Monday, May 23, 2011

Camping at Vogel - MAY 2011

Our weekend camping trip...
Curtis planned a family trip to Vogel State park for the weekend. The Knott family planned one too... in fact, I think the boys planned them together because our campers were next to each other. We prepared our supplies and Friday (while I was working) Curtis gathered the children from school (early) and headed north. The park is only about 30 minutes from our house so it's an easy place for us to camp. They unpacked and played for the rest of the day while waiting for my arrival ( not too expectantly). At one point, Curtis looked over at the kid's table during a game and realized there were two extra kids. Nick and Alex were camping for their first time with their grandparents, and Will joined us too, but mostly rode bikes with Bennett. Alex (a girl) is Lydia's age and they were fast friends. I was able to arrive about 10 pm, after stopping by the house for last minute items and ingredients for s'mores. They were just finishing their bath time, so I was there to tuck them in! Camping in the camper is great fun for all of us...bedtime is well after dark and morning comes with the sun and birds. There is no need for watches and schedules... unless you're on the beach and need to reapply sunscreen!
Lydia's teacher and her family were also camping this weekend. Their daughter is one of Ruth's friends from school as well. It was a good thing to play with her as well. The Knotts are fun... but they are boys! Sometimes an added girl or two is a good thing for decreased sibling issues. The big kids rode bikes... a ton! Over many trails and paths. The little kids walked a bunch... and rode a little. We drove down to the lakefront for swimming and beach digging. On Saturday they dug a huge hole... which was smoothed flat by the night time tractor. They filed it with water and dug paths and tunnels. Many other children stopped by to give aid. Sometimes it was welcomed. Sometimes the boys just wanted to destroy.
I did get to have some good conversation with Kirsten, Katherine's mom. It's often hard to get to know parents from the brief encounters at school, field trips, parties, PTO, etc. I always hesitate sending my kids to other homes... until I know the parent at least a little. I would rather have them in my home, where I can watch them. :)
Saturday evening the Himstedts came out to eat and play with us. I failed to take pictures this weekend but Maggie took a few during dinner for me. The creek water was FREeZING but the kids enjoyed playing in it anyways. Not me!
Sunday we enjoyed a little more time down at the beach while Curtis packed up the camper. It helps to have all the "helpers" out of the way to make things move a little more quickly.
A fun weekend that went too quickly... but so worth it.


Lately I have been totally unmotivated to find pictures and come up with any sort of dialog for this blog. I have been intending to go ahead and order the 2010 book... yet, I still haven't done it. I think it's just that time of year. For me, at least. Other people are turning over the ground and starting their flower gardens and vegetable gardens. I...  am NO green thumb or Farmer John. Nope. Not in the least. No planting and growing here. I'm pretty sure Curtis is as non-green as I am. It's the end of the school year. The kids are unmotivated... and I guess it's contagious. They must have started it. So... I have started 3 posts in the past month and have completed zero. I have one of pictures that I can't remember what I wanted to say about them. I have one with a couple quippy little comments from the kids... context lost and forgotten.
So, now I try again. I'll start again and maybe finish those others. Less text and just publish the post to have it here forever and ever. ;) yeah!
As the school year winds down we become less and less academic driven and more fun and games driven. The teachers save all the fun stuff for after CRCT and other such yearly goals. So, we've had a few fun field trips with the little girls and we're looking forward to Field Day x 2 schools! It's getting hot around here and the sun is out until well after 8... and bedtime is very difficult. Who wants to do homework when it's hot and sunny and the yard and garden hose is calling your name?!?!?!  The kids have created a water slide on our playground... hose at the top of the slide, big blue tarp at the bottom. Sometimes, it's a little painful... but mostly it's just fun - and muddy.
Let's see... Lydia's class went to Vogel State Park. They learned about bear safety, birds (sort of), took a hay ride through the camp ground (where I lost my camera), hiked around the lake and down to the waterfall and had a picnic hot dog feast with all their friends. It was super windy and cold that day and many of the kids were not prepared for the chill in the air.
We huddled and shared our jackets and blankets and still enjoyed the day.

