Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Final Vacation Post!! 19 Things We Learned While on the Road

Because an even number just isn't quirky enough.

1.  Cuckoo is a "slow chewer".  We know this because every single day, as the kids begged and pleaded with him to "just finish eating so we can leave already", Cuckoo would get frustrated and holler, "I'm a slow chewer!"
2.  But apparently a fast blower.  Every time a hot meal was placed in front of him, there would be a flurry of activity as he used the entire top half of his body in an attempt to bring the temperature of his food down.

3.  My kids can be bought with an indoor pool and a couch.  When we were looking for hotels, we chose to stay in the ones which were mid-priced.  With my need to rent 2 rooms each night, we wanted to avoid the pricier hotels.  However, we didn't want to go too cheap and risk finding a gigantic knife stuck in a wall and filth all over the bathroom.  On our 4th night, we tried a Comfort Inn, which happens to be suites instead of single rooms.   The kids were completely impressed.  When they found out it had an indoor pool, they lost their minds.  (No other hotel had one.)  Swimming after breakfast was in order.  As was getting another Comfort Inn for the next night.

Apparently, he was trying to swim underwater, because when he surfaced he asked, "Could you see me?"

4.  Hotel bathroom lights are brutally honest.  Always bring tweezers to take care of those now-noticeable facial hairs.

5.  State park trash cans are both animal- and child-proof.

It took an uncomfortable amount of time for the boys to figure this out.

6.  It takes complete concentration for boys to simply walk along a path.  Staircase banisters cry out to them, "Slide down me!"  Rock walls beg of them, "Climb up here and walk on me!"  Barrier poles taunt them, "I bet you can't jump over me!"  A mother of boys must constantly be on the lookout for danger.

Notice Star jumping off of the cement wall.  Phoenix is about to run up it.  Giant just landed.
7.  She must also keep an eye out for elderly people.  Boys don't seem to notice when others are around them when they are jumping/running/climbing/rolling/falling/skipping/anything but walking in a straight line.

8.  Cups "make" cool sounds.

Don't ask me how Phoenix discovered this phenomenon, but he convinced everyone to put their ears to their cups and listen.

Poor Cuckoo, with his plastic, lidded cup, didn't know what was so interesting.
9.  Dollar General is taking over the world.  I am not exaggerating when I say that every single town big enough for a stop light had a Dollar General.  Some towns that weren't big enough to have a stop light had one, too.

Of the hundred Dollar Generals we saw, I don't know why I chose to take a photo during the only 30 minute block of time the entire vacation that we had rain.
10.  Surprisingly, Sonic was a close second in the take over the world race.

11.  Children are easily amused by things we as kids considered normal.

Bet you can't guess what has them all so enthralled.  It is the one and only thing they actually fought over this entire trip.

12.  Museums can be found in the oddest of places.

When Nascar driver Mark Martin decided to go into the car sales business and built a Ford dealership, he included a largish museum all about himself.  I have to admit, seeing the cars and trophies were pretty nifty.  The gift shop, not so much.
13.  Never take your eyes off of a goat.

They may just try to climb into your golf cart to get the food you have in your hand.  I watched that goat walk all the way up, never telling Phoenix what was about to happen.  The poor kid jumped a mile when he felt the fur on his hands.  Unfortunately, I was sitting too close to him to get a photo.  Thankfully, Buttercup was at the ready behind us.
14.  Small towns still have the playground equipment of our generation.

15.  Cherry bumps and the premature jumping off of the teeter-totter by one's teeter-tottering partner still cause pain and injury.

Soon after this, both Star and Giant were down with teeter totter injuries.

16.  Phoenix cannot be trusted with reconnaissance. We decided to hike up a hill in Hot Springs to the look-out tower.  My mom chose to drive up instead, so abandoned us at the bottom.  After she left us, we came to a sign for the trail

and some construction on the trail.  I sent Phoenix up ahead to scope it out for us.  He came back to report that the construction seemed to end just ahead, so we carried on.

It never ended.

