Still missing a few who couldn't make it but here is most of the crew
My family planned to get together last weekend for a while and I had to choose over seeing all of my family now for a short amount of time or seeing most of them plus seeing my sister's newborn baby for a longer amount of time. I didn't have any vacation time yet because of just starting a new job and so flights were expensive to just go for the weekend. A lot of money for not a lot of time. So I chose to wait for when I could go for a couple more days for less money and see my newborn nephew. But that decision ate at me and ate at me every day. My family kept sending group texts and it just made me miss them even more. I looked at flights frequently and debated about just going but the longer I waited the more expensive the flights got. Then I resorted to how doable it was to drive the 21 hours roundtrip in one weekend. It wasn't really the smart decision but the closer it got the more I just needed to see my family. The transition to Chicago has been really hard for me, partly because this is my third move in three years, but also because the environment at work has been really stressful. So when it came down to it, I decided at 9pm the night before that I was going to get up at 4:30 in the morning and drive to Pittsburgh to drive the rest of the way with Leighann and her family.
I got up the next morning as planned and could have left earlier but just kept thinking to myself, is this crazy that I'm about to jump in the car for 10.5 hrs to barely see my family to just jump in the car and do it all over again? I kept asking Adam the same question (this is before 5 in morning, people) but he nicely said he wasn't going to make the decision for me. He helped me carry out my stuff to the car, being the great husband that he is, and then said, "If I don't hear you come back inside in the next 5 minutes, I'll know you've made the decision to go." haha I sat in the car for a couple minutes and then decided, I'm already packed and ready to go, I might as well get on the road. Best decision ever.
Seeing my family was exactly what I needed. I needed the comfort of a familiar place and people who love and support me. People who love Jesus so much that it just pours out of them in conversation and actions. It was so refreshing not to have to small talk with people but to be able to catch up and have deep conversations as well. I also got to have some fun times with my nieces and nephews. It's hard not to be able to be with them more because I truly want to know each and every one of them ( all 14 of them going on 16 by the end of the year). And because I don't get to be with my family a ton, I wanted to document the whole weekend. So here are some of the good ones.
My baby brother is all grown up and sold his motorcycle while I was there. I was so proud of him because him and Jess didn't really want to sell it but with having a little boy already and a little girl on the way, it just made a lot of sense.
I'm glad I got to come home because I got to see Chrissy pregnant. The last time I saw her, she wasn't even showing. I'm really glad I got to see her in person before she has the baby.
Mom's yard is perfect for entertaining our big family.
We played lots of corn hole, courtesy of John who built these set of boards. Isn't Liam just the cutest thing, ever?
Lots of underpuppies (aka underdoggies for Ryan) on the tire swing, Jack plum tuckered out from playing with all the kids, and our biggest kid, Henry, letting John swing him around on the merry-go-round to see if he could hold on. He, in fact, did hold on but then felt sick for an hour after. Things just don't get easier when you get older. haha
water slides, hoses, and water balloon fights filled the majority of the kids time and they loved it!
and we got to enjoy the weather and each other's company
Left to right: Katie, Amy, me, John, Leighann, Johanna, Chrissy and mom being held by us all ;)
Seeing Johanna, aka the baby whisperer, in action
and even some toddler appreciation for his awesome parents
Neil's son even braved the chaos of all of us to spend some time with his kids at the house. His kids had a blast with all the other kids and Sean got some quality time with his dad.
I had the kids trained by the end of the weekend to let me take their pictures in between pushes on the swing, trampoline jumps, or waterside runs. Muriel said at one point that she would let me take a picture of her if I would push her on the swing haha I decided to push her on the swing without the picture haha
Me and Pipey-Pipe hanging out #sorryforherimmodesty
Even though the recovery time of traveling that much in a short amount of time was brutal, I was so glad I went. It was exactly what I needed.