Yes, it is!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Springfield Trip

This morning, we took off for Springfield to see all the history of Abraham Lincoln.  We made sure that my mother-in-law got the memo last night about today's trip.  And thankfully, she was ready to go this morning when we finally got out the door.
The kids, as usual, began their "I'm hungry" and "Are we there, yet?" routine right away.  When does it end?  Or does it ever?  It isn't even a 2-hour drive north of us and my kids still can't seem to make that short trip without demanding food.
Our first stop was at the Oak Ridge Cemetery where Lincoln, his wife, and 3 of his sons are entombed.  Both kids actually behaved during this part of our visit.  Mother-in-law seemed to enjoy the beautiful scenery at the cemetery.  It really is a beautiful place.
Our next stop was to Abe's house in Springfield.  This is my 3rd trip there and it hasn't gotten old for me, yet. I can't help but imagine how the people lived, worked, and played in that house and the surrounding homes, which have been turned into museums.  Today was extra special as there was a toy demonstration.  Most of the toys back in the day actually had a purpose to them.  The climbing bear, for example, was a good toy to use to help teach children how to milk a cow.  The ring toss was used to help girls learn how to be graceful.  And ball and cup toy was good for hand/eye coordination.  The kids enjoyed experimenting with the toys but they quickly became bored and wanted to move on. From here, we went to Gallina's for lunch in Springfield. It was about time, too, because the heat and hunger were resulting in 2 grumpier kids and a grumpy dad.  Me? Well, I'll never say.  Just ask Tim.  I confess, though, that I just cannot handle the heat the same as I used to.
At Gallina's, Jackie saw a picture of Abe Lincoln and exclaimed, "Hey, I know that boy, the one we went to his house."  Funny girl.  Boy, man; they're all still the same to her.  Jackie cracks me up with some of the stuff she says. 
After lunch, we went over to the Lincoln Library and the museum.  The old train depot is across the street from the museum.  Mother-in-law was interested in seeing the inside of the train station.  I enjoy old train stations, too, and like at Abe's old house, I can sit and imagine the hustle and bustle that occurred back in the day at the train station.  I found it quite interesting that at this particular station, there were separate waiting rooms for men and for women.  There was also a reading room.  I was surprised to not see a segregated waiting room for non-white people.  The Tampa (where I'm from) train station has a room for segregation.  Of course, thankfully, it is no longer used for that.  Even though the Tampa station is still used as a train station, it is also considered a historic building.  The Springfield station is no longer used as a train station. 
We made our way across the street to the library and museum.  Tim wanted to do some genealogical research while the rest of us visited the museum.  This is also my 3rd time to the museum and again, I enjoy it each time.  There is just so much to learn.  The kids really enjoy the children's play area where they can play with the old-fashioned toys, play dress-up in historic looking clothes, play with the giant playhouse, and more. 
While the kids and I waited on a bench at the museum, a lady came up and asked if we could move over so she could sit down.  I could tell she was winded and I immediately obliged to give her some relief.  This is was just the beginning of wanting to dig a hole and hide from embarrassment.  And this is one time that I am so thankful that my son is still a bit unintelligible.  I should first reassure that I do not talk negatively about other people to my children.  I have friends of all sizes, shapes, colors. And my goal is to teach my children that no matter what others' differences are, we are all special and unique and we need to embrace everyone's differences.  The lady who sat down next to us was rather large but she was very polite about asking us to make some space for her.  Her size had no bearing on how I felt about her.  Well, my 3-year old son looked over at this nice lady and came over to me and using his sign language for "big", he also said "bu".  He was trying to say big and I knew that.  But, I felt terrible right away that this nice lady was going to feel hurt so I said to Ben, "love?" (he adds a /b/ to a lot of words so I tried to "correct" his speech today).  Ben shook his head and again, he signed "big" and said "bu".  And again, I said "love?"  Oh dear Lord, I did NOT want this woman to feel hurt by my 3-year son.  And she was listening, too.  I finally got up to join Tim where he was paying for our tickets.  Mother-in-law was still sitting with the kids but I felt so bad and embarrassed that I just needed to get up and walk away for a few moments.  This is the first time I've encountered this type of situation involving the size of a person.  When I came back to the bench with our tickets, the nice lady told me that she and my son were having a conversation about Ben saying she was a big black lab.  (She was wearing a black shirt).  Oh my.  But thankfully, she didn't seem hurt and she seemed to enjoy engaging with Ben. She then pointed to her black shirt.  I shared that Ben loves dogs and that we have a black dog, too.  She let out a little laugh and as I entered the museum with the kids and Mother-in-law, this kind lady said goodbye to Ben and told him to have fun.  Whew!  I was so glad that she seemed to just go along with Ben.

With the exception of Ben's boorish behavior (not including the museum incident), it was a good day.  Jackie seemed to really enjoy most of the history lessons today.  The Lincoln museum is an awesome place for people of all ages to visit.  I highly recommend it! 

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