Friday, April 28, 2006

On to the east coast

I think that I need to get in the habit of blogging at least once a week because my memory has a hard time recalling everything that happens over a three or four week period of time!! We had one more day in Chattanooga and we went to the Tennessee Aquarium, the largest in the US. My favorite was the butterfly garden where there were dozens of different kinds of butterflies flitting around. I was able to take quite a few close up pictures of them and both Tristan and Calista had them sitting on their fingers.

It was on the way back from Chattanooga that we had a little break down. I have mostly blogged about all the fun stuff that we have been doing and the positive part about the trip but there has been a negative side................Tristan has a very difficult time with lots of change, stimulation, and lack or routine and it often produces quite a bit of anxiety for him. We knew going into this that he might not fair well but felt it was worth the chance. Even though he has had a lot of fun and has many fond memories he is having a very difficult time emotionally. It has also been difficult, for all of us, to be together 24/7 and nowhere to go when you need to be alone. Because of this, combined with the fact that we have yet to find anywhere that is just calling our names; no where that has given us a sense of peace as far as living goes, we have decided to end our trip early and head back up to Wasilla. Even though there is a part of me that is a little disappointed, it does feel right. At first it felt like we were giving up on our dream but really it has been incredible! We have seen lots of this country, had so much fun, and learned a ton! We are going to speed up our east coast part of the trip, head over to Colorado to visit Martin's sisters and aunt, up to Montana to see Craig Skinn, over to Oregon, Washington, and back home. We should be home sometime between the end of June and the first week in July. So now Martin just has to figure out what he wants to do. He is pretty sure that he wants to get into real estate; he gets excited thinking about it as a career so that is a good thing.

Anyway, we got back from Chattanooga on Friday night and Sunday was Easter. We were at my sisters for lunch and an egg hunt. We hid 120 eggs, 20 of which had $1 bills in them. We hid them so well that 19 didn't get found, including 4 with $1 bills in them, so us adults got a good easter egg hunt too. We did find all but one and it was only one with candy so I am sure the the mower will eventually find it.

Since then we have mostly just been hanging out at Ren's. Leann Hood and her kids came this last weekend and we went up to Bay's Mountain; kind of like a really small zoo but it was fun. The kids got to pet a possum and since we don't have possums where we live it was fun to get that close. On Wednesday we celebrated Sierra's birthday. Since her mom doesn't have much time, now that she is working full time, I took her and Calista out for a girls day. Her and I got our second ear piercing (that was what she wanted for her birthday) and we hopped around town finding stuff for a cake. She wanted a puppy cake so I whipped up a cake with a little scene in which there were lots of little puppies. She decided that she would like to eat the cake like a puppy so we let her stick her face in it and take a bite; it was hard to get anyone to eat any cake after that!

We left Jonesborough yesterday afternoon and are headed towards Washington DC. You would have thought that there was a death in the family; lots of tears and pretty solemn for the next couple hours after we left. Calista seems to be having the worst time with it as she and Sierra stuck pretty close. Kevin went as far to say that he would be willing to give some things up to spend more time with them.

We stopped at the Natural Bridge last night and parked at a KOA here. We visited the bridge today, very cool!! Along the nature walk there they have set up an Indian village, as close to what it would have been like in the 1700's that they can gather from research. There were Indian people there, dressed in the clothes that they would have warn during the clash of the cultures (1700's) when they were beginning to trade with the Europeans. They showed us how they would have made tools and even had some that they themselves had made, how they cooked and we got to try cornbread cooked on a stone over a fire, what there houses (wigwams) were like and a little about there family culture, and how they dried bones, etc. It was really interesting and when we walked away Tristan said "I could have stayed there all day listening to them!" We had encounters with two snakes which Martin didn't think was very much fun. He jumped so bad when we stumbled on the second one that he made me jump. We are just hanging out in the motorhome watching Deal or No Deal and planning on going to bed early. We leave early in the morning to go all the way to DC to spend a few days exploring there.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

At the Chattanooga Choo Choo

We decided to take a little side trip down to Chattanooga for a few days. We are staying at the original Chattanooga Choo Choo Railway Station which is now the Holiday Inn, restaurants, and shops. The station opened in 1909 and ran until 1970 when they had to shut down due to faster modes of transportation. In 1973 they reopened as a hotel and tourist attraction. It has been fun to be around such rich history, all over Tennessee.

We went up to Rock City Gardens today, what a COOL place!! Definitely one of the highlights of our trip so far!! Paths, crevasses, tunnels, caves and big boulders that you wind your way through to the top of the hill where there is a lookout point with one of the most incredible views I have ever seen. Hypothetically, you can see seven states from that point. The trees have just budded out and it was absolutely beautiful!!!!! Hard to describe.

We stopped in at Applebees for dinner and then back to the hotel. When we got back to the hotel the kids decided they wanted to go swimming (there are three different pools to choose from). The one we went to was an asian style outdoor pool with a little gazebo over the hot tub. We were just sitting there when I noticed a dove sitting in a nest in the eves. She had at least two babies in her nest; that was a treat!!

It has been a wonderful day!!!!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Having fun with family

We have been here, in Jonesborough, for two weeks now and having a great time. It is nice to have somewhat of a routine and to just putt around. The kids have been having so much fun with their cousins and I am sure when it is time to leave it will not be easy. Calista and Sierra are the little diva, fashion designing, dancing, chit chatting girlfriends and the boys are all little (and big) computer geeks. We were having a hard time sharing computers so Martin bought his "dream" computer and gave Tristan our Dell. Now everyone is happy and engaged!

Jalen has been keeping us all in stitches with his funny little antics. Last night both girls come out of the bedroom angry and screaming because Jalen ate their gum that they had just bought at the store. When asked if he had eaten it he originally said "no" so Ren asked him, "Well, how did it disappear then?" He replied, "Because I didn't eat it all." Ren asked again, "Why didn't you ask them if you could have some?" and he said, "Because they said all no!!" We got a good laugh and the girls didn't think it was too funny.

The last few days have been warm in the early 70's so the kids have been out in the sprinkler and chalking on the driveway. Mark and Ren are getting some landscaping done and we are all enjoying the beauty of the area. On Saturday we went hiking up Buffalo Mountain and when we came back home the Lovejoy's pulled up to visit on their way home from a 480 mile bike ride that Ben and a friend did. The Lovejoy's are some fellow unschoolers that Martin and I met at the conference but Ren has known for a while now. They have two boys, Cameron and Duncan that are fun and interesting, like all the unschoolers we know!! On Sunday Martin got the chance to take a 13 mile bike ride with Markus, Ben, and Stuart (a friend of the Lovejoy's). He really enjoyed it and might just take up biking when we get settled.

Last night a couple of storms passed over and, for fear of the motorhome awnings being damaged, Martin raced back to the motorhome to close the slides. We sat at the window and "oooohhhhhed and awwwwwed" over the lightning. We have never experienced such a grand lightning show and it was a real treat!! It continued well into the night and Martin and I had a hard time sleeping, as it is very loud on the motorhome roof.

Martin leaves for Vegas on Wednesday to meet some buddies for five days. It will be a little weird and quiet since getting used to having him around 24/7. I am sure I will get a lot of reading done!!