Peach Park, AL

A couple of weeks ago we went on another fun adventure. Kevin, Crystal and the kiddos invited us to meet up with them at Peach Park. I was excited to see that this place was only about 30 mins from Montgomery. The weather looked like it was going to be perfect and we are pretty free with our Sundays besides RE and Mass.

The drive up was pretty easy. I took the normal approach of not telling the kids where we were going or who would be there. They were very excited to see our friends. Kevin, Crystal and their kiddos are always a fun bunch to be around. We explored the garden with it’s cute pond, swings, and giant peach sculpture. When there are 10 kids around it doesn’t take long before there’s running and laughing going on. After the kids short lived exploration of the garden we headed to the playground. There is a really kewl barn area with slides, places to hide and climb. The kids tried out every piece of playground equipment there before complaining about being thristy or needing a bathroom break.

That’s when we decided it was time for a trip to the bathrooms/water fountain. Then all 14 of us got in line for a scoop of ice cream. I chose peach cheesecake because well cheesecake. The kids all scarfed down their ice cream before heading back to the water fountain for another drink of water. Then off to play again in the garden or swing on the swings. George sat back and did his normal thing of being the quiet guy while Kevin, Crystal, and I sat and chatted about what the kids had been up to..

We couldn’t stay too long because George had work in the morning and we had school. I like to stick to our schedule. So we said goodbye to our friends with plans to get together again soon. It was a fun afternoon at a peach themed park.

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Visiting OK and our Framily

The adjustment of living in Alabama hasn’t come as easy as we thought but I think that has to do with our move 4 years ago from Oklahoma. DC was a hard place to live and knowing it was temporary made it harder. We had lots of friends move away and move on. We have been alot more leary when it comes to making friends because I think we don’t want to get too attached. The more you move around the harder it seems to get.

We received an invitation to a friends surprise birthday party. When I first saw it I thought man how badly do I want to go to OK to see our church family. I really thought we wouldn’t have the funds to make such a short trip. I told George thinking he would say no, I would be sad and have to let it go. But to my surprise he said “Yes , let’s go. We miss our friends dearly and it would be really great to see them all.”

The drive up and over to OK went better than expected. Our kiddos have spent alot of time in the car traveling but you just never know how they are going to react. We did our best to get a good 2-3 hours in between each stop. For lunch we made sure to find an area where the kids could get out and run around. Rest areas really are becoming fewer and further between each one. The kids were easily entertained by Archie’s Weird Mysteries and Dungeons & Dragons the animated series. The also spent some time playing I spy or Hangman. The kids are great little travelers.

We arrived in Oklahoma on Friday night after a long 12+ hours in the car. We were happily welcomed by our really good friends and the kids Godparents, Larry and Jill plus their 5 kiddos. They were very generous to share their home with the 8 of us for the few days we visited. The also made us some really delicious meals. 11 kids plus 4 adults and grandpa made for a house full of fun.

Saturday, Duke had the fun opportunity to do something I’m sure he will be talking about for years. Duke became fascinated with lizards when we moved to Alabama. He has grown to love them so much that he talks to everyone we know here including the librarian and our neighbors about lizards. His God-Father, Larry took him to see the lizards. By lizards I mean lots of different types of lizards, all shapes and sizes. He was able to touch and even hold some of the lizards. He also got to hold a cockroach that made him chuckle as it climbed up his arm. Duke was very happy to share his love with his God-Father.

Saturday Night, We all headed to the 50th surprise birthday party of a very good friend of ours, Frank. We decided to keep our visit a secret just in case something came up last minute. Our secret was a welcome surprise for everyone. We received many hugs and handshakes. It felt like going home. We ate some delicious food and chatted with some awesome people. We toasted our dear friend Frank and his 50 years with many more to come. The kids ran around and played with friends they hadn’t seen in years. It felt just like the old days when we lived in Oklahoma. The boys started to get a little cranky near the end so we decided to head back to Larry and Jill’s house.

The next morning we woke up alot earlier than normal . Well, it at least felt like it. We slowly woke the kids up and told them to get dressed. We are very much a military family in that we are almost always 15 minutes early for everything. If we are late to anything I can promise theres a story, Anyways, St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church is where some pretty important events happened. After Our Lady of Fatima Church was closed we found a great church family at St. Teresa’s. It’s where I was confirmed into the Catholic Church and Pooh was Baptized. It’s also where I had the fun honor of teaching crafts for Vacation Bible School and made some really great friends. I am very blessed to know so many amazing okies and to have been a part of a very active parish.

A little later that afternoon when went to a pool party at Frank and Joelle’s. The kids had a blast throwing water balloons, splashing around in the pool, and running around with their friends. We had an amazing buffet of food for lunch. It was a good afternoon spent with some pretty amazing people.

We spent the rest of our Sunday with Larry and Jill plus kiddos. We let the kids stay up as long as they wanted. I just figured they would spend the next day sleeping in the car. Duke and his buddy spent their time hunting and rehoming toads. Pooh and Baby Kermit built many Lego creations. The girls did make overs and dressed up. George went to bed early so he would be well rested for the drive home while I stayed up to chat with Larry and Jill whom I knew I would miss as soon as we left.

The trip home was about the same as the drive to Oklahoma. Knowing that the kids can handle a long car ride gives me alot of hope for where we can go exploring in the future. It was a really short trip to Oklahoma but I’m really glad we went.

