thomasland, edaville, usa

during my preliminary research into things to do near this campground, the edaville usa railroad popped up. i added it as a favorite and moved on. later, as derek did his own research, he dug a little further and discovered that inside the park, there is a thomas land, with all thomas the train themed rides and attractions. well, we knew at once that we would have to take our little thomas loving crazelnut to spend a day there. so, even though we were exhausted after our two days in boston, on sunday, we woke bright and early and whisked the lidkids off to thomas land.

the rest of the park looks pretty run down and sketchy. we walked through quickly and hazel spotted a big thomas the tank engine who was ready to take a trip around the park, so we hopped on.
IMG_5635

hazel was so excited. anna, not as much.
IMG_5643

this face.
IMG_5756

after our ride around the park, we were off to the official land of thomas.
IMG_5758

i won’t bore you with tales of the rides. here’s a bunch of briefly captioned photos.

spinning toby.
IMG_5654

the girls and i, spinning with toby.
IMG_5759

more toby. with happy onlookers.
IMG_5658

rheneas spinny ride.
IMG_5660

diesel train ride. we chose salty.
IMG_5778

and then, she spotted tidmouth sheds. her face lit up and she took off running.
IMG_5672

she didn’t want to sit by james or gordon, because “they are angry” and percy was occupied, so we settled for not-angry emily.
IMG_5676

then we had our turn at percy. (he’s her favorite!)
IMG_5685

gordon, james and emily.
IMG_5686

all alone with her bff.
IMG_5687

after a quick and costly lunch, there was a show, where “driver sam” and sir topham hat made the biggest cranberry pie on the island of sodor. there was dancing and audience participation. hazel was chosen to place a decoration and she performed her task without hesitation.
IMG_5698

after the show, more rides, one of which passed by cranky the crane.
IMG_5771

happy rider.
IMG_5770

a spin on harold the helicopter.
IMG_5769

pilot.
IMG_5710

sir topham hat fountain.
IMG_5712

derek and isaac fought this terrible fire, while hazel navigated (and anna cried because she panicked and didn’t get on the ride).
IMG_5713

bertie the bus.
IMG_5760

millie spinny ride.
IMG_5727

ferris wheel girls.
IMG_5761

back on the diesel train ride. happy girls.
IMG_5762

my peeps. and diesel 10.
IMG_5732

another spin on toby. blerg.
IMG_5763

a photo shoot with some of the residents of the island of sodor. isaac is not miserable, he’s posing like the characters. (derek had to tell me that.)
IMG_5764

on the way out, we stopped to take some pics with the big thomas that pulled the real train.
IMG_5766

IMG_5737

we decided to see what the rest of the park looked like, so we made a stop at “dino land” and just as we entered, the gate was closed behind us so that thomas could roll past…
IMG_5739

dino land was meh. there was one or two rides, a store, and then a long path through the woods with animatronic dinosaurs and mist and sound effects. the girls thought it was ok-ish.
IMG_5743

on the way out, we stopped for a bathroom break. and to fill up our water bottles in the only bathroom sink we could find that wasn’t heated. this is one issue i have with this park. there were no water fountains and most of the bathrooms had heated water. so, people are stuck buying $3 bottles of water. not cool. anyhow, the girls took a photo with this train photo booth while we lounged, and then we headed home.
IMG_5748

there’s a little ice cream stand near our campground, so we stopped for a refreshing treat.
IMG_5752

we spent the rest of the day recovering from our busy crazy weekend. laundry. cleaning. etc.

and then we all went to bed. with visions of percy and thomas and toby dancing in our heads.
IMG_5781

and i’m all caught up!
(well, except for a trip we took yesterday).

the rambling road show , , , , ,

boston, day two.

after our luxurious night in our fancy pants hotel and a delicious continental breakfast, we got started on our second day of our boston adventures.

first up, we walked to the boston tea party museum, which was only about 3 minutes from our hotel. but first, i took a detour to take pics of the skyline. with anna.
IMG_5566

the tea party museum started off great. we were in a room, while this enthusiastic fellow, playing the part of sam adams, got us all pumped up to go dump tea into the boston harbor, to protest the unfair taxes being imposed on us by the british parliament.
IMG_4869

we were lead down onto the ship, where this dude took over and told us all about the ship and the cargo.
IMG_4871

sleeping quarters.
IMG_5577

creepy fake captain.
IMG_5578

after we had the full tour and understood our duties, we all got a chance to dump tea over the side of the boat. (and then pull it back up for the next person).
IMG_4894

