Monday, May 30, 2016

Interstates and bluegrass and coming home again.


I have returned.

I have returned from a week of the relentless pace of travel, the tiring luxury of tourism, hours and hours of backseat-riding and sightseeing. Back from being in a place where people from all over the place (but mostly Oklahoma and Arkansas) gather to have a good time. Back from the unavoidable loneliness of plain and simple homesickness. ;-P Back from seven days of seeing new places, trying new things, and living chapters of life that were heretofore unopened, but are now sweet memories I can tell stories about, think of and smile, and look back on forever.


So hello again, dear readers! Did you miss me?

     I missed y'all. I missed home a lot, actually. The lilacs and the sound of the neighbor's tractor, my cat waking me up in the morning, hanging out clothes on the line, playing with the bunnies, making popcorn in the evenings. And watching Poldark. (My horrible family went ahead and finished the series WITHOUT ME and now I'm feeling the burn of vengeance in my soul. Look out.) I don't know -- every time I go somewhere I'm reminded of just how attached I am to my family and my home. When everything's foreign, it affects my mood and makes me feel so distant from everything that's familiar and dear to me. And the longer I'm away from my family, the more "on my own" I start to feel, and the more loneliness creeps into my heart -- even when I'm with other people I love, like my aunt and uncle (who really are awesome). There comes a point when you can't rely totally on your family, and you've got to rely on the strength and good sense you're given and the God who gave it to you. When I think about myself years ago, I know I'm stronger....but then, when I think about myself leaving home and going to college, it makes me want to cry. At the same time....I want it so much. I guess it just goes to show how far I've got still to go. 


But I really did have an AMAZING time and I'm grateful for it. :-)


     I didn't even tell you where I went, did I? Well now! I went to Branson, Missouri, which has got to hold some kind of record for the amount of hotels, resorts, theaters, and museums you can fit in one city. And yes, every time I say the name, still, I can't help picturing my riotous Irish chauffeur in the car garage with his coat off and his shirtsleeves rolled up.

So here's what I did last week.

  •      I saw miles and miles and miles of interstate from Pennsylvania through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and finally Missouri, and I realized, after watching all those big farms roll past my window, I am totally and completely a farmer. Farms make me so happy. I think I have dirt in my blood. (Ew, sorry, that sounds kinda gross. But you get the picture.)
  • I saw license plates from pretty much every state in the Union except for Alaska, Hawaii (which is not at all surprising) and Wyoming. It is my belief that this is because Wyoming people live on ranches and they don't take vacations.
  • I saw Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, and wooooowwwwwwza. I have literally never seen anything like it in my life and may never again.

the arena at the Dixie Stampede
  • I went on a showboat -- the Branson Belle -- and same, it was like nothing I'd ever seen before. I loved it. Especially the part where the performers came out and sang snippets of famous movie songs. I cheered loudly when one fellow came out dressed up as a cowboy and started singing, "Ooooooooklahaoma!" and my cousin and I basically exploded when two sailors came out singing "There is nothing like a dame!" for, um, very private and complicated reasons. Ahem.
  • I saw Sight & Sound's production of Moses and OH MY STARS AND STRIPES. Absolutely incredible. Has anyone seen Sight & Sound before? You know what I'm talking about? I didn't even know that stuff was possible. Like, how. 

