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The Rambling Family

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Georgia

Georgia Agrirama

I can’t believe we haven’t gone here yet!  Bored out of my gourd at home, the kids and I decided to road trip up the freeway an hour to Tifton today.  We went to the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village; better known as the Agrirama.  I underestimated our interest!  We were there for 5 hours!  This is a site well worth visiting in south Georgia.  Which is rare.  If you live near
Moody AFB, you should go.

During the weekdays it’s $7 a grownup.  Both my kids were “4 and under” so FREE!  On Saturday it’s $3 more because you get a train ride that my little train enthusiast would’ve loved.  He found the tracks interesting enough.  We bought our tickets at the Tifton visitor center as directed by a big hand written sign, and then drove around to the large museum at the Agrirama entrance.  Not many cars or visitors on a Wednesday.  One school bus, though.  The museum is full of farm machinery that Avi wanted to climb.  I was rushing them through, to avoid having to pull him off something, until I noticed there is more…and more…and more…. going through small doorways that look a bit “off limits” led us to incredible displays of terpentine making, tobacco drying, and a cool log cabin.  There were also old timey clothes and pottery.  The current temporary exhibit features some really neato detailed dollhouses and porcelain dolls from a local collector.  Zoe spent a half hour here noting every detail and taking her own pictures.  Avi wanted to touch, so he and I went to the bathroom for a diapy change before we all went outside.

The living history farm and town is really the highlight of the visit.  First stop: the old Tift house.  Wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Tift built this place in 1887 and raised their children plus some grandkids and neices/ nephews in the big place; the town Tifton is named after them.  A wonderful older lady dressed in period clothes guides you through – she had the wherewithall to abbreviate her script and point out funny kid stuff for me and the kids.  Zoe thought the dining room with the under-the-table-to-check-my-skirts mirror was cool, while Avi had fun crawling under the beds to see how that rope held it all up.

In the tiny town portion there is a small Doctors office building with an accompanying medicinal garden that Zoe just poured over.  She wanted to know every plant and it’s purpose; a future herbalist mayhaps?  after the paleontology gig, of course.  She also thought all the crazy old doctor instruments, tables, and dental equipment was incredible.  It made me cringe.  Avi was obsessed with the hanging life sized skeleton, and kept shaking it’s hand.  Funny.  Zoe wondered who it had been when it was alive and the old-timey doctor employee had a hard time understanding and then explaining that it was just a plastic model. 

Our next stop was the old Masonic Lodge which I had difficulty explaining the purpose of….kind of looked like a church inside, but with three pulpits.  Odd, moving on.  We skipped the Drug Store and ate our packed lunch in the shade beside the train depot.  This morning I simply threw a bunch of food from the frig in a cooler bag:  we had half a bag of baby carrots, a leftover container of peas, some pancakes in a baggy, an apple each, and a handful of pepperoni’s, oh, and a slice of 3 day old pizza.  It was delicious.  Avi devoured his fill and ran off to run around on the train tracks.  He was so excited about this opportunity that Zoe and I just finished our lunch at an easy pace.  The train doesn’t run here during the week, but we can here the local freight trains whistle in the distance which makes him yell, “Choo train.  TRAAAACKKSS”.  He doesn’t realize if the train was really coming he should not be ON the actual tracks.   It’s hysterical, but it was tough to get him to move on.  In fact he simply ran away from me to the next best thing:  a puffed out turkey gobbling and spitting at him from behind a fence.  After Avi tormented that thing enough we wandered back into ‘town’ to visit the forge which was neat, but hot and full of fire and flying sparks…not for my youngest kid who doesn’t seem to get that fire burns you.  Our next stop in town was the printing press.  Zoe found this interesting and the printer made an alphabet printing for her on the crazy huge old timey press.  We also learned why we say Uppercase and Lowercase.  Look it up!

