Monday, August 1, 2016

Vacation Love

Our summer vacation was everything I'd hoped it would be--extended time with family, days blurring into afternoons and then into evenings, with laughter and silliness, and laziness, and adventuring all thrown in together.  Reuniting with family near and far, a road trip in the middle of the country, showing off the landscape to my little ones, so they could experience pieces of how big and wide our world is.  An unexpected encounter with a three car river ferry to take us across to our destination, close-ups with horseback riding and galloping across a pasture, a tiny fawn leaping down the road, chasing its mom along the way.

Late night nail painting and storytelling, lazy mornings sleeping in, an hours long swim in the warm Atlantic ocean, a horse drawn carriage ride down the historic cobblestones of Charleston, more laughter with our cousins, silliness galore with aunties and grandmas and grandpa and nanas and uncles.  Driving a golf cart wildly down the private road with four little kids strapped in a laughing their heads off as we careened toward the community pool, complete with water slide; racing down said water slide and getting beat by my 7 year old nephew!

To be truthful, my heart is still lazily swirling along a southern campsite, alight with lightning bugs, one of one which my older daughter caught carefully between her cupped palms, oohing and aahing over its little glowing bottom, as well as more deer sightings as they languidly trotted across the national park pastured grass, along our walks through a cave 250 ft below the surface.  Stargazing just a wee bit until we all fell asleep, exhausted in our beds.  I can't believe how lucky we are to have been able to travel over 15,000 miles, there and back again, heads and hearts full of love and memories.

Here are some of the scenic pics:
Landing in Kentucky, to visit my mom and extended family; DD2's first "remembered" experience of a window seat and staring out as we descended through the sky. She loved the idea that we were above the clouds!  We had a day to recover from the jetlag, and my mom threw a birthday party for DD1--my uncle and aunty came down from about an hour away, and my mom's friends who I've known through the years came as well.  We had a blast hanging in the rec room, hiding from the blazing heat outside, kids running around and playing games.

Due to my mother's health condition, she is in a wheel-chair full time now--so I rented the biggest vehicle I could rent, and at her request, loaded everyone up, and we headed to a nearby National park for two days.  A beautiful country road!

The road ended at a river; luckily there was a three car river ferry that carted us across!  The girls and my mom thought that was the best part of the road trip. 

Once safely checked into the lodge, the girls let my mom rest with her nurse's aide who we'd hired to travel with us; and we went walking to the nature center, where we spotted two deer trotting around like they owned the place. 

The following morning, mom rested again, and I took the girls 250 ft below ground level to explore the caves on a guided tour.

Some of the oohing and aahing of what was beneath the surface.   

Later, we toured the nature center with my mom, which was handicap accessible, took some pictures by this beautiful creek, and then spent some time at the camp site with my BFF and her family, who had driven down to camp and spend time with us.  My mom was a champ!  All in all, a successful road trip to the park!

We went back to town, where we rested for an overnight, then headed out to my brother's farm, about twenty minutes away from where my mom lives.  Once off the interstate, it's all country roads, like this beautiful shot.

The property is definitely in "farm" country, where horses just hang out right next to the road.  These are my brother's neighbors.  

At the farm, two of their (12! yes 12!) dogs were busy "pointing" at a bird on a fence, while my sister-in-law saddled their horse to take DD1 and DD2 riding.  They had a blast!
And while DD1 was riding with my sister-in-law,  DD2 was hanging out with the barn cats.  This particular cutie pie is named Puff.

 After an overnight, we headed back to town, then had one more fun day of shopping and movies with my mom, before we woke up at the crack of dawn to head to the airport and fly to South Carolina, to visit Hubby's family.

The day we arrived, it was thunderstorming, so DD1 and grandpa (hubby's dad--both mine and my ex's father are deceased, so hubby's dad has really embraced the grandpa role with my girls *swoon*) got into a die-hard game of scrabble.  Considering DD1's at a 6th grade vocabulary and grandpa is a practicing doctor,  DD1 really gave him a run for his money!  Of course, she thought some of her word choices were hiLARious.

One day we headed to the coast, and grandpa had brought kites for all four kids (my two girls, and the twins, who are hubby's niece and nephew).  We got two kites up and flying! 

 The Atlantic ocean was so warm, we could sit in it for hours.  Another of my extended family flew up from Miami the day before, her fiance has family  in South Carolina, so they met us at the beach.  So sweet to have us all together.

The next day, despite the thunderstorm warning, we decided to take the kids downtown to take a horse & buggy ride through historic Charleston.  We drove across two bridges to get there!  

Obviously, these rivers far surpassed the width of the river ferry's river back in Kentucky! 

Luckily, no thunderstorm in sight, however it was hot, hot, hot, but not too hot to pet a sweetheart horse's nose, soft like velvet!

The view from the buggy, as we headed up to the zoning patrol to find out which route we'd take for our tour.  Apparently there are so many carriages going through historic Charleston, that they devised a lottery type system to divide up the routes, otherwise the streets would be bogged down by too many carriages in one place!

 One of the beautiful houses that we rode by--the staircase represents "embracing" your visitors.
All in all, we felt so embraced by our families far away.  It made returning home so difficult, but at the same time, a renewed sense of joy about being home and also committing to spending the time and resources to travel and see the world, share experiences with our family.  I often get lost in the grindstone of deadlines, being on time for work, rushing to pick up the kids, that I forget how important it is to step out of the routine and whisk my girls away (when I can) off the beaten path and into the wonderful big wide world of love and peace and laughter and silliness and wonder.  


  1. We're on week three of our vacation now and I wish it would never end. So glad you got away from it...all... ;-) You deserved a good vacation.

    1. Enjoy your vacation, Liv! Hugs and love to you and your family! <3 <3 <3