Monday, April 13, 2009



Our driving adventure to North Carolina- to meet up with our cousins began- at 4:30am. We woke the kids early, thinking that they would fall asleep in the car since it was so early in the morning...this theory proved wrong! Mia slept about an hour and half the whole 13 hour drive! This photo above is our first rest stop ~ it was about 3 hours into our drive and everyone was happy to run around (especially Penny) and stretch our legs.

Our first few rest stops, Mia had to take her backpack or some other part of her belongings with her out of the car.

We picked up some breakfast, even though the kids ate their way down south (we packed more food and drinks than anything!) they needed some fast food :)

The driving trip down to N.C. (from NY) was tough - it was a l-o-n-g drive and we were all getting testy, yelling at each other - it wasn't pretty. We decided that on the way, home we had to break it up, and that we would drive a couple of hours then stop over somewhere - after all, this was a family vacation and our family was ... not acting very nicely!

Needless, to say we were all thrilled to arrive at our hotel. It was in the heart of downtown Asheville - near the shops and food ~ great location! After walking Penny, unpacking a bit and winding down, we walked thru town and ended up at a place called Mellow Mushroom - they had brick oven pizzas and of course, mushrooms (my favorite - he, he, he - this one is for my friends :)


We met up with our cousins (daddy's sister, husband and two girls; Leandra (6 yrs) & Kayla (3 1/2 yrs) - it had been about a year since we've seen them - they live in TN and were visiting their dad's parents who live in Asheville, NC.

We took a trolley tour of Asheville ~ it was chilly (about 40 something degrees and windy) but the kids had fun riding the trolley - no seat belts and lots of freedom - too much!

Anthony, Eddie, Kayla, Mia & Leandra seated in the far back of the trolley - they were all so happy to see each other again :)

Asheville was such a pretty area ~ the scenery and mountains were gorgeous! During our trolley ride we were able to hop on & off at certain landmarks or sites we were interested in, and then another trolley was expected about every hour.

We stopped off at this gorgeous hotel called the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. They had two huge "walk in" fireplaces and the views were amazing!

There were rocking chairs lined up in front of the fireplace ~ it was a peaceful moment...

This saying was engraved on one of the rocks around the fireplace.

This is the best photo I could get of our 3 kiddos in one of the walk in fireplaces - they were huge!!

Eddie & Kayla

Eddie, Mia, Kayla, Leandra & Anthony
waiting for the next trolley

We stopped in downtown Asheville to look in the shops ~ fun! The town is full of talented artists, musicians and beautiful architecture. It was so chilly, but sunny and we made a stop off for lunch at a Woolworth's (it was called Woolworth's Walk and the store had an original soda fountain and it had all the local artists work displayed there - very cool). The kids ate at the Woolworth's counter, had malts and egg creams! (Mia fell asleep in the stroller):
Anthony tried "Cheer Wine", which is a cherry soda
Eddie & Leandra get along so well. They have such fun together :) Here they are at the Grove Arcade, which is an inside shop. Eddie found a hand-carved wooden cat with a fishing pole (my boy loves cats).
We are having a fun trip - even though we are all sharing a room - all 5 of us and Penny! To back track a bit, we decided pretty much last minute (when I just happened to read an email from our hotel that they are pet friendly) to bring Penny along on our vacation. She is such a good girl and misses us so much when we are gone. We usually have our neighbor across the street and my parents come and take care of her when we are away; but she is basically alone in the house and we thought she'd enjoy being with us - she did :)
The first hour after we left the house, Penny was drooling so much (she was a bit nervous) all over Anthony in the back of the minivan. We really thought we'd have to turn around and leave her home. Thank goodness we kept going, because she was such a great traveler!!
On Tuesday morning we decided to have breakfast in the hotel restaurant. It was pretty good and convenient.

Eddie thought his oatmeal was the BEST :)

We met the cousins at Pack Place, a children's health & science museum. It was another chilly day AND it was snowing!!! We could not believe the weather! We spent quiet a few hours in the museum; and downstairs they even had rock & mineral exhibit ~ Anthony was in heaven :)

~ kids grocery store ~

Anthony trading "stocks"

showing U. Philip how to wheel & deal :)

Leandra & Mia

The Noodle Incident:
We planned on eating at a noodle place for dinner, which was right across the street. Considering it was snowing and cold - that was the perfect location for us! All 9 of us walked into the restaurant, which was the size of...well, it was tiny. The poor waitress looked at us and said "no, I can't do nine". So, we walked around the block to a Mexican place; however, Mia was counting on noodles - we felt badly, but figured she'd eat a quesidilla and forget all about it. Well, after saying "noo noo" after about the thousandth time, daddy decided to run around the block and get his girl her noo noo's. He ordered them and came back to us to wait for the order to cook. A little bit later, he ran around the block to pick up the order - ran back to us with the take out bag - uh, oh. I opened the bag to find some shrimp & carrots & peas - no noodles! Poor daddy, grabbed the bag (and I mean grabbed!) and this time brought Mia with him for the noodles! They returned 15 minutes later and I was thrilled to open the bag and find noodles - Mia thoroughly enjoyed them (they really were delicious) and daddy made it back in time for his dinner to be served! The noodle incident :)
Today we planned to meet at a Folk Art Museum, which had trails leading off into the woods. The kids loved running all over the property - the weather was sunny & warmer - finally!

