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We drove down to middle GA this past weekend, and camped two nights at Roosevelt State Park, and met up with friends, and visited the Little White House in Warm Springs.  We took the rural route, driving down and back, and ate dinner in a very strange little local place in Monticello GA, and saw a bunch of tornado damage near Bainbridge.

The park is nice, but you can't swim in the lake, and it was hot.  We did two hikes - one .8 mile loop hike around the campground, and the next day a 1.5 mile hike to a CCC stone-built swimming pool that is shaped like a bell (and was closed this year due to budget issues).  There was whining on both hikes, but less on the second.  I brought our Field Guide to the Southeast and we looked up various birds and bugs we found.  we saw a bluebird, and nesting swallows, I think rough swallows, by the lake.  There were cicada wings all over the place and the kids collected them.

We stuck our heads into Warm Springs, but there's not much there.  We didn't go to Callaway Gardens, which is just adjacent, but they do have swimming there.  Mostly just camping, simple stuff.  For the first time Dillo did not basically sleep in my sleeping bag/on my head.

Now I need to get my head around a week in Dublin, Ireland, starting Saturday, where is it 59 degrees and raining (it's 95 and starting to be a drought, here.)
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For starters, this time we actually camped, so we started out ahead. We camped at Doll Mountain Campground on Lake Carter (which is a fake dam-lake), which is run by the Army Corps of Engineers and has a shiny new road thanks to stimulus dollars. It was fine; a bit of a hike to the bathroom, and we had a Valdosta State geology class field trip next to us. While they were relatively quiet and respectful, they also got in after 9:30pm both nights we were there.

We had traffic and slowness and got there late ourselves, at maybe 9pm on Friday, and had to put up the tent in the dark. The kids fell asleep right away thankfully, but then Dillo had an hour-long crying fit from 3-4am sparked by, I kid you not, the fact that his nose was stuffy. mr. flea took him to sit in the car during the phase when I was nearly homicidal (I'd been up since 5:15 with him the previous AM.)

We cowboyed up and headed out to New Echota, the Cherokee capital founded in, uh, I think 1819. Most of the buildings on the site are reconstructions or were moved from elsewhere, but it was a pretty good site I thought, and the kids liked it. We ran down to Calhoun on I-75 and had lunch (and COFFEE) and an IHOP, and then went back up to the Chief Vann House, built in 1806 by one of the richest Cherokee, who worked a plantation with 10 slaves (let it not be said that history is simple, folks). I didn't actually go in the house, thanks to Dillo, who dozed a bit in the car, but mr. flea and Casper liked it (Casper told me all about how Joseph Vann drank too much whiskey.)

We picked up some hot dogs and buns at a quickie mart, and I had a nap in the tent while mr. flea took the kids to see the dam. To bed early, but then Dillo was up twice and then spent the rest of the night trying to climb on my head. Picked up some apples in Ellijay rather than pick our own, then home in time for lunch. Which I realize now we forgot to eat, oops.

So, 4 year old continues to be difficult, fall is nice, Casper is big enough to really understand stuff (not just whiskey.)
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Sunday night Casper cricked her neck and was in terrible pain and up several times in the night. I thought small children were supposed to be like unto elastic bands, but perhaps she is getting decrepit at her advanced age of 7. She stayed home Monday with mr. flea "working from home" (=watching Harry Potter IV.)

Tuesday night had some issues (Dillo woke up needing to pee - why do my children not wake up and take themselves to urinate in the night? Instead they cry loudly half awake and the parents must rescue them and deposit them on the potty. Both of them do this. Is it me?? Anyway Dillo made so much noise it woke Casper and she freaked out about her neck and spent the night in my bed, again.) Then when we went to take Dillo we found he'd had a nosebleed in his sleep. Sheets and mattress pad into the wash. Casper got off to school okay; Dillo too (and reported that the big blood-booger in his nose, named "Bloody," natch, came out at school.) mr. flea got a last-minute invite to a social event for work, and went, so I dealt with dinner and bathtime solo.

