Jonny’s Trip with all 7

Jonny took all seven kids (!!!) with him to North Carolina last week for their third annual fossil hunting trip.  I went along the first yearlast year I stayed home with Job, but this year I stayed home all by myself to tackle my own projects and just be alone.  Jonny carried a camera and documented parts of the trip and wrote here what he would like to remember, or maybe some of what he’d rather forget.  I was grateful when they arrived home safe Saturday night, and I am sure Jonny was too. 

I was planning on leaving with the kids for our annual fossil festival trip at noon on Wednesday. But, I broke a pipe under the house while fixing another pipe…and so we left at 9 pm. Seth was mad. I was tired. Stopped at WaWa, got some gas and coffee, and hit 95 south. Wait, not yet. Actually, after we had been at WaWa for 10 minutes, and I fired up the engine, the little girls realized then that they needed to tinkle. This seemed to be a theme throughout the trip…waiting till after we just left somewhere with a bathroom, or waiting until we were about to leave after being somewhere with a bathroom to announce the need to tinkle. Anyway, we arrived at the hotel around 2 am. A short while later the front desk called to let me know there were some complaints about noise…

Thursday morning we headed to Greens Mill Run for some fossilin’. We played in the creek for a few hours before meeting up with my good friend who had also come to town. A big storm came in, so we headed to our vehicles. We were at the parking lot when I noticed a sign with some familiar kids. I remembered Ginny telling me she had been contacted about using one of her pictures for a sign, but last year we couldn’t find it.  The rain came hard and fast and quickly filled the streets. There is a road that passes under a train track on the way back to the hotel. The storm drains can’t drain fast enough when there is a heavy rain. A depth gauge shows you how deep the water is. When we arrived, the water was at 1 ft., then it climbed to 2 ft. I simply parked the van, and we watched the cars approach, then decide if they wanted to try and ford the water, or turn around.

That night, we hadn’t been back in the hotel for more than a couple of minutes before the phone rang. We were all sitting on beds watching TV. It was the front desk. Apparently it sounded like we were “moving furniture around and jumping up and down”.   Not sure how that happens when everyone is zoning out on Animal Planet. A few minutes later I was packing our belongings and carrying everything to the opposite end of the hotel, including the dinner I was cooking on the stove.   When the kids were in the new room, and I was leaving the old one with the last of our belongings, I stomped around on the floor a few times. Maybe it was more than a few. I knew it was wrong, but the kids weren’t around to witness it. Not that that makes it all right. But, it did make me feel better. I just felt like I needed to show whoever was downstairs what banging really sounded like.

The next morning we met up with my friend and his kids, and we went to Belgrade Quarry. We searched the spoils and found some good finds, including a not-so-fossilized turtle. We then headed to the Neuse River where Seth bonked his head on a dock and lost, then found his hat. Later we went to a super special secret location where Job played in water and mud. The littles fell asleep on the way back to the hotel. Job slept all night…the first time in recent memory.

Saturday morning found us back at Greens Mill Run so I could take a picture of the sign without rain pouring down, and so Seth could make a quick solo hunt. The rest of the kids and I played at the playground and watched some Little League baseball. We then headed to Aurora for the fossil festival. We watched some modified lawnmowers pull a heavy sled, checked out the many exhibits, and dug through the spoils piles to find fossils. We ate our annual cup of homemade ice cream for lunch. Late in the day I was beat, and so were the kids. Seth asked if he could put something in the van. I gave him the keys and reminded him not to lock them in the van. An hour later I asked Seth where the keys were. He checked his pockets, then groaned. Yep, he locked them in. Once our keys were retrieved by a kind police man, we loaded up and headed home. I think I made the 5 hour drive with only one triple espresso. Bea never got sick. I think I did fine.


  1. Hahah loved reading this from Johnny’s perspective! Poor guy 🙂 He did great!

    Also, I love that they used your photo!! Ahhh so cool! It’s a great photo too.

  2. Super Dad!!!

  3. Theresa says:

    Had to laugh at your stomping around. That is so totally something I would have done. Love it!!

  4. Absolutely hilarious. I love all the posts you do, Ginny, but Johnny definitely needs to write more often!

  5. Sounds like a great trip. The hotel should have moved the whiners instead of the man with all the kids. I hope you got a good rest in whatever way you liked Ginny. I used to do chores because they made me feel good when my kids napped even though everyone told me I should nap or rest too. Having a clean organized house was more relaxing for me than a nap.
    I’m always surprised how much applause we give men for looking after their own kids alone when women do it all the time and no one says a thing about that.

  6. Anna Adams says:

    Had to read the part about the hotel room stompin’ to my husband and kids- CLASSIC.

  7. Great post Jonny! Love the reality of life!

  8. Abby Walsman says:


  9. What an adventure! (And the stomping on the floor bit was hilarious. Thanks for starting my morning off with a laugh.)

  10. That sounds like such an adventure! I imagine in your family every day is an adventure with that many kids! How cool.

