At the beginning of August Mark and I packed up the 5 kids and dog and took the nearly 24 hour trip to upstate New York. In order to avoid hotel costs Mark and I drove straight through. He definitely drove more than I did, but that is because he is just simply amazing 🙂
Our first stop once we hit east of the Mississippi River was Dunkin Donuts. Oh my word, how I love their jelly doughnuts. I may or may not have eaten 2 😉
I have not been to any doughnut place that does their jelly doughnuts like DD. They cover them in a very fine granulated sugar. Most places use powdered sugar or glaze. I have even encountered frosted ones (blech). A few have kept them plain. None hold a candle to how DD does them though. Excuse me while I think about their yummy goodness for a minute.
OK, enough about my love affair with jelly doughnuts.
The second place we stopped was Wegmans. Ah Wegmans. How do we love thee? Sigh. I have never found a grocery store that compares to Wegmans. If you have never been then head east and go to one. Trust me. You won’t regret it. I love them and I splurged on their Greek Bar. I didn’t get stuffed grape leaves (what is wrong with me??) but I did get stuffed olives. Mmmmmm. Feta stuffed and almond stuffed to be exact. OK, now I am hungry. I need to move on.
Our third stop was our friends’ house. They have 3 kids whom match up age-wise with 3 of our kids. We hadn’t seen them since we left New York 6 years ago. It was wonderful to catch up and finally meet their baby, who is just a bit older than Zen. I am so glad we stopped there and I pray we get to see them again soon. My only regret is we didn’t take pictures of us together! What the heck is wrong with us?!?!
The next day we took a 10 minute drive to my Aunt and Uncle’s house. I have been wanting to see them for awhile now. My aunt is the sister I never had and I spent a lot of time visiting her when I lived in New York. My uncle is fighting cancer so I wanted to see him before his next treatment round. I got to see my cousin and her sons, one whom I hadn’t met yet. I also got to meet my other cousin’s girlfriend. Unfortunately he was at work so I didn’t see him.
They all got to meet Princess and Zen. Last time they had seen me I was pregnant with Princess and my cousin’s youngest was just a twinkle in her eye (meaning not conceived yet).
It was a gorgeous day and we spent it outside. The kids had a blast in my aunt’s amazing garden. They picked carrots and raspberries and broccoli and cucumbers. They washed them with the garden hose and ate them. They were in heaven. My kids love being outside and they love gardens. Overall, it was a lovely visit and i wish we could have stayed longer.
That evening we loaded up and drove the 2 hours it would take to get to Mark’s parents’ house. They had never met Princess or Zen so this was an exciting trip.
Once we got there the kids ate snack and I dried all the clothes since they got soaked. They were in the roof carrier and it poured. Not just rain, but torrential downpour. Nothing was spared. Thank goodness we only had clothes up there! It was well past bedtime by the time the kids got tucked in.
The next day was my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary! We spent the day hanging out and then they went to dinner to celebrate alone. While they dined Mark and I brought the kids to the local YMCA to swim. When we returned Mark’s brother and sister and her family were there. His brother came up from Florida. We have seen him recently since Florida is closer for us to visit than New York, but it was still great to see him again. Mark’s sister lives close by to his parents’ house so we hadn’t seen her in 5 years. The kids were thrilled to catch up with their cousins.
It was great to see everyone again. The cousins all played together while the adults chatted.
The next day was the big day; the reason for the timing of our trip. My amazing sister-in-law had planned a dinner celebration for Mark’s parents but they had no clue that out-of-state relatives had come to help celebrate their anniversary!
We got to the restaurant where we had a private room. My sister-in-law had planned the menu and provided a cake. Mark’s parents were thrilled to see everyone. I got to meet people for the first time (crazy since Mark and I have been married over 15 years). The food was amazing and the restaurant was very patient and understanding about our food allergies. My in-laws had a great time. My sister-in-law did an amazing job making this memory.
Once we were all done we headed to a park across the street. My sister-in-law brought fresh fruit and water for everyone, the kids played, and we got pictures taken. Overall, it was an amazing time. Again, hats off to my sister-in-law. This never would have happened if she hadn’t been planning it!
What a joy to celebrate 50 years of marriage! Not everyone makes it to this amazing milestone. My in-laws are an inspiration. They have endured a lot through life. The road wasn’t easy and yet they stuck together and walked hand-in-hand. Their story is beautiful and I am so glad my children got to help celebrate with them.
The next day we piled the kids and dog back into the van. We stopped in Rochester, NY to have lunch with a very close family friend and then headed back to MO. Yes, it was a fast trip. We didn’t get to see many people whom we love. We also didn’t get to see any sites. We missed my favorite Rochester places like the Seneca Park Zoo, Strong Museum of Play, the Science Center, and Lake Ontario just to name a few. Although Mark and I and the 3 oldest kids have been to Niagara Falls it was a long time ago. We drove by the exit and I sighed sadly. Perhaps we will be able to go back soon. We shall see….
We are cozy in our home and settling in nicely. I am scrambling to get ready for the new school year. The kids are swimming nearly every day and I am slowly catching up with friends.
The trip east was too short, but I am so glad we saw who we could. Maybe next time I won’t let 6 years pass by before I see people!
Peace and love,
**I am careful to post pictures that do not show people’s faces unless I have their specific permission. I opted not to post my in-laws, despite the fact the trip was for them, because I have not asked them if I can post their beautiful faces 🙂