Saturday, September 2, 2017

Vacation - Part 1

Our vacation this year turned into a bit of an extended vacation because of the way some things lined up on the calendar.  We had our beach week in Destin lined up for last week of June but we realized that Drew's annual ministers' meeting was the Thursday and Friday and we would have left Friday night to head to FL.  To decrease the amount of driving back and forth to the mountains and then to FL, we just all decided to go to the mountains for the meeting and leave straight from there to go to FL.

We left Thursday morning (6/22) and headed to Lake Junaluska.  For the first time in 11 years we did not stay with Katie and kids at her parents' mountain house because they sold it.  So sad.  It was definitely the end of an era.  We stayed at the Ramada Inn (pronounced Ram-a-da by Will) where our Palmyra friends, Mike and Janice, always stay.  We got up there and dropped Drew off at the lake for his clergy meeting and the kids and I went to check in.  We picked him up when the meeting was over and we then met Mike for dinner at our usual, Butts on the Creek.  Because of a sick aunt, Janice didn't get to come this year.  We enjoyed our dinner with Mike though.  I will say Butts on the Creek has been a little disappointing the last couple years but because I want a picture of them by the sign, we keep eating there.   Maybe I need to let the tradition go.  Will was petting a random cat outside the restaurant and it scratched him.  Thankfully he didn't get cat scratch fever and ruin our vacation!  ha!  Will was relentless about playing putt putt so we found the only place open that evening for him to play.  It was just barely raining though so we let the boys play and the girls stayed in the car so he could satisfy his putt putt obsession!  We spent the night at the hotel and started the trek to FL on Friday morning.

We took a very long and scenic route to FL.  We could't check into the house until 4pm on Saturday so we had no reason to hurry.  We took the scenic route through the mountains on our way.  We detoured through downtown Franklin, NC just to check it out and then we stopped at the Tallulah Gorge State Park.  They had a great little visitors center and within a very short walking distance you could see some pretty waterfalls.  It was a nice little stop.   We stopped for lunch at a little 50's diner in Clayton, GA.  The kids played in the telephone booth - which they had never seen one of before.  We finally reached out destination for the evening, Columbus, GA where we met up with my parents.  We had stayed there two years ago and discovered Columbus had a really neat downtown area.  We got there in time for dinner so we headed downtown where we ate dinner and explored the riverfront.  It is such a neat area.  They had the coolest playground, a splash pad, great views of the river and just a cool downtown area.  It was a fun evening down there.   

Saturday morning we set out and then stopped a couple hours later in Eufala, AL for lunch at the Cajun Corner.  We stopped there two years ago and enjoyed a lunch there but I think it will be the last time we stop.  The food is actually pretty good and the actual restaurant is fine but it's in a really disgusting building.  You go out a back door of the restaurant and you are in a hallway that leads to the bathroom.  There is no bathroom directly in the restaurant.  It's a really old building that at one time had a few different shops in it or was an old inn.  You can see some really cool architecture things in some of the old stores but it smells in the hallway.  It smells REALLY bad.  Like cat urine.  Like feral cats had lived in the hallway and used the carpet as a litter box.  It was literally awful.  We held our shirts up over our noses when we went to the bathroom.  So I think we might be done with the Cajun Corner.  

We finally got to FL, after leaving home on Thursday!   We got to the house just a few minutes early but ended up having to wait a little while to get in while they finished cleaning.

Annual Conference - in Maggie Valley

 with Mike!

 at Tallulah Gorge State Park

 Playing in a new toy - a telephone booth!
 Fun in downtown Columbus, GA

Last week of 3rd Grade

The second week of June was also the last week of 3rd grade.  It was a busy one.

They started the week with Econ day.  This is one of the big 3rd grade projects the kids look forward to and dang if they don't leave it until the very last week of school. ugg!  They really didn't give info out till 2-3 weeks before it was due.  Months before I kept asking how many things did they have to make and sell and neither ever knew.  Will made mazes.  It seemed easy at first but he ended up spending a lot of time on them.  He created 5 mazes and then we photo copied them.  I made him add decorations to each maze.  I told him he needed color on each one.  It ended up taking him all day to decorate them and then we copied each one.  He put a lot of work into it in the end and they all looked great.  Lindy had to do something with dogs - of course.  So we made homemade dog treats.  Hers was a little more complicated finding all the ingredients - oat flour??  Never could find it but did you know you can make it with oatmeal and a food processor.  The things I do for my kids.  ha!  She made two types of dog treats and we put one of each into a little snack bag.  We made a cute little sticker for each bag.  Her's turned out very cute too.  We had some extras so Aiden got some and then we took some to the dog across the street.

We also had a fake birthday celebration for the kids' birthday at school.  I usually pick a day at the very end of school to eat lunch with the kids and bring doughnuts and pretend it's their birthday since they have summer birthdays.  Will picked Luke to eat with him and Lindy picked Adah.