IMG_4955

IMG_5581

IMG_5582

IMG_5584

hazel found this dangerous hole to check out the action in the harbor.
IMG_5579

i don’t think this sign was accurate.
IMG_5588

this was actually our main tour guide. she took us from place to place and introduced us to sam adams and the boat guy. she was great. each person on the tour was assigned a name of someone who was actually at (or claimed to be at) the boston tea party. she called out different folks and told their story. and, best of all, we could hear her!
IMG_5589

unfortunately, for the second half of the tour (the aftermath of the boston tea party) was a little difficult for the lidkids. too much listening and standing around. but, we survived and then probably the highlight of the kids tour was when this lady came around and played old timey games with them.
IMG_4964

derek took a selfie with the tea party boat and some lidkids.
IMG_4967

from there, we hailed an uber and went back into the center of the city. our goal was to go to the boston public market, but we were distracted by the holocaust memorial. it was very sobering. sad. awful. each of the etched numbers represents a holocaust victim.
IMG_5591

each tower was filled with them on all four sides and all the way up…
IMG_5592

so many numbers. lives.
IMG_4968

six total towers.
IMG_5595

we pulled ourselves together and wandered over to the public market. we didn’t stay long before trying to locate some lunch.
IMG_4970

we went the tourist route for lunch and ate at some mexican place in quincy market and then did a little shopping.
IMG_5617

our last bit of excitement in boston was this street performer who stood totally still like a statue until someone gave her some money. then she came alive and gave the money donater a “fortune” before returning to her statue pose.
IMG_5621

i think anna was a little traumatized and not quite sure whether she was real or not.
IMG_5623

at this point, we realized we had had enough and it was time to take our posse home. we called one last uber to take us to the car, and i snapped on last picture of boston – the old state house down the street from where we awaited our uber.
IMG_5625

and then. it was over.

we definitely learned a lot of lessons on this trip.
our kids are too young and/or don’t care about guided tours and history.
they also don’t care about delicious food.
we DO need a hotel night every so often to spread out and relax.

we will be in philadelphia in a couple of months and hopefully we can remember these important messages.

the rambling road show , , , , , , , ,

boston, day one.

last weekend, we had our biggest adventure so far, two days in boston. derek worked hard to create a two day long itinerary of educational adventures for the five of us. so, we woke up early friday and drove to beantown.

we dropped the car off at the hotel, had some breakfast, and called an uber to take us to faneuil hall. we wandered around inside for a bit, got our national parks passports stamped, and picked up some junior ranger workbooks that our kids would never do.
IMG_5468

from there, we walked to the massachusetts state house, so we could knock another state capitol building off of our list.
IMG_5472

after the state house, we made our way across the street to the boston common, where the freedom trail guided tours start. and then it all fell apart. i was disappointed for several reasons. for one, it was very hard to hear our guide. i think she was pretty awesome, but her voice was quiet and we were often in the back, because for two, our kids were over it. the first stop was very long, and like most of the stops, not actually really near anything. so they mentally checked out early. and three, as previously mentioned, we didn’t actually stop at the places on the stop. we looked at a couple of churches from across the street. we were never even able to get a good view of the state house (so i’m thankful that we did make the stop on the way in). we also seemed to pick up stragglers, who hadn’t paid, who made the group larger and larger. anyhow, after a few stops of misery, derek called and they refunded our money. in retrospect, i wish we would have picked up a kids guide and an adult guide and done the trail on our own. there’s always next time….

one of the places we did actually enter was the granbary burial ground, where we stopped to talk about famous people several times. i think. i picked up bits and pieces. 😉

sam adams.
IMG_5481

random super old head stones.
IMG_5485

the kids. clearly not interested.
IMG_5488

anna was delightful enough to let me take this pic.
IMG_5492

old kings church. as seen from across the street. :(. and i was looking forward to the burial ground next to it, but we never even went near it.
IMG_5493

behind the church was an old school. this marker on the sidewalk commemorates it? i think?
IMG_5494

also, one thing i DID hear was, there was this pedestal and a statue of benjamin franklin has overlooked the site of the school for years and years and years. and just recently, ruth’s chris steakhouse had some tents outside and one blew away and knocked over the statue and shattered it. excellent job retail america. here’s the empty pedestal. 🙁
IMG_5496

this was the point where we departed the tour and ventured out on our own. so, instead of racing to keep up with the group with my tiny posse, i could stop and take pics. example: this trail marker for the freedom trail.
IMG_5498

the site of the boston massacre. we tried to brief the kiddos on boston history before we came, so i think they maybe actually cared about this a little. maybe.
IMG_5504

so, then there was this guy. who i gladly contributed to. i was also a little annoyed that he was ruining everyone’s pics of the old state house. but, then again, so were the giant packs of fellow tourists. i would love to know how much he made.
IMG_5512

across the street, we heard beautiful drumming, so we followed the sound to this guy, who the kids LOVED. i wish i had some video.
IMG_5507

