1. Most like "The Amazing Race" moment: Running from one end of the Minneapolis airport to the other trying to catch our connecting flight to Philadelphia. Our flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis was delayed getting to the gate. The arriving gate was at the opposite corner of the Minneapolis airport from the departing gate and they were announcing the final boarding call for our Philadelphia flight as we emerged from the first plane. The kids were awesome, especially John. It helped my weight loss plan in two ways--I got exercise and my lunch ended up being a ciff bar and 1/3 of a snack case. Those snack cases are airway robbery but it is better than virtually nothing.
2. Funniest moment on our vacation that did not involve kids occured at Paul Revere's house. After slipping through a gaggle of teenagers hanging out in front of the gate, we had an interesting conversation with the ticket agent (TA).
Eric: Two adult tickets and four children's tickets, please.
TA: Sorry, no school groups allowed .
Me: We aren't a school group.
TA: Well they are all wearing the same colored T-shirt (same color, four
different designs with no school identification on any of them).
Me: That is a coincidence. We are a family, not a school. Four kids usually
does not make up a school, though these days it does seem to make a large
family. (thinking to myself-- now is NOT a good time to mention homeschooling).
TA: Oh, okay.
Note: There were probably about 20 school groups that day getting a tour of
the Boston Freedom trail, all wearing the same color shirt for each school with
the school logo prominently displayed. Paul Revere had sixteen children born to
two different wives . He probably wouldn't have been able to tour his own home
because he would have been mistaken for a school group.
3. Scariest moment of our vacation: Driving through the bad side of Camden, NJ when Eric made a wrong turn. Fortunately, it was daylight and we turned around pretty quickly and got back on the right road. If you ever end up in Camden, New Jersey, DON'T go down Federal Road.
4. Most enjoyable time with the kids: Walking along the path between Brook's house parking lot and Hartwell Tavern along the Paul Revere trail and watching our kids pretend to be Colonial Minutemen (or should it be Minutepersons since the girls were also participating?) shooting at the British regulars, which would be Eric and I.
5. Quotes from the kids:
* John, upon studying the Liberty Bell: "It looks like a real bell!"
* Jessi, after hours of seeing nothing but trees off of the interstate in Massachusettes on our way to Boston: "It's a good thing Massachusettes doesn't have many people. It sure makes traveling easier."
* Kyle: "Pow", "bang" and other various exploding noises. He is a man of few words, but many sounds. The most frequently repeated conversation with Kyle was the following: "I have to go to the bathroom!" Eric: "Why didn't you go to the bathroom five minutes ago before we left?"; Kyle: "I didn't have to THEN!" This conversation usually took place in the middle of nowhere with bathrooms at least a half hour away.
* Sad to say, I can't remember any particular memorable quotes from Elizabeth, but that could be because she is in a "face making" stage at this time. When she is upset, she will scowl and grimace and glower, sometimes combined with a "harumph". When she is excited, she will make all kinds of wonderful faces, usually involving smiles, and squeal and when I try to kiss or hug her, she will put on a look of mock horror and do her best to thwart me.
6. Biggest disappointment: Philadelphia Cheesesteak. Maybe my mistake was in choosing cheese whiz instead of provolone because a native told me the original was made with cheese whiz. Chicago's Italien Beef sandwhiches taste much better, IMHO.
7. Biggest frustration: This was a tie between driving through the outskirts of New York and discovering that some of the state parks in New Jersey and Philadelphia were closed on Monday. We had to drive along the outskirts of New York City to get from NJ to Plymoth, MA. It took us two hours to drive 15 miles even though we were miles from downtown. Part of the delay, however, was the two bathroom stops required by Kyle, who drank most of his water in the first hour of the drive. When we planned our trip we were originally going to do a driving tour on Sunday and walk around Philadelphia on Monday, but, after spending more than six hours in a plane the previous day, Eric and I thought the kids would want to walk instead of sit in a car, even for brief periods. Unfortunately, two of the parks I wanted to visit--Brandywine Battlefield and Washington Crossing Park--are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays due to budget cuts. Arizona is not the only state to be cutting its state parks budget, apparently.
8. Most enjoyable time with Eric: snuggling with him after putting the kids to bed and watching "Young Frankenstein" for the first time and having conversations with him that were uninterrupted by the kids.
9. Best night: Without a doubt, my cousin's wedding reception. It was great to see cousins and aunts and uncles I hadn't seen for a while, and get to know their spouses. I also enjoyed dancing with Eric, dancing/cuddling with John and dancing/wrestling with Kyle. I also liked dressing up.
10. Best dinner: Yao's Chinese food in Princeton, NJ. It has been way too long (14 months) since I have had good Chinese food. I couldn't stop eating. The food at the wedding was fabulous, but it wasn't Chinese food.
11. Traveling statistics: We flew a total of twelve hours to get to Philadelphia and back. We drove a little more than 1000 miles between Philadelphia and environs, Boston and environs, and driving to the reception and back, which was another 12 or so hours in the car. The kids watched six movies during the travel days--one for each plane we rode, one on the way to Boston and one returning from Boston. They bought a momentos in each city and three of the kids chose books as one of their momentos. The kids earned four Junior ranger badges in four national parks, with the exception of John, who didn't want to work for the Minuteman Badge. We probably averaged walking 2 miles a day in each city.
Eric has posted pictures on Facebook that I have shared, since we don't necessarily share Facebook friends. We will be updating those pictures periodically.