Thirty-Three hours of Memories!

People rarely count the exact hours that they are together, but from the moment I made the reservations for us, I had been looking forward to our trip to PA so Kendal could experience a ride based on the popular character Thomas the Train. When I originally made the reservations, it included an overnight hotel stay, but once we purchased our travel trailer we’ve named “Memory Maker” it was obvious that it would be the perfect opportunity for us to stay in it as a family – with me and Tim, Kim, Herb and Kendal – for the first time. One of the great selling points for the model of trailer we purchased, was that the two primary sleeping areas were on opposite ends of the trailer, perfect for both families to have some degree of privacy. But as Paul Roberts Abernathy said in his homily for our 25th Anniversary Vow Renewal ceremony four years ago, “you never REALLY know someone UNTIL you go on vacation with them”. Uh Oh!!!! So how would this work out ?? Better than I could ever have imagined!

So from a little after 7am Saturday morning when we left Clinton, MD until approximately 4pm on Sunday when Memory Maker was safely parked in it’s parking space and unloaded, the Lifelong Memories we Made were too numerous to count. .

All you need are a few of the highlights to understand!

Though this wasn’t Kendal’s first train ride, it was her first with a character she’s very familiar with. Of course I had ordered a special package for her with a Thomas the Train hat, whistle and train engineer’s badge all of which she proudly wore and used!

pic 2

The train ride was short in terms of time, BUT an eternity in terms of the memories that all the children left that train with. Kendal’s reaction was just pure joy!! She kept yelling “THOMAS THE TRAIN” and then squealing loudly!! It was truly awesome!!

The true highlight of the trip however were the activities associated with Thomas the Train! We were supposed to take two train rides but we were so busy doing all the train activities inside a huge tent that we never did get on the second train!! It was raining quite a bit then too, so we were thrilled to be in the tent!! There were building blocks, little train rides the kids could drive AND musical entertainment too!! Kendal did them all!! There was a really cool singer with a guitar whose job clearly was to get as much audience participation as possible. There were a variety of instruments that the kids could play with, AND a microphone for those brave kids who wanted to try their hand at singing. Do I need to say that Kendal tried them all???? She played the drums AND sang too!! Actually sang isn’t a good enough word!!! That child PERFORMED!!! She swayed, rocked, stomped, and worked the microphone to the hilt!! We laughed sooooo hard at how hysterically she performed to the music, but truthfully she also STUNNED us with her showmanship, and the fact that she wasn’t intimidated in the least by performing in front of all of those people. We took a lot of video of the two songs she performed, including one that Kim accompanied her on with a washboard no less!! Whenever I am having a bad day in the future, I’ll be viewing one of those video clips that will without a doubt turn my day around.

Thomas The Train (54)

When we got to the campground to unhook the trailer (which includes multiple steps and manual labor) each of the Sewards were ready and willing to help out!! It was the PERFECT way to get the overnight portion of the trip off to the best start!!! Then while Herb and Kendal napped, Kim and I took a walk exploring the campground and sharing mother / daughter time. Tim even joined us for a bit of our walk. We enjoyed typical camping fare of hot dogs and hamburgers and laughed and talked about our great day! Even better, after dinner Kendal stood on her little purple stool and helped wash the dishes!! And she’s GOOD at it too!! Could our time get any better????

pic 3

YES!! It actually did get better, as Tim and Herb made a fire and we roasted marshmallows for S’mores!! Watching Kendal eat her first S’More was Priceless!! She was a sticky mess afterwards, but isn’t that the point???

Final smores

So what did I learn from this short Thirty-three hours?? I learned that the Seward’s first impression of RV camping was just as positive as ours have been. WE LOVE CAMPING!!! Kim talked about how peaceful the campground was and how relaxed she felt. Herb remarked that he had an awesome time camping in a “condo”!!! As for Kendal, she just squealed with joy a lot!!

