July 2017

Did I ever write about the truck skidding? I don’t remember. We had hooked the truck up to the bus and moved it a bit, but stopped it for some reason. Tj asked me to check everything, and when he started driving I yelled Stop Stop Stop! because the truck was skidding! At some point we’d put the truck in park and forgotten to put it back in neutral! Sometimes I think we’re not mature enough for this life. :-)

1 July Saturday

I’d heard that there was a little town fair today, and I really wanted to go because there was a demolition derby!! I had just said to Tj a few weeks ago that I’d never been to one and would like to go. Here’s my chance! So we went to the Box Elder Bash. There was a discount if you brought canned goods so we showed up with 3 cans of veggies. I wasn’t planning on going to the parade, but they were late so as we walked to the Bash we stopped for the parade. I never thought about them throwing candy, so that was a fun bonus. There were motorcycles, alpacas, police, fire trucks and all sorts of other things.

Once inside the Bash grounds the boys jumped on jumpy castles for a bit, then we went to the magic show. Afterwards there was a fireman tug of war. They’d extended the ladders on two firetrucks and tied a cable between them and hung a barrel on the cable. Two competing sets of firemen used their hoses to push it to the ladder.

We were so hot by this time that we walked back to the truck to get our bottles of water, and then it was time for the demolition derby. That was so much fun!!! I would love to drive a car around and crash it like that, but I’m sure I’d feel it the next 5 days! Those guys have to be so sore! I’m such an old lady :-) We sat behind a woman who’d driven in a derby several times. It was neat to be able to ask her questions about why they were doing certain things. About a quarter of the way through her kid spilled a large cup of lemonade down my leg! All that ice felt great, but my shoe stuck to the bleachers after that.

When we got home we took our showers and had sausage sandwiches for supper.

That night we saw great fireworks from just outside our camper. The boys were all ready for bed except that Jack’s bed wasn’t put together. After a while Jack said he wanted to go inside so I told him to go ahead. I didn’t give him any instructions, just watched him go in the bus. When I came in about 5 minutes later Jack has hung up his jacket, and was making his bed! Sometimes he’s pretty amazing. When his bed was made we watched more fireworks from the comfort of Max’s bed :-) (Up until this point me asking him to hang up his jacket has usually produced fussing so this was a nice change.)

2 July Sunday

Jack said let me try after we saw someone get baptized.

3 July Monday

As he was waking up Jack said “Basketball head in X, mom, disco ball in gym.” I think he’s remembering the gym at church in Cabot.

Amazon said Jack’s ID bracelet was delivered, so at 10 a.m. I decided to go see if the BITC office was open. I didn’t think it would be but I hate to have to wait another two days if it is if I don’t have to. I fixed Jack a fried egg sandwich on the way out the door because I knew my errand trips often run longer than expected. I figured we’d also go by the youth center to see if we could sign Max up for the lock-in, and see if the post office was open so we could find out an address to have our stuff shipped. BITC was closed, and so was the youth center, but the post office was open. One out of three is better than none out of three I guess.

After our errands we found a huge playground so we stopped for the boys to play. We had seen some deer up close at the BITC, and we saw more here at the playground. Tj said I should send pics to the Hoop so I did.

About this time TJ told me there was a family on our Fulltime Facebook group here in Rapid City and they were looking for a meet up. I got in touch with Jill, the mom, and we planned to meet at Storybook Island. I’ve been meaning to go, just hadn’t found the time to do that yet. We ran home to throw a few things in a picnic bag and hit the road, but then I discovered that Jack had wet his pants on the way! It’s been a long time since he’s had this much pee, and it was super discouraging.

While we were pulling into the campground I told Max fill up the two frozen bottles with water, fill my cup with ice and then pour water in it while I cleaned up Jack and packed a lunch bag. Somehow he could only get two of those things right. It was even more frustrating on top of Jack’s mess. We finally got our act together and headed out to Storybook Island. Jill and Tony were really nice people, and the boys had fun playing with their kids. We walked around for an hour and a half or so and just chatted about this crazy life style.

When we finished there it was too late to go home to eat, but I didn’t feel like fixing food in the truck either, so I just handed out some slices of ham and we went to Philly Ted’s and picked up some chili cheese fries. We went straight home from there, rounded out our meal, and then Jack and I headed to the back for a nap. Max played outside with Legos while we slept. I woke Jack up after an hour and a half and we headed outside.

The boys watched Odd Squad for an hour, and then we all got on our bikes. Jack threw a fit at having to ride the halfbike, but I think he just needs some good solid sleep, maybe several days of naps will do. Especially since it’s so close to the 4th it’s hard to go to sleep when all those fireworks are going off. We rode our bikes to the commissary, and when I looked it up on Google one way is .9 miles! Afterwards I made Jack ride his two-wheel bike around the circle 7 times. While we were riding a girl named Cadence rode her bike with us. After Jack had ridden his two-wheel bike enough times he put it up and got out his trike and he and Cadence rode around a good bit. Later on Cadence came back and played Legos with Max till about 9:30.

The boys came in, showered, ate a late supper and got ready for bed. I finished putting the trim back on Max’s cork board for his Legos. Now we’re all in bed and I’m enjoying some alone time.

4 July Tuesday

I cut my hair again for the 3rd time. It’s better, but I realized later that the left side is a fraction longer.

After everybody was so yucky at supper I decided we would ride our bikes again to the commissary. Jack said finish fussing, which proved to be true. There was no fussing about the bike ride, thankfully. He needed help getting his helmet on which isn’t unusual, and I saw that his shorts were hitched up. One leg was pretty much all the way tucked in and the other leg was down. I told him several times to fix his shorts and finally said pull your shorts leg down, so he just pulled his shorts down right there in the parking lot and then he pulled his shirt up and said it’s dry! Lots of fun.

