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!!
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.
Well we just spent 6 nights camping out in Kentucky on our land. Mitten Hollow. It was awesome…no cell coverage, no email, no TV. Just trees, mountains, cliffs, and crisp autumn air. We drove up to Atlanta last Friday after work and hoteled it for a night enroute – the whole trip takes about 9 hours. Zoe and Avi did fine in the car, meaning they fell asleep thank GOD. Saturday we finished the drive up to Berea, oh, and bought a chainsaw before heading to the hollow. We were so excited to see the new fence and road built…complete with a “Mitten Hollow” sign! The weather was great for camping – 80’s in the day and 40’s at night. We all snuggled together in our little 3 man tent. It’s perfect for the 5 of us….Kat, Avi, Zoe, Bryan, Arlo at our feet. It’s nice and toasty. Bryan’s campfire was so wonderful every night and morning – in fact it was such a good fire he only had to start it the one time. The coals stayed hot until we left. For five days we played around on the property exploring trails, rapelling the cliffs, climbing through caves, and bushwacking through the weeds. It’s was so exciting and relaxing. We also dreamt alot about where our ‘forever’ house will be and what it can look like. Something to start in the next few years and finish as we get around to it. The beauty of Estill County Kentucky is that there aren’t building codes…perfect for us to just do what we’d like. and we will. While in the area we also went to a cute little Fall Arts festival in Berea, had lunch in Lexington, and visited the Shaker village in Harrodsburgh. The more we visit this part of Kentucky the more we love it! Zoe had a blast playing with sticks and dirt and leaves and bugs. Avi did adequately – he is still a fussy little sod. He was no different than at home…so why not just be somewhere better than Valdosta (which may just be anywhere). Not going to let a crying baby keep us down! He actually did pretty great during the days when we hiked around alot….seems to be getting quite happy in the snugli carrier. Car rides are rough with him – he is just not a happy camper unless we can get him to sleep. For this trip I put the car seats on the sides so I could sit in the middle of the back when necessary. Turned out to be necessary nearly all the time. ugh. Both kids did well sleeping in the tent, though. We had them both between us, with Avi next to me for nursing. He woke up the same 3-4 times like at home and nursed laying down. It was cute to see the two kids sleeping together. I woke up a few times to see Zoe spooning Avi or wrapping her arms around him. Adorable.
The whole trip has been great. So great to feed my soul in the mountains…it’s tough to be returning to Valdosta. I’d love to just campout up there all the time. It was also nice to walk in the woods with the kids, sit around and watch the fire with Bryan, and see Arlo happy and running amuk. We definitely go to the hollow for peak fall foliage time, too. It was gorgeous and flaming in color – we watched the leaves change color down the mountain as the days went on. Our final day there it rained overnight and brought alot of leaves to the ground. autumn smells amazing in Mitten Hollow. We were all sad to go. Zoe keeps asking why we have to stop camping in “betucky” and says that next time we’ll build our cob house. Maybe so.
To finish our weekend we visited Cumberland Gap National Park. This hidden gem is awesome. The campground was great, the trails are great, and we got to walk in Daniel Boones footsteps on the Wilderness road. Now we’re spending two nights in Atlanta to watch the air show. How nice a hot shower will feel!
For our last couple days with Nana and Pappy we all went out to Jekyll Island to explore. It’s an island a couple hours away from our house, so we drove out Saturday morning and were able to check into our hotel early. We then grabbed some lunch and hit the beach. Since the tide was just starting to wane it was tough to find a beach at first, but as the water went out the beaches got much bigger. I guess the tidal flat is huge in spots so the beach also gets really big. The sand was pretty nice, but the water was kind of churned up and dirty. Oh well. Zoe seemed to love it, though she got sleepy quickly since it was the afternoon. We went back to the hotel for a nice nap. In the evening it was a steamed shrimp and the PSU game courtesy of Pappy! It was nice to just hang out…though we did a bit antsy and took a walk to the beach to watch the tide come back in. Very cool views across the water to the lighthouse at St. Simons Island. Nighttime was tiring; Avi didn’t want to sleep. He was awake most of the night, not really nursing or being happy…just waking up schrooching and then biting me when nursing. not cool. In addition, Bryan got stung by a scorpion in bed…didn’t know thats what it was until morning when it crawled out of the cover. Anyway, while I slept in the fam had a nice morning getting shells at the beach and going to the playground. One highlight of the trip, though, was our visit to the Sea Turtle Rescue Center. They had lots of cool displays, a viewing area into the medical office, and lots of rehabilitating turtles in tanks. Very cool as were the amazing old homes in the historic section of the Island. In the afternoon on Sunday we drove over to St. Simons Island for some lunch and a visit to that lighthouse we saw from the beach. Zoe and Bryan went up in it to see the view; Zoe has talked about living in a lighthouse someday, so this was really cool to her. Avi did pretty well tolerating the humidity and nursing out and about for the weekend. He seems fairly happy when being held, but is still quite fussy….especially in the car. The drive home was a challenge; Bryan’s arm was cranked around to the back seat nearly the entire drive trying to push the pacifier back in Avi’s mouth. He should sleep well tonight! It was a fun way to spend time with Nana and Pappy and it’s sad to see them go. They have been quite helpful this week; Zoe has especially enjoyed playing with them. She cried in the car for a bit after we said our goodbyes. Thanks for a great time!
While we were in Kentucky this past week we decide to buy some property! We have been looking for a while for a ‘retirement’ place and found some places in Kentucky a couple months ago. We contacted the seller and decided to check them out while we were up for our cob workshop. We drove up a day early and spent a whole afternoon out in the woods looking a different properties. One fit us perfectly! It is up at the top of a hollow, has a pond, a couple spring-fed creeks, a few acres of cleared pasture land, some climbable cliffs at the top, and an 1840’s falling down home and barn that we can use for materials. So, now we are in the process of getting our loan approved to buy our 87 acres in Kentucky! Our eventual goal would be to retire up there and build our own little homestead. Something we can work toward over the years. It’s up a hollow along the Red Lick Valley near a town called Berea; which has a great little college.
This past week we attended a Cob House Workshop up in Kentucky with a group called Disputanta Cob. Cob is an old technique using clay, sand and dirt, and straw to build up a home on a stone foundation. The class lasted four days – we learned how to build foundations, mix natural mortar, make cob, place doors and windows, and build the walls with cob. On the final day we did a bit of roofing. There were alot of neato people at the workshop, we all camped out in the field for 6 nights and had meals together. The food that was provided was great! Zoe had a blast playing with all the mud, in the creek, and with the older girls. Bryan and I took turns working on the building and watching Zoe. It worked out well. The whole workshop goal was to start a new small home and complete one side of it enough to add a tiny roof. We would get a brief lecture after breakfast and another after lunch, but most of the time we were hard at work mixing cob and building walls. It was fun and tiring; we slept well out in the tent. The weather was great; sunny and hot during the day and chilly at night.
Bryan and I are now registered for a workshop in Kentucky mid-April to learn how to build our own home out of cob (mud, clay, straw mix). Should be a blast!