26 May, 2015

The Cemetery - Memorial Day

Yesterday we celebrated the heroes.
Each year we go to the cemetery and bring flags to Big Gramps' (Great Grandpa) grave as well as flowers to Big Big Gramps and Big Mama (Great-Greats).

Big Gramps was in World War II and a POW in the Korean War earning the Purple Heart. 

Plus, it is a time of reflection for my grandfather who was in the military and gratitude for the service that my father gave. 

But we also bring flags to mark as many graves of our veterans that we can.

We never have enough.

Our children asked if we could bring 400 flags next year ... yes, of course we said.

Sadly, that too won't be enough. 

14 May, 2015

Parenting Fail

I made Chayton go to school Monday and Tuesday even though he complained of a headache and stomach ache. 

Let him stay home on Wednesday. 

Doctor visit on Thursday who confirmed he had a temp, the runs and a stomach virus. 

The fail? If, on Monday, he felt like I do today ... I should have let him stay home. 

This must be the revenge for not believing him.  

09 May, 2015

Cumberland Island!

I was so excited to introduce our kids to Cumberland Island during our spring break this year.

What I couldn't believe is that it's been 15 years since Courtney or I had been there.

Thursday morning we lined up to listen to the orientation than catch the ferry.

I'm happy to report that there are no stories to tell about this boat ride. Except for ones that tell of enjoying the breeze, the small waves and the sun. Yea! Of course we automatically take Dramamine now ...

Once we docked at Seacamp, I was able to snag a cart (being that I was the first person off the boat). Another win! Those carts go fast.

Courtney and the kids shleped all the stuff off the boat and onto the cart. Then another orientation and we were off walking to our site. 
As soon as our tent was up it was beach time!
There wasn't that many large shells and sand dollars that we could pick up. But we did find a few that were still alive and threw them back into the ocean. 

My starfish saver!

After our fun in the sun, we took off for Dungeness and the horses. 
We learned some interesting facts about the horses. As romantic as the idea of the horses of Cumberland are - they aren't native animals.

They are horses set free from the Carnegie's stables when they left the properties. So, they aren't necessarily prepared to live outside.

Which means their immune system hasn't evolved to handle the diseases in the wild. Add that to inbreeding and the fact that they destroy the habitat by eating it or stomping on it (like sand dunes, small marsh animals and sea oats), then add in that the National Park Rangers are forbidden to to touch them.

The educated knowledge about the horses just isn't so nicely cut and dried. But I have to admit, it is still a thrill to see them.
On the walk back to camp for lunch, Chayton had me stop and look up at the sky. "Beautiful," he said. 

Then more beach!

At dinner we had dessert like the astronauts - freeze dried ice cream. 
After dessert Chayton got a lesson in knife safety and whittling.

I think he could have stayed whittling all night - but we had more beach to do! But first a stop at these amazing trees by the boardwalk. 
And more beach!

Time for some reading before turning in. 

On Friday we went on the Lands and Legacies tour for the whole day. Six hours driving around the island learning all sorts of interesting facts and trivia. Our tour guy, Robin, was the best!

Our first stop was the Baptist Church. 

Saw some baby alligators. There are two in this photo. 

Next stop, Plum Orchard. (Photobomb by awesome tour guide!)

Robin told us where to find shark teeth - so after dropping us off at Dungeness, we hiked down to the marshes. 

We didn't find any shark teeth. :( Courtney and Chayton went off on a side trip to answer questions for Chayton's Jr Ranger packet. The girls and I took the long road home ...

And saw a tree frog!

Courtney and Chayton came back home singing camp songs the whole way. 

Dessert treat - s'mores! Nice picture. 

Wait for it ... Oh, no! Fire!

Still yummy to eat. 

Saturday morning we packed up our campsite after breakfast. We had to walk all of our stuff back to the ranger station for our 10am site check-out. But we didn't have to get on the ferry until 2:45pm. 

Obligatory pictures by the Cumberland Island sign. 

Then we headed back to the beach for one more loooong walk. We hiked from the Seacamp entrance all the way to the Dungeness entrance. Then hiked through the dunes up towards Dungeness (it is the longest walk. Ever. Always thought so - and it still is).

This horse just ambled right past us on our way to the old laundry house. 

This is the best place for tree climbing!

Then finally we made it to Dungeness. Last photo before the rain hit. 

We timed it just right. It started raining a little on our walk from Dungeness to the Ice House. But stopped while we hiked from the Ice House back to the Ranger Station. The sky didn't open up until we were all cozy in the ranger's office. 

While we were taking cover from the rain, Chayton was sworn in as a Jr. Ranger. (It's sad, but the girls are finally to old to complete the Jr. Ranger program. )

I was so happy when the boat captain let all the campers load up their stuff first - since it was still raining really hard. What that really meant - we got first dibs on the seats inside. Yea! We stayed dry. 

And then we were slipping through the water to head back home.