our last days in a house.

i was going to try to categorize this blog into several different blogs. one for “prepping to move out”, one for “easter eggs”, one for “hazel pottytrains”…. but, i’m just going to glob it all together here, and be all caught up, and move on with my life…

here goes…

on the night we arrived home, the kids and i were sooo happy to be, well, HOME. a big cozy couch. so much space. of course, a dance party broke out. (sorry for the blurry pic. this was the best i could get).
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(i won’t lie, i was so glad to be home. but, it wasn’t long before i started to feel overwhelmed by all of our STUFF. messes everywhere. toys with little parts, bits of play-doh, scraps of paper with notes/art scribbled on them, etcetera and so on.)

our first morning in the house. a delicious breakfast. cooked in a normal sized kitchen.
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we got home in time for derek to head out to “carolina con” with some of his computer nerd friends. so, we obviously set up theatre seating in the living room and watched frozen. while dressed as frozen characters.
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we also got home just in time to see some old friends passing through town. good times.
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this crazyhead. talks to her food. she put these olives on her fingers and then told me “these are my best friends”…
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even though we were attempting to purge everything we own, i still thought a megathrift trip was a good plan. we can always use good clothes. and i DID find some extra sheets and some brand new rain boots. but i’m pretty sure we aren’t welcome back after hazel ransacked the toy section and then followed me around the store like this:
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a post megathrift trip to dairio with my megathrift shopping counterparts.
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boy scouts. we took the boys to clean up around lewisville elementary school. they did a fantastic job.
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during our epic purge, we tested out different family games with the kids to see if they would make the cut or not. one such game was headbandz. our kids love it. well, the older kidz. hazel is too young. BUT she’s old enough to recognize the pictures on everyone headband and blurt them out repeatedly until the game is sufficiently ruined.
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another part of the purge. LEGOS. we have/had so. many. legos. isaac had dozens of kits stored away in his room. in little baggies. in a carefully labeled storage shelf. or so we thought. as i began to pull out kits and reassemble them to make sure they were complete to either sell or store, i quickly realized a vital flaw in our organization system. isaac. each bag i opened was obviously missing pieces and contained many legos that clearly did not belong. and more times than not, there were other random items in the bags, like puzzle pieces, other figurines, money, and rocks. for DAYS, i worked on kits, digging in our loose lego bin for missing pieces. and when it was clear that a kit was all but lost, it was abandoned and emptied into the loose legos. the pile grew and grew. and anna took a nap on it.
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these are a few of the sets i hunted down pieces for, put together, and sold.
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during our time home, we had a really rough time with anna, regarding sleeping arrangements. well, really, just being away from me or an acceptable adult. it started with not wanting to stay in her room to sleep. we didn’t want to enforce some random rule that would just be changed once we moved back into the camper, but we also didn’t want to set a crazy precedent for the next however many weeks it would take to get on the road. so, we tried starting her in her room, but night after night, we found her in random spots. the time i found her in the hallway outside our room, fast asleep, was the saddest, i think.
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ike’s buddy from school came over to hang out one night. they minecrafted their little hearts out. and ate pizza. dude stuff.
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i was going to dedicate an entire post to hazel’s potty training. but she’s a third kid and we have a lot going on. so this is what she gets. i started potty training her one day, but hurt my back a few hours later, so gave up. a week later, we were back at it, and she instantaneously potty trained. she just got it. it was insane. no tears. no accidents. just “ok, got it. pee in here now. done.” (she has had a few accidents along the way, just none at first. and she’s actually having a rough time adjusting to camper life, but that potty IS pretty scary).
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we didn’t move hazel back into the crib, for the same reasons as anna. too stressful to transition, only to go back to co-sleeping once we are in the camper. she takes up a lot of bed for being such a tiny human.
