Best (Daddy) Staycation Ever: Lynchburg Edition

Five nights from now I’ll be sleeping in a tent at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  My brother, Dad, and I will be hiking the 10+ miles to Havasu Falls, and I am beyond excited.

I’m super thankful for both my mom and Jay who are making this trip possible by watching Chica and Bubba for the week that we are gone.  That’s some big time love right there.

In preparation for Jay’s days with the kiddos in Lynchburg, I sat down and typed out every possible fun thing I could think of for him to do with them while I’m gone.  I fully realize that survival mode may kick in, and they’ll spend 95% of the time watching Elmo’s World and escaping to Nana’s house.  And I am totally great with that…I get it.

But sometimes the biggest barrier to doing something fun is just not having a fresh idea or all the info.  It’s not so easy to come up with the ideas when someone’s throwing a tantrum in the floor and you realize that NOW is the time to move on to the next thing…preferably  out of the house.  So thus the Best Daddy Staycation Ever: Lynchburg Edition list was born.

And after I finished typing it, I realized that I might just be pulling out this list again in those desperate tantrum-on-the-floor moments when I return home for to the remainder of the summer. So maybe there’s one or two of you that would like the list as well.  At least it might save you the time it takes to look up the hours of operation for some of the spots you don’t visit often.

So feel free to download the document below.  I edited the one I gave to Jay because, well, you don’t really need to know where we keep the sidewalk chalk or the phone numbers of friends to call to send out an S.O.S.  (Friends…you know who you are….feel free to call and check on them ’round about Wednesday or Thursday!)  I left off some obvious toddler activities that are just a given, like reading.  I’m pretty sure Bubba could do that all day, but one daddy can only read Barnyard Dance so many times in a 24 hour period. There were a few Lynchburg spots I didn’t include because I knew Jay wouldn’t be interested.  Ex. He doesn’t do pools.  Oh, and he’s going to have them Tuesday through Friday, so I only included activities that were scheduled for those days.

Finally, if you live somewhere other than Lynchburg, maybe you’ll be inspired to edit this list to include the best ideas and times for your own city.  Feel free to share it here if you want.

Happy Staycation!

Lynchburg Staycation  <—-Download here!

P.S.  I had totally intended to add links for many of these places, but the rumored storm is here and in full swing.  I expect we may lose power shortly, so I’m just going to post as-is.  I’m praying this summer’s derecho is nothing like last year’s!

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Chica and Bubba’s Mom

I have hit the inevitable point in adulthood where I am no longer Mrs. Somebody but Somebody’s Mom.  When I pick Chica up from school, this is how her friends (and even teachers, sometimes) refer to me.  I expected to find this annoying, but I think I actually like it these days.

This summer I sat out to fall whole-heartedly into the role of Chica and Bubba’s mom.  I purposely passed up lots of super-fun sounding professional development type opportunities in order to develop the relationship with my kids and sharpen my mommying skills.  Many thanks to Jay who politely forbid me to take on any more projects ’round about April.  He had seen the toll that six semesters of masters classes in a row had taken on our family and my sanity.  His ban on anything extracurricular definitely made it easier to say no each time.

The first few days of my new role as a short-term SAHM were quite messy.  There was little napping, fair amounts of yelling, and lots of self-pitying.  About halfway through, though, I began to get into the tiniest bit of a rhythm and routine.  (When I say tiny, I mean like finally found a time to take a shower.)  When I was tempted to whine and construct all sorts of negative Facebook statuses in my head, I tried to remind myself just how blessed I am to have the time to spend at home.  Having to beg a four-year old for the hundredth time to eat her lunch does in fact trump even the best lunch duty with 150. I’ve spent the last few weeks fully focused on being Mom and learning to love it.  There have been lots of cool moments…


One afternoon she played happily for a good hour with just a bucket of beans and some egg crates.  Who needs expensive toys?


Another evening she experimented with sinking and floating objects.  We’ve been talking about these ideas ever since.

Well, then life happened.  A huge unexpected windstorm came through our city and knocked out the power on Friday night.  We had a big limb fall in our yard and knock the phone and cable lines off of the house.  We relocated to Nana and Papa’s house because I’m not sure my kids would have survived my grumpiness in an un-airconditioned house paired with 100 degree weather.  Yesterday was day four of no power, but it has thankfully now been restored.


Dad cut, I hauled the big stuff, Chica carried the little limbs, and Bubba watched from his pack-n-play.  Thankfully we had very little to clean up…plenty of families had much worse!

While at Nana’s house I had a welcomed chance to step back from the role of All Mommy-All the Time.  I spent time making greeting cards in Nana’s basement for a friend’s fund-raising raffle.  I stayed up WAY too late working on this project, but it was SO worth it.  I have such a great feeling of accomplishment when I take time of my own to create.  Being a mom is so fulfilling, but this night reminded me that I must carve out time for myself too.

I set out this summer to be a better mom to Chica and Bubba.  Among plenty of other things, I want both of them to grow up to be creative people who use their gifts for both work and fun.  If I want that for them, then I must of course model it.

This mom thing takes an incredible amount of balance, and I don’t expect anyone can ever get it completely right.  But here’s to hoping this summer affords me time to find balance in even the tiniest form.