I've been back home to southeastern Virginia about 4 or 5 times in the last year. Each trip I take doesn't seem to go quite like I planned it out on paper. Although my duck hunting trip down there in late December sure came close, other than the lack of swarms of ducks within gun range. This time around, I decided to do the minimal work, forgo coordinating with high school friends, old work buddies, and all the Va Beach fishing and hunting bloggers I've been meaning to meet, and instead just focus on my family. It paid off in spades.
First order of business was to meet my new nephew, Big K. We did a pre-trip briefing with Hank on "being nice to the baby," and "please don't hurt the baby," you know, the usual. It was a success.
Big K is not a Big Sleeper, which Hank, I mean Batman, didn't seem to care about.
"But Mommy, I have to yell! I'm Batman!"
We did some fun stuff like going over to the massive (and under construction) Chesapeake City Park, which includes two huge playgrounds called the "Fun Forest." Hank really wanted to see the skate park, which we couldn't find, but he was pretty amped up about the climbing wall in the Fun Forest....his first such climbing adventure...
Since a variety of calamities have left us with not a lot of money or vacation time here at the end of the summer, we really did want to get Hank to the beach one more time. He's still learning "how to act" there, but clearly, the boy likes the beach. There was this.
And then there was this. Yes he is naked. No I am not.
And more of this, this and this.
We also got to enjoy one of my most favorite meals in recent memory - maybe all memory - when my brothers, our wives and girlfriends, and the kids caught up for an excellent dinner and drinks looking out over the Atlantic Ocean from Virginia Beach's Pier Cafe. Hank enjoyed the view
Fresh rockfish, flounder, crabs, and shrimp for everybody. Except for Hank, who (per his protocol) will abstain from some of the best fresh, natural foods on earth to make sure he keeps an open stomach for french fries. Great to have so much great family around a dinner table again! Oh, here's what happens if you steal one of Hank's fries, to go along with the $20 rockfish sandwich you just bought, that may or may not have come with fries:
|I think this was after he knocked over a $7.50 margarita - which was so delicious I had to order another one (three)|
We did manage to run over to the swamp and get Hank out on a boat for the first time, fishing on a boat for the first time, and catching fish on a boat for the first time (more on that story right here). Turned out to be a really cool experience.
The weekend as a whole was a huge win. We did end up seeing one other family of friends, and that was fun, too. It was great to get together with folks for once, and not be running around to 500 different locations to meet 700 different people. I'll have to keep that in mind for the next trip....