the old state house. from across the street.
IMG_5509

once we were done freedom trailing, we began a quest for a delicious lunch. derek found the #2 place on trip advisor nearby, so we forced our super-tired-of-walking-and-very-whiny kids to press on to sam lagrassa’s.
IMG_5511

i had to get the reuben. it did not disappoint. i was stuffed.
IMG_5514

after lunch, we decided to cancel some afternoon plans and just took the kids to the childrens museum for a little while. we walked. with same grumpiness. except when we crossed this rainbowy bridge.
IMG_5521

at the childrens museum (mostly free, thanks to our astc pass!), i was on hazel duty and derek had the older two. i had the better end of the deal, as hazel was happy to sit at this train table for about an hour.
IMG_5529

construction worker.
IMG_5531

the childrens museum was next to our hotel, so we walked over to check in and rest up a bit. the room was sooooo big and nice. we’ve been on the road for four months now, so i can appreciate and actual bed and a bath tub and room to pass by each other without rubbing butts.

after we were mostly recovered, we called an uber to head to the north end of boston. there were so many italian restaurants and i wanted some delicious pasta, but figured it would be so expensive, so we found a tiny pizza place and ordered a bunch of slices for the crew. can you guess who was super grumpy about being dragged back out of the hotel?
IMG_5539

hint:
IMG_5544

after dinner, we walked over to the old north church, which is on the freedom trail, but a little further along where the stops are spread apart more. first, we found cannolis and other italian desserts. which i didn’t document, but the store was near this:
IMG_5550

it was hard to get a pic of the old north church, but i walked up the street a bit to get this. this is where they would signal “one if by land, two if by sea”…
IMG_5552

on the back side of the church, we stopped for some pics with paul revere.
IMG_5562

and then. an uber took us home. and we relaxed. and prepared for day two.
(which began with my leftover cannoli).
IMG_5564

stay tuned for the rest of boston day two…

the rambling road show , , , , , , , , , , ,

providence, RI.

our second big adventure last week was a road trip to providence, rhode island. originally, i had planned to spend the day there when we had to take derek to the airport, except his flight was canceled and his new one was out of boston and his return flight to providence was late at night and, well, long story long, we didn’t get a chance at our last spot.

fortunately, we were just as close (a big closer, in fact) at this campground. so, we packed for a road trip and off we went…

the kids have loved all of the cool bridges we’ve happened upon. isaac always quickly grabs the phone and snaps several blurry, crooked pics for me. 🙂
IMG_5324

our first stop was to the childrens museum. our astc pass covered two kids and me, so for $9 (plus several parking meters worth of quarters) we had a great day at what turned out to be one of our favorite museums.

the kids could have stayed in the water room all day long. i was sort of obsessed with the dry ice trapped in this water ball thing.
IMG_5329

i don’t think hazel would have noticed if i left and came back to get her when they closed.
IMG_5332

the girls.
IMG_5334

they even had an ice slush area. of course, hazel just ate the slush.
IMG_5339

anna LOVED building pipes and tunnels.
IMG_5341

and isaac got soaking wet (and got everyone around him soaking wet) at this whirlpool.
IMG_5343

after everyone was soaked, we went outside to dry off and run around a bit. the big two went into this climbing structure, while hazel wandered around testing the hula hoops and balance boards and musical instruments.
IMG_5349

back inside, and upstairs, there was a providence “time machine” that you could walk through and learn about providence through the years. or just throw fake food from the store onto the boat and stuff like that. isaac let me take this picture, at least.
IMG_5353

also. there was this. ummmm…..
IMG_5358

then, we found this nice, quiet room, complete with geometric plates and rubberband boards and nice, quiet play options. perfect for anna. isaac started strong, but got bored quickly.
IMG_5362

anna created this sweet pattern. my little future quilter. 🙂
IMG_5364

and hazel was super proud of her “caterpillar”.
IMG_5369

one of the cool things about the museum was all of the great artwork that accompanied the kids activities. this marionette exhibit was one example.
IMG_5371

so, at this point in our day, we had to go back to the car and move it and pay for a new meter. the kids insisted they wanted to come back, so thankfully, we were able to move closer (not in the lot and free but much closer), and we started up round two.