17.  Park rangers/workers should really assume that hikers in their park have no common sense.  When we got to the top of the trail, we found this:

The top of the trail was blocked off.  We can only guess they didn't do the same to the bottom, because from the bottom, the construction was clearly visible.

18.  Small towns are very proud of the famous people who were born in them.  We know this, because they all have signs telling passerby which famous person was born there.  The most shocking to us was this one:

We even did a u-turn to go back and take a photo of the sign.  Giant took the photo from across 3 lanes.  Going 45 miles/hour.  In the far side of the van.  Give him a break.
It says, "Kennett:  Birthplace of Sheryl Crow".  She was born in the middle of nowhere!

19.  And lastly, the strict TV and video game limits I have always had for the children are paying off.  Regardless of where we were, without my help, the kids came up with games to entertain themselves.  Even in a plain, boring shelter at the top of a hill, waiting for my mom to drive the van up, the kids saw a chance to play a new version of hide-n-seek.

While the seekers counted,, the hiders found spots on the outside, looking through a hole in the wall.  Cuckoo is "hiding".

The seekers were on the inside, trying to find everyone's faces.  Cuckoo, as a seeker, just found someone.

Phoenix was his usual silly self, calling "Try to find me!"  
You trooper, You!  You made it through the last of the vacation posts!  Give yourself a round of applause!

We will now return to our rarely scheduled posting.

Just in time, too.  The new pigs are coming soon!

Every week, Julie hosts a "What I Learned This Week" link up.  I'm joining in!

Have a lovely day!


  1. Thanks for taking me along on your vacation. Your kids rock. They all seem so happy and are enjoying themselves and then some. You are a good mom.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. Thank you for sticking with us!
      Thank you for all of the encouragement you have left for me on my posts.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed ur travel saga. WHat a bunch of cute kids. convey my regards to all
    Dropping by from Ato z

    1. Thank you!
      Good luck making it through April!

  3. Awesome stuff. What's a cherry bump when it's at home?

    The hide and seek looks fun. And the museum :)

    1. A cherry bump when it's at home??? I don't know what that means. A cherry bump is when the person on the down side of the teeter totter doesn't stop the descent with his feet, but lets the teeter totter hit the ground, causing the person on the other side to fly out of his seat.

      They had a great time. With all of it.

  4. I can't wait to go on a trip with you guys...too much fun! :)

    1. Can you handle the impromptuness of it all, Miss OCD?

  5. I wanna go too! We dont have dollar generals or sonics...travel east next time!!! You have Dairy Queen??? Dollat Tree? Ocean State joblots?

    1. No Dollar Generals?!?!? I have no doubt they are making their way to a town near you. We do have Dairy Queen and Dollar Tree, too. Never heard of Ocean State joblots. Probably because we're so far away from the ocean!
      Yeah, we didn't go east because we wanted to be warm. East has not been proven to be warm this year. :)

  6. (lets see if I can 'say' this correctly)… I really enjoyed these photo posts because all the photos were like a real person took them (as opposed to perfectly composed and framed and f-stopped and grayscale) and not a professional photographer.

    hey you remember the white cat in the photo of the soccer game, from last Summer? (yeah, apparently it wasn't really there in the goal like it looked like)… I caught another of your optical illusion photos…. (photo #7) that I call "the Mystery of the Levitating Pizza (or pancakes or something)".

    no! really, when I first glanced at it, I was like, what the hell?!?

    1. This made me laugh. I'm glad someone appreciates the horrible photo quality of some/most of these shots. I never pulled my real camera out of the van, but used my phone for them all. I could have taken better photos (You probably don't know I used to own a photography business.) but then I would have missed out on too many moments.

      The cat I got. The levitating pizza? Not so much. :)

    2. actually that's very cool ...the shadow under the pizza or whatever it is makes it look like it's levitating a bit

  7. So true about the Dollar Generals! We camp in the middle of absolute nowhere, but about 30 minutes away you can get just about anything your heart desires from a Dollar General in a super tiny town called Mulberry, which has absolutely nothing else of interest in it. It has become a fun tradition for us to visit each year - I know, odd tradition. lol!

