Wednesday, August 29, 2012

South Dakota Here We Come!

For vacation this year, we decided to take the RV out west - well as far out west as we could get with only three weeks to get there and back. We left Raleigh, NC on Friday evening and made it to Pilot Mountain State Park outside of Mt. Airy, NC.  The weather was heavenly that evening - cool and crisp - ah! My favorite temperature. We had enough time to drive to the top of the overlook before they closed the gate. Then we had a nice fire and chilled out. All of their campsites have electric and water, but the terrain is very uneven and rocky. This campground would not have been fun with kids 4 and under. My 4 year old was stumbling around as it is.

We rolled out of the park not long after opening time at 8 a.m. We traveled up I-77 through Virginia and into West Virginia taking the West Virginia Turnpike to Charleston, WV.  From there we took unfinished Hwy 35 to Point Pleasant, WV where we crossed the Ohio River into Ohio State. We continued on Hwy 35 all the way to Dayton where we got on I-70 into Indiana.

We ended this day of driving at Summit Lake State Park near Mooreland, Indiana. It was mentally satisfying to have NC, VA, WV and OH under our belts at the end of Saturday.

We took the next day (Sunday) to relax and site see in the area. We really appreciated this stop. It was very idyllic in a lot of ways.

Monday morning, we pulled out around 7:30 a.m. and worked our way west on a nice straight secondary road and then hit I-69 into Indianapolis. Immediately, we realized our error as the rush hour traffic into the city was atrocious. So, we got off at the next exit and detoured north along secondary roads (a couple of which had their own detours) until we were finally able to get back on course on I-74 west toward Illinois. Illinois is mostly a blur except that I noted the nice river front area in Peoria, IL along the Illinois River. When we crossed the great Mississippi an hour or so later it was not nearly as impressive, though we took special notice anyway as this was Kelly and the kid's first time crossing the artery of North America (by car).

A common site on our travels: corn and soybean fields and windmills

We got on Interstate 80 in Davenport, IA and continued west. We made it to Rock Creek State Park between Iowa City and Des Moines by 7 p.m. Monday evening, only because we gained an hour at the Mississippi when we crossed into the Central Time Zone.

Again we took the next day (Tuesday) to rest and enjoy our surroundings. Kelly took another bike ride while the kids made friends with some locals and fished on the dock. After lunch, we drove out to a Mariposa County park and saw exactly three bison in a field (we are certain this is only a preview of what is to come.)

As campgrounds go, Rock Creek State Park has probably the best cost to benefit ratio of any we have experienced. It is only $16 a night including electric. There isn't any water hookups but the shower house is clean and functional, we are right next to the playground, and there is a nice lake view.

Site #59 at Rock Creek Lake State Park with playground adjacent & bathhouse behind
Our view of the lake.

Wednesday it's South Dakota or bust! Actually, I prefer, "God willing and the creek don't rise," as my beloved Mamaw used to say.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Heart Indiana

Saturday night, we camped at Summit Lake State Park not too far north of Interstate 70. The campsites were big and grassy with water and electric hookups. The water hookups were spread out funny so we had to park the rig in just the right spot for the water hose to reach the spigot on one side and the electric cable to reach the outlet on the otherside. It worked out fine thankfully.

We decided to hangout there the next day and recuperate a bit before driving another day. It turned out to be a really nice area. Kelly started off his day by biking 22 miles partially on the nearby Cardinal Greenway. It was very flat here and he really enjoyed his ride. (This place made us think of our friends Merl and Amy - they would love this area.) Meanwhile, the kids and I went to the playground and hiked around in the park.

After lunch, we went to the Wilber Wright Birthplace and Museum. When we left we passed these guys on the road:
We then drove about 45 minutes to the town of Anderson and visited Mounds State Park. We wanted to take a look at the Indian mounds, several earthworks created by Adena-Hopewell people. The largest of these is called "Great Mound" and dates back to 160 BC.
Great Mound at Mounds State Park
Also on the grounds is a historic residence undergoing renovation.

Other pictures taken at Mound State Park:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum

During our stay at Summit Lake State Park, we stopped by the birthplace of Wilber Wright. Expecting there to simply be an old home with period artifacts inside, my husband was less than interested. Given that it was just a few miles from the state park, I encouraged him to just drive by and let me get a picture. When we arrived we found that there was more to it than expected – a little something for everyone including a group of model plane enthusiasts flying their planes (I neglected to get a picture of that, however).
Living in North Carolina, I am very aware of Kitty Hawk and the significance of the Wright brothers. However, being who I am, learning about the person makes it so much more interesting. (A trip to Kitty Hawk will now be much more enticing.)

Wilbur and his family only lived in this location for about 18 months. His father Milton was a minister and (if I remember correctly) they moved a lot due to his vocation. Milton later became a Bishop of the United Brethren Church in Christ

The smokehouse
 It was fun explaining this outhouse to the kids - complete with sears catalog and corn cobs.
The outhouse
There is a wonderful museum on site that houses memorabilia, educational audio and video on the life of Wilbur Wright (as well as a modern restroom.) Wilbur planned to be a minister until his front teeth were knocked out playing sports. He subsequently had a bout of depression and immersed himself in books.

There was one sign in the museum that stated it was their mother who encouraged their imaginations and even built toys for them (having acquired skills from her father who was an accomplished woodworker) - a nice reminder of the importance of a mom's role in the life of her children.
Orville is on the left and Wilbur is on the right
Inside the museum is also a full scale model of the Wright Flyer.  It was constructed for flight but was never flown because it never received FAA approval.

