Friday, July 10, 2015

Independence Weekend

This week we had some lovely celebrations for Independence Day.

Ashland held its 25th annual Balloon Fest, and we went to the Balloon Glow on Friday Evening.  Only 10 of the 25 balloons were out that evening due to some wind issues, but still it was fun to watch them glowing and flickering on and off to the beat of the music.

The next morning, Tom took the kids to the Fourth of July parade.  It started just down the block from our house.  I was home sick, and missed it, but took this picture of some of the booty that my kids brought home.  This was what was left after they had been raiding it for more than 2 hours!  My own childhood experience at parades was that we kids would scramble for tossed candy and maybe get a tootsie roll or a pack of Smarties.  Never more than 2 or 3 pieces of penny candy at most.  We were not expecting anything more than that, so we were unprepared. Tom said that they were served Popsicles (bomb pops) at the parade, and that walking home he had stuff sticking out of all of his pockets.  In addition to all of the candy, they received coloring books, punch balls, a Frisbee and a toy banana, and 2 superhero light up toys.  There are full sized cereal bars and fun size snicker bars in that pile.  Seriously?
We heard that the parade was bigger and better than usual this year because Ashland is celebrating its bicentennial this year.  But they had their own parade last week, and just in case, I'm never missing a parade again!

Saturday night we watched fireworks from the parking lot across the street.  Usually we hear it with the local radio station simulcast, but this year nobody in our area had a stereo on.  Even without the music it was a great show.

On Sunday evening, we wrapped up our Independence celebration by attending the Pops in the Park concert at the Bandshell.  I didn't take any pictures, but it was a great concert, including cannon shots and popping brown bags to go with the 1812 Overture, and sparklers with the closing song.

Happy Birthday, America!  Happy Birthday, Ashland!

Monday, July 6, 2015

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Photo © Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
Last week Tom attended a conference for work, and we tagged along with him.  The conference was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

It was a long car ride, but Tommy and Ellie did really well,
watching DVDs, giggling, and napping.
While Papa was going through the HUGE check-in line, we explored
the hotel.  This was some of the artwork in the lobby.
Photo: © Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
We stayed in the area of the hotel called The Cascades, named for the beautiful indoor waterfalls.
We found these horses in the shopping district, called the Delta.
Lots of very pricey shops with cute stuff.  A store full of cute
children's toys and train sets that I had to steer begging
children away from for the remainder of our visit.
While Papa was attending his conferences, we went on lots of explores.
They loved the roaring waterfalls.  We also enjoyed the swimming pools.
Photo: © Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
As if the cascades weren't enough of a water feature, the hotel
actually had its own riverboat ride.  Inside.  The river also had
catfish, carp, and a few koi swimming around.
We enjoyed a ride on the riverboat.
And our kiddos were good little passengers, oohing and aahing at all the right spots.
I got lost so often that the kids started running
to the maps every time they saw one to help me
figure out where we were.
I packed a box full of toys and entertainment from the dollar store.
One afternoon my kids entertained all of the passersby with whoopee cushion.
And may I just say that people of all classes laugh at fart noises.
We had caricatures done of the kids.  They kept each other and the artist smiling
with their whoopee cushions.  It was fun, but I don't recognize my kids in the final product.

We enjoyed the pools, but other than that, the hotel was really geared
towards adults.  All that entertainment, but no playground in sight.
So we left our little world inside a world and took a break at a city park.
We had some fun, but Ellie was ready to return to air conditioned luxury.

Every evening, the hotel puts on a show with its water fountains. We watched
 the water dance all the way to the top of the atrium to the rhythm of international music. 

I guess my kids have learned to use the words show and movie
interchangeably, because they kept calling the water show
 a movie, even while they were watching it.
 On the way home, we made a few stops.  One was a spur of the moment stop at a train museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  The boys enjoyed the train tour, but I was feeling hot and claustrophobic and couldn't wait to get out of there.  It was definitely NOT the same as the vacation we had just left behind, and  I won't be traveling by train any time soon.  I didn't even take any pictures.

Our next stop was at the Florence Mall, just south of Cincinnati.  They have a two story carousel, so we ate dinner at the food court and took a ride before and after.  On the first ride, Ellie rode a hopping bunny, and Tommy chose just the stable seat that he always likes.  On the second ride, they both went for the spinning cup, and kept it twirling for several minutes before the ride started and through the whole turn, stopping only briefly to let in a few extra passengers.

They walked away without getting dizzy.

Tom hung out with a dragon next to the spinner.

On the way home we also stopped by Grandma Lux's house for a visit, and of course we took her some UDF ice cream for us all to enjoy.  It was getting late, so we didn't stay long.

A few more hours and we were home again, home again, jiggety jog.