Thursday, July 06, 2006

Highlights from the Rambling Road Trip!

Tessa, Ross, Nate, and I left Tennessee and headed for my mother's house in Massillon, Ohio. We had a great time visiting with her and my sister and her family. One of the highlights of our visit for the children was playing with my mom's many dogs! They also enjoyed their cousins, Greg and Kerry!

From there, we headed to my birthplace, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Every so often I feel an incredible need to go back to my roots. After the visit, I'm never sure why. :) I guess it is to appreciate that the Lord brought me out of that place! :) We stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of the city, and I really had to work at finding my way around. Not having someone else to read the map while I drove was probably the biggest challenge on the trip.

It was pouring on the first day, so we visited the Science Center in downtown Pittsburgh. I think our favorite part was the miniature town with all the moving people. The dog lifting his leg on the tree sure got some laughs! We also were able to go inside a real submarine. I wish I could convey some enthusiasm here; but honestly, the kids and I didn't enjoy being in such tight quarters. :)

We took a ride on the cable-powered Monongahela Incline, which is always a treat for everybody. Built in 1870, the cars are pulled up and down the inclined track by a cable driven by an engine in the upper station where the operator works. The cars operate in pairs, permanently attached to opposite ends of a single cable, with one going uphill and the other going downhill simultaneously. The cars counterbalance each other, so the engine needs to provide only enough power to overcome friction and the difference in the weight of the passengers in the two cars. That explanation sounds really technical, huh? Then you must know that I didn't write it! I copied part of it from

Tessa, Ross, and Nate with the Incline in the background.
Even though it was a rainy day, we were able to enjoy the panoramic view of the city.

Another highlight of our visit to Pittsburgh was taking the kids to my old neighborhoods. We were all amazed at how little the house was where I spent most of my childhood. While we were stopped to take this picture, some lady asked us if we were lost. She was able to tell me who still lived in the neighborhood. I can't imagine having stayed in the same place for all of my life, but many had! A while back, my brother, who no longer lives in Pittsburgh either, realized during a business call that he was actually talking to the man who bought this house from my parents back in 1971! He met up with him on his next trip through and was taken on a tour! I would have loved to do that.

After the neighborhood tour, I took the kids to
the park where I spent a lot of my free time. The high school and town pool are located there as well. Many July 4th's were spent there, enjoying community events and fireworks. The kids really enjoyed walking part of the path in the woods that we used as a shortcut to the park. Unfortunately, now it is littered with partying trash. :(

I should mention here that traveling with the three kids was a joy! My grandchildren are so well behaved (Thank you, Kelly and Travis!) that there was not even one discipline issue! No one moaned, groaned, or whined! They were troopers the entire trip and brought many smiles to my face.

We ended up staying an extra day in Pittsburgh because of flooding in the middle of the state
. My brother had a little too much water on his property and in his basement; and since his house was our next stop, we decided to wait. We arrived at his house a day later--after the clean-up--and met Kelly, Travis, and Kenzie. Of course, we had a wonderful meal, prepared by a fabulous chef! :) It does pay to have a Certified Executive Chef in the family! Mike and Mary are so hospitable each time we visit. Imagine putting up seven extra people the day after you clean up from a flood. We were able to stop at Mike's house again on the way home--it wasn't just for the food, I promise! Come to think of it, maybe it was! I did come home with three coolers full! I'd also like to put in a plug for the game Apples to Apples. We had a blast playing this after dinner one night. Aunt Mary seemed to enjoy spending time with Kenzie as they waited for Uncle Mike to finish cooking the feast! And what a feast it was!

We left Pennsylvania and headed to Connecticut, our final destination. Michael Sr. and Michael Jr. met us there--after sitting in traffic for four hours just a half an hour from Kathy's! They missed Billy's and Heather's rehearsal dinner totally. Since this is so long, I'll begin a new category for the wedding.

VBS Carnival

I thought you all might like to see what the guys volunteered to do at the VBS carnival this year!