States visited: 49!

visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800

Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Father's Day

Father's Day was celebrated here on Monday as we didn't arrive back from camping until quite late.

We made Dave a cake and sang to him at lunchtime, he got a new mp3 player but the kids were far more interested in sharing the fudge cake!

Chincoteague: June 18-21

On Thursday afternoon, later then planned (big surprise!), we headed down to Chincoteague, close to Assateague island in Virginia/Maryland. We didn't arrive at the campground until late so Dave had the great challenge of putting up the big tent for Debbie in the dark - he managed fine, while we cowered in the camper, escaping the numerous mosquitoes! Our campsite location was beautiful, spacious and quiet, but buggy!

On Friday, we went onto Assateague island and the kids completed their Junior Range badge. This one had quite a number of things for them to fill in regarding different habitats, animals, ranger activities etc. The older ones were able to complete theirs without too much trouble, it was a little tougher for the younger ones but they managed. We attended a ranger program showcasing creatures from the aquarium. They were particularly fascinated by the crab, seahorse and sea star, touching and feeding them was the highlight. We popped over to the beach for lunch, it was very crowded and the seagulls were feeling greedy, Nate very nearly had his sandwich stolen, these birds certainly are NOT shy! Jasmine was none too keen initially to put her feet on the sand, quite amusing.

In the afternoon, we attended the ranger ceremony. It was so sweet, the kids were sworn in as official Junior Rangers, received a certificate and cloth badge for their blankets. We were very impressed. This was their first official homeschool JR program, we've begun, it counts!

On Saturday, the National Parks were having a free w/e so we were able to get onto the island without paying, there are other w/e's throughout the year when this is offered, you can check their site for parks and offers.

In total, we had 6 Stony Creek families camping this w/e, everyone else in tents. We all took the 1.5 mile hike on the woodland trail on Assateague, which took us out to the pony overlook - we saw the wild ponies but they were in the distance - and also the osprey nests. We had been warned that the trail is particularly buggy and mosquitoes were indeed out in abundance; we took, and used, plenty of OFF!

We headed to the beach for lunch and play (and rest in some cases, hello Jeff!). Apparently the water was great once you got in, the Dads were definitely having as much, if not more fun, than the kids: lots of body surfing in the waves. Unfortunately a storm rolled through mid-afternoon and emptied the beach at an alarming speed. Thankfully it cleared up pretty quickly and allowed us to have very yummy ice cream at The Island Creamery before heading back to the campground.

Hanging out with this crowd is so much fun, food is always good, kids all get along (they did watch a short movie in the camper...quite tired I think!), an easy way to spend a w/e outside.

We stayed on Sunday until early afternoon before heading back to reality.

We took over 100 pictures during this fun w/e (despite forgetting our camera - thank you Debbie!), you can see them HERE. The easiest way to see them all is to view as a slide show.

Last day of school: June 18th, 2009

Well, unbelievably the last day of school has come around, far faster than I would've hoped! The last day is always super short, they catch the bus around 8am and then finish at 10:30. Unfortunately it was absolutely throwing it down with rain so we weren't able to get our usual photo of the bus stop crew with huge smiles!

The girls wanted to wear their pretty dresses, hence the 'Sunday' look! Caitlin had given herself homework in the last week as they didn't have much to do. She created a poster about George Washington, researching facts on the internet - thus reinforcing her ability to homeschool herself! She was desperate to show her teacher before school ended so had spent the previous evening completing it - no rest for Caitlin!

4th grade portfolio share

This will be Jake's last year at Stony Creek, given our plans next year. His portfolio share day was the afternoon before the last day of school so the kids were definitely winding down.

We watched a great DVD showcasing their funny stories and little skits - I have to figure out how to put his on here as they received a copy from their teacher (this is where Dave comes into his own, LOL!).

Jake is also SO tall compared to his classmates, he was almost as tall as his teacher by the end of the year!

Friday, June 26, 2009

2009 Pool Opening

Very exciting: 1st day in our pool this season WITH the brand new deck.

