Vulcan Park, AL

Hi there! so a little context to Jem’s blog post. That day we went to pick up the grandparents from the airport in Birmingham, AL. We decided to spend the day in Birmingham so that we could see a drive through light display before heading back to Montgomery. We also stopped by Red Mountain Park for a short visit.

-Kim

Dad decided that he was gonna take Grandpa, Grandma, and us to Vulcan park. (I think it wasn’t even a park. Where was the playground?). I don’t know what it cost but dad got some percent off because he is military (I think grandpa was in the military too). We got a list of what we had to find and questions we had to answer. A scavenger hunt. Most of the stuff was in the museum so we went in there first. It talked about how steel was made, the convention fair (You know the one with the giant chocolate Statue of Liberty?), and how Vulcan was made. I could explain how long it took and what was on the list but I’m not. There was a small gift shop and I looked at this book called the Ghost in the Saw Mill (if you look on the web for it, you won’t find it). We eventually got bored and headed up to the tower with Vulcan on top. (Did you know he’s the “god” of blacksmiths?) When we were on the top, the wind messed up my hair. At least my glasses didn’t fall off. And of course we left.

P.s. I threw a pencil down from way up there:/

-Jem

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Ave Maria Grotto, AL

The ride to Cullman, AL seemed like it would go on forever. I am thankful that my kiddos are so willing to take on traveling. From what I experienced while sitting in the very back row of our 12 passenger van its always very bumpy. During the trip the kids and I kept ourselves entertained with knitting, reading, and interesting conversation. I guess it’s a good thing I spend my entire day with them or I might have struggled with spending so much extra time with them.

We arrived at the Grotto around lunch time. There were picnic tables located near the entrance. For lunch we had PB&J rollups, Ham and cheese rollups, apples, popcorn, pretzels, and juice. It was a really cold day for Alabama so the kids walked around and ate to keep themselves warm. We ate more quickly than usual hoping to seek shelter in the gift shop.

We spent almost an hour exploring the gift shop. It was full of Catholic everything. Most Catholic churches in our area have their own small Catholic store but nothing like what was in the Ave Maria Grotto’s gift shop. I wanted to buy everything. I mean everything even the duplicates. We bought some crucifixes for Pippi to continue her love of making Rosaries and I got a new scapular as mine had started to cause some skin irritation.

We paid for admission and headed outside. The grotto is known as Jerusalem in Miniature. It contains over 100 reproductions of famous buildings. The first thing you see is a beautiful enclosure with the Nativity inside. It’s amazing how during the Christmas season we take more time to notice the details in Nativity scenes.

We tried our best to get the boys to slow down and look at everything instead of running. It really is just part of their nature. The kids all had fun looking at the mini versions of different churches, buildings and shrines. Duke even managed to find a lizard condo. While Baby Kermit and Pooh thought the chipmunk crossing was interesting.

The buildings were beautifully constructed. It’s amazing to think a monk, Brother Joseph Zoetl constructed most of the structures. I love his creative spirit. He used my new favorite word: resourcefulness to accomplish such an amazing place. There is a pamphlet that tells you about each structure and a little history. My favorite of course being the Nativity.

It is definitely one of those places that I think you can visit multiple times and find things you didn’t notice the first time. If you live in or near Alabama or your just traveling though this is a great place to visit. And if you seem some of the Monks don’t be afraid to chat with them. They are very friendly. Grandpa and Bubbles had a nice chat with one of them that made the trip more special for them both.

 

Nature Plex 1.0 and Survival Day

One day, Mom decided to take us to this nature place called Nature Plex. It was free because Dad is military. We went inside and looked around. The ceiling was so huge that if you were 6Ft and you grew 3 more Ft you would still fit in the building.

The first place was this room with educational stuff in it. (Mom don’t read the 2 sentences after this) To tell the true I thought it was the bathroom. When I finally decided it wasn’t, I walked in. I looked and Voilà Magical. There was a Giant bee hive and some frog tanks, etc. I played with some dead animal skins and Then Mom said some about studying some facts, Meh. Mom also took some pictures of me with trash pandas (They were dead but not dead?). There was also a bat cave (Not a real one) It had a TV playing a video about Bat and the white-nose syndrome. (White-nose syndrome is an emerging disease in the USA and Canada, to save the bats, scientists must quickly find the disease’s weakness. I got this info from a website) Then we went in the store. There was a racoon hat (*Sigh*), a stick with an animal head on it, Etc. 20 minutes later and we were watching a movie called Planet Earth Pole to pole. It was about Penguins, and Polar bears surviving and a hyena chasing impalas.

Then we went outside and walked some paths. We didn’t even get lost once (Not). There were trees, trees, grass, a stinkbug(P.U.), a worm, trees, and grass. Pippi had hit me with her jacket so I asked mom if my face was red and She pinched on the cheek. It hurt (Meany). Then she said “It’s red now.” So I walked away. We also saw a hairy caterpillar (I’m going to exaggerate now). Mom then screamed so loud that it scared away all the birds. “I hate hairy ones” she said. Then she ran away really fast.

We went to the Natureplex a second time the next week for Survival Day. The first thing that we did was fire starting class. Mr. Matt (that’s what he said his name was) told us if you were going on a hike and you knew you weren’t gonna get back in time then you should start getting wood. First start with your tender: It’s like a small stick, kindling is a little bit bigger, and then fuel, is like a log. He showed us two diffident ways to light (P.s. don’t try that stuff on TV. It takes too much energy).

After that we did a compass course,  you followed whatever direction was on your sheet. Me and Pippi had a team and Bubbles and Duke had a team. There was flags and each flag had letters on them. Example Below. When you go to the right flags it makes a word, that’s why it says Water. Does that confuse you?

