Monday, March 28, 2011

SUCH a great visit!

We absolutely LOVED having Scott, Lindsay, and Ada visit us this past week.

Like LOVED it.

Like it went by way too fast.

Like we got choked up when they left.

Like it was so comfortable and easy when they were here that it felt so so so completely natural to have them with us.

Like we knew it would be great and the reality exceeded any and all expectations.

Yes, it was that great. No exaggeration.

Loved it.

Day 1.

They got here late on a Friday night. We picked them up, ordered and picked up a crab pretzel on our way back, got home and ate that and toasted Portuguese sweet bread while we talked and got settled. We showed them around a bit and stayed up talking and then all went to bed.

Day 2.

The next day, the real fun began. We made them a big farm style breakfast (tradition for our guests -- sausage and bacon from our farm-raised pig as well as farm fresh eggs) and then we visited the Amish Country!

As we loaded up the car, this is what I saw right away:

Pretty freaking adorable, if you ask me.

So, our first stop was the Wilbur Chocolate Factory where we sampled and bought DELICIOUS Wilbur Buds and fudge. Yum. I know we're in Hershey land, but WOWZERS is Wilbur good chocolate. We hadn't ever been to the Wilbur Factory, so that was fun. Ironically, we discovered the wonder of Wilbur Buds when Peter was here visiting this past year and he bought some at the Farmer's Market.

I'm pretty proud of my picture taking skills here -- I timed it and got that picture RIGHT between cars passing and there was plenty of traffic that should've made it tricky, so go me!

See them there in front of the building?

Then we went to America's oldest farmer's market (and it's quite large, too!) in Lancaster. Sorry for the blurry picture -- I was taking this one fast. In the background, you can see the Amish quilts at that stand.

We drove around the beautiful Amish Country afterward and even went across this beautiful covered bridge. PA has TONS of these neat covered bridges everywhere.

We went to the Pretzel Factory in Intercourse next. That's where we got this cute video of backseat antics between the cousins -- Ada was getting tired, but she was still pretty giddy; it was a riot:

We went in the factory and learned how to twist pretzels during a tour. That was fun! Then we bought pretzels (to eat in the car along with our chocolate). And we took pictures by the famous Intercourse Pretzel Factory sign:

Lindsay, Ada, and Scott


Our family

Next stop, we dropped by an Amish Farm to buy . . .

That stuff is strong sarsaparilla made with real yeast -- delicious!

After the visit to the farm, we tried on some Amish clothing of our own at a local shop:

Father and son

Uncle Scott

Mother and Daughter
(Thing 1 is having serious difficulty keeping her eyes open for pictures that use flash -- we tried to look to the side for this one and it still didn't work!)

The cousins!

After some shopping and sampling of traditional Shoo Fly Pie, we went to Captain Gus's for dinner -- DELICIOUS cheese steak sandwiches!

Ada LOVES her Uncle Mark

Captain Gus is 83 and owns the place -
he took a break from the kitchen to do magic tricks for the kids.
Clearly, I was amazed.

But I was more impressed with the food.
Plus, I was VERY hungry.

We got home and enjoyed an evening of games and relaxation. What day would be complete without some Foley video game competition?

Uncle and Nephew

Day 3

Other stuff we did included lots of cousin play time. I saved a small box of baby toys and I'm so glad! Ada loved them (so did Scout) and I'm so excited that we've saved as much stuff as we have -- VERY handy for those visiting with little ones! Ada used our booster chair, pack-n-play, toys, sippy cups, etc. Very, very handy.

It just occurred to me that we were probably not supposed to let Ada have the binky when she woke up that morning. Oops. Sorry, Linds!

Playing with "Toooys" as Ada says

Watching "GabbaGabbaGabbaGabbaGabba."
(That's "Yo Gabba Gabba" in Ada speak).
See Scout up there? Ada LOVES Scout.

We drove them around town and showed them the beauty of this area. Lindsay's brother is moving here in a few months (yes, to our little town!) and will be teaching at the college down the street, so we took them to and around campus, too.

For lunch we made New England baked fish with bread crumbs (one of our favorites -- we probably make it every week as one of our "go to" meals) and salad and Amish Brown Butter noodles so they could get a local taste of that flavor. YUMMY. Mark also showed Lindsay around our house and barn (Scott had already visited us a couple of summers ago).

Getting Free Rita's Italian Ice on the First Day of Spring!
I'm so short.
We had just all gone to a Benny Goodman tribute concert before that.

We played yet more games that night. Games, games, games, and food, food, food. That was the crux of our visit. For dinner that night, we made Portuguese marinated Pork Meat (another of our favorites), homemade mashed potatoes, homemade Portuguese bread, and sauteed spinach. It was goo-ood.

We all kicked back and watched TiVoed episodes of Amazing Race and America's Next Great Restaurant while eating salami pickles and coconut oil popcorn with French Fry seasoning. Yum!

Then, you guessed it, we played more Settlers!

