Wednesday, August 31, 2016


We spent a good amount of time in South Carolina visiting Savannah and Charleston.  Two places I've always wanted to visit.  We even got a bonus visit with some friends from Nebraska, who were passing through on their summer vacation!!

Then we headed up to North Carolina to visit with my sister, Aunt and Uncle.  The weather was a bit cooler and the views were awesome!!


My name is Gump, Forrest Gump

 South Carolina:  The Low Country Museum in Yamassee.  (AJ rode a mile each way on his own bicycle)

Magnolia Plantation, SC:

Hand Carved Canoe used by the Plantation workers

The trees are beautiful!!!

LJ's nemesis.  Once the Goose realized we were not going to feed him, he took out his frustration with a peck to LJ.  He has yet to re-enter a petting zoo.

This is Jon.  On his bicycle.  We hit stopped traffic on our way into the mountains, so Jon hopped on his bike with AJ and headed up the mountain.

Our campsite in NC.  The boys slept over a small cliff...yikes!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

“No Problem!”


[DisclaimerThe events in this post occurred in August 2016, and have been retold fully and completely, absent any intention of false or misleading information.  Any similarity to any person living or dead is fully intentional.]

     What a great spot!  A pull-though with a hard dirt/gravel pad toward the end of the road.  It is perfectly level laterally, with only a slight downward slope at the head of the trailer.  And for whatever reason the neighboring trailers are staying several spots away, leaving us with a three to four space clearing for the kids to play.  Even more strange, no ant hills!  There are always ant hills, so this is pretty great.  The only minor worry is a fairly serious puddle at the end of the road, but we don’t have to “cross that bridge” until moving day with house in tow.

                Curiously it seems all the annual site owners are elsewhere in the campground, leaving us smack dab in the middle of some “transient row”.  Immediately after a 30 minute Florida-style downpour, my curiosity was no more. 

                We returned from our awesome visit to Savannah, visiting old friends from way back in Nebraska, topping off the trip with a stop at the Carolina Cider Company to find something far less exciting.  Our campsite was flooded.  Not washed away, destroyed or otherwise alarming, but ankle deep water stretched across the land, including our front door stoop.  With no dry way to exit the vehicle after pulling into our usually grassy spot, we quipped, “No problem!  Just swing around the road on the backside and enter by the back door.  It looks considerably drier.”  I nudge the throttle to pull out of the lake we’re sitting in and back onto the dirt road.  A sinking feeling outside is met with a similar sink in my gut.  The truck’s rear end has sunken deep into the mud, and all the throttle gives is spinning wheels...deeper we sink. 

                “No problem!”  I put her in neutral, Brynn reaches over and engages the 4x4, and surely we’ll be on our way in no time.  [Throttle, tires spinning, wheels sinking.]  “No problem.  I’ll put her in reverse.  We’ll go out the way we came in, or at least rock her free.”  [Throttle, spinning, sinking, *sigh*]  “No problem… there is some gravel nearby, and our leveling blocks can help us garner some traction."

                I step out of the truck and sink shin deep into the water.  With each step the mud claws at my shoes, threatening to swallow them clean off my feet.  With a Playschool brand bright blue frilly trimmed umbrella in hand (ironically from the children’s water table) I gather some gear to shove under the tires.  Brynn hops in the pilot seat, ready to coax this Beast of Burden out of its pit.  [Throttle, spinning wheels, tires grinding on plastic blocks now buried deep beneath the mud].  “No problem…?”  Fortunate to have some asphalt chunks and broken brick sitting in a pile at our campsite (I swear it’s a nicer place than that image might suggest), my hope is renewed.  With one final heave-ho, the Beast surges free, like a yacht leaving harbor, leaving two craters in its wake.  I spend a few minutes digging up our orange blocks from the mud, but all is well now.  Like we said all along, “No problem.” 

Postlude:  “I guess all this flooding keeps the ants away.  That’s a plus,” I remark as we enter the trailer.  Seconds later: “Uh oh, I’m finding ants crawling on my legs and arms (and even while writing this, on my shoulder) as they search for high and dry ground!"


