Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mini Vay-Cay

It really wasn't in the budget to go on a vacation this summer, but
with a bit of convincing and deal shopping we were able to take a mini-vacation to Charlotte, NC!

I love Charlotte.  If it wasn't for the fear of killing myself in the traffic, and the fear of starving to death due to the price of living, I would love to live there.

Our First Stop:

Last time we visited this race shop, Connor was four years old and Darren was slobbering all over the RedSkins/ Superbowl displays. All of a sudden, in walks THE MAN WHO DARREN HAS ADMIRED HIS WHOLE LIFE- JOE GIBBS!!!
I was like "DARREN, its Him!  Its Him!"
He thought I was pranking him, but when he turned around he was so tongue tied, he didn't move. I was telling him that you have to go over to speak to him. 
D. walked over and shook his hand, 'Nice to meet you, Mr. Gibbs, Sir'.   Mr. Gibbs said hello.  He walked away, stopped in front of the elevator, changed his mind, turned around, and autographed three brochures for Darren.  They are framed in Connor's room to this day. 

We didn't see Mr. Gibbs this time, but Connor was excited to be there all the same.

Carlee had a good time too!

Daddy's Girl

She made a new friend with sparkly shoes in the gift shop.

Second Stop:

I swear you could put Connor in the middle of the biggest amusement park on Christmas morning with lots of gifts, or this hotel, and his reaction would have been the same.  
He was just so excited.  The next day he said, "they make your bed here. COOL!"
He unpacked all the important stuff right away.

The weather was a breezy 75, with evening rain.
That didn't stop Connor.
He made friends with a few children and they took what I called the Polar Bear Plunge...

It was great fun, until one child threw up everywhere.
Time to get out and go back to the room everyone.

 Connor and I hit the gym later.
Of course, the second I started working out a woman who looks like this came in...

I snapped her in her workout.

It made me crank up the Beyonce- Bootylicious, and I hit the stair step a little harder
......and then I had a massive leg cramp.
After that, Connor and I hit the vending machine, I felt more at home there anyway.

When we got back to the room, Carlee had put her daddy to bed.

I recommend this for anyone who is even close to being a race fan.
There is a ton of race history, artifacts, activities, videos, photos, etc. for the NASCAR fan.
It is Top Notch.

Connor is into racing right now, so he really had a big time.
These are all the race cars that inspired movies!

Fan of the Modified Mad House,
and (for some reason) Connor loves the Tide Car.
He wasn't even born when the Tide Car raced, but thanks to youtube, he loves the Tide Car.

Racing All Over Town

Bring em' home darlin'!

Fourth Stop:  


We enjoyed taking in the sights, but NOT the sounds.  A police officer asked C. why he was holding his ears.  He said 'this city is noisy'.  The police officer- 'I don't guess you want to check out the fire trucks'. C.- 'Not if they have sirens'.

Fifth Stop:

The boys wanted to go to Hendrix Motorsports, but I had to request something different.  (I thought we could expose the children to something more than motor and tires.)
  I wanted to visit a downtown art museum, but I noticed a glass sculpture exhibit on the inside window.

2 children + glass sculpture + "You Broke It, You Bought It"= $10,000.00 Fee....
.... so I thought we might go to the Discovery Place instead.
I give it two thumbs up- AWESOME for all ages- and it was very affordable!

Light beams from music, petting sting rays, and fish that match mommy's shirt!
Submarines, energy from jumping, and slimy quizzes.


Dad helped everyone across the rainforest bridge!


Forget Magic- Carlee wants the yellow ball!
The second I took the water proof smock off, she took a splash into the discovery pool!

(and it was gross)


The most hilarious exhibit was the 'Scents of a Dog'.  You squeeze the bottle and different dog farts just puff out, you try to match the scent with the dog.  (Oh YES, enrichment for children.)  There was a lot of facts about dogs, scents, and survival, but we just skipped over that.

Notice Carlee's coffee mug in this picture.
  Before we left for our mini trip, I yelled out the door, "did you get Carlee's sippy cups!?"
Two Thumbs Up from Darren (already in the van).
He later admitted he didn't hear me, but was ready to roll.
Therefore, Carlee was drinking out of a Starbucks cup the whole trip.  It looked hilarious.

We didn't view the IMAX due to price (and noise), and Connor was disappointed there were few reptiles, 
but we all had a lot of family fun here.

Sixth Stop:
We had a coupon.  Kids for FREE.
Connor and Darren bowled, while I sat with a snoozing Carlee.

After a few games (and gutters), I requested bumpers for C.
They were electronic, so Connor didn't even see them, and I never told him they were there.

Darren- You should tell him. 
 Me:  It increases his self confidence.  It allows him to have more fun without stressing about a gutter ball the whole time.
Darren: It gives him false hope.  He will drive a car and think there are no lines or boundaries one day. 

Well he was pretty cocky about getting all those strikes.

Seventh Stop:

There is no cost to visit this library, and it is well worth the trip.
I was very pleased that Connor payed attention and enjoyed it.
I liked that he was able to watch and learn that God took a little farm boy from a small town, and gave him one of the biggest evangelistic voices of all time.
God can take anyone of any background, creed, color, IQ, personality, and perform miracles.

His plan is so much greater than your plan.  Take the step of Faith.
I believe it.  My life is proof of it.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  -Jeremiah 29:11
I wanted to take in more, visit the gardens, and visit the childhood home place of Rev. Billy Graham, but my little drama girl had other plans.

God's Rich Blessings

Last Stop:

We returned home to a fallen tree and a flooded basement. 
Back to real life after our Mini-Vay-Cay.
We had a lovely few days, and we are so fortunate to have been able to spend that time as a family.  
Now it's time to do a little yard work....
little laundry....
little grocery shopping...
Yuck. GROSSOLOGY. I would rather smell dog farts.

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