We’ve been talking about it forever….and finally we did it. The Shumway Family East Coast tour. We not only did it, but we survived it…..we even enjoyed it. How could driving with 3 small children in a pretty crappy mini van for 26 hours be enjoyable? Split up those hours with visits with dear dear friends and it becomes worth every minute of crying car chaos (plus, the kids were really pretty good….thanks to books on tape.) Our first stop was Maryland where we visited the Palmers…..they moved away during the summer and we’ve been missing them ever since. Especially Charlie….he talks about their big boy Landon constantly and has been so worried about where he moved to, who lives in his house now, who he plays with etc. This stop on the tour was crucial for Charlie’s closure and mental well being. My one regret with this trip is that we couldn’t stop time in each location and hang out for hours with these friends we miss so much. Next we stopped in DC and stayed with my brother Eli and his wife Julie…..they live just a few minutes walk from the Capital and the national Mall. It was so great to see them all set up in their super hip apartment. We went to the Air and Space museum (jeff was in heaven), the natural history museum, the art museums…..all very enjoyable. We also got to see our good friends Barb and Ryan. They went through the mall museums with us and entertained us and our kids (bless their hearts!). In the tunnel from the National gallery to the modern art museum. The capital reflected in a puddle (i’m trying to be a cool creative photographer like Eli….you should see his stuff). This is how we kept Emmeline happy…..lots of rest stops….and lots of throwing around. This little girl is a dream.Next we headed down to North Carolina to see Ryan and Anna (ford) Halverson. Oh boy, that was torture…..we just like them too much, and it was hard to get so little of such a good thing. Why can’t we just live next door to all these good friends! It rained our first day there, so we went bowling and for a walk……I didn’t care what we were doing, as long as we were all together. It was so strange to be there…..the four of us, and FIVE children. The last time we spent a big chunk of time with them we were all in Thailand…..life has certainly changed……we’re on to much different kinds of adventures. Hazel and Charlie loved the Halverson kids……they were easily entertained inside on a rainy day…..making all kinds of cardboard box creations. Their creativity even led them to invent a new kind of toupee for Jeff. Here are his new headshots. And, as if the Halverson's weren’t enough of a draw to move down to Raleigh…..they took us to the most unbelievable museum. It was a science museum (the museum of life and science) geared towards kids and our kids LOVED it. They got to dig for real fossils, climb on dinosaurs, see butterflies, clang big drums, see gigantic bugs….the list goes on and on. I loved watching our kids become friends…..here’s hoping that this is the beginning of some great second generation friendships. We made our way back up the east coast to Baltimore where we stopped for a night at the Hickmans. It was so great to see their new (to them) but old and charming town house, all decorated with Aimee’s style that I love and completely covet. Aimee is an amazing artist and has a studio on her second floor. She showed Hazel how she creates these amazing stained glass pieces of art (check out here etsy site here). I’m sure that was the trip highlight for Hazel. Ever since then she has been thinking about and talking about and dreaming about the kind of art she wants to create. I think she and Aimee are kindred souls. And finally we stopped in Philadelphia to spend Thanksgiving with the Stallings. Another couple and family we love. They are amazing hosts…..made us feel so welcome and comfortable. Our kids wanted to stay at their house and swing on their swing and play with their kids and their toys forever. With all that good food and good company, I wouldn’t have minded staying there forever either…..
You haven’t really cooked until you’ve cooked with the Stallings. These guys are foodies…..they know how to find and eat really really tasty food…..who could ask for a better place to spend thanksgiving? We spent all evening the day before talking and cooking and eating…..
Here’s Jeff with his baby. Sadly, the bird overcooked a little while we took our pre-feast walk…..but it was still pretty darn tasty.
Sadly, cut the stay there one day short…..we woke up Friday morning to three fevered kids…..yes, all three at once. We got out of there as quick as we could…..fearing we’d spread the swine flu or something to our gracious hosts. The kids slept nearing they whole way home…..which was awesome…..and then woke up the next day perfectly fine….what angels.
We’ve been wanting to do this tour forever…..we’re so glad we did. We just wish we could have had more time to see so many other dear friends we have scattered along the east coast. Hopefully next time round.