Monday, January 31, 2011

It's A Wrap

I believe we left off at the Monster Truck Show?

Saturday morning started off right...breakfast at Waffle House!

Now, many have asked, "what did you do with three children in a hotel for two weeks?" And I'll tell you, in the throes of desperation and imagination, we discovered a jewel thief had made our hotel his secret hideout. We also, thanks to The Engineer's influence on his children, discovered that some of the workers and some of the occupants of said hotel, were actually aliens. So, in the midst of an otherwise ordinary hotel stay, we found great mystery and reason to speculate...but more on that and the necessity for those awesome spectacles in a moment.

Post breakfast, which also served as a meeting to discuss our alien findings, we made our way to the Riverwalk

Little Bit did not want to be contained in her stroller. I believe this made Sister more nervous than any of us, as there was a slight drop on the riverside of the walk. (She will make a wonderful mother some day...) It makes my heart so happy to see my girls, hand in hand...and my husband graciously pushing an empty stroller, and my son, leading the pack, declaring himself our defender!

Sadly, the Discovery Museum has closed. Nevertheless, we did a little of our own discovering amidst their outdoor exhibits...

Which included an army helicopter. So cool for a big three year old Little Man!

Post walk we joined friends for lunch at The Boll Weevil. They unexpectedly and graciously offered to keep our three that evening so The Engineer and I could dine with a co-worker.

We met at Luigi's... family owned and operated for a long time. It was like stepping back in time. It was delicious and wonderful and every time I heard a baby fuss, my heart felt gratitude toward our sweet friends - and a sigh of relief that my baby was happily playing elsewhere. Should you ever dine at Luigi's, I HIGHLY recommend the Avgolemono soup, a large Greek Salad, and a side of olives. 

Sunday we joined said friends to worship at First Presbyterian Augusta. It was wonderful. And packed. And I met a sweet new friend - Amy! (smile) 

Monday the children enjoyed, I believe, their first taste of dippin' dots. 

And then we drove all over Augusta, oggling older homes. It was hilarious to hear the children's descriptions and comments. "Mom, there's a tudor one!...OH, I love those shutters! The pink house is my favorite! When are we going to get a new house? Let's just move here." 

And for dinner, we ate at The Pizza Joint. Awesome pizza. Awesome atmosphere. Great waitress. The kids loved it!

When Sister was a baby we had work related travel in Augusta and we ate here...she sat in my lap during most of dinner, and towards the end stood up and did that cute little wiggling baby dance babies often do...we loaded up and as we made our way back to our hotel I realized there was something wet on the back of my jeans...

My knee jerk reaction was to smell the wet substance that was now on my fingers...and immediately I knew what it was...poo! All I could figure was that I must've sat in someone else's during dinner...and I gagged a bit and moaned in disgust (ok, I think I totally freaked out), trying not to think about exactly what was on my hands, pants, and now car. As soon as me made it back to our hotel I bolted from the car while The Engineer unstrapped Sister. It was then that he realized she had a trail of poo running down both legs, and out the bottom of her pants. I can only imagine the mess we left in that booth.

Now back to the jewel thief...we spent many, many, many hours exploring the hotel. We, very discreetly, walked through the lobby, eyeing each person there. We sifted through the rock beds that bordered the restaurant and found unbelievable clues - diamonds! Jewels! Receipts! Pennies! Even a crab leg! (Gross, I know!) The restaurant manager gave the children each a pair of glasses. These were no ordinary glasses - while wearing them, you could see super secret clues, otherwise invisible to the human eye.

We circled the exterior of the hotel on foot...and discovered a wild forrest full of wolves (dogs from a nearby animal hospital). We found cars that were parked suspiciously. Anytime someone drove past or came out, the children hid, while I held Little Bit and acted "like a regular mom," per the children's instructions.

We found a sand pit full of R-O-U-Ses. Well, at least their footprints. We didn't actually see one. We did see an "Army Man" outside of the hotel. We concluded the Army had been sent in, in light of the jewel thief and all. When the children told The Engineer, he instructed them NOT to say a word to the Army men about the jewel thief - as both they and the children were on TOP secret missions that could NOT be compromised. The children kept to themselves, so as not to blow anyone's secret cover.

I'm not even going to attempt to record all the clues and discoveries pertaining to the jewel thief...they were far too many to number. 

So during our two weeks at the hotel, we swam in the hotel's indoor, heated pool. With one adult to three children this was comical at best. We homeschooled. We "swam" in the whirlpool tub in our bathroom - in our bathing suits - me and the children - and ate candy while we swam in the tub...and I tried not to think about what germs might be swimming with us!

And we hunted the jewel thief and tried to discern the difference in real humans and aliens. We read a lot. We colored a lot. We used up all our odds and ends craft projects. We colored a cardboard playhouse. We watched TV. 

We went to Monkey Joes, thanks to the kind invitation of a friend. A certain one year old would have nothing to do with the "3 and under" play area. Only the two tallest slides would suffice. And so we slid...again and again and again and again!!! She is fearless. Scarry, eh?

