Monday, September 30, 2013

The 12 Days of Camping... (Part 1)

I left off last post with a teaser...
We found out sometime in June that 
the hubs would have to be in the Asheville area
for 2 weeks in a row,
due to a conference,
and then a class.

This family NEVER misses an opportunity 
to head to the western part of this state.

My job was to find us a place to stay.
Not sure if you guys have heard, 
but we have a family of 6!
Finding inexpensive lodging
for a family of 6 is a JOKE!

When I vacation,
I have NO desire to spend
a ton of money on food 
and lodging...
I would rather spend my money 
on fun stuff that we wouldn't 
normally get to do.

My goal was to find a place
that we would all not be 
smooshed into living quarters with 
only ONE room 
for 12 days
where the kids could have a safe outdoor space
without me being right on top of them
where I could prepare meals
(cause I refuse to eat out 
while traveling - 
for the sake of
our health
our finances)

So after 

I started to think that
we weren't going to accompany
the hubs on the trip
due to the amount we would have
to pay just on lodging...
I was NOT interested!

We had been talking about 
getting a camper for a while
but really hadn't had a
real "need" 
for it.

It would have been nice,
but we couldn't really justify it.

My mother-in-law owns a camper
and she agreed to let us borrow it.

So we drove up to Virginia Beach,
spent the weekend with her
in her camper
at the campground she is a member of.
Her's sleeps 6.
The hubs slept in a tent
both nights we were there.

I couldn't see spending 12 days
like that
especially since 
the hubs was there for 

we were willing to try it.

So we brought it home with us.
(3+ hours)

Once we got it in the driveway,
I started looking on Craigslist
just for kicks
to see what I could find.

Low and behold,
there were 2 on there that
what we were looking for.
That would fit our family

we bit the bullet
and bought one!

We weren't taking 
the other one back until we had
ours in the driveway,
I would have hated for us
to have nothing
for the trip.

So we finally picked ours up
on a Thursday night,
then the hubs 
took his mom's
back to her on Friday.
Came back Saturday morning
bright and early.

Then the following Tuesday
we left on our adventure!

And an adventure it was!!

The class and conference 
were not in the same city.

In fact,
they were an hour apart.

So we couldn't stay at the same spot the whole time.
So we went campground hopping!

We also only took one car,
so that was another interesting part to the trip.

Not knowing what exactly I was getting into...
I packed our school books. 
Just in case we were stuck in the camper
and needed something to fill our time.


I did not grow up camping.
But I have "camped" 
in my grandmother's 
somewhat permanent camper
at Myrtle Beach
quite a few times.

I have stayed in my mother-in-law's
a couple of times,
we went camping with friends a few years ago
in something similar to what we now own.

Tent camped a handful or so times.

I was confident I could do it...
but 12 days?!?!?!
With 4 kids under 10??
Almost by myself
because the hubs was again...
there on WORK!

What was I getting myself into??

I can't wait to tell you
show you!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

July 2013 - In Review

Good Gracious!
July was a BLUR!
The pictures I took were limited
due to the craziness...
I wish I had more to share, but
I don't.
So here comes what I have.
You will just have to use your
imagination on the rest.  
We discovered some day camps in our new town
with the local 4-H chapter.
I signed each of the boys up
for about 6 classes.
And, of course,
they were 6 different classes!
So that means I made 12 trips
to and from
the 4-H meeting spot.
No worries...
they got a great opportunity to get out of the house,
meet other kids,
listen to other adults
Jackson chose classes dealing with:
plants and planting
Rico chose classes dealing with:
Legos in motion
organizing your room
(since he now has his own room)
These classes were spread out over the whole summer
starting in June
ending in August.
We spent 4th of July at
the pool in my parent's neighborhood
and our entire family was there.
It was the first time
we had all been together
since our return from Texas.
My baby sis came in from Winston-Salem,
the middle sis brought her hubby and my niece

(I am not sure Uncle Jack realized that lubing up a squirmy
baby with sunscreen was a spectator sport)
and my sister from another mother
(bestie since we were 7).
In preparation for the festivities,
I was asked to make a flag cake.
Ok, I can do that.
But this wasn't your typical flag cake...


You might or might not get a special posting on this
I can't seem to locate pictures of the finished product,
so I grabbed this one from
"Simply Southern Girl"
where I got the idea!
(well, my baby sis sent me the idea
and the cake was made at her request)

I also made these amazing Oreo truffles.

These are super easy
and super spectacular
and they will get their own posting shortly!!

Then my mother-in-law came down for a weekend visit.
we were invited to the beach...
with my aunt and cousins.

