But, all that mush aside, (and to insert some parallel structure here) SECOND OF ALL, I have to put all the warm fuzzies away for a moment and just say sorry, folks. No brilliant post to start your week -- you'll have to settle for vacation photos. I've got so much to post about that my head is spinning and I thought I'd start with something fun (if not quite fun-ny).
Last year, as you all know, WHM became a Thomas the Tank Engine fan. Yes, I take the blame and responsibility.
At some point last year we learned about the Day Out with Thomas, where you can ride on a real train that's all dressed up to look like Thomas. Or really, Thomas pulls some coaches and you ride on the coaches. We just missed the event in Chattanooga, but we were heading to NH and Maine for a late-July wedding, and Thomas was coming to Maine the first weekend in August. So, instead of going north mid-July and ending our trip with the wedding, we went north for the wedding and ended the trip with Thomas.
That was ... let's see ... August 5, 2011, when we rode "the big Thomas."
Every day since, and usually multiple times per day (and I promise you that I am neither exaggerating nor being sarcastic), WHM has asked, "Mommy? Someday we go on the big Thomas, some day?" And after he asks me, he asks Mick. "Daddy? We go on the big Thomas again, some day?" By my calculations, that's 275 days of asking about Thomas, times twice a day -- which is a LOW estimate if there ever was one -- so WHM's asked to see the Big Thomas at least 550 times.
Well, my friends, "some day" finally came. (Yes, I know the space doesn't belong in "someday," but I'm putting it there to try to mimic how WHM actually says it.) After a crazy month and not being sure we were even going to get there, and then WHM being sick last weekend when we thought we'd go, we finally were able to commit to a weekend. We bought the tickets and took WHM and CAM to "the big Thomas" at the Tennessee Valley Railway in Chattanooga. (We'd been there last summer and really enjoyed it, but as I said, we were not there when Thomas was there.)
Pro tip: Get the earliest train you can get. We had tickets for the 9:00 train on a Sunday morning. We got movie-star parking, everyone was still in great spirits, the kids were wide awake, and we beat both the crowds and the heat. It was a stroke of dumb luck combined with brilliance. I'll let you decide whether Mick's contribution or mine was the brilliance.
We also, as you probably know, had a weekend filled with a gazillion other things ... ballet recitals, childrens' museums (two of them!), the Tennessee Aquarium ... and I'll post more about those (well, the ones I didn't already post about) soon. I'm dedicating today to "getting stuff done," including laundry. Remember the pile I showed you a few months ago? Triple it. I need to fold some laundry, big time. But today, as then, I'm taking myself to lunch with a friend. So there, laundry, so there!
Okay. Here are some photos. More posts to come ...
|Snuggling on the coach before we started moving.|
|Checking out the people still boarding. We were in the first car on the 9am train.|
|One of the conductors waving as we started chuffing away.|
|Yes, there's an entire tent of Thomas trains to play with. Here, WHM is playing with the Trackmaster version.|
|CAM and our conductor, Mr. Harvey. He drove down from northern Kentucky for Thomas event last weekend and this, and worked in the shop all week, helping to restore engines and coaches!|
|Upstairs in the depot they had storytelling and Thomas videos. And air conditioning. It was the favorite stop for many parents. Here, CAM and WHM are taking an ice cream sandwich break.|