Monday, March 30, 2015

Charlottesville, VA 2015

We make an almost-yearly pilgrimage to Charlottesville because we love it there. This year, since Kevin was giving a reading there, we invited EVERYONE WE KNOW. A lot of people actually came, and we had lots of fun, and we have now started a new tradition: Clou-a-rama! So the plan is that every year we can pick a location and date and get together! Like when you get invited to an out-of-town wedding and you go, because it's important. Prioritizing our friends is important! By changing the location and time of year it is more (or less) convenient to different people so it doesn't run up against the exact same problem for the same people repeatedly.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Our first picture in front of the place we met as a family of 4!

We arrived on Wednesday and went to the Christian's Pizza on Route 29. I'd only ever been to the one on the Downtown Mall but the one on Route 29 was just as delicious.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Kevin letting Miranda chew all the straws at Christian's Pizza

After we settled in at the little house we rented, we went over to Kevin's  reading at Virginia Festival of the Book. Unfortunately, because the kids were being disruptive I had to leave while Kevin was reading.  I passed Walsh on the way out.

We couldn't fit the double-stroller with all our luggage so I let James sit in the stroller and I carried Miranda in the baby sling. I told James that we left because he and Miranda were being bad, and he said, "No, Miranda was being bad. I was being good. Don't be silly mama." I thought that was funny so I didn't argue the point.

I got snacks and drinks for the kids and we sat around for snacktime for a little while, and then I went over to the chalkboard because I remembered he loved it on our last visit. This is what he wrote:

Charlottesville, VA 2015
"JAMES MAMA bad Miranda"

I was thinking I was a pretty awesome mom managing both of the cranky kids on my own when James started chalking some guys shoes. So then I took him for a huge chocolate chip cookie at Mudhouse for dinner. While we were chomping away, we discussed such philosophical questions as whether he thought he would exist if Mama hadn't met Dada at Mudhouse (he guessed no) and whether sharing a giant cookie was better than hogging it (he wasn't too sure). Luckily then Kevin met up with us, and we had dumplings and noodles from Lucca for dessert I guess.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Best. parenting. ever.

Thursday morning Kevin went hiking and picked up sandwiches at Bellair Market for us on the way back. It's all about the "Jeffersonian."

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Sunrise from the Turk Gap trail.

Charlottesville, VA 2015

We got a babysitter for the evening and met Brady for dinner at Continental. Brady suggested the tuna and yum! I also had margaritas which led... obviously... to lots of inappropriate conversation. After dinner I went back, and Kevin and Brady at Courts Square.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Brady and the tuna!

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Romantic night out with Brady!

Friday! Kevin felt kind of violently ill, but he had to give a talk to the Classics Department and then he had lunch with some professors. I was supposed to meet up with Cathy but she got into town late so while Walsh and Brady went to the Paramount Theater to watch the UVA game, I made Kevin come with me and the kids to the Discovery Museum. Sorry, Kevin. Also, thank you!

VA Discovery Museum 2015
Besties at the Discovery Museum

VA Discovery Museum 2015 
Air ball!

VA Discovery Museum 2015 
Genius baby.

VA Discovery Museum 2015 
Little tykes on the prairie

VA Discovery Museum 2015 
Wheeling and dealing

Oh yeah, then we had ice cream for dinner. James loves Charlottesville! Oh don't worry I fed them mac n' cheese for dessert so it's all good.

VA Discovery Museum 2015
James's first clue that his mother is pretending to be an adult

Then at dinner he went back out for some sexy Virginia Book Festival literary event. Then he went straight to sleep. Luckily, Michele and Brandon came over our little house, and we opened the wine the owner left for us and we had more fun sexy times.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Picture actually from Saturday night but cute.

Saturday was the big day! Some of us went out for breakfast at Blue Grass Grill for Cory's birthday.

  Charlottesville, VA 2015 
Birthday boy Cory, me, Miranda, and Robin

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Brady and Kevin

For lunch we went to Citizen Burger Bar mostly because we heard they'd have the TVs on the basketball. All of Charlottesville was really crowded because of the book festival and a race that morning. We fit four adults and 6 kids into an 8-person booth, and 6 very uncomfortable adults into a 6-person booth (I failed to get a picture of them but they didn't look so happy anyway).

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Miranda, me, James, Cathy, and Kennedy in the 8-person booth

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Leo, Madison, Jack, Jen, and Rob in the 8-person booth

Then Cathy, Jenny and I took most of the kids for more ice cream. I'm pretty sure the kids enjoyed Clou-a-rama as much or more than the adults.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Cathy picked up a hitchhiker (Kennedy and James)

Charlottesville, VA 2015
James, Madison, Jen, Leo, Cathy, and Kennedy at Sweet Frog 

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Michele, Brandon, Kevin, and Miranda met us there.

Kevin and Miranda went back to the house for a nap, and I took James to Meade Park. We got a babysitter. Then 8 of us went to Mas for dinner. Mas doesn't take reservations and it was really busy even though it was early. We figured everywhere had a long wait though based on our experiences that day so we just started drinking and hilarity ensued.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Before picture: Brandon, Michele, Janice, Darren, Jaime, me, Brady, Walsh

Eventually, Janice and Darren had to give up, but they were there for some of the best of it anyway. We were seated, we ate a lot, we drank some more, and here's our after picture- note that Janice and Darren turned into Kevin, Robin, and Cory. Also, Jaime saved my life by suggesting we quit while we were ahead. Actually, I was way ahead!

  Charlottesville, VA 2015
After picture: Kevin, me, Jaime, Michele, Brandon, Walsh, Brady, Robin, and Cory

Sunday we regrouped at Mas for some coffee and snacking. James played a little made-up-chess with a little girl he met. Charlottesville is cerebral like that.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Snuggling with Jaime at Mas

Charlottesville, VA 2015 
Cory and James are besties

Charlottesville, VA 2015
I've never seen the pieces move like that- it's like they're chess wizards. Ha.

Michele and Brandon went off for a fun day of hiking and wine tasting (I should have gone with them!) While the UVAers went to Champions to watch the UVA game. The extremely devastating UVA game. Extremely. On the plus side, the food truck outside was selling delicious BBQ, so there's that.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Brady, James, Kevin, Miranda, me (photo by Walsh?)

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Cory, Robin, and Miranda

We thought we'd drive home after that, but Miranda had other thoughts. After a lot of screaming we decided we should stop in Arlington and tire her out. Janice and Darren gladly obliged. Jaime came over too and we took the kids to the park briefly. They were actually happier chasing Fudgie around the house than at the park anyway. After a big pizza dinner, we finally headed home. 

Visiting Bucks- March 2015 
Janice welcoming the trouble-maker

Visiting Bucks- March 2015
At the park

Visiting Bucks- March 2015 
Dancing disco together.

Visiting Bucks- March 2015
"NONE SHALL PASS!"

Let's do again next year! Where to? You're invited! Clou-a-rama!

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