Friday, June 24, 2016

ERT16 Home Again

For the first couple of days, it was pretty weird being back home. For 30+ days, it became normal for us to be on the move; so when it was time to be at home, sitting in one place with no where to go... it didn't feel right. We were walking around looking lost and not quite settled in. It's almost like we were all waiting for someone to say, pack it up, it's time to move! In which case, the kids would've probably been in the van in the blink of an eye. Kinda funny.

As for settling in, I guess the main priority was rest and recovery; and we did lot's of it. In fact, we rode around town with our luggage still on the roof of our car for two days. LOL. On the 3rd day (today) we finally mustered up enough motivation to unpack and get some laundry done. And I think that's when it started to feel like home again. Oh! And today is Justin's 9th birthday! Wow! I can't believe it. Tomorrow our extended family will be here to help us celebrate. Which gives us 18 hours and 21 more minutes to bask in the afterglow of our trip.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

ERT16 Day 32

We ended up not staying overnight in Savannah. Our host came down with a stomach bug over the weekend, so we settled for a drive-by, as to night impose too terribly. We got there around 5pm and stayed until 10. The kids played well together (they have two boys) while Jerome and I enjoyed catching up with friends that we don't get to see very often. Eventually we hit the road and were home by 1am on Tuesday, June 21. Our monthlong adventure has finally come to an end. Thank God for the opportunity. Hopefully, we'll be able to do this again soon!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2016

ERT16 Day 31

Our Tallahassee stop was brief, as the main goal was just to break up the trip to Savannah. We're going to spend the night with one of my BFF's and her family before we head home tomorrow. Bitter Sweet! I can't believe this amazing trip is coming to an end. When we asked them, the kids were on the fence about whether they were ready to go home or continue for a few more weeks on our adventure... and we couldn't agree more! It's been such an awesome trip and we really could keep going. The kids have been wonderful - no, not perfect, of course... but considering they've been away from home and out of routine for so long, they have done extremely well. Praise the Lord!

The weather has been great, the natural and man-made places we've been able to explore have been so amazing and fun. We've stayed in very nice hotels and campgrounds and have eaten at a good handful of delicious restaurants. Jasmine only had one bad reaction to food (she got a rash from a GF bread that happened to also have soy in it). That's a miracle all by itself.

It's hard to ask for more. And so we head home a bit reluctantly, but also knowing that we probably shouldn't push our luck. We've had an awesome time on this brilliant adventure.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

ERT16 Day 30

Lucky for us, it cooled down overnight and we were able to pack up our camp in cool, breezy weather. We were done by 8:45, and so we headed to the pier for one last stroll (which somehow turned into an 90 minute outing), and then hit the road towards Florida. We got to Tallahassee and check in to our hotel around 4pm. While daddy napped, Naomi and I went to pick up two of daddy's favorites (chicken wings and jelly beans... not necessarily together) to commemorate Father's Day, and then we all settled into the hotel lobby to watch game 7 of the NBA finals on the big screen. Great game. Cavs won. And we inched closer to home.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

ERT16 Day 29

Pool Day!

Except for an hour lunch break, we stayed in the pool from 9am to 5pm! Daddy & the kids spent the first 90 minutes without me while I did laundry, then we broke for lunch and a Wal-mart run to buy pool toys. Daddy went over the top with the toy purchase (everything from rockets to floats to rings to balls and snorkel kits), which was a good move because the kids were getting bored in the pool, but it was like we suddenly hit the reset button after lunch. I got in the water too. We had a blast!

After the pool, we drove 30 minutes to a seafood restaurant in Fort Morgan. It was delicious and fun! Worth the drive, even after being so exhausted from a full day in the pool.  Best lobster bisque ever. Even Jerome, who is not a foodie, loved his food (grilled grouper in some kind of thai sauce with scalloped potatoes).

Another awesome day!

Well... except for those five minutes when we realized we ran over the GoPro with the minivan. But even in that we couldn't complain because the case was shattered... but the camera still worked!!! Incredible.

Friday, June 17, 2016

ERT16 Day 28

Beach Day!

By 10am we were on the beach. It was a beautiful white sand beach with a huge pavilion and (drumroll...) clean bathrooms with hot showers. Jerome put up our big canopy and that was just what we needed to escape the heat and make our time there super enjoyable. The heat index was 106... yikes! Even still, the kids had a ball! They played in the sand and made all sorts of things (whales, castles, cakes, pizzas, wells, etc.). And, of course, they buried themselves a time or two. Justin spent most of his time playing in the water... and unfortunately paid for it. He got stung by a jellyfish... twice! He was brave though. Jerome scrapped the bards out with a credit card, treated it with muddy sand, and sent him on his way. We didn't leave the beach until 5pm.

After the beach, we stayed on the fishing pier for another 2 or 3 hours... partly because it was so interesting to watch the big time fishermen, partly because (at a massive 1500+ ft long) it simply took forever to get from one end to the other, and also because we didn't want to go back to the tent until the sun went down because of the heat. We watched people fish... and fish... and fish some more.  One guy let the kids use his pole to catch some really small fish that the other fisherman used for bait. It didn't have a hook, but had a net with some kind of sticky red stripe on it. It was pretty cool. All 3 kids caught at least one fish. Jasmine and I also watched a whole wedding ceremony on the beach from the pier. We ate icies, played a super simple but addictive game involving a nail, rope, and a hoop, and called it a day. A very full day.

ERT16 Day 27

Yesterday was day 27. After a comfortable hotel stay and a hot breakfast, we continued on to Gulf Shores, Alabama. For this leg, we stopped at the Infinity Science Center in Pearlington, Mississippi.  This is was a NASA funded museum with lots of weather and space / rocket focused exhibits. It was smaller than we anticipated, but still made for a good opportunity to break up the drive. We had lunch in Slidell, LA, and must have either lost track of time somewhere along the way or simply miscalculated this leg of the trip because we ended up doing something that we usually make a point to avoid like the plague: we arrived at our campgrounds in AL at night... which meant pitching the tent and setting up camp in the dark. To add insult to injury, we apparently arrived on the tail end of a heat wave because the heat outside was incredible, which made it doubly uncomfortable in the tent. All of us were stripped down, soaked with sweat, and trying not to move, touch or breath on each other. We also tried to get to sleep as quickly as possible since that was pretty much the only way to beat the heat. It was rough, but we survived.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ERT16 Day 26

Yesterday was a rest and laundry day at Uncle Daryl and Aunt Marilynn's house. Today we packed up the caravan and headed to Louisiana. We broke up the trip by spending time at the Houston Zoo. The zoo was huge and nice; but the heat was intense (index of 100+). Jerome had the idea of buying each kid a disposable camera in order to help them take their minds of off how miserably hot we all were. It helped, and it also made the excursion a bit more novel than our usual zoo trip. As for the zoo itself, the gorilla exhibit was awesome! They were super playful, chasing each other around and putting on a show. It was funny. The dinosaur exhibit was nice too. My surprise favorite, though, was the bull exhibit. The kids also did the carousel 2 or 3 times and got to feed the giraffes. In all, we stayed for about an hour or two; and then it was off to the Drury Inn in Lafayette.