For the first few days, we stayed with the Powells at their home in suburban Baltimore. John has been bethrothed to Elise Powell since they were four months old, so it was very exciting to see them together again -- it had been nearly 18 months! Of course it was also very exciting to get Lila and Baby Jack acquainted with each other (Baby Jack is Elise's 9-month-old baby brother).
It didn't take any of us adults very long to realize that having four children under the same roof is extremely difficult, if not ridiculous. The hardest part was having to juggle the kids' schedules (i.e. mealtimes, naptimes, bedtimes) whenever we made an outing. As soon as Jack and Lila woke up from their morning naps, we had to get going right away so we could be back in time to lay John and Elise down for their naps. And we're pretty sure it would have been hilarious to be a fly on the wall during mealtimes at the house. Stephanie and Mike did such an awesome job of getting us all fed!
We took a ton of photos of the kiddos.......the photos of John and Elise with the balloons were taken on the 8th, John's birthday, but it was a joint celebration, since Elise's birthday is the 23rd. They were so funny with the cupcakes! There was no way they were going to be able to wait to eat them until after they decorated them.
On our way down to North Carolina, we stayed for two nights in Charlottesville, VA. That's the home of the University of Virginia, one of the universities Ross is considering for his Master's degree when his new branch allows him to go back to school (ideally he would start in the fall of 2013). The town had a really laid-back feel, and it was obvious that a lot of young families lived in the area. We liked it a lot!
Our hotel room in Charlottesville had a mirrored-door closet that Lila was fascinated with (see photos below). She liked pressing her lips up against it and smiling at the baby she saw! It reminded us of the first time John saw his reflection in a full-length mirror, when he was 13 months old and we were staying at the Lakeway Resort in Austin for a marriage retreat (check out this post from February 2010: http://schuchard.blogspot.com/2010/02/john-and-mirror.html)
We arrived in Sanford, NC on January 10th for our stay with the Boenitz family! We had been lucky enough to see the Boenitzes multiple times in 2011, so we got a good start to 2012 with our first-ever visit to their beautiful home near Fort Bragg. Lila was thrilled to be reunited with her bethrothed, Baby Kael, who is just two days older. They played really well together, as they had last year. John, however, distanced himself from both babies. He felt threatened by their ability to take toys that he wanted to play with (no surprise there!). It was especially funny to watch John run around the house with Kael's push toys while Kael chased after him.
Our trip out east was wonderful, and we hope we can see our friends again very soon -- wherever we may be!