We ate a lot of grits and popcorn and pretzels and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. We became good friends with the housekeeper. We had a lot of picnics on the hotel room floor. We built lots of lego towers. We made up a lot of stories. 

It was wonderful being away, together, as a family, without the domestic demands of daily life. But let me keep it real. I struggled to be thankful for the break. I struggled to be content in my circumstances. Some days were wonderful, but there were also days when my nerves felt shot, at best. 

When The Engineer announced this trip and that he wanted us to go, the truth is, I grumbled in my heart. Three weeks is a long time to be away. Three weeks worth of clothing...and two weeks worth of three children in a hotel. The sheer packing alone...making sure I had all the materials for school on the was a lot and I figured staying home would be much easier. Not to mention making arrangements for the house and the dogs...the "to-dos" were endless. I confessed this struggle to an older friend and she gently reminded me that this is one of the many benefits of homeschooling. So, truthfully, it was with a bit of a begrudging heart that I packed our family and readied our home.

Now that we're on the other side of it, I am so thankful we did it. Oh, it was hard, but it was also rich and it was very good to be together. As I said in an earlier post, I cannot imagine three weeks without The Engineer and I was reminded afresh that where my family is, that is home.

And changing gears a bit, if you think of her today, please pray for Little Bit. She has a bad ear infection and quite a cough, to boot. Friday night I was flying solo, as The Engineer was at a one night retreat...I made the rounds doing a final "tuck-in" before bed, I discovered she'd had a massive nose bleed. This is a first for us. Stripping the bed, cleaning her up, trying to put new sheets on while consoling was a lot. My hat is off to all you single mamas out there. You were all I could think about. You are amazing.

So, all that to say, if you think of Little Bit today, please pray for her. I would appreciate it.

Happy Monday, y'all!


  1. Your adventures sound so fun! Great job entertaining them for 2 weeks. Those are the memories they will hold with them for forever! Your children have such great imaginations!

  2. Awesome recap and pictures, once again. You are one sweet mommy! Prayers for that sweet baby girl!

  3. I love the imaginations that you are growing in your children! So quickly the days will be gone when your children are young enough go away on Daddy's travel for weeks at a time. You're making sweet memories that you'll relish when they're older and the logistics of life are more complicated.

    I'll be praying for Little Bit. Poor baby girl.

  4. Aw, ya'll are starting to sound like our family with all your adventures in and around the hotel! I'm glad you're creative like that and I'm sure the kids will look back a couple years from now and say, "Remember when we went on vacation and we tried to find the jewel thief, and and and..." Of course, you'll just smile knowing it wasn't technically a vacation, but they'll remember it as one because that's what YOU turned it into. :)
    Praying for Little Bit sweetness! She is so adorable but I know in so much pain. Hoping she feels better too! I'll be seeing you soon!!! :D Yay!

  5. Sounds like quite an adventure {with the jewel thief and all}. I know Sister and Little Man were quite the detectives :)

    I to often grumble in my heart about taking trips. I'm relieved to hear I'm not the only one. Packing can be so stressful to me. I'm thrilled to hear that it was GOOD and worth it despite being difficult at times. Way to go mama for going along and making the time so memorable for everyone!

    I will say a prayer for LB right now. Poor sweet girl. Get well SOON!

  6. Oh goodness - I would have loved that jewel thief game as a child! I was always terribly disappointed that Nancy Drew seemed to find all of the mysteries out there, and there were none left for me to solve. How fun, and what a great way to occupy lots and lots of time.

    By the way, I totally think you put in the bit about the houses for me to read. :) I love that your kids know what a Tudor house is! That's so neat....though we will have to work on their interest in those pink houses. :)

  7. Oh Jennifer...what a wonderful blessing that you can travel with your husband on business!! BUT...I can *totally* relate to the sheer amount of packing that requires...and patience...and grace! But, you will only remember the good...really, I promise!! I'm so glad you had the opportunity to do it.

    Once again your photos are gorgeous and your children are beautiful...even Little Man. :) sorry your Little Bit is feeling unwell...hang in there! I will pray for you tonight.

    Lots of Love,

  8. Where do I begin?
    Jewel thief? Oh my goodness! Wonderful.
    Little Man's haircut? Still loving it.
    Love the dippin' dots. I had my first cup of them in the fall.
    Now I feel like I was there with you :)
    BTW, where's the photos of YOU?
    Great post.

  9. i love all your pics! (and dippin dots!!)
    looks like you guys had lots of fun :)

  10. Love the jewel thief adventures! All your exploring of the hotel reminds me of what we do around here in the winter, when we're trapped. :)

    Hope Little Bit feels better soon. I'm praying!

    I must tell you, I read this last night and somehow did not catch that the poo story was from years ago. I thought...poor Sister, she must have been dreadfully ill to have had an accident like that and not told y'all. Then it hit me this morning...that was when she was a baby. Haha! Thank goodness!

  11. I can't believe I made your post! I am so glad we were able to meet. I would have been so sad if I had read that you were here and I had not met you. Love your tour of my town. You made it to some great spots! My favorite is where we met. I guess I am not a lurker anymore:)