September 4, 2009 - Strasburg, Valley Forge and Philly Cheese Steaks

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)
Click here for video #1
Click here for video #2

This was our morning to sleep in but since Graham wasn't going to sleep in a caboose last night, he slept with Mom and Dad (something that Reagan and Anderson never got to do-we are getting soft). He decided to wake up around 5:30 but after handing him a cup he did got back to sleep for a little bit. Reagan and Anderson started stirring around 7:30 so we were back at the playground around 8:30. We did climb up the look-out silo, which wasn't that impressive to Reagan and Anderson since they couldn't see over the edge.

Afterwards, Robby drove to get train tickets while we stayed behind and played more on the train set. Anderson did not want to leave but it was time to go and wait on the buggy ride. We took a horse and buggy ride through some Amish land. Our driver, Eli, explained about the Amish and even drove us by an Amish store, where a young boy came out selling fresh squeezed lemonade, root beer, whoopie pie and other things. Of course, we had to buy some lemonade and whoopie pie. Anderson managed to get it all over his face and was very upset when it was gone-which was obviously very quick since five of us where eating.

After the buggy ride, we drove to the train station. I guess we have been in the car a lot since Graham immediately starts having a fit when we get near the car. The train station was within walking distance so they couldn't believe that we were there already. We had a few minutes and ate a picnic lunch while watching the 10:00 train depart from the station. The whistle would blow so loud that Anderson and Graham would jump every time. Soon it was our turn to board our open air car. Anderson claimed into a seat on the front, Reagan behind him and the rest of us were behind her. The first half of the train ride, Anderson sat as still as he could and would yell "no, Mom" whenever I tried to take his picture. He was busy driving the train and could not be bothered with me. The train ride was a big hit. On the way out, they even had their picture made with the conductor and got a sneak peak at Thomas the Tank Engine who is coming this weekend. Maybe even a bigger hit with Reagan & Anderson were the "Cranky Cars" - miniature trains you cranked by hand around a small track. Dad spent all his cash - he had to visit an ATM machine on site.

Nearby was the National Toy Train Museum. Our Kroger's at home has a toy train and the kids love it. So needless to say, they really loved this one. It was like 15 times the one at home and even had buttons to push to start and stop the trains. We were soon back in the car, to head to Intercourse. We needed to head on so we just drove through the town. It was cute and but I hated that we didn't stop and pick up some postcards.

When Robby was younger, his grandparents came to this area. They mailed him a postcard from a town they were visiting: Intercourse. Robby read the post card and was so embarrassed for his grandparents. He said he thought "my poor old grandparents don't know what that word means." So he never mentioned the postcard again. His grandmother started to worry that maybe they had offended Robby. They had just thought the name of the town was funny so they sent him a postcard. She had to ask Robby's sister if he had gotten the postcard and made sure that he wasn't offended. And that is why I wanted to get a few postcards from Intercourse-maybe next time.

The next stop was Valley Forge National Historic Park. Robby watched the movie while we walked around the gift shop. Anderson had seen some big boys with toy guns so he had to find one to play with too. Reagan wanted us to take many, many pictures of her in the headless cut out thing.

Next we drove around the park loop and Robby made a big mistake....he told the kids that we were going to go swimming tonight. So every time the car slowed Anderson would say "swimming this place?" and Reagan would ask "Can we unbuckle?" This went on for over an hour on our way into Philadelphia. Mom also was trying to explain to them that she didn't bring their big floaties and just brought their arm floaties to which Reagan replied "You didn't bring our bathing suits?" Things got even crazier, I grabbed a lidless sippy cup for Robby & I to use for a drink. So after I put ice in a cup and poured the coke for Robby, he asked if I was going to get a lid. And this is when you know that you have been with the kids too long-you are trying to put a sippy cup lid on your own cup.

On our way to the hotel, Robby called Les to ask about a supper recommendation. He got one and punched it into the GPS. It was back a few miles-back where all of the rush hour traffic was. We navigated our way through the city streets and finally found Dalessandro's Steaks. It was a hole in the wall with only a few bar stools to sit on. The kids loved the bar stools and devoured their supper. Robby finished off his delicious cheese streak and Tara only put a dent into hers. They were very good and Robby said he was going to try to find a way for us to come back there.

Our hotel was only a few miles away and Reagan took off all of her clothes as soon as we rolled the luggage cart into the room. We unpacked first but soon headed to the pool. The pool was ice water so we convinced them to swim in the hot tub. Graham enjoyed it for a few minutes but became tired of Mom holding him, Reagan loved wearing her armies and floating around the hot tub and Anderson walked around on the step until he took a spill under the water and then he was ready to get out. After showers for everyone, it was bedtime for Graham-and he wasn't pleased at all. Reagan and Anderson watched a movie and in the middle of it, Anderson came in and asked Mom where his bed was. The kids are tired and hopefully we all sleep well again tonight.

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