The Return Route

The Return “home,” it has become a lovely home, but what is ‘home’ when you live on the cusp of nomadic-ness with travel and military home roulette? 

The return home took much longer than the drive to Missouri because we only conquered about 4 to 6 hours a day and stopped for all the fun and memory making! Our first stop was Louisville again, but this time it was to tour the Churchill Downs. I found it to be very interesting, but the kids were bored. It was a long tour and had more of it been outside they would have enjoyed it a bit more, but it wasn’t and they were over it. They did however, really enjoy the museum.

Some of you know what my master’s degree is in, but almost no one ones the depths of what I was really studying. “Museum Science” is a vague umbrella of intensive exhibit design, organic material conservation, humidity levels, temperatures, different types of insects that cause threats to museum collections, loans, label font and size to cater to all levels of literacy and education. ANYWAY, my point, is that when I go into a museum I am very observant of the museum and permanent/traveling exhibit design. Now that I have children, the interactive aspects are becoming more important to me. The Churchill Downs museum has some incredible interactive displays for children. I apologize for the long windedness, but it is so incredibly important to expose your children to good museums when they are young so that they learn the joy of a well executed exhibit.

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Our second stop was actually the Mary Todd Lincoln house in Louisville, but for lack of photos I won’t spend much time on it. Very affordable entry. An incredibly long and in-depth, personal tour of almost the entire home, which differs from most historic house tours. The tour guide was personable and answered all of the boy’s many questions. From the gift shop, I purchased a beautiful Caldecott award-winning book about Abraham Lincoln’s life that the boys and I just finished in school. 

Most of my return photos are from Dollywood. I have wanted to go to Dollywood for quite a while, but upon looking at prices, yikes, it has been pushed off over and over again. We finally went on the return trip, bonus it was decorated for christmas. It was beautiful, very christian oriented, family friendly park. BUT my children are adrenaline, roller coaster junkies and there were almost no rides that they were tall enough to go on. They still had a great time, but price to product evaluation and we won’t be going back until my children are all MUCH taller.

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Our last, but never least, stop was the Biltmore Estates. I love this place so. Being one of the Curators on staff has been a dream of mine for a very long time. After my first exposure to the Biltmore a year ago May I said “we need to go back when it’s decorated for Christmas!” That we did! My dad has also always wanted to see it and never had so we went and took our sweet time seeing as much as we could. You see, hear, learn something different every single time you go. There are so many incredible things to do and see in and around the Asheville, NC area, but perhaps the best thing my kids saw was the faces of our beloved neighbors at the end of this month-long trip.

Playing Catch Up

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Whew! It has been a fast, yet long, three months of almost constant travel. After our Pennsylvania road trip the boys and I were home for a week before we drove to Charlotte, NC for the Thomas the train engine close-up. I was skeptical about this event because our Thomas the train ride was at noon and our Percy the train ride was at 5:15 so I’m thinking to myself “what in the world are we going to do for 5 hours?? How am I going to entertain Lux whom has already made it very clear that ‘it’s for babies?’ ugh.”

IT WAS AMAZING!! There was so much to do that we ran out of time and didn’t get to do everything. It was nice and spread out so there weren’t 45 kids in any one area. I cannot wait to go back. Wonderful bang for the buck. DO IT!

Two weekends later, Greg finally home, we went to the North Carolina Hot Air Balloon Festival. It was over our 6th anniversary (the first year we have been able to see each other on the date) and though it was a low-key, low funded event it was good and worth going. I want these blog posts to be honest so in the name of honesty we RARELY purchase VIP parking or pay extra to be closer, but we did this time not knowing what to expect. THANK HEAVENS we did. Holy walk. If you find yourself going to an event similar to this do yourself and your party a favor and purchase VIP parking. The areas for these types of events are typically large to protect property (cars, people, trailers) from potential balloon hazards. We still walked quite a ways, but it was definitely worth the money. 

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Ten days later, the kids, Dog, Poppy and I, hit the long road from Coastal North Carolina to Boonville (Mid-central) Missouri. 17 hours, that goes by rather quickly with good conversation, but has some pretty horrendous moments with 3 kids squished into a mid-sized suv with no movies or electronics of any kind. I have a few rather pious and also boring normal reasons for this. 

  1. I have an older vehicle, no built in fancy things.
  2. In the past I have tried portable dvd players. one person couldn’t hear, then it wasn’t fair, then they didn’t like the movie. I put them away never to reemerge.
  3. Maybe the biggest reason, the only way we went on vacation growing up was via road trip, this is how I saw a good portion of the midwest. I LOOKED OUT THE WINDOW, or I read, played games, many many other things. I learned all of my initial assumption about the world by viewing it and you miss out on so much of the adventure by not looking out the window and asking questions.

 

On the other hand, I completely understand a mother’s want to hand out the electronics, typically everyone is happier (kids and mom included). Too bad for my kiddos, I won’t budge on this one. A movie here and there if the equipment exists is enjoyable, but I’d rather they count cows :).

All of our attempts to sight see on the way to Missouri were a bust due to winter hours except at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Bat Factory. It was a last minute decision to go there and we loved it! Very kid friendly, great little museum, wonderful factory tour. It surprised me and now I’m recommending it far and wide.

Our trip back was immensely more fun, stay tuned. . .