Things to Do - Grateful List (July 2016)

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Wow, July seems forever ago. Summer is so short and crazy long at the same time. I'm exhausted. But there's only one more week of summer vacation to go!

We're restarting our collaborative blog, 5 Hours Til' Bedtime with a new format! Check it out here!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

* ET in the neighbors' back yard
* Listening to Bob Dylan's latest album, Fallen Angels
* Watching OJ - Made in America
* Attending Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples with our friends at Wolf Trap
* Attending Icebergs and the Dollhouse exhibit at the Building Museum
* Reading Emma Cline's The Girls

* Pepita Cantina for a moms' night

* My new Oontz bluetooth speaker (perfect for vacation)

* A not-too-hot morning at the zoo (esp. the Washed Ashore sculptures - so cool!)

* Dori's BBQ for the weekend of the 4th
* Hosting a sleepover the night before we left for vacation and the kids staging a Hunger Games contest between boys and girls (all the weapons were placed on the sidewalk and everyone only had a few seconds to grab one).
* Playing Pandemic (F and I are somewhat addicted).

VACATION (Road trip)

Day 1 - Arlington to Asheville
* P - "I feel like we're driving through broccoli."
* Cucumber vodka drinks at dinner
* All three kids getting along

Day 2 - Asheville
* The Hop ice cream
* The Biltmore's gardens
* Dinner at Tupelo Honey
* "I think all these grilled cheeses are horrible, I guess I'm to used to Virginia grilled cheese, which is always good." - T

Day 3 - Asheville to Nashville
* Riding a boat through an underground lake at the Lost Sea Adventure
* Watching Say Anything with the kids (it was on cable)
* A rental apartment with guitars!

Day 4 - Nashville
* The best puppet show I've ever seen (at the Country Music Hall of Fame)
* Recording songs and the kids' excitement over Taylor Swift memorabilia (the Country Music Hall of Fame)
* Floating in the pool while the kids all played TOGETHER for 2 hours
* Dinner at Rosepepper Cantina and conversations about the kids when they were toddlers

Day 5 - Nashville to Memphis
* Crepes at the Red Bicycle
* Our cool, bohemian airbnb
* Farmers market arugula for dinner (yum)

Day 6 - Graceland
* F playing Elvis records all afternoon
* The Jungle Room
* Dan arrives!!!

Day 7 - The Civil Rights Museum/Little Rock/drive to Arkadelphia
* The awesome dance with T
* Little Rock's riverfront park
* Tabouli at the riverfront market

Day 8 - Arkadelphia to Oklahoma City
* Tubing in Arkadelphia
* T, during the 6 hour drive - "I'm so bored I'm making up terrible Christmas carols."

Day 9 - OKC
* A lazy morning reading books in the backyard while Dan grocery shopped
* An afternoon to myself shopping and yoga (Yogalab!!) followed by the kids and Dan making me dinner (so yummy!)

Day 10 - OKC - Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
* The Chihuly exhibit at the Oklahoma City Art Museum
* Hiking, Ogosporting, and Kan Jamming at our cabin
* T flying his new airplane everywhere (best $5 we've ever spent, you can buy them here)
* Star gazing
* Roadrunners!!

Day 11 - Palo Duro to Alberquerque
* DJing while dan drove
* Tinkertown!! (esp. the kids' fortunes - P = movie star, F = dishwasher, T = school teacher)
* The clouds on 1-40W (like the sky was attacking us)

Day 12 - Albuquerque to Santa Fe
* Hiking Rinconada Trail in Petroglyph National Park (it was crazy hot, but pretty)
* Our most gorgeous airbnb ever
* Rum and coke by the pool

Day 13 - Santa Fe
* Horseback riding in Santa Fe National Forest
* A lazy afternoon by the pool

Day 14 - Santa Fe
* MeowWolf
* The hammock
* Allie and her three (crazy) sons visiting for the day

Day 15 - 24 Hour Rafting Trip on the Rio Grande
* Pre rafting drinks at Blue Heron Brewery
* "The rating unicorns"
* Brandon, our guide, who made a wonderful dinner for us!
* Hiking with P on the trail across from our campsite
* T - "I think the mellow forward seems to be what our family is good at."
* Dan and T fishing together at the campsite (they were both so happy)

Day 16 - New Mexico to Durango, CO
* The most gorgeous drive ever!
* Working together as a family in the rapids
* A fantastic breakfast (thanks Brandon!) at our campsite

Day 17 - Durango
* Hiking the CO trail with Allie and her kids
* Yoga Durango's 4:30 class!
* The kids all playing Coup together while the adults drank wine on the porch outside

Day 18 - Durango
* Hiking Animas Mountain - yes it was hot and the kids complained constantly and we kept getting lost, but at least we're teaching them grit
* A final, mellow night at the house

Day 19 - Durango to Mesa Verde
* Dan saw a bobcat while fishing outside Durango
* Durango's fish hatchery
* Campsites with shade
* Camping Kan Jam
* Grilled chicken on Allison's camp stove
* Sunset from the Knife's Edge trail (so pretty!)
* Friendly deer outside the restrooms

Day 20 - Mesa Verde
* Our Cliff Palace and Balcony house tours
* Walking with P around the campground at night

Day 21 - Mesa Verde to Broomfield, CO
* Arriving at Sarah and Lyle's house to an awesome bbq with our friends (thank you!!)
* A gorgeous drive and watching thunderstorms in the mountains

Day 22 - Broomfield
* Drinks on Carolyn's porch after the pool
* All my friends kids bonding with my kids
* The girls making a movie of Sleeping Beauty with Sophia (the queen wanted to steal Sleeping Beauty's smarts)


Things to Watch - Beat Bugs (Netflix)

darcytroutman (1 of 2)

Netflix recently premiered a new cartoon for kids called Beat Bugs and IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BEATLES!! How cool is that? We haven't checked it out yet (I think my kids might be a little too old for it), but it looks so fun. When my kids were little I hated listening to all the bad kids' music in TV shows (ugh, like the Hot Dog song), so how great would it be to hear something worthwhile, while keeping your kids entertained? Check out the preview here.