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some random hazel art. she loves to draw potato people.
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anna. sleeping on the stairs. only mildly better than finding her on the hard floor.
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this guy came over for another play date. rumor has it, he has a new girlfriend, but still has a spot in his heart for anna. :)
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have you ever had one of those days where you make plans to do something and then everything feels stacked against you, like the universe is trying to get you to cancel the plans. then something happens, and you say outloud, “i knew it”… ?
we made plans to go to the park with a friend. but then derek took the car to the shop. so we decided to walk. but the stroller was in the car. we found a backup stroller. and it was like herding cats to get out the door. isaac was going to ride his scooter, but changed his plans at the last second to ride derek’s scooter. i almost told him no, but decided to just let him have at it and off we went to the park. about 1/4 mile in, there’s a big hill. isaac navigated it successfully. walked his bike back up to us, and took off again. faster this time. and then, in slow motion, he put is flipflopped foot down to gain even more speed, wobbled, and the scooter flew out from under him and he bounced down the pavement, leaving much of his skin behind.
there was much wailing. and drama. and we turned around and went back home to locate bandaids and ibuprofen.
we should have just canceled when derek took the car. i knew it.
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after many of the lego kits were complete, i even got ambitious and assembled as many minifigures as i could. it called for a lineup. (as i sit here typing this, there are fellow camper kids outside our camper, likely dismembering the figures i worked so hard on. oh, lego life.)
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here’s the “easter egg” section. our last easter egg coloring in front of the famous-in-my-circles blue wall.
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the final products.
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i sold a bunch of stuff to anna’s bff natalie’s mom. she brought her girls to collect the goods. my kids love her kids. (but anna hates pictures).
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more stair sleeping for my clingy middle child going through a crazy life transition.
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as the toys and furniture disappeared from our house, we had to find alternate evening activities with the kids. neighborhood walks did the trick. spreading weed seeds on neighbor’s yards was probably just what they were hoping for.
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this kid is crazy.
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hazel’s chocolate chip cookie eating aftermath. she picks out the chocolate chunks. and leaves the boring cookie in a nice littel pile for me.
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before we sold off all of my kitchen/baking items, anna and i baked up a batch of delicious cupcakes.
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play-doh. it buys me some time. but there’s usually a massive mess for me to clean up. so it’s not always worth it. until one of the kids makes something like this. frozen figurines, by ike.
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then, one day, anna learned to ride a bike. she said “this is my new favorite thing to do of all time!”
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ok. confession. i have done a TERRIBLE job at homeschooling the kids. isaac HATES it and makes life so miserable for us when we attempt anything school-ish, so during this transition i haven’t really pushed it. and anna was so far ahead in math and reads like a champ, i just figured she was good to go until next year. but i figured wrong. she sneaks her math workbook out and does pages in it at night. weirdo.
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went out to dinner to celebrate a friend. then for dessert. and this photobomb.
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during the purge, i came across these relics from my days as a teacher. math bucks. i had stacks and stacks of them. i gave them out for good behavior, good grades, and other random things. and the kids could use them to go the bathroom, buy pencils, or pay for homework passes. it was a lot of work, but i had no kids and all the time in the world. seems crazy and like a lifetime ago.
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well, after a few weeks of fighting it, we just moved anna into our bedroom. and ike soon followed. (he actually preferred the couch, but sometimes came into the room). she would set up shop, next to me, on the floor. she would read, write, and draw until well past her bedtime. one night, she decided to rearrange her art supplies. sigh.
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while trying to decide whether or not to bring the princess dresses, hazel tried one on. and then this:
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(we brought them).