A quick jaunt to look at the other buildings at the edge of town in the industrial area…a timber mill, a terpentine site, an old washhouse, and we looped into the cool woods to see the Grist Mill.  Now this was a highlight, except for the stairs.  I had Avi get out of the stroller so I could roll/lop it up the steps; I’m not to be lifting anything over ten pounds since surgery.  That was on the verge.  Anywho, we approached from the bottom where we could see the giant wheel and the water flow, but it wasn’t moving.  Bummer…UNTIL….you get up and into the mill where a cooky old southern farmer has you help him turn it on.  Avi and Zoe helped this man turn a giant wheel and then we could hear the water rushing.  We ran over to the opening in the floor and the wheel was spinning!  Turning around we could then see the mill grinding.  Out of it is plopping white powder.  After a bit, the miller has the kids help him shut it off and we find out they’ve just made their own corn meal.  He shows us how it is packaged up into tight little brown bundles….and thanks the kids because now he can sell it.  OF COURSE I buy it!!  $3.  We are making corn bread tomorrow.

This is the point where my phone starts ringing out of control.  It’s ADT and then my Dad telling me ADT called and the alarm at the house is going off.  Awesome.  It’s the motion sensor in my bedroom, but nothing else.  The cops are enroute.  um.  pit of stomach feeling ….  I know what it is.  The AC must’ve come on is moving Zoe’s balloons around.  She lovingly put one at everybodies bedside last night.  ADT guy says no matter, the cops will do a walkaround anyway.  ADT guy turns off the motion sensors remotely and we are good.  During this fiasco the kids have run themselves and the stroller down the hill, fallen over crying,  righted themselves, and are now attempting it again.  NOOOOOO.   We instead went inside the farm house down from the mill.  Neat.  Old.  Log Cabin.   I’m obsessed with log cabin fireplaces and this one does not dissappoint.  It’s huge with an open hearth and lots of cool iron works.  Love it. 

And we move on.  There are cows and horses in pens and we join the school group briefly while they learn to chop wood.  These kids are all dressed in period garb, too.  Seems the girls have been given some long dresses with aprons to throw over their shorts/shirts and the boys have all been told to tuck their shirts in their pants and have been given suspenders and hats.  It’s funny.  They seem about 7th/8th grade and aren’t too cool for this yet.  After a visit inside another homestead we wander around the pond to the old church where Zoe tell a story for the ‘kids’ (her dog and Avi) before we sing them out.  This is just like at our church.  Avi is not listening of course and is, instead, belly crawling in the sand under the wood burner.  He’s saying, “hot hot hot” and I can’t imagine they have it cooking, so I feel it.  Nope, cold.  Maybe he is learning about fire and woodstoves.  We join the school kids across the yard in the old one room schoolhouse.  They are getting a real lesson!  The two employees are dressed as teachers and have explained the behaviour expectations; one boy may get whipped already for not raising his hand!  Ah, he is granted mercy, and we begin our lessons.  We each have a slate to do some arithmetic and then spelling.  The teachers come around and check Zoe – they are impressed at her age and abilities.  Of course back in time kids started school at 8 or 9.  She soaks it up and loves using the slate just like in Little House on Plum Creek, which we’ve read recently.  In fact, she is even helping Doggy with her slate.   Avi is able to sit still as long as he is erasing what I write on my slate.

When school is out we wander over a bridge to a final small homestead farm that doesn’t have any employees in character.  I let the kids go nuts.  They use the old stick brooms, they jump off the porch, and then Avi finds a huge pecan stick.  It’s a struggle to snag it from him when it’s time to go.  I’m hot.  I’m tired.  I need ice cream.  So, we loop back to ‘town’ and finally visit the Drug Store.  I was forewarned when buying my tix that they had ice cream here….it’s a wonderful treat at the end of the day.  Zoe also chose to use one of her dollars (from graduation cards) to buy a stick of crystal candy which comes from Pennsylvania, of course.  Now we are all hot and ready to go, but Avi doesn’t want to ride in the stroller.  Instead he runs the whole way back to the museum…and promptly falls asleep in the car before we leave the parking lot.  Zoe eats her candy on the way home and talks incessantly about how when she and doggy lived back in time there was a complex (I can’t even remember the details) system of assigning grades that had to do with your age and favorite color. 

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Tough Mudder

Bryan finished the Tough Mudder!!  He ran 12 miles around a course with tons of crazy obstacles.  He had a lot of fun, but it was freezing cold with a wind. 

