Babes in Blacksburg (aka, can we please not be in the car anymore, dad?)

Ride down: Well it didn’t start out so smoothly. Work exploded so Kelly & Leah went home to pack on their own and pick me up on the way out of town. Leah apparently wasn’t thrilled with this idea and has to get a playmate from down the street to distract her as Kelly packed. Then the ladies swooped in and picked me up. A quick dinner at Baja and we were on our way. The little girl was asleep before we hit 81 (and nearly hit a cayote). Things went fine for a while until we hit traffic and Leah woke up. She cried for 20 minutes or so while we pretended not to be there and eventually went back to sleep. We arrived at our hotel at 12:30am and there was a line to check in. We all got into bed and were happy to be near The Promised Land.

Friday we got up and Kelly had a stupid meeting on her stupid phone. So Leah and I decided to go to Walmart to play for a bit. But we got lost. They seem to have installed a dozen or so overpasses for no apparent reason. However, as a side benefit we discovered that nice part of Christiansburg – The Toy Station, antique shops, The Chocolate Spike, Dude’s Drive In and Due South BBQ.

Our adventures (and the less than normal night’s sleep) had tuckered out the little girl so we went back to the hotel for naps. Despite being exhausted Leah fought going to sleep and stood up in the Pack-N-Play looking around. Kelly & I had to dive onto the floor and army-crawl behind the bed so Leah couldn’t see us. Once Leah was asleep we moved to the bed and the three of us slept soundly for three hours! We all felt like new people when we woke up. And hungry people. Our dilemma: where to eat lunch. I told Kelly about Due South and she agreed that we should check it out – after all, the baby is a fan of BBQ.

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Due South was great. The food was awesome and Leah rocked out to bluegrass. The only problem was that it wasn’t a nostalgic place for us. We decided that we should go there lots so that we could make it a nostalgic place and go there every time we’re in town.

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From there we headed to the main event – Blacksburg. Kelly was getting nervous as we got closer and closer to town – it might not like her anymore – and all our driving around to find a good parking spot was just making it worse. Eventually we said any spot will do and got out to breathe Blacksburg air. We wandered around Steppin’ Out looking at all the booths and telling Leah things like “That’s where Daddy used to get his hair cut,” or “Mommy once sat on that bench eating ice cream in the winter.” The only thing we bought from one of the vendors (if you don’t count the tasty limeade) was a knit hat for Leah and headed off for the air conditioned book store to do some real buying.

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Kelly has wanted to get Leah a cheerleader outfit all summer so she made a beeline for the baby section. We picked up half a dozen other shirts and a few little trinkets but not nearly as much as we anticipated. There were no “Hokies United” shirts and they won’t have more in until the end of the month. We could enter a raffle at Steppin’ Out but I think we’ll just order some when they’re back in stock. Man I wanted one of those shirts. We then proceeded to hit up every Tech paraphernalia store between there and our car. But not before spending some quality time on the Drill field since we had to introduce Leah to Kelly’s tree. Kelly and I just sat for a while and Leah ran around picking up leaves and whatnot.

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Once it became clear that Leah needed to get a nap we headed back to the hotel. Unfortunately the baby fell asleep in the car and we didn’t have the heart to mover her. So we sat in the car. She woke up after about an hour and we were off to dinner. We’d already decided we were going to Bogen’s. I was a little ethrown off, because the menu no longer looked like a monopoly board, but the food was still tasty.

We headed back to the hotel and proceeded to prep the baby for bed. She was clearly tired, and we figured she would go to sleep quick and easy. We were wrong and wrong. I walked her. Kelly walked her. She was wired. This went on for a couple of hours. The elaborate forts we built to shield the us from Leah’s view went down, as we were just too tired to deal with them (and if we were gonna go to sleep right away, there was no point). If we were at home we would have put her in her crib and let to put herself to sleep, but we couldn’t do that in the hotel — especially after we found that she liked to entertain herself by banging on the walls.

Around 11 she was finally out, and so were we. Up early and armed with the knowledge that we were going to be kicked out of the hotel by 1, we set out to make Leah as tired as possible so she could have an early nap. We did what any good parent visiting Blacksburg would do. Head to the toy department at Wal-mart. We also fit in a tasty breakfast at Cracker Barrel, with grits galore—but then it was back to the room for a nap.

We were smart and hung the DND tag on the door handle. Leah cooperated and crashed for us. We slept too. The house keeping lady banged on the door a little after noon. I opened the door and said no thanks. That woke up the baby and we were up for good. I’ll get you eh house keeping!

But we packed and loaded up the car and hit up Macado’s for lunch before the trip to the duck pond. We fed them our left over crusts from lunch and half a grilled cheese sandwich. Them ducks, they loved it. We even found a mama duck with a dozen fluffy yellow babies, and since they were babies Leah shared her stars. They didn’t eat them. I think they were too little to eat the stars. Poor ducklings, stars are good.

As we were headed into campus to make our way back to main street Kelly and I decided we were just too exhausted to last the rest of the day and headed back to the car to journey northward. We wound up skipping the home place, but it was the right call. We’s was tired.

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Leah did great for the first few hours in the car. She was awake and mostly happy – eventually dozed off for about an hour. She came to about the time we hit I-66 and decided she had enough of that stupid car seat and wanted out. So she screamed. A lot.

We had this theory that she was hungry and wanted to run around for a bit. So we asked tom tom for suggestions and he lead us to Old Carolina Smokehouse in Hay marked VA – which was awesome. Leah didn’t want to eat or run around. She just wanted to not go back in her seat. So we ate and put her back in her seat. She screamed for most of the 45 mins home – which was not awesome.

Back at Ft. Truxion little miss was as happy as could be. Running around with her new orange and maroon pom poms, flogging the cats. Giggling.