5 July Wednesday

Max hurt his tailbone yesterday. I had planned on going to Watiki today, but he asked that we wait till tomorrow so today was all errands. We went to ITT to get the Watiki tickets and there were only 6 tickets left! We mailed the letter to Greyson, picked up Jack’s ID bracelet and signed Max up for the lock-in.

Then we headed off the base and went to buy window insulation, light covers and a door handle cover.

We went out for lunch at a place recommended by the people at the camping store, then went home for a nap. After we rested we ran our last two errands: dollar tree and the grocery store.

6 July Thursday

Today we went to Watiki! It was a fun little place. We stayed 6 hours, and Marco’s pizza was there! I was planning on buying 3 individual pieces for lunch, but then changed my mind and was gonna buy a small pizza which would be the same price, but then talked myself into buying a large pizza, and we ate the whole thing while we were there!

When I was paying our entrance ticket I saw that anyone who poops in the pool may face a $1,000 fine!!! Wow! I know it’s a horrible thing, but $1,000!!! They mentioned that they sold swim diapers and I really thought about getting Jack one. I really don’t think he’d poop in the pool, but I can’t say for sure he wouldn’t. Then I remembered that I still had a couple of swim diapers in our truck! I left Max with Jack and ran out to get one. I had no idea if it would even still fit him, but I sure was gonna try! It fit, and he wore it all day without complaint. It was a big pain getting it up and down, just like the swimsuit was. I kept an eye on the clock and took him to the bathroom every hour, too. We had no accidents (as far as I could tell) but that poor swim diaper was just about shredded when we finally left there.

The little kids’ area was in a corner of the big, open room. When Jack would play there I sat on a chair at the bottom in the middle and watched him. At times he would go down the slide, but I saw him about every minute. After a while I realized it had been more than a minute, so I got up to look for him. He was gone! This whole place was on the small side, so it only took me a few minutes to find him in the lazy river. I told him seriously to not leave like that…that he had to always come get me when he wanted to go somewhere else. Anytime he wanted to go to a different place was fine with me, I just needed to go. I really didn’t think he understood fully, but what else could I do?

We played again for a few more hours, and when it was time to go I told Jack to go down the slide one last time and we’d go. Max was eating his last piece of pizza, and I was cleaning up our place. Jack took too long, and then we realized that he was gone! I watched from the bottom and had Max go up through the play area to look for Jack. No luck. We looked at all the other areas, still no luck. I started getting worried and kept wondering when if I should ask them to close the exits and help me look for Jack. Ugh! I wasn’t in a panic, but I was worried. There were 3 exits…one through the hotel, on that passed the Marco’s cashier and the one we’d come through, up a flight of stairs into the arcade room. I really thought Jack wouldn’t remember how we got there since it had been 6 hours. I couldn’t imagine where he could be! I searched the women’s bathroom and had Max go look in the men’s. Finally I approached a couple who worked there and told them I’d lost my 10-yo with Down Syndrome and the girl immediately said I know just what he looks like…he’s wearing the American flag swimsuit, right? I was so happy for his tell-tale face at that moment! She kept telling me she could look here or look there and I finally said just tell me where you’re going to look and I’ll look somewhere else. She looked at the lazy river, I sent Max to the hotel entrance and I went to Marco’s to see if they’d seen him. After I walked through the entire area another time or two I headed upstairs and immediately found him!!! Happily playing in the arcade with no money! I guess he had remembered where we came in after all. That boy! He’ll be the death of me yet! I told him several times that I had been really scared, that he scared me, and that he can’t leave me, but I don’t think he understands this at all.

7 July Friday

Today we went to Rush Mountain and rode some rides: the mountain coaster, a so-called zip-line which was actually a 2-seater hanging zip car, and a 7-D video. Really? 7-D?? I don’t know how they justified that but it was fun enough. While we were in line to ride the coaster a third time they shut it down because of lightening strikes in the area. Boo! I really liked that ride and had hoped to ride it several more times. The first time I didn’t think I’d slow it down at all but I ended up putting the brakes on a bit around the curves because of the jerkiness of the track. The second time someone in front of us must’ve been pretty slow because our car kept slowing down by itself. It was definitely more fun going faster than slower.

On the way home we stopped at the House of Scandinavia. I thought this was a restaurant, but it was actually a store with lots of Scandinavian things for sale. I always enjoy looking around at stores with foreign goods…it’s so interesting to see how other people live.

We went to a Mediterranean restaurant for lunch and it was pretty good. The hummus was disappointing, but the salad and shawarma plate we had were great.

We all took a nap when we got home so Max wouldn’t be too tired at the lock-in tonight. When we drove him to the youth center it was pouring down rain! We saw a rainbow on the drive over, it was a full half-circle! When we got home the downpour turned to a drizzle and there was a double rainbow!

I put on a movie for Jack and then cooked enchilada filling and started an overnight bread dough.

8 July Saturday

We picked up Max at 7am and he was doing great! He was only one of two to stay up all night!! We had both fully expected him to sleep at some point. I put the muesli bread in the oven to bake and sometime during that time the flame went out!!! I was so annoyed…it made the bread take longer to bake, and when it did bake it was almost as flat as a pancake! But it sure tasted good! I’ll have to make more of that sometime.