Day 4

The next day, we started the morning with a run for fresh donuts at a local donut shop. OH, were they good!! I'm so glad that Lindsay and I are both suckers for donuts. THAT was a good breakfast treat! Lindsay's idea and I'm so glad.

We went out to Harrisburg and ate an an Indian buffet on the banks of the Susquehanna River and then we visited Hershey's Chocolate World. We have a million of these kinds of pictures since we take all of our guests there. It's tradition.

Lindsay took this one

I love this picture - Ada LOVES her Uncle Mark!
She just lights up when she sees him
and insists that he hold her by saying,
"Ah hold!" (I hold?) meaning "Hold me!"

Look at her face! Chocolate AND relatives?!?
Life is good!

Here's one of Mark with Scott's Family

The kids got to be Factory Workers and wear cool hats!

We went home after Chocolate World and Mark took Thing 1 to her violin lesson while we kicked back at home and I got these pictures:

They were worried that Ada might be scared of Scout.
Turns out, it was the other way around. :P

This was really cute --
Ada totally made her way to the couch
and scooted her way right on to Maxim's lap
and they snuggled for a while.

Uncle Scott went with me and Thing 1 to her group violin lesson after that. Mark and Lindsay stayed home with Ada and Thing 2 while Lindsay made us a delicious soup and rolls for dinner. What a treat that they cooked for us! I loved it!! AWESOME house guests, I'm telling you!!

There was yet more game playing and general hanging out. It was SO comfortable and so so much fun. Have I mentioned that we loved having them here? SUCH a great visit. Really.

Day 5

The next day, we did a bunch of fun stuff yet again. We played outside in the backyard even though it was a little chilly. Scout might be running from Ada there. Or toward her in a circle. Ada's coat apparently reminded Scout of some kind of chewy toy.

Backyard Fun
(Thing 2 is way back there by the shed).

Our kids voluntarily gave up going to an event/class with a bunch of their friends that day because they wanted to spend time with family visitors in town. So sweet! And who could blame them? Have I mentioned it was a really great visit?

Ada took a VERY long nap, so
we played A LOT of Settlers of Catan:
Cities and Knights version
And yes, there was some trash talking going on.
But just a little.

At the coffee shop getting half-price
sandwiches and paninis

Then to the Creamery for dessert!
Homemade ice cream at a Mennonite Farm.

The brothers eating ice cream
(Sorry, Scott -- both pictures I took
had you licking your lips in some way)
It just illustrates how good the ice cream is there. :)

The cousins feeding the goats at the farm!

Mark took Thing 2 to Scouts while the rest of us kicked back at home. That night, we ate a bunch of food and stayed up really, really late to play more games. :) It became akin to an addiction.

Day 6

We enjoyed a kick-back morning at home playing with "toooys" and hanging out. We took our time and then ate leftovers for lunch. Then, we proceeded to spend the day playing more games.

See? This picture was taken at 10:30 AM.
Notice everyone in their jammies.

I think I got in the shower some time that afternoon. Good times. The kids also played their instruments for Scott and Lindsay and they enjoyed a chance to share their music.

Yep, there we are playing games at 3:30 in the afternoon.
12 hours later, some of us were still up!
(Mark, Scott, and I got to bed around 3:30 in the morning).
I don't think any of us wanted the visit to end.

That night, they got to watch the kids in their Tae Kwon Do class. Mark's had a horrible cold/cough/sinus something or other that has lasted for several weeks, so he still wasn't up to exercising (really, he couldn't without inducing massive coughing fits). It was SO fun to have them there watching the class, though, and the kids really showed off their moves!

For those of us in the spectator section, Ada was putting on a show of her own which entertained us greatly. See, she kept singing the "Baby, Baby" song she knows from Yo Gabba Gabba and smiling at us with a big, cheesy smile. Something in the room was making her think of Yo Gabba Gabba. We couldn't figure out what it was . . . and then we figured it out! That's all I'm going to say about that. Those of you familiar with the show will figure it out. Here's a hint:

Isn't that a great picture?? LOL!
Yes, we were busting up laughing.

Later, after class, we went back home and made a SCRUMPTIOUS traditional Portuguese Steak dinner. It's one of those meals where everything has to be timed to be served together warm and ready to enjoy -- Portuguese steaks made in all the right seasonings and marinades, Portuguese rice, french fries, a red pepper strip, salad, and a fried egg on top for those who want them, all served with Portuguese bread and delicious Portuguese soda. So so YUMMY!

Dinner time!

And more game playing -- this was at 11pm.
Homeschooling is grand.
Oh, we also made Toll House Pie
to eat while staying up and playing.
With ice cream.
Sleep deprivation is always better with food.

And this is responsible parenting at its finest -
1:45 AM. Yep!
Scott said it was important uncle-nephew time.
I agree.