finally, it was time to start packing the camper. all the toys and books would need to fit into these bins. more purging took place.
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while i emptied old bins and packed new bins, hazel took up residence in an old one.
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derek and i had a “date night”, consisting of a trip to lowes, for some new light fixtures, and some yard sale signs.
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while we prepped for a yard sale to sell off our last remaining items, and the painters made our house super duper neutral, derek’s mom brought over flowers to beautify the mailbox and add “curb appeal”. let’s call this homeschool for that day.
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our painters are AMAZING. really. the drywall looked fantastic when they were done. i’ll add a post with pics of our house when it’s all ready to list. it has been so crazy to see our house empty. very bittersweet.
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the yard sale. holy.moly. it was mayhem. and see that guy closest to the camera? he showed up at the crack of dawn (6:40am) to try to talk us out of all of our good stuff for cheap. derek and i both have a bad taste in our mouth after dealing with him (and he’s a pastor or a church!), but it’s over now. almost everything was sold. we made one run to goodwill and like that, our house was empty! (mostly).
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the night of the yard sale, we went to a friend’s house, where we were fed (burgers from the grill formerly known as “our grill”) and the kids ran around and acted crazy.
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and finally. a pic of the cute matchy girls. on our way to breakfast.
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so, that catches me ALLLLLL up.
now we are on to great adventures!!!!

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family easter mountain trip

during our time “home”, we took a trip up to the boone/blowing rock/banner elk mountain region over easter with derek’s parents.

our first stop, as usual, was the mast general store…
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on the way home, we decided to have some bbq at the peddlin’ pig. so good.
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then, it was time for an easter egg hunt.
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if the eggs weren’t enough candy, the next day was easter and the kids got soooo much more.  it was ridiculous.
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minion marshmallow on a stick.
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pig nose.
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multitasking.
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cute hazel.
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on monday, we packed up to head to a little hiking spot that has a great view of the lynn cove viaduct. unfortunately, it was closed. so, we drove along the blue ridge parkway for some views of the mountains.
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we wound up returning to the scene of our wedding (almost 13 years ago!) — the moses cone manor house. first, we went in to look around at the artisan stuff.
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then we walked around taking pictures. tons of pictures.
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we took this picture to recreate a famous picture from my wedding. even though it was in mid may, it was sooooo cold that day. so as we waited for the festivities to begin, jake and i warmed up under the hand dryer in the girls bathroom. this time, it wasn’t cold, but we pretended, and it was anna’s turn.
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we found a little loop to hike and decided to make a go of it.

some hiking selfies.
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ike dabbled in some photography with the fancy camera.
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my three kiddos on the steps of the place where it all began.
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more scenery.
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back at the condo, the three kids piled in for an epic bubble bath.
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derek and i had a date night, while his parents kept the lidkids. we tried out coyote kitchen in boone. it was good-ish.
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the next day, we packed up and headed home.
the end. :)

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and we’re off!! (sort of)

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firstly, sorry for the lack of blogging since we returned from our trial run. our lives have been completely crazytown!! more on that later. the big news is:

we are officially moved into the camper and out of our house and sort of on the road. we are in a thousand trails campsite nearby, while we finish up the business of getting the house ready to put on the market. we actually left wednesday (it’s sunday now), but we are still settling into our new life. and driving back and forth for last minute appointments for us and the kids and to check on things at the house.

on may 2nd, we will drop the camper off to have the roof repaired for four days, while we stay at derek’s parents, and when it’s done, we will hit the road!

anyhow, now for the boring details of how we went from a house full of stuff to a camper full of stuff….

before we left for the trial run, i had already set up a facebook yard sale group where i could post items for my friends to have first dibs. when we got back, i continued that process, but it was tiring. between taking good pics, managing the status on facebook, and storing piles for pickup all over my house, it grew old. but slowly and surely, our house emptied out. i was putting together old lego sets, miraculously finding all of the pieces for hazel’s toys, and pawning off stuffed animals to people who came to get their stuff. i invited quilt friends to come have at some of my stash (never fear, i kept a LOT.)

when we got down to kitchen items, tools, craft supplies, home goods and furniture, we had a yard sale. and it was epic. when all was said and done, we had a few bins of stuff to store at my in laws. and a camper full of the bare necessities. and enough cash to cover all the paint and carpet and repairs to be done on our house to get it ready.

we had hoped to find someone who would move in as is. for cheap. without realtors. we would save the time and energy to do all that. they could save the cost of us making everything neutral. a win-win. but, nothing really materialized. a friend had a hookup for a home flipper crew. we called. they came and quoted it. we said yes. and suddenly everything became very real very fast. (they started the day before the yard sale).