back to the water room. 🙂
IMG_5381

IMG_5384

IMG_5385

upstairs, hazel and i found this truck area that we didn’t notice the first time, somehow. she was so totally happy.
IMG_5394

trucks and rocks. favorites.
IMG_5398

the kids all thought the wavy funhouse mirrors were hilarious. i loved watching hazel check herself out in them.
IMG_5403

finally, back outside, at isaac’s request, for one last climb in the leaf tower. unfortunately, he couldn’t talk anna into going with him, once she found this archeological dig.
IMG_5406

so, after i promised to stay and watch him all the way up, he was willing to go it alone, for one last hurrah at the providence childrens museum.
IMG_5412

from there, we raced over to the rhode island state house, to get a quick viewing and photo with the capitol building (which i don’t actually think it’s called – something about commonwealths or colonies or something). we managed to find decent parking and quickly scampered to the front (i’m pretty sure) for some pics.
IMG_5417

a statue of someone who is probably famous.
IMG_5422

capital selfie.
IMG_5425

the big two. hazel wanted no part in it.
IMG_5428

the best angle. with anna for scale. 🙂
IMG_5434

on the way out, hazel announced “oh, that IS the capital. and it has a man on top of it. and he has a walking stick. and he’s gold.” she’s crazy.

anyhow, that’s our providence adventure.
and another capital building in the books.

the rambling road show , , , , ,

ned’s point lighthouse adventure.

our first big adventure at this campground was taking off to explore some beaches and coastline. we chose a lighthouse as our first destination, with the possible backup plan of going swimming.

ned’s point lighthouse wasn’t too far away, so we packed up for a quick viewing.
IMG_5221

i don’t think the kids really knew what to expect, but they were troopers. it wasn’t as big as we thought it would be, but it was still cool enough.
IMG_5224

yet another view. i think this is it’s best side. 🙂
IMG_5230

the kids were more excited to scale the big rocks all around the lighthouse.
IMG_5234

hazel wasn’t afraid to get in the mix.
IMG_5280

and thomas came along as our official mascot.
IMG_5241

more giant rock hopping.
IMG_5242

even though he was grumpy at first (as usual), he had fun and was pleasant (as usual).
IMG_5244

the diva and the lighthouse.
IMG_5245

hazel was too busy climbing to stop for a photo shoot with all the lid kids.
IMG_5248

at the corner of the parking lot area for the lighthouse, there was a tiny boat launch that folks were wading around and exploring in. so we joined the fun.
IMG_5256

the annababy LOVES to explore and flip over rocks and find creatures, etcetera.
IMG_5260

big kids.
IMG_5261

we found this weird skeleton of something. hazel broke it and the remaining shard poked her and she was convinced it bit and/or stung her.
IMG_5263

after awhile, we decided to eat lunch and find an actual beach. so, one last lighthouse pic.
IMG_5267

we had seen a town beach on our way to the lighthouse, so we made our way back, forked over ten bucks to park, and set up camp in the scorching hot sun, on the scorching hot sand. the water was nice and cool and clear and we quickly noticed hermit crabs scampering around, so we grabbed our buckets and got to work catching them.
IMG_5269

eventually, we didn’t need buckets and we could just grab them by hand. like this tiny guy.
IMG_5270

we brought a couple of them home, with the intention of investigating how to care for them. unfortunately, while they were still in the buckets and unsupervised, hazel dumped them out and they scampered away, most likely to a slow and painful death.

anyhoooo… here’s one last pick of the hermit crab serial killer. she’s more of a sand girl than a water girl. but she was happy, even though the sand was almost hot enough to melt into glass.
IMG_5273

well. that’s pretty much the story of our lighthouse/beach day.
the end.

the rambling road show , , , , , ,

gateway to cape cod. week one. the “boring” parts.

ok. i am about to post six different posts about the last week of our adventure. we have been very busy doing lots of fun and exciting (and maybe even educational) things. but, first. let me post about the in between moments. in other words, i’ll be getting the boring post out of the way.

firstly, there’s this pic that was actually from when we were still back at sturbridge. the night before we left, isaac had this big catch, and i feel it needs documenting.
IMG_5202

and then, during the night before we left, i awoke to crazy rain and lightning. i checked my weather app, only to find that we were in for a long night of it.
IMG_5203

finally, and thankfully, we were able to leave sturbridge a week early and head to “gateway to cape cod”… after we got settled in rested up, we went to a local italian restaurant, where i ventured out and got the fish fry. ho hum. it was soooo much breading. i think it might have been about 1/4” thick all around. another fish fry fail. i will only be getting them in western new york from now on.
IMG_5210

the crazel’s art skills are taking off. she drew this “mad person” for our viewing enjoyment.
IMG_5216

then, as a follow up piece, she gave herself a mad person tattoo.
IMG_5215

this is apparently an extra mad person, because his “mouth is mad”. i’m not sure what her obsession with anger is.
IMG_5282

ive mentioned it before, but her other newest obsession is thomas the train. she has been acquiring these little mini trains like crazy lately. they are only $1.50 in the mystery bags and less that $1 each if you get a pack of them. so, she has a bunch.
IMG_5217