This morning Dillo had a nosebleed at 4:30. Sheets and mattress pad into the wash, again. I had randomly missed 3 hours of work in the last week (2 hours after Dillo refused to go back to school after his dentist appointment last week, and one hour dealing with Casper Monday morning) so I came in at 10 and will be here until 10pm. Joy.

Thursday we need to grocery shop and prep for the weekend and it's trash night and a bath night and we have the farmer's market pickup and... that's all, I think.

Friday is Bike to School Day, and a parent coffee until 8:30, after which I must dash to a meeting at work at 9, so maybe we will drive and not bike to school. At the parent coffee I hope to corral some parents into making Girl scouts happen. I emailed the PTO list asking for volunteers at 11:30 am today and have had no response yet. Very worried. Oh and it's FACT (Families and Children Together) day for 2nd grade, but I really cannot make it to school to spend time in Casper's class on Friday (see above: parent coffee and 9am meeting); must remember to ask mr. flea if he can.

Friday night we've been invited to cocktails with the Classics faculty (5:30-7) and a baby shower for mr. flea's coworker (7pm) and have not yet secured a babysitter. We are deeply incompetent about babysitters.

Saturday at 10am is the birthday party, so some cakes need to be baked and frosted at some point, and all the other assorted things associated with a birthday party (like PLATES and DRINKS and maybe FAVORS remember my birthday party paralysis, people?)

Then we're going camping. Which needs its own separate planning and organizing (but I really really needs to get out and it will be good to do). And then back Monday in time to catch Casper's makeup dance class at 5:30 and grocery shop for the week.

Have I mentioned I dismantled the dining room table to refinish it on Sunday? We've mostly eaten in the living room or on stools in the kitchen. The polycrylic is rather harder to get off than I'd anticipated, but I have only one coat of tung oil left on the table base and I am hoping to set it up with the spare leaves so we'll have some flat surface to work with by next week.

I hope next week is much less eventful.

Savannah

Mar. 16th, 2009 01:12 pm
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This morning several coworkers asked if we got rained on in Savannah - I gather it rained steadily all weekend here. We had very misty-moisty mornings, but no actual rain. We stayed at Skidaway Island State Park, about 10 miles south of the city, a pretty low-key park. Most of the other campers were in RVs, which I simply cannot understand. From my perspective, there are two reasons to camp: 1) cheapness (we paid $23 a night) and 2) enjoyment of nature. Camping in an RV you don't really get much nature, and RVs must be pretty expensive, right? These seemed like mostly youngish people, too, not retired people living full-time in an RV.

Friday night we ate at a not very good restaurant at "The Village" and observed the denizens of the local gated communities (we noticed on the Hwy 16 part of the drive large numbers of fancy cars - more BMWs than I've seen since I left CT!). We also learned about Spanish moss and palm trees, and played on the "fish playground" (with a fish-themed staircase and a plaque invoking Jonah) at a local church.

Saturday we visited the state historic site of Wormsloe and learned about the English colonization of Georgia and what "tabby" is (Roman-style cement, except for with oyster shells.) We saw two white herons (or one twice) and Casper collected a lot of natural materials. We went into the city and spent way too much time wandering aimlessly among people in green t-shirts and mardi gras beads with open containers of beer. We also had lunch, good ice cream at Leopold's, and played in Forsyth Park (green dye on the fountain!). We headed back to the campground and cooked hot dogs, played again at the fish playground, and watched My Neighbor Totoro on the laptop at bedtime.

Sunday we went to Tybee Island very early and spent a couple of hours playing on the beach and visiting the pier. We saw a fisherman catch a blowfish. The kids loved the beach and Casper wanted to go swimming (although it was overcast and there were huge waves and she can't swim). As we were leaving the sun came out, of course. We went back to Savannah for lunch and then took a carriage ride of the city, which I initially balked at because of the cost, but then was glad we did. The kids really liked it, although Dillo was scared at first. And one of the advantages of paying $23 a night to sleep is you can spend $50 on carriage rides occasionally.