Our day started with a great breakfast after a good nights sleeping at the Fort Gordon lodging.  We had driven up Friday after work, and arrived around bedtime exhausted from the 5 hour car ride.  The
room was nice, it was about 45 min to the race, and the kids conked out quickly.  After eating we drove to the race sight; it took place at a motocross park.  Driving up to the parking lot we could already see a few obstacles; giant walls to jump over, huge tires, and a few big wet conex containers.  hmmmm..   While I got the kids in order Bryan went to packet pickup, and when we saw him again he was painted up!  Stripes on his cheeks, number on his forehead and legs, and a smile for choosing to wear some long pants and a coat until race time.  It was cold!  The high got to 48 today, so when we were waiting for his start time of 11am it was still colder than that.  There were barrels with fire for warming, thank goodness.  We met up with the rest of his team – 5 other guys from the squadron – and they got ready.  The team ‘uniform’ was a brown work shirt….can you hear the disappointment in my typing?  There were teams there with cool team motivating shirts, teams dressed as cartoon characters, a team of guys in pink tights, and even a team of guys in European swim bottoms (just that!).  So, the brown shirts seemed lame, however, as the race progressed EVERYONES outfit turned the same color as our guys so it then made alot of sense.  Two other crazy wives showed up to cheer them on, so the kids and I had a fun crew to hang out with as we attempted to see the team run this course.

To enter the start line of the race you have to jump over a 6 foot wall.  There was a great motivator at the start line getting all the racers pumped, laying down some safety rules, and then lead them in singing the national anthem.  Then,….they were off!!!! and so were we!! running!!!  The course was actually very spectator friendly – seemed they planned most of the big obstacles along a straight spectator path while the racers ran curvy loops around it.  We did have to hustle, though.  Especially at the beginning – we missed the first mud crawl trying to get our bearings, but figured the map out quickly and were able to see the guys hit up the first ‘Must see’ obstacle.  The Icy Enema it was called; those conexes we saw were filled with icy water, and a barbed wire fenced you must swim (completely submerged) under.  Just before Bryan’s team got to the ‘enema’ they added another crate full of ice!!!  Bryan dove right in and came up on the other side.  freezing. The rest of the team followed suite just as quick and they were off running to the next obstacle – up over the mud, and then onto the fire run.  The kids and I ran to the fire area to see them run through and over the burning bales of hay.  From there it slowed a bit while the racers did a mile or so loop in the woods of trail / river bottom running. 

Avi was asleep this whole time, and snugged on my front with the kid carrier I made in Korea.  Worked like a dream, kept him warm and comfy, and was convenient to run with.  Zoe was such a team player and ran with me and the other gals from place to place without complaint.  Seeing the upcoming obstacles kept up interest and kept her going! I bet we walked or ran almost 3 miles of our own watching Bryan. 

After the team emerged from the woods they went up and over a giant hay bale pyramid, back in the woods, then out again for the ‘mile of mud’.  Not a mile, but definitely mud. Runners were losing shoes left and right.  Bryan did too, and had to tie them down TIGHT to make it the end of the mud where he had to crawl through a corrugated metal tube – then onward! down the hill and around to giant monkey bars over water.  Bryan fell in.  The kids and I missed this since Zoe got horribly caught up in the briar’s covering the field we ran through. Her poor little legs just couldn’t jump over them like us grown ups.  That was fine, and we waited at the next obstacle where they had to crawl through some underground tunnels filled with pit holes.    This was about halfway, and the race continued through the woods to another open area of obstacles.  So, we followed the trail at a quick-walking pace and hoped to cut them off at the ‘spider’ by tromping in the woods.  It didn’t work.  We again got caught up in briar’s, Zoe got shwacked with a branch, we had to leap over a stream, and just missed them.  It was fine.  We saw them across the field getting ready for the Mud pit and huge mud mountain.

