On the trip up there, Lydia was such a doll! We left around 7:45 AM on Saturday morning. This year we took Hwy 78 to Birmingham then I-59 to Chattanooga. We had one small detour in Birmingham, but other than that, I loved this route way more than the north Alabama route we have taken in previous years. For the first leg of the trip from Oxford to Birmingham, Lydia and I played with some new toys that I had purchased and saved up for her. There was a travel magnet set, a couple of Melissa & Doug's Water Wow pads, and a Color Blast pad (they sell all these Melissa & Doug toys -and more- at Square Book Jr!).
The Water Wow pads are AWESOME! I filled a little brush with water and as she "painted" the pages, color and images appeared. The best part is that as the water dries the color and images disappear, so she could do these over and over again. She is obsessed with pigs (blame Peppa), so I think she spent an hour just painting the pigs. Those toys lasted us all the way to B'ham! I was so surprised. After lunch at Chickfila, she napped in the car for a couple of hours. Then, we were in Chattanooga for grocery shopping at Fresh Market. The last few hours in the car we played on the iPad. Her favorite apps were If You're Happy and You Know It (especially the Peekaboo game), Itsy Bitsy Spider by Duck Duck Moose, and Elmo Loves 123s. The Elmo app was a little too advanced for her, but she loved hearing Elmo's voice and the search and find numbers game. After she got tired of the apps, she watched a few hundred (it seems) episodes of Peppa Pig on the iPad. My child will scream out, "Aaaaaa PIG!" whenever you sing that little song to her. Gah.
We grilled burgers Saturday night at the house and just took it easy Sunday (Father's Day). That evening the Rebels played their first College World Series game in Omaha. I was excited to see them play in the big tournament, but I really got tired of watching baseball almost every night. Vacations are supposed to be where you play board games and watch goofy movies. The Rebels hijacked my evenings! Chip did teach Lydia how to say "Ole Miss Rebels" which I have yet to get on video. So cute!!
|Splashin' in the cold river|
Monday morning Chip, Ray, and I took duckies down the Nantahala River. I had a crappy run (pulled my shoulder a little and almost tipped over on Patton's Run) and didn't do the Falls. I was definitely out of practice since I hadn't paddled anything in the year since I'd last been up there. We ran the river again on Friday, and it was really the perfect run. Misty on the river, cool in the rapids, warm in the sun, and I nailed the Nantahala Falls. Yay!
|Lydia's wild morning hair (just like mama's)|
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we went to the Biltmore in Asheville. I wasn't sure how that would work out with a toddler, but there were lots of things for her to do. We went to the farm on Tuesday and saw baby goats and chickens. Then on Wednesday morning Chip and I rented bikes and a trailer for Lydia. Wednesday afternoon we tried to take Lydia swimming in the hotel pool, but it rained ( I found out when we were leaving that there was an indoor pool, too... Boo). She loved the hotel room room though! The windows were low enough for her to look out of, and it was carpeted, so she walked from one end to the other. So sweet! She slept great in the hotel crib, too.
|Our view from the hotel room|
|The gorgeous room|
|Afternoon nap on mama|
To me family vacations are all about spending time together. Relaxing. Making memories. We sat outside a lot. I cooked a lot. Some people might think that's weird (cooking, on vacation?)... but to me cooking for my family is how I show them love. I'm not a writer and do not claim to be one, but Amber Wilson over at for the love of the south is, and her post about her kitchen is so simple and sweet. A love note to cooking and making dishes for those you love.
The mom I want Lydia to have cooks her good food, and the family I want her to have sits down at the table together to share a meal. Maybe one day when she grows up we'll all play a game or cards together. But for this trip I was happy to blow bubbles over and over, color, paint, dig rocks, and look at bugs. Precious time with my precious girl!