I took the girls to Louisville this past weekend. 18 hours in the car, by myself, with three children under five. Nine there (Thursday), nine back (Sunday). Whew!
We made it, and it really wasn’t bad at all. The trip down to Louisville had a few rough moments as the girls learned that Mom couldn’t reach and do everything for them like I can when Daddy is driving, and I learned some tricks for how to help them as best I could while keeping my eyes on the road.
Both ways we only made one long stop. They enjoyed the treat of eating in restaurants and watching lots of movies.
They saw a big-city skyline for the first time as we drove through Chicago, and on a smaller scale when we reached Louisville.
I just love Louisville. It warmed my heart to drive into view of that skyline.
^^ Not exactly the skyline, but the most distinctive building.
On Friday we spent the day with some dear old friends at a pumpkin patch/farm/apple orchard/farm market/winery. It was intense, and warrants its own post in a day or two.
Friday night we went out to dinner with the same dear friends at a pizza parlor I went to from time to time while in graduate school. I have such fond memories of that place. I even went there on a date with my husband when he visited me in Louisville at the very beginning of our relationship.
Part of the reason I chose to take the girls there was that it was the only one of the places I frequented as a student that I thought would be somewhat family-friendly. But, I wasn’t entirely sure it would be, so I called in advance to make sure they would have a high chair and kid-friendly drinks. They did have high chairs but didn’t have anything but pop and tea (and alcohol) to drink. They said I could bring in my own milk though, so it was all good.
Lass actually said dinner at this restaurant was her favorite part of the trip.
There were fun Halloween decorations all over, and she has talked about the big spiders and ghosts she saw there since we left.
And the pizza was delicious. Brought back happy memories.
While I was getting all nostalgic, the girls were appreciating all the little things about the vacation.
They called this their “Fancy Breakfast” because of the french toast and milk in glass goblets.
They got to watch TV in the mornings.
And of course they had lots of goofy fun with Grandma.
On Saturday afternoon we had lunch in a beautiful park that I never went to when I lived in Louisville. I don’t know why, exactly, except that I lived nearer to a different (and less pretty) park.
We had a fun picnic.
It was pretty much entirely prepared by these ladies:
I had seen a weather forecast that said it might rain on Saturday, and my friend who determined our meet-up spot in the park said it was near a fountain, so I figured the girls would get wet. I brought changes of clothes and their raincoats/boots.
They were disappointed that I wouldn’t let them play too much on the play structures (they were kind of slippery, and honestly, though I didn’t mind them getting wet, I didn’t want to stand in the rain to supervise Sis on them) or at all in the cool fountain/splash pad area. I would have let them run in the fountain to their hearts’ content, except that there was another little girl (around 4 or 5 probably) running in the fountain for most of the time we were there. And she had no clothes on. None. She was naked as a jaybird. I had to explain to my girls why they couldn’t also run in the fountain without clothing, “Well, Honey, it’s just not appropriate to take your clothes off in public, so no, I’m sorry, we’re not going to do that.”
But they did get wet and had a great time playing in the rain and puddles.
I’m so happy I brought the rain coats and boots and the changes of clothes. Unfortunately, I forgot towels, so I had to dry them off with some spare fleece blankets I keep in the car. Not too effective, but we managed. It was worth it.
Saturday night I had a bit of difficulty getting out of the hotel to meet my friends for dinner. Sis chose that night to learn how to climb out of her Pack’n’Play. I put her down to sleep and was completing my preparations to leave when I heard my mom say, “Is she in her bed??” I said “yes,” of course. To which she replied, “Well, it sounds like she’s right on the other side of that door…”
She thought climbing out of that Pack’n’Play was just about the neatest. thing. ever. She did it two or three more times for my Mom after I left. And then I-don’t-know-how-many times between 4 and 6 am.
I was extremely panicked thinking she was going to start doing this at home as well, but she hasn’t so far. I will need to come up with a new sleeping arrangement for her for our upcoming deer-hunting trip to the Farm though.
I did manage to make it to dinner roughly on time and had a delicious meal with wonderful company.
I was even in bed before midnight, which is a personal record for a night on the town in that city.
I lived in Louisville for four years, from the ages of 22 to 26. While I lived there I made many great friends, I earned a Ph.D., and I (amazingly) met my husband. I moved away from Louisville 11 years ago, and my life has changed immensely since living there, but the city remains very close to my heart as do the friends I keep from those years.
I was happy to experience it from a different perspective this time, with my kids.
And now I’m thrilled to be back home with my husband, doing our day-to-day thing, making memories in our family’s home town. It was really fun to walk down memory lane a little bit, and experience and old place in a new way, but I’m happy to cherish the little moments here and now with my family.