Thank goodness alot of these obstacles had a bit of a waiting line to get over/under/in them.  It forced the guys on the team to slow a bit and let us take some fun pictures.  This wasn’t a timed race…more a ‘can you finish’? kind of thing.  Bryan jumped right in the mud pit – up over his waist!  uck.  He laboriously waded through it and scrambled out the other side.  When all the guys were out they made a dash for mud mountain and made it about half way before starting to slide back down.  At this point they all dug in, grabbed other people, or got a hand up.  It was nuts and slippy.  Over the other side Bryan was now cold.  On this part of the course the wind was really whipping and though it was sunny, it was bitter.  The kids and I stayed warm enough in our winter gear running around, but Bryan was starting to feel the cold.  Good thing the race continued at a run for a while so he dried off and warmed up.  The course took a long detour through the woods.  The kids and I walked over to the next interesting obstacle – skipped a couple ‘Berlin Walls’ the other gals went to see – and camped on the ground for a bit to have a snack.  Avi was awake by now, and wanted OUT!  It was cold, though, so he was hungry and grumpy but cheered enough after eating and snuggling on my lap.  When we looked up, there was Bryan carrying a giant log on his back as he walked in some tires.  Crazy man chose a big one.  We were on the run again to catch up to the sliding electric shock obstacle and then over to the water area.  By this time Bryan and the guys seemed to be making great time, but were tired and drained and getting colder.

The worst was yet to come.  They had to jump off a 20 foot high platform into the lake and swim out.  So, now if they weren’t cold they were hypothermic.  Seriously, there were other racers being taken by medics left and right.  No longer were spirits high – they just needed to keep moving.  The ran around the lake, and then had to wade back through it along a pull-me rope before getting to ‘The Wall’  It was a 20′ ish wall with a curvy bottom for the numerous people sliding back down after attempt to run and jump and catch a hand at the top.  Bryan actually caught a fellow racers hand at the top on his second try and stayed to help teammates and others. Only two more obstacles to go: the balance beam over freezing water, and the final crazy run into dangling electrical wires up to 10000 volts.  Zoe, Avi and I waited at this final one to see if Bryan got shocked as he tried to avoid the wires while jumping hay bales.  I guess he only got a minor zap on the arm. The rest of the team made it, too, although one guy got a good jolt… and they crossed the finish line together.  Freezing, shivering, and likely hypothermic.  Their silver blankets didn’t do much.  Bryan ate a banana, got some energy drink, and changed into his new Tough Mudder tshirt (it was dry!!).  We gathered around a fire bin and then unceremoniously dispersed.  Everyone was too cold to hang out, and just wanted to sit inside a hot car.

The whole day was super fun, and although Bryan was cold he had a blast and is already talking of doing another with me and maybe even one that has a kid version for Zoe.  She was seriously bummed she couldn’t do some of the obstacles.  ah, if only it were warmer I may have let her. =) 

General Coffee State Park when it’s 28 degrees

We love camping… Too much maybe… We have been antsy to get out and plans to go to FL for manatee kayaking fell through; it was too cold. So we decide instead to camp further north. Not much further, but norther and colder.

General Coffee State Park is an hour north of Valdosta. We drove up Sunday after church when it was in the 60s out. Spent the afternoon setting up camp – the place was near empty- and playing in the playground. Gone are the days Bryan and I would have forlornly snugged in the most remote site mad to even be at a campground. Instead we sought out the site nearer to other kids and beside the playground… Like it was our very own.

The park also has a great little farm. There are original an reproduction farm buildings, but the highlight is the animals. There are chickens, ducks and turkeys wandering around for Avi an Zoe to chase and torment. We also brought some apples to feed the horse who must have been famished. It tried eating Zoes hand. There were also mules and goats and sheep. Avi loved the goats; they also loved him or at least how he tasted through a fence. The highlight though were the two little kitties in the interpretation cabin. Both kids adored these guys. We even went back to the cabin after a walk around the lake to say goodnight.

Back at camp it was chilly. We had dinner, s’mores at the campfire, and retired to our tent. It was cold but we were warm enough in the tent. I wouldn’t say we were toasty- got a bit cold out from under the duvet – but it was fine. The kids sleep between Bryan and I so they were fine.

In the morning Avi woke us early to cold cold cold day. We played int the tent got breakfast and packed up into the hot car. Aaaaahhh. It was fun to get out.

Taking the train to the peanut festival!

