Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Getaway - Day 1

This past Sunday morning before church, we loaded up the car with some overnight essentials and lunch for a picnic the next day. Destination: Asheville, NC. Purpose: Laugh, hike, explore.

According to Micah's Sunday school teacher, he said, on multiple occasions, "I'm going to the mountains today and I'm so excited to hike to the top!" Needless to say, when I picked him up from his class he nearly burst through the door and exclaimed, "Is it time to go now? I'm so excited!"

It's important to note that while Micah was talking, Annalyse was screaming for more Goldfish crackers and Grady Lee was using his Sunday school craft of "Salmon, the strongest man ever who can push over buildings" to punch the wall in an effort to tip it over. Yes, he did say Salmon and yes, he was serious in his attempts to knock the wall down. This, friends, is why I'm positive people flinch when they see my family coming toward the church doors.

Once we were all in the car, we opted for Firehouse Subs for lunch. Kids eat free on Sunday and the boys had firemen hats to wear for the long car ride. Win.

About an hour into the trip the view of mountains came into sight. Not much autumn color just yet, but I was hopeful there would be more as we got further into the mountains.
Annalyse decided that napping would be a waste of time and chose to laugh at the crazy antics of her two older brothers. About 15 minutes before arriving at Destination #1, I looked back and found Micah's head bobbing. He was out cold. But seriously, how can this be comfortable?
Our family has a membership to zoos, aquariums, and nature centers all over the country but we've only tapped into several of the local places in Charlotte. There are three places in Asheville included in our membership, and we decided to try the Western Carolina Nature Center, which is basically a zoo of North Carolina animals.

Animals. Bugs. Outside. Climbing. Jumping. Petting. Goodness, my vacations have certainly changed since having kids.
Micah and Grady took their sheep grooming duties very seriously and scratched and brushed this poor fellows head and neck and ears and nose. Annalyse wiggled and whined to get down and touch, but since her fingers are always in her mouth she missed out on the brushing fun.
Micah: "A donkey! Is this the same donkey Mary rode to Befwehem?"
From the petting area we moved on to the exciting animals: "the ones that have sharp teeth and big claws and roar really loud!"
Animals? What animals? All I'm interested in is this giant pumpkin. If I can just get a better grip, maybe I can hoist it into my stroller...
Now that I've got the 982 thousand pictures from this trip off my camera, I realize that I took pictures of my kids but not of the actual animals we saw. I mean, a lot of the time my kids act just like the animals so if you think about it, you get a two-for-one bonus with my fast-acting photography skills. Or skillz, yo.
Grady Lee can stare at and ask questions about animals for seemingly hours on end. Micah can, well, hurdle any obstacle, scale any wall, climb any cage, and perform any other task aside from actually looking at the animals.
Bears, deer, cougars, coyotes, wolves, raccoon, foxes, hawks, owls... we saw them all but like I just said, no pictures of the animals, just my kids.

Looking at the animals took a temporary backseat once my boys discovered the otter slide. They were up and down and up and down again and again.
Hey guys, wait for me! I'm coming! It's a little harder when I have tights that snag and frilly shoes that slip and legs that are teeny tiny.
I think these microscopes were intended for kids to study the various slides sitting on the table next to them, rather than the stones and acorns and leaves that little boys have jammed in their pockets. Oh well. My boys were excited to see "the bumps on the acorn hat look really big!"
Snakes - I have no tolerance. Frogs and turtles - I actually think they're kinda cute. Annalyse liked them too and pressed her nose as close to the glass as she could.
I think we spent the most time watching the otters. They rolled balls, did flips, swam up to our faces and poked at us with their noses on the glass, and were so comical to watch. Maybe I don't want a pet goat anymore, I'm now thinking an otter would be better. Cute and playful. Double win.
After a couple of hours at the Nature Center it was time for dinner. Where to go with three tired and usually loud kids? The mall food court! Seriously, that's where we went and it was a great choice because we all chose something different and it was a-okay if the boys spilled (which they did - a very full cup of ice water all over the floor in front of Smoothie Station), and it was okay if Annalyse was loud (which she was - since by the time we all had our food and sat down to eat I realized I had left her food in the car).

While Grady and I got settled into our hotel rooms, the boys immediately claimed which bed was theirs and assumed attack positions for an all-out pillow fight. I thought about apologizing to guests next door, and in every other room down the hall for that matter, but since it was just nearing 7:00 pm I assumed quiet hours weren't yet in place.
After lots of jumping and splashing and cannon-balling and hot tubing, Grady and I called it a night and had all three kids showered and sleeping by 8:30 pm. Whew!
I'm sure my kids don't realize the "posh" sleeping situation they had: the boys were in their own suite, each in their own beds. Annalyse was in her pack-and-play in her own room, ahem, the bathroom.
A full day and a fun day! The kids slept soundly until 8:15 the next morning when we all began the dash of getting dressed and down to breakfast before 9:00 am when it closed. But tomorrow's adventures are another story so I'll save those for another post. Stay tuned.


  1. I am so impressed about you vacationing with three kids!

    And, yes, I have spent more time than I'd like to count in front of an otter exhibit at the Lincoln Park Zoo--they are fascinating!

  2. Sounds like a GREAT start to your little mountains get-away! We have never been to the WCNC & I have heard great things about it. From your pictures it looks very cool & not crowded at all! And frankly, if you've seen one zoo animal & all that jazz...I'd rather see the pics of your kids anyway!
    Looking forward to Day 2!

  3. What a fun little get-away! The mountains are BEAUTIFUL this time of year and what a blessing it was for your family to get to enjoy them! Looking forward to reading about day 2!