Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Highlights Of My Winter Break

Since this is technically a "Lifestyle Blog" and I'm out of vacation photos, I thought I would share some family photos from my Winter Break.  Now, you probably didn't even know I went on a winter break because I never closed my blog down.  That's because the week I was gone I had to do two link up posts with my fashion blogging buds.  I pre-scheduled those posts before I left.

Every February, the day after I spend Valentine's Day with my hubby, I drive myself the 9-10 hour trip to Indianapolis (it's technically only about 8 hours but depending on traffic, how many times I stop, and how many wrong turns I take, it ends up being 9-10 hours) to spend time with my other Valentines:  the grandchildren.  It is a long and lonely drive for someone my age.  I always promised myself when I was younger that when I got older I wouldn't let fear or old age stop me from doing things.   But now that I am old, it's hard to overcome my fear and get out and do things.  When I think of all the road trips and dangerous things I did when I was younger, I cringe.  To think, I used to drive long distances in a car that should have been in the junk yard years ago and without GPS or cell phones!  Now I drive a brand new vehicle with GPS, a cell phone,  and I'm scared.  ha ha!  I pretty much white knuckle it and pray all the way there reciting "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".  I should say part of my issue is I just don't get a lot of experience with city driving or express way driving anymore.  I only drive myself one day a week, and that is on a country road.

I ended up having a pretty safe travel until I had to stop my car on the side of the expressway because I didn't know if I should go East or West.  Once I realized "Of course you go east you idiot, you're coming from the west!" I had a dilly of a time trying to merge back into the high speeding traffic.  Oh, thank God a cop didn't see me.  I had stopped so close to where I had to make a decision to turn, that I didn't even have enough runway to merge back into traffic.  So then I had to put the car in reverse, and back up on the shoulder until I had enough runway to go left (which was east).  Then I just sat there and waited, and waited, and waited until I was clear to merge back into the freeway traffic, then I floored it!

I ended up having at least two more of those type of driving experiences, but I will spare you the details.  After this trip I said to my husband "I have no business driving alone that long of a distance".  He agrees, but we don't know what else to do.  He can't come with me as much as he would love to, the bus is too dangerous, and a plane just doesn't make sense as it's two hours from my house to the airport.  But should the Lord tarry, I will probably be back on the road again next year, praying all the way, because I love my grand babies too much to go a whole winter without seeing them.

Well, enough of my driving adventures, let's get on to the good stuff:  the grand babies and all the fun things we did together!

As I mentioned earlier, it was the day after Valentine's Day so I brought them Valentine's gifts.  It was pretty simple stuff:  books, crafts, healthy treats, and one bag of Lindor Truffles for each of them.  For the baby I gave him the cutest, softest sloth stuffed animal ever.  He loved it of course, but I also noticed the two older children playing with it a few times too.

Elisha is five month's old in these photos.  He is still a pretty chill baby with a nice personality, although he doesn't sleep well at night at all.  He reacts to me very similarly to the way Alethea use to react to me when she was a baby...He likes me!  He really likes me!  It isn't hard to get a smile out of him at all.  Atticus, his 2 1/2 year old brother, was a momma's boy when he was a baby and never showed much interest in me.  I was beginning to get concerned about that, as I always had such a great relationship with Alethea, but this past year, Atticus really came out of his shell and seems to really like me too!  

Here Elisha is having some "tummy time".  He wasn't crawling yet when I was visiting, but I think it won't be long now.

We didn't do any big destination events when I was there.  It was a pretty laid back week, but we tried every day to get out and do something.  It's pretty tough getting three kids all under the age of four dressed and in the car as all you mom's probably already know.  

The first day of my winter break we just stayed in the house all day and I did crafts with the kids.  I was more than happy to have a day at home after my "adventure" the day before.  But the next day, Alethea had a ballet class so we took her to that and then we had lunch at Starbucks.  I couldn't believe how excited the kids were to go to Starbucks.  They talked about it as if it were Toy Land.  Apparently, Ashley and Jason get a lot of gift cards to Starbucks so they take the kids there on occasion for a "treat",

Alethea just started ballet.  She has a natural gift and love of dance, so mom and dad thought it was important to get her some proper training.

Little Elisha was so patient and sweet as we ordered and waited for our drinks and sandwiches to be made at Starbucks.