This morning I woke before dawn and put two sleeping kids into the car. We then drove up to base for a 0630 departure on an ITT trip. I signed up for it on Thursday using our Playpass money ( again… trying to milk that) . the kids woke as we boarded the little tour bus and watched some cartoons. Zoe laughed out loud at every instance that Donald duck got hurt… she likes that physical comedy. We also got to see a beautiful sunrise from I-75.

An hour and a half later we pulled into the veterans park at cordele to see a cool big old train! Zoe had declared she didn’t like trains this morning, but now changed her tune. “I guess I do like trains if it has a dining car.” I guess the snack car is close enough! The train goes perilously slow. I believe I could bike or maybe even briskly walk faster than this thing went. 2 hours on the train found us getting snacks, chasing Avi up the aisle, exploring the other cars, and arriving in Plains.

Yep. Our destination was the home of our 49th president Jimmy Carter. Today is the Plains Peanut festival! We were greeted with a cute parade featuring a marine corps band, lotso Shriners, and tossed bags of peanuts instead of candy. Of course. Zoe enjoyed the festival bouncy house and mini train. I also underestimated our cash requirements so we had to walk out of town to the gas station for an ATM. You’d think they would get one of those portable ones so people could overspend and get more! No so in tiny southern towns, and the bank shut down last month. Anyway it was a nice day for a half mile walk and the drinks and snacks were alot cheaper at the gas station.

The rest of our visit we got some fest food and wandered in the junk shops that seemed full of kid chairs and breakable stemware. Interesting combo. We returned to the train – snacks in hand – just in time for departure. Now they are both sleeping! Hopefully for the next two hours back to the station. Me too.

Car Trip!

Made it to Atlanta with Dad and the kids….ended up with a razy detour just after Macon.  The traffic on I-75 was totally stopped so we got off and Dad did a great job nav-ing us around.  Of course soon after we got back on the freeway in Atlanta there was traffic AGAIN. gag.  Oh well.  It worked out.  Avi slept almost the whole way, and then screamed for about 15 minutes as we found the Sube dealer.  We stopped there for my free first oil change and then headed up to IKEA.  Zoe had fun in the Smaland play area while Dad, Avi and I ran through for a few things.  Now we are at the hotel.  This is the highlight for Zoe.  She loves hotels.  Booked a LaQuinta with a pool, too.  So we spent a long while in the pool when we arrived.  Zoe was quite excited about jumping in from the side and playing keep-it-up with some adults who brought a beach ball.  Avi played with Grandpa Joe near the steps, splashed around, and really seemed to enjoy crawling around the edge.  We walked over to the Cracker Barrel for dinner and back for a bath and some cartoons.  Avi is keeping Grandpa Joe busy going back and forth in the room pushing the desk chair.  He did fine in the car sleeping.  Zoe did great in the car…she looked out the window for a good hour and then had some snacks, colored, and played with her dino.  No complaints!   Tomorrow we’ll be in Kentucky camping out!!

Jekyll Island

Me and the kids drove out to Jekyll island yesterday afternoon.  It was pretty fun, but tough with just the three of us.  Avi really wants held lately, so he would fuss if I set him down on the mat to play while I setup.  A group of USC students were camping out beside us and came over to help.  It was really nice.  A guy named Josh held Avi while I got up the tent and the bike trailer.  Avi thought he was super funny.  After setup we took a quick bike ride out to the beach near the pier.  The tide was out, so we had a snack and Zoe made a sand castle. As the sun was setting we headed back to camp where we started a fire…with help from the USC kids again….and made some soup and hotdogs and marshmallows for dinner.  Both the kids seemed to have fun hanging out by the fire.  Avi is crawling around all over now, so he’s a bit of work to keep up with.  Especiallly since he bonks his head into everything and then just keeps trying to ram it out of the way while crying at it.  Anyway, I nursed him and he fell asleep so I put him in the tent and got our dinner put away.  Zoe was tired so we got in the tent and read a Magic Tree House book, then fell asleep.  Slept really well!!  Avi woke twice, and was just chatty…I think he would’ve talked and whined himself back to sleep at home, but I schooched him over to me to nurse so he’d quietly and quickly go back to sleep.  Woke this morning and he and Zuzz were in much better moods.  They played on the mat and in the tent together while I packed up some stuff and got the bike ready.  I took them on a long bike ride around the north half of the island.  They do great together in the trailer.  Avi fell asleep and leaned on Zoe, and she kept chatting to him.  It was adorable and a great ride.  We stopped halfway at the beach where Avi played in the sand and Zoe ran in the cold cold surf.  She was sad to pack up. The drive home was fine until Avi woke up; we cried on and off for the last 45 minutes.  Now the house is just a mess with all our camping junk.

