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)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Skippack Parade

We often take the opportunity to go away for July 4th as it's a day off work for Dave. This year, though, there was way too much to do to get the camper ready for its big trip around the US, so we needed to stay at home.

We have never seen a '4th' parade so joined the Schweitzer's in Skippack to see Maddie parade by, with her hip-hop troop. It was quite warm and there were a lot of vehicles, so the heat was up and we were wilting for the walk home! Well worth going though, according to Becca: "The parade was really good but my favorite part was the candy!" (Many of the vehicles threw out candy as they went by......).

After a quick go in the sprinkler at Meg's, we headed over to Whitpain Greens to join the neighbors for a picnic. The pool was the busiest we had seen all summer, great fun had by all!

July 4th!

We always call this our 'anti-English' holiday but it's still one of the best to celebrate, LOL!

Lots of things going on today but most importantly, everyone's wearing their red, white and blue - the kids always remind us that they're American and make sure they're sporting their patriotic colors!

Friends Dinner

For years, we've been getting together with a small group of friends for dinner at rotating houses. It used to be every month, unfortunately as time has gone along and more children have been born, the frequency of our get-togethers has dropped significantly! July 1st was the ONLY day in July which worked for the majority - we all lead such busy lives and we are in vacation season, so a Wednesday evening it was!

As always, it was wonderful to have everyone over, such a relaxing few hours, kids (and Colleen!) had a great time in the pool, Chelsea and Nathan are making good progress with their swimming - thankfully, given that Joey arrived and threw Nate in the pool after receiving a big, wet, hug!

Finally managed to get a rare shot of hugs for 2 of Nate's Godparents - he was wiped, it's been a tiring summer for him so far, LOTS of outside time, as it should be!

June 26th: Jasmine's ONE!

Hard to believe that almost 8 weeks went by since Debbie and Jasmine arrived. Their last day in the US was also Jasmine's 1st birthday. We were very excited to be able to celebrate her special day while she was with us. It never hurts of course, that birthdays equal CAKE! Jasmine got the idea quite quickly that chocolate cake tastes best when actually eaten!

She is such a sweetie, she grew up so much in the time she was with us, 5 new teeth came through, she took a couple of steps, gained tons of confidence going upstairs and whizzing around after the other kids. The house is a little quieter without her and they are missed. (Debbie really kept up with the laundry while she was here and since her departure, I have returned to the weekly day of 7 loads - Debbie, I really miss you too, LOL!). We're glad that we're gong to see them again soon, hopefully October, if the passports are updated by then, just another thing on the 'to do' list......

Swim meets

I love the summer swim team, it is a relaxed, fun and social time for everyone! Although we have to be at the club by 9am each day, everyone's usually up anyway so it's an easy way to start the day. The 3 older ones rarely complain, they're happy to see their friends every day, Nathan gets to run around and play with all of his friends (a surprisingly large group of 4 year old boy siblings - lots of 'minis' on the team in 2 years!) and I get to chat with adults while we watch: perfect for us all (oh yes, and Dave gets a peaceful house for an hour or two!).

After a month of practices, their first official meet was towards the end of June against Mermaid. All 3 swam in the medley and freestyle relays, Jake and Caitlin also swam 2 individuals, Becca swam one - at subsequent meets, Becca also swam in 4 races each time, the maximum allowed. They did so well, especially Becca for her first time. Mrs 'B' came to watch the whole meet as there are so many ex-St. John swimmers on our team!

At this time (July 12th), we have won 3, lost 1 and have 1 left to swim this Tuesday, then comes relay champs next Saturday and Juniors the following Monday, before culminating in the party at the end of the month. It truly is a GREAT way to spend the summer and the kids have really made a lot of new friends through their daily practices.

It is amazing to me that so many of the little swimmers can swim every stroke, here's Caitlin doing butterfly (her favorite is breaststroke):
Becca swims every stroke with a smile, especially freestyle and breaststroke, every time she pops her head up to breathe, she's beaming!
Jake's U10 boys group has a good relay team, they switch around who swims what but he has lead off with the backstroke quite a bit this season:
Becca and Maggie, good friends since 'Middies':
Coaches Lisa & Jamie checking with Jake after his 50 free - he didn't do his flip turn as his goggles flew off as he entered the pool, after diving. We tightened them up and since then, the flip turns have been good!
Both girls are on the U8 team this year, they swim different heats for individuals but we have to watch them both during relays as they're always in the same heat but different teams:

Our pool

The new deck is making our pool so much more usable, we LOVE it!

Many of the kids' friends have been over in the last month to play in it, it's so much fun to watch them from the comfort of a chair, as opposed to standing by the side, as in previous years. I keep forgetting to bring my camera out each time people are in there but here are a few when the camera was handy!


The little splash water 'village' is a useful addition for the younger ones who need an adult in the pool with them (ie: pool chilly, not first choice of location for adults!):

Debbie & Jasmine had to 'take a dip' before they left:

Argh, no time!

I really wanted to try and get caught up on here so that I'd be fully prepared to add to it daily, as my way of keeping a journal, once we get on the road - guess I have a lot of typing in the next couple of weeks!

We were at our swim club social on Friday and a friend said, "21 days to go!" What?! NO!! Not ready, not close to being ready, no time to finish getting ready, LOL!

Well, the time will come and we will go with what we do have ready I suppose. The kids have started their homeschool process with a little bit of work each day to acquaint them with the curriculum and what's expected. I need to get a bit more organized with that before we can really launch head-first into it but we'll get there.

I spent most of yesterday plotting a vague route backwards and forwards from Yellowstone, our plan is to be there mid-June, hoping most roads will be clear of snow by then. The downside of just getting to Wyoming mid-June is that there will be a lot of driving to get back to PA by beginning/mid-August. The route is plotted but timings aren't. I hate to give up any of the state stops as I am trying to zig-zag us through all 48 continuous states (that wasn't the original plan but when I realized we'd be hitting about 45, I had to figure out how to include the other 3!). I guess Dave will just be doing a lot of driving for 6 weeks and we'll have to move more than every w/e to fit it in, this isn't ideal but we do need to be back in time for pre-6th grade testing and K registration. The plan is one year of homeschooling unless someone asks for something different.

Right, on with the day, hopefully I'll add more posts later to get caught up. Jake and Caitlin had friends sleeping over last night, I informed them that they must stay in there rooms until at least 7am - the doors opened at, you guessed it, 7am! Dave told the boys, no Playstation until after breakfast, it's 7:20, I'm surprised they're not up here, demanding breakfast or making their own!