The Starbucks was located in a grocery store so we ended up buying the kids some donuts, pizza, and cheese in addition to their Starbucks treats.  They were really hungry for some reason.  And no, they do not normally eat this way.  It's only because Grandma was in town.  Normally they are gluten free, dairy free, organic, sugar free, whole food...blah, blah, blah free.  But all that goes out the window for holidays and when Grandpa & Grandma are around.

My beautiful daughter Ashley with baby Elisha...asleep again.  Elisha is the king of cat nappers.  We think that's why he doesn't sleep well at night, because he keeps taking these short, little naps during the day.  Ashley said she read every book on the topic, and nothing seems to work.  We're open for suggestions!

Me and my little buddy!  He likes me! He really, really likes me!  Isn't his black leather jacket the cutest?  I told him "You look just like Fonzi" and he replied "I'm not Fonzi, I'm Atticus!"   Of course, he has no idea who Fonzi even is. 😀

Back at the house he crawled into Elisha's carrier and pretended to be a sleeping baby.  So cute!

The weather while I was there couldn't make up it's mind if it wanted to be spring or winter.  One day it would be in the fifties and the next it was a bitter cold seventeen degrees.  I wanted to find something indoors to do so I googled "Indianapolis Indoor Shopping Malls" and would you believe they only had one?  Most of the shopping in the area is outdoors.  Now, Ashley is not a shopper, but I thought it would be nice to just walk around a bit and stretch our legs, so off we went!

When we arrived, I thought we hit gold.  They had a play area right in the center of the food court.  It was a brilliant idea and I thought "Why don't all malls do this?"  We were able to get our food, and sit and watch the kids play.  And the best part is they had a Chick-fil-A!  I know that probably isn't exciting news for most of you, but we don't have those in my neck of the woods so it was a real treat for me!

The kids loved the play area and had so much fun.  And they really loved their Chick-fil-A food too!

Of course Elisha couldn't participate in neither the play area or the food, but he was a good sport about it.

After lunch, some play time, and multiple trips to the potty, we put Atticus and Elisha in the double stroller and walked around a bit.  It was a huge mall.  Apparently it's the largest mall in Indiana.  We didn't buy much, as it is hard to do serious shopping with three kids in tow.    I only hit the stores that I don't have in my home town like H&M and Forever 21.  I hadn't been in either of those stores for years, and it was really eye-opening.  The style this year seems to be retro 60's/70's with belly buttons showing.  I think I will be out-of-style this season. 😁

On Saturday Jason was home so we picked a family activity.  I saw there was a winter festival nearby, and even though it was a nasty, cold day, we bundled up and went!

It was a lot of fun.  The kids got free hot cocoa from a local coffee shop.  It was the real deal too!  I was so disappointed adults couldn't have one too.  I would have more than happily paid, but that wasn't an option.  

They had free train and horse and carriage rides.  Masks weren't required.  Alethea chose to wear hers because her face was cold.

The train was so cute!

The kids favorite part was playing in the "fake snow".  We had a hard time getting them out of there, they didn't want to leave.  I don't know what it was made of, but it was so cool!  

They had this awesome blow up snow globe where you could take a selfie!  I think the kids really didn't understand what this was because we had a hard time getting them to smile for the camera.  They probably thought they were going into a bouncy house and were so disappointed to see mom and dad on the other side pointing a camera at their face. 😂

Speaking of mom and dad they decided to take this cute selfie while we were waiting to enter the snow globe.

Being the animal lover that I am, my favorite part of the Winter Festival was seeing all the cute critters.  They had baby bunnies, reindeer, and an owl!

They named the reindeer after the "Frozen" characters.  Alethea got a kick out of that!

The owl was my favorite.  He was incredible.  He just sat on his perch and let people pet him.  I have never seen an owl let people pet him before.  He didn't seem to mind at all, but he was definitely curious about everything,

Sunday was my last day of winter break.  We went to church, some of us napped in the afternoon, and then we took a walk on this gorgeous trail near their home.  Spring had definitely arrived in Indiana!  The weather was a beautiful fifty degrees and the migrating birds had just arrived.  There were hundreds of geese in the air and on a pond near by, and I even saw two white swans!

Alethea took her scooter, while Elisha stayed cozy in his stroller and the rest of us walked.

