Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hilarious Lip-Synch Dance Party

Enjoy! This makes me laugh out loud every time.

Beach Weekend Getaway

Sorry ~ I've been slacking in getting things posted... but this summer has been BUSY.

Amanda's 16th birthday was last week. Monday night (the day after getting home from our camping trip) she had a bunch of friends here for games and snacks - it was supposed to be at the park, but it rained, so our house was backup.

Then on Thursday, Amanda, four of her friends, Jason, and I hopped in the car and headed for the coast, where some friends generously allowed us to stay in their vacation house in Beaufort, NC for a long weekend. Mark, Sarah, Eric, and his girlfriend followed on Friday, so we had 11 people in the cutest little house imaginable, with its own dock on the Intracoastal Waterway. Atlantic Beach was only about 20 minutes away, so we spent 2 afternoons at the beach...

and the rest of the time we were playing games, cooking & eating, watching movies, dancing, and lounging on the dock watching the boats go by! We are campers, and we've never stayed at a cottage before... it was so cool to have a full kitchen and TV and comfy beds and air conditioning and a yard to play in.... we were totally spoiled.

Gorgeous girls - inside and out!

The first night I fried up homemade tortilla chips and we had nachos... chips with taco meat, shredded colby jack cheese, sour cream, homemade guacomole, salsa, and lettuce. yum YUM! Chips from a bag just don't hold a candle to homemade ones!

My friend Donna sent along a huge container of homemade meat sauce and the fixin's for baked ziti... that was night #2, with spinach salad and Italian bread.

And the third night was hot dogs, corn on the cob, deli coleslaw & potato salad, and watermelon.

Except for Amanda's hacking cough, it was an awesome weekend. Poor Amanda had a terrible cough that kept her up at night, and we have since visited the doctor and gotten an antibiotic to treat a mycoplasma infection (walking pneumonia). :-(

Best Friends Forever

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Day at Monticello

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Last Wednesday we spent the day at Monticello, home of the author of these famous words. Thomas Jefferson designed and built his home on the top of a mountain ~ Monticello is Italian for "little mountain". A shuttle bus carried us from the Visitors Center up to the house, where we enjoyed a House Tour highlighting the many fascinating and historic features of the home and furnishings, and a Plantation Community tour, focused on the grounds and the African American slaves that lived on the plantation. It is a beautiful site and all of us found the visit very educational and worthwhile!

Thomas Jefferson was 6'3" tall

Building on top of a mountain was unusual in that day - there was the major inconvenience of having to haul water uphill every day, as well as all other supplies and visitors! But T.J. loved the views and thought that the air was healthier up high. This was his "ocean view" ~ the Atlantic Ocean is actually 80 miles distant, but there is nothing higher than Monticello between here and there!

Mulberry Row - this 1000 ft. lane was lined with workshops like the Nailery, Weaving shop, Joinery, and Smokehouse, as well as slave cabins, and the stable.

Our guide, Marcia, was a wonderful storyteller.

Jefferson's grave

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Week of Camping

We just returned from a week of camping at Natural Bridge, VA. This was a very pretty area in the VA mountains, near Lexington and Buena Vista, about 25 miles from Lynchburg.

We pulled into the KOA on Sunday afternoon, set up our pop-up trailer, and spent the next 5 days lounging around, playing games, reading, going swimming, eating S'mores, and shooing away the squirrels who wanted to share our camp food. Eric didn't come with us this time, staying home to work. But Sarah's friend Amy came with us, so the girls had the advantage this week.

One popular addition to our campsite this year was "the hammock"! Apparently this is the big thing out on the college campus in Boone, so we brought Eric's, and Amy (another ASU student) brought hers too.

Playing games is part of our camping tradition, so the week was full of ping pong & pool ( at the campground game room ),Yahtzee, Uno, Scattergories, Catch Phrase, frisbee and wiffle ball.

Free WiFi at the campground kept us connected... maybe too much...

The weather was perfect for camping- 70's during the day, 50's at night. It was raining when we arrived on Sunday, but clear the rest of the week. The campground was pretty quiet during the week, but starting filling up toward the weekend. It was a well-run campground - friendly staff, clean, well-maintained, with a nice variety of activities - ping pong, pool tables, a few arcade games, swimming pool, giant checkers, basketball court, grassy field, playground, pavillion where they showed movies on the weekend. If you are looking for a campground in the Lexington,VA area, I would recommend the Natural Bridge KOA.

Interestingly, we never did go to see the Natural Bridge... the scenic and historic landmark for which the town / campground is named. We intended to, but when we drove there and found that the admission price was fairly steep ( $18 for adults, $10 for kids - and five of us were adults ) and included things like admission to the Haunted Monster Mansion, Dino Kingdom, Wax Museum & Wax Factory, and Monocan Indian Village..... well, it seemed like more of a "tourist trap" than a natural wonder. So we opted to spend our limited vacation bucks elsewhere, and drove an hour to Charlottesville to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's plantation. This cost a little bit more ( $20 for adults, $8 for kids ) but I thought it was well worth it! ( I'll put pictures in a separate post )

Our short drive over to the Natural Bridge parking lot wasn't without benefit, as we got to see this treat along the way ->

We went on a few scenic drives, and a walk along the Maury River in Buena Vista - which wasn't as magnificent as the brochure description made it sound.

It was a fun, relaxing week of family bonding and memory making.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Congratulations River Cats!

Jason's 9-10 yr old rec league baseball team, the River Cats, capped off an undefeated season with the tournament championship tonight, defeating a tough team by a score of 16-6! Jason played GREAT, hitting a triple and two doubles and playing solid defense in center field and at first base.

after the game, waiting for the trophy presentation

Jason receiving his trophies from Coach Vinnie

The River Cats with their 2 trophies - one for being season champs, and one for being tournament champs!

Hanging with pals at Dairy Queen, where Coach treated the boys to ice cream

Now he gets a few weeks rest before fall baseball begins! ;-)