Apparently their house was too quiet
and they felt the need for some excitement.
I asked if they were sure they wanted my chaos
to come...
I asked about 5 times.
They kept saying yes...
So on Monday, July 8th,
 the kids and I packed the car
put one of those trailer hitch cargo carriers
on the back of the suburban...
and jumped in the car for a 5+ hour drive
to a little beach just south of Charleston!
I was NOT a happy mommy getting started!
We had to make a couple of stops:
daddy's work to say good-bye
fill up the beast (car)
and after all that
got on the road.
We had literally JUST
gotten on the highway
when my sweet 4 yo daughter
informed me she had to potty.
I am tensing up again as I am typing this...
just remembering!
We stopped as soon as we could
unloaded everyone
(they were all hunkered down with their
travel trays on their laps
and lunch spread out before them).
So we had to pack the lunches back up,
take the trays off
get out...
and I can't take just her in and
leave the other 3 in the car...
not yet.
So everyone goes in.
Then wouldn't ya know it...
it started raining as we were
walking in.
We finally got back in the car,
got restrapped in,
trays back on,
lunches back in front of everyone...
and back on the road...

Then we wind up behind this!

But you know what...
this actually soothed me
and calmed me down a bit.
Just the beauty of being home!
And believe it or not...
we didn't have to stop again!
I couldn't believe it!!!
We had a great time at the beach,
it is always nice having extra hands
and there was actually a
one-to-one ration going on...
One adult per kid!
It was great!!
I don't get those odds often!!
We did the typical beach stuff
really enjoyed the quietness of this beach.
We saw lots of sea life too!
A gigantic horseshoe crab,
a stingray or skate
The sea life was hopping down there!
A family right down the beach from us
pulled up the horseshoe crab.
We all ventured over to take a look at it.
The guy was taking it back to the ocean,
he was in about shin deep water
and a 4 ft shark literally got within meer inches to him!
He hightailed it out of the water,
and we all watched in amazement as the shark
stayed right in that area for a few minutes!!
We ventured down to the pier quite a few times
and they were catching lots of sharks there.
We actually saw a guy with a shark on his line,
but it broke the line before he could bring it in.
One of the last nights we were there,
my cousin had caught about 11 crabs,
so we had crabs for dinner!

OH man!
Picking crabs is like riding a bike...
you never forget how to do it.
It all comes back to you!

Mr T, however,
wasn't quite sure what to do with it...

What a great way to end a trip to the beach!

Since, there was a tropical storm coming ashore,
we decided to hit the road the next day,
instead of keeping the kids cooped up in the house.
And unfortunately I think I drove through the tropical storm.
I had some of the worst driving conditions
if not THE worst,
I have ever experienced in my life!
When I finally thought we were through it,
we stopped for a potty break,
then as soon as we got back on the highway,
it started up again.
Traffic was down to 35 mph
everyone had their hazard lights on.
My hands literally HURT
from gripping the wheel so hard.
I was terrified!
It finally quit raining about
30 minutes from home.
When we got home,
I laid down on the couch
and literally didn't move all night!
Things were kinda calm for a couple of days...
Then the fun started up again.
We had a trip planned for August that I had to start
getting ready for...
Part of getting us ready involved us going to Virginia Beach.
I will explain in the next post.
But we ventured up to Va Bch
and went camping with
my mother-in-law
in her camper.
It sleeps 6
(uncomfortably - haha).
We had a great time,
as we always do up there.

The most exciting part of our month
was when our oldest was playing with our youngest at the pool...
they were taking turns jumping into the pool.
Rico would jump into the big pool,
then get out,
come over to the baby pool
watch Tony jump into the baby pool,
then Tony got out and walked over
and watched his big brother jump in...
they kept going on and on like this.
Then as I was watching,
and before I could stop him...
Rico came over to the baby pool and
DOVE in!
He tucked his head
and DOVE IN!!!
I saw the whole thing and couldn't react!
By the sheer grace of God,
he slowly sat up
with his hand on his head
and, of course,
within seconds,
blood was pouring down his face
the sides of his head.
My heart literally stopped,
but, I didn't have time to freak out.
We applied pressure to stop the bleeding
assessed the situation
gathered the other kids
and attempted to determine if he was going to need
stitches or not.
Thankfully I have two of the best nurses in the world
at my beckoning call!
(or text)
and I was able to send pictures
and skype and get the camera close up.
It was finally determined that since we could
stop the bleeding,
that we would just let it heal and keep an eye on it.
The life of the mom of THREE boys!
In the past year
We have had
1 wicked broken arm (Jackson)
1 broken baby foot (moving day - Tony Cruz)
1 busted head (Rico)

I am thankful that is it...
SOOOOO thankful.
But the hubs has decided that we are prime candidates for this new
accident insurance that is now offered.
Since our current insurance
is horrible and
doesn't cover things like that until after we have
met our crazy deductible.
(I digress...sorry)
The second most exciting part of July happened on July 31st...
the first, and ONLY,
in our town,
opened up!
I was so excited!!
It is my all-time
favorite grocery store!
And I hadn't lived near one in almost 2 years!
The little things in life...
I didn't get to actually go shopping their until a day or so after it opened...
but I survived...
Up next...