If you know me and my family, you know that we are a pretty close knit group of people. I may live at least a couple of hours (or more) from them, but we try to get together as much as possible. So, when we discovered that an entire year was going to go by before we had the whole family together, we knew that just wouldn't work. Thus, a trip to Kentucky (half way between us and my brother and his wife) was planned. Jeremy's parents came along with us too, because we love camping with them and they are the expert campers. As it turns out, we may not have survived without them.
The trip down to Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky was fairly uneventful. One of the random stops we made was at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. I'd like to say that this was intentional, but we missed an exit for gas and randomly stopped here. Because the boys needed to get out and stretch their legs, we explored outside a little.
Jayce was thrilled to be up close and personal with an airplane. He was surprised to see how big it was.
As you can see, there was a tribute to the space shuttle Challenger. There were two capsules that were available to check out.
These are the flags flying at the tribute. As you can see, we had some beautiful weather.
Jayce was able to climb up into one of the space capsules to pretend to be an astronaut. Every good astronaut waves to his Mommy...
Jayce and Papa took some time to run around and get their wiggles out. Well, Jayce got his wiggles out, Papa just got exhausted trying to keep up with Jayce. Only kidding, Papa. Only kidding.
We finally got to the park in Kentucky (after a short detour - bad directions!). We were so happy to see Uncle Kevin and Aunti Rachel! They were such troopers. They had just made an 8 or 9 hour trip and were more than willing to play with the boys while we were getting everyone set up. Uncle Kevin was impressing Jayce with his soccer skills.
I don't get to include pictures of myself very often, so if you see a few random shots of myself, especially ones with the kids, forgive me. Or don't. It's my blog. I can put whatever pictures I want on here. :)
Grandma, Jayce, and Grayson doing what they like to do best: reading "Goldbug".
We played lots of games while camping. This is Grayson's version of soccer - chewing on the ball.
However, the adults got into a very lively game of bocce ball.
We also played a lot of "Hillbilly Horseshoes" or "Ladder Golf" or whatever you might call it. I must admit, I have discovered that I really enjoy this game - and I'm not too bad at it either. I actually beat my brother a couple of times - something I haven't done at a "sport" in a very long time.
Uncle Kevin was excited to play with the boys.
Aunti Rachel was happy to spend time with them too. She even showed Jayce how to make coffee. No, he didn't get to taste any - boy would that have been a long night!
We had a good time hanging out around the campfire with everyone.
Well, I suppose we had a good time watching Rachel tend to the fire. It was their night to make dinner and since Kevin was holding Grayson (see above), Rachel built up a great fire. Way to go, Rach!
Doesn't he look like a little peacock?
Big hugs for a little brother. I can't tell you if Grayson liked it or not, but I'd guess no.
Kevin and Ron had some really great conversations around the campfire. Do you see those sticks in the fire? Those were our apple pies that Kev and Rachel made for dessert the night they cooked. Mmm...
Early morning snuggles with Aunti Rachel.
Papa took Jayce over to a playground next to our campsites for a swing.
Here's a picture of what our set up looked like. We had three sites, but with 1 trailer, 4 tents, and 1 screen room. We needed all the space we had!
The park we stayed at also had some interesting attractions. There were bison that were fed every morning at 8am. Unfortunately, I was up most mornings at 8am, so we went over to check them out. Aww, look at the cute little baby bison. You should see what this thing does to it's mother when it's unhappy with it's milk supply - head butting is involved. That's all I'll say out of respect to you breastfeeding mothers out there (and because it makes me hurt just to think about it)...
Jayce had a special view of the bison.
Grayson and the bison.
There was a small museum at the park too which detailed the history of the area, specifically how it was discovered to be a place that fossils were discovered. By this shot, you'd think Jayce is checking out a neat display of animals, maybe about how they co-existed....
NOPE! It was a display that showed how animals would wander too far into a bog area and get stuck and die. Do you see the "bones" in the upper left of the photo? And the bird in the bottom left? That would be a vulture, feasting on decaying bison. Cute, huh?
Apparently the bison and museum were too much for Grayson and Uncle Kevin. They enjoyed a little nap after we got back to our campsites while we were getting breakfast together.
Do you see these two? This is what they do at the pool... sad, huh? Ok, I'm mostly kidding. They would read and get warm enough to get into the unheated pool. Those of us from Michigan didn't need to get hot... we already were. Those silly Virgina people...
We Michiganders enjoyed the pool.
Mom managed to put Grayson to sleep while holding him in the pool. He's covered with that t-shirt because we didn't want his young skin to burn (yes, he did have sunscreen on, but still...)
While Grayson napped in the pool, the rest of us took advantage of his vacant floatie. Here's Grandma enjoying her turn (Aunti Rachel and I both took turns too. It was fun!!).
She must have the magic touch - Jayce passed out on her lap right after getting out of the pool.
Ahh, the last night. We had thoughts of a campfire with roasted marshmallows and s'mores. Last minute conversations or family games. Enjoying each other's company. God had other things in mind....
As I was getting the kids ready for bed, we began to notice the wind starting to pick up and the dark clouds beginning to gather overhead. After I put Jayce to bed in our "sleeping tent" (yes, we had two tents in an effort to have a safe place for the kids to play), I nursed Grayson in our screen room/tent. As I sat there, I began to feel quite uneasy with how much the tent was blowing around. The wind was whipping through, making the whole thing blow to a 45 degree angle. And that was with the added weight in it. I was especially nervous about Jayce being alone in our other tent. As I finished feeding Grayson, I stepped out and noticed that our campfire was literally blowing away. Clearly, we were going to be having some wicked weather.
The decision to take cover was made quickly as it began to rain and blow even harder. Thankfully, Ron and Karen were there with their trailer, otherwise we would have been forced to take cover in our cars or the bathrooms. I ran to the trailer with Grayson, and handed him off to Ron. I ran to get Jayce, and the wind continued to grow stronger and stronger. Honestly, I wondered if we were going to have to deal with tornadoes or something (in hind sight, I realize that we were at the top of a mountain - of course we really felt the wind!). Jayce, in his usual stubborn (he dislikes change) way, did not want to get out of bed. After some heavy lifting, I got Jayce into the trailer also. We did some quick clean up of our campsite (so things didn't blow away), and everyone else headed into the trailer also. Kevin and Rachel were concerned about their tent being secure in the high winds and rain, but Rachel was able to be our comic relief even in her concern: Know the movie Cars? "I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park!" Thanks Rachel for the laugh!
Jayce and Grandpa had a little sleepover on the bed in the trailer.
All in all, we managed to survive the storm with a minimal amount of damage. Unfortunately, Kevin's phone didn't make it, but I think that was the only casualty we experienced.
Do you see the unhappy look on my face? This is the look of a person that had to pack up most of her camping stuff in a rain storm. Fun times.
Rain and high winds, we still had a great time with Uncle Kevin and Aunti Rachel (and the rest of our family)! Of course, our time together was much too short, which means we are already looking forward to Christmas, the next time the whole family will be together.
My only regret? I suppose it was the excitement of seeing Rachel and Kevin after so long, but I didn't get too many pictures of the grandparents that were along on our trip. I suppose I'll need to work on that for next year!
For those of you that made it all the way to the end of this post, I commend you. Thanks for hanging in there.