Since Max was not really tired I thought he could stay up a few more hours till an early lunch and then nap after we ate. We headed out to shop. We went to 3 thrift stores, but when we got to the commissary he said he was tired. We went home and had shrimp salad and quickly got into bed for a nap. After 2 hours I woke Max up which was a feat! We headed out on the hunt for a frozen Coke…I didn’t know it would be so hard to find! Max was really grumpy, and I really didn’t blame him, but we went to 4 different stores before we found one.

9 July Sunday

At church this morning I got a compliment on Max’s behavior. A lady in my Sunday School class said she’d been his craft leader in VBS a few weeks ago and said that he was well behaved, and that he really made her laugh. It’s always wonderful to hear nice things about your kids.

We went to the airport to pick up Tj and I’d planned on going out to eat, but he was feeling a bit sick so we went home and he went straight to bed. He’s been out of the country for the last few days and we think it’s just jet lag making his whole body feel out of sorts.

After the boys and I ate Jack and I joined Tj in the bed for a nap. When we woke up we talked long and hard about where we were going to eat, and finally settled on Dicky’s BBQ. I know it’s a chain, but Tj ate there in Memphis and said it was pretty good, and I’ve been seeing their billboard for the last 3 weeks and salivating every time for some good BBQ!!! Before we left the bus I’d settled on the 3-meat platter that I’d split with the boys, and I was going to get brisket, sausage and ribs. When we got there I ordered pulled pork, sausage and ribs without realizing it! This place had all the food already cooked, they just heated it up. I really didn’t expect much once I saw that, but it ended up pretty good. After we ate and were on the way home we saw the billboard and it wasn’t Dickey’s, but Famous Dave’s! And then TJ said he thinks Famous Dave’s is where he ate, not Dickey’s! We laughed and laughed about that for the next 3 days.

After Tj and I ordered they told us that with every adult meal they give a free kid’s meal, so in the end we had a lot of food to take home. That’s never a problem with bbq. Another nice thing is that they had soft serve ice cream for free, and root beer, so we all made root beer floats on the way out.

We headed to the huge playground for the boys to run off some energy. When we got home we sent the boys inside to shower and make beds and Tj and I sat outside for a date.

10 July Monday

Tj worked on finding us a place. This is the first time we’ve had real trouble finding an opening; I guess because it’s the height of Summer and camping season. The good and the bad is that we can go anywhere, but I think that’s more good than bad at this point. I think it stresses Tj out a good bit, though. I got the mail and made enchiladas and then tried to fix the toilet, but that was a chore! I couldn’t even complete the first step, so Tj stopped what he was doing to work on it. We were hoping we could fix it without taking the toilet off the floor, but after many tries he just unscrewed it from the base and laid it down on its side. He’s so persistent, but he didn’t get the crazy thing fixed. The original problem was that when other water in the bus was flowing the toilet would run. This isn’t major, but becomes a bigger problem when the washer is running; it’s possible that the toilet could overflow if we weren’t aware that it was continuing to run. Tj found online that changing out the mechanism wasn’t such a big deal, but that’s not how it worked out for us. We finally gave up for the night. I’m so thankful we have two toilets!!

11 July Tuesday

Instead of starting on the toilet again we decided to go to Rushmore today. I’ve heard that you need to get there early or you’ll be stuck in traffic. We got there at about 8:50 and there was already a line of cars. After seeing Mt. Rushmore we walked around the area a bit and heard part of an interesting talk about how they carved it.

I had forgotten that I told Tj a helicopter ride was really important to me. We’ve talked back and forth about helicopter rides since we went to the Grand Canyon. I really want to do them as much as possible, but there’s not doubt that it’s crazy expensive, which makes as much as possible mean not very often at all. It’s hard to justify that much money for that short a time. In the end Tj okayed my request, and we all 4 flew around the mountain. The pilot was a super nice guy who talked about how this is the job he always wanted. Both boys were super excited to go, too, although Jack was a little nervous as we lifted off the ground.

After that awesome ride we went to see Crazy Horse, another impressive carving. I didn’t know anything about it, really, and was interested to learn that it’s a family project and they take no government money for the work.

For lunch Tj wanted to go to a hamburger place but the line was too long. Tj found us another place, and once inside I asked him to choose my meal completely, and we agreed to split our meals half-and-half. He chose an open faced salmon on toast with tarter sauce for me, and he had a burger. I would never have chosen that salmon, but it was really good! I’m planning on having him pick for me again sometime. Max had an awesome grilled cheese with red peppers and pesto. We all had dessert, carrot cake, pot of chocolate and chocolate mousse. Afterward we shopped around a bit, and I found a couple of gifts for my peeps.

Back at home I started working on the toilet again, and after almost fixing it we discovered that a part was broken. Tj did some quick research online and we headed out to Camping World for a new toilet. If we’d realized we’d broken that part in the beginning we wouldn’t have had to go this long with that hanging over our heads!

We brought it home and Tj installed it, and it still leaks. Then he realized that the old seal came up with the old toilet. He fixed the seal and it works!!! Hallelulah!

I made the boys a roll up sandwich for supper and we all watched Alf, Max’s new favorite show.

12 July Wednesday

Today we left around our regular time, which means not too early, to visit the Minute Man Missile Museum. We were disappointed to find that the actual missile wasn’t there…this was just a tiny museum with facts and a gift shop. Because of this we didn’t stay long, and headed to the Badlands next. The Badlands were smaller than I imagined, and looked to be made of dirt which I found really surprising, I thought they were rock formations. They were beautiful to look at, but how have they not eroded away to nothing in all these years if they’re just dirt?! I need to do a little research, it’s clear. We drove through, and got out a few places to walk and climb around. The scenery we’ve seen over the course of this trip is amazing. We’re so blessed to be able to do this.

