Day Three: Children's Museum Pittsburgh

A day at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. 

I enjoy going to museums, especially the ones that are very interactive. There's three stories to the children's museum in Pittsburgh. The third floor being my favorite, a bright white room illuminated by the sun and spurting water from every corner. I think what I enjoy even more than experiencing the museum itself, is watching these kid's eyes grow with fascination and curiosity. I mean yeah, it's only a matter of time they start pouting and crossing arms because they're only packed with so much energy. But I adore these kids. Even if Buddy does holler at me for leaning in his way for his toy cars to pummel through or Kiddo puts me on scissor duty for decoration making. They crack me up and it warms my heart when I feel them tug on my fingers to hold their hand. 

Day Two: Christmas Day

Christmas Day at the Brook's.

NIGHTTIME PREP: Prior to hitting the sheets, we all (Sarah, Chase, and myself) huddled around the table catching up and retelling past Christmas family memories. I struggled to enjoy Chase's cheeriness over his peppermint flavored vodka which reminded me of mouthwash. I traded it off for one of Sarah's teeth buzzing cookies that would make any sweet tooth drop into a euphoric cookie coma. They were fantastic to say the least. 

I remembered the lengths my mother went to convincing my sister that Santa was real back in the day. She would bite off some of the carrots we threw out in the yard and even... dare I write it... would bring some of the poop that our dog plopped out and dusted it with the oatmeal glitter we made at school, telling her that it was reindeer poop. Yeah... hey well it worked! 

After trailing off to bed I was dreading the early start off. Then I remember when I was younger I would run to my sister's room around 0430 in the morning and record songs and videos till my parents woke up. We always had to wait for our parents to walk down the steps and jingle the giant bells that hung at the bottom, which were supposed to be a mocking of Santa's sleigh bells. Regardless, it was code for "have at it." 

The kids were surprisingly sitting in their room patiently, waiting for mom and dad to come get them. I was shuffling out of bed when Kiddo was playing the guessing game as to who was visiting. She new someone was in the house but wasn't sure if it was "Pee-pah and Mimi" or "Miss Leah." I walked in the room to cease the guessing game and squeezed her as hard as I could. Something about little people hugs that are the best. 

After making the living room a fire hazard from all the wrapping paper, everyone sped off setting up car tracks and busting out markers for crafts. I found myself passing out on the couch. 

 Kiddo showing off her freshly painted nails. 

Kiddo showing off her freshly painted nails. 

Day One: Improve Your Travel Improv

For starters, my boyfriend is a sweetheart. He bought me tickets to fly out and stay with his family this holiday season so I don't have to spend it working to my death bed. Funny enough, the flight was booked out of the wrong airport. Who knew there were two Greenvilles. The second one just happened to be a five hour drive and that's the one I'm headed to in the morning. 

For those who may find themselves later in similar rerouted travel plans, here's how to make the best of it. Well, here's how I made the best out of my trip: 

DEC 23/THE NIGHT BEFORE One of the things I get excited about lengthy car rides is 1) Not needing to tend to the phone 2) Blasting my favorite songs and podcasts and 3) Eating lots of snacks. After getting home from work I spent a decent amount of time downloading podcasts and purchasing some new songs on iTunes. I usually pack a week before I go anywhere, but I was so drained from work, when it came to looking at my suitcase picking fuzz off the couch was more entertaining. 

DEC 24/GOOD MORNING I woke up before my alarm went off. The lightening was so loud it made me jump out of the covers. I couldn't really float back to my dreams so I decided to muster up some energy and get the day going. 

I bought breakfast the night before. I just made sure to have something available that was quick so I put together some plain greek yogurt by Wallaby, poured in a small container of pomegranate seeds, and a small teaspoon of honey from my favorite local shop, Asheville Bee Charmer. As I was chowing down on that, I had a pot of water in the back bubbling up so I could put together some tea for the road. Huge virtual hi-five to Swell, a water thermos company that plants a tree for every bottle you purchase. This guy keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. I can account for the 12 hours of heat because I have burned myself on many occasions thinking it can't be plausible. It's durable, goes towards a great cause, and makes me feel like a cool kid when I carry it around. 

Podcasts are my absolute favorite to dip my mental feet into. Sometimes I get frustrated there's not enough time to sink in to all of them, but my brain is always exploding with new information from these 30 minute - 3 hour tangents. Also, it's one of the few things that keep me awake when I'm driving. I can't listen to audio books. The droning voice of a reader always has me dozing off. At least with podcasts you have voice fluctuations. Having songs available that you love and know the words to help as well. 

Okay so plot twist. An hour into driving I ended up hydroplaning off the highway. Luckily the car dove into a muddy embankment, so the worst damage done was mud clogging up my brakes and tires and the car's plastic skirt fell down. I'm sure you can imagine my panic as I'm trying to get to an airport that's still four hours away. I drove off to an exit, called my boyfriend's sister in shock, discombobulation, and tears, then commenced to crawling on the ground cursing the aesthetics of my car (which I had only bought a few months ago). I looked around and noticed I wasn't anywhere near "civilization." I stood next to a small church that had a sign spelling out, J SUS THE REDEM R. Definitely vacant and doubted that anyone had attended a service for years there. A few minutes later a van pulled up with two women asking if I needed help. There country swinging voice was warm against the cold rain that dragged across my cheeks. They jumped out as I began to flail my arms and point at all the boo-boo's my car carried. "Don't worry, I work for a headphone company," as one of the women walked back into her car pulling out blue cords and cutting them with her teeth. She strapped the plastic skirting that had fallen in the front and wrapped it up to the bumper. She kicked in my hubcap, pounding away like Zoolander and Hansel did when they realized the "Files are IN the computer." I was dazed through the whole experience, but they assured me that I would survive the rest of the drive. I hugged them as hard as I could and wished them a "Merry Christmas." The car shook and groaned all the way to Greenville, North Carolina, but I was determined to enjoy my solidarity and snacks that catapulted themselves across my dashboard during the spin out. I called who I needed to report the accident (Props to USAA, they're amazing), thankful that I wasn't the several other accidents ahead of me, slammed in cement barriers and rolled up trees. I was counting my blessings. 

Despite the sudden turn of events, I found myself getting to Greenville two hours earlier than expected. Definitely your hole-in-the-wall pit stop with limited parking and only one terminal. I was entertained by the "Tornado Ready" signs slung around the restrooms. The only food available was a shifty looking vending machine that didn't have a card reader, so I was SOL for snacks as I checked my wallet and bags for a few spare quarters. I found myself alone till 40 minutes prior to departure. I chuckled when I looked over to see I was locked inside the glass waiting room as one of the security guards pressed a button to release the doors. I was happy to get going to say the least. 

Always keep a positive attitude whilst traveling. If you start off your early morning dreading a long drive it will take even longer to get there. Get excited for the little things like personal time, rocking out to your favorite tunes, throwing down some snacks, and appreciate being away from work. Try and get everything prepared prior to leaving and you won't feel so rushed in the morning. Pack the car ahead of time and make sure everything is charged. Might seem like common sense, but I'm sure we have all been there kicking ourselves for not having more time or whispering life back into our phones. It's always better to be be over-prepared than under prepared.