Here we are at the end of the school year. Seems like once spring break occurs that the days go by quickly filled with end of the year activities and madness. I look at my three children and I can see that each of them has grown and changed through the year...mentally and physically. It's a good feeling.
Although the year is only half gone, I believe that the trip we took in April will remain as one of the great memories of 2009. It marked a vacation milestone for us as a family. Jordan, headed solidly into 7th grade next year, will only be with us for a few years before she'll be headed to college or elsewhere in her teenage mind. William is 7.5 and completely fascinated with learning new things and putting ideas together in his head. Little Grace is no longer a baby...and she's racing to keep up with her older siblings, having no problem with making her comments along the way. No more baby strollers to tote, we have kids that can walk their own suitcase to the hotel room. It was a great year to travel.
So when people now ask how our spring break was I can barely even begin to tell them a concise version of the trip. We had three kiddos who gladly traveled 2,630 miles with us and were willing to have new experiences each day without reserve. By the end of the trip I had a new respect for how far we had come as a family. Our initial purpose in making the trip was to see Dave's Aunt Libby who lives in Pennsylvania. She is the only sister of Dave's late mother and we've always been close. She's never been able to meet Grace in person so we thought this would be the perfect year to make it happen. I'm sure you are wondering why we headed to Texas instead of Pennsylvania. We were actually willing to go either way, but Aunt Libby was already heading to Texas to see her oldest grandson for Easter so it made more sense to head toward the SW. We felt so fortunate to have the chance to see Dave's cousin, Joshua and his awesome wife, Claudia. So as we planned the trip it occurred to us that there were a lot of other things to do and people to see along the way. It became a sort of 'friends and family tour' that the kids have not stopped talking about yet.
I thought posting our itinerary would be a way to begin the trip posts. That will help you understand why Dave and my tongues are still hanging out.
Friday, April 3 - Traveled from Atlanta to Mobile, ate an awesome dinner on the Mobile Bay at Ed's; Traveled through Mississippi, then Louisiana; Visited Auburn and Navy buddies, the Batsons, in Mandeville, LA.
Saturday, April 4 - Crossed Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans, LA to spend a quick morning. Ate breakfast at Cafe du Monde, saw Regis and Kelly with their paparazzi as we ate there, walked a quick tour along the river and then headed out of town. Traveled through Louisiana, stopped in Houston for dinner and a quick visit with Dave's cousin, Sue, then arrived in San Antonio, TX.
Sunday, April 5 - Decided to visit Oak Hills Church and see Max Lucado speak; Toured the Riverwalk eating awesome Mexican food, rode the river cruise boats, saw the Alamo and went swimming.
Monday, April 6 - Last minute details in San Antonio, then headed towards Austin, TX. First stop was Lance Armstrong's bike shop, Mellow Johnny's. Next was lunch at the famous Chuys, Drive by of the state capitol, visit to the Lyndon Baynes Johnson Presidential Library, then onto Waco, TX to see our friends, The Kings.
Tuesday, April 7 - Who knew Waco had so much to do? First we saw the mammoths and other cool stuff at the Mayborn Museum on Baylor's campus. Next was the Dr. Pepper Museum and then finally a trip to the Cameron Park Zoo. After dinner we followed Ryan to his wetlands studies and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets while Ryan showed the kids how scientists study wildlife and gather specimens to study.
Wednesday, April 8 - We got a tour of Ryan's lab space, complete with a lesson or two about the wetlands animals and insects...and some incredible things Ryan has collected on trips to Alaska and Guyana. We then headed up towards Dallas to Plano, TX to the home of Dave's cousins, The Smeltzers. This was the initiative for the whole trip and we were thrilled to be with their family, along with Aunt Libby and Uncle Herb.
Thursday, April 9 - The Sixth Floor Museum which tells about how JFK was assassinated. Lunch in downtown Dallas and then off to Ft. Worth to see the running of the longhorn cattle at The Stockyards.
Friday, April 10 - We took a picnic to the beautiful Dallas Arboretum and later enjoyed an Easter dinner together with our families.
Saturday, April 11 - Brunch and an Easter Egg Hunt at Josh and Claudia's church. Our intention had been to head back to Georgia at this point, but I had a great uncle pass away in North Alabama so we made an unexpected detour. By late afternoon we were in Little Rock, Arkansas eating some incredible seafood and riding the trolleys.
Sunday, April 12 - We headed towards Memphis, Tennessee. Enjoyed a lunch stop for BBQ and then arrived in North Alabama that afternoon to stay with my parents and celebrate my youngest niece's 3rd birthday.
Monday, April 13 - Celebrating Uncle Raymond's 97 years of life and seeing lots of relatives at the funeral. We headed back to Georgia that night and back to life in our own beds.
Have I exhausted you with our adventures? Just wait until I show and tell more!