Field Day was Wednesday, 6/7.  The kids got to move down to the lower field and that is something they look forward to as a 3rd grader.  K-2 is on the upper field and 3-5 on the lower field.  The school does a great job and it's always organized and well run.  We've heard they will never play the same games at field day the entire time they are there.  The PE teacher has all the games on a rotation.  Pretty cool I think!  Will got to participate in the obstacle course challenge with his team this year.  They have class versus class challenges in the upper grades.  I had a dentist appointment that morning but was able to stop by and see them for a little while.

Friday, June 9th brought the last day of 3rd grade.  I say it every year but man do they go fast.  Too fast for my liking.  Will had a great teacher and a fabulous year.  We were all ready for Lindy's year to be over.  We made it through but it was the roughest year she has had.  It wasn't awful but we were glad it was done.

We celebrated the last day with frozen custard for a treat and we went to see the Captain Underpants movie.  The kids liked it, Drew and I - not so much.  Total 3rd grade humor that we don't always understand!

The kids started swimming lessons on Saturday morning.  A refresher and chance to get stronger and more comfortable.  We did with it with the high school life guard at the pool but it ended up being pretty good.  She got Will to put his face in the water.  That's a score!

Sunday we went to listen to the NC Big Brass Band at a local park with some church friends.  It was a fun evening.  The kids had fun running around and then playing on the playground.

I took the next week off of work to spend with the kids.  We did swim lessons almost every day and worked around the house.  I wanted them to have a few days to lounge and do nothing.  Thursday I actually had to do work stuff - like attend a golf tournament.  I met my parents that morning and they grabbed the kids and dog and took them back home with them and I headed to the golf tournament.  I was there until about 3pm and then I headed to my parents.  We spent the night and played in the pool the whole next day.  We headed home Friday evening.

Saturday Lindy seemed to have some touch of a stomach bug and was sick all day.   Sunday she was better so we rode to Bob's to celebrate Father's Day.  We had lunch with Bob, Suzette, Anna and Brian.  It was a nice afternoon and Will beat them all in Bocce ball.

Monday, June 20th the kids started their first camp of the summer.  They only went three days though as we left for vacation on Thursday.  They did three days at Imprints.  It was dino week.  They had a reptile person come in with animals and went to the movies.  They missed the big field trip on Friday cause we left for vacation.

Will and Luke
 Lindy and Adah
 With a random big chair we found at BB&B

 Field Day!

 Luke, Will and Jackson

 Lindy and Ms. Carter, her adaptive PE teacher
 Lindy and Ms. Donna

 Will and Ms. Munford
Will and Ms. Lipe
 Lindy and Ms. Taylor
 Lindy and Ms. Petross, who helped her with her hearing aids all year. 
Last day of school!

 Swimming lessons at the pool

 Will and his finished puzzle
 Happy Father's Day!

 Bocce Shenanigans

Moving into June

The beginning of June brought all the end of school activities for the kids.  The newest end of school activity was the EOG tests the kids had to take for the first time because they were in 3rd grade.  I put no stock in standardized testing so we just told the kids to do the best they can.  We just asked them to try the best and we knew they would do fine.  Thankfully our school doesn't seem to dwell on them too awfully bad which is nice.  They definitely have to prepare but I've been in other schools and seen a ton more pressure put on the kids.  I did sign up to be an EOG hall monitor for two days.  I sat in the hall for two hours each morning and got to read.  After the spring I'd had at work I hadn't done much at school and I really enjoyed two hours of doing nothing.  You just have to sit out there and make sure kids are quiet if they go to the bathroom.  I did have to find the testing coordinator a couple times because of issues that came up.

Other much more fun things happened in June though. Friday, June 5th, Will got to go with one of his best buddies, Luke,  to Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte for his birthday.  Will has never been to Great Wolf Lodge, doesn't love water, and hadn't ever spent the night with a friend.  It was a recipe for disaster!  ha!  It actually turned out great.  He loved it and wants us all to go back.  I didn't think he'd have any problems spending the night away from us and he was fine.  He said he loved the water slides (shocker!) and all the water park activities.  His favorite thing was the Magic Quest.  A scavenger hunt is right up his alley.  Now I want to go check it out!

That same afternoon Lindy invited a friend, Adah, over to play.  I got the girls from school and we actually went to the Humane Society.  We stayed for over an hour and they went back and forth from the cats to the dogs.  Adah is an animal lover like Lindy.  We headed home and they played for awhile, we ordered pizza for dinner, and then we headed back to WS to meet Adah's mom.  We met at the yogurt shop.  They got yogurt and then we all headed our separate ways.

Saturday morning we were up early and headed out to Charlotte.  It worked out pretty well that we were headed to Charlotte for a family reunion and Will was in Charlotte at the Great Wolf Lodge.  We stopped and got him on the way and then headed to a local park to have the Southern Family Christmas!  ha!  We used to always get together with Bob's siblings every Christmas but as the families have all gotten bigger it was just harder and harder to find a day during December when we could all go.  The siblings decided to try a different time of year.  It seemed to work the beginning of June, even if it was blazing hot.  We enjoyed catching up and seeing all the new babies being born.  No kick ball this year, I think the fields were wet.  We went back to Bob and Suzette's for a little while and then headed home.

At the Humane Society with Adah

 Southern Family Reunion

 Poor Joan!

 1st Cousins
 2nd Cousins