Thursday, July 25, 2013


When we moved into our home nearly five years ago we didn't think anything of our street address.  We were just happy to be on a quiet street tucked deep inside a nice neighborhood.  And then my dad came to visit...

One glance at our house number, and Dad was instantly amused.  As somehow who used to *love* writing "HELLO" and other messages with upside-down numbers on my calculator, I probably should have noticed it sooner.  Yep.  Welcome to 7734.

So I guess when my folks come to visit, they shouldn't be surprised if things don't go smoothly.  Maybe everybody will get sick, including grandma and the baby.  Maybe their brand-new-still-waiting-to-get-the-title-car will just randomly die in the driveway.  Maybe the weather will alternate between the two extremes of super rainy and super steamy.  Maybe all of that will happen.  After all, what can you expect on a vacation from...uh...7734?  :)

Thankfully, not all the moments were miserable and we still managed to sneak in some good memories.

Like our "Birthday Pary for Everyone!"  One of the grocery stores here will give you coupons for a free little birthday cake, ice cream, baby wash, and even a helium balloon if you register for their new baby club.  Our coupons for Matthew's first birthday didn't come until after we had already had his big day, though, so we decided to redeem them when my folks were here so they could help celebrate all the birthdays they miss by living so far away.

Everyone takes a turn blowing out the candles.  Maybe we should just do it this way all the time: one big birthday and get it out of the way all at once???  
 We also went on a day trip to Watkins Glen at the bottom of one of the Finger Lakes.  I am always amazed at how gorgeous the gorges are down there!

Sucking on candy sticks from our favorite little Amish store on the way to Watkins Glen.

Robyn helps Katie get a better view of the stream below.

Mom and Dad.  Ahhhh.
Family photo.  (Get ready for lots of goofy pictures of Robyn in this post: she decided to put her crazy-side forward for the camera this week...)
Behind a waterfall.
Robyn and Amber look out from behind the falls.
I've always loved this little picture of Amber and Katie at Watkins Glen a few years ago.  
Here are those same two little girls: so grown up!!!
If Robyn put her crazy-side on display for the camera, Bryan must have been putting his handsome-side on display this week...
Bryan will hate that I posted this picture.  I think he was trying to get a picture of Matthew on his back...but I like to think it's actually a photo from Bryan's secret life as a J. Crew model.  Back off: he's mine. ;)
Happy hikers!
What goes up, must come down.
This is what we call a balanced approach to parenting.
 And then there were the actual festivities on the fourth.
Random shot of Robyn.  She actually led us in a great little flag ceremony first thing in the morning.  For how sad it makes me to think of how the girls are growing up, it's also really fun discovering all the neat things they can do as they get older!
Smart.  Napping should be required before fireworks.  (For adults too!)
Time for the prerequisite picnic!
Mom and Dad.  Ahhh.  (How many times can I get away using the same caption before anyone calls me on it?)
Mom found really cute patriotic dilly-boppers for the kids.  Since Matthew's didn't involve ribbons or colored hair, Bryan let him wear it.  (Dilly-poppers are totally NOT just glorified headbands... :)
See?  They look good on grown-up boys too!
Yeah.  Maybe that super-cute-picture-on-the-wooden-fence idea just isn't going to pan out this time around...
 Of course, to match the theme of my parents' trip, there was a massive down-pour right around sunset.  Thankfully we were close enough to the car to run for cover.

Chilling in the car hoping the rain decides to stop.
While we had to wait for the rain to stop, we didn't have to wait for the fireworks to enjoy a light show.  My mom came across an idea for making "fairy jars" using glow sticks and glitter that turned out to be really fun!  (Seriously, it far exceeded my expectations for the project!)

Prancing around with fairy jars.
All the jars line up, no flash
All the jars lined up, with flash.  (And attitude. :)
Robyn loved using the funny firework glasses Dah-Dee-Doh brought with him from Minnesota.  They make the fireworks look like they're made out of Target logos.  Target, you once again prove that you are the masters of marketing!!
 And then it was time for the actual fireworks.  When we picked where to watch from, we had no idea how close we were going to be to all the action...

Yes.  The fireworks were launched RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.  Awesome.

 And then, suddenly, the week was over and it was time for my folks to head back to Minnesota.
Snuggles with grandma.  One of the few times he wasn't crying the whole time they were in town.  (And he's not exactly beaming in this picture either.)
 We drove with my parents out to Palmyra to see the Sacred Grove before parting ways.

And then it was time to say goodbye.  Even if this visit didn't pan out perfectly, we know my folks will eventually come visit 7734 again.  I mean, even if the four most adorable grandkids in the whole world didn't live here, it would still be one of the few places Mom can stock up on her favorite not-sold-in-Minnesota breakfast cereal.  So maybe it's not that far from heaven after all.

Mom loaded up with sufficient boxes of store-brand mixed-berry Cheerios to last until they've recovered enough to visit again.