Even more than the amazing places we visited and sights we saw on our three week adventure up and around the east coast, I want to remember the million funny little things our kids said. The funny questions, the random exclamations, the banter between kids. These are things you simply miss out on when you're not confined to a vehicle and/or hotel room for 14 straight days (7 of the days were at the grandparents house - not quite so confining). Incidentally, these are the same kinds of things I have the newly-discovered pleasure of hearing all day, every day. We had great family time. It surpassed my expectations in every way. I mean that.
Now, I know have a propensity to giggle both excessively and at inappropriate times. I also find things that may not be humorous at all to be raucously funny. That may indeed be how this blog post ends up reading to everyone else (not funny at all), but for me, it's a diary, and well - I don't want to forget. These are things that may or may not be relevant to our trip whatsoever, but that might not otherwise make the trip record.
On the second day, we visited the Bennington Battle Monument -
It's a Washington Monument-type structure. You can ride the elevator to the top and look out at the view over three states (Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts). It was absolutely breathtaking this time of year. After looking at the grounds, reading some plaques, and looking at some smaller monuments (one of which was a statue of a Green Mountain Boy whom Sarah excitedly pointed out, "Look! A Pirate!), we returned to our van. As we drove away, Ben said, "That was awesome. I'm definitely going to bring my kids here some day." Abby piped up from the back seat, completely serious, "No sense. You'll never have kids."
After reaching the Mount Washington auto road a FOUR minutes after closing time and being turned away by the "cheerful" park ranger, we were disappointed. We'd driven an hour and half out of the way on top of the however-many-hours we'd driven from GEORGIA only to miss it by four minutes. I was so looking forward to it because I had my own memories from when I was eight years old, driving to the top with my family on our New England adventure. My mom sat in the front passenger seat, crying, because she thought our 1992 Ford Aerostar was going to fall right off the edge of the mountain. I, of course, was unsettled by this reaction and started crying as well. My dad's ears turned red from high blood pressure and my sister sat in the middle seat of the minivan ridiculing my mom and me. (In retrospect, she had the most appropriate reaction. We were completely ridiculous.) Needless to say, I was ready to rewrite my Mount Washington memories. And that didn't happen. You might guess what happened next. I cried. In the front passenger seat. When Ben found out we weren't going to be able to go up the mountain...he cried too. So, even though our car didn't get the bumper sticker, and we didn't climb the mountain, Sam still got to experience two crying passengers as a result of Mount Washington. (In all seriousness, it was a terrible, foggy, rainy day. There would have been no point in doing it. We wouldn't have been able to see anything. This is how we ultimately consoled ourselves.)
We stopped to take pictures of these "Oreo Cows", which I already know no one found nearly as amusing as me.
This was just moments after Sam mused, "It's amazing how you can be at the Great Lakes one day and the Atlantic Ocean the next day." Then he paused and with a shrug continued on, "Well, two days. Less impressive." This was precisely the moment I took a sip of coffee and proceeded to lose it out of my nose. Not only because it's not really all that impressive to go from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean in two days of traveling, but because we were never even at the Great Lakes. We got a split second glimpse of Lake Champlain in Vermont on our drive across Middlebury Gap. And that's not actually a Great Lake.
And since I just broadcasted Sam's first-ever and only geography gaffe, it's only fair I post the picture he managed to snap of me with coffee coming out of my nose.
We had the opportunity to do things that otherwise would never cross our minds down here in central Georgia, like bargain hunting for firewood. ("Wow, fireplace bundles are more expensive in Maine than they are in New Hampshire!) While discussing the price of roadside firewood, Abby passed a disembodied Polly Pocket doll for me to fix for her, which she referred to as "Grandmom" as in, "Will you put Grandmom's head back on?"
- was Grandmom. That's a boy. Wearing a dress. Poor Grandmom. We didn't share this tidbit with her, but in our delirium, we did share a hearty laugh over it.
While in Maine, we drove through Kennebunkport and checked out the Bush Compound and the beautiful coast line. When she saw the beach, Abby asked if we could stop and get in. I told her the water was too cold. She pfft'd me and said, "I'll get used to it." Sure, Abby. You and your whopping 43lbs of skin and bones would turn blue in about 30 seconds with hypothermia. As I attempted to navigate the town, once again leaving Sam at the wheel without a clue as to where to turn, I commented, "I'm dumb at Kennebunkport." Ben chimed in, "So you're dumb at Kennebunkport, but smart everywhere else?" Zing.
After peaking in Maine, we started our way back down the coast, spending two days in Boston during whieh we visited the Boston Science Museum. It is AMAZING. I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone if you're ever in the area. While there, we had the opportunity to ask two female virtual humans any question we wanted. Abby asked, "Do you two sleep together?" Didn't see that one coming.
After a historic walking tour through the charming city of Plymouth, we headed back to our van, and Abby looked up and said, "That wasn't a tour. We didn't ride anything." I guess we set a high precedent with the DUCK tour through Boston. Abby, dear, not all tours include a ride on an amphibious vehicle.
Then there was the miscellany, the conversations in the hotel rooms that could have easily happened at home, the statements that so catch me off guard that I can succumb to the shock or laugh (you can guess which one I typically choose).
Ben: Mommy, can I ask you a quick question? Why is there war in Afghanistan?
Me: I can't answer that quickly, Ben.
Ben: No, I meant it wouldn't take me long to ask it.
Sam: Leah just spit up on you. Oh nevermind, she just spit out all of the toilet paper she was eating.
Abby: Mommy, I'm sorry to say but you look fat when you wear clothes.
Sam: *gasp* Abby!
Abby: *shrug* What? I said, 'sorry to say.'
Abby: (After taking a dip in the pool) I'm going up to the room to take a shower. (looking me up and down) I think you need one too.
And if I had a nickel for every time I uttered the phrase, "Stop jumping [in the hotel room!!!", I'd be rich.
Looking back on this - I'm sure, now, that we were delirious, sleep-deprived, and out of our wits to think half of this stuff was funny. I'm sure you won't. My apologies.
But it's my blog and I can bore you to tears if I want to.
Someday, I'll do an actual blog post about our stops. Probably the next time Sam takes the three older kids to a movie and leaves me here with only a cruising 7-month-old-who-needs-a-helmet-because-she-keeps-attempting-the-crossover-from-the-couch-to-the-coffee-table to distract me.
On that note, I close - because she is totally shredding up a magazine and eating it.
Until next time, I'd love to hear some of your favorite vacation-related or vacation-kind-of-related memories!