Saturday, July 30, 2011

Virginia & New York

We spent about 10 days in the Northern Virginia area, alternating between staying with Clare and staying at a dog-friendly hotel right in Fairfax (near our VA home). It was quite hot for a few days after we arrived but then it cooled down and we were treated to some great weather. Kevin did work but he and Clare were still able to golf and go to the driving range a few times. Clare lives in Gainesville, VA in a beautiful over-55 community with a golf course, clubhouse and swimming pool. The cooler weather made for some great early morning runs around the golf course (one of my favorite places to run in No. VA). It was hard running those hills after it being so flat in Miami - what a work out!

Michael, Sheena and Declan arrived from Illinois on July 1st to spend the night on their way to the Outerbanks. It was the first time we had met Declan, who was born in February. He was such a cutie! We left on July 3rd to visit my parents in NY and, on our way, stopped in Philadelphia to see Kelly, my college roommate, and her family. Their older daughter and their son are pretty close in age to Caitlynne and Christopher so they all played together and had a good time. It is funny how they were last together almost 2 years ago, yet they pick up like it was just yesterday.

We enjoyed relaxing with my parents and eating some delicious dinners with veggies fresh from their garden. Caitlynne and my dad made some incredible pickles that were quickly devoured. My dad and Kevin were able to get out early enough to golf before it got too hot. We also had a picnic one day with some of my dad's relatives who drove up from NYC. I probably hadn't seen them in over 22 years! My dad took Christopher fishing in the Esopus Creek our last night in NY and Christopher caught a trout. He also fell in a few times - must get that from his mom! Kevin and Caitlynne watched from the river bank and helped de-tangle fishing lines.

Our return trip to Virginia early Friday morning was uneventful. Saturday, we went to the airport and picked up Ryan, a friend of Christopher's from Miami, who was going to attend a leadership conference with Christopher for the next week. Michael, Sheena, Declan, Kylie and Mackenzie returned from NC and we all (including Dan) went out to celebrate Clare's 70th birthday (from April 4th) at Blue Ridge Seafood. Yum!

We took Christopher and Ryan to Chevy Chase, MD on Sunday for the National Junior Leadership Youth Conference. Will, another friend of Christopher's from Miami, moved to VA the week after school ended and also attended the conference. Christopher was very happy to see his friends! While Kevin worked, Caitlynne and I ran errands, shopped, packed some boxes to ship, etc. Caitlynne visited with her good friends, Jennifer and Caitlin - girls that she has known and kept in touch with since pre-school! They had a few nice lunches out and did some shopping at the mall. I had a fun dinner at Bonefish Grill with my VA friends, Marghi, Jeanne and Carolyn.

A great deal of my time this week was spent working on getting the government approvals needed for the dogs to be exported from the US and to be imported into Bangkok. There is a very specific process that must be followed in order to receive the USDA's approval and the timeline is so tight that there is very little room for error. Our vet in Miami delayed in sending some shot records which almost derailed the entire process. However, we received those records at the very last possible minute (thank goodness for Fed Ex early delivery!) and went on to receive the vet certification , the USDA stamp and the import documents. I was finally able to get a good night's sleep.

We picked the boys up from the leadership conference on Friday and took Ryan to the airport Saturday. I also dropped the dogs at a kennel for a few days. We had family friends from Miami arriving Sunday and I did not want to worry about the dogs while they were visiting. It turned out to be a great idea! Sunday morning we drove to Bethesda to have brunch with my good friend, Rebecca, and her husband, Anthony, and their three children - Josh, Matthew and Rachel. They just moved to Bethesda (into an AMAZING home!) from NJ and it was great to be able to see them before we left.

Caitlynne spent Sunday night at Clare's and Christopher, Kevin and I had dinner with our friends, Mike and Brenda and their two sons, Dominic and Anthony. Mike was a fraternity brother of Kevin's at VA Tech. They live in a very charming home in McLean and have done some renovations to the interior and improved the landscaping quite a bit. It was lovely to sit on the patio and enjoy the evening with them. Their hydrangeas were in full bloom and were gorgeous!

After dinner, we returned to the hotel and met up with our friends from Miami. First to arrive were Jane and her two children, Patrick and Samantha, who were returning to Miami after a vacation in Upstate NY (her husband had flown back to FL earlier in the day from NY). Later, Gayle, Eric and their son, Jake, arrived on their way from Miami to the Thousand Islands for vacation. They were all exhausted from a long day of driving but we were able to have a glass of wine and chat for a few minutes before bed.

Next Up... Our Final Days in the USA

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