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hiking, Biking and the Great Outdoors... Continued.

     The last blog was title Hiking, Biking and the Great Outdoors.  Yet there was no mention of biking in the story at all.  What gives?

    Well, prior to our "alligator hunt" we took our first family bike ride.  That's right - two bikes, two kid's seats and a trailer and we were all set for our journey to the local plantation museum a mile from the campground.  But just before peddling off, AJ stated his case that he should ride his own bike.  He'd been practicing for the past two days in the yard and was ready for the big time - the open road.  We set out, LJ on back of Jon's bike; Baby A, car seat and all, strapped securely in the bike trailer; and AJ rocking the training wheels.  It was a full mile to the Civil War era plantation, and we each made it without a scratch.  Our first family bike ride, including Baby A's first ever ride, was a huge success!

 LJ rocking the Hawaiian shirt
        A zoom shot of Baby A and AJ as they zoom along.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hiking, Biking and the Great Outdoors

great blue heron in flight        We chose our South Carolina campground for its proximity to Charleston and Savannah, two cities with an abundance of Southern charm we were eager to see.  And that we did, but enjoying the campground itself was never really the plan.  It would simply be our home base from which we venture out for fun.  But some of the most fun, as is often the case, comes from the unexpected.  Just a few hundred yards from our site was a sizable pond with a wide mowed grass trail around its shores.  When "trailer fever" set in (it can happen quickly), while Brynn was off doing some Trades of Hope work, the kids and I set out toward the pond and an adventure.  Not only do I appreciate the opportunity for exercise, but experiencing nature in a new place with my three kids (and reluctantly the dog too) was hard to pass up.  

     Along our hike we were instantly treated to several bobbing turtles, noses poking through the brown water for air.  Further down the path we discovered frogs, or more like they discovered us.  Bullfrog sized splashes were constantly 10 feet ahead of our view, belly flopping in for safety whenever we drew too close.  Unfortunately the boys were never able to see one, but there were plenty of chances.  Spiders, squirrels, dragonflies (but no mosquitoes!) were frequent sights and kept the boys interest throughout.  A small gathering of cardinals danced across the lower tree limbs, excitedly spotted by AJ.  And with a loud shriek, a massive Great Blue Heron spread its wings and took flight to a safer, more distant tree.  As evening approached large fish breached the sun sparkled water with ever larger splashes.  Bass perhaps?  Though LJ's little legs could only carry him so fast, with the help of regular water breaks he made progress.  He continually reminded me, "I'm walkin', I'm walkin," (in the way only a squeaky two-year-old voice does) any time I mentioned his need to keep moving.  Nearly an hour in we were finally circling back to the start, and we still hadn't crossed paths with the purpose of this "alligator hunt."  But right as we neared the finish, there it was on a patch of fresh grass in the shallows of the bank.  "It's a baby alligator!" remarked AJ.  Though only 4 ft long, this was not exactly a baby, and Khaki may want to keep her distance.

     With an alligator sighting in the bag, our journey was complete.  About an hour from start to finish, Baby A slung in one arm throughout, Khaki and her used dog bag in the other, and we were finally back to camp.  It only took a few steps from "home" to make such memories with the kids, and I'll be sure to treasure it.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Adios Florida

We've been in Florida since March and it's finally time to say goodbye. We've been all over the panhandle, west coast, central and southern parts of the state visiting family and seeing new things.

Here are some of the things we can check off our list:

Florida Keys
Peace River
Hollywood Beach
Tampa Bay, Children's Museum, Airshow, MOSI
Siesta Key- 4th of July
Venice Beach
Rainbow Springs
Pensacola, beaches and Navy Museum

We are headed North to hit some amazing places I'm so excited about.  We start school with AJ and tag-along LJ in a few weeks. The boys are excited but I'm a little nervous.  This year we will get AJ started in the right direction for reading, eventually. Eeek!

I promise you won't have to wait another month to hear from us again. Oops, we totally dropped the ball this last month, sorry about that.

Stayed tuned for some photo blogs!