so, we are officially a fulltime rv family. i’ll try to play blog catchup in the next few days. you know, the last 6 weeks or so of everyday life. and then, only epic adventures from the lidbom rambling road show!

the rambling road show

fort clinch state park

our last week of camping was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. (i’ve already mentioned this, i know, i know). but on one beautiful (albeit windy) day, we drove back into florida to amelia island to visit yet another historic fort a state park. :)

this time, it was fort clinch, and it was probably my favorite. i think, when “in season”, there are volunteers who actually run the camp like it would have been back in the day. not so much for us, but it was still cool.

anyhow. i don’t have much to say. just pictures.
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testing out the bunks.IMG_6936

not sure what to think of the toilets.IMG_6940

pretending to be scared of fake explosives.IMG_6942

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hazel insisted on climbing every narrow spiral staircase we came upon.IMG_6946

windy views from the bastions(?).IMG_6948

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it was not a super cooperative day for the lid kid three in regards to photos.IMG_6955

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go to the light.IMG_6962

fort selfie with me cropped out. :)IMG_6964

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another attempt at a group photo.  another failed attempt.IMG_6967

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as good as it gets.IMG_1981

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isaac thought every room was the prison.  but i think this one actually was.IMG_2007

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draw bridge.IMG_2024

on the way back through the park, we stopped to see this lighthouse.  we later attempted to  drive to it, but as best i can tell, it’s just kind of in the woods in someone’s backyard.  IMG_2026

after lunch (which was quite an endeavor in itself – we drove to the historic district. walked and walked and walked. attempted to sit at the bar of a seafood restaurant but were told “no children at the bar”.  left.  tried a pizza place.  not open for lunch.  settled on mexican.  my fajitas had rosemary twigs in them.  fancy.  and then walked and walked and walked back to our car)… after lunch, we went to this park.IMG_6973

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the kiddos played their little hearts out, before i forced them to go back home because i was tired.  i’m the worst.

anyhow… that’s the last great adventure on our trial run for the lidbom rambling road show.  my posts will be much more boring until we take off again…

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the final week of the trial run.

we are home now.
we got home last saturday. it took a few days to actually unload everything, which includes this computer. so, i have a wee bit of catching up to do. but, since our last week was relatively uneventful, i can wrap it up in two posts. this is the everyday life post.

we packed up in homosassa springs and made our way from there to woodbine, georgia, which is like 7 miles north of the florida border. it was a long trip. we broke it up with a stop in gainesville for some lunch. after a few gps fails to find a mexican restaurant, we ended up a pizza place that sells by the slice. and it was soooo good. ike and me.
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the anna baby with her massive slice.
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our final week was spent at “walkabout rv park”. it was a tiny little park, maybe 30 sites, owned by an australian couple. we were parked between a chicken coop and pig pen in the back and a basketball court and playground in the front. my kids were in heaven.
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there wasn’t a lot to do nearby, so our big outings mostly consisted of going to lunch or shopping. thankfully, there was a chick-fil-a nearby, so we hit that up for some bonus play area fun. this kid loves chick fil a. and loves to dip things. but she hates all sauces. so she dips on my behalf. :)
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the playground out front was more of an 80s playground than a 2010s play ground. some swings, a rope swing, a tire swing, some loose tires and some monkey bars. no padded safety to be found. the kids loved it. anna was addicted to the rope swing.
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and ike to the tire swing.
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the basketball court made for some good running around in puddles after some rain.
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until there was an injury, necessitating popsicles with magical healing elixirs.
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there was a little stretch where we were cooped up because of rain, so after a viewing of the peanuts movie, the kids watched the extras, which contained a “how to draw peanutes characters” video, so they got to work. anna was AMAZING.
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we all went out one night for mexican. we were a disaster. i’m glad the place was dead. but the nachos were fantastic.
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back at the ranch, anna was right at home catching chickens.
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after the discovery of her “how to draw” skills, we decided to look up some more videos youtube. there so many. and anna began cranking out artwork. she’s insane. this is “so cute princess anna”.
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the kids ate sooo many noodles. it was our go to meal for them for the trip. seriously. like 75% of the time, that’s what they had for dinner.
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also. when we went out to eat, they chose noodles. at least anna has sauce and that’s a vegetable, right?
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hazel just played. “look at my balloon!”. doofus.
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(side note: the above two pictures were from a restaurant called OPS in kingsland, ga. it was one of the worst dining experiences i’ve ever had. we sat for over ten minutes before being waited on. and that only happened because i got up and asked someone to take our order. then, i had to hunt down some silverware after our food came. and anna’s tiny serving of spaghetti and two ikea sized meatballs was $7!! on the lunch menu, it was listed as $5.25 for spaghetti with choice of meatballs, meat sauce, marinara, alfredo, etc. so, i guess it was $1.75 extra to have meatballs AND marinara. now that i think of it, i need to leave a nice yelp review. anyhow.)

