I rolled back into my back drive around 3 or 4 o’clock this past Saturday. Spring Break was over. The next day, we would be back to work spanking butts (we don’t actually do that) and feeding faces. The job is a great one. You would be hard-pressed to find something more fulfilling to do as an occupation than providing for the care of children. However, the break was nice. They always are. So, here’s the recap…
Two Friday’s ago, the six residents that live in our home arrived home from school and began the process of packing up and leaving for their break. All of them were scheduled for home visits and would be out of the house by six or seven. We had decided to leave after the last resident was gone and drive overnight. A trip to Illinois is about an eleven or twelve-hour drive for us.
Driving through the night has become an easier option for us as our children sleep through the night and require far fewer stops. We stopped for breaks as we needed to refuel to cut those stops down even more. We ended up pulling into my mother’s driveway around 5:30 on Saturday morning. The kids and I had slept most of the night (Elisa did practically all of the driving), so we stayed awake while Elisa went straight to bed to catch up on her sleep.
Saturday was fairly uneventful. We spent a large chunk of the day at the United Methodist Church in Louisville. This was the church that I grew up in. They have a really nice gymnasium that we spent hours playing in. After lunch, Elisa joined up with us at the gym for some more games.
That night, my family took me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday (which I am still telling lies about, by the way). The restaurant of choice would be Los Tres Caminos. This place is your typical Mexican eatery. They start you off with salsa and chips while you wait for your food. I had the chicken chimichanga, which was excellent.
At one point, I noticed my mother (being less than sneaky) talking to one of the waiters and pointing over at me. Shortly afterward, an army of waiters arrived at my backside with a sombrero and some sort of ice creamy dessert (it has corn flakes in it). I saw this other dude holding a spoon full of whipped cream who kept moving around behind me. My assumption was that I would end up with whipped cream on my nose. I was both right and wrong about that assumption. Following a birthday serenade, my nose did end up covered in whipped cream but only after most of the rest of my face was covered as well.
Happy Birthday to me!!!
The next morning was Easter Sunday. We went to church with my mother at Louisville United Methodist which was fun. Many of the people who I grew up going to church with are still in attendance. The kids got pretty involved with the service as Caleb helped with the offering and the kids all sat in the very front row.
After church, we all went up to my aunt Nancy’s house for lunch and their annual Easter Egg hunt. Just to provide a little context for the family dynamic here. When I was growing up, my grandma and grandpa would have all of their family over to their house on the first Sunday of every month for lunch. Nancy is my mother’s oldest sibling and has carried on that tradition somewhat with her family on the holidays (they might get together more frequently than that actually).
It was pretty cold out but the egg hunt went on regardless. The Strange, Forth & Kerns clan were definitely represented well among those in the hunt. My kids gathered up a small fortune in candy, coins, and dollar bills.
From that point, we had quite a few consecutive lazy days where not much happened aside from relaxation. Monday and Tuesday were both spent making no decisions and doing nothing other than leisurely activities such as social media stalking and the occasional round of Phase 10.
On Wednesday, we made a trip down to Carmi to check in on our friends down there. We spent the first few hours at Baptist Children’s Home & Family Service‘s office catching up with our former co-workers. I made my way over to Drew’s Barber Den where my good friend, Nick Knight (the dude in the middle of their facebook picture) got me cleaned up.
After a few more hours with friends on BCH’s campus, we made our way over to Scott Kiser’s house for an evening with their family. For those of you who do not know the Kiser’s, I have blogged about them before and they are fantastic people. Sydney is super close to their two daughters and always looks forward to spending time with them. We spent the night at their house and part of the next day there as well.
Thursday night saw us return to my mother’s house for the evening where a much more competitive round of Phase 10 awaited us. Being veteran’s of the game now, we were up to the task as my wife crushed the competition (which was actually just my mother, Sydney and I).
The next day, we got up and got on the road for Lebanon. Elisa’s mother lives there and we spent a large chunk of our afternoon visiting with her before heading over to Highland for our nephew’s indoor soccer match. Good times were had by all as we ended up the evening in the bottom of a bowl of ice cream at their local DQ.
The plan was to stay the night in St. Louis with some family but plans changed at the last minute and we decided to head on home instead. Driving through the night with less sleep was not ideal but turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We arrived back in Virginia much earlier (obviously) than we had planned.
Along the way, we passed the Natural Bridge Zoo and decided to stop. Now, if you have not been to this location before (probably the majority of you readers have not) then let me explain the experience to you. Imagine for a second that you owned a large amount of property that could best be described as a large, unfarmable field. Then, imagine that you just started building animal cages in random spots around the property and populated those cages with various different types of domestic and exotic animals with no real rhyme or reason to their locations.
If you have this image in your mind, you know exactly what Natural Bridge Zoo looks like. Yet, despite the randomness that this location provides, it is AWESOME! We loved it. There was a lot of interaction as you could feed practically everything that they had there.
After spending about an hour and a half at the zoo, it began to occur to us that we were extremely tired and in need of sleep. So, we loaded on up and finished the two hours remaining in our drive to reach home.
Then we died…..
Not really, but we did sleep quite well that night.
I will leave you with this little bit of advice.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.