Oh how the definition of "road trip" evolves...

105053-1105156-thumbnail.jpgThe downside was we were without Granddaddy. He didn't get to make the trip, and we really, really missed him. (Mr. Pie's Dad, too, although he doesn't quite rank as high as Granddaddy - he gets this. None of us do.) The upside was we had Mr. Pie. Family visits with all 3 siblings in the same place at once are fairly rare these days. Too many states to be covered. Too many schedules to be accommodated. But yesterday was one of the nicest visits I can remember in a long time.

It's not exactly "meeting in the middle" that my brother and his wife drove from Alabama to South Carolina and sis and I drove from North Carolina. But we had a 20 month old in our party which skews the travel challenges somewhat. So we'll just say we met in the middle at our parents' home for a few hours and everyone had a fine time, short as the visit had to be. (Brother and his wife had already been there for a couple of days once we arrived...overlapping in true Watson fashion.)

105053-1105161-thumbnail.jpgYou don't want a play-by-play but I'll tell you something sweet. My parents brought a few acres "in the country" a few years back (it's still quite accessible to town, but it's not in downtown as they were before, so we call it that.) For various "typical life" reasons, building a house immediately wasn't in the cards. So while they worked out the plans, got my dad healthy again, reworked their careers, became grandparents, and etc., they put a little trailer on the property and gave themselves the delay-of-gratification pleasure of landscaping little spots here and there to at least get started in that fashion before the building project got underway. Mom said she wanted to create a feeling like you've gone to a park and there were lots of little areas you might choose to enjoy while there. So you have a little patio area by a trickling stream in one spot. Then you have the arbor Dad built, where sis and hubby said their vows, to which Granddaddy later added a bench. The vine that encases the arbor has settled in and you have a feeling of age. Mom's done some really nifty brick work in front of that now,  with a circular focal point, and later it's going to extend up to the house. Then there's another little bench in the edge of the woods on the other side where you might sit and take your morning coffee if you want to get away from others. All this to say her plan is taking hold and there's so much variety on the property. AND now there's a spot where the house is going to be! I don't know the correct terms but there's a board outline with gravels inside and pipes here and there and I'm told the foundation will be poured somewhat soon. ("Soon" on Watson time might not be the same as your schedule, but that's all right.)

105053-1105168-thumbnail.jpgThe best part, of course, was watching Mr. Pie explore. He ran this way and that, either alone or holding the hand of the nearest adult, chasing a cat or inquiring about his first ever rotting tree stump - you touch it just right and little parts come off in your hand!!! So many trees and so many interesting rocks and so many colorful plants. And don't even get me started about the benches. Mr. Pie is a very big fan of chairs and benches. And climbing up in them and climbing down from them.

Thanks to Mom's insistence, we got some fun photos and packed tons of memories into our day, and now that everyone's returned to their regularly scheduled routines, I'm confident we're all smiling inside with our version of the memories we brought away from this brief, but lovely, family visit.

PS: Road trips in a minivan with a baby are still quite excellent if you're riding with your sister.

More photos in a little gallery over here!