When we’d had our fill we headed over to Wall Drug for lunch. I had a roast beef plate, Tj had a roast beef sandwich with gravy poured all over. Blug. I wouldn’t want to eat that soggy white bread! He liked it, though, which is all that mattered. It wasn’t a great meal, but we enjoyed it. We walked around a bit in the huge store and I bought some bells, we bought Max a knife, and I got some fudge for all of us. This was great fudge…it stayed soft for 3 or 4 days!

At the end of our time we let Jack strip down to his shorts and he played in the water fountains in the back area. We dried him off as best we could and headed back to Rapid City and ice cream.

I made another roll up sandwich for supper. We watched Alf and had our fudge for dessert.

13 July Thursday

Twice now Jack has prayed “help pawpaw all better”.

TJ played Legos with Max.

I made taco salad for later; we ate shrimp and polenta for lunch.

After lunch I cleaned the bus and finally videoed the contents for insurance purposes.

I asked Tj to see if he could fix the water rocket the boys and I worked on while he was gone. He fixed it…Max hadn’t read all the instructions! Tj got it to work great, so then I wanted to film it and of course he couldn’t get it to shoot as high after that. After working on it a good while it seems really fidgety…you have to do it just right to get it to fly high. In the end we threw it away.

We had Philly Ted’s for supper. When the boys were in bed we watched the third Purge movie. We’ve been watching a movie almost every night and it’s been so much fun.

14 July Friday

We got our last free doughnuts today, and for the first time we were so late that they didn’t have our favorites. Oh well. I headed off to the thrift store by myself then. I found a pair of shorts for Jack, but nothing else. For lunch I had 3 chocolate strawberries and 2 Popeyes chicken wings. Yum!

I went to Walmart and then home. We left Max home by himself for the first time since the incident and went to the Commissary to walk every aisle. We went back home and quickly changed to go swim. I brought my crochet but all 3 boys got in the pool. Tj let Jack go down the slide, but wasn’t at the bottom to catch him. Then the lifeguard said only strong swimmers get to go down the slide. It would’ve been nice if they had that rule posted somewhere. It would have been even nicer if they’d gotten rid of that stupid rule.

About 5 minutes after they got in it was adult swim time for 15 minutes! What a bummer! Then they played the National Anthem so everyone outside of the pool had to stand and salute. In the end the boys got to swim about 30 minutes and then we left.

We had Marco’s for supper. After the boys went to bed we watched Get Out. I didn’t know anything about the movie, but we both enjoyed it.

15 July Saturday

We packed up and left Ellsworth around 10:15. The site was not very level, but there was good water pressure, free doughnuts, free large capacity laundry and you could see the city fireworks from where we were. The swimming pool was free, but had a lot of annoying rules.

On our way to the next campground we saw our second derailed train!

We arrived at the KOA around 5:30 in the new time zone. I made cinnamon rolls while boys swam. When they came back Tj said they’d had a near drowning accident with Jack! We ate taco salad for supper.

16 July Sunday

We had a crazy start to our day: we were trying to merge off of the highway onto another highway, and at the same place somebody was merging on. The whole merge configuration was about twice the total length of the bus plus the truck. The guy in a pickup truck coming on the highway just sat at our tow vehicle for the whole length; TJ practically stopped the bus before the pickup truck finally got the picture and floored it. I thought we were going to miss our turn there for a minute. Crazy!

We just left the KOA in Sioux Falls. It was a nice place to stay, somewhat level, though we did use three blocks and that made our bus completely level. Every site was gravel, there was a dog walk area, laundry, putt putt golf and a swimming pool. We never even unhooked the truck.

17 July Monday

We left KOA Campground around 10 this morning. It was a nice enough place, kind of crowded, but we had plenty enough room for our rig. Our neighbors slide-out was about a quarter inch from the electrical box, but we didn’t have that problem. There was a retaining wall next to our site, but again, we had plenty of room. Our electrical box wasn’t marked, but once we figured out where it was we had no problems. The sites were gravel and dirt, not very level, but with four blocks under the driver’s wheel the beast was level. We didn’t even check out the swimming pool, but the boys played on the playground while we set up and tore down.

On the drive we read the eclipse news and howled at the writing!! In one place it states, “If you’re planning an event or a family gathering related to the eclipse, consider this: Statistically, 100 percent of the people you encounter — to a high degree of accuracy — will never have experienced darkness at noon. you will be the expert.” We laughed so much, and then closed our eyes and experienced darkness at noon!!!!

On a whim we stopped to get gas at a place that had RV parking, low gas cost, an attached Denny’s restaurant, and the perfect parking spot for the bus :-) We decided to eat lunch there. TJ and I shared the chicken-fried steak and the southwestern skillet, Max had chocolate chip pancakes. We got back on the road again no problems at all.

18 July Tuesday

We worked around a little bit, then went and ate a steak we cooked on a stone the restaurant heated to 600 degrees! That steak tasted so awesome, and I only put salt on it…not even any pepper! We went to the grocery store for a bit and then went home.

19 July Wednesday

On a cooking show the other day I saw a croque madame, so I tried my hand at it today. It’s a glorified grilled ham sandwich with a cheese sauce and an over easy egg on top. I was hoping it would be wonderful, but it ended up just pretty good.

Today the thermometer read 106 outside!! I think the outside unit must’ve been directly in the sun at that time. It is really hot outside, but our bus is completely in the shade, and even with us going in and out some the thermometer says 79 inside. Nice.

