First let me share the thought for today...see if this applies to you:
Isn't that a hoot? I found this sign while sightseeing with my gang last week. Dave went out of town on business for a couple of days and I thought I'd run over to see my parents with the kids. That's the nice part about being closer location-wise to our families. I don't live in the same town (or state) as my parents, but it is an easy 4 hour drive to their house and completely possible over a weekend. That's something we never had the opportunity to do before.
Thursday, on my way back to Atlanta, my parents and I took the kids to a couple of North Alabama sites. First we visited the Oakville Indian Mounds which are the largest set of Woodland Mounds in the state of Alabama. Several Indian tribes made this area their home over the years so there are lots of history connections here. There is a museum there shaped in the style of a council house which contains artifacts and also a statue of Sequoya who created the Cherokee alphabet. My great-grandmother on my father's side was 100% Creek and we also have Cherokee heritage in our family. I thought it was important for the kids to see some of this localized history since it relates to their heritage. It's funny, after seeing the great sites of Washington D.C. I sometimes think kids identify with sites which are off the beaten path. After looking at all the tools and artifacts (it was a fairly simple museum, but good) and making the gift shop's attendant excited, we let the kids run atop one of the mounds which are accessible to the public.
After a late lunch in Cullman we then travelled to something you would NEVER imagine in the middle of a farm field in North Alabama. It's like an image out of Europe, but seems surreal amid such a rural area (OK, Tuscany is rural also, but you know what I mean.) in the South. It is called The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and rivals many of the cathedrals I saw in Europe. They wouldn't allow any photos inside the cathedral so I snuck these photos after the sun went down along with the sign on the towel holder in the bathroom. Think anyone from the Catholic church will confiscate them?
Two funny things happened while we were there. We made it through a 30 minute chanting service given by the nuns. This alone was an amazing fact considering that Grace dropped a post it note on the floor and it echoed! The nuns continued their chanting without many breaks and William leaned over and said, "Mom, when do you think they will change to another song? This one has gone on forever!"
Then later we were viewing the creche area which is like a grotto type building adjacent to the church. Inside they have a a nativity scene which remains in place all year long. It is beautiful and the kids loved looking at it. Grace even understood the meaning of the display and commented about baby Jesus and the others. There were candles there and so we lit them in honor of my grandmother and Dave's mom. It was such a sweet moment. We had the whole creche to ourselves so it was very intimate compared to the cathedral. Just when I was feeling all sappy a kid comment came along to bring me down to reality. Grace had moved to the pews and was sitting with my Mother when she said, "What in the world is Tinkerbell doing up there?!?" and then pointed to the angel at the top of the display. I thought my Mother was going to fall off the pew laughing.
Nothing like the Birth of Christ mixed with a little Disney talk, huh?