Monday, January 6, 2014

Griswold Christmas Vacation

Okay sitting in my house today with frigid arctic temperatures 
outside, it is pretty amazing that I am looking at these pictures of our family last week in 
light jackets and Uncle Neil wearing shorts.  
After opening all Santa gifts and hanging out with the entire family 
for a week, we headed south.  
South to North Carolina to visit Uncle Neil in Raleigh. 
The was our first trip there with kids, our first time traveling without any diapers, and the first time 
going through mountains.  
We forgot one essential thing though... one of our kids get car sick.  
Well we didn't forget.  We asked Rosie a dozen   no a hundred times if she was okay. 
She always replied "I'm fine."
3/4 of the way through West Virginia we got a shout from the back seat from Bubba 
"Rosie just puked!"
Oh man. 
Unscheduled stop, we cleaned the van the best we could with every napkin, tissue, dirty clothes we could.  I am actually impressed how resourceful we are when we need to be.  
A new set of clothes and 15 minutes later, we were on the road again and 
all ready to see the rest of the beautiful mountain scenery. 
(Rosie didn't see the scenery, she slept most of the rest of the way... poor girl)
Now I don't know what Uncle Neil has over my kids 
but they are attached especially the younger two. 
Maybe it's because he is a giant teddy bear...
Maybe it is because he gives them ice cream sandwiches for breakfast... 
I dont know what it is but when he is around.... I am chop liver. 
We drove the 9 1/2 hours to Raleigh not really having a plan.  
We knew we were going to stay in the area 3 days, but I didn't do much planning on 
anything else.  I let Uncle Neil do all the work.  
He did good.  
He even planned in naps.  LOL
The first day he took us to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. 
It was a beautiful place with an indoor interactive portion and an outside area filled with a butterfly house, insectarium, dinosaur park, playground, and live animals including a black bear, wolves, and farm animals. 
 We spent most of our time in the building room.  
The BIG kids were just as intent on making a working contraption with pulleys, levers, dominoes, ramps, and catapults.  Two engineers did a little teaching and a lot of tinkering to "raise the flag."
(a discarded pink knit glove I found in my purse)
There were a lot of ooooohs and aahhhhs and oh nos as they worked away.  
 After pulling the two big boys away from the geeky contraptions, we went outside. 
{Gigi and Uncle Neil} 
 Can you tell these two are brothers?
 I could have spent all day in the Butterfly House. 
Bubba enjoyed it too.

{A partridge in a pear tree.... heehee} 
There wasn't much wind, but if there was the sailboat lagoon would have been fun to spend 
a lot of time at. Unfortunately there wasn't a lick of wind that day and the boats weren't that much fun. 

Look at us in jackets!!  Today we went out in the -15 degree weather in 
snow coats, hats, scarves, snow boots, and every body part covered.  
The joys of living in the North!!  
 I did get a nice run in and the bike path not far from Neil's apartment had amazing scenery for a morning run.  I needed the exercise because every local restaurant Neil took us to was absolutely delicious.  So very little will power against mudslide milkshakes, pulled pork sandwiches and fried squash. 

On Sunday, we went into downtown Raleigh to 
Marbles Children's Museum. 
This reminded us of our family museum back home.   

This pic is blurry, I know, but the kids had to show Uncle Neil how to hula hoop.  
He needed some tips on how to move those hips.  

 The last night in Raleigh we got a hotel so we could go swimming in a pool. 
Thanks to Uncle Neil for letting us crash at our house the first two nights. 
I am sure your place won't ever be the same.  
We wore them out swimming that night and they slept soundly in one bed. 
I don't think we can pull off this one hotel room sleeping thing much longer, Rosie's toes are off the bed when we sleep with them sideways.  
Good thing we don't stay in hotels very often.  
It's a good thing we were almost at the end of our trip because we only had two more clean outfits and could barely get our bags shut anymore.  
We left Raleigh with hopefully everything that we brought, and headed West.  
With a stop in Asheville to see my cousin Mary who I hadn't seen in years, we made it half of the way back to Iowa by night fall.  
We are so lucky that our kid's travel so well. 
They are becoming experts and make traveling so easy for mom and dad.  
Making one fun stop on the was home New Year's Eve, we made a pitstop in Louisville at the Louisville Slugger Factory. The entrance in and of itself is stunning with a giant bat leaning against the building. 

 We met Babe Ruth. 
Saw how each bat is made. 
Swung at some baseballs in the batting cages. 
 Picked up a souvenir mini bat which quickly became light sabers and were then quickly taken away. 
A fun stop.  
We made it home just in time for a late supper, baths, and to watch the ball drop.  

 We clinked champagne flutes of sparkling apple juice and rang in the new year at 11:00 pm.
There was not going to be any waiting up to midnight for mommy and daddy who had done all the driving that day. 
It was perfect way to bring in the new year. 
All together. 

Now we are home. 
Bundled up and on day 17 of Christmas Break. 
I feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away marking the days on the cave walls.  
Mommy is ready for the kids to get back to learning at school and having the house 
relatively to myself.  
But alas it is not to be because tomorrow is another snow day and we go onto day 18... 
please come and check for survivors. 
Just kidding. 
I declared today the day for everyone to take naps. 
So an hour of silence for mommy. 
I'm in heaven 

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