20 July Thursday

21 July Friday

Tj’s leaving today so I nagged him to fix the sewer, and then I actually fixed it. We went to Lambert’s for supper on the way to the airport. Tj had chicken fried steak that was massive!!! They served it in a 12″ skillet! Tj ate almost all of it, I had about 4 bites. I had fried chicken, and boy was it good. I do love fried chicken. I don’t know how anyone ever gets dessert there, with all the sides they pass around on top of how big the portions are.

22 July Saturday

Nothing too interesting. We stayed indoors mostly today. I kicked the boys out for a bit while I cleaned a bit and talked to Mom and Jo on the phone. We went swimming in the afternoon. I’m trying to swim every day here to make up for those cinnamon rolls!

23 July Sunday

Our church this month is just a 4 minute drive away. Nice. It used to be a meal and a show place which makes me chuckle. The Sunday School class I went to was nice, but nobody in there talks! Except me, of course. It seemed that no one wanted to answer any of the teacher’s questions. I had been praying that the Lord would show us which church we should attend this month, and Tj pointed this one out. I did my usual of going online beforehand to read all about what they believe/preach and what I read aligned with the Bible. The class in Rapid City had talked about Adam and Eve being perfect, and not being made with a sin nature…this was the first time I’d ever thought​ about that. I still dwell on that, not because I really think it’s wrong, just that I’ve never thought of that before. This SS teacher talked about Adam and Eve and this topic as well! He also said something I’d never thought about…that Abram didn’t know God (well?) before God called him to leave Ur. He gave us a verse in the prophets about how his father worshiped other gods. This is something I’ll have to think about longer, too.

After our nap I swam 6 laps, and finally tried out the swim cap. It’s so much nicer not to breathe in all my hair while swimming!.

I made buffalo chicken pizza with leftover fried chicken from Lambert’s for supper.

24 July Monday

Around 11 we ate lunch. I had a piece of avocado toast with mornay sauce, cheese and an over easy egg. Yum! After that heavy meal we headed out to Silver Dollar City. Tj and I decided to get season passes to SDC and not do many other things around here. I think it’ll be nice to not have to decide on a lot of different things. This is a case of too many options being a bit of a chore! I asked at the ticket office if I could buy a one day ticket and then upgrade at the end of the day to a season pass, and if I could just buy a season pass to the water park. The answer to both of those was yes. While I enjoyed some of SDC, Jack hated the roller coasters, and there’s not enough that I want to do over and over, so I decided to just get the water park season pass. Unfortunately at 9:30pm when we got to the upgrade office the guy said since I’d bought a one day ticket to both parks I could only upgrade to both parks. That burned me up, but he made no apology and there was nothing else I could do. At that point it was cheaper to upgrade than to outright buy a season pass to the water park.

Our day at the park started off with Jack throwing a complete screaming fit in the bathroom right inside the gate. If I hadn’t just paid for our tickets I would have turned around and gone home. It was hot as blue blazes, and I was doing this for the boys most of all. I don’t know why J was so angry. He doesn’t do this often, but every once in a while he just loses his cool completely. He was asking for help pulling his britches up, but I know he can do that by himself, so I refused to help him. The stall door was swinging into him and I told him to stop holding the door open, just to let it ‘fall’ on him and then pull his pants up, but it made him so angry. He finally pulled them up and I snapped and zipped them and told him to wash his hands, but by that point he was gone…he just yelled and screamed! He was past the point of communication. I feel so bad for him, but I don’t see how I could have anticipated that nor circumvented it.

After that we just wandered around the park for a few hours riding a few rides here and there. I made Jack go on all the rides with us, even a few middle-ground roller coasters. He’s ridden some in the past that haven’t scared him a bit, but that’s not the case now. He didn’t enjoy the swings, and I thought he would love that. He also was really scared on the circular ride where we all sat facing out from the center. There’s a back rest that comes up to snug you into the seat, then you swing back and forth up a curved ramp while the circle turns. It was a fun ride for me and Max, but Jack kept yelling, “I want to exit! I want to exit!!” He also was scared on the pirate ship that just swings back and forth, but it was so cool to see the glass of water they had sitting on the ledge that never spilled during the ride. After that I figured we should only do rides that Jack liked…after his blowout in the bathroom I figured I was making trouble for us if we kept forcing him on these rides. So the next few rides were kiddie rides just for Jack. Whenever we came across a ride Max wanted to go on he rode by himself. Overall this wasn’t such a fun day. It would be much better with TJ here so he and I could ride together sometimes. I really can’t leave Jack alone long enough for us to stand in line and ride a ride…he’d wander off for sure.

When we got hungry we went into the candy store and bought german chocolate coconut clusters, a sarsaparilla and a water. We ate almost all the chocolate and made sure to keep the water bottle for refills around the park. We went to the saloon show which had can can girls, a bad guy fight and corny jokes. We ate the rest of our candy there.

At one point I asked Max if he’d like to go off by himself so he didn’t have to keep riding the little roller coasters with Jack, but he said he didn’t want to because he didn’t have a watch. I said we could split up for 2 hours and we’d pick a meeting point, I really wanted to look in some of the shops and hated to drag both boys around. I don’t know if he didn’t want to ask other people for the time or if he was just chicken to be by himself, I suspect the former. But just when I was about to force him to go off on his own we started seeing this brother/sister several places, and I hated for their grandparents to think that I was asking them to keep an eye on Max. Max, Tony and Sierra went to do a roller coaster together, and Jack and I waited at the bottom of the water ride. Jack took off his shoes, socks and glasses and played in the water with other kids. At one point he got soaked! I know he felt better…it was a sweltering day! After the roller coaster the three big kids got Jack and they all rode on the water ride. We did several more rides together and then the girl said she was so hungry. We were getting pretty hungry too, so we all got supper together…batches of homemade chips with various toppings (taco and buffalo chicken) and then funnel cakes. The four of them (grandfather, adult niece, granddaughter and grandson) split two chips dishes and each one got their own funnel cake. The boys and I split one chip dish and one funnel cake. Max said they really know how to do it…each of them gets their own funnel cake! But then (after I fussed at him for saying that out loud) he was too full to even eat a third of the funnel cake. This boy is getting too big for his britches.