Course 1

NW         W

N          a

E           t

NE        e

W         r

After that we did an archery course. I thought archery was gonna be easy but there were so many rules that it sounded stupid and was too hard. They were gonna do  kayaking  but we didn’t want to stay. We thought it was gonna rain and we were tired. Plus I was really hungry. THE END

-Jem

 

Now on to the critic reviews

Bubbles: 8 stars “I really liked that they were teaching other people how to survive.”

Duke: 10 stars “It was silly especially the toads and lizards.”

Pippi:9 stars “It would have been better with a picnic. I loved archery.”

Me: 9 stars “It was fun! I liked walking but archery was lame.”

Mom: 8 stars ” I really enjoyed the hike in the woods. The best part is that they have great events that are included with admission.”

The amazing performance of Mistletoe

One Thursday night there was a ballet performance at Davis theater in Montgomery. We got free tickets because my dad is military. When we got there, we started walking to the Davis Theater.  It was super cold!

When we got to Davis theater dad showed them his id because it was his military id. When we sat down I looked around it was beautiful inside. The stage was huge too. When we went to take are seats (we didn’t have one reserved) we found good ones, it was in the middle row.

I remember still, still, still is when people laid on the floor and danced! The second that I remember is want a hippo for Christmas. A person dressed as a hippo came out! Duke, pooh and baby Kermit all laughed at it. My favorite was I saw three ships. The most important part was when my Bff came in! she is absolutely AMAZING! She was a baker and clown. She was the lead baker.

Anyway, the nutcracker part had too much dancing at one time. Baby Kermit, pooh, duke and I were getting bored. But I know they worked hard I appreciate them working hard to put on the show. I love all the work they put in it. I hope to go there again! And that they never stop.

By Bubbles

P.s.  keep up the good work BYE!!

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Halloween Events 2017

The first event we went to was Home Depot’s Halloween town. It was on the side of Home Depot’s parking lot. Baby Kermit got a Spiderman outfit for his birthday and wanted to wear that. Pooh also got an outfit for his birthday, Batman. That’s what he decided to wear. Duke was lumberjack with a homemade axe and a painted-on beard. Bubbles was a pop star with a homemade microphone (a ball painted gold and hot glued to a toilet paper roll). Jem was a butterfly without antenna. I was Batgirl with a blanket for a cape and a mask. Dad wore the same thing he wore last year, (Cowboy/bandit) but at least he dressed up 😊.

They had games in the small sheds on the side, the sheds were decorated with bats, skeletons, ghost, etc. The games were fake pumpkin toss, pop a pumpkin, a nerf dart toss, and witches hat ring toss. They had a few bouncy houses set up in part of the parking lot. There was also haunted house (it was in a shed) it was not very scary even Baby Kermit and Pooh went inside. Inside was kind of like a maze but there was only one way to go. They had regular decorations that you may find at a haunted house like a cloaked being and a jumping spider. Someone gave us candy on our way out of the haunted house. We ate hot dogs, we made a craft.  There was a hay ride that when near the garden supplies. They set up the kind of decorations you can buy at stores. My favorite one was the werewolf that they put behind fake trees. I thought it was pretty well done!

Another event we attend was Trick or Treating at Bass Pro Shop. We all dressed up as pirates (except Bubbles and mom, mom was a gypsy, Bubbles was a mermaid). Months before we went shopping at thrift stores to get stuff for our costumes. Jem made a telescope (which was made out of a kind of Pringles container). We trick or treated at departments in Bass Pro Shop. We got our picture taken, the background was based off of the Great Pumpkin Charlie brown. There was a bean bag toss and they gave us Halloween hats. There was a pumpkin craft we took it home and made it. We had lots of fun there!

On Sunday we had a Fall festival at our church. A few days before the festival we got together with some of our friends to make/put together the games. Jem, me and a friend worked on the fishing game. We found a big box and taped a blue table cloth then we put sea creature stickers on it. The younger four (Duke, Bubbles, Pooh and Baby Kermit) and some friends made fake turkey legs out of brown and white paper bags. They stuffed them with newspaper and added some rocks, used glow necklaces as rings. The other games we had were a pumpkin ring toss, scavenger hunt, bean bag toss, pumpkin bowling and a cookie walk (it is like a cake walk but with cookies). I was lucky to be in charge of the face painting. I painted pumpkins, spider web, flowers and a car. We all had fun!

The day before Halloween, we attended a Trick or Treat/Halloween party at my Dad’s work. My Dad works on Maxwell-Gunter AFB. This was a special party just for the kids. We trick or treated at the decorated offices. Duke and Bubbles kept repeating Trick or treat smell my feet (which stink, Bubbles doesn’t wear socks most of the time) give me something good to eat. We went to some kind of meeting room. There we decorated Styrofoam pumpkins in teams of two (Jem and Baby Kermit, me and Pooh, Duke and Bubbles). Baby Kermit’s pumpkin was a cat, Pooh’s was a mummy, Duke said his looked like dad. Then there was a costume contest. A guy dressed up as a pilot from a video game won first place and a boy dressed up as a blue Power Ranger won second. We ate deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, some pudding, cookies and a cat litter box cake. My favorite dish was the cat litter box cake.

On Halloween before we gave out candy, we fixed our outdoor decoration which were a scarecrow, a spider web, a lit-up Boo sign and some fake pumpkins. We took turns giving out candy while we watched the Book of Life. We watched the Book of Life because November 2 is the Day of the Dead. There weren’t a whole lot of kids about 10-15. I’m kind of sad we didn’t go trick or treating ☹.

I hope you had a Happy Halloween!

If you read it all you earn 20 Brownie points!

*special thanks to all the people who set up the events*

Pippi