on night, i challenged ike to write in as many states as he could on our new usa map. with only a bit of a hint for montana, that kid knocked them all out. i was pretty impressed and not sure i could do it.
IMG_5286

this face. i can’t stand it.
IMG_5294

this campground has a lot of activities available for the kids. one day, we wandered over for the 2:00 craft, which was a nature collage. so first, the kids had to go out to collect nature items. while we were out, we saw this chrysalis. so exciting.
IMG_5296

back inside, we attempted to glue our (heavy) nature items, using a glue stick, to flimsy construction paper. it didn’t go super well.
IMG_5297

isaac gave up quickly and wandered off to play video games.
IMG_5298

anna worked diligently, long past everyone else.
IMG_5299

sleeping beauty.
IMG_5318

these two princess camper girls.
IMG_5449

one of my least favorite parts about camping is this. EVERY time we change sites, we are met with a fire pit full of someone else’s garbage. i don’t get it. (last time i had to scoop out wet, swollen dog food).
IMG_5450

anna takes a little notebook everywhere we go. last week, when we went to providence, she made this little list of items to check off. she’s smart, though. she makes the list after and then we are super good at checking it all off.
IMG_5452

lastly, another night time post with crazel. we put up a string of lights in our bed. and she will not leave them alone. i’m not sure how long they will last. she says they are “telescopes”…
IMG_5460

anyhow. that’s the boring stuff. stay tuned for a flurry of posts about all of our fun adventures….

the rambling road show , , , , , , ,

old sturbridge village x2.

i had to save this post for the last of my adventures in sturbridge, massachusetts posts, for one because it was taking a million years for my pics to go from my phone to the cloud. and for two, because it was taking another million years for derek to send me some pics that he took. now that we are in a land with better internet, here we go…

earlier in the week last week (tuesday, i think), we decided to go to old sturbridge village, which is a lot like the mumford museum that we visited with derek’s parents when we were in western new york. old buildings from the early 1800’s, relocated to create an entire village, with plenty of staff members, dressed in clothing from that time period, recreating life in those days.

our first stop was to a little farm house, where chicken chasing was in order.
IMG_4939

a giant church.
IMG_4942

i am not sure how i felt about this next pic. these oxen where being paraded through town, dragging a wooden sled, tied up with a wooden yoke. seems like that was maybe the best we could do 200 years ago, but there’s more humane ways now. not to mention that it was for entertainment versus actual farming. anyhow. i got over it and moved on.
IMG_4944

at one of the houses, they were dying yarn, which was pretty cool. isaac actually seemed interested in the process and the different natural items used for dyes.
IMG_4950

inside the house, they were carding wool, and hazel was the first to volunteer to try it herself.
IMG_4952

not to be outdone, isaac jumped in to give it a go, too. anna did it too, but i guess i stopped taking pictures.
IMG_4954

upstairs, there was a quilt room, with some old quilting tools and some antique quilts on display. and then this. a little geometric shape arranging area, for kiddos to plan out a quilt. or their adult parents who like to quilt.
IMG_4958

back downstairs, we watched this lady spin the carded wool into the yarn. the kids were pretty impressed with this, possibly only because of the movie sleeping beauty.
IMG_4960

next door, we learned a little about doing laundry back in the day. each kid took a turn doing a bit of agitating.
IMG_4963

inside another house, there was a little dress up area, which is right up anna’s alley. hazel and isaac politely declined.
IMG_4967

eventually, we found the playground and stopped to run around for a bit. the kids thought this little mini school house was cool.
IMG_4974

this photobooth might be the best one of all time. the kids expressions crack me up.
IMG_5010

after awhile, we wandered on and happened upon a wagon being pulled by horses, so we quickly hopped on. wagon ride selfie:
IMG_4985

about halfway around the wagon ride loop, we stopped at the blacksmith shop and the kids were grumpy when i made them hop of to check it out. but it turned out to be pretty cool. isaac talked about minecraft mostly. the younger apprentice guy was all about it. they older fellow there had never heard of it.
IMG_4994

on the way back (walking, to my kids dismay), we went through a cool little covered bridge.
IMG_4996

coming out, on the other side.
IMG_5001

we made an executive decision at this point, that we would come back on another day. there’s free admission within ten days of your original visit, so we skipped out, knowing that we could see the rest of the exhibits on another day…

on the way out. these flags.
IMG_5004

ok. so fast forward. on friday night, we found out that we could go to the next campground on sunday. with that new information, we knew the only day we had left to use our free trip was saturday. so, we dragged derek along for another day at old sturbridge. (and, bonus, he got 25% his admission for being our “guest”).