When we were just about finished with our meal the big kids headed out to another roller coaster and I took Jack to the bathroom. I finished first and told Jack that I was going right outside the door to fill up the water bottle and for him to finish up and then wash his hands. When I walked back in with my full water bottle Jack was hopping down the hallway with his pants around his ankles checking under the doors for me! I was so glad that the only other person in the bathroom was the niece, and she was in a stall…hopefully she didn’t see what Jack was doing!

Not long after this I was ready to go home, and grandfather seemed to be as well. When the kids came back we split up for the evening, but exchanged phone numbers. I had been looking forward to staying home tomorrow and not doing a thing, but they were planning on going to White Water, and since the kids had had so much fun together I figured we’d go as well.

Jack hadn’t ridden any rides since supper, and since (I thought) we weren’t coming back to this park I wanted him to be able to ride the train. When we got to the waiting area for the train there was about 20 minutes till the next train…that sounded great. Of course in 18 minutes they announced that there was a problem and the train would be a little late. 20 minutes later the train came. I was done. I was so tired, and annoyed by the kids screaming on the train. It was after dark and I just wanted to go home, and we’d already said we’d meet up tomorrow. Ugh. We stopped at the ticket booth on the way out to upgrade, and you already know how that went.

Fortunately the drive home was pretty short. Max was planning on eating a spoonful of peanut butter when we got home but he was too tired…it was about 10:30 when we all got into bed.

25 July Tuesday

M got up, tiptoed to me and whispered Jack is still asleep!! He went into the bathroom. Less than a minute later Jack got up and immediately dismantled both of their beds. Ha. Silly kid. Of course when Max got up he was bummed because he wanted to go back to bed for a while.

I used the last egg yesterday, but since we’re going to the waterpark today I’m not getting groceries. Jack had to eat oatmeal with Max and he’ll have his beloved fried egg sandwich when we have some free time for the grocery store.

Max wanted to go to the waterpark, but not early. I said when grandfather called us we’d put on sunblock/swimsuits and go. But of course when he called Max didn’t want to go. He never wants to go, and then he never wants to leave. He was a pill today. I told him to enjoy this day because it was his last good day.

Terry called me at 1:30, so we got ready and left. It wasn’t too hard to find them at the waterpark, thankfully. Funnily enough Max hardly hung around with the kids, but I enjoyed Terry and Shannon’s company. Tony was funny, last night he mentioned the handicap line a couple of times before I realized he wanted to use Jack to go to the front of the line. I told him Jack wasn’t that kind of handicapped. Heh. When Max and I talked about it I told him Tony was immature. He said I’m a year older than Tony and I don’t do that.

I didn’t do any adult rides, just hung out with Jack and our friends. At one point Jack, Shannon and I were in the wave pool and I had just shown Shannon how to lay on the float. Therefore, I was in no position to guide myself. And then I floated right on top of a guy! And I couldn’t move off of him! And then I grabbed his shorts!!!!! Fortunately I didn’t pull them down or anything, and his buddy was just looking at me and laughing. When the guy sat up (we were in shallow water…he had been completely submerged) he said well hello there in this funny voice.

Terry mentioned going out of the park to eat supper and then going back to the park. I liked that plan and was going along…then we realized the park closed at 7pm so they just snacked in the park. As we were leaving the park for the evening Terry said well, I’m a hugger, and that was fine with me. It was so much fun hanging out with them these two days. It’s too bad they have to drive back home Thursday.

26 July Wednesday

We were lazy in the morning, and then after lunch we went to Dicks 5&10. I had a small epiphany there…that if I constantly tell Jack to stay beside me then he’s trained me to keep him accountable, and he’s not accountable at all. I told him once that if he went out of my sight he’d have to hold my hand and then I let him roam the aisle I was on. Twice I had to hold his hand, but for longer than that he stayed with me.

After there we went to Walmart for groceries. Tj wanted new goggles and a better pool noodle, so I texted with him for a bit about that. Then I realized that it was just an hour before church! I hurried up and got the essentials, ran home and cooked 2 fried egg sandwiches for the boys to eat on the way and we went to church.

Max got nervous about going to his class…most of the kids there were way older than him. Jack’s class looked right up his alley; they started off in the gym playing with balls and them moved upstairs to a Biblical puzzle and a talk about the Bible. My class was a video lesson with a discussion sheet about giving it all to God.

27 July Thursday

It’s raining here today. Nothing major, just a little bit constantly. I got out our big umbrella and walked down to the office to see about extending our stay for another month. I also asked if they were ever planning on upgrading the (pitiful excuse they have for a) playground or getting some swings for the empty set they have, and she said the parts for the swing set just came in today, they’ll put them on soon. There had been an incident just before we got here where a swing broke and the girl’s mom stormed into the office and demanded that they make it right, but then they went off and did all kinds of activities that proved that the girl must not be hurt at all. I can’t imagine having to deal with irate people on a regular basis.

We went out to eat lunch at a highly rated place. I didn’t have my hopes too high, and it was a good thing. I ordered us a muffaletta, a reuben, and a Greek tray that had hummus, grape leaves, tahini, falafel, tzatziki, baba ghanoush, feta, kalamata olives and sliced tomatoes. That tray was my favorite. The other two sandwiches were fine but not extraordinary. I don’t feel any need to go back there.