The theater at Sight & Sound (sir, put your phone away. Sheesh.)
  • Mary and I went swimming late at night in the outdoor pool at the place we stayed, and were overjoyed to realize they had their radio programmed on the country station and even more overjoyed when we heard some of our favorite songs. It felt like home. :-) John Pardi's Head Over Boots For You somehow became our theme song for the trip. Don't know how that happened.
  • We went to Silver Dollar City for two days and experienced all of that. It's basically a huge theme park with lots of little shops, museums, demonstrations, cafes, theaters, roller coasters...you get the idea. They were having their annual Bluegrass and Barbecue festival, so we got to see some musicians, including The Willis Clan! I'd never heard of them before, but I'm now their newest fan. We went to one of their shows in the morning and then I went back to see them again that afternoon. The way the kids bantered with each other reminded me of my sister and I, and their music was like a salve to my weary soul. I kind of love them. (Oh yeah, and West Coast Swing dancing is officially my new favorite thing. Just WATCH THIS and you'll understand.)
  •  I may mention that I sort of developed a rather inconvenient crush on Jackson Willis, which on the other hand maybe I shouldn't admit to....
  • I told you there were roller coasters? Yes. Well. You should know I have not ridden on any type of roller coaster in at least six years. I have a history of being traumatically terrified of them and for the past six years I shied away at every opportunity. Well....this particular day, I was feeling daring. It took some coaxing, and some moaning and groaning and long deliberation on my part, but long story short, I rode a roller coaster. And when that went well and I realized to my surprise and utter delight that I wasn't afraid anymore, I rode another....and another...and I absolutely loved it. It was one of those exciting moments when you realize, Hey. I can do this.
  • I went down in a mine. As in, a creepy, dark cave under the earth. Yes, it was scary. But it wasn't hardly as bad as the one dude made it seem, and hey, I made it out!

  • I went up in the Gateway Arch in St. Louis!!!! Now, that was a little scary too. We had to cram into a little compartment about the size of an EOS lipbalm, and then we were transported to the very top of the thing. Looking out onto the city, and the river, and everything for 20 miles.....it was amazing. 


     There were lots of wonderful little things....like the friendly waitresses we saw at restaurants along the way, the familiar country songs we could barely hear on the radio over the talking patrons, the long walks down 45-speed-limit roads outside hotels in Indiana, the awesome strangers who suddenly became friends, calling home and talking with Mama and Sadie again, sleeping outside on the screened-in porch. I couldn't possibly tell you everything. But these are some of the things, the ones I'll remember.


     So, now that I'm back I have resolved to learn the guitar and how to swing dance. ;-) I'm also really excited to dive back into my novel that I'd almost finished plotting out before I left. I MUST WRITE. Going for a whole week without writing is like a monkey having to go without bananas. It's like...a horse having no grass to eat. It's like not eating popcorn. Torturous, people. I didn't take my laptop with me and in some ways it was really nice to have a break from everything, but I'm sooooo glad to feel the keyboard under my fingers again. :-) And now there'll be work to do on the farm, getting ready to open our stand, which will mean lots of new adventures and fun around here.

     I'm really glad to be home to live it all. :-)

     What have y'all been up to? (And yes, I may have picked up something of a southern accent from being around so many people from the south.)
     Anything fun to share? Do you have plans for the summer?

     And pssssssst.......only FIVE MORE DAYS TILL NAOMI COMES!!!!
     

    

50 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had an awesome time!

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  2. That sounded like fun!

    Haha, I also thought of a certain Irish driver and I was going to refrain from saying anything, because, really, sometimes I must control my Downton-craze, but then I read that you thought the same thing. I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

    "Going for a whole week without writing is like a monkey having to go without bananas." I LOVE that comparison. :D

    Last time we visited the south I accidentally picked up a bit of a Southern accent, too. Or at least I started saying "ya'll".

    Wow! Five more days isn't very long! :D

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    1. You thought of him too? See, it's not just me. You can't help it. ;-P

      I was surprised how easy it was to start talking with an accent! When you're around so many people who talk that way you don't even think about it, you just start doing it involuntarily. It was kind of funny.

      I know, and now it's TWO more days!!!! (WHAAAAAAAAAT.)

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  3. When the little kids coming to dance on the stage.... SO CUTE. Wow, those dancers are really smooth. Especially the first guy.

    I haven't been on a roller coaster for like.... seven years. :o
    But I live pretty close to Kings Dominion, so I should try it sometime.

    Wow. You're trip sounded so awesome!!!!

