Monday, November 29, 2010


Another trip to Pittsburgh is in the books. I'd be happy to not drive the van for a while! It's about 9 1/2 hours each way. Oh, and the kids don't sleep while driving anymore. You never know how much you appreciated those 2 1/2 hr breaks until they're gone! We stayed with my brother's family and as usual the main focus was my kids interacting with their cousins Corey, Justin, and Michael. Well that and the driving. And a week w/o Scooby Doo (except on the DVD player in the van). The drive down was the worst. We weren't in "travel mode" yet, so the first 3 hours took forever.

Corey's a certified teenager now. He's on a swim team. He's got a girl friend. He texts a lot. Despite that he and Alexandra still have a special bond. For those who don't know, Corey was the young man who crossed the line with me at my first Ironman in 2003. That event in many ways was the catalyst for the adventure which would end with Alexandra. It is fitting that they would bond to one another. Additionally their birthdays are only 3 days apart.

The other boys are growing up as well. While they were always individuals, their differences in interests seemed more apparent than ever. They're establishing themselves as individuals and in doing so seemed to fight less about certain things because I guess they weren't trying to "occupy the same space." That's how it was for me with my brother. Once I went off in my own direction I felt much more comfortable with things. The discomfort, as Leanna can attest, comes storming back whenever there is overlap. We fall into old patterns of behavior so easily, even if we're not really those people anymore. Or maybe it's just me.

This trip was also marred marked with a unanimous "it's too bad we only see you once a year" from my family. While it's nice to be missed, there's not too much I can do about it. I live 500miles away and have two small children.

Despite the cost, and the time, and the hassle, the trip still serves as a great bonding experience for the family. It was the Thanksgiving drive in 2007 that began the bonding between Alexandra and Dylan. The time in the hotel, while containing more than I few "Daddy can I press the elevator button?" "No I want to!" "I want to use the room key!", also served to bring us closer. No distractions, just 100% focus on each other. The kids ALWAYS seem more grown up when we get back than they were when we left. Oh god yes I need a break from it now, but like training it will have longer term benefits. We made memories.

So another Thanksgiving trip is in the books. Like finishing Ironman we're in the throws of "I'm never doing that again!" We'll see about that in 11 months. Maybe next year will be the year we start spending holidays in our own house. However, no time to think about that now. We've got Christmas barreling down on us! Zoiks!