 

 

The Montgomery Zoo

Last week we took the kiddos to our local zoo in Montgomery. George found out about a Military Appreciation day which meant free admission and lunch. Money has been a little tight since our move so this was a great opportunity get out of the house and the kids to run around.

Since we have wrapped up school for the next couple months the kids have been sleeping in which makes for an almost impossible task of trying to get to something when it opens. The kids are usually pretty good about it but they are becoming quite the night owls and getting up just isn’t fun. After some coaxing we were able to get out the door and make it to the zoo shortly after its opening.

I kept to my normal of MO of not telling them but Hubby let the cat out of the bag. The kids were pretty excited as they all have their favorite animals. The biggest being Duke who has quickly fallen in love with every lizard he sees. Plus they really do love exploring somewhere new. It does help a little that they have grown to appreciate the word FREE!

The zoo has an amazing playground with a petting zoo. There were plenty of kids coming and going. The boys ran around trying to climb on everything while the girls helped other kids play on different parts of the equipment. George even jumped into helping and praise was given for his efforts. They kids played for a while until they realized it was just too hot. The zoo was great in providing cups as well as a cooler of water for its patrons.

The zoo also has a museum. The Mann Museum reminded me alot of the Anniston Museum of Natural History. The kids were able to see taxidermy animals set in natural habitats. The also had a fun addition of a touch zone with different types of furs. The museum staff is very proud of the fact the Smithsonian has asked for the collection. A pretty big accolade for a museum to be wanted by the Smithsonian. The kids walked around and ohh’d and ahh’d at all the animals until they were ready to go. It was nice to get out of the sun for a little while but they kids were starting to get tired.

After a very hot and tiring day at the zoo I thought it would be a great idea to stop at the splashpad. The kids loved this idea and happily enjoyed a chance to cool off. They ran around until they got tired again and had a snack before we headed home. A day full of fun was exactly what we all needed.

 

Spectre

Monday Night we watched the movie Big Fish. We had finished the book just in time to make plans to visit the town Spectre during our fun week. This was a huge deal for me because I really love the movie Big Fish. Before moving to the Montgomery area it was one of the really fun things that we found that I got the most excited about visiting. The kids speculated about whether the fish was real not. Bubbles and Duke seemed to enjoy the book and movie the most. I think secretly Pippi and Jem liked both too.

Tuesday we made arrangements to visit Spectre. We packed a picnic and spent the morning just enjoying the quiet abandoned Spectre.I have grown to love surprising the kids with where our next adventure will be. When we pulled up to the gate the kids weren’t sure yet. They read the sign that said Big Fish and most of them got really excited. The short drive to the island reminded me so much of the movie it was amazing. Once we found the entrance to the town the kids were more excited. Big Fish was never one of George’s favorite movies but it was fun to hear him talk the kids through where we were in the movie. It was pretty kewl to be where a movie was filmed. The kids all looked up to see if the shoes were hanging on the line near the Spectre sign. Funny thing is some people have made it a point to add shoes. We walked done main street looking in all of the buildings and houses. It was so kewl to say this is where Ewan McGregor was in the Mayor’s house. Under the church live a family of goats. The kids laughed so much hearing the goats cry. Most of the buildings are falling apart. The couple that own the island have been working to repair what they can.

We explored more of the island and found Jenny’s house from the movie. Well not her house as it is gone but the pillars from her house. We also found a really kewl treehouse you can rent for events and such. The walk around the island was nice. There were a few people camping or fishing on the island. I reminded the kids that Jackson Lake Island was the second island we have visited. I want to make it my new favorite place not just because of the movie Big Fish but because of how quiet and beautiful it is out there. Please take the opportunity to visit. Donate to restoring and upkeep. No vandalizing. And enjoy the joy that Edward Bloom must have felt when he found Spectre.

That night we were very proud to watch Pippi, Jem, and Bubbles earn some badges at their American Heritage Girls Badge Ceremony. Pippi earned her Joining badge as well as crossed over to join the next level which is Patriots. Jem earned her Joining badge, Stick shifts, and Let’s talk. Bubbles earned her Joining badge and 7c’s. The three girls have worked very hard the past couple of months to earn just those few patches. They are hoping to earn more this summer to catch up with their new friends.

 

 

Enlisted Heritage Hall

We recently wrapped up our final days of school. I thought with the break from the move and not taking any breaks since then we could use one. I didn’t plan for a week but George was able to take a week off from work. My initial plan was just to do a few fun educational things at home but since George took a week I wanted to make the most of it. On Monday, we decided to visit the Enlisted Heritage Hall before lunch.

The Enlisted Heritage Hall is located on Gunter AFB. The museum is filled with many great pictures,displays,and videos. George talked to the older four about some key parts of Air Force history while I did my best to keep up with Baby Kermit and Pooh. The kids really seemed to enjoy the growing museum. I was the most amused by the pictures of those who have served as enlisted airman. It was kewl to see Chuck Norris and Jimmy Stewart to name a few. We probably could have hung out longer but the kids had their fill of history. Outside there are several memorials, statutes and a few static displays. It’s an amazing tribute to the Enlisted side of the Air Force. It always makes me so proud to be able to add my name to the list of those who have served our country.

After lunch we visited our library to pick up some movies and books for the week. The kids read books so fast. Bubbles always complains about finishing her 5-6 books in 3 days and having nothing to read. For the first time in forever I had to make Jem get some books to help fight her boredom. The kids played at the playground nearby until little boys had red faces. We went home to cool down in the A/C with delicious Root Beer floats.