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    1. Aren't they?! It was so much fun to see in person. (Especially the first guy....yeah, that's Jackson. ;-))

      It was awesome! Thanks for your comment!

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  4. oooooo!! Looks like you had fun!! Yeah I tend to only see Wyoming license plates when I am driving through Wyoming!!

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    1. Yeah, and I've never driven through Wyoming, so I don't even know what they look like. ;-P

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  5. YOU SAW THE WILLIS CLAN!!!!!!! NO WAY!!! I am soooo envious right now ;) Aren't they amazing?! :D

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    1. Yes I did!!! It was SO much fun. They're really amazing. :-D

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  6. Sounds like you had a lovely time, Emma. And that's so cool that you got to see a Sight and Sound production. I'm quite familiar with their shows, actually. Was this the first one you'd seen?

    That West Coast Swing dancing video was pretty cool, by the way! Thanks for sharing it. :) And about roller coasters...I have yet to ride one of those. My day for feeling daring has not yet arrived. ;) Haha. Maybe someday. I'm glad you finally tried it, though, and that you enjoyed it. :)

    Welcome back!! And, oh! I totally understand about the feeling of homesickness. I'm sure I would have felt the same if I was gone from home for a week, because home really is the best place in the world. Isn't it? :D

    And yeeeessss! Only FIVE MORE DAYS!!! (No, wait. It's only FOUR now!!!) Eeeek!! :D

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    1. It was a lovely time! Oh, you're familiar with Sight & Sound? It's basically the coolest thing ever. ;-) Yes, this was the first one I'd seen. My aunt and uncle had seen a bunch and my cousin Mary had seen one, so they all knew what to expect but I was just SPEECHLESS with the wonder of it all!

      You might be surprised how easy it is to be daring once you've gotten over the initial scariness. It's actually very freeing. ;-) I totally understand if roller coasters are not your thing, though -- I know sometimes there are things you just *can't* do. But for me, overcoming my fear was awesome. :-)

      Thanks! Well, *I* think my home is the best place in the world, but I'm obviously very biased.

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  7. YOUR FAMILY WATCHED POLDARK WITHOUT YOU --- OH DEAR. Well, you can watch it on your own, can't you? At least you own the dvd's.
    There's nothing wrong with being attached to your family and home, Emma. :-P But yes, it's important to be able to cope on your own. I personally struggle with that sometimes too, although WAYYYY less than say, two years ago. :-)

    "I basically exploded when two sailors came out singing "There is nothing like a dame!" for, um, very private and complicated reasons. Ahem." - I CAN GUESS WHAT THAT WAS. :-P
    The Sight and Sound production sounds amaaaazing. (And yes. Jackson Willis is a super cool dude.) (By the way, don't you think the second girl with the brown hair looks like Sybil Crawley?)

    I'LL teach you guitar!!! :-D

    AND FOUR MORE DAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYS.

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    1. YES. THEY DID. ISN'T THAT TERRIBLE. :-P Actually, it's not that bad. Mama's going to watch it again with me so it's all good.

      You should have seen Mary and I when those two sailors came out singing -- we whooped and hollered and clapped and I'm pretty sure several people gave us some strange looks (what's with those girls?) ;-P I never, ever thought I'd like that song, but somehow I've become fond of it.

      It WAS. Everything was, really. ;-) All the Willises are super cool. It's distressing. And yes, she does look a little bit like Sybil.

      Really?! YAY. I can't wait. :-D

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    2. HAHAHAHAHA. THAT'S SO FUNNY. So you replied to my comment while you said to me in the chatbox, 'Wait a minute. I need to reply to a comment.' :-)

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    3. Actually it was another comment I was replying to. But it's still funny. ;-)

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  8. Sounds like an awesome time, indeed. Did you go through Kentucky by any chance? That is where I am from (before my move here to Europe, that is). Love all of the photos of your adventure :)

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    1. We didn't go through Kentucky, but we weren't far from it. Oh, nice! This was the farthest I've ever traveled from home, so it was a pretty big thing for me. ;-) Thanks, I'm glad I could share them with y'all.

