Vacation memories

We began our vacation by sending the girls to Somerset with Nanny and Papa, and hanging out with the students and their parents (and Eric and Kelly and Austin) at Camp Loucon in Leitchfield for our Purity Retreat. We had an excellent weekend there, then headed to Somerset Sunday night. Our time in and around Somerset included a trip to Cumberland Falls; a massive family photo shoot; birthday parties for Samuel; visiting the farm, visiting with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins; hiking and swimming at Laurel Lake’s Holly Bay. We headed out on Thursday, stopping first in Lexington for an afternoon at the Explorium. On to Louisville for dinner at Chuck E. Cheese, and staying with Mrs. Linda, a friend from Beechmont. Friday saw us at the zoo, then meeting other Beechmont friends for a picnic at Iroquois Park. Saturday sent us to Six Flags, where we had an absolutely wonderful day courtesy of Linda. Met Nanny and Papa in Bowling Green to get Elliot and headed home that night. We crammed lots of things into our week, but we had such a great time. It was exactly what we needed!

Some memories that stand out:

* Watching ‘fraidy cats triumph over their fears on the zipline at the purity retreat

* Seeing Chelsey’s face when she realized what the topic was for the weekend

* Seeing parents who cared enough about their kids to spend a weekend talking with them

* Playing spoons until 1:00 am.

* Abigail at Cumberland Falls: “I thought you said it would be big.”

* Abigail at Cumberland Falls: “The waterfall looks like caramel.”

* Getting 31 people from four generations all together in one place at one time for family pictures.

* Watching Samuel enjoy his first birthday cake

* Getting to eat the fish Clay caught and filleted at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

* Riding the Gator to see the animals

* Watching Samuel enjoy his second first birthday cake with Grandmama, Poppaw, Ken, and Stephanie

* Watching Clay drive off to park the van (which had the diapers and wipes in it) at the end of the hiking trail, then hearing Elisabeth say, “I messied in my diaper.” Then hearing the lady in the office say they didn’t have a bathroom.

* Bringing up the rear of the hike with Elisabeth, who took her sweet time eating her raisins while she was walking. Hearing her say at one point, “Where my sissuhs go?” because we were so far behind.

* Watching their excitement at something small like climbing the rocks to the picnic area instead of taking the steps.

* Getting from the parking lot to the beach with two grownups, four children, four floats, three pairs of arm floats, six towels, one quilt, and one beach bag.

* Watching Samuel “walk” around in the shallow water

* Listening to Abigail acting out and singing “She waded in the water and she got her ankles wet.”

* Hearing Elisabeth yell, “Mom, watch this!” and then running full speed into the water.

* The excitement when they realized there were fish and ducks swimming with us, and the slight awkwardness when they wanted to know why the fish always followed close behind the ducks.

* Watching Abigail swim straight out to the rope with no hesitation.

* The sweet quiet in the van on the way home from the beach.

* Dinner at Bob Evans with Nanny and Papa, Aunt Gertie and Savannah, and Eric and Kelly, and Catherine saying on the way out, “Mom, who paid the money for that food ’cause I need to say thank you?”

* Actually leaving at our desired time to head to Lexington

* Lunch at Culvers. Reese’s Cup Sundae. Need I say more?

* Elisabeth loving the water tables at the Explorium.

* Samuel loving the trains at the Explorium.

* Abigail loving the map at the Explorium.

* Catherine loving everything at the Explorium.

* Mommy not loving chaperoning about eight trips to the potty at the Explorium.

* Leaving at our desired time to head to Louisville, and enjoying the sleepy van on the way.

* Elisabeth finally arriving at Chuck E. Cheese–her mind couldn’t grasp the abstract-ness of “not until vacation” and then “not until we get to Louisville”, and she had been saying “But you thought you was going to Chuck E. Cheese!” every time we pulled up to a restaurant for about two months. She was very happy to finally get there.

