You know your vacation was just the right length when you’ve had an absolute blast, but are starting to daydream about sleeping at home in your own bed. (Not that the camper bed isn’t also our own bed. But it’s just not the same. At home, there are hardly ever screaming children or motorcycle dudes with mullets directly under our window at 10:00 at night.) I plan to fall backwards onto our bed later today after we arrive home and make a snow angel. Er, blanket angel.
The camping itself has been hugely entertaining, but I was not prepared for how interesting I would find Gettysburg. Otto is a history buff, and more specifically, a war history buff. I watched Band of Brothers with him over the course of a month or two and spent most of it peeking through my fingers and asking, “Is everyone dead now?” I mostly just find it disturbing. But it’s hard to be unmoved when surrounded by all that history in one place. Even for me.
And the day got even MORE interesting when we were joined by Amy-Go!
Long-time readers will remember that we first met Amy-Go and her brood a couple of years ago at Joshilyn‘s house. That was a day of complete mayhem; we had JUST picked up the kids at the airport, they’d been in Georgia for all of a couple of days, and I promptly took them to a house overflowing with children and food and exuberance. I suspect my kids were a wee bit overwhelmed, at the time, and may not have even talked to Amy’s boys.
But—as luck would have it—Amy-Go and the boys were up in Pennsylvania and we were able to meet up with them at lunchtime and spend the afternoon together. So we spent the morning in the Military Museum (marveling over all sorts of things, though I’d have to say my favorite was the Cyclorama, not the least of which because the restoration story is fascinating), and then had lunch with Amy and her boys and headed off on a bus tour together.
[At one point during lunch, as Amy begged and cajoled and threatened in an effort to get her youngest to sit down and eat, she finally said to him: "You won't understand what I'm going to say, but I'll warn you anyway. YOU ARE ABOUT TO BECOME BLOG FODDER." This is known as foreshadowing.]
When we first met, years ago, I somehow failed to notice that Amy’s oldest is Chickadee’s age and her middle son is just about Monkey’s age. That was terribly convenient. (Although it did take half the afternoon for Chickadee to work up to speaking to her counterpart, as she is often shy with new people. Fortunately, as Amy’s son is male, he neither seemed to notice nor mind.) So the older kids paired off and that left us with her youngest, who is now four.
Amy’s youngest child is the devil. Still. (I think I noticed this when we first met. But assumed it was because he was two.)
The devil doesn’t appear looking all fanged and fiery, you know. He appears as a tow-headed cherub with bright blue eyes and long eyelashes, and just as you’re starting to think about tousling his hair or maybe even nibbling on his cheek, he starts singing loudly about how you should SHUT UP SHUT UP, or he begins kicking the seat in front of him with a religious fervor, or you get off the bus and stand around listening to the tour guide describe the massive casualties of the battle that happened right on this spot while said devil/child runs over to the sharp drop-off and attempts to hurl himself over the cliff.
It was entertaining. And also an excellent workout.
After one stop, Amy whisked him away for a few minutes; he later trooped back onto the bus and turned to face me solemnly. “I got a spanking,” he said, sounding morose.
“You did?” I asked. He nodded, eyes wide and slightly moist. “I see,” I said. “So are you going to behave, now?”
He opened his mouth to answer, but then spotted something out the window. “HEY, LOOK!” he yelled. “Lookit that TREE!” He grinned and bounced in his seat, and Amy sighed and covered her face.
Like I said, it was entertaining!
After several hours spent trying to keep him from harming himself or others, we finished the bus tour and decided to head back to the cemetery so that the kids could walk/run and burn off some energy. That was a GREAT idea, except for one thing. There’s a big sign at the entrance to the cemetery that notes it to be sacred ground, and asks that visitors refrain from being loud or boisterous.
The older kids were great; Chickadee and Amy’s oldest wisely decided to pretend they didn’t know the rest of us, and walked all in and around the markers, discovering things like how many unknown soldiers are buried there and that sometimes people leave coins on the stones instead of flowers. Monkey and Amy’s middle boy walked and chatted and turned twigs into sword and muskets, but kept their voices down and enjoyed themselves.
Amy’s youngest decided to hold my hand—which surprised the heck out of me—and he skipped along beside me telling me that “I AM AN ALIEN CAT! I WILL BRING AN ARMY OF ROBOTS TO DESTROY YOU ALL!” We discussed whether the robots were cats or dogs (they’re cats) and why I needed to be destroyed (just because). Did you know that there are genuine civil war CANNONS placed in the cemetery? An did you know that four-year-olds are incapable of NOT climbing said cannons, especially if you ask them not to?
Amy-Go was delightful, as always. And she assured me that the day before as they’d driven all day, all three of her boys had been good as gold. “He just used up all of his good, yesterday,” she lamented. “I swear that sometimes he behaves!” I think she was going to say something else, but by then he’d tackled a very surprised Monkey to the ground and was sitting atop him, strangling one of his brothers, and Amy had to go break it up.
“I think that kid just tried to KILL ME,” huffed Monkey, brushing leaves and debris off his shorts.
“Well, on the up side, you’re still alive,” I assured him. I’m compassionate like that.
It was a delightful if completely exhausting day, and those of you who concluded that two scoops of ice cream trumps a waffle cone were absolutely correct. I think it’s probably particularly gratifying after nearly being beaten up by a four-year-old, too.
[Note: This entry is completely true. But I am pretty sure I am going to have to bake Amy-Go a pie after I hit "Publish."]