My Florida sister-in-law just packed up her mini-van (with six kids, three dogs, and lots of packages, boxes, and bags) and pulled out of our driveway, after an awesome three-day visit. She has this traveling-with-her-gang thing down to a science. It's amazing what she fit into that vehicle of hers; truly, it seemed to expand as necessary as she continued to fill it. Well, I don't even have to try to describe the scene to you; here are some pictures I took as she was loading everybody and everything up.
My sister-in-law took the three older boys (two of whom are in high school) on a historical walking tour of Cambridge and Harvard, and from there over to take a look at the Boston College campus. While they were doing that, my husband and I took the three younger kids (the triplets, our 10-year-old nieces and nephew) to Odiorne State Park in Rye, NH, where we had a picnic lunch by the ocean and then set out to hunt for crabs hiding out in the rocks and tide pools along the shore. There is also a science center at the park, where the kids saw an extremely rare blue lobster and were able to pick up small sea creatures such as star fish. And--you're not going to believe this!--Bill Nye, the Science Guy (of public T.V. fame) made a visit to the science center while we were there, and we were able to get a picture of the kids with him. After a long and exciting afternoon at Odiorne, we got ice cream and saw the latest "Ice Age" movie at the theater where our youngest son works. What a perfect day, huh? And the weather was ideal, too. It doesn't get much better than that.
It is so wonderful to have people come and stay at our house! I am never happier than when I can "do" for members of my family. This past year, as the reality of the empty nest began to sink in, I would often feel a little blue about the fact that my husband and I have this big house that is perfectly suited to hosting a crowd, but we rarely get much traffic from our out-of-town relatives. I'm on a cloud today, because my sister-in-law's gang had such a good time that they're planning to make a summer stop at our house a yearly event. Woo hoo! I was worried that since we don't live on a lake, like my husband's family did, and we don't even have a pool out back, we wouldn't have a "draw" that would bring our kids back home. But it turns out that there's so much to do around our area, we didn't even get to do it all! So any family members out there who are reading this, take note: come and see us, anytime! We promise to make the trip worth your while! If you're looking for some summer fun, we've got it here in spades!