After we got home from school I decided a picnic dinner might be in order - back at Vogel - so we could search for the lost camera. I knew I had it on the hay ride and I knew I didn't have it at a certain point... so the area where it had to be was not too large. There were only a handful of campers that day so the likelihood of someone else finding it before the weather elements destroyed it was pretty slim. So, we packed sandwiches and headed back over the mountain. We took a quick drive through the path of the hay ride and exactly where I suspected it to be... Curtis spotted it out his window.  Hooray for Daddy!!  We had plenty of time left to eat and play in the freezing breeze before heading back home again. And I got a couple good kid shots!

Ruth's class went to Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls two days later. It was hot and we kept shedding layers and were still all sweaty! They learned about snakes, bears and did a fun little scavenger hunt for nature items. Ruth's team of girls finished first! There was no race or contest or award for first place... but they still were proud of themselves for getting done quickly. We had a picnic lunch with all our friends then hiked to Anna Ruby Falls. It's at Unicoi, but no longer part of Unicoi... somehow managed by the Forrestry service instead of the state park service. The Rangers are lots of fun and full of information. We didn't have a guided hike.... but he did give us lots of information before we started the hike. Curtis even took off from work to come hike with her class. It's an easy path but pretty intense incline and several of the 7 year olds were pokey about walking... so we marched and jumped and skipped and sang songs. One or two of Ruth's friends stuck themselves next to me to take advantage of the camera time, my expert singing, and motivational speaking for getting up the hill!! They love me.  ha!
Ruth, Katherine Smith, Kendall Cantrell... 1st grade friends.

Chloe and Ruth make their way uphill.

Ms. Kelli Usher's class at the falls.

Ruth at Anna Ruby Falls.

Chloe, Curtis and Ruth... at the falls.

Rock Star posing at Betty's!
Another evening, after much prompting by Bennett, we took a family picnic to Helen. Mostly, so we could visit Betty's Country Store. You see... after Ruth's field trip to Unicoi I stopped in at Betty's to look for a couple last minute items (Mother's Day cards) and a drink. I was reminded of their vast assortment of glass bottled drinks... fun flavors you don't find in just any store. Plus, they're glass bottles... which mean bottle caps. Bennett's latest collection item. I told him I found a great place to get these caps. They even have a little bottle opener at the register and most people just let their caps fall into the collection container. I told him if he asked the lady really sweetly, she might just let him have a few of those leftover caps too. He was beyond excited with the possibility of a jackpot of bottle caps.  (P.S. the abundantly found beer bottle caps are not acceptable, per Bennett) We went to Betty's, shopped for the perfect flavor drink (Coke/Sprite/Stewart's Orange) and sweetly batted long, dark eyelashes at the young lady behind the register. She brought forth a brown paper sack with a day's worth of bottle caps!!  Jackpot! He was quite pleased. 

Picnic sandwiches by the Chattahoochee River and playground romping. What could be better? 

Lydia has mastered the monkey bars!

A few moments in the frigid waters of the Chattahoochee!

Lydia was much too fragile to get cold or muddy. So she was carried up the bank by her loving father. See the resemblance?!?!  

Here's a quote I remember... 
Quizzing Bennett after school, "Did you do your homework, Do you have reading to do"... he answers he did homework at school and finished his reading on the bus. "So, you aren't going to ask me to read when I tell you it's bedtime?"  "I will"... he laughs. He always asks me to read at bedtime... despite the hour of the day, despite if he has already read 3 hours, he always wants to read more. I like that. I usually let him since he's alone in his room and won't keep anybody else awake and he's the oldest and he's Bennett! :)

Random Photo Post

I went to dinner with my friends Kelli and Rebecca. PF Changs. I always want to go there and typically get vetoed. You can see the bowl of cherries. Rebecca can tie the stems in a knot. Kelli and I can not knot. She asked for a bowl full of cherries so we could practice. It was kind of funny. Our server, Miranda then said she and her friend were going to practice as well because she wanted to learn how to do that. Interesting talent. 

Kelli was really concentrating on tying that stem!

Out front with the PF Changs' horse.
Grandma's crazy hair creation. 

Crazy hair by Grandma.

Pictures by little people.

Grandma... posing for special picture time. Upside down on purpose.

Ruth and Grandma

Grandpa... captured by a little person.

Ruth's early morning, before school face.

School really wears a kid out!

Waiting the the pick-up line for Bennett & Maggie

April Fool's Day joke... by Ruth.  

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