Not sure why this plane is there next to the memorial. I guess they needed some kind of airplane on the grounds commemorating the life of the co-inventor of the first aircraft.

Wilbur Wright Memorial
The total cost for a family of four to tour the Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum was only $10. There is also a gift shop with very reasonably priced souvenirs.

So everyone's expectations were exceeded with this stop.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trip Prep: Car Sickness Prevention

Elisabeth has gotten car sick on some of our travels over the last couple of years. She has only actually thrown up once or twice, but she has complained of "feeling sick" on numerous occasions. Lately, the incidents have increased as she has started complaining on 20 - 30 minute trips around town. Thankfully, we arrive at our destination right about the time she really starts feeling yucky. Once she is out of the car and on her feet it's all over.

Well, we are in the final stages of preparing for an RV trip to South Dakota. It will take three days of driving to get there, though we will likely stop for a day on the way. Nevertheless, it will be a long time in the car. After spending lots of time deciding upon entertainment options for the kids, it occurred to me that Elisabeth may have some real issues this trip with nausea. So yesterday I started browsing the internet for ways to prevent kids from getting car sick. And this is what I came up with:
Ginger Cookie
Ginger Cookie (Photo credit: Anna Fischer)

  1. Nausea reducing snacks: Ginger snap cookies, lollipops (including lemon ones), and peppermint candy
  2. Have ginger ale in the cooler - who knows she may actually like it!
  3. Benadryl to have on hand for day two if the nausea is consistent and bothersome
  4. We have some adult Sea-bands around somewhere - not sure it will work on her little wrists but I'll see if I can find them anyway
  5. Utilize rest areas - we usually try do jumping jacks and play tag
  6. Have breaks from all media and get the kids to focus on the horizon - we try to get them to look for animals or read the speed limit signs (they are learning to read numbers)
  7. I'll probably put something in the car just in case none of the above works and we don't stop on time
Here is to hoping for the best and being prepared for the worst. 

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Bowling: Classic Family Fun

A couple of weeks ago, I shared about taking Jonah bowling with some friends. Well, I ended up taking both kids and going ourselves again last week (the same day that Jonah lost a tooth). 

This was Elisabeth's very first time bowling and she loved it. Jonah really got into it as well. He even beat me. (I really need some practice! That, plus I kept having visions of whacking the ball into the ends of those metal rails that serve as bumpers, so I psyched myself out of a few spares I'm sure.)

Here's video of Elisabeth and Jonah bowling.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

2nd Look Boutique Consignment Sale

This annual consignment sale is going on through tomorrow in Apex. If you miss it this week, they have another scheduled in a few weeks at their Durham location.

I had an opportunity to drop in yesterday afternoon when they opened. I try not to take the kids with me to these sales, but that was not the case yesterday. It worked out though. Of course, Jonah wanted to know if he could get something. I told him he could spend his allowance money if he wanted. Immediately he spots this gigantic pirate boat. He gave me these sad, puppy dog eyes. But I stuck to my guns and said, "I'll see how much it is, but I'm sure it's more than $5." When I checked the tag, guess what?  It said $5. I couldn't say no at that point. I did get him to promise to get rid of something(s) else to make room for it. When we got it home, we found it was missing some of the detail accessories, but it had two figures and two cannons and has buttons with all kinds of sound effects. Considering how much these (Black Pearl Ultimate Playsets by Zizzle) go for new and complete, I think Jonah made a good buy even though it's incomplete.

Elisabeth got a couple of things too, including a Fancy Nancy puzzle and this cute Sweet Potatoes outfit with poodles on it. I just found it online priced at over $50 - crazy!  I paid $3. She simply had to wear it today, though I would have liked her to wait for a bit cooler weather.

Consignment sales Rock! Check out the 2nd Look Boutique website for details.

Other consignment sales going on this weekend:

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Jonah Lost His 5th Tooth

He finally lost one while we were home - and, no, I did not knock this one out. It was literally hanging there so I pulled it out.

We read a book on the same day entitled One Morning in Maine about a little girl who lives on the coast of Maine and looses her tooth. It was very appropriate as we were reminiscing about our trip to Maine this time last year, where Jonah lost his second tooth.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

City Ballet Presents Elisabeth Rose

Elisabeth attended her first summer camp program at City Ballet last week. On the last day, parents came early and were treated to a mini-performance where the 3-7 year olds showed off what they learned during the week. At this age, the focus is on motor skills like skipping, galloping, and hopping which also builds up their leg muscles. Elisabeth had mom, dad, and brother in attendance. They introduced the girls one-by-one as they entered the room. Elisabeth was suppose to make some kind of dance move and then find her spot on the floor - I think! We're not exactly sure, because she walked in quite bashfully and forgot what to do next. After that though, she found her groove and had a great time.

Here is a slideshow from the performance:

We took several videos but I was unable to edit into one production.  
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Part 7   Part 8   Part 9
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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Free Bowling at AMF

While Elisabeth has been at summer camp in the mornings, Jonah and I have been spending some quality time together. Today, we met some friends at an AMF bowling center where we took advantage of their summer promotion for kids to bowl free - two games per day everyday through September 3rd.

Here's one of his attempts unassisted:

Here he is taking advantage of the rack:

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Ballet Camp

Elisabeth is participating in her first half day summer camp this week. She is spending her mornings this week with a half a dozen other girls learning about ballet with the help of Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, and Angelina Ballerina.

I got a peek at her dancing when I picked her up.  Here it is:

She's the one in the blue leotard in the back with the pink wings.

On Friday, parents get a little dance presentation, so hopefully I'll have a better video then.

Here she is leaving class - they made the visor's in class - so cute!

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