Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Louisville Conference March 8, 2015

We headed out to Louisville last week for a conference. Lots of fun things:

  • I was worried about picking the boys up in time to get in the car and drive to Baltimore for our flight. Needn’t have worried. It snowed that morning, and their school was cancelled. Lucky for us though, the roads were mostly dry and passable by the time we left.
  • We’ve taken to sitting three across on the airplane–both older boys and one parent. Then, across the aisle, Porter and other parent. This worked out, except for the fact that on the first flight, the guy behind me started having a panic attack, so I moved so he could sit with his friend, who was in the middle seat next to me. I had to sit in the middle, but I figured, better than a panic attack. It was a bit awkward to nurse Porter in that position, but again, you do what you have to do.
  • We arrived with little fanfare. Got our bags, got the car, got to the BBC for dinner, and then got to the hotel, where the boys swam it up. We took Porter in the pool for the first time. He loved, loved, loved it. He did try to drink the water a couple of times. Seamus swam for nearly 2 hours every time he was in the pool. Gilbert played on the steps.
  • The hotel had breakfast, so we tried to feed Porter a banana. He still doesn’t eat much in the way of solid food. And by that, I mean, he just doesn’t eat. He was so offended by the banana that he threw up all over me.
  • The conference was Friday and Saturday, and I enjoyed hearing the other papers.
  • Friday night, we went to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner. I’ve been dying to take the boys there since it is one of my favorite memories from childhood. They serve salad, pasta, and ice cream. The boys ate a tremendous amount of food, and generally, it was all it had cracked up to be. We had the older boys riding around with my parents so we didn’t have to strap all three into the sedan.
  • Porter refused to sleep in the Pack’n’Play. So he slept with us. He did not like returning to his crib when we got home. The other two slept on a pull out couch. At one point we heard, “Seamus, you’re crowding me!!” But when we went to investigate, we found Gilbert laying on top of Seamus. A pillow barrier was in order.
  • We had lots of room snacks. Microwave popcorn was a big hit. Lots of fruit, muffins, and yogurt. We tried out Impezerilli’s pizza. The pizzas were huge, but that came in handy later. Seamus got into watching basketball on the TVs at the pizza joint. Then, that was all he wanted to talk about, but really, can you go to KY in Feb./March and not catch basketball fever?
  • We did some touristy things. The Waterworks museum was interesting, especially for the sugar display, and the wonderful, talkative tour guide who liked educating kids. We also visited the Slugger Museum, where the boys got mini bats they wanted to sling around. I did let them attack a snow bank with their bats, but the gas station attendant looked a little nervous when they came in wielding the things.
  • All was well, until we got to the airport. As we were about to return the rental car, we got a text that our flight had been cancelled. We quickly averted the rental car return and went to ticketing. I was full of crashing disappointment, knowing that would mean that we would be stuck in Louisville overnight, again.
  • Long story short though, we made lemonade. We kept the car for a few more hours, went to the Slugger Museum, went to Kroger for snacks, swam in the Holiday Inn pool (which was salt water–much better for the boys’ skin than the overly chlorinated pool we had been swimming in), went for a walk to Cracker Barrel to get some games, and overall, we had fun on our bonus night. I told Patrick that I felt like a real adult who had dealt with travel disruption with kids without any problems. The pizza came in very handy, as we ate it for dinner. We no longer had the car, so it would have been a challenge to scrounge up dinner. Also, the boys’ school was closed on Monday, so they didn’t miss.
  • However, my grandmother wasn’t able to visit, the weather was terrible, and I think I’m going to skip Louisville in February in the future. It was nice to see my folks, have lots of swimming time, and have time together as a family, but hey, we could have done that here, since we were snowbound…again.
    The big Louisville Slugger bat.

    The big Louisville Slugger bat.

    Porter really liked sleeping in the bed.

    Porter really liked sleeping in the bed.

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