isaac was SOOOO excited to show of his wool carding skills. (btw, carding is getting all the fibers in one direction and getting out the knots and mats).
IMG_5135

i had to run after an escapee, and on the way back noticed anna peering out the window at us.
IMG_5136

anna, doing a little carding now. and i actually took a pic.
IMG_0084

we came out just in time to see some paper hot air balloons being sent off into the sky.
IMG_0087

lift off.
IMG_5145

i’m pretty sure this was the highlight of hazels day.
IMG_5148

lift off number two.
IMG_5150

very seriously watching the two girls chase down the balloon as it floated down.
IMG_5152

the hot air balloon presentation came to an abrupt halt when a musket shot rang through the sky. everyone quickly shuffled off to see what was going on. this guy was giving a demonstration on loading and firing a musket.
IMG_5156

it was very loud. 🙂
IMG_5159

after 6 or 7 shots, we made our way back to the blacksmith’s, at isaac’s request. we passed by this view of the covered bridge from the previous trip.
IMG_5163

on the way to the blacksmith’s, we wandered through a house, where a stewed meal was being prepared. firstly, there were flies EVERYWHERE. bleh. secondly, it was already like 90 degrees that day and it was even worse inside with the fire. and third. they boiled cucumbers. gross.
IMG_5164

the blacksmith. he was a little more, um, quirky than the last guys. he was all over the place and even stopped to tell a story about a tall friend who always makes fun of how short he is. anyways, hazel had a pretty good meltdown shortly after our arrival, so we left.
IMG_5169

we went to the bathroom, filled up with and rinsed off with ice cold water, and kept on moving. at a farm house, we saw some more cooking and baking (and heat and flies). this pie looked good, when it wasn’t crawling with flies.
IMG_5172

pigs.
IMG_5174

the view on our walk back towards the “town” part. the blacksmith and farms were a good little stroll away from the main area.
IMG_5176

back near town, we stopped at the potter. so cool.
IMG_5178

here’s ike, checking out how the wheel spins. the potter was a pretty cool guy.
IMG_0097

the kiln.
IMG_5180

and, the school. there was a sign that talked about how school was available to everyone but not mandatory. what a concept. 😉
IMG_5182

outside the school, there was a frenzy of kids, attempting to use stilts. hazel gave it a try, and was a raging success, with a little help.
IMG_5185

shoemaker. cool.
IMG_0099

at this point, we were drenched in sweat and the kiddos were getting restless. so, we stopped for some delicious ice cream, which always gives us a second wind.
IMG_5191

i took the girls to the playground, while derek took isaac off to find a geocache. here’s isaac pointing out his big find.
IMG_0100

back at the playground, the kids and derek took an updated photo at this booth. nerds.
IMG_5194

we spent a bit of time in the gift shop and as we walked out, we noticed ominous gray clouds rolling in. we made it to our campsite, just as the skies opened up. anyhow, i feel good about our two day adventure to old sturbridge. and i think the kids might have even learned something. maybe.

the rambling road show , , , , ,

connecticut capital.

we started off our friday morning being lazy and watching tv. (our site has free cable!).
IMG_5078

then, with the promise of stopping at target on the way back, i convinced the lidkids to venture out to see another state capitol building. hartford was the closest, so that made our decision. off we went, in search of the golden dome.
IMG_5080

we took a pic when we got close enough, but i learned from past mistakes to take the time to make sure i knew where the front of the building was.
IMG_5085

while walking around, i could see why folks say this is one of the best capitol buildings around. the details were insane.
IMG_5088

once we established which side was the front, i began snapping away.
IMG_5089

hazel was not interested in participating, but the older two humored me.
IMG_5090

capitol selfie.
IMG_5093

more pics. please note hazel in the background watching a squirrel.
IMG_5099

when we threatened to leave without her, hazel finally joined us.
IMG_5103

but was still unwilling to join in the group pics.
IMG_5104

we crossed the street, because i had high hopes of snapping a pic of a monument of some random patriot on a horse. but first, the capitol from across the street.
IMG_5106

we ended up sprinting past the monument, because of traffic, so this was the best pic i could get, standing safely on the other end of a crosswalk.
IMG_5109

then things got crazy. i got on the highway going the wrong way. (this happens often in our travels). but, no worries, i would just get off and turn around. except gridlock. i couldn’t get over to the exits and then i realized there was NO oncoming traffic. none. after we drove for a bit, we saw some police cars and then a burnt up van under a bridge. we finally were able to get off the highway and navigate our way around some backroads down and around hartford, with a side trip to target, of course. anyhow, here’s the map from my phone when we were trying to find our way home. i accidentally headed west on 84. and needed to go east. you know. on that big dark red dotted road.
IMG_5116

on our way home, i managed to snap this shot of the hartford skyline in the distance.
IMG_5117

i’m glad we went, because that night we found out that there was a cancelation at our next location, so we were able to head there a week early, and this was our last day to be this close to hartford. so, another capitol in the books.