There was an Amish store in the same parking lot as the cafe so we shopped there next. I laughed out loud when I saw a container of cheddar cheez powder…what kind of Amish are these? Max said, “Cheddar Cheez Powder, truly the heart and soul of Amish cooking!” and when I laughed he kept finding other things just as un-Amish and saying that. I bought a few things, and was excited to see they had Rada knives. I didn’t pack a paring knife when we moved out of the house, so now I have a new one!

We also finished our grocery shopping from yesterday, and then went swimming as soon as all the groceries were put up. I was annoyed at the pool when I realized that I’d forgotten our lunch leftovers in the truck…even though it had only been a few hours the truck was like an oven, so I threw the box out.

28 July Friday

I decided to be lazy in the morning, and since we skipped the water park yesterday because of the rain we’d go today. I never rushed the boys, but when they got ready after lunch we left.

Jack threw a fit at having to take his shirt off for me to put sunblock on his face, and I had had enough! He does this every time and I need to nip it in the bud. I had him stand in the corner while I cooled down, and then I got stern with him. I didn’t want to call off the trip (as much as I really did, actually) because I didn’t want to punish Max for Jack’s wrongdoing. After a serious talking to Jack straightened up and didn’t give me any more problems.

We were at the park for a few hours, and had some good fun. I stuck a credit card, my ID and a $20 bill in some ziplocks and carried them on me…I hate to pay $7 every time we go in for a locker! Sadly the ziplocks leaked…I’ll have to figure that out.

The boys drank tons of coke and really enjoyed themselves. At one point in the wave pool Max just jumped and belly flopped into the water. A minute or two later Jack did the same, but the water was much shallower and he landed on the concrete! Poor kid. He had a red spot on his ribs when he got up.

We came home and had nachos for supper.

29 July Saturday

It’s cooler here today, which is nice. I just made Mississippi chicken and spaghetti and it’s still cool inside even with only the back a/c running, and even though the thermometer says 99 degrees! It’s still nothing compared to earlier this week.

I’m surprised that the humidity isn’t too high in the bus, either. I checked it during the rain we had these last couple of days and this highest it got was 50%, and today it’s back down to 39% and I’ve never turned on the dehumidifier, and we’ve had lots of swimsuits and wet towels hung around here.

9 June Friday

We packed and left around 9am!! That’s pretty early for us. We headed straight to Grand Prismatic Spring, but of course we made ‘just a few’ stops along the way. We saw a big herd of bison including several calves, and I bought a cloth map of the park for fun that we ended up using for navigation our whole time here. Grand Prismatic Spring was awesome, but of course not as dramatic as the photos show. You don’t get as high above the spring, so you don’t get the full color effect; but that’s not to say it wasn’t beautiful! The colors were amazing. And what really surprised me was that the colors infiltrated the steam that rose, too! As we walked along the boardwalk Jack tried to hold the hand of a Chinese tourist. He’s always better-dealing…even when it comes to his family! Later on in the day at a gift shop there was some jewelry in the colors of the GPS…they were beautiful. That was so smart of whoever thought of making that and selling it there.

The two priorities I had for Yellowstone were GPS and Old Faithful. We sat for 45 mins before Old Faithful erupted. I didn’t expect all the sputtering as it worked itself up to erupt. Afterwards we listened to a talk by a park ranger about the geyser. He showed us a map of the underground part of Old Faithful; I was surprised at how far down the narrowness went. I guess I thought it was a big pool not too far underground with a small spout, but there is a narrow shaft of at least 70′ straight down. If I remember correctly at the narrowest point the shaft is 4″ in diameter. Another interesting fact is that there’s someone in the office facing the geyser who times it. If the total eruption is less than four minutes, the next eruption happens in about 40-60 minutes. If the eruption is four minutes or longer, the next eruption will be 75-100 minutes. I wonder how long it took them to figure that out?

We stopped along a river at a picnic table for lunch. I’d made a big sandwich for all of us on french bread, but without the mayo/horseradish/mustard, which I put on at the picnic. By the time we were halfway through eating we were all freezing! We packed up what was left and finished lunch in the truck.

We also stopped along the way back home to see a waterfall and saw a wedding party there for pictures. Right about then it started drizzling.

We made it home and I cooked pasta from Italy (I’d picked it up at Giuseppe’s sub shop a few days ago) and lemon artichoke pesto (from one of the creameries we visited). We finished off the birthday cake tonight :-(

10 June Saturday

It rained off and on all night, but fortunately we stayed dry. We slept till 7:30 when Jack woke me up.

Hip-o-pop-a-mus is what Jack said the bison were yesterday, and what animal he wants to see today.

What can I saw about Yellowstone? It’s so huge, there’s so much to see. We drove and drove, and listened to the audio tour Tj found for us. We stopped at mud pits and waterfalls and all kinds of other beautiful scenery. There’s too much to ever see it all.

I brought sandwiches again like yesterday. We made it home around 6pm, had leftover Chinese for supper, then the boys went out to play with Bridger and Fisher, our neighbors for the day. After a while Max asked if they could go to the game room so we sent him off with my change purse so he could play games, and Jack came inside to shower.

11 June Sunday

We got up late and packed up and moved out. We were straddling the checkout time and the check-in time, and we made it to the next campground on the dot of check-in! It was an hour and 40-minute drive through the park to get from one park campground to the other. The first two thirds of the trip were fairly easy and pretty to look at, though through the country we’d seen for the last two days. The last third of the trip was a little bit of white knuckling and sheer drop offs with construction and rural roads. If this doesn’t strengthen our relationship with God I don’t know what will!

