National Park #1-Hot Springs National Park

Up and at em early in the morning Shipley Donuts was our first stop of the day and we made sure to get our fair share.

IMG_20181230_073735537

IMG_20181230_073738645.jpg

After breakfast, it was a short ride to our main attraction for the day, Hot Springs National Park.

 

It’s amazing how warm these super heated springs are.  After dipping our hands in, we were tempted to dive right in!

FB_IMG_1546205677795

Would have been nice to take a bath at the Quapaw Bath House, but at $20 a person, we decided to pass until it was just a parents’ only trip.

IMG_20181230_095129964

While in the town of Hot Springs, we took a tour of Mountain Valley Spring Water Visitor Center and enjoyed some fresh water.

 

We grabbed a few things from Walmart before pulling into the campground.

We made it in time for the little kids to ride their scooters for a few minutes…

 

…before being forced in by the rain 😦

20181230_164416

 

Advertisements

So Much History and A Half Million Dollars

For about 30 seconds, the Thomas family had $520,000 of cold hard cash in our hands.  We could feel how heavy it was and it smelled just like you would think a half million dollars would smell.

FB_IMG_1546086207684

It would have been nice if this was our family safe in the background, but it was inside the vault of the Arkansas State Capitol Building.

We haven’t seen many vaults before, but this one certainly was massive. The door was 24,000 lbs alone from O-h-i-o (shout out to William’s people) that had to be hoisted up to the second floor in 1912.

The Capitol Building was stunning: wall to wall and floor to ceiling marble, supreme architecture, marvelous columns, and beautiful symmetry all throughout.

IMG_20181228_111426780_HDR

Our tour guide was fantastic and extremely knowledgeable about both the Capitol Building and the history of the city, both historically and currently.

The rest of city didn’t disappoint either.

We find history, specifically cultural history, to be especially interesting.  We’ve discovered many cities have audio history tours that you can take, so of course, we did this one too.

Screenshot_20181227-171554~2

We drove by the Horace Mann High School, which was built after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision to end segregation. It was built on the east side of Little Rock where most of the poorer black students lived as a way of still keeping black and white students separate.

IMG_20181228_081302538_HDR.jpg

Afterwards, we passed this cemetery where former slaves and free blacks, from the early 1800’s, were buried.

IMG_20181228_081837124_HDR.jpg

From there, we went over to MacArthur Park and the Pike-Fletcher-Terry home.  The park was the first city park and has statues to honor those who fought in the Korean War, as well as a statue to remember the end racial segregation in the U.S. Military.

Mrs. Adolphine Fletcher Terry was instrumental in supporting and getting non-segregationists elected to push the end of segregation in schools.

Before heading over to the current Capitol Building, we toured the Old State House…

(Macey and Gig-up recreated the creepy photo)

…which is now a museum, that holds everything from Oddities…

…to quilts woven by African American women…

…and, the dress Hillary wore when Bill Clinton stepped out the front doors to accept his first presidency inauguration.

One can’t visit Little Rock without visiting Little Rock Central High School.  If you are unaware of the history of this school, we’d encourage you to research it for yourself.

IMG_20181228_113246738IMG_20181228_111537655-1

There was so much more we saw in this city, but one must come and see it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoe Tree, Mississippi, and Big Buck in Hornsby

The weather while driving in the morning was perfect: cool, sunny, and clear, so we had to stop, on the side of the road, for a photo shoot.received_270887830262525Before making our way to breakfast, the kids put away electronics and worked on a scavenger hunt in their Travel Notebooks. We turned the radio off and just focused on the outdoors.

 

Macey and Phillip tied on theirs but Mackenzie beat Madison by 1 point! The prize was anything you want from Dollar Tree, ha!!

We planned to stop at Chick-fil-A (our favorite) for breakfast. After 24 Chick-n-Minis, a butter biscuit, a chicken biscuit, 4 count nugget, hash browns, and orange juice, we were full!! received_354916658633577

Before leaving out of Alabama and into Mississippi, we pulled over to add a pair of shoes to the Shoe Tree in Cherokee, AL.

 

Along the drive, the kids took out their Travel Notebooks that we created.  These books have some entertaining pages, some educational, and some that have a combination of both. We work hard on using travel as a way to increase their experience and knowledge.

received_318012118922306

Quickly through Mississippi and into Tennessee, our stop for the night is in Hornsby.

received_753907961674934

The kids were initially disappointed due to all of the mud at our campsite, they wanted to ride their bikes and new scooters that they got for Christmas…

received_2117499741800620

….but that disappointment didn’t last long. They found other ways to occupy themselves.

Macey and Phillip with Legos

received_800525270294324.jpeg

Mackenzie with The Sims on Xbox

received_339296456668213

Madison with a movie on her phone in her bunk

received_326963507912202

Today, the adventure continues!

And We’re Off!

This is our second year leaving on Christmas Morning and knowing us, it will become another annual tradition.  It seems like we’ve been counting down the days for a while now and it’s finally come.

On Christmas Eve, we spent some time with both families, had a couple meals, and exchanged some gifts, then hurried home to finish packing and filling the kids’ stockings.

Even though we were up all night making sure we had everything packed in the RV (though we forgot a ton), the kids and Kelly couldn’t stay asleep with the excitement of Christmas morning and the gifts soon to be opened.

So at 2:30am…yes, 2:30am, they went downstairs, “patiently” watched some movies, and stared at the gifts under the tree until daddy came down at 5:50am.

20181225_194802IMG_20181225_033531831

After opening way too many gifts, we finished loading up the RV, cleaned up all the Christmas decorations, and double checked our to-do lists.  We loaded up the truck, prayed, and pulled out of the driveway.

We didn’t have a far drive, but stopped to stretch our legs, somewhere in Alabama, and our silly kids had to strike a goofy pose.

FB_IMG_1545786516375

Gaining an hour driving into the Central Time Zone, plus leaving an hour earlier than we had anticipated had us arriving at our stop around lunchtime.

FB_IMG_1545781526040

With the mountains right behind the lake, it’s easy to see its appropriately named.

FB_IMG_1545781521584

It was a full day and everyone was either asleep or barely hanging on by 8pm CST.

And now, the adventure continues!