Thursday, August 6, 2009


Since we were not able to go here this summer........with these dear friends....and yes Elliot is crying in the picture below!
We decided on a staycation!
We were quite sad about not getting to go to Gulf Shores with our friends
:( ....but our budgets wouldn't allow it this year. We have been racking our brains about what sort of vacation to take this summer....and it looks like NPayne and I have decided on a staycation!!! A staycation is a vacation at know where you do all the touristy things in your own home town that you don't normally do, you also eat out a lot, sleep late, etc., etc., etc. We had a staycation 3 years ago, when I was expecting Elliot!
Now Cal is not completely on board with the staycation, because well....he wanted to go back to Gulf Shores (and frankly so did I)....and no he is not in the picture above....because well....he was swimming in the ocean and not one bit interested in posing for pictures!
If you know anything about Cal or many children with autism, you know that he/they can become fixated on things and seriously obsessive about them. For Cal, this has always been trains; and he is literally the most knowledgable person I know about trains. He also loves cranes, tow trucks, mail trucks, hauler trucks, or any sort of mode of transportation that he can see actually performing a task.
Today as we were driving to the pool, I took a little detour....just so Cal could see a huge crane that has been helping with some construction work at our local hospital. As soon as we passed the crane and headed up to the stop light which is immediately proceeded by some railroad tracks, I saw the railroad crossing bars go down.....which means not only is a train coming, but also that Cal is going to be even more high on life when he sees the train going by than he was just looking at "the big ole' crane" as he calls it. As the train was approaching, we immediately saw that it was our local touristy train....the one that you can ride just for fun! When the train was passing, and we were honking at all of the waving passengers and my children were giggling and chatting with excitement; I mentioned that we hadn't ridden on that particular train....just for fun....since our last staycation. I don't think Bryna even remembers it. Then I casually mentioned that it would be fun to ride it again sometime soon. As I looked in the rearview mirror, I was completely and totally....I mean COMPLETELY and TOTALLY....overwhelmed by what I precious son, my sweet little 10 year old boy, my child who loves trains more than about anything in the world.....he had the most glorious look on his face, and his eyes were literally brimming with tears of excitement. He was tearing up over the amount of joy that he experienced by first seeing the crane in action and then watching the passenger train pass by. I could not help myself but to tear up right along with him, and as I stared at his face....the face that almost looked unfamiliar....I wept. It wasn't just because he was so happy that he cried, but it was because that his happiness and joy was so pure!
When the train passed and the crossing bars arose, we began to drive; and Cal asked me in a sort of giddy yet quivery voice...."Can we go on that train?" I really wanted nothing more at that moment than to drive to the station and get on right then, but I didn't.
I am hoping that next week when we are enjoying our staycation, we can fit riding on that touristy train into our plans; so maybe I can witness that joy that my sweet precious train loving boy experienced today.

Just for fun, I posted some pictures from our last staycation in 2006! My goodness my babies look so young!

Here are my 4 angels waiting to ride The Duck Boat! If you have a Duck Boat in your town, ride was a BLAST! I LOVE this picture of Cal with his missing front tooth and his really blonde hair!

NPayne and Cal on The Duck Boat!

The then 3 girls, me and baby Elliot (in my belly) riding on The Duck Boat!

Drew blowing in her "duck bill" that you get when you ride on The Duck Boat! When you blow in it, it sounds like a duck quacking.....somewhat obnoxious but quite hysterical when you see everyone on the boat "quacking" at the cars and boats we passed.

Here are my 4 angels after departing from the above mentioned touristy train. The train takes you from one city to another (about 30 miles), drops you off in downtown for a few hours, and then picks you up and takes you back. There's a lot of museums, shops and restaurants to browse around in or eat in while you wait for the train to come back.
My goodness my babies look so so young, did I mention that already?'s definitely bittersweet to look back and see how much they have changed in 3 short years!

Here we are....the whole Payne Train....even Elliot was there (in my belly, but she was there). This picture was taken by an extremely intoxicated cowboy who insisted that we needed a family picture, because we had the most beautiful children he had ever seen....who were we to argue with that, so we let him snap away!
Staycations are fun, and we are looking forward to ours next week; BUT......I can't wait to go to the beach again next year.....and neither can my boy!

Just a little extra info. about thing that he can do that is actually quite amazing is that he can remember the exact date and day of something that happened the previous year or even a few years ago. Because of this gift, he knew that we went to Gulf Shores last year on Friday August 1st; so when he realized towards the end of last week that we were not preparing for a trip....we were not talking about the beach....we were not packing our bags....he started asking me..... "Why aren't we having our vacation? Why aren't we having our vacation with Ms. Kara, Mr. Jason, Eli, Noah, Bowe, Ms. Abbey, Maddie, Landon, and Owen?" He asked it just like that every time he asked me which was about a gazillion, listing everyone by name. It broke my heart when I had to tell him....a gazillion times....that we just couldn't go this year, and it broke his too. He is starting to get a little more excited about the staycation, and if we ride that'll be beach least until next August 1....when he starts asking me those questions again....and believe me....he will!

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