E came over mid-morning to rip out the former basement kitchen. Hooray. Julian's grandparents, Gershona and Stu, came over around 10am and played with Julian for about an hour, and at 11 we left for Julian's swim lesson. At Julian's first lesson the previous week, he managed to close down the entire pool when he swallowed too much water and threw up in the pool. Ooopsie. This week, he didn't throw up, but he did suddenly throw a fit, so he left the lesson a little early. He was really interested in running along the pool deck. Having been a lifeguard in my former life, there was NO WAY I was going to allow that to happen. And that made him seriously angry, which probably contributed to his lack of cooperation in the latter part of the class.
The fearless monster (a.k.a. Julian) fell asleep as soon as we got home. While Julian slept, E. and I had a pizza lunch and chatted for a bit. Then I got Julian up, grabbed his snacks and diaper bag, and headed out to VA to see have_inner_lady and predigested. Though we got there later than I'd hoped (due to Julian's crankiness at the pool and subsequent nap), I'm very glad I waited for Julian to wake up and brought him, rather than having my mother watch him. We got to their amazingly lovely house around 4:30 and Julian made himself right at home and played very well with Raphael, with only the occasional screech from R's room (usually when J was stepping on R's things or taking things that didn't belong to him... it's very hard to have your space invaded by a toddler. Trust me... I know how hard it is to suddenly have a toddler-sized intruder in your life!) Many thanks to predigested who was kind enough to take it upon himself to make sure the boys didn't kill each other... it gave me a much-needed break, even if he didn't realize what a huge weight he was lifting off my shoulders.
Anyway, I got the grand tour (and it really was Grand!) of the newly-finished house. It's an amazing house and really reflects a lot of their personalities in it. I think it's just perfect. Really. Then we chatted for a bit and eventually headed down the road to go to a deer farm. Julian had a fantastic time! Raphael gave Julian a flower but cautioned him not to feed it to the deer. Well, Julian of course immediately fed it to the deer, and Raphael was, understandably, upset. Poor thing. There were buckets of corn feed that visitors can feed to the deer (they literally eat right out of your hand!). Julian was not particularly good at getting the corn TO the deer, but he had an absolutely grand time digging through the corn itself. It must be a fun texture to explore. He ended up with corn dust all over him, but he was happy and that's what mattered. He also enjoyed the chickens (several of which were quite exotic). But he didn't enjoy the chickens OR the deer nearly as much as the TRACTOR! I hadn't noticed the tractor when we first arrived (and thank heavens I didn't or I'd never have gotten so far as to see the deer!), but it was ridiculously hard to miss, so I'm not sure how I didn't see it right away. Once Julian discovered it, though... he made a beeline for it. have_inner_lady kindly scooped him up and sat him in the seat, but as we discovered later, that was completely unnecessary...my determined little boy climbed right up there after being taken down the first time in hopes of convincing him to get in the car. Hah! He climbed right back up and had a ball. He even figured out how to turn on the blinkers. Personally, I was mortified, but have_inner_lady had the presence of mind to show Julian what he had figured out, which delighted him to no end! Then, of course, he couldn't leave that switch alone.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, for otherwise they would not be special in our hearts and minds. at 7 o'clock I told Julian that I was sorry but that we really must be going. He still hadn't eaten dinner and we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us, so I didn't want to drag it out any further. That child screamed bloody murder when I took him off the tractor. He kicked me in the nose so hard I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd managed to break it (he didn't break it...no worries there). We went back to the house, fed Julian some dinner and headed home. Julian slept for a little over half the trip. Though he did wake when we pulled into the driveway at 10pm, he went right back to sleep after we changed him into pajamas.
Aside from Julian having a great time, I really enjoyed myself. I usually say I'm not the outdoorsy type. And it's true, I'm not. Here's the thing... when I'm outdoors, I really enjoy it, and I'm always startled to discover that about myself. But when I'm indoors, it simply never occurs to me that I might be happy outdoors. I'm perfectly happy indoors, with plenty of things to keep me busy, so why would I venture outside? ;) I'm partially teasing of course. But I definitely have a bias towards indoors, which is why it always surprises me when I enjoy myself outside. Also, I'm a firmly rooted suburb/city gal, but the fact is, I love small-town life. I'm fascinated by it, having never grown up with it. And I love it. I imagine if I didn't need to have a Jewish community, shul, and kosher resources, I could enjoy living at least part of my life out in a small town in the middle of the mountains. I certainly appreciate the change in pace and the simplicity (far less information over-load on a country road than a city block).
Seth's brief report indicates that he had a good time at Shore Leave. He brought me nifty presents, so I can't complain.
P.S. I've got pictures of our day in Virginia and I'll post them in the next few days... I just haven't had time to get them up.