the above lunch was on our last day. we packed up and got on the road on friday night and drove as far as we could. which included another restaurant stop in the middle of nowhere, where this kid caused havoc.
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we spent the night in a cracker barrel parking lot. woke up. ate cracker barrel. and headed back to the 336.
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oh. and this is what hazel’s hair looked like when we woke up. a long bath when we got home was certainly in order…
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we made it back home by 12:30 or so.
and that’s the end of our big little adventure.
(well except for my next post about visiting a(nother) fort).

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homosassa springs state park.

for the next leg of our journey, we were scheduled to stay at a campsite in homosassa, near homosassa springs state park. we settled in on friday night and woke up saturday and we were off to see the manatees…

here we are. with such high hopes about manatee viewing…
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on our stroll to the “fishbowl” at the actual spring, we saw some alligators.
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and the most gigantic hippo. with his splatter zone sign. hee.
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he seemed sad.
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looking for manatees…
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we could see a clump of blobs off in the distance, which were manatees, but even with binoculars, it wasn’t that great of a view. so, we pressed on. hoping for the best…
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off to the fishbowl. (isaac is a grump).
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down in the fishbowl (an underwater viewing area), we saw LOTS of fish.
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and the kids thought that it was cool.
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but no manatees.

on the walk back around to the rest of the park, we came upon these photo booths. the kids are always suckers for these, so we stopped for some fun. sadly, this was the closest we would get to a manatee.
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the non-manatee part of the park is pretty much a zoo. some flamingos. who liked to put on a choreographed squawking/dance show every few minutes or so.
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my people with the flamingos.
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some super patriotic bald eagles. i definitely laughed.
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the boy, maybe possibly learning something.
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bird onlookers.
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we circled back through the manatee area in the hopes that we might catch a glimpse. there was man talking at the area where they do medical stuff to the manatees, but we couldn’t get close enough to see the actual manatee. on our way out, anna and i saw the back side of one as it turned around, but it was fleeting and i’m not sure she even knew what she was looking at. anyhow, we made our way to a little indoor area just in time for an info session on alligators. the two older kids seemed very interested, so we stayed for that, while derek took hazel out to run around. i actually think they learned some stuff, so we counted it as school. they didn’t know it was a saturday. suckers.

anyhow, back at our site, i took a nap with hazel. and isaac played with legos. and derek and anna went fishing.
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then, derek hopped up on the camper to fix a tear in the rubber roof. he caught on something pulling out of fort de soto, and thankfully it has been sunny, so we weren’t in a giant hurry to patch it up. the less glamorous part of this whole thing. (that, and the poop tube).
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finally.
these are hazel’s legs.
the kid keeps falling. on the same spot.
and refuses a band aid.
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we only stayed two nights in homosassa, and woke up this morning and made the three hour trip to woodbine, georgia, where we are staying in the cutest little rv campground ever. it’s owned by an Australian couple and there’s only 30 spots. we are in the 31st spot, one that they don’t normally book, but hooked us up with anyways. it’s next to a little playground and behind us there are chickens and pigs!! the kids are in heaven. we are here for a week and then we will head to south carolina.

