Wednesday, August 18, 2010

C'mon Ride That Train

My parents visited us over the last few days and we all had a great time hanging out. They'd just gotten back from a European cruise and decided to spend the last few days of their vacation with us. I know what you're thinking ... they're nuts (that's what I thought)! Spending time in our house can definitely result in a fun vacation, but surely not a restful one. I'm sure they slept for a good 12-14 hours the night after they left (how I long for those days again!), but we all really did enjoy their company.

Besides the requisite visits to the ice cream shop and playing outside, we decided to take the plunge one day and take the kids to Tweetsie Railroad in Boone, NC. I had been there as a kid, so I remembered it a bit. This was the kids' first theme park experience, and I have to admit I was slightly petrified. Tweetsie is no Disney World, but it was a good way for us to break the kids in to the theme park experience. Unfortunately, Matt couldn't come with us (August and fun do not mix for him due to work), so my mom, dad, and I loaded up the kids early in the morning and made the quick trek over to Boone for the day.

Luckily we were blessed with an overcast, not too hot day. The first thing we saw when we stepped into the park was the main attraction ... the train! This is no kiddie train, it's the real deal complete with smoke, whistle, and several passenger cars. The kids wanted to get on it immediately and a temper tantrum ensued when it pulled out of the station without us on board (we were saving the train ride for later).

Instead, we took a walk around main street to get our bearings and figure out exactly what two year olds can handle at a theme park. Peyton really started acting up, so we did what any self-respecting guardians would do and had her thrown in the slammer.

Kidding, of course (though it did give me some ideas .... kidding again! Seriously y'all ...).

We did almost have a few fingers severed in the jail door. That's what happens when you have children with an affinity for slamming any and all open things (think doors, cabinets, toilet seats, etc). I must admit that I did feel funny showing them how to nicely close the jail cell door ... aren't those things only meant to be slammed in the first place? Oh well, life lessons trump what you see in the movies in this case.

We then decided to try some rides. I really only thought they'd be able to do the carousel and maybe one other thing. Well, they definitely proved me wrong. Sam was willing to try any ride. He looked a little scared the whole time he was riding, but he always wanted to try again. What a brave guy. Peyton, on the other hand, did not want to try anything new. She went on the carousel (she'd been on one before) and I convinced her to ride the Ferris wheel (only because she's seen Dora do it ... jeez!). Let me tell you, that Ferris wheel was nothing to laugh at. That thing went FAST! I like roller coasters and once the operator cranked that wheel up, I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was a little scary for me the first time around, but I acted like it was oh so much fun, so the girls thought so too.

Lastly was Adah. This girl is apparently going to live on roller coasters. I guess I'd better buy her a season pass to Carowinds now in hopes that they offer a discount to kids her age. The girl seriously wanted to try everything. Heck, the Ferris wheel was like child's play to her. She is definitely our thrill seeker!

Check out her face in this one ... pure delight.

The park also happened to have a petting zoo and although those things kind of creep me out, the kids love them. We went and fed the goats, pigs, bunnies, etc. The kids enjoyed it and had fun chasing around a baby goat that they brought out for them to pet.

Luke is still at the age where he had to be in the stroller for most of the time. Poor guy. I felt bad that every time we let him out he just ran around with a look of absolute joy on his face because he was free. He was such a trooper though and did great. There's a lot to see at a park, so he was plenty occupied while we lugged his 28.5 pounds up and down the mountain. Yes, 28 pounds. The boy now weighs more than his older sisters and is gaining on his older brother. Somebody call Urban Meyer ...

After lunch we took in a show and got decked out for our final adventure, the train ride. We had to dress the part to get ready for the trip.

In all truthfulness, the train ride was more fun for us adults than the kids. Peyton didn't like the smoke from the train (I don't know why, she has no fire trauma in her past), Adah had a bad view, and Luke dropped his pacifier out the window about halfway through the ride. Sam enjoyed it, though I think he was sleep walking at that point because he was so tired. We made our way to the car and I was excited because things had gone so well and I was looking forward to the kids doing a little of this on the drive home ...

But I was only kidding myself. Instead I got to hear two whistles being blown in my ear while Sam continually asked for snacks. This was all in between Luke shouting, "Elmo!" (his new favorite word) every few minutes while pointing at the DVD player. I guess they were still wound up from all the events of the day, but it was worth it. They definitely slept well that night.

So, theme park level 1 ... mission accomplished. We are nowhere near ready for Disney, but it won't be too far away. With all the fun we had on this trip, it won't be long before we head back for another good time!

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