While we were up in Virginia this weekend we decided to take the kids on a little 'homeschool detour' and stop by Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. While I am soo glad we stopped in, I wish I had done a little research about it first so I could have beeen more prepared. We got onto the property around noon and went straight to the front desk but since it was Labor Day weekend there were very few tickets available and we had to take the one tour that was available. It was NOT the one recommended to us but the only one we could get. I asked the front desk if it was child friendly and she said that, "Yes, every exibit is open to visitors of all ages.". We first watched the little 15 minute introductory film on Thomas Jefferson's life then headed up to catch the shuttle to the top of the mountain. At this point the kids were excited and bouncing with energy. Once at the top we walked around the home, did the self guided walking tour of the underworkings of the house and joined the slavery tour, which I have to say was WONDERFULLY done! The older kids loved all the information they found out, Owen loved walking around the grounds and seeing the tressures and Cam was just happy in his stroller. The gardens are beautiful and had I known how much there was to do and see we would have come a little earlier to really enjoy the amazing scenery more. After the tour we popped into the little general store, bought a few patches for Ethans collection and went up to the main house for our House Tour.... This WAS ABSOLUTELY NOT child friendly. They do have a "Family Friendly Day Tour" but were sold out of it for ALL time slots so the receptionist sold us these House Tours- you see the same things, just not through the eyes of kids. BLAH. I wish I had sent the older kids with Doug on this tour while the littles and I took advantage of the hands on activity center. After the offical house tour we went down through the exibit halls and enjoyed a few exhibts before heading on our way back South. The kids really did love it, they learned a lot and it was fun to see the hictory brought to life. All and all it was a wonderful visit and definately something I would recommend to others- just make sure to reserve your tickets first!
We're home now and it'll be nice to sleep in our own beds but we are always up for more adventures so what are some day trips you've taken?! Give me the details because I'm researching before I dive into the next one. ;) J
Seriously, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?! Yesterday, after over 25 years, I found myself putting on the oddly familiar Blue and cheering for a team I've cursed. Don't get me wrong, I've been supportive of Doug and his crush love affair with the Y but I've always held firm to the fact that I LOOK BETTER IN RED. Putting the past behind me was, as a fellow Ute put it, 'damn near spousal abuse' but seeing the look on Doug's face sure made the pill easier to swallow. We treked up to Virginia for a little family trip to the very wet, very cold UVA vs BYU game. We went with a friend of Doug's from college, enjoyed a lot of campus time, a lot of hotel cuddles, and laughed continually because the kids didn't stop telling me how much BYU ROCKS. It was certainly an adventure, even if I feel like God tried to hit me with lightening for being a traitor.
Sincerly, Learned my Lesson-Returning to Red- Joanna
Seriously, I just had one of the best weekend's of my life. You know the moments when you feel like the stars align and miraculously nothing goes wrong?!? I know, I sound completely annoying but this was a MUCH needed break for me and everything was perfect.
Last Tuesday night I took a late flight out to SLC and met up with Mom and Spring (and 48 other women) in Midway, Utah at The Homestead Resort for a Quilting Retreat. It was so inspiring and so much fun! We quilted all day, every day from at least 8am-11pm. We chatted, we ate yummy food, we enjoyed the scenery and we got soo much done! (collectively, I mean. Personally, I didn't get as much done as I should have. :) ) I got to meet my Mom's friends and soak in the glow of thier crazy, CRAZY talent. When I grow up, I want to be them.
I got to go to a few cute quilt stores and stock up on supplies that they just don't carry here in the South (supplies for 6 quilts and a Block of the month club!!). It was wonderful to see two of my favorite people on earth all weekend and I was lucky enough to be able to spend Saturday afternoon/evening with my neices and nephews. (It made me wish my kids lived closer to thier cousins!) before flying out Sunday night.
While I was off on my own, Husbandface was expertly taking care of things here at home. He took on role of teacher, cook, chouffer, Lego designer, maid and builder ON TOP of being WORLD'S BEST DADDY... Wednesday morning I woke up to these texts... It totally set the tone for a PERFECT weekend knowing I had nothing back home to stress about.
(Thanks Babe, for the most perfect birthday present ever. You're the best.)
At Christmas Husbandface and I came up with the great plan to go to The Ranch in Florida for The Rodeo. We drove in Thursday and Friday we spent the morning teaching Ethan (finally) and Owen to ride a two wheeler. Then it was rodeo time. My cute 8 & 11 year old nieces were not only in the drill team performing but also starring as Barrel Racers as my 4 & 5 year old nephews showed us how to mutton bust like pros. Even Owen and Ethan got in on the action catching greased baby pigs and earning money in the process. Bampa flew in for the occasion and it was such a fun, amazing weekend. Nothing like playing in the dirt and horse back riding to give you a perfect weekend getaway.
Since Ethan received The Harry Potter books for christmas and needs a little, ummmm.... coaxing and... let's call it modivation, we decided to make the kids a deal. "Read Harry Potter Book 1- we'll take you to "Harry Potter Land". After all, we'd be there anyways, right? So of course my kids dutifully read everynight for months. Even Owen gets in on the action and the kids start taking turns reading to eachother. It was adorable.... Fast forward to reality and being in a new place and unfamiliar people around and the crounds and the not-so-according-to-regular-schedule of a rodeo and come Saturday no matter how hard my 10 year old Autistic sweetheart tried he just couldn't hold it together. There were lots of tears of no big deals, lots of disobeying and rule breaking and lots of meltdowns and frustrations. Doug and I have noticed that the first day we are somewhere new he coasts on the excitement, day 2 and 3 tend to be autism centered and rough and by day 4 we're back to smooth sailing and we have our happy son back. The problem with that is 4 day weekend trips, no matter how fun they are, it's always hardest on him and he's barely adjusted before it's over and we're headed home. We had planned on visiting Universal Studios on Sunday and come Saturday night, Ethan flat out said he didn't want to go if there was going to be too many people there (which in his mind is more then 10 people). So we broke the news to his siblings... as hard as they worked and as sad as they were, they realized that yep, let's do what we have to in order to make Ethan's life a little easier. Sunday morning we went to church, had lunch and played games... according to schedule. We still had a relaxing ,perfect weekend and my kids still had fun and played with cousins and made memories to last a lifetime.
And I learned something... we are an Autistic Family... and we may plan and have fun things scheduled and they might not always work out according to plan... but that's okay! My kids have actually embraced it and set thier expectations and listened when I break up fights or remind them of eachothers differences and needs. We may not be able to take the kind of vacations that others do but, this is our life... unpredictacble, unorthodox and perfect for us.
Sincerly and lost under a pile of weekend laundry catch-up, Joanna
PS- did you know baby pig poop stains clothes and the smell doesn't come out even after two washes?
This weekend I'm enjoying a little girl time with 5 of my favorite women in the world!!! All the women on my side of the family decided to run away for the weekend for a few days of sight-seeing, crafting and catching up with each other. It's a much needed break for all of us and I can't wait to see what the city brings us. Happy weekend!