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  9. Aahh sounds like fun! Now I want to go on a road trip. :3

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  10. Aahh, sounds like you had so much fun!! Now I want to go on a road trip myself. :3

    rockandminerals4him.wordpress.com

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    1. We did! Road trips are awesome. I hope you get to go on one this summer. :-)

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  11. I want to learn how to do the west coast swing TOO now!!! :-D THAT VIDEO. :-D

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    1. I know, right?! It looks like the most fun thing ever!

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  12. *gasps for breath* I don't know where to start!!

    BUT YOUR FAMILY WATCHED THE REST OF POLDARK WITHOUT YOU?! NO. THE INJUSTICE. PLEASE TELL ME THAT THEY WILL WATCH IT WITH YOU AGAIN. I WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN CRYING. *calms down* okay..okay. it'll still be amazing. Which episode did you leave off on?

    Sounds like alllllloooooootttt of driving! :P But, seriously, you had A BLAST. I can't wait to get an email filling me in on the little details ;)

    ONLY 5 DAYS?! are you ready!!??!!! EEK. SO EXCITING.

    And..I've never been on a roller coaster *crawls away crying*

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    1. Haha, that's literally how I felt starting this post. I somehow made it through, and I guess it was fairly coherent!

      I know! The injustice of it! SO not fair. I was a little mad. :-P But my mom says she'll be more than happy to watch it all over with me, so it's really not too bad. ;-) I think I'd left off on episode five?

      It was a lot of driving. Fifteen hours, approximately. I don't want to sit in a car for a long time now!

      Really? Never? Well then, you should try one sometime. They're really quite exciting. :-)

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  13. You got to see the Willis Clan?!! I am officially JEALOUS. I love them :) Oh, and you got to go in the Arch, in St. Louis? So COOL! We were just in St. Louis, to see the Cardinals play the Cubs! What a coincidence. (They lost by one point :/)

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    1. Yes! Actually I hadn't heard of them before, but I thought they sounded cool and now I'm SO glad we went! They're pretty much my favorite people right now. ;-)

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  14. I was basically clapping and cheering after your very first line. AHH. It's good to have Emma back. *nods head happily*

    You missed hanging out clothes on the line? *goes off in giggles* I can't take that seriously... it's just... ahaha... Odd? :P I had to take in about 4 huge loads of washing today (I swear I unpegged about 50 pairs of socks) and I was thinking about how you loved it and I just COULDN'T underSTAND it. Sorry old girl.

    Your boots! I like boots. (And I still haven't gotten mine yet! I really hope I do.)

    Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede? What's dat? *scratches head* I know Dolly is a hugely famous country singer and I know her song "Jolene" but I didn't know she had a "dixie stampede". Ahem. :P

    Oh, my, a boat where people dressed up come out singing famous songs!?! I'M IN!!!!

    Frankly, I haven't heard of Sight & Sound either. Goodness, I feel like I live under an (Australian) rock.

    I love swimming at night! It's SO FUN. I've done that a few times, with family and friends. It's amazing floating around and gazing at the stars. There's just something SPECIAL about swimming at night. It's cold, too. :P

    I've never heard of the Willis Clan, but I reckon I'll have to join you now as another fan of theirs...! THEY'RE SO AMAZING. Their dances is spot on, and although it's nothing hugely fantastic, the fact that they're family (I'm guessing all siblings?! AWW!! The exact same amount of kids as us! Except... we have 4 girls and 2 boys. >.<) and the way they have fun with each other is invaluable. West Coast Swing - can I please come over and learn some with you?! I'll even do the guy's part if I have to! I've had experience enough of that, considering it's quite normal for girls to prefer dancing over guys and there's always an uneven amount.
    Haha, dear me, you can't go anywhere without "developing an inconvenient crush" on some musically gifted fellow. ;P

