Everyone needs a break sometimes. Because my husband is in the ministry and my career of homeschooling and motherhood is full-time... 24/7, it's nice to get away and refocus on our family (obviously, motherhood came with me, but it was the fun side of being a mommy!) So, Tuesday morning, we packed our van, totally surprised our girls, and took off for a mini vacation to Shenandoah Valley. We arrived a little after 7, did the usual... unpack, eat supper, swam in the big bathtub (the goggly girls, that is...), and sent a few lady bugs to their watery grave.
We knew that snow was a possibility, but 6 inches!!! We awoke to a winter wonderland and the wind howling outside our windows. A few hours later, two snowmen sit freezing outside our door and the dryer runs hard, full of wet clothes from a hike through the woods, snow angels included.
I am so thankful for this last wonderful snow for us! Marty wasn't able to enjoy the last snow we had with our girls due to prior commitments, but our surprise Virginia snow made up for it. He and Chloe did the majority of exploring through the woods. Special memories made!
My littlest two came inside early where we enjoyed our hot chocolate, Tales of Peter Rabbit, and secret note making for mommy. Oh be still, my heart!
One thing I haven't mentioned is our spontaneous bouts of electricity, or should I say, lack of it. This wasn't a big deal at first considering our housing was equipped with a gas fireplace. But as the day moved on, the thoughts of no hot showers, no cooking, no lights (besides flashlights and fireplace), no phones, not to mention we'd all have to sleep in the living room, became less and less appealing. We knew that Monopoly and puzzles would not hold out for long, so we inquired about our options. The changes began...
With over one million homes out of electricity and no guarantee that it would come on for the rest of our stay, we were given the option of packing up and transferring to Williamsburg, where there was power and no snow! Even the two hour drive was an adventure! Driving through snow, dodging trees laying on the highway, pelted by salt from a snow scraper, and trying to find a gas station with less than 50 cars in line (due to no electricity) is just a glimpse of our journey. We arrived in Williamsburg after dark and attempted to check into our new lodging. We were told they were full with the exception of their presidential suites (3 bedrooms!!!), but in order to get there, we would have to shuttle our girls and all our belongings (a van full!) on a little golf cart (because of construction in the parking lot). This would have been perfect if it had not been raining (windy, freezing, hard rain!). Change #2... They then sent us down the road to another hotel, smaller rooms, but much drier and actually closer to Colonial Williamsburg.
I forgot to mention that we had originally planned to visit Monticello while staying outside of Charlottesville on Day 2 (the day it snowed...). Obviously, this was another change, but instead, we stayed within walking distance of another historical landmark, Colonial Williamsburg!
Williamsburg has many memories for us. Our honeymoon and ten year anniversary were both spent in Williamsburg. Sweet times! After the three mile trek around the colonial sights, we rested and headed out again in search for ice cream and a local park. Ice cream (Naomi's request) was a success, but the park was a little more challenging. The first park we found was a mud pit from all the rain the night before. A local to the area then gave us directions to an "incredible" park. All excited, we drove 15 minutes to discover the park was closed to construction. What is with all the construction!! Change of plans again...
My brilliant husband "Googled" some more, found another park, and remembered the free ferry rides from Jamestown. While one napped through the park excursion, the other two girls and I enjoyed some fresh air, swinging and climbing before heading out for our ferry ride.
Naomi finally woke up on our return ferry ride. Needless to say, we enjoyed most of the ride from the comforts of our car.
Day 4 - Good bye, Williamsburg!
After checking out of our rooms, I wanted one last family picture, so we drove back to Colonial Williamsburg and had our picture taken with a character of colonial times. We couldn't leave without taking another trip to the bakery for some delicious cookies, of course.
This was a vacation like no other for us. Yet, our one and only expectation for the week was to get away and be together as a family. We accomplished that and so much more!
- By not have much electricity our first day, television and internet were not an option, causing us to focus on other activities to do with our girls.
- I was determined to put away my phone more this week, and once again see my girls through the eye of my camera (my real camera!) I was not disappointed.
- So often, on vacation, my time with the Lord seems to get put on the back burner. But this week, I was able to make it a priority and what a blessing that was!
- Even with all the changes, we were able to give thanks. "So then as long as thanks is possible... Joy is always possible." - Ann Voskamp