Our Kids' Blog

Riding the Rails

September 30th, 2013 by Mommy


All Aboard!

We rode Amtrak’s Auto Train between Virginia and Florida to skip a bit of the driving on the trip and to have a cool experience. We boarded in the afternoon on one day and got off the next morning enjoying two meals and one night on the train.


The girls waiting outside of our car to board.

We had two rooms reserved for the trip and they were across the aisle from each other. We discovered, as a great side benefit of this occurrence, that the girls could play in one room with the door closed and the parents could relax in the other room in quiet. It didn’t seem that we got to spend much time in the room just hanging out because of the early dinner reservation and early bedtime for the girls.


Mama and Julia were room buddies. She enjoyed setting up all of her toys just the way she wanted it. We were given small water bottles which she thought was just her size.


Daddy and Emily were room buddies. Robby decided to let Emily have her wish to sleep on the top bunk. This way he got to enjoy watching out the window as the world sped by.


We caught Emily just watching the world go by from the dining car. It doesn’t look like she ate much food, but she had eaten her salad and bread first and was waiting for dessert. Julia was so tired from skipping her nap that she fell asleep eating dinner and got her dessert later in our train car.


Julia slept on the bottom bunk and felt like a queen doing it. Only once did she check on Mama. She slept the whole night like it was nothing. This proved to be a great experience and was a nice way to cover the miles. The girls want to know why there are no other auto-trains that go places that we can visit. Mama and Daddy would be ok with that too!

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Julia The Track-builder

September 6th, 2012 by Mommy


Julia used her playtime to build herself a track. It started simply with the track coming up to Diego’s Treehouse. Then over the day she continued to build onto it. She was very intent as she built the two loop pieces into a bigger loop. After she finished she proudly showed it to Mama saying “it took me forever”. Then later she added the mountain track loop. She was delighted to show it off to her Daddy too. This little track has also gotten a lot of play. I guess it is fun to take the train to see Diego. Mama was pleased with her creativity and joy over her creation.


Her complicated loop that “took forever”

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Building Daddy a Train

June 5th, 2010 by Mommy

Emily told me that she wanted to build a train for her Daddy. So while Julia napped, Emily laid out wacky track, round-about, and three bridges. She then left the rest for me to connect. She played with the track for over an hour after I had it built. My favorite was when she had all the trains take a nap and laid them on their sides. The track didn’t survive for Robby to see because Julia did eventually wake up from her nap. Julia loves to play with the track, instead of the trains, and destroys any layout we build.

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Holiday Trains

December 15th, 2008 by Mommy



We took the girls to see a local outdoor train display after church on Sunday. The collection included a number of trains depicting different eras of East Tennessee train history and some actual train equipment including the crossing sign and pump car. There was a train hauling lumber to a mill, one hauling coal from a mine, a Southern engine pulling passenger cars, a CSX engine pulling container cars, a Chessie train, a UT Volunteer train, a marine life transport train, and I’m sure some others that I can’t remember.

The day was cool and we were all bundled up. The train exhibit was inside of a tent so it was a lot more comfortable inside. Emily enjoyed her freedom while exploring around the equipment and train set. She wasn’t very interested in posing for photos, so Mommy had to settle with ‘action’ photos. Emily was very tempted to touch the trains as they ran by us, but she resisted.

Julia enjoyed the activity from the front pack that Daddy wore. Daddy tucked her tiny feet into his coat to help keep her warm. At this point she likes to lay her face up against the person carrying her and go to sleep. I can’t imagine anything sweeter. This is how she spent the whole event.

After exploring the trains and equipment we took a cold stroll in the gardens. Emily followed Daddy for a while, but then decided that we needed to take a different trail. After that she picked the paths.

We were happy to warm up in the car on our way home as Emily took her afternoon nap in the car with Julia. We are hoping that this display will become a yearly tradition so that we can pass on Mommy and Grandpa’s love of trains on to our girls.

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