I liked Savannah a lot, though it was a bit touristy and in future I'd avoid the weekend nearest St. Patrick's day. They are definitely ahead of us in terms of spring - lots of azaleas in bloom. It was already rather buggy at the campground, though, and I imagine in summer is a morass of mosquitoes. Hmm, maybe an RV.... (I kid, I kid!)

le weekend

Oct. 13th, 2008 12:21 pm
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We camped! Left (later than I wanted) about 10:45 on Saturday, and drove to Western NC via I-85 to Spartanburg and the cut off towards Hendersonville. We picked apples - a peck each of Stayman's Winesaps and Cortlands - at Sky Top Orchards in Flat Rock NC, on a sunny, cool, breezy hilltop afternoon. It made me very happy. We rolled in to our chosen campground, outside Asheville in the Pisgah National Forest at about 4:15, pitched the tent, and went around to the small lake and beach, where the kids cavorted in the water and got rather wet (I hadn't packed for swimming; the kids were supposed to be wading, but you know how that goes with enthusiastic children.) We had hot dogs and green beans for dinner, and I got smores but due to domestic issues to be described later, others did not.

The kids went down okay. Casper was having issues, and was more uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping in a tent than she wanted to admit. She was also tired, though, and after we read some books by the light of the lantern, fell asleep. Dillo was less wary but also more energetic, and woke me up a lot on the night by flailing around, wanting water, etc. I also pulled the short straw in terms of sleeping places, and was lying on only a folded wool blanket (on top of tent, on top of tarp, on top of gravel surface tent pitch.) Note for next trip: get a bigger tarp that fits our new-to-us tent, get kid sleeping bags (Christmas grandparents?), get geriatric adult sleeping mats for the geriatric adults among us.

Sunday we drove south along the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit, the kids very excited at the views and the tunnels. We stopped for lunch in Brevard NC and then took a scenic route though the woods and hills and land of tourist resorts and golf courses of far far Western NC, ending in the remarkably chi-chi town of Hillside (I think?). More designer stores per square foot of town per distance from a major metropolitan area than anywhere I've been in a long time! Then we trailed down out of the mountains onto GA 441, which took us all the way home. The kids slept for a couple of hours and Dillo, for one, did not want to be home - he wanted to keep camping.

So, next boring desk shift, I'll be looking into state parks near Savannah or Charleston; if mr. flea doesn't go to Belgium for Thanksgiving after all (due to budget issues, it is up in the air) we could go camping!

The only bad parts were Dillo's tendency to flee in all directions - he had to be chased down a couple of times, and is clearly feeling his oats - and Casper's pooping problems. She pooped in her pants Thursday at school, Friday night at the neighbor's, three times on Saturday, and at home Sunday night. (And actually pooped in the potty at least twice in between.) We've resorted to pull-ups for a little bit; whether it's something biological or something emotional, at least mr. flea will be spared washing out poopy panties.
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I am thinking about vacations. mr. flea is in charge of Easter in Cleveland, but Casper has a full week plus off for spring break a week later. The YMCA has a fill-in day camp for $25 a day, but I am thinking of a vacation instead.

So, Charleston SC and Savannah GA are 4.5 and 5.5 hour drives, respectively. We've never been to either. Weather in the first week of April is likely to be highs in the 70s, lows overnight around 50.

Has anyone been to either? With kids? Is there enough to do? I am cool with beaching it on a 70 degree day (and knowing the south we might get lucky and hit 90), and I know Charleston has an aquarium. Historic houses with gardens to run around in (we can bring ball-ball - and the bikes!) would probably be good too, right?

Am I insane to consider camping? In a tent? If we've never camped with kids before? We'd have to buy a (big enough) tent, but the savings in hotel costs would pay for the tent (and then we'd have a tent). There are state park campgrounds in both places, at the beach, for $25-30 a night. I think if we are tent camping we can probably get a spot, although the RVs may be filled up.

Anybody want to go camping with us? (Hint: Mightyurchin family, this means you. We need someone who can survive on ketchup and wild onion soup.)

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