Newport News, VA

Awhhh, relief.  The train was far away now (though the site of tracks or sounds of clacks brings bad feelings inside of me still). Here,the giant state park was practically our own, The mosquitoes and spiders fought us for it but we came out on top. They didn’t know about the fairy gardens, civil war earthworks, squirrels, deer and colonial mushrooms on our side.

The mossy brown picnic table sent getting a tablecloth to the top of the list.  Wanting something durable but not dull Dave and I came up with the idea to go ahead and buy the stiff white tablecloth along with some colorful sharpie markers to go with it. The kids were told they could draw whatever they wanted with just a few rules:  only 1 ugly picture and nothing huge.  Oh, and after some tears we added the rule that you can’t draw on or add to someone elses picture.

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While training for the Battlefield half marathon Dave and I were so surprised to see signs for protected civil war earthworks just right off the trail a few feet.  Battlefields are sacred ground.  We brought the kids to see them and knowing not to step on the mounds, we carefully walked on a fallen tree trunk to get a better look.  We talked with the kids about how nobody puts a shovel on their wall, they most likely choose a gun to remember the wars.  But the consistent physical labor of doing hard work was key to their success.  It was another real-life example that by small and simple things great things are brought to pass.

pics –  finishing our travel bingo and cashing in at Sonic, Finding so many turtles in the water that appears so still, Dad trying to get water into Ollie’s mouth and Peaches going for it instead, celebrating reading Charlottes Web, Simon and Jack making a canoe like they learned from the Indians in Jamestown, 

You know how I told you about how the spiders and mosquitos fought to be king of the rock? I failed to mention one other group of competitors. These ones were sly and we were unaware. And truth be told, they did dominate for at least one full, exhausting day. Ticks.

Ollie kept pulling little black bugs off of Peaches, the dog. We didn’t know what they were and I started searching online because whatever is on Peaches is on beds and floors and everywhere in our travel trailer. At first I didn’t think they were ticks because they didn’t look typical to me. Then I learned about deer ticks and tick larvae and that we better exterminate quickly.

pics – We all felt like the hotel was so roomy.  It even included a kitchenette with a full-size fridge and a dishwasher – something our kids are drooling over right about now. We were also amused and confused by the pool rules of “no playing.” 

It was a Sunday – the same Sunday I threw my back out doing regular exercise. The thought of pulling everything apart to clean and wash was impossible. Luckily Dave led the Buer team effort to get all the bedding washed while he went for supplies and I cut Peaches hair off as short as I could while Ollie held her (and maybe an angel, she held unusually still).

After laundry, spraying the exterior and powdering the interior and scrubbing Peaches clean we were exhausted and grossed out. Spending the night in a room that didn’t smell like citronella, that had beds already made and breakfast and swimming in the morning was what we needed. We checked into a hotel for the night and it was so nice… and felt so big.

It’s tempting to eat out when at the end of the day 7 people are hungry and I’m so tired. In an answer to my prayers about “show me the way, or help me know what not to do” certain things started to fall into place.  One of them was the kids needed responsibility and ownership at mealtime.  When creating a grocery list I quickly wrote a day of the week on each of my fingers then asked each of our 5 kids to choose a finger.  Whatever day was written on that finger was their day to plan and make dinner (with help).

They got excited and I let them pick whatever they wanted to make.  This was liberating to them because we normally eat foods that aren’t typically kid favorites like hot dogs and mac’n’cheese.  This proved to be so helpful because if we were out and about sight-seeing near dinner time, they were anxious to get home to make their meal instead of begging to go out.  The other thing they have realized is they don’t have to do dishes on their meal night – double bonus!

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Sunday morning, getting ready for church.  Dad helping Sy get scriptures on his phone and helping Jack iron.

I have felt so much more support at dinner-time and that one idea has lightened my load. He showed me the way.

Ready or not, life keeps moving and our responsibilities may seem impossible to meet, but if we go to Him he will show us the way or show us what not to do.  Doing it “all” is a myth which if pursued can never be satisfied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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