October’s Odysseys: Blue Ridge Tunnel

odyssey/ˈädəsē/noun

  1. a long and eventful or adventurous journey or experience

So let me start by saying that A. October has not been long. (Halfway thru already?!) but B. It has been relatively eventful.

For the sake of time, I’ll probably skip right past the days spent in Lancaster County and the taste test between Shady Maple cream filled doughnuts and Sunnyside Pastries cream filled doughnuts. (Results: inconclusive, must do a repeat test pronto 😂)…

… to our well chaperoned date. The Ben friend and I loaded part of his nieces and nephew up in my big ol van and we drove cheerfully to Afton Mountain.

Hiking the Blue Ridge Tunnel has been on my bucket list for awhile and I was super excited that it suited part of his fam to join us.

This railway tunnel was constructed in the 1850s and used until 1944. In the beginning, it was the longest tunnel around. Over 4200 feet of history.

I thought since it was calling for rain on the day of our hike, that we’d have the place basically to ourselves. Wrong

I thought that since it was a pathway of crushed stones that the tunnel floor would be dry. Wrong

I thought that it was going to be so much fun to explore it with the children. Right. So right.

“Look at the CRAYFISH!!” Leave it to the boys to discover critters everywhere we go 😂 There was a pretty decent stream running along the side of the trail.

The roof leaked occasionally and added to the underground cavern type feel.

If you are one of the few people who weren’t visiting the tunnel last weekend, definitely take the chance to check it out.

Take a flashlight, and maybe some waterproof shoes, but prepare for a grand adventure

It’s a super easy hike, but truly unique.

And suddenly it’s hitting me. If I’m going to do another Lancaster-Co-Cream-Filled-Doughnut Taste Test, I’d better be dreaming up another hike or two . 😂

Blessings on whatever experiences October is bringing your way,

Kendra

Mission Surprise Alexander; Completed

The idea came to me during Deb’s visit this summer. I threw it out to Em and she was on board. I threw it out to Jul and she was on board. I checked in with Nate’s sister-in-law who lives in Atmore, and they were on board. And so the waiting began.

We bought tickets to fly to Alabama to surprise, Deb, Nate, and Alexander for Baby A’s first birthday.

We held our breath as to whether or not we could pull this off. There are several over-talkative, unable-to-keep-a-secret links in our family chain 😬 myself being the main one.

Deb kept saying things like “I miss y’all” and “I wish I could see the twins again” and when she ended a conversation with Julia by saying “See you soon” we were on high alert. But still we moved forward.

I spent a far amount of time collecting items to entertain 2 lap babies for the duration of travel time- finger puppets, stickers, new books, sunglasses, magnetic men, and as many snacks as I could cram into my backpack.

The week of, Deb was up to her elbows in planning Alexander’s birthday party and we all teeheed at ourselves. “Those pig cake pops look so good I wish I could eat one, I love cake pops” “Be sure that Alexander checks the mailbox today, his surprise is out for delivery!”

So fast forward thru 2 flights, a 3 hour flight delay 😅, 2 wild Indians who missed naptime, were hopped up on sugar, and insisted on riding their suitcases for miles thru the vast airport prairie… We arrived at our destination with our entourage, including both snuggies and all 4 crocs. 😅

(Side note- God provided us with a beautiful little room called a Mother’s Nursery where we stayed for some time- it was such a relief to be able to let them rest in the quiet instead of trying to calm them in the midst of all the busyness. I’ve never traveled with children before-so I didn’t realize such a thing existed-but wow, it saved the day for us)

Kevin graciously picked us up and we beelined it for Deb’s house.

We grabbed boys and rolled in her door and it was perfect. She gasped and stared and we all cried, and thus continued our whirlwind visit. (Alexander and Nate did not react as amazingly as Deb, but I’m sure they were surprised too😂)

We spent our weekend juggling naps, shopping (it was so much fun to see one of Nate’s thrift stores) ordering take out, getting ready for the birthday party, and just enjoying being together.

Alexander loves pigs, so Deb did a great job at a pig birthday party.

Pigs in a blanket (made from Alabama’s special Conecuh Sausage, fresh green beans (straight from VA thanks Laura) cheeseball, veggies, fresh fruit, finger jello made with Grammy’s pig cookie cutter, and piggy cake pops.

And of course a smash cake that none of the rest of us wanted to touch after the birthday boy ran his hands thru all the icing.

Deb found a huge bag of balls at a thrift store and bought a small inflatable kiddie pool and Alexander’s birthday gift was a huge hit

How we all felt about being together ❤️

How big is Alexander? Soooo biiiig

In the spirit of fairness, I dusted off our Fisher Price collection and put together a story about Cousin Wade flying to visit the twins on the farm. The point of the entire story comes from Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t worry because I am with you. Don’t be afraid because I am your God. I will make you strong and help you!”

I hope those Words get written on your heart, little buddy ❤️

Celebrating you was a treasure for the Memory Chest.

Aunt Ken

Bonus Pic:

Same giraffe, Same boy; one year difference