    YAY YAY YAY!!! I TOLD you roller coasters were so much fun, I TOLD you! :D They're the BESTEST. That drop of the stomach, that feeling of whizzing through the air... *squeals*

    You went to St. Louis?! You DID sing the "Meet Me in St. Louis" song, right? Because if you didn't, you wasted a perfectly good opportunity... ;D

    *happy sigh* I loved it, Emma. I loved the little glimpse into your adventure, and the photos and the home sickness of it all and what I felt when I read it - the comfort and familiarity of home, and the joyful dreams of days gone by. <3

    YES. PLAY GUITAR AND SWING DANCE. ON MY BUCKET LIST TOO. :D

    More adventures and fun - it couldn't be better. Also, just the fact that Naomi is coming in 3 more days is something to be mildly excited about... I mean, I'd say there's a pretty decent chance of having fun and adventures involved in there somewhere. A pretty decent chance. ;)

    What have I been up to? Not a whole heap, I must admit. Heaps of school and cooking and cleaning. I have had some darling adventures with friends over the past fortnight, though, and I loved them so dearly. I just wish they weren't so few and far between. :P

    Um... more like plans for the winter, you mean? ;) (Doesn't that sound WRONG?!) I haven't thought as far ahead as June right now (not very much, anyhow) but there are things on every Saturday this month! :D (Something to look forward to, as I'm banging my head against my geometry book, you know?) We have 3 things in particular that are exciting: a local show that I'm stewarding (horses) for, going to a small play at a kids theatre ("Cinderella"!) and having another Bookfest. YES. I still haven't read/watched all the things from the last one, but we never miss it, and always come back with a stack. ;P Hehe. We're basically story hoarders. (The best kinds of hoarders, in my opinion.) So the outlook is rather bright right now... all except for the geometry part. ;D

    ~Miss Meg

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    1. It's good to be back, Miss Meg! And thank you for your swellissimussly long comment. :-)

      Yes, I did miss hanging out laundry! I don't care if it's odd!

      Okay, the Dixie Stampede....uhhhh....well, picture a huge arena surrounded by seats, a big screen on the back wall, and a long line of riders on horses galloping out into the center and doing tricks. Then picture a bunch of people riding out in wagons dressed up like pioneers having a barn dance. Then picture a herd of buffalo (ACTUAL REAL BUFFALO), and a pig race, and dancing and singing and hooping and hollering and special effects that will take your breath away. That there's the Dixie Stampede.

      I'd never heard of them before either, but now they're pretty much my favorite people. ;-P Actually there are thirteen kids in the family! We saw all of them but one older girl (I'm not sure why she wasn't there.) (And no, it appears I can't go anywhere without developing an inconvenient crush on some kind of musically gifted fellow.)

      I know! I couldn't wait to tell you about the roller coaster!! I still cannot believe I did it. I can't believe how FUN it was! I thought of you, because I know you love them. ;-P

      Yes, don't worry, I sang the song. Did you think I wouldn't? Honestly?

      Ooooh, that sounds fun -- I'm not sure what "stewarding horses" means but I know you'll have a good time with it. ;-) And another Bookfest, yay! (I'm still jealous of those.) Go ahead and be story hoarders -- that's the very best kind.

      ~Emma

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    2. It's good to be back, Miss Meg! And thank you for your swellissimussly long comment. :-)

      Yes, I did miss hanging out laundry! I don't care if it's odd!

      Okay, the Dixie Stampede....uhhhh....well, picture a huge arena surrounded by seats, a big screen on the back wall, and a long line of riders on horses galloping out into the center and doing tricks. Then picture a bunch of people riding out in wagons dressed up like pioneers having a barn dance. Then picture a herd of buffalo (ACTUAL REAL BUFFALO), and a pig race, and dancing and singing and hooping and hollering and special effects that will take your breath away. That there's the Dixie Stampede.

