I make my kids sleep in closets. It's true. Okay, no it's not. They concocted this plan to "play sleep" in the closet in our first hotel of the trip in Richmond... only they actually did fall asleep! It was pretty cute. By morning, they had each moved out of the closet one-by-one, to the bed. Little wonder. They certainly were cramped in there.
We moved on up the road to Hershey from Richmond, with Diet Coke in my cup and Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue in the kids' DVD player.
They definitely saved the best for last for this round of resort shops. Our suite was huge and very, very nice. The kids were "wow"ing all over the place, and I have to admit, I was quite impressed myself. They earned top marks from me, that's for sure!
The master bedroom I so enjoyed... but I was lonely, so I usually had a kid or three in there with me!
The kids' room, wherein they watched entirely too much TV when they were supposed to be sleeping!
Seriously, the size of this place rivals our own home, not to mention the, well, the CLEAN. The kids took care of that part lickety-split, but not without frequent motherly admonishments to keep it clean!
The huge tub in the master bath saw a LOT of use for those nights we spent in Hershey. Ah, so nice. I am not a bath person, but even I spent a couple-four hours in there, total! As soon as the kids saw it on the first night, they shucked their clothes and hopped in. Unlike me, they love a soak in a tub as much as one possibly can!
On that PA trip, I had lots of pizza mystery shops to do, and those, like the resort evaluations, require lots of pictures. Unfortunately, I had left the cord for my camera at the hotel in Richmond. Eek! So, before getting that night's pizza, I had to round up the progeny and make a trek to the nearby Staples for a card-reader for the kids' laptop that I always borrow on trips. (Well, I did, before Sophia dropped it. Now we need a new one. Farg.) Anyway, I had a BlockBuster gift card in my wallet that I had won two years earlier at least, and there was a BB next to the Staples, so yeah. Put two and two together.
We picked up a couple previously-watched DVDs for the kids' collection for cheap, and I got a humongo lollipop for each of them, since they definitely do not get enough sugar in their diets. (Snork)
Fortunately-unfortunately, I put the lollies on top of the fridge for the night, so they wouldn't sneak out and eat the whole thing, and we forgot all about them until after we'd checked out. Probably saved 'em a few cavities, anyway!
After their snack and a movie, they hopped back in the tub for the second time that first night! The jets were a huge hit.
Of course, since each suite has a full kitchen, I brought a bunch of groceries from home to save money. I put in a couple boxes of Jell-o and a few cans of mandarin oranges, so I made some right away when we checked into our suite. This made for a nice bedtime snack for the kiddos... and this picture definitely warms my heart after all the animosity between these two just a few short months ago!
After sleeping in much too late, we headed to my friend C's house to visit with her, her six children, and Tiger Lily. C's family are the ones who adopted Lily after we determined we could not afford to properly care for her anymore this past summer, so the kids were definitely excited to be able to see her again. Jack and Lily "write" back and forth to each other still, and they often express their sadness that she is no longer with us.
Seeing Tiger Lily was fab. She was confused at first about who was her master - and where was Rob, anyway? - but she behaved well and looked fantastic. She's got a few health problems now that she's getting on in years, and it makes me sad not to be able to be the ones to take care of her into her old age. I'm so very grateful she's in good hands, though, and I know it was the right thing to do for our old girl.
While C watched Sophia and Jack, she sent Chloë and me down the road to a neat couple of shops that sold all manner of notions and antique things and what-not. Kind of hard to describe. The first shop was more of a craft shop, and I so enjoyed looking at all the wonderfully-laid out displays of real wool felt, old buttons, vintage fabrics and ribbons, and so much more. I didn't have much to spend, but in the end I picked out three old buttons and three old lengths of ribbon. I'll use the buttons in my knitting, and I had planned to put the ribbons in the girls' hair - which I did - but it's a bit stiff for that. I'll probably use the rest to decorate packages, I don't know.
My goal in the antique shop next door was to find some candles for soaking in the tub back at the resort. I was successful in that end, and I also found these candy sticks in every different flavor for pennies apiece. I picked one up for each of C's and my kids - including her baby girl, because I wasn't thinking straight, clearly!
The kids had a blast for the remainder of our time at C's house, petting Lily, making friends with the outdoor kitties, and chasing the poor chickens all over the place! I'm insanely jealous of their chicken-keeping, and I would give anything to be able to raise some chickens of our own. When we move from this place, that's definitely going to be a high priority for us. Rob wants goats, too. Jack wants a llama or something. Um. No. Well, maybe. Who knows.
Of course, we were in Hershey, so we had to visit Chocolate World for a tour. We must have done the free tour three times, so they could get a chocolate sample at the end! I was basically along for the ride for this one, as they tore from one end to the other to see all there was to see before the place closed in a couple of hours. We made the most of it and had a huge blast. Definitely a place worth visiting if you're ever in town!
The Make Your Own Chocolate Bar exhibit at Chocolate World was a must-do. It was a bit of a splurge for us, but it turned out to be really worthwhile. The kids had SOOO much fun selecting the candy fillings and toppings and making their custom wrappers. If you're going to do an "extra" there, definitely do this one!
