It’s been several weeks now, so Bets, Kate, any of my crew, feel free to comment to correct any memories you think I haven’t presented correctly!
Onward to the memories:
What a whirlwind of a time it has been. One of the many glorious aspects of this tradition with Kate and Betty is that they’ve been here so many times and the “Trips” are now so much older, it’s more comfortable and relaxed for everyone.
Yessa and I drove north on a Friday afternoon, arriving at the hotel in time to swim, relax, and laugh together. Our plan was to meet the Virginia crowd on Saturday to swap the girls for the basket of chocolate, coffees, and teas I had as a gift for Kel and Paula.
Saturday morning here they come:
Paula found a delicious local place where we could visit before the “trips” and I headed South while Kel and Paula headed north to their busy week of preparing for big events at work for both of them.
Off we go:
Everyone was glad to get home and relax. Games, jumping, and slime immediately began.
Sunday we had church and we zipped back to church to watch the Girl Scouts present a skit about awesome women. (We missed the skit, but enjoyed the chips and guac.)
Monday held many meetings for me and lots of time on the trampoline and slime and enjoying being together for the girls. Kate and I did make it to the grocery store so the crew could make tacos for dinner. (I love that they are old enough to cook!)
Tuesday was a big day. Our friend Caitlin, who runs a research lab at Vanderbilt, offered to show us around. It was so splendid to see where she works, learn about the work, meet undergrads, grad. students, and post-docs., peer through the microscope and extract DNA.
Caitlin’s lab does research that will hopefully lead to a way to stop things like ZIKA and other bug-born viruses with a natural treatment that has no side affects.
Caitlin is fantastic at outreach and did such a fantastic job with all of us. She explained the research clearly and made us feel so welcome.
We got to examine all the parts of her lab, talk to some undergrads, grad. students, and post-docs, crunch up some bugs, examine things in the microscope, and extract DNA.
Part of the lab’s work requires larvae to be scraped off beef liver. As you can imagine, that process can get a little stinky.
Then we enjoyed lunch at the Vanderbilt Cafeteria, getting there ahead of the lunch rush after a beautiful walk around campus.
After bidding farewell with gratitude to Caitlin, we dropped Buster off at home.
The rest of us were headed to “Mission To Mars,” an Escape Room we were excited to try to break out of.
We’re ready to bust out:
The cameras that your “guide” uses to help you navigate the room weren’t working, which meant we had our very wonderful guide right in the room with us. He was splendid support, while allowing us to struggle our way through solution after solution. The girls did a great job working together, while also frustrating each other enough that they would branch out to try to work things out on their own. (I’m sure I was frustrating to them, too.)
Paul, our guide, had to jump in to truly help when our final clues wouldn’t work due to technical issues. (This was after Bets tried to kill us all by pushing a big red button. Thanks to the teams’ ingenuity, we escaped certain death with moments to spare.)
With the great attitudes and positive drive the girls showed, not only were we able to safely turn the three spaceship systems back on that saved us from extermination:
Paul gave us free t-shirts to thank us for being good sports.
In another twist fate handed us, we wanted dinner out at Sushi Train, and managed to go on the one day that Sushi Train is closed each week. We settled for grocery store sushi for that night, and made our pilgrimage to Sushi Train on a night later in the week when they were open.
We had delightful Bo as our at-home dog, but the girls loved the idea of going out to the Cheatham County Humane Society to walk some shelter dogs, too.
The shelter is out in the country, and we all enjoyed the time outside together.
Trampolining was another hit, as always. Much jumping happened all week long.
Even the rain couldn’t slow them down.
They cooked and baked for themselves and each other. I love how they have all grown up together.
Buds and I drive right by a family-owned donut shop every time we go to CrossFit, so one of those mornings we popped in and picked up treats to share.
Another day, not realizing that local schools were closed, we attempted rock climbing and then the Science Center.
With the crowds, we called it a day and headed home for some packing up and final Bo snuggles.
We picked Buds up from work on Friday afternoon and headed to Southern VA right across the border where Kel and Paula had found a great house for us to spend the weekend in before the inevitable ending to our time as a family of five children.
Kel was the one who suggested adding Friday night, and we were all so glad she did. Having the full day to laugh and play together on Saturday was a treat for all of us.
More to come on that weekend of adventures.