Monday, October 10, 2011

Venturing into unknown lands....Columbus Day Weekend with the Rahns

September means the beginning of school and the beginning of the "boring" time for the Rahns. This September was really no different, after buying our two new cars...the month flew by relatively uneventful.  Though, as you all know we love a good adventure... and we had a GREAT one this weekend.

First...our Columbus Day history.  Columbus set off to explore new lands and have new adventures. He was successful and hence, a holiday named after him.  Here in the Rahn house, we take that holiday to heart and for the past 5-6 years we have made it our goal to have a NEW and different adventure on Columbus Day weekend. If we are staying home, then we will take a day trip to a different and new place, but we have been lucky over the years to plan adventures to "distant places" over Columbus Day weekend. This year our travels took us to two new states for the girls, while at the same time celebrating with friends and family.

We packed up on Friday morning and headed northwest with a final (first) destination of Perrysburg, Ohio (right outside of Toledo) to celebrate the wedding of Jamie Weber and Emily Small.  Jamie is one of Don's many cousins from Erie.  We have been very lucky to be invited to 3 Weber cousin weddings over the past few years and getting to spend time with the Erie family is always a fun time, and this adventure added to the great memories.

Carleigh and Katie have started "collecting states," and were thrilled to be able to add Ohio to  their list this weekend.
 And we've got the picture to prove it.

We arrived at the hotel about 8 hours later and immediately saw "family."  The weeding fun had started.  I had been told by Emily (the bride) that the hotel was situated within walking distance of a great little shopping center, and she didn't disappoint.  I'll tell you, the economy of Levis Commons  was stimulated this weekend. Beautiful weather, a quaint outdoor shopping center with restaurants and fun stores, plus no big events until 5:30 on Saturday evening left many hours for exploring and just a little shopping. :)

After dinner and some visiting, we went to sleep because we were spending Saturday morning adding ANOTHER new state to our list - Michigan!

Since we didn't have to be anywhere wedding related until 5:30, we looked at a map and realized that the Michigan border was only about 45 minutes away.  I asked Don if we could figure out a reason to venture into Michigan and it turns out that his high school friend Rhaea and her family live in Tecumseh, right over the border. Plans were made and we headed out.....

 After a quick drive into Michigan, and meeting up with the Miller family, we headed out and added another new Rahn Columbus Day Adventure to our list....The Tecumseh Appleumpkin Festival!

Yes, the picture to prove that we were there:

The Appleumpkin (yes, I still chuckle at the name) Festival was no different than some of the Loudoun County small festivals/fairs that we have here, but we were in it made it all the more fun.  We had to explain to the girls that we had no time for moon bounces, slides, rock climbing, but we did have time for "Dog Food Sling Shot" practice sponsored by the Boy Scouts. :)

We also saw the camel rides (been there, done that at the Loudoun County fair) and the diaper wearing monkey...sorry no pics of him. We wandered a bit, had a great brunch at the City Limits Diner and a nice visit with Rhaea and her family. Then it was time to head back and begin the showers/wedding prep.

Jamie and Emily had been married the night before in a private ceremony, and were celebrating with their friends and extended family on Saturday with an incredible reception at a very incredible building in downtown Toledo.  We were all picked up at the hotel by chartered buses and taken to the Toledo Club - about 30 minutes away.

The Toledo Club was an amazing building - being the teacher geek that I am, I had to find out the history of this "Club."  It was built in 1879 as a Premier Men's Club in Toledo.  Over the years it opened up to women and was frequented by many U.S. presidents, but maintained it's original building with additions being built on.  We spent the evening on the 3rd floor of the original building and it was beautiful and elegant.

Here we are with Jamie and Emily -
We had a great time with all of the extended family on Don's side - and as always, many antics were involved...though also trying to get some "NICE" photos of everyone dressed up.
 Rosie, Chrissy and Gwen:
 Don, Rosie and Chrissy - siblings.....:)

 2 sets of Rahn sisters:
 Don's cousin Dave and his family:

Carleigh and Katie were the only younger children in attendance, and I will admit that I am so proud of them. They can be obnoxious and crazy at home, but they know how to hold it together and act "so grown up" when it's necessary.  They had a great time and of course, danced the night away with all of the cousins and Aunt Rosie, Aunt Chrissy and Nana and Bubba.

Bubba enjoyed sitting in the "special chair" - We called him "King Bubba!"

Lots of dancing fun:

We took the bus back to the hotel and then woke for a wonderful post wedding brunch in a ballroom at the hotel.

And of course as Don said, we couldn't leave without getting a traditional picture of the "Shiny Head Mafia."  Jamie (the groom - on the left), his brother Matt and Don.

Also, the 3 Rahn siblings with their cousin, Jessie - who came in from Alaska for the wedding:

We then said our goodbyes and began the long trek back to Virginia.

Yes, we felt like Columbus....venturing forth to uncharted territories, claiming victory and achieving success at our destination....then having to return back home, to share with those that had been left behind.

And like Columbus probably had a few mutinies or near mutinies on his return trip - so did we!  We had to convince the girls that - "No, you cannot stay at this rest area in Maryland, YOU HAVE TO get back in the car for the last 2 hours of this drive."  (True story - Katie stood against her door and refused to get back into the car, while crying that she was done driving and didn't want to sit in the car ANYMORE!), once we got moving I told them to go to sleep and we would get there sooner  - how many of you have tried that one?  I was shocked, but it worked..

....we woke them up when we were 5 minutes from home....Thank God!!

It was a great weekend, and was it worth the almost 18 hours (round trip) in the car? You Betcha! So much fun to see everyone and enjoy the company of the Pennsylvania family.

So...what's next? Well....nothing planned for the near future. I've updated the vacation tickers on the right - our annual beach trip to North Carolina in early July. Then we are planning our BIG vacation for next summer - back out west to the Tetons and Yellowstone for 2 weeks, but we are also adding Idaho and Montana to Wyoming.

And hopefully this month - I will be planning our Summer, 2013 vacation! I know... laugh if you want, but if you are reading this, you shouldn't be surprised. :)  While we were in Alaska on the Disney ship - we booked a "Dummy Date"  to get incentives and discounts on a future cruise. We are hoping to switch that dummy date to a European Mediterranean Cruise for Summer, 2013.  My Disney connections tell me that the 2013 dates will be released in October.  Hey why not, we booked the Alaska cruise 22 months in advance! :)

So...stay tuned.....who knows what Autumn and Winter hold in the Rahn house, after all it's "Seldom A Dull Moment" here in the Rahn  house!