Friday, July 26, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

…hard across the windy lake? Now I know why the lyrics to that classic say "gently down the stream."
We awoke this fine morning to temperatures in the mid-50's. When the sun warmed us up to the 70's, I decided it was time to fulfill my promise to rent a rowboat and take the kids out onto the lake. Having never captained a rowboat before, it took some getting used to. Nevertheless, we managed to make our way around our end of the lake even with a contrary wind pattern that seemed to constantly be blowing against us.
While I rowed, Jonah sat at the bow pretending the submerged plants were squid arms and kept a sharp lookout for the Loch Ness Monster. When a detached rhizomatous stem from an aquatic plant floated by we counted it a success - it certainly resembled the decayed remains of some such creature.
We had a good time and mommy got a good workout to boot. More memories in the making…

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Settlers of Catan with a 6 yr old

He already conquered Catan Junior so we acquiesced to teaching him the
adult version after hearing his pleas for four days straight.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pocahontas State Park: Reservations Required!

Elisabeth collecting bugs at our campsite
We just spent the last two days at Pocahontas State Park near Richmond, Virginia. As state parks go, it is one of my favorites. This trip though it was dreadfully HOT and humid! Fortunately, it has an elaborate sprayground that borders on a full blown water park. Unfortunately, that means everyone within a hours drive flocks there to cool off during the summer months, day users and weekend campers alike.

North Carolina State Parks typically keep a handful of "walk-in only" sights available for those short-sighted or free spirited enough to not make a reservation. I mistakenly thought Virginia State Parks operated similarly and went for the free spirited approach. Lesson to self and all other campers out there - when in question or if at all possible make a reservation! We intended to stay there until Sunday, but they were all booked up for the weekend. So we were there just two nights and had to relocated today (I'll share details on that later.)

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our brief stay. The campsites have the right amount of shade and sun. There is a playground, laundry facility, camp store and of course shower facilities. Virginia is consistently voted one the best state park systems (a fact which they will remind you of on every pamphlet they give you) and not without reason. In addition to the swim area, there is a nature center, heritage center, lake, and miles and miles of trails. We have yet to stay there long enough to take advantage of all it has to offer. But it's on my list for future, longer stays. Next time I will make a reservation!

The kids could even go down the slides in the background
Elisabeth and Jonah enjoying the elaborate sprayground
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Camping at the NC Fairgrounds

Upon selling our house, we needed a place to stay while we tied up some loose ends and made our goodbyes. Initially, we thought we would stay at Falls Lake State Recreation Area. However, we realized their rules about locking the gates at sunset could be problematic given our need to be out in the evenings. Fortunately, I remembered that my parents once stayed in town (Raleigh, NC) at the fairgrounds. So, that is where we spent our last week in North Carolina.

It turns out that a new camping area with about 50 sites opened last year behind the Horse Complex. It is surrounded by trees so campers don't feel quite so exposed to urban elements.

You can't beat the value: $25/night includes water, electric and sewer. There isn't a bathhouse or laundry, but with the sewer hookup the bathhouse isn't needed and there is a decent laundry mat within a mile or so at the intersection of Hillsborough and Jones Franklin. The location in general is exceptional with easy access to anywhere in town.

The only real con to this campground is the lack of shade. It was hot and humid during our stay and a little shade would have been a plus. In a few years, there will be a bit more shade once the planted tees mature and fill out a bit.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Baby Girl is Growing Up!

My little Sweet Pea is growing up so fast. So thankful for her and all
the joy and sweetness she brings us.

We took her to the Disney Store this evening to pick out her gift. The plan was for her to pick out a new dress-up outfit. When we got there though she wasn't interested in that and instead got a couple of other things including this Merida bow and arrow. We thought this choice fit well with our new lifestyle (Note the RV interior back drop).

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Birthday Bon Voyage Party

We wanted to give the kids a birthday party with their friends before leaving town. Even though Jonah doesn't turn 7 for another six weeks, we wanted it to be for both of them. We reserved a room at Greystone Community Center and invited friends to share pizza, cake and ice cream and play on the indoor playground. While not everyone could make it today, they had a great time with those who were able to come. And, I was pleased to get a few pictures of them with friends.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dress Like a Cow Day

At Chick-fil-a, getting some quality time with Samuel before our two
families set off on our separate adventures.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On the Road to New Experiences

If you read this blog regularly, you have probably noticed the lack of posts the last couple of months. This is due to a very busy season spent preparing to sell our home and the subsequent packing upon obtaining that goal. This process began last fall with lots of interior painting, caulking, etc. and culminated in a flurry of selling things on craigslist and packing things for storage. As of today, we are officially homeless! Yay! Well, not really homeless. With the exception of a few bins in my family's attic, we have downsized our stuff to a 10X20 storage unit, and put the "necessities" of life in our 30ft travel trailer where we will be living until we decide otherwise.

This has been a challenging, yet liberating experience for all of us. Having a much smaller "house" will force us into a simpler lifestyle for a while which I welcome. One challenge will be keeping the kids' stuff (mostly toys) to a manageable level as we have limited living and storage space in the RV. The kids love to spend a weekly allowance on toys and mommy is guilty of grabbing that great deal off the Target clearance rack.

Therefore we will all be focusing on investing in experiences and not stuff during this season.

Today, we walked to the horse complex (a perk of camping at the fairgrounds) to check out the 4-H horse show. Instead of buying a stuffed horse from the vendor (per Elisabeth's desire), we got a funnel cake and fresh squeezed lemonade to share while we watched the exhibition.

Stay tuned for more experiences and adventures from the road.....