the rambling road show , , , ,

bigelow hollow state park

our second week at sturbridge was a busy one.
we only had one down/lazy day.

i am not blogging these in order, mostly due to our terrible internet and i’m waiting to get some pictures from derek’s phone and it’s taking a million cyber light years.

so, i’ll begin with a trip we took on thursday, to bigelow hollow state park. it’s actually just across the border in connecticut and a quick drive from our site. it was super hot that day, so dipping into a cool lake sounded like the perfect activity.

we had no idea what we were doing, but upon arrival took an obligatory “we are here” pic:
IMG_5019

we followed some teenagers who looked like they knew what they were doing and ended up at this majestic spot.
IMG_5023

we had our own little picnic table right next to the beach and the kids, after our quarter mile hike in the sweltering heat, hopped straight in.
IMG_5026

the water was just right. refreshing, but not icy. warm in spots. and crystal clear.
IMG_5027

the annababy.
IMG_5028

here’s the view of our beach spot, from the water. it was perfect.
IMG_5030

hazel.
IMG_5031

and another anna.
IMG_5032

and ike.
IMG_5034

and more crazel.
IMG_5037

she said “take a picture of me, doing this” and then did this.
IMG_5041

the girls, throwing rocks.
IMG_5042

when everyone was occupied, i swam out “to the deep end” and anna snapped a pic.
IMG_5047

it was very quiet in our little section and the kids had so much fun. isaac and anna even frolicked with one another with no arguing. 🙂
IMG_5050

after a bit, we changed and made the hike back to the car. everyone had to find walking sticks, which is a very important part to every hike.
IMG_5058

hazel needed two walking sticks.
IMG_5060

the park was very damp and shady. the kids kept calling it the dark forest from harry potter.
IMG_5061

back at the campsite, we headed straight to the beach, where this kid busted out her art kit for some coloring.
IMG_5067

and this one proceeded to get covered in sand from head to toe.
IMG_5069

since everyone was already a sandy disaster, we decided to get some ice cream and just make the most of it. 🙂
IMG_5074

and that’s the end of our bigelow hollow state park day of adventure.
the end.

the rambling road show , , , , , ,

single mom in sturbridge mass.

**warning: this post is mega-long**

the spot we finally decided on in sturbridge was next to the beach/lake, store/office, pool and rec area. it’s pretty convenient, even if strangers tend to feel very comfortable taking a shortcut through our site to get to any of these places. (and messing with our stuff…)

lakeside:
IMG_4703

being next to the beach might not be as wonderful as if first sounded. the kids are covered with sand all day every day.
IMG_4704

and it’s not the nice kind that just brushes away. it’s very clingy sad. as evidenced by this sand face.
IMG_4745

the site we are at doesn’t have sewer hookups, so on mondays and thursdays, a truck comes around to pump out the tanks. so, we have to be careful with how much water goes into the tanks, making the outdoor shower very useful for desandification.
IMG_4744

we spent our monday getting ready for derek to leave for work for a week. anna and i went grocery shopping and ended up with a playdoh pizza kit.
IMG_4748

hazel kept busy with her trains and the “train playground”.
IMG_4749

derek went out to get a haircut, and isaac, who has grown tired of his cool swoopy hair, decided to tag along to be trimmed up.
IMG_4755

on the way back, they stopped at mcdonalds, where apparently in new england, you can get a lobster roll. so, we obviously had to try one. and it was not that great. nor did it look that great. but it was much better than i might expect from mcdonalds.
IMG_4751

anyhow. on tuesday morning, we all loaded up and took derek to the airport in boston. his flight out of providence was canceled, and i had spent a good amount of time planning a day of adventure in providence after we dropped him off, so i was a little grumpy about the change of plans. after we dropped him off, i attempted to find a restaurant that i found on trip advisor, only to get us lost and very stuck in downtown boston traffic. everyone was starving. and it was stressful. finally, we made it out alive, and onto the mass turnpike. once we were in the clear, we hopped off at an exit and the first restaurant we saw was CHIK FIL A!!
IMG_4770

the kids were so excited — it’s been a long time since we’ve had their favorite delicious southern fast food.
IMG_4762

we also hit up a target to pick up a few necessities, including this dry erase usa map that i had spotted online and decided i neeeeeeeded. it’s also very big and this is the only spot it would fit.
IMG_4766

back at the campsite, with my week of being single mom kicking off, we jumped back into the playdoh pizza kit.
IMG_4767

there was a lot of very lazy days around the campsite.
IMG_4776

the kids love to go to the camp store for ice cream.
IMG_4782

one day, we ventured into southbridge.
lunch at a pizza deli type place.
IMG_4789