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last days in tampa bay.

when i last left you, we were waiting for my dad and cousin to arrive for dinner. well, they came. we cooked. kids played. everyone ate. a good time was had. the kiddos started out with peppa pig, but then the ipads and phones and such were busted out and everyone became a screen junkie…
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we saw my dad 5 or 6 times on this trip, but sadly, i didn’t get many photos. this is the best one. anna loves “old grampa joe”. :)
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the next day was beautiful and it was our last guaranteed day at fort de soto. we packed up early and headed for the beach.
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the kids helped me look for sand dollars and i was sure that the effort would be in vain, but we got a tip from a friendly shell collector and managed to find about 9 or 10 whole sand dollars. sadly, only five would make it back to our site. and not we are down to four, i think.
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after the sand dollar collection effort, we settled in for some sand castle construction. it was a nice and lazy relaxed beach morning, until hazel became a crazy person and we had to leave.
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we came back and had lunch and strolled off to the playground. now that i think about it, i think i made them do school, which is why isaac isn’t with me for this pic. he was finishing up the heavy workload i assigned him (#sarcasm).
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we were pretty lazy all afternoon, back and forth between the playground and around the site. my dad stopped out to see us after dinner and delivered this super sweet afghan that my gramma made (in the 70s, i’m pretty sure).
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the backstory. last year, when we came down for my gramma’s memorial service, we all were digging through a box of old pictures. i found this one of me and leslie and posted it to facebook and commented that i wish i had the afghan. my dad saw the post and (dragged it out of a storage box) and taunted me with a pic of it. so, to complete the fairy tale, he gifted it to me while we were in st. pete. and now it’s all mine. and still smells like my gramma’s house.
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anyyyyhooooo….

on friday morning, we woke up bright and early and attempted to score another few days at fort de soto campground, to no avail. so, the kids and i packed up for a day in st. pete and derek took the rv to find somewhere to work.

obviously, our first stop was back to rae rae’s for breakfast. so. so. good.
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i ordered the EXACT same thing that i had earlier in the week and it did not disappoint. (sausage gravy and biscuits with eggs and grits).
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then, we put our sciworks reciprocal membership to work and headed over to great explorations children’s museum. when we first arrived, there was a school group there and it was chaos. like lord of the flies. except for instead of NO parents, there were like 20 parents, standing off to the side on their phones. for everything we went to, we had to first clean up, then we could play. i was regretting the decision to go there, but at least it was free. then, a magical voice came over the intercom and summoned all the school kids into a special presentation, and they all threw whatever they were playing with up into the air and disappeared into a room. quietness fell upon the place and the three or four parents who were not with the group looked around at each other and desperation turned to joy and the place was ours. it took another 30 minutes or so for it to be restored to its natural state. the grocery store and the pizza station were the hardest hit. we wound up staying and playing until around 2:00.

there was this super cool display of knitted and crocheted underwater sea life…
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anna’s pizza.
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hazel and a “lizard that was trying to eat her”.
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the lidkids playing in the grocery store after the hurricane had passed through.
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there were lots of building stations.
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and a news room. anchorwoman anna.
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firewoman anna.
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firewoman hazel.
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isaac, the teacher. hazel lasted about four seconds. but it made a good picture. :)
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pizza chef hazel.
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veterinarian anna.
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after the museum, we decided some ice cream was in order. we asked for a recommendation from the museum workers and they sent us down the street to this little location, which we had actually been to last year, when the girls and i were here for my gramma’s memorial service. it was good then and it is good now. :)
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hazel is an absolute disaster.
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as we were loading up from ice cream, my dad texted that he was off work, so we met him for lunch. i know, i know. makes no sense. ok. let’s call it early dinner. since we didn’t have dinner later because we ate so much.
we went to mazzaro’s italian market. it was crazy busy. and a little stressful. but sooo delicious. isaac ate the most ginormous piece of pizza of all time. i think it was like 6x8x1.5″.
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i ate the most delicious turkey sub of all time. with sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
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i was too stuffed for my dessert, so i brought it home to eat later. and it was also delicious. i love cannoli.
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we said a last goodbye to my dad and since we were in the neighborhood, stopped by to see my stepdad’s sister (who let us set up camp at her place earlier in the week even though she wasn’t there). finally, we hopped on the road and headed north, to homosassa state park… and that is where my next tale will pick up…