During our "hike" through the woods, daddy found a real pretty rock ( a pretty big one too) and decided we needed it for our home, he dug it out and carried it back to the car ~ do other people do these things? Or is it just us?!
Once we were back in the car we followed each other on the Blue Ridge Mountain Pkwy. It was just beautiful! The road wound around, we went through tunnels and went higher and higher up the mountain. The view ~ wow! The temperature started out at 60 degrees on the bottom of the mountain and once we arrived up top, there was snow and the temp dropped to 44! Someone actually built a snowman there!
This is where we all sat down and ate a yummy lunch ~ with a breathtaking view :)

They could handle the nine of us here :)

After lunch, the kids and parents took a hike through some of the trails (Mia & Mommy stayed behind, my girl was so tired she fell asleep in my arms during lunch) - the boys told me they had a great time and loved being in the woods.

Daddy & his sister, Miriam

The "Traveling Circus" on top the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Philip, Miriam, Kayla & Leandra
We all said our good-bye's - this would be the end of our family "reunion" - hoping we'll all get together again next year?! We always have fun together, it's always crazy, but oh, so worth it:)
We decided to make a couple of stops on the way down the mountain ~ the views at these overlooks were incredible!

We ran back to the hotel to spend some time with Penny and took her for a walk. The hotel had a nice area for her to run around and sniff :) I still cannot believe how well Penny did in the hotel room - she slept at night and was really quiet (at home she will not climb the stairs to our bedrooms. I really wasn't sure how she'd do with us all sleeping "together"). I am so glad she came along!
The only part Penny could have done without was the dreaded elevator ~ her legs would shake when we took her from the room to the elevator. Penny wasn't the only one afraid of the elevator... Eddie was very nervous too. He didn't want anyone but daddy hitting the button and when Mia would jump in there, well, he wasn't happy! The elevator was a source of stress for everyone!! After a while Penny would hide behind the chair when she saw the leash come out! Eddie would start "instructing" everyone what to do once the elevator came! (It is weird to put you on the 5th floor when you have your dog with you - shouldn't they have had us on the 1s floor?! )
Afterwards, we took a walk into the town and browsed around the shops - fun! It is such a quaint little town.

The boys wait on the sidewalk while mommy shops

The little miss
We had a nice dinner together and then went back to the hotel room to pack. We were leaving early in the morning and planned to stop in Richmond, VA for the night. We hoped to see a little bit of the sites while there...
We drove about 6 hours (which was long enough). Mia would have her "screaming mimi" moments, she was just tired of being stuck in her car seat. Oh, was I glad our drive would only be half this time!
Once in Richmond, we checked out the hotel and the grounds. Penny enjoyed the lake and chasing after the little ducks (this time we were on the 7th floor! And, Penny wasn't happy about the elevator again ~ neither was Eddie...) It was a real nice place. We decided to take the kids to the Richmond battlefields and the Civil War museum - it was already 4pm when we arrived and were told it closed at 5pm!!! Lucky thing we move fast -

Eddie & Anthony with A. Lincoln

The 3 lunatics, I mean kids :)

By the James River

Back at the hotel, we decided to stay close and eat at their restaurant. A few minutes after this photo was taken, daddy had to remove Mia's head from between the metal slates behind her!!

yeah, right where Eddie is pointing
She was fine, thank goodness
We really do make a scene where ever we go, but it's never boring!

We arrived home on Friday, April 9th at about 4pm, it was a loooooooong day of driving -we were so happy to be home! I'm still doing wash!
The question is...will Penny ever want to travel
with the Traveling Circus again?
I think we know the answer to that....

I think


Barbara said...

Wow...what a crazy, fun week! So glad they had the mushrooms for you lol! All the family shots came out so nice...these are some nice memories (sort of like Disney for us lol). btw you didn't need my covered it all! Great to have you home!

Michelle said...

I loved reading about your week away! I can totally appreciate the "noodle incident". You have some beautiful photos of the children and your family. I have no doubt you will all remember this adventure forever:) Welcome home!

Colleen said...

Ohhhh what a busy week you had full of adventures!!! Sounds like tons of fun, but I'm sure it is good to be home.(Even Penny looks exhausted!lol) How wonderful to be able to visit family.
I know those car trips can get exhausting! Those stops to Mc Donalds always help!:)

Sharon said...

Wow, what a great vacation! Loved the fireplace saying. And don't worry, we can't even make it to church without bickering. haha

Melissa said...

Sounds like you guys had a good time...once you finally got there that is!!! Love all the pictures. Owen definately would have preferred noodles to Mexican as well!!


Anonymous said...

It was so good to see you all and spend some time together! The girls were so thrilled to see their cousins, and are still talking about them lots.
You did such a nice job documenting the trip.
We miss you guys!