Home, crap, Home

It’s always a bummer to be done with a fun trip. On our way back from Kentucky we stayed two nights in Atlanta to go to the big airshow.  Bryan actually needed to go to touchbase with some folks for work since he’s working on the Moody airshow in a few weeks.

Zoe didn’t want to come home.  In fact she cried when she realized we weren’t camping again after our hotel visit, and she still is asking when our next trip will be. Avi seems to be indifferent – he has a stuffed up nose and a bit of a cough, though. Me too.  Kind of a yuck way to return.  oh well.  Back to the same old Valdosta.

Now to unpack….maybe that can wait a few days.

Camping at Jekyll Island

mosquito’s….end of entry.

No, actually, we had a great time.  Drove out Saturday morning and arrived in time to eat lunch at the little 4H aquarium called “Tidewaters”.  It was small, cute, and Zoe loved it.  Arlo had fun outside barking at folks as they left.  Yeah, that was us…the folks with the dog.  After that we checked into the campground. We were site J7; it’s the farthest away from the RV’s in the tent area as you can get.  good spot and near a back dirt road with quick access to the bike paths.  Got stuff quasi-setup.  Avi was mad and crying the whole time so I wasn’t much help to Bryan, and Zoe was starting to get ‘tired’ and cranky.  We got the bikes ready for a short ride thinking it would lull Avi to sleep and it worked on both the kids!  We borrowed a friends kid trailer, so Avi rode in that inside his car seat.  Zoe sat in her seat on my Korean bike.  Our short couple miler took us out to the pier, around by the beach, and then back along a mud flat.  A nice short loop and two sleeping kids.  We napped briefly before Avi awoke, so Bryan took him out for another spin while I stayed and slept with the Zuzz.  In the evening we drove to the southern beach on the island for some sandy fun.  The water was muddy again … so it must be like that all the time … but the sand was fun to play in.  We stayed for a couple hours.  Avi nursed and seemed content with the breeze blowing.  Arlo chased some birds around and it seemed to limber him up a bit.  Zoe and Bryan had fun making sand creatures, digging holes, and searching for beach treasures.  Back at the campground things were hot and muggy – it’s back in the woods.  Mosquito’s all over the place.  yuck.  Again Avi got mad.  I think maybe he was hot.  We got dinner together and Bryan started a smokey fire to ward off the bugs.  Did a few marshmallows and then went to bed.  The evening started hot, but cooled off nicely.  Avi did great for his first camping adventure!  Surprisingly he slept for a long time and only woke twice to nurse.  I thought it was going to be more crying, but he must’ve felt fine after the temp cooled off. As always Zoe loved camping out and slept wonderfully.  And aside from watching some raccoons eat his food, Arlo did good as well.  Sunday morning we woke early and went for a nice long bike ride.  Jekyll Island has a great paved bike trail system that is almost completely off the road!  We biked the north end along the sound through the historic area and then back along the beach.  Zoe loved it, Avi slept, and it felt soooo good to get out exercising in the cool-ish morning air.  We returned to the campground to retrieve our stuff and Arlo and drove home.  Avi did OK on the drive…cried for a while, but then fell asleep.  A successful first campout as a four person fam!!  

..well with two legs full of bug bites to show for it..

Family Time

Bryans parents got here on Sunday, so it’s been a great help.  Yesterday they took Zoe to Wild Adventures for the day which allowed Bryan and I to get some Avi time and actually go out for lunch together and have a real conversation.  Pretty cool.  Today is ‘base day’ so we’re all heading up to the library and commissary; should be fun.  It will be good to have assistance on this first attempt at lots of errands!

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