For future reference: Uncle Bob is the oldest brother. He married Mary and they have three kids: Laura, David and Mike. Laura married Dan and they have two boys, Alexander (3) and Nicholas (15 months). David married Michelle and they have a girl, Sydney (6 in July) and Matt (3). Mike married Ti and they have two girls, Ivy (4) and Anna (2). My dad is the second oldest. He married Madeline and they have John who married Jessica. I am next and you already know more about me than you ever wanted! My "little" brother, Alan came next. Uncle Larry has Ben and Gabby; neither of whom are married yet. Anne is married to Jim, and they do not have children.
My parents came up to Harrisonburg Thursday afternoon so we could leave early Friday morning for the 6 hour drive. I packed up two baskets of things for the kids to do and thankfully we were able to borrow Stacey's portable DVD player just in case.
We drove to Raleigh and checked into the hotel. Then we headed out to Laura and Dan's house for our first get-together and dinner. There were 8 kids between the ages of 15 months and almost 6! They had an awesome time chasing each other around the house and playing with all the new toys. The adults had a good time catching up with each other and talking, while dodging all the kids. We had dinner together and spent some more time playing and catching up. We left the shindig and headed back to the hotel, but not before my mom handed out the awesome Brainard-Palooza t-shirts she had made for everyone!
On Saturday morning we went out to David and Michelle's house for breakfast and then took a break at the hotel until the afternoon's picnic. Laura had a cute cake made representing the 4 "kids:" Uncle Bob who has a boat and likes to sail, Blair (my dad) who is a librarian, Uncle Larry who lives in England and likes to garden and Aunt Anne who plays the oboe.We ate Carolina barbecue and talked and made a huge mess with bubbles! My kids got to ride a train around the park! On Saturday evening we had dinner at a nice restaurant in downtown Raleigh.Sunday morning, my mom, Frances and I went out to church while Henry and my dad stayed at the hotel. I was really impressed that Frances went off to Children's Church at this strange place she had never been to before! They invited all the kids up and encouraged visitors to come along. She went right up with all the other kids and left without even looking back!
After Mass some of us went to brunch at a restaurant near the hotel. Henry got restless during the meal, so he went and rode the escalators with Uncle Larry's friend Helene and me. He loved it!!
We took another short break and then my parents, kids, brothers, and David and Sydney headed out to the North Carolina Museum of Natural History where Frances and Sydney almost got eaten by a giant praying mantis, Grandpa tried to feed Frances to a dinosaur, and Henry showed Uncle Alan around.
After the museum we had dinner and went back to the hotel again for the evening.
We packed up and left early Monday morning to head to Uncle Bob and Aunt Mary's house in New Bern, NC for Brainard-Palooza, Part 2!