Friday, July 29, 2016

Naval Aviation Museum

As a side trip for our camping vacation, we took a trip to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.  This trip added to our list of states we have been to as a family-making the number 8 (soon to be 9 with Georgia).  We went the second day we were at the Gulf.  The weather was overcast and drizzly and not good for much outdoor stuff.  I searched for activities to do with kids and found this free museum less than an hour from Gulf State Park.
First, the boys thought it was cool that we were on an actual military instillation. 

Second, there are tons of aircraft to see.  Several hangers worth.  Lots of history here that I would have liked to have read more about.  But, I had my small folk to pay attention to and pictures to take.

Hugging a missile.

These flags were are the surrender of Japan to the United States during WWII.  When I asked Marcus to stand there and get his picture taken, he put his hand over his heart.  Next thing I knew, here come the other 2 boys for the photo shoot.  America.

There was cool mini aircraft carrier for little kids to play on.  The girls had fun while the boys went to the gift shop.

Kinley happy.  Not that she was the entire time we were here.  Oh no.  She definitely let her Kinley-side show while we were here.  But, I chose to focus on times when she was not screaming. :-) Memories.

So many cockpits for kids to climb in and out of.  2 floors worth of cool.

This is the president's helicopter.  And, Kella's new friend.

My new friend, too.

Moon stuff!

What a cool side trip!  I love doing unplanned fun things with the family.  One of my favorite things is just taking the kids to see different places.  It's all about the memories.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

At the Gulf

We got to spend 2 days and 2 nights camping at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  And, you know what?  It was a good time.  Now, it was hot and humid and drizzly and there were bugs (like the ants that made a hole in the floor of one of the tents the 2nd day forcing us to rearrange sleeping assignments and leaving Andy to volunteer to sleep in the car.  Best. Man. Ever.), but we had fun and it was a new experience.  And, because it wasn't too terrible, I could see us camping again.  

The park gave us a list of sites to pick from and we picked the site that was on the corner.  I think this gave us the most space for our tent city.

8 people need 3 tents.  Marcus slept in the green one (which is his).  The girls and I slept in the closest red one and the rest of the boys and Andy slept in the big red one.  We also borrowed a big tarp that the Boy Scouts use for eating under.  That came in very handy keeping our chairs dry in the rain.

After the boys set up camp, we were off the Gulf.  You have to drive to the park beach from the camp grounds, but you get in free to the beach with your camping permit tag.  

Sand. Water. Cale.
In the Gulf.  The water was a little rough and those waves seem to pull you a little bit.  I didn't want to kids getting out to far.

This might have been when Kella got scared by the water.  I came and got her out. And she started to look for little shells.

And, then, Liam got stung by a jellyfish.  Andy saw it swim away after the deed was done.  Oh, it hurt a lot!  Liam was crying and screaming and rubbing his leg.  Where he got stung did swell up and look bad enough that I thought we would have to locate the nearest med-check to take Liam to.  And, people kept coming over making sure Liam was okay.  After about the 4th or 5th person, and, maybe 15 minutes being at the beach, we left, with the promise to Liam to go get some vinegar to put on his leg.  Bought the vinegar and went back to the campgrounds.  Before we went back to our tents, we swung by the campground pool.  We were still in our suits anyway.  We spent the next couple hours swimming in a really nice pool.  Then, back to the campsite for dinner (Andy cooked all our meals), dessert and bedtime.

The next day was drizzly and thunder-y.  We got made our way to the Gulf Pier-also free to go on with our camp permit. The pier goes out into the gulf and lots of people come to fish off it.

We came.  We saw.  We conquered.  

Random bird nest set up at the state park.  

The rest of the time at the state park consisted of swimming at the pool, going to the camp nature center, shopping at the camp store (I got my magnet) and just being together as a family.  Gulf State Park was a really nice campground.  It is clean, it had a great pool (did I already say that) and the bathroom/showers were clean and air-conditioned.  No lie-some random camper was sleeping in the bathroom the 2nd morning when I came to brush my teeth the second morning.  We never did go back to the Gulf to swim.  Honestly,  the water was still too rough for our not-so-strong swimmers.  And, when you have a nice pool to swim in....

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pack up the car! We took a vacation-camping trip!

June was a much-anticipated month in this family.  School got out, pool time, camps to prepare for....and...Joe and Ethel's wedding to go to.  In Georgia.  Because I can't travel in a straight path from one point to the next, and because I have a goal of taking all the kids to the lower 48 states...we tacked on a side va-cay first to Gulf Shores.  I'd never been and had never seen the Gulf of Mexico.  And, this added 2 more states to the list that we've been to.

In a moment of weakness, after seeing hotel and rental prices for the few days we needed, an executive decision was made to camp at Gulf State Park.  By me.  Camping in June.  At the Gulf.  No prob.

We headed off on our trip on Monday morning, after I got home from my third shift in a row of work.

 Andy drove.

I like to think I was a tolerable co-pilot who took some mini-naps.  Andy would probably have something to say about that.

We only stopped twice to use the bathroom before we left the state of Indiana.  Surely some kind of record.

Finally, crosssed the Ohio River into Kentucky.

Another hour, and then we stopped for lunch.  It was hot and steamy.  And later than we had hoped.  The kids got out, ate and we stretched our legs with a tiny bit of walking. 

The littles found the oldest, rustiest toy to play on.  Hidden under another playset, it was probably the coolest (temperature) place to play at the time.

Look how happy Marcus is!  There is a river behind us.  Whatever runs through Mumfordsville, KY.  It was so hot, I would have loved a way to get down there and wade in the water to play.  

Back in the car, another executive decision was made to get a hotel room in Montgomery, Alabama.  Garmin was telling us that we would not get to the campgrounds until, like 11pm, and Andy vetoed setting up tents in the dark.

The first rest stop in Alabama.  It's near Huntsville (incidentally, the first place I had thought about visiting for vacation before I set my eyes farther south to the Gulf).

The rest stop was a fun, little break.  A spot to eat a picnic dinner and get some cool photo ops.

Ewan and Liam were super-stoked about the rocket the rest area has on site.  Pretty cool for anyone, especially boys who like science and space.

Can you tell how much Ewan liked the rocket?

Onward to the hotel, which we got a killer deal for on Priceline.  We got a little suite that had room for all of us.  And, the boys got to watch the NBA game, which was a nice little perk.

I think the kids did a really good job travelling in the car that day.  Expectations can't be too high when you are driving for a good 10 hours.  We kept them fed and they had things to play with and watch.  No lies, there was definitely arguing about some of the electronic devices.  And, that got annoying.  But, overall, a good first day for the trip.

Even Kinley was happy to reach the hotel room.

The next morning, we were back on the road to the Gulf!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Off to Boy Scout camp

One of the things the boys look forward to each summer is scout camp.  This year was Cale's first year at Boy Scout camp, Marcus's third.  It's just a great time for the boys.  They get to camp and learn and do boy stuff. 

Got a pic of the brothers, ready to go.

And, a pic of the group. I may have forced them to pose for this photo.  But, I wasn't the only mama there taking pictures.

I got to go up to the campgrounds halfway through the week for parents' night.  I think the boys were happy to see me.  I enjoyed seeing them and taking some pictures.

Cale, by his tent.

Marcus, walking in from points unknown.

These three were in charge of cooking hamburgers.

Cale, showing off his rocket stove.  A stove made out of a log.  Cale likes to tinker and his project help the campsite earn some kind of daily award.

Hungry scouts.

Chopping wood.

The campsite sign.

Cale and a walking stick.