      I'd never heard of them before either, but now they're pretty much my favorite people. ;-P Actually there are thirteen kids in the family! We saw all of them but one older girl (I'm not sure why she wasn't there.) (And no, it appears I can't go anywhere without developing an inconvenient crush on some kind of musically gifted fellow.)

      I know! I couldn't wait to tell you about the roller coaster!! I still cannot believe I did it. I can't believe how FUN it was! I thought of you, because I know you love them. ;-P

      Yes, don't worry, I sang the song. Did you think I wouldn't? Honestly?

      Ooooh, that sounds fun -- I'm not sure what "stewarding horses" means but I know you'll have a good time with it. ;-) And another Bookfest, yay! (I'm still jealous of those.) Go ahead and be story hoarders -- that's the very best kind.

      ~Emma

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    3. Ahhh... thank you for showing me what the Dixie Stampede is. Now I'll know EXACTLY what people are talking about whenever they mention it. :D I think I'd LOVE to watch people having a barn dance! It sounds deliciously fun to watch.
      (And not to make you jealous or anything, but we had REAL BUFFALO just down our road when we first lived here. Ha! You wouldn't BELIEVE some of the animals we get here...)

      THIRTEEN?!!! O_O (Why should I be surprised? Some good friends of ours have 13 kids, but still...) Wow wow WOW. And they all dance?! Oh my gosh, I love them even more. <3

      I can't believe you did it either! You were so sure you didn't like them. ;) Isn't it fun how we sometimes do things and then think back on it and realize we have more guts than we give ourselves credit for? Hehe. Yeah, I love my roller coasters. ;D

      Haha, nope, I was pretty darn sure you would have sung it. It's too much in your nature to do something like that. ;P

      "Stewarding horses" - yeah, I should've explained. Well, you get a ring and you have a judge to judge all the horses and you're basically the judge's assistant. You hand him/her the ribbons, fill out all the paperwork, gather people's entries and run erands like that. :D It's basically all the 'behind the scenes' work!

      Thank you! We will. ;)

      ~Miss Meg

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  15. Would you believe I actually spent a few solid minutes cutting my comment down to size, trying to squish it into one? I think the chatterbox side of me is dominating the practical side. It's getting ridiculous.

    ~Miss Meg

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    1. Yeah, really, Miss Meg. You've got to do something about this!

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  16. Beautiful post... again, Emma! Traveling just makes me feel so alive, and reading this post had much the same feeling. :)

    I'm sorry. I giggled a bit about the Poldark thing. :) I really do feel for you, though. :)

    I've never traveled without my family before (without several siblings and my father, yes, but without my mother, no) and honestly, the idea is both fascinating and terrifying!

    Oh my gracious!!!! You went to Branson Dixie Stampede??? WOWZA! That is like the one "show" that I've always thought would be really fun to go to. I'm glad you had such a terrific time on your trip!

    Certain license plates are so rare to see. I saw one Wyoming licence plate on my recent trip and I think I may have nearly screamed. ;)

    I think I would be too scared to go up in the arch. :) My sister, mother, and I started going up in the dome of a state capitol once, but when we reached the narrow black little stairs that looked like something from a classic thriller it was too claustrophobic and I could bear no more. Lesson learned: me + height + tight places do not equal happiness!

    Ha, ha, I'm as bad about bananas as any monkey. :)

    Have fun with Naomi!!!

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    1. Eowyn, it's so nice to "see" you around again!!

      I've been away from my family for a week before, at camp, but I believe this was my first time "traveling" without them for that long. It is fascinating and terrifying, you're right. :-P Yes! And it was AMAZING. I hope you can go see it someday.

      I don't know if I would have gone up in the arch if I hadn't just gone down in a mine and then ridden a roller coaster, because I've always been wary of things like that (heights + tight spaces) too, buuuuut...I guess I was on a brave streak! It really wasn't too bad, in the end. And the view from up there is incredible.

      I will, thank you so much!!!