More importantly, the mantra that Family is Everything was re-confirmed for me at a time in the world that screams loudly for love, peace and happiness!! With domestic violence headlines, beheadings, kids who are missing as a result of actions taken by their mentally-ill mom, and the somber 13th anniversary of 9/11….. you feel yourself emotionally spent, and in desperate need of a pick-me-up. The thirty-three hours of family time for me exceeded all of my expectations.

You only get one family, and through life’s ups and downs and downs and ups, sticking together through it all is so worth the effort!! There may not be a Memory Maker or a Thomas the Train adventure weekend in your future, but there’s likely some event that will bring you all together for some laughter and joy! Don’t let that event pass you by, Seize the Day! I LOVE my family, and I believe you learn from what you’ve been taught! My Mom Doris and my Grandparents Charles and Alberta taught me a lot about love and family and I pray that I’m passing those lessons on in a way that would make them all proud!

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7 thoughts on “Thirty-Three hours of Memories!

  1. Wonderful reflection, Loretta, and I am delighted that all went well. The five of you crammed quite a bit of love and memory-making in your 33 hours, which, as you comment, was like a blissful eternity. Amazing how, in the midst of shared joy, time can seem to collapse to the point that temporality and eternity meet. Blessings on the five of you, each and all!

  2. Thanks Paul!! Your One Thought is worth a million!! We did cram a lot in, but thankfully it didn’t feel like cramming…. We skipped the second train ride just cause the other stuff was so much fun. I was so glad we “went with the flow” instead of just trying to do it all just cause it was on the schedule. (The old Loretta would have insisted on that …. smile)

    One of the things I love most about camping is the fact that nothing seem rushed. People walk dogs, stroll, ride a bike to nowhere in particular. It’s pretty cool!! Can’t wait til the next trip!!

  3. It was also a blessed event for me especially the fun time I had with Kendal in one of the play areas. I joined her on one of the large slides and we took the slide together. When it was time to leave that area she begged for on more trip down the slide and as we all watched her climb to the top and insisted this was the last time down because we were leaving she was high above everyone and just before she came down she yelled PAPPY here is your wallet. I did not even know I lost it. Thanks Kendal. Now we are going to plan a trip into Utah and This family memory will be so great. Thanks Loretta for setting this in motion. Family values are so awesome.

    • Tim,
      You are sooooo right!! Our little angel saved the day!!!! Thanks Kendal!!! I’ve thought of some of our fun times today and each time I’ve burst into laughter!! What a blast!!! C’mon Utah!

  4. I had such a phenomenal time!!!!! Being together in the Memory Maker was just so awesome! I was sad on Sunday when we had to come home! True….there is NOTHING like family. Particularly when there is the love and desire to be togther…..intentionally!

    EVERY day I fall more in love with Kendal! She is soooooo full of life and energy! There’s not much she won’t try and she NEVER ceases to amaze me at what she can do, and I don’t give her enough credit fornher tenacity!

    As I grow older and hopefully wiser, I grow in more awe of y’all!!! The Memory Maker has truly become your effervesance!!!! Sooooooo awesome to see y’all in this place in your lives!!!! I am with FERVER looking forward to more!!!!!

    • We too, look forward to more adventures!! We are definitely in our element in Memory Maker!! I love this country and want to see as much of it as I can!! It was a joy to have the Sewards with us, and since you all loved it too, you’re welcome any time!! We cannot WAIT to make more memories!! I still remember the night we were walking in the Grand Canyon and you thought I was bumping into you, and I thought you were bumping into me. We were both wrong!! It was a deer walking the trail with us and bumping into both of us!! We laughed for about an hour!! I want to have those kind of memories with Kendal too! Awesome stuff!!

      • OMG!!!!! HOW COULD I FORGET THAT??!!!!

        I remember Horseback riding! My horse’s name was Cinnamon and the guide showed us wild sage growing in the forest. I just wanted to jump down and pick some! I’m REEAAALLLY looking forward to her having those kinds of experiences!!!

        THANK YOU for the open invite!! 🙂

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