* Dividing up their tokens, seeing their pride at putting them in their pockets, then watching them share with each other when they ran out.

* Helping the poor kid pick up the fifty billion tokens he poured down the slide, then getting rewarded by his mom with their pick of some of said tokens.

* Having enough left on the gift card to buy the girls each a Chuck E. Cheese lunch box and Samuel a Chuck E. Cheese ball.

* Their enormous pride in aforementioned lunch boxes.

* Finding Samuel an incredibly stylin’ birthday outfit at Babies R Us, which rates right up there with Target in my book

* The wonderful kindness of Linda, our Louisville hostess, in making our stay and our zoo/Six Flags trips absolutely awesome.

* Clay’s bird that he just loved in the Islands exhibit at the zoo.

* The horrible geese (awful, nasty creatures) that tormented us while we were eating lunch. I was extremely proud of my hubby for kicking one over, even if the other diners were appalled.

* Hitting four geese in the head as I threw food to the ones who stayed in the pond where they were supposed to be.

* Seeing the sheer delight our girls had at getting soaked in their clothes at the splash park in the zoo.

* Taking a break for a snack, asking them their favorite so far, and hearing Elisabeth say the elephants when we hadn’t even seen the elephants yet.

* The fun of walking through the mist-ers.

* Going back to Linda’s, changing into dry clothes, and going to Iroquois Park to get soaked again in the splash park there.

* Hanging out with Louisville friends, just like old times.

* Being attacked by bees the whole time we were eating.

* Seeing Catherine’s face, just giddy at the fun of running through the water fully dressed for the second time that day.

* Hearing Samuel crack up laughing as soon as I started pushing him on the swing.

* Watching Elisabeth’s wet denim shorts get heavier and heavier until they finally fell off, watching her run around trying to hold them up while she played, then watching her run around in a shirt and diaper when I finally relieved her of her shorts.

* Heading to Six Flags, the part of the trip I had been talking up for weeks.

* Riding the water coaster, just me and Abigail. She was nervous, but liked it enough to volunteer to take Daddy for a turn on it with her.

* Floating down the lazy river with Catherine

* Playing in the wave pool with Catherine and Elisabeth while Daddy and Abigail rode the water coaster–they loved it until the waves came and then I’ve never seen a little kid run through water so fast to get out of those waves!

* Meeting up with TN cousins for lunch; they just happened to be there the same day

* Understanding from the map that we could all ride Blizzard River, and waiting in line close to an hour, only to have Elisabeth turned away at the front of the line, then seeing her crying as Clay carried her away. I was close to begging them to let her ride, and almost cried myself.

* Hearing Abigail laughing and laughing as she got soaked on the ride.

* Having a bucket of water dumped on my head as part of the audience for the Warner Brothers Kids’ Club show.

* Abigail and Catherine getting chosen to go on stage and participate. Abigail coming back wailing because she was wet and cold, and Catherine coming back laughing for the same reasons.

* Standing in line for the Ferris Wheel, and hearing Elisabeth say tiredly, “Mommy, please don’t let it leave without me.” Seeing her smile when she got to get on.

* The rest that the Ferris Wheel ride gave us

* Riding the Tin Lizzies with Abigail, who refused to steer because she thought it was fun to let it bang into the track.

* Finally getting their treats: cotton candy and Dippin’ Dots.

* Elisabeth saying her favorite part of the day was the cotton candy.

* Taking the long way home to get Elliot in Bowling Green, and no one falling asleep for the first 2 1/2 hours.

* Coming home to a clean, cool house, thanks to my frenzied cleaning before we left and Mark’s kindness in turning our air conditioner on.

* Being greeted by Lucy, who was going crazy at having people in the house again. She didn’t stop meowing and snuggling us until the wee hours of the morning, which was very annoying for us tired people, but sweet in her own way.

We had the best time. It was everything we ever wanted it to be, and that is in large part thanks to our parents, and Linda. Thank you all for helping us to have such a great vacation!!

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