I hope I don't embarrass him, but I have to say it -- Scott is a GREAT uncle. The kids adore him and I love to see him interact with our kids. I always have. When we visited them in Florida in 2009, at the reunion, when he visited a couple of summers ago (both here and in MA), and again this trip . . . he is a fantastic uncle and has such a sweet, easy manner with them and is soooooo very thoughtful and in tune with what the kids wanted to show him or play with him or whatever! Thing 1 has always been SO drawn to him to snuggle or just hang out and Thing 2 just loves playing games and video games with him. Scott was so patient and kind helping them learn how to play various games, going to their classes to support them, etc.

I can't say enough how much we enjoyed having Scott and his family here. Lindsay was so great to talk, eat, play games, cook us some good food, and be so easy going with everything we did. I can't believe we've only hung out in person a few times. It felt like we'd all been part of the family for forever. And Ada was SO much fun!! What a cute kid and what a personality!! She had us laughing the whole time (well, except maybe some parts of the car rides -- Thing 2 wasn't smiling much for those parts).

Mommy-Daughter-Puppy Cuddles

Okay, I would be really remiss if I didn't post this video even though (UGH!), I think I must've had my finger over the microphone or something. Thing 2 taught Ada this trick and he is VERY proud and we worked REALLY hard to get it on video (seriously, I must've taken 7 or 8 videos to catch it -- my bad, I should've videoed it the first day she did it).

See, Ada sings that "Baby, Baby" song from Yo Gabba Gabba. But, as a joke and for fun, Thing 2 taught her to sing it in response to the question, "Ada, what does Justin Bieber say?" Here's where I got her doing it though you can BARELY hear it. Turn up the volume and watch her lips. And the smile on Thing 2's face. Pure pride.

Day 7

Scott and Lindsay were so awesome to make us a DELICIOUS Waffle breakfast with caramel sauce and fresh berries and cream. SO so good. Then we packed up and got them off to the airport. It was so sad to see them go. The trip FLEW by and we loved every minute of it. Maybe, just maybe, with us here and with Lindsay's brother living here, too, they'll want to move up this way. I really can't say enough what a fantastic trip it was. We all were so naturally relaxed and comfortable together and had SUCH a great time. They were fabulous, fabulous house guests. And are even better family members. :) We love them and miss them very much and are so grateful that they came to visit us!


Dr. Mark said...

Great recap! It was fun to relive the week, even if I spent a lot of it coughing and trying to hack up a lung. ;)

Thanks for posting!

Kelly said...

Sounds like a wonderful visit. You and Mark are amazing hosts! Ada is so adorable. I love the way you and Mark parent your kids. You can see how happy and smart your kids are. I will definitely be taking a lot of pointers from you when I have children. -Kelly xo

Robynne said...

That sounds SO fun! I'm so glad you guys got to spend some good time with family, what a great visit!!! :)

Lindsay said...

Oh man!! So fun. It has been hard getting back into the swing of things...for both Scott and I! I like your recap is more organized. Haha. Mine is a little scattered, but we can blame it on the pregnancy, right? Cause that is what we did during all of the games!! Ada was sitting on my lap while I was reading the post and she cried when the videos ended or when I minimized the pictures we were looking at.
Oh we love you guys! Thanks again for hosting. Next time we come, I will make sure not to be pregnant or sick (that way I can stay up until 3:30 with you guys).
Oh...and it is my turn to have the "hacking-up-lung-cough" Hopefully it is almost gone, but last night it was bad!
Talk to you guys soon!

Foltron said...

That wasn't the great DJ Lance Rock at Tae Kwan Do was it?

Vivian said...

What a great week for all of you. Some of the places you visited looked the same as when we were there, but the kids have sure changed! Thanks for sharing.

Lindsay said...

Greg, it is very possible that was DJ Lance. Ada sure thought it was him

the emily said...

That is a great recap. Wow, you guys were busy and had so much fun. I can't believe you're lucky enough to live near not just one, but TWO chocolate factories. I mean really, can't they spread them out a little?

Boquinha said...

Thanks, all!

Kelly, you are so sweet. Thank you so much. I'll email soon.

Oh, that's true! We joked through so many games that "well, she's pregnant!" And that is so sweet that Ada cried when you closed the pics and videos. She misses us! We love you guys, too. And we miss you! I hope you feel better soon!

Yep, Greg. What Lindsay said. I was going to say the same thing -- Ada sure seemed to think he was there! I love that picture.

Thanks, Vivian! They're growing like crazy!

It's kind of funny that we have so many chocolate factories (well, we are near lots of cows, though, for milk). PA is #1 in snacking and that refers to chips and pretzels, not chocolate!

Chelle said...

I am so curious about Wilbur Buds. And the breakfast tradition is so awesome. How I'm dying to drive through Amish country and shop for an Amish quilt. You made me feel like I just had a great visit...however nothing is a good enough substitute for the real thing! It may be a few years, but someday. So glad you had a great time.

Boquinha said...

Wilbur Buds are soooooo good. Amazing chocolate. A happy, recent discovery! Yes, someday! We would LOVE to host you guy!!