Dave opened the pool the first w/e in June but it needed shocking, so had to have a week to settle and regulate all the water levels. We checked everything on Saturday but it needed another day so by 9:15am on Sunday, Becca had her suit on and was ready to get in! Thankfully she begrudingly waited an hour before going in with Nathan. Caitlin was a little more reluctant but couldn't resist the lure of fun once she saw them in the pool.

Jake did go in later, once he returned from Hawk Mountain. The deck is making a huge difference this year, makes it much more usable and fun. Unfortunately the new furniture we've bought doesn't do well in the rain - by this, I mean the cushions don't tolerate water very well! In these photos, the seats are totally sodden and took another 3 days to dry in the garage, still need to figure something out.....

Hawk Mountain Scout Camp

Still the best camp of all, according to Jake and Dave (and other faithfuls!). It seems they don't get a whole lot of sleep, don't do much else other than hike, eat ice cream and other wonderful grilled treats, laze around in the stream, get dirty and have loads of fun!

There's no running water, so cleanliness doesn't seem to be very high on the agenda either - Nathan can't wait to join them in a couple of years!

Stony Creek Field Day: 6.12.09

We were surprised they went ahead with field day, we were so sure it would be cancelled due to the copious amounts of rain we'd had, but it went ahead regardless and it turned out to be a great decision: the sun came out, the kids had a wonderful day and the rain held off.

Jake and the band played in the opening ceremony. We loved that they played 'God Save the Queen', however when questioned, he informed us that it's actually called 'America' on his sheet music - how knew?!

K, 1st and 2nd were out for their games in the morning. We were able to see Caitlin getting soaked before taking Nathan and his friend, Emma, to their St John's summer camp.

In the afternoon the 4th graders were outside so after camp collection, we went over to watch them again.

Certainly seems that everyone had a great day and the spare set of clothes were much needed!

For quite a few more photos of this fun day, CLICK HERE.

2nd grade portfolio share

Caitlin is so much taller than most of the kids in her class, marked more so by the fact that they stood at the front, in groups, to read their plays. She had a good year this year and made great progress, a very conscientious student, I think she'll work really hard for her homeschool teacher next year!

The class presentations were good, portfolios extensive and their singing on stage (front row seats for us again - we were on the ball!) tuneful.

Half of elementary school completed for our eldest daughter!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Walk4Water: June 6th, 2009

Kristen, from FVCN, organized a Walk 4 Water in her neighborhood to help raise money for Play Pumps International, specifically to raise funds for a water pump system to be put in place in Malawi. The kids were really interested in how it works and thanks to simple diagrams, could see how kids in Malawi can play on a 'roundabout', which in turn pumps water up from the ground to be cleaned and ready to drink - very cool!

They donated money from their wallets and did well walking around the loop a couple of times. Kristen raised over $1,000 and we all had fun in the process!

For more photos, CLICK HERE .

Hockey Tournament

The last hockey practice of Caitlins WRA short season was a mini-tournament. They each got to play 3 teams. It was a hot day but still fun to watch them play.

Caitlin is #3, has on a light pink cap at some points, otherwise look for her plaits/braids!


It's been fun having Jasmine stay with us. The kids have loved having a temporary baby sister! Nate was helping her snack and Becca was thrilled that they had MATCHING dresses!

For lots more photos of Jasmine enjoying the USA in May, check our winkflash page.

Memorial Day at Marsh Creek

We have spent every Memorial Day at Marsh Creek since 2002 with our scuba group of friends, of course, it has grown in numbers over the years: people come, people go, but the core group remains the same and we always have a relaxing afternoon, regardless of weather (2004 sticks in most of our minds as the wettest, muddiest day spent there, covered in tarps!).

As usual, the kids had a great time, running around, playing, splashing, fishing and eating. The younger kids went with adults in the canoes, Jake went off in a kayak and spent a long time out on the lake.

Now that our four are getting older, it's far easier for us to relax and chat and not worry quite so much that one of them might accidentally wander off into the water without a life vest! All in all, just a great day spent with good, good friends.

Over 100 pictures taken....