.  

Then we drove to the Jamestown visitor center where we had to pay for entry.  It turns out it was a special homeschool day.  However, for a myriad of reasons the cost for the homeschool tour was more than the cost of the entry to the center.  We just did the regular entry tickets.  We saw the reproductions of the Indian village, the three ships, and the fort.  Drew was not so great this time.  He was tired and cranky.  We mainly had problems on the ships.  It was misty/raining on and off all day and the decks were wet.  He was running around and kept darting off with the older two (Hannah stays with us most of the time, but Genna and Isaac like to explore.)  In hindsight I should have just made them all stay with me and Brian, but at the time had a sleeping baby wrapped on my chest and was trying to catch Drew.  After a few attempts to get him to stay with me and giving him way more chances than I normally do, I removed him from the ships and he had to sit in the stroller with me while everyone else finished up the ship tour.  Oh, that boy!

Jamestown Monument

We went to Olive Garden for dinner before heading back to the hotel per my and Hannah's request.  My husband hates chain restaurants, but he sacrificed for me seeing as we are about to move out of the country and make an Olive Garden visit impossible for a good while.  I was hoping for a relaxing dinner, but was foiled by a sweet (but noisy) toddler.  It wasn't our toddler either which may be what you are thinking.  Nope, he was sitting at a table next to us.  It was not just ocassionally either.  That little boy pretty much screeched right around his pacifier constantly the whole dinner.  AND our waiter was really slow.  It was a lesson in patience, charity, and love all wrapped into that one screechy child for both Brian and I who have little tolerance for screaming.  I kept thinking of all the articles I've read lately about being pro-life, not just pro-birth.  We are called to love these babies even as they grow into tiny (and then not so tiny) humans.  None of these babies we are praying for and fighting for their chance at life will be born perfect.  They are going to grow up and run into you at the grocery store and yell in public.  They are going to cry when they can't have the candy at the check out line, and, yes, one day they are going to cut you off on the road or maybe even flip you off.  We are called to love them, pray for them, and fight for them just as much as we did when they were in utero.

That's what our little, not quite so relaxing (AKA Brian was on the edge of his seat,) had me thinking.  Every time it got hard for me to take, I thought, "I love that little boy.  His mother is doing her best."  I can only hope others will one day offer me and my children the same love if I am in a similar situation.

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