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forts, piers, kites.

we had a busy day today. the weather was beautiful. and we managed to get some “school” in. and by school, i mean we visited the actual fort de soto and looked at some stuff under a microscope. i didn’t take pictures of the microscope observations, so these pics of fort de soto will have to do…

lid kids behind bars. version 1.0.
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cannon pic.
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i’ll be honest, the fort wasn’t super exciting. but the kids ran around and let me take pics, so it was all good. the girls took this super cutest picture of all time.
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aforementioned running around.
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isaac even read some of the info and quite possibly retained some of it. anna is sassy pants.
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lid kids behind bars. version 2.0.
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the view from the top of the fort. not too shabby.
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the view with my kids faces obstructing. also, not too shabby. (i’m biased).
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from the fort, we walked over to the fishing pier, for some extra exercise and extra breezes.
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lid kids posing on the pier. :)
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ok. so i debated which of the next two pics to post. so i’m posting both. one was taken with my iphone. and one with the fancy pants canon camera. can you tell which is which?
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ok. i’ll tell you. the first was the iphone. and the second was the canon. crazy. i kind of like the first better. anyhoooo….

we wandered down off the pier to walk along the beach back to where we parked. despite my cheery tone as i detail the rest of our adventure, this was a trying time for me. isaac was whining relentlessly about the possibility of just getting a hotdog at the snack bar and then hitting the beach for a bit. he would rather sit inside the camper all day long on his ipad. blerg.

anyhow, we checked out this broken up hunk of stuff. not sure if it’s part of the fort. either way, it made for some good and slightly dangerous exploring.
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cutest goonie.
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back at the camper, we had some lunch, went to the playground and had a delicious popsicle.
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while hazel napped, i took the older two kiddos back to the beach to attempt to fly a kite. (after we looked at stuff under the microscope).
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it was a success!! anna loved it.
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and then they fought over who got to hold it. fun.
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cutest kite flyer around.
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i was pretty sure the kite was going to pull her away. the wind was strong and she was struggling a little. hahaha.
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after realizing that kite flying is kind of boring, we walked up the beach a little and found some good stuff. like this crab leg.
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and whatever the heck this is.
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one more kite pic…
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anyhooooo… that was our day. i’m sitting around waiting for my dad and cousin and her two kiddos to get here for dinner. tomorrow is our last full day here, but we are hoping to score a few more days on friday morning when they open to book campsites for the weekend and next week. but, we will make the most of tomorrow, just in case. :)

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fort de soto, days one and two.

like i said in a previous post, i was really hoping to get into fort de soto campground for this leg of our trip, so when we managed to secure a monday – friday slot, i was super excited. we were barely pulled in, when i whisked the kiddos off to the beach…

here is a map of our location. the campsite is in the middle key, but the beach is along the west coast.
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the first day (afternoon) out was very overcast and a little chilly, but that didn’t stop us. the sand is like kinetic sand, so hazel likes me to make snowballs for her to smash.
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builders.
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sand man.
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i said it on instagram and i’ll say it here. the older two kids have been getting along way better than i could have imagined. they still bicker and get on each other’s nerves. but they used to barely play together and now they seem to actually enjoy each others company at times. i am pleasantly surprised.
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the crazel took awhile to warm up to the water. after an hour or so, i guess she realized it wasn’t going to come up to “get her”, and she was cool with running up and down the shallow part.
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isaac and hazel races.
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the water was so cold, i cannot even believe these two.
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more crazelnut. i can’t help myself.
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all of the lidkids. getting along. heart.
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our setup. i was hoping for a site on the water, but no such luck. the campsites here are very big and feel very secluded. like a little cocoon. i guess if we were close to water, i would have to worry about hazel all the time, so i shouldn’t complain. maybe next time…
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beach, day two.
i will admit. my kids formal education is taking a hit this week. we can always do a math workbook. right?

