The Moms Take A Vacation

The Moms Take A Vacation

For the second year in a row, and hopefully the second of many years to come, Gina flew out to spend time with our family, and so she and I could head to Massadoah for a couple nights of laughter, stories, staying up late and sleeping in. In addition, this year I was looking forward to receiving some expert photography advice from my very talented photographer friend.

The kids and I picked her up from the airport on Thursday afternoon, and we had a lovely Thursday and Friday going to Costco, planning our Massadoah adventures, visiting with the children, telling stories, and hanging around the house. I had some work for Juice that needed to be done so, it ended up being a relaxing day and a half at home before we left on Friday night.

The original plan had been for us to wait and leave after I had taken Yessa to bed, but when it was time to head upstairs, she was so enjoying playing a game with Zachary she said she was fine with me leaving. Buds had also enraptured all the children with visions of a movie night on the big screen in the living room, and ordering in pizza. I believe they were all thrilled to see me go.

The drive to Massadoah has never gone more quickly as we talked away the miles. Gina and I have been friends for 24 years now. (I know that because I met Gina the year after I graduated from high school.) She’s one of those friends with whom time is irrelevant. I may not have seen her nor checked in with her for weeks, but we just drop back into the middle of a conversation.

I’m just now realizing this, but Gina was the only other adult at Zachary’s birth besides Buds and me and our midwife and her team of nurses, and Zachary just cannot get enough of her. I’m not saying there is some sort of cosmic connection, but the child wanted to talk with Ms. Gina the whole time she was here. He created several bionicle creations to show her the different weapon capabilities, and he invited her to give him directions as to how new creatures should be built.

The beginning of show and tell.
The display Buster prepared while Ms. Gina napped. So excited to show her!

As we drove down the Zen Road to Massadoah, right before the gate, a small owl flew through our headlight line of sight, and landed in a tree above our heads. We sat and stared up at it in awe for several minutes before it flew off. Overall on the trip we saw the owl, 3 white geese (or ducks) on the sand bar by the bridge several times, a deer, the resident ground hog, lots of squirrels, a raccoon, a woodpecker, hawk, and one poor, dead turtle.

The house warmed up quickly and we settled in the red room and kitchen for drinks (Pom Wonderful), snacks (M&M’s), lots of laughter, and many, many stories. Gina and I are a great audience for each other because we tend to find the same things funny, as well as expressing shock and outrage at the same stories. Plus, we’ve been friends long enough to be honest with each other, while also just loving the other person, problems and all.

After heading to bed in the wee morning hours, I quickly went to sleep while Gina stayed up awhile longer, as is her standard. The next morning I was up at 6:30 a.m., as usual, and headed outside to walk the grounds, then settled back inside to make breakfast and finish some CrossFit work I took with me. It was a beautiful morning, with tiny flakes of snow falling to the ground.

Once Gina awakened and ate, we headed into town to Shenandoah Caverns, America On Parade, and The Yellow Barn. I finally got to experience Main Street, the department store window display section at Shenandoah Caverns. It was on the same level of freaky as America on Parade, but with a holiday theme.

Main Street favorites included:

The giant bear. (Photo obviously by Gina.)
A lovely window display (photo by Gina)
Until you realize cigar-smoking baby is on prominent display…
Gina did take an awesome bacon picture in the Caverns.

After Main Street and The Caverns, we moved on to The Float Extravaganza that is “America On Parade.” After Gina had a few minutes to enjoy the splendor that is “Genie” who greets you when you walk in the door,


we settled on a bench so she could show me a few basic lessons about my camera.

Attempt #1

With only a few slight adjustments, Gina showed me how to make a picture substantially better. Back at Massadoah she went through all the lessons again so I could type them to make my own personalized tutorial, but it was a quiet moment of triumph to see how much more I liked Picture #3.


After Gina took a final picture outside America On Parade, we headed over to The Yellow Barn.

Yessa and I love this game.

Not surprisingly, you are greeted at The Yellow Barn by a green frog:

Of course, why wouldn’t you be?
Gina noted the yin and yang in this photo she took.

After a quick tour around The Yellow Barn, we headed over to Joe’s Steakhouse for a delicious dinner, then back to Massadoah for another night of relaxing. Buds had not sent nearly enough vodka with us, so there was no more Pom Wonderful, but we managed despite this major drawback.

Sunday we visited all day, while I scanned nearly 300 photos in preparation for my 25th High School Alumni Reunion. It was the perfect combination of sunny day, with toasty warm toes. We chatted until nearly 4, then took a quick romp around the property, packed and cleaned, and headed home.

It was lovely to be home…until the throwing up began about 11 p.m., but that’s a story for another day.

photo (4)

And one final shot, because, obviously, we were lucky to come back alive.

photo (2)

Thanks for making the trek, Gina!