Discovering The Soul of Trains.

Last Sunday was our annual trek out to Calera to visit Thomas the Train. But this year, we managed to get there earlier than usual, and it was much less crowded than it has been in the past. These two factors gave us ample opportunity to explore everything else at the location – something we’d never really done before.

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The destination in question is the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. I will readily admit that I have a subconscious avoidance-reaction to any location with the word “Museum” in the title. This can be traced back to my childhood where I, a very efficient and quite impatient child, had to wait on my mother, a person with zero concept of the passage of time (literally – it was a big eureka moment for my parent’s marriage when they figured this out) who greatly enjoyed reading every placard, and observing every angle of the most obscure artifact. Combine this with the fact that I was homeschooled and therefore visited all the museums with my mother and…I have an aversion to the word Museum.

(I’m sorry I was such a naggy kid, Mom. I fully appreciate all your efforts now. But I’d rather appreciate them NOT at a museum, if you don’t mind.)

So that also may be why I’ve never explored the location of our Thomas trips before.

But I can now say definitively that, Thomas weekend or not, every little (and big) train lover needs to visit this museum. Admission is free, and they have some fantastic artifacts of train culture gone by, almost all being open to being climbed upon and explored up close.

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(And very few placards to be read.)

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They have rows of old rail cars, engines, and cabooses to check out,

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and train tracks to (safely) play on – because what kid doesn’t want to play on train tracks?

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(Notice Thomas chugging into the station in the top left corner in the above picture. He’s pretty cool, too.)

They have old railway crossing signs that still function, manual track-changing cranks that really do shift the tracks,

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and really, really fantastic trains. It’s basically the best playground ever for the train-obsessed.

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And all those families who want to get their family photos made on train tracks? This would be the place to do it. (I emailed the museum to see if they allow that, but I haven’t gotten an answer yet. I’ll update if I do.)

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Seeing Thomas, of course, was fantastic as well,

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Along with meeting Sir Topham Hatt,

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getting to buy Thomas umbrellas,

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And some Masters-Level golfing.

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As usual, Thomas got a Hero’s welcome from Noah…and Ali. Because you don’t get too old for your first hero.

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And this year our ride took place on the Double Decker train car, which was pretty much thrilling.

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(And it had a nice view.)

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The train cars used for Thomas’ rides belong to the Museum, and so there are other opportunities to ride on them, as well.

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Since Sunday, Noah has asked me daily if we can go back and visit the trains. He knows he only gets to visit Thomas once a year, but now that he’s discovered everything else out there, he’d very much like to take a daily trek to the train yard, peeking into windows and imagining all sorts of adventures.

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And I have to admit…I kinda want to go back, too.IMG_5512

(Especially if I could figure out how to photograph a sunset behind those trains.)

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored or requested by anyone. I’m just so thrilled that I discovered that I, too, can enjoy museums that I wanted to share it with you. Plus it’s a really fun place to take pictures.

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This Week’s Headlines

Newspaper Headline

This week’s household headlines:

“’Hopping around is so much fun – when you’re naked’, Agree Toddler Boys Everywhere.”

“Negligent Mother Makes Children Wait Until She Finishes Her Lunch Before Fixing Them Their Third Lunch. Authorities Launch Investigation.”

“Toddler Places Open Mouth on Meat Counter at Publix Three Times – Then Acts Shocked At Mother’s Screams About Botulism.”

“Breaking: Ice Machines Are Not For Swinging On, Kicking, Or Sticking One’s Head Into.”

“You Won’t Believe What’s in My Underwear, Mommy.”

“CDC Study Recommends: To Prevent Spread of Uncomfortable Car Rides, All Poop Should be Deposited in Toilets.”

“Sister Wives Not Looking Like Such A Bad Idea, Agree Exhausted Mothers.”

“‘Hey Mommy Can You Pick Up The Very Important Thing I Dropped?’ ‘NO I’M DRIVING’ – Why Does This Conversation Happen On Every Car Ride? Mothers Need To Know.”

“Young Boy Hits Head on the Toilet Seat…While Sitting on the Toilet Seat. Proclaimed To Be The Most Talented Child Alive.”

“’If you can’t obey Mommy, you can’t have nice things.’, Local Mother Teaches.”

“Studies Show that Grated Cheese Is More Tasty When Poured on a Plate and Eaten Like Cat Food. Even If That Cheese Was Supposed to Go Into Dinner That Night.”

Toddler’s Own Meme Gets Used by Random Guy to Pick Up Random Girl. Toddler Hopes It Worked Out For Him.”

Noah Memed

“This Toddler Got Mad at His Mother. What Happened Next Will Blow Your Mind!”

“’One more minute until bedtime’ Met With Cheers, then ‘Okay it’s bedtime’ Met With Jeers. Every Time.”

“Surveys Show That Children Must Lean Their Head Back to Get Shampoo Rinsed During Each Bath, Yet Children are Curiously Still Surprised By This During Each Bath.”

“Children Trash House With Play-Doh While Their Mother is at the Store Buying…More Play-Doh. Mother Regrets Actions.”

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“Children’s Gummy Vitamins Found Only Acceptable When Favorite Color AND Shape Line Up. If Not, Proclaimed To Be Terrible.”

“Physical Therapy Clinics Found To Be An Ideal Location to Trip Old People, Report One Panel of Expert Children.”

What were the headlines in your house this week?

On The Issue of Being a Morning Person.

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God has blessed me with children who appreciate the fine art of sleeping.

Ali napped until she was five, Noah’s still napping at four, and they both wake up well after the 7 o’clock hour (and have been known to sleep until 9:30.)

As such, it is only right and honorable to homeschool my children.

After all, if God gives you two talents to invest and you bury them in the dirt of waking up at 6am to get to school, how do you think you’re going to justify that when He asks after His investment?

No. I will treasure those talents and sleep late so that I can enjoy life more because of it.

However, Noah has been going to preschool this year. Just three days a week, with a 9 o’clock start time – it seemed like a reasonable burden for those talents to bear. And it was – I only had to wake him up (after 8am) every now and then.

Until the time change. And since that time change, I’ve had to drag my moody little talent out of bed every morning (after 8am), kicking and screaming and clawing at his covers.

As an attempt to document this phase of life and lighten his excessively grumpy demeanor, I took a snippet of video every morning for six days.

Each morning, I asked one simple thing of him: “Okay, Noah. Say ‘I’m not a morning person.’”

But, alas. Noah is four. And he is an extraordinarily opinionated and contrary four – especially first thing in the morning when he’s been unceremoniously awakened approximately 1.35 hours before he wished.

So here were the results, after six days:

 

 

I clearly need to get back to properly investing that talent.