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  17. Yay, you're back! I'm glad it seems you had fun! Your beautifully-written first paragraph made me smile; it's so much like how I feel about vacations. Except that strangely enough, I don't get homesick. I don't know why; maybe it'll hit me more when I'm at college (which you should totally go to)! Oh no, they finished Poldark without you?! Hopefully you can catch up soon (and without any spoilers)!
    Oh, you play the licence plate game too? Good job! Sometimes tiny states like Delaware or empty ones like Montana are even harder to find than Alaska or Hawaii!
    I watched the Willis Clan dance video, and it was really cute. :)
    Wow, roller coasters and caves AND hights? You are brave!!

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    1. I did have fun. :-) Oh, really? I almost wish I was that way. It would be so much easier. I hope I've overcome some of my homesickness by the time I go to college, because I really do want to go.

      Can you believe it? I was very disgruntled when I heard. But my mom is totally ready to watch the whole thing over again with me, so I guess I can't complain.

      We did see a Montana plate. I think it was just Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota and Wyoming that we didn't get.

      Oh, I'm not really. But thanks. ;-) (And thanks for your comment! It made me smile.)

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  18. This post is definitely near and dear to my heart, because I happen to be an avid lover of travels myself, and I've been to all of these places! Silver Dollar City is absolutely amazing. :) It's such a fun place, it's like the Six Flags for homeschoolers. :D The arch is a lot of fun too. Did you guys go up the little elevator thingies, or the stairs? I think we did the elevators. I enjoyed reading this post!
    -Phoebe

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    1. Phoebe, that is so cool we've both been there! :-) Yup, Silver Dollar City is pretty sweet. I've never been to Six Flags, but we did pass by there on our way so I saw it.

      We went up in the elevator, yes. Whiiich was kind of scary because I really hate elevators. :-P But I figured, hey, I just went down in a mine and rode three huge roller coasters, I can do this!

      I'm glad you did! Thanks for commenting. :-)

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  19. Road trip are THE BEST. The best kind of vacation everrrrrrrrrrrrrr. The end.

    You should've seen me at the end of last semester--after having had literally no time to write fiction for a solid two months. It was TORTURE. I'm so, so, SO glad to be done with all that. And I've been writing up a storm again and it's been awesome :-)

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    1. Jessica, I'm SO happy to hear that! I KNOW HOW THAT FEELS. (Well, I'm not sure I've ever gone two whole months without writing, but a week for me is pretty bad, so I can imagine.) You must be so happy to be writing up a storm again. :-)

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  20. SO cool Emma! Sorry I would comment with a much longer part on my behalf but end of semester uni exams call! :-D Plus 2 DAYS OHMY

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  21. I LOVE traveling!! And second to traveling myself, I love hearing about other people's trips! Yours sounds just lovely! And isn't it awfully nice to come home, too? When I got back from my trip to Jordan and Israel, I was so happy to see my family again (and scoop my puppy up for a big hug!) I missed my church, missed Canadian snow, and coming home was so, so great.

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    1. It was terrific! I think to me, one of the best things about traveling will always be coming home again. It makes me appreciate my home and my family so much more. I was glad to be able to scoop my cat up for a big hug too. :-P

      Amen, sista.

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  22. P.S. SO excited for your visit with Naomi!! I'm visiting my best friend this week, too!

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  23. P.P.S. (I'm feeling verbose today, apparently!) A quick question: I'm looking for a few bloggers to come and do a guest post for me at the cwtch this summer... if you'd be interested, shoot me an email (under the contact page on my blog) and we can chat more!

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  24. Sounds like you had an awesome time!!!!!!! I love the dixie stampede!! :D I am your newest follower!!

    http://thecountrygurl.blogspot.com

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  25. Your trip sounds amazing! I've seen S&S's Joseph on DVD and it was absolutely stunning so I can only imagine what it would be like in person! And yes, the Willis Clan is awesome! I would so love to see them live too. :O You're a lucky girl... ;) They're such a neat inspiration musically and with their family. Have you seen them irish step dance?

    Glad you had a great trip!

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