This trail is part of the Monon Trail;  it is a 25 mile long trail for bikes and pedestrians.  Someday I'd love to bike the whole trail!

My favorite picture I took all week.  I just love the way the sunset is hitting her pretty face.

It is always wonderful to see the grand babies and my daughter and son-in-law, but it always hard to leave.  Part of me can't wait to get home and back to my usual routine, and the other part doesn't want to leave.  Even though we live so far apart, we really work hard to see each other as much as we are able to.  My next visit will be Easter.  We will stop by for the weekend, and then head east to  Shenandoah National Park!

I hope you enjoyed reading this LONG lifestyle post.  I don't do them that often as I don't know how many people are interested in my personal life.  

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!



  1. Looks like a wonderful break and fun with the grandkids

  2. That sounds like such a wonderful trip! Most of the malls around us do have play areas near the food court but they're quite small (the malls; the play areas seem to be standard sized in them all). I give you real props for going the road trip alone-- I have NEVER done that. I almost did with my boys last year but my husband heard we were driving instead of flying and ended up taking the week off to join us. I rarely drive at all further than an hour or 2 from home.

    1. Yes, it was a very nice visit. And thanks for acknowledging my bravery to drive so far alone. I feel silly even mentioning it. I don't know why I always get so worked up about it.

  3. I loved reading this Amy. You are so blessed to have grandkids and such a great relationship with them.
    I can totally understand the driving issue. Rob has been driving so much since we moved, that the couple of times, I've gone anywhere alone, it's almost traumatic.
    I'm sure a Lyft or Uber might be too expensive, but too bad there isn't a shuttle you could take instead.

    1. Aww, thank you Jodie. No shuttle that I can think of. I just have to get emotionally stronger.

  4. Your grandchildren are growing up so fast. Love that photo of Atticus going in for a bite of his donut! Also how fun to go on a train ride. We used to have one locally but sadly went out of business. Overall, these are beautiful memories you made with your grandchildren Amy. I am so glad that your travel was safe even though I hear you with being on city roads. I get stressed out with it too whenever I visit my parents. But I sure do love that there's so much more to do in their area. Lastly, I may be in the minority but I love lifestyle posts. I feel that it's more personal and a lot more relatable. I hope your week is going well so far!

    Maureen |

    1. Yes, they do that, don't they. Yea, the funny thing about the donuts is earlier in the month their parents took them to this posh donut store in the area, and Alethea said the cheap donuts in the grocery store tasted better than the expensive ones. Mom was like "Well, I guess I won't waste my money there anymore". I'm glad you enjoyed my lifestyle post.

  5. Replies
    1. Yes, it was a lot of fun and such a great idea.

  6. Amy,
    Looks like you had one fantastic time with your grandchildren!! Good for you!! Thanks so much for stopping by!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

  7. I do enjoy reading your family posts, miss the "grandma and me" posts too and it's nice that you share some of you life. Love that little Alethea is doing ballet, how wonderful! My daughter has been dancing for over 10 years, she was Clara in the last Nutcracker and this year she is a "stepsister" in Cinderella. Hope Alethea is having many years of dance!

    You really are so brave doing that drive. Back in Germany I didn't mind driving all over the place even though some highways had no speed limits. No idea what happened when I moved here but now I never drive over an hour away by myself and even then I stress about it. Think I just got used to hubby driving always and like you we live in a more rural area and just not used to the city driving. And lets face it, people nowadays just are too busy to be on their phones instead of watching the road!!!!
    The little indoor playground is so nice. We used to have one in the next big town over (about 45 min. from here) when the kids were little, but were shocked to find out it was completely removed when they renovated the mall a couple of years ago. That was our favorite part of the mall when the kids were little!!

    Oh, about alternate driving to get to the kids? Maybe there is a train you can go on? We always take Amtrak when going to downtown Chicago, but have a train station right here in town. You'd probably have to switch trains in Chicago, but I don't find the Union Station there very confusing and lots of helpful workers!

  8. It looks like you had a wonderful trip with your grandchildren! You are blessed!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

  9. Amy,
    Thanks again for stopping by and for your kind comment!! Hope you are having a great weekend!!

  10. Yes they are. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. It looks like you had a wonderful time, Amy. How fun that you got to be a part of making fun memories with your grands. I loved all your photos. :)

  12. I just came out of my winter break. Your photos are so heartwarming, Amy!



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