  11. The part about the hotel made me laugh. We’ve got four young ones in an apartment and I’m sure our downstairs neighbours hate us. It probably didn’t help that we started learning the violin. Is it uncharitable that I hope the next ones who live here are major party-ers? When we leave I’ll be take a cue from Jonny and do some extra stomping 🙂
    Ginny, how lovely that you had some quiet time to recharge. Awesome job Jonny!

  12. I think this is amazing! Not every husband would be willing to do this! As to the complaints, I bet that second time they just decided to complain just about knowing there was a family with many children upstairs; people can be like that about large families, as I’m sure you know well. I am glad you stomped a bit, I think I’d have done the same, maybe turned the TV on and up loud for good measure while finishing up.

  13. Fine indeed! We had a similar thing happen at Ruby’s Inn at Bryce Canyon. It was 10pm. We had just arrived, beat from a long day, all of us tumbled into bed and there was a knock on the door. The lady was shocked to see me in bed with our 4,3 and 1 year olds. Obviously we weren’t the ones sounding like elephants moving furniture!

    My dad had taught me to walk like an Indian so that not even the crackling leaves would give me away. My husband never got that message having gown up with concret floors but still we were not moving anything.

  14. What an enjoyable and amazing posting. Johnny is certainly one in a million! And those of us who would not have the courage to jump can roundly cheer for he who did. ha, ha, ha The whole posting made my day.

  15. whew! and yay for no sickness! too bad about the picky people, that can be a real pain! Sounds like a good trip and a little break for one busy Mom! 🙂 love Johnny’s report!

  16. Vanessa says:

    Ginny I just love your blog. i am feeling PEACE just imagining a mom getting that much alone time AT HOME to tackle projects. as i sit at my in laws washing our bazillionth load of laundry bc our mudroom is “under construction” (has been for months) and all 6 kids are parked in front of their 20th movie of the day…. need to show this to my hubby so he might do something similar sometime soon… 😉

  17. Loved the ending! “Bea never got sick. I think I did fine. ” Also the mental image of you stomping around for “educational purposes ” did make me laugh a little, and partly I was mad for you, people can be a little too quick to complain sometimes.

  18. Smile wonderful post, and a wonderful trip full of memories for all.

  19. Love it! Thanks for posting, well done, Jonny! Sounds like all had a great time, away and at home. Blessings.

  20. My hat is off to you, I get nervous traveling on my own just with our two kids. Ginny, hope you enjoyed your time at home alone!

  21. Caitlin says:

    This is the best, on so many levels!!!!!

  22. Hey Jonny! I would have moved furniture and stomped on the floor! You didn’t just do “fine”, you did “fantastically great”.

  23. A well handled trip and a study in patience. 🙂 Sounds like the people under you at the hotel were setting up a case for a room discount. Ridiculous. I’m afraid I would have given them some stomping as well… hopefully without the kids, too.

  24. Jennifer Hammer says:

    Wow! Awesome. Hope you had some good time alone, Ginny. It can be a little overwhelming when you’re not accustomed to it, but still- a good thing!

  25. Lisa G. says:

    HAhaha – what else is there to say? 😀

  26. Ginny….I hope your time alone was everything you needed it to be!!! Yay for supportive husbands!

  27. bravo!
    my sons are a tad jealous of the shark teeth etc.

  28. Well done Jonny. It is so kind of you to take the kids and leave Ginny alone. I don’t know if dads know how much this is appreciated. And you can do all that with your injury?! And no puking? Ginny must be impressed with Job’s sleeping accomplishments. Blessings to you.

  29. What a good man! Definitely not for the fainthearted, which would include me. ; )

  30. Jonny’s annual trip posts make me appreciate where I live. We are in Eastern NC and can you believe have never made the fossil festival? But we have been to the museum. And Green Mill run is about 10 miles from our house. Last year your post helped me identify clary sage that grows everywhere this time of year. Jonny is a brave brave man. Love the stomping part. Blessings!

  31. My congratulations to Jonny for making it through a trip with all 7! And Ginny, so glad you had a few days at home all by yourself. I bet the quiet was a little strange. 🙂

    Also my husband would have done the same thing with the stomping. I would have thought about doing it in my mind but would have been much to timid to actually do it!

  32. Bego Aguilera says:

    I have been really laughing about the jumping over the neighbours. Thanks 🙂
    And you are really courageous to be travelling alone with seven kids. A good journey! thank you for sharing

    bego (from Spain)

  33. Love love love love love this!!!!

  34. Oh my goodness! What an adventure for Jonny!

    I also laughed pretty hard at the stomping at the hotel. HAHA!

  35. That is so awesome! Giggled all the way thru…we have 6 children and will be taking a family road trip in a couple weeks. This is a good heads-up!

  36. My husband would totally jump up and down on the floor too.

  37. Gwendolyn says:

    Hilarious! I laughed out loud on the stomping part! Yes, I remember many times the kids not going to the restroom when it was available and then 5 minutes later, they have to go. Now, it’s the 54 year olds that need to stop at every location with a restroom. I’m so glad Jonny has the energy to handle all 7. He deserves a medal. I’m sure Ginny will show us all she’s accomplished with her days alone. What a well deserved treat!

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