Our Journey to 'Jinya

Last February, I took the kids down with me to northern VA on what was supposed to be a combination of business meetings and play dates with dear friends. When I returned, I was so worn out that I swore I wouldn’t do it again until they were both old enough to drive their own car down 1-95. But as it turns out, I was brave enough to try again before Dani’s sweet sixteen. And I’m so glad I did.

The trip was, in a word, PERFECT. And here are the top ten reasons why:

1) Sammy. My precious newest nephew, all six weeks of him. I had the pleasure of lulling him to sleep in the gorilla house at the national zoo, while Caed, Gus and Max were thoroughly entertained by a gorilla, who was (and this is not part of my top ten) eating his own poo.

2) Gus. Another precious nephew, who is the epitome of all that is cute. This kid was born to say “cheese”. It warmed my heart to see him sitting next to Caed at dinner--the two of them taking silliness with sandwiches to a whole new level.

3) Aaron & Laura. Are you sensing a theme here? Yep, I love those Damianis. It is a rare treat to spend time with my siblings and their families, and I loved every minute of the visit with these newly-transplanted Virginians.

4) Becky & Max. We may not be officially related, but they are truly like family. This delightful duo bunked with us for a few nights during our stay, and we had a blast. Becky remains one of my dearest friends even after moving miles away. And Max and Caed are such great buddies (it’s like imagining Rick and Larry together in preschool). When we got home, Caed told me that we should have someone else “take our house in Maine” so that we could get “a new house in ‘jinya (Virginia) close to Max, or maybe just live at Max’s house”. I often feel the same way!

5) Shawneen. Now this gal is what really made the difference between the winter trip versus the summer trip. She is our regular sitter as well as Caed’s preschool teacher. She came with us to care for the kids while I worked. The kids had so much fun on their outings with her, and she helped me immensely on the drive down, and throughout the week. Caed, Dani and I all equally adore her.

But I’ll stop blubbering about the wonderful people that made our drive worthwhile, and transition toward the superficial side of the spectrum for the last five reasons...

6) Dani had her own secluded place for sleep this time around. And therefore, the rest of us actually got to sleep too. Ever since the February excursion (where it was one room for all, and all for no sleep), I no longer take a good night’s sleep for granted, especially away from home.

7) The weather was gorgeous, unseasonably cool in the low 80s and not a drop of rain, making it easy to get outside every day and enjoy the parks and sites.

8) There was a Starbucks within walking distance. I don’t really need to elaborate on this.

9) Trader Joe’s was a mile away, and I totally stocked up! And there’s nothing like a $5 bottle Pinot Grigio (that tastes like a $20 bottle) and a best friend to share it with. Note that Becky and I broke into the stockpiles, just so I didn’t have to worry about packing too much wine to take home.

10) We all stayed healthy. This stands in contrast to the February trip, where each one of us came up with our own unique form of crummy. Dani vomited (this is her signature, after all). Caed had an ear infection. And I took the triple crown with a fever, cold and stomach bug. The misery of it all has clearly not escaped my memory, even months later.

But on THIS adventure down south, there was nary a sniffle. Just a few cuts and bruises from having way too much fun. And maybe a few marks from where I pinched myself thinking this trip was too good to be true!

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