Sunday, June 19, 2016

Day 2 of 30 Days of Mayhem: Arkansas and Driving to Nashville, TN

I must need more sleep. This morning I woke up at some point and knew that Michael had gotten up and was no longer in his bed. Later I woke up again and rolled over and was surprised that he was in my bed. When I woke up for real, Ruby was still in my bed, not Michael. So she must look a lot like him or I'm just sleep deprived.

Packing up led to some serious arguing among the kids. It all came to a head when Rehm got in the van and moved a seat and Charlotte lost it. She got a lecture that she didn't take well which led to another lecture. During that I spilled Michael's coffee in the van. Given how packed in we are cleaning it up was challenging.

The thing on his head is his buff from going to Sea Base.  The ideas is to wear it over your neck and lower face to protect against sun exposure.  He likes to wear it like this to stop sweat from getting in his fave.  Good choice for today.

It took about an hour to get to The Crater of the Diamonds in Murfreesboro, AR. We spent about two hours mining for diamonds. And came home with a small pouch of rocks that I'm pretty sure has no diamonds in it. It was very hot and reminded me of working in the fields on my grandparents' farm in the summer growing up.

We spent about twenty minutes visiting the 10th annual famous diamond exhibit that happened to be there today. It was fun to see some of the finds people had made. Several of the exhibitors asked about our shirts and what #30DaysofMAYHEM is.

We found a shady picnic table  to have lunch. When we were getting lunch out of the car I realized I had forgotten to pack utensils and the box of cooking supplies was at the bottom of back of the van and we were not going to unpack it all for forks. I told Michael we were going to eat pasta salad with our fingers. He said, "Awesome! Viking lunch!"

The kids thoroughly enjoyed Viking lunch and enjoyed it to the fullest. We laughed and cooled down and talked about our likes and dislikes of diamond mining. Two kids loved it, two did not. Any guesses on which were which? Rehm and Eliza Claire were in the first group and Charlotte and Ruby in the second. Shocking, I know.

After lunch Eliza Claire practiced pitching and Ruby did some gymnastics. Rehm went to refill water bottles. Charlotte took some pictures and I cleaned up lunch.

At some point in the car Charlotte declared, "if I was president I would simple down English and make it easier to read and write!"

I think Gumby and Pokey have had enough and are ready to go home.

Ruby with a giant gummy bear on her check.  I have no idea why she was doing this.

Rehm and Charlotte argued over the pronunciation of Arkansas. Why are Arkansas and Kansas pronounced differently? What's up with that? Rehm's explanation is state's rights. Once Charlotte knew it annoyed her brother to pronounce it "Are Kansas" she did so with great frequency. And made up a song about the great state of "Are Kansas" to further torment him.

Charlotte said we could get water from a creek because she was thirsty and there was no where to stop to get something to drink. I said that we could but she could get the runs from some bacteria in the water. Rehm didn't know what the runs were. Where has he been for the past 15 years?

Charlotte was in rare form today and in a great mood. Oh my she was so loud. She gave me a headache. (Yes Dianne, I used my peppermint oil and it helped.) She was belting out "Mind Your Own Biscuits and Life will be Gravy" by Kacey Musgraves. The song was totally my fault because I told her to mind her own business about something.

We stopped in North Little Rock at Cozy's (a snow cone place) to meet my friend Lizbeth and her sons Jonathan and Gabe. I've known Lizbeth for about 17 years, since she was expecting Jonathan and I was expecting Sam. This is the first time we've met in real life. It is always awesome to get to meet my September 1999 moms. We've been through so much together over the years, it's never like meeting for the first time. We just pick up talking about whatever we've been talking about online.

Yum! Snow cones.

All the kids.  
So nice to get to meet Lizbeth today!
After our stop, Charlotte asked to listen to Hamilton in the van. I loved listening to her sing along and answer all our questions about the musical and the historical figures involved. Multiple times I was amazed at her knowledge of the history of the period and to learn she's read a 600 page biography of George Washington and an 800 page one on Hamilton (both on learning ally) and is currently reading a biography of John Adams. This is my child who has never liked history and thought it was super boring. Thank you Lin-Manuel Miranda for humanizing the story in a way that makes my middle school daughter love learning about our country's history and want to delve deeper.

Welcome to Tennessee

Ruby was just a little chilly in the van

Three sleeping children, all at once! 
I will admit that everyone did get grumpy before we made it to our hotel outside of Nashville. But it was another night of not checking into the hotel until 8:45 and therefore not having real dinner until 9:30ish. That was the biggest complaint as the day waned. They were ready for dinner and they were ready for it now!

We were lucky tonight and the hotel had the type of room we expected and love, two queen beds and a fold out couch. Much more space for everyone to spread out, relative to last night, more cooking space and easier clean up space as well. We thought the time changed when we crossed into Tennessee, apparently we were wrong. I'm still not sure where it does change and have not had a chance to look it up. Michael and I warned the girls that swimming was probably not going to be a choice tonight as it was late when we got to the hotel and because of the time change. For a change it was good to be wrong, no time change and the pool was open until 11pm. They went to swim while I cooked.

I got everything in the Instant Pot to make Nacho bowls and put the lid on only to discover that the sealing valve was gone! I searched through the cooking bin, made Rehm look under the bed and couch with a flashlight and never did find it. I'm afraid that means it is in the hotel room in Hope, AR. I proceeded with cooking as planned not knowing what would happen. If it sealed, everything would be done on time but I might not be able to use the quick release method to unseal the pot and we would have to wait for it to naturally release to be able to open the lid to eat. OR, it wouldn't seal and I didn't know how long it would take to cook. It started counting down like it had reached pressure and sealed, but when it was done and I checked it, it had not ever sealed. We got lucky and when i opened the pot dinner was completely done and ready to eat. I texted Michael and he and the girls came back from the pool.
Missing Sealing Valve

This is how we eat dinner in the hotel

The clock doesn't lie.  Dinner at 9:53

I spent quite a while looking for replacement parts. They are available from Instant Pot and not crazy expensive. They will even ship them free. Unfortunately the web site gives me no idea how long it will take to receive them so I don't know where to have them shipped. I looked at buying a new pot. No one local sales that brand. I could buy a different brand but that seems silly. For now the plan is to alter tomorrow's menu (was supposed to be baked potatoes, will now be pasta that can be eaten with left over taco bowl goodness, or cheese, or butter or what ever the kids want to put on it that is in my magical cooking bin) and call Instant Pot on Monday and see what they suggest.

We watched Family Ties while we ate dinner. All four kids loved it. Rehm loves Alex. He was shocked when I told him I had been referring to him as Alex P. Keaton for years.

Dishes are washed, everyone is sleeping. Tomorrow we plan to tour Vanderbilt and a bourbon distillery and spend the night in Louisville, KY. It should not be as long of a day and we should get to the hotel much earlier which everyone would appreciate.

I was very proud of Eliza Claire today. She was able to put into words her feelings of unease over the constant change of the trip so far. She has never liked change and never done well with transitions. But in the past it manifests in moodiness, whinyness and shutting down. This is huge progress and shows lots of maturity.

States visited so far: 2

Peace out - Jenn

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