And by the way, did anyone else watch Stranger Things? It gave me nightmares but I loved it!! And so great to see Winona again!


[Disclaimer- I receive compensation for posting about Netflix, but I decide what I want to write about and what I want to say.]


Places to Go (Vacation) - 5000 Miles in 5 Weeks - Week 1 - Asheville, NC to Little Rock, AK

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DAY 1 - Northern VA to Asheville, NC (470 miles)

This was one of our longer days in the car (7 hours of driving time), so we didn't stop much, which makes me a little sad as southern VA was crazy beautiful. Gorgeous blue hills surrounded by green trees, P said it felt like driving through broccoli. And almost every highway exit had signs for another state park with a lake.

We all wanted to stop and explore, but we also wanted to hurry up and arrive (the great road trip quandary). So we danced/snacked/partied at rest stops in an effort to make the best out of the time we had.

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DAY 2 - Asheville, NC - The Biltmore

We visited the Biltmore six years ago, when T was a baby in a stroller and I fell in love with the landscaped grounds. So I wanted to see it again and even though the kids bored with all the walking after awhile, even they were impressed by the crazy beautifulness everywhere.

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Of course, we had to stop for ice cream. (By the way, P had a staff infection on her neck, which (luckily) responded to antibiotics. But that's the big red spot you see).

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I'm a little obsessed with the south's murals. They're everywhere.

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And of course there were moments like this.

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DAY 3 - Asheville, NC to Nashville, TN (with a side trip to the Lost Sea Adventure) (360 miles)

I'm not sure the Lost Sea Adventure really warranted the detour, after all we've seen our fare share of caves in the last few years. But the boat ride in an underground lake was sort of spooky awesome.

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The tunnel to the cave looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. And the lake was so dark I had trouble with focus. But I tried.

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T remains enamored with gift shops. This gun lasted for two weeks before a kid at our campground in Mesa Verde broke the cork.

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We arrived to a Nashville airbnb with a lovely balcony on the river and guitars. Happiness.

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DAY 4 - Nashville, TN - The Country Music Hall of Fame

We aren't exactly huge country music fans, but as Nashville was crazy hot, this seemed like a perfect way to entertain the kids for the morning. Especially since the museum's collection includes Taylor Swift's guitar (yay!!).

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The recording studios were a huge hit with everyone. Even though we can't sing.

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One of my favorite parts of the whole vacation was the Country Music Hall of Fame's puppet show. Possibly the most creative thing I've ever seen. Crazy cool.

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I really wanted to stop in and check out the live music, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be alone in a bar with my three kids. I'm not that brave.

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So instead we bought ice cream and posed with Elvis statues.

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And played in the apartment pool.

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And took silly photos at dinner.

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DAY 5 - Nashville, TN to Memphis, TN (The Parthenon) (215 miles)

We ate crepes for breakfast, which felt like such a weekday luxury. And then headed to Nashville's FULL SIZE REPLICA of the Parthenon (how random is that?)

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So glad to finally have a photo with me and the three kids.

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Our apartment in Memphis was full of cool trinkets, the kids couldn't stop exploring.

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Like a real record player (and a crazy good record collection).

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But eventually they reverted back to the iPad.

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At night we tried to watch a drive-in movie, but the mosquitos were so awful we turned around and headed home.

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DAY 6 - Memphis, TN (Graceland)

I'm not a huge Elvis fan, but I love Paul Simon, so Graceland seemed like something we had to do. After the lines, crowds, heat, and money spent - I'm not really sure it was worth it. But there is something awesome about the jungle room.

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The whole tour is done by iPad, with John Stamos as the narrator. It's a little over the top, but then again so is Graceland.

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Selfie in the jungle room? Hell yes!!

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This is T asking, "who is this guy again? And why are we at his house?"

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DAY 7 - Memphis, TN to Arkadelphia, AK (The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel) (205 miles)

F called the National Civil Rights Museum the most depressing place she's ever visited, but as a museum it is incredibly well-done. And there's something especially moving about standing in the place where MLK was assassinated.

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Dan flew into meet us for our last night in Memphis and I was SO HAPPY to have another adult with us, especially one whom I'm in love with. Six days alone with the kids was pretty awesome, but so is sharing a bottle of wine and staying up late.

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Dan wanted to try a barbecue place on Bourbon Street. He was a little disappointed, but I thought the food tasted great.

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According to P, there's an art to the selfie.

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Another amazing southern mural.

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We left Memphis in the afternoon to drive to Arkadelphia, AK. We originally planned on staying in a cabin outside Hot Springs, but a storm caused us to reroute. Luckily the Hampton Inn in Arkadelphia still had an available room.

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We stopped in Little Rock on the way, at a riverfront park. And wow was it hot. But luckily, there were murals!

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And sculptures!

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And a splash park!


So that concludes our first week on the road! The south is hot (as in REALLY HOT), but full of pockets of awesome. I'll post on week 2 - Arkansas through Santa Fe, next week!

In the meantime, I hope you're all having a good August!


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