Jack's bar was done first, and he was so proud of his minimalist wrapper. "When can we eat 'em, Mom??!!!"
Silly girl. Such a poser. Her wrapper bothers me. It's unbalanced, FPS!
Sophia had a lot of help with her wrapper, after her first attempt turned up empty. I mean, she is five, after all! She was very pleased with the finished result! "But when can we eat 'em, Mama??"
Well, yeah, I gave in and took them on one more free ride/tour for yet more samples, before the place kicked us out. Such a blast, we had. And yes, we brought Daddy home some chocolate!
Our four finished products. I was, uh, going to save my bar as a present for Rob, but somehow, for some reason, some way, it didn't quite make it home. I don't know what happened to it... *blush*
Wrapper off the box, Jack paused for a moment to admire the tin can which held his custom-made bar. Would it be as yummy as it was fun to make? Time would tell. Not too much time, though.
Inside, another wrapper around the bar. I couldn't get a picture of it, but each of our names was etched on the edge, too. Kinda cool.
Finally, it was time for a bite.
Chloë, forever modeling
Sophia didn't waste any time, after I gave her the green light!
Well, so how was it??
Pretty good, I must say. We still had some by the end of the trip, because they were very large, and I only let them eat a bit at a time. No comparison to fine chocolate, but still, it's chocolate, you know?!
Finally, after another whirlwind day on the road, it was Mommy time. I made sure the kids were fed, bathed and snuggled down in their beds, and then I started a bath for me. I had taken one the night before and dumped in one of the mini hotel bottles of shampoo for bubbles, so I did the same thing that second night with another bottle. Except, oops! It made a LOT more bubbles. A really lot! Pretty soon, those candles were covered with suds, and there was no WAY I was going to be able to read a magazine in there!
I hopped in the tub when there were half as many bubbles, but when it got this high, I called Chloë to come and rescue me. So she did, with camera in hand! Hee. The other two kids came trailing in behind her, laughing, pointing and squealing at the mess I'd made. There wasn't really anything else to be done, so I instructed them to shuck off their jammies and hop in with me! So, at midnight, when they should have long been sleeping, the four of us enjoyed a silly bubble bath together with lots of singing and laughing and playing. Good times, good times.
The next day was quite ridiculous, for me at least. We had to check out of the Hershey resort and get me checked into a hotel in the very north part of central PA, just below the NY line. Then we had to race the kids over to Jamestown, NY, to spend the night with Aunt Stacey and her family. Why? Because I had been hired to do a bar evaluation in the same hotel I was staying in, and they were paying me enough to make that doable. And I really wanted to see my sister, who hadn't seen me in 18 months and wanted to check out the new bod. The drive wasn't awful, but it wasn't terribly fun, either. Or fast. I don't have a lot of snow-driving experience, and it was coming down pretty hard. But we made it, safe and sound, just in time to half Aunt Stacey cut the kids' hair. I needed mine done, too, but we had to skip it so I could get back for my jobs.
Chloë had decided a week or two prior to that visit that she wanted her long hair cut off. It gets very knotty very easily, and it hurts like the dickens, she says. I let her make that choice, and she was adamant about it. Really? Sure? Certain? Positive? Yes, very definitely, yes.
It turned out to be super-cute, especially when dry. Aunt Stacey liked it, I liked it, and most importantly, Chloë liked it. Phew!
Sophia didn't want a trim, but she needed one. Her hair, man... it's not good. It just isn't. She's been SUCH a good girl lately about not cutting it (knock wood), and it's getting quite long. I like it best up in piggies or a pony, but she can only stand a hair doodle in for so long before she starts ripping it out, so I usually only put it up if we're going to be out somewhere. At home, I let her freak flag fly!
So, hmm. Apparently I didn't take any more pictures for the remainder of the trip, even though there were three more nights? Weird.
I left Stacey's to go back to my hotel and run my bar evaluation. Well, wow. I was really not sure I wanted to be alone in there, and my hunch was right, because I got hit on really HARD by this guy who said he was 46 but was probably a decade older. I couldn't leave, because of my shop, so I was his captive audience as he tried every game in the book on me. Finally, he went outside to smoke a cigarette (bleck), and I hastily took my leave. I literally RAN to my room and locked it up tight. I had told him my first name, so I was worried he would track me down, but he didn't knock on my door. I slept fitfully for only a couple of hours that night, before I had to get up and rush back to Stacey's, grab the kids, and then rush back to the hotel to check out. If I had that to do over again... oh, who am I kidding, I probably still would. I'm a glutton for punishment.
We spent the next two nights in the Philly area, doing two more hotel shops. Or was it one more night? Now that I think about it, probably just the one. That was a really nice hotel, but it was standard and therefore boring. Nothing notable happened and, like I said, I took no pictures you haven't already seen.
I wanted to take the kids into Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and other sights, but for whatever reason, we didn't make it. I think it was because I was just too tired.
The next day, we were supposed to do a really fun shop at a Christmas wonderland amusement park, but it was canceled due to inclement weather. That really SUCKED on the one hand, because the kids were excited about it, but on the other hand, it meant getting back home to Daddy that much sooner! So we turned tail and hit the road, Jack.
And now, you are caught up on our recent travels.
Until next time...