my delicious sub (a “grinder” in new england speak).
IMG_4792

the restaurant was near a fire station, which made hazel very happy. (and we missed a lot of commotion and excitement by about 5 minutes).
IMG_4799

we drove around a little (which is when the excitement and commotion was brought to our attention), and then found this “eyeglass monument”. so, a photo shoot took place.
IMG_4806

the monument, with it’s parent company in the background. (i’m not actually sure that it’s still “american optical” or if it’s something else now).
IMG_4804

on the way back through town, we snapped this pic of the other big attraction in southbridge, the notre dame cathedral.
IMG_4805

back at campsite, just a lot of hanging out. hazel and her dorito pile.
IMG_4811

the playground is just past the beach, so i can stroll over and sit with a book and keep an eye on my kiddos. mostly the tiny one.
IMG_4813

during my nightly research sessions, i discovered that we had free admission to the springfield science museums, about 45 minutes away. so, on friday, that’s just what we did. in the courtyard of the museums, there’s a dr. seuss sculpture garden, so that was our first stop….
IMG_4815

oh the places you’ll go…
IMG_4819

the doc and the cat and the lid kids.
IMG_4822

goodhearted moose.
IMG_4824

sam i am and anna banana.
IMG_4825

thing 1 and thing 2 and thing anna.
IMG_4826

finally, we were ready for the first museum. as we made our way to the front desk, we were redirected to a little set-up outside, where it was clear there was something special going on. we soon found out that it was “free friday” and admission to the museums was free. for everyone. bleh. we seriously try to avoid the masses, but it was too late now. we pressed on.

the first thing to great us in the science museum was this guy.
IMG_4833

i’ll spare you a million pics of another science museum, mostly because i didn’t take many…

but this was cool. some blown glass. it was in the planets/minerals/earth science-y area.
IMG_4835

the girls, picking out their favorite rock.
IMG_4836

another (goodhearted?) moose.
IMG_4839

after the science museum, we were off to the history museum. they both were pretty small, but the history museum was definitely not super exciting for my kiddos. we strolled through the old time-y cars. and some motorcycles.
IMG_4850

but the highlight was the hasbro game exhibit.
giant simon game.
IMG_4854

a giant marble run, that runs off kid energy.
IMG_4856

giant game of life spinner.
IMG_4858

after we had seen enough science and history, we made our way back through the seuss garden, where we stopped for a pic with the lorax (he was busy on our first pass through).
IMG_4862

we attempted to find a restaurant before leaving the city, but nothing seemed particularly kid friendly. so, we started to head back, and hopped off at an exit that boasted some fast food establishments. as i looked on my map, a restaurant called ‘eat’ popped up with tons of great reviews, so we decided to give it a go. it was this tiny little building on the corner of a very run down section of still-maybe-springfield-but-i’m-not-sure.
IMG_4866

the reviews were correct. my food was sooooo good. i think this is called the big beef. the kids got huge hamburgers, fries, and a drink for $5! i’m so glad we didn’t go to mcdonalds.
IMG_4873

friday night was low-key. some frog catching.
IMG_4882

a campfire and s’mores.
IMG_4884

we spent the weekend around the site. the whole dynamic of this campground changes on the weekend. there are parties everywhere. one site, across the lake, had a bounce house set up! a package came from my mom, containing a bunch of toys to keep the kiddos busy. by far, the favorite is this stomp rocket.
IMG_4895

hazel even gets in on the action. also. this kid. he wanders over unsupervised quite a bit. with one shoe.
IMG_4896

also in the package, a pogo stick. if it can be called a stick. anna is a fan. it didn’t take long for the kids to start using the pogo stick to jump onto the stomp rocket. because of course they would.
IMG_4900

anna’s favorite gift was this rainbow loom. she has made about 20 bracelets so far. the irony is that we had one before we sold everything to hit the road. no one played with it. (in her defense, it was a little hard for her to use a year ago).
IMG_4904

on sunday night, we finally escaped the campground for a bit, to get some dinner. more pizza and spaghetti of course. we are nothing if not predictable.
IMG_4912

my chicken parm sub grinder.
IMG_4913

we also picked up some new playdoh. it doesn’t last long around here. the kids LOVE it. hazel tends to mix it all together. and anything dropped onto the floor becomes sandy and gross. with a fresh set of colors at their disposal, the kids got very creative.

anna transformed one of hazel’s trains into a princess anna.
IMG_4925

and isaac recreated anna, elsa and olaf.
C5080E59-2394-402E-BAD7-7E2635DD9D9E

finally, on monday night, we drove to providence to pick up a very jet-lagged husband/dad, and my time as a stay-at-home single mom on the road was over. 🙂

the rambling road show , , , , , , , , , ,