    Looks like y'all had such a great time. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. By now you should know that I would never poo-poo someone's odd tradition! That sounds wonderful. I will be grateful for them, too, as when one of the boys had a bathroom emergency, the General was there with an available bathroom.

      We did. Thanks for taking the time to follow along!

  8. What an awesome vacation!!!! Can't wait to read about the new pigs. Lol

    1. It really was.
      While you all look forward to pig fiascoes, I will be keeping my fingers crossed that it is a boring, easy year with them! :)

  9. I haven't had a chance to visit lately and I CANNOT BELIEVE what I have missed. this is one of the best posts I have ever read on any blog--I love this!!! You are so funny and so great at photography the combination is incredible! Thanks so much! jean !!!

    1. Aw, Jean, you are too sweet. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  10. Agree on that # 8
    Did it a lot when I was a kid :-)

    1. Ha! When the kids started doing it, I of course gave it a whirl. I vaguely remember doing it as a child.

  11. I had to laugh at the end, "you trooper". I've honestly had this tab open on my computer for days! LOL. In the end my favorite picture is the action shot of blowing the pizza. Christopher is a cautious one. My boy is different. I can remember his teacher in preschool telling me to take him to the park and get him to try some stuff. Finally he was more adventures on the playground but never would never has touched the monkey bars. Last year we went zip lining with a group. I wasn't really that nervous about it because I thought I was going stay behind with him. When he said he was going to do it, I was WOW but now I've got to do it. Anyway WE did it! Love that they were so excited about the typewriter. Between Dollar General, Family Dollar and whatever the one is with the green sign I feel like we have about 200 of them in our small town.

    1. Ha! Well, I'm glad you stuck around for them. :)
      Wow, he must have been quite cautious. I'm glad he's coming out of that shell and is trying more adventurous activities. Mostly, I'm glad he's dragging you along with him. :)

      The green sign would be the Dollar Tree. We have them all, too, being in the big city and all. Out in the country, it's Dollar General all the way.

  12. I am still in awe of the fact that y'all just took off and went with no plan. I think it's amazing and so many great photos. I enjoyed all of this, Christine! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    1. I am still a bit shocked that we did it, too. :)

      I'm glad you liked it.

  13. You mean you didn't make a pit stop in my town? LOL. We could have done the Ohio Caverns and seen some bats.

  14. Your kids sure do know how to make/have fun!! Good on ya mama!!! Typewriter huh....I wonder if they would have had the same reaction to a rotary phone?!?!? :)

    Whoo-hooo....piggy adventures coming soon!!! :D

  15. I am packing my suitcase and coming to join your family. Seriously... first an awesome vacation, and now you're getting PIGS?????!?!?!?!?!!!! Wait, but are you going to eat the pigs? Cause if you are, then I might not come.

  16. 1. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has a cure for that.
    3. We almost always stay in Comfort Inns. Mid-priced, corporate owned, and (so far) always clean. And they have a frequent guest thing and an easy site on which to book stays. If you plan them, that is.
    5. State Parks in New York are carry in-carry out. No trash cans. Nice in theory, but a pain, nonetheless.
    9.-10. Casey's General Stores must be third.
    13. I had a confrontation with a goat when I was three that I have never forgotten.
    15. I'm not sure if my kids have ever BEEN on a teeter-totter. It was my favorite thing to do at recess.
    16.-17. This reminds me of a hike gone wrong in Colorado. Note to self: add to list to blog about that fiasco.
    18. Kennett is kind of Missouri's answer to Cairo....
    19. Clever take on hide-and-seek!

  17. I've been catching up with reading you and WOW you had a fun vacation! I'm inspired to travel south with my tribe now--looks like you guys saw all kinds of funny things along the way--that Hillbilly Garden and Gooberville!
    I like that your family lets the water under the bridge. That's a good way to live. Hope you have a blast celebrating your sister's wedding.


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