anyhoooo… the day was BEAUTIFUL. warm. sunny. perfect. (except the water was still icy cold).
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sand face.
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hazel and i went on a stroll and she found this old torched piece of wood and gave it to me and told me it was poop. so sweet.
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(a note about the torched wood and the burnt stumps and brush in all of the pics. i guess the beautiful pines that were there last year were 1. very invasive, 2. causing erosion, 3. not native to the area and 4. damaging some of the natural habitats. so they cut them down and will be replacing with trees native to the area. but for now, it looks terrible and sad.)

lunch. (with a flock of seagulls looking on.)
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castle construction. i had to keep hazel away. it is her life’s mission to smash sand castles.
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the finished product. ike said it was “fort de soto”.
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as soon as it was finished, isaac tranformed into a giant and began crushing it. and gave hazel the ok to use her god given talents to destroy it, as well.
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the kids weren’t in the water as much this time. maybe they are finally getting some sense.
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the gulf view was much prettier this day than the day before.
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we had been doing without sand toys for so long on this trip. charleston. saint augustine. the playground at the last place. indian rocks beach. and our first day at fort de soto. but, we finally picked some up at publix on the morning of this trip out and scored this sweet wagon for hazel. she got to work loading and hauling things. but it made for a WAAAAAYYYY longer walk to and from the car.
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happy beach lid kids.
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when we got back to the site, hazel napped, and the kids and i went to the playground. isaac ran off with a pack of crazy boys, so anna and i just chilled on the swing.
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our walk to the playground is along the water and on our way back, we happened upon this flock of some sort of not very afraid of people birds.
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and that brings us to today. we are planning to visit the fort part of fort de soto. and then head back to the beach, obviously. :)

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weekend layover in saint pete.

after our big day at legoland, we spent saturday morning packing up and cleaning and getting ready to head down the road to st. pete for the weekend. this leg of our trip was the only part that wasn’t mapped out in advance. we were hoping to get into fort de soto campground, but they had booked all of their “pre-booked” spots. they save 10% of their spots for people to get the week of. so, on friday, before we went to legoland, derek hopped online, but the best we could get was monday through friday. thankfully, my stepdad’s sister’s family lives in st. pete and they happen to have an rv that they happened to be driving out of town. so, we had a spot we could park for a few days while we waited to get into fort de soto. (it was also nice to hang inside the house a bit. there’s a fellow two year old in the house, so hazel was glad to give her toys a spin.)
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on the first night, we drove out to my dad’s girlfriend’s place for a cookout. i didn’t manage to take any pics, of course.

the next morning, we desperately needed some breakfast and had NO food in our camper, so we drove around for some delicious food and happened upon a little place called “rae rae’s”…. there was a wait, but it seemed worth it. we took our crew outside to wait. for the sake of everyone.
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the wait paid off. the food was SOOOO GOOOOD. seriously. derek, who is very literal, declared it the best breakfast of his life. seriously. i want to go back.
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we had a lazy day after that. derek worked on the mystery leak in our camper for a bit. i gave the girls a bath in a real tub. and did a load of laundry. we took a ride over to my uncle nick’s place to see him and his lovely girlfriend, joyce. it was kind of sad, with my grams and gramps both gone. while we were there, my dad texted that he was just hanging at his girlfriend’s house near indian rocks beach, if we wanted to come out and hit the beach. so, we did just that.
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we found lots of good nature specimens. a giant sponge.
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an even gianter clam.
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then we settled in for the sunset.
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not too shabby.
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sooooo… that’s it for our stay in saint pete.
we headed off to fort de soto park the next day and here i am.

stay tuned for waaaaay too many beach posts… :)

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