We partially set up the bus and then headed out for pizza. I was kind of wanting to go crazy and get the pizza that had sauerkraut on it based off of Yelp reviews, but TJ wasn’t feeling it. He picked out a hamburger with jalapeno and banana peppers for half of our pizza, and the other half was supreme. They both looked good to me but I was so disappointed when I ate the first type of pizza. It wasn’t bad, but it did not interest me at all either. But when I picked up that supreme; Heaven! It was really great. The four of us wiped out a large pizza and an order of cheese sticks.

We hadn’t planned on going in the park at all today, but we had driven through some really beautiful, massive rocks about 20 minutes from the northern entrance. We knew we were going back there to look around and perhaps climb, but we didn’t think to put on our climbing boots or anything. We only stayed in the park about two hours, we looked there and then we went to Mammoth Hot Springs to see the travertine steps. TJ and I were both feeling an ice cream urge come over us so we headed back out of the park and all had one scoop of ice cream at a nearby place, and those were mammoth scoops! We looked around there a little bit longer and then went home. I assumed we would go straight into watching something for church, but there were kids near our site when we got there. The boys ended up playing with the kids and I chatted with the moms for a while. I said then we were going to watch church, but the neighbor boys were at our site again, so we ended up not having the kids come inside for showers until about 9 p.m.! I made us some popcorn and then we watched a video about the creation of the eye for church.

12 June Monday

We went into Yellowstone for our last day today. We just had two things we wanted to see, Slaugh Road for the wildlife, and Tower Falls. We went to Tower Falls first, and stopped at a thing or two along the way, including seeing a bear cub and then across the same street an owl in a nest high in a tree.

We went out for lunch in the park. I got the Philly cheesesteak which was awesome, but not like an actual Philly cheesesteak. The meat was so wonderful, kind of like a roast beef or a little bit of a Reuben taste TJ said because of the dark bread. TJ had the buffalo burger. Of course we split both of those entrees halfway. At first the burger was a little bland, but with a little salt on there the patty had such a good flavor. There was just a little bit of char and that made it excellent. Max got hot wings which didn’t have any sauce on them, the lady said the seasoning was in the breading. Jack had a burger and fries. All in all I was pleased with our lunch there.

After lunch we headed off to Slaugh Road to see some wildlife. We did see a wolf cub, lots of deer, several buffalo, and some prairie dogs. We started out on a hike, but decided it was too overgrown and we were a little bit worried about bears. I think if it had just been Tj and me we might have chanced it, but it just seemed so risky with the boys. We headed back out and stopped once more to climb a little hill near the truck. We’ve had such a wonderful time in Yellowstone, and seen so much of God’s beauty here.

We went straight to ice cream once out of the park even though it started raining half an hour or so before we left. It really did look like snow, and snow had been called for today. Despite the forecast it was the hottest it had been for us in Yellowstone. We all wore long sleeves and then wished we had had short sleeves. At the ice cream shop TJ got a gunslinger which is espresso and ice cream, I got a malt and the boys got a shake to share. We went shopping at a little souvenir store and saw lots of fun things, but nothing we bought. I saw some more wood bowls, but their sides and bottoms were too thick. Not like I need a delicate wooden bowl, but I didn’t want a big clunky one either, especially in the bus.

We headed back to the bus then and it was such a light drizzle that we decided to put the bikes in the back of the truck just in case everything was soaked by the next morning. During supper we watched two episodes of Lost while Jack stayed in the back and watched Milo and Otis.

13 June Tuesday

Yellowstone RV park site was pretty slanted, we used four blocks on one side and two blocks on the other. Every site was gravel. There was plenty of space for every camper, and our site backed to the river which was beautiful. We saw several rafts floating down the river during our time there.

While I was doing my three minute deal on the truck I was talking on the walkie talkie to Jack. I asked him for his favorite color and he said black. No surprise. I asked him what his favorite food was and he said mashed tatoes and chicken! When Tj got back in he asked him and Jack said french fries and chicken. We don’t generally ask him favorite things because it doesn’t seem to compute with him, but he’s been having a favorite demonstration on Gemini so I thought I’d go for it. I’m so glad I did :-)

When I saw what date it was today I told Max that it was my Pawpaw’s birthday. He said well we should send him a birthday card. I said we can’t and pointed up to Heaven, and then when he still didn’t get it I said he’s in Heaven now. You should have seen the shocked look on his face! I couldn’t understand why he was surprised, he hasn’t met either of my Pawpaws, so I said both of my Pawpaws are dead. He said Oh! I thought you said MY Pawpaw was dead! Boy did we have a good relief laugh after that.

Out of the blue today Jack said how bout music?

The stop we made tonight was just a halfway point to Devil’s Tower, so we didn’t get everything in the bus perfect. We just did a quick set up. We dozed a bit after the longer than usual drive, and then went out to eat.

The host at the campground suggested Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House and gave us a free appetizer coupon. We did eat there and the food was really good. The appetizer was fried green tomatoes with blue cheese, lump crab meat and a balsamic reduction. It was awesome! It was not any flavors I would have put together, but it was such a unique and interesting taste. I could have eaten the whole thing! TJ got a buffalo steak which was under salted but perfectly cooked. I got the ribs and they were one step down from awesome. They were really good. I ate every one of them. I also got the baked potato which was okay and the salad with thousand island dressing which was out of this world. Basically it was a great meal even though we found out later it was a chain restaurant.

There was paper on each table and the hostess wrote her name upside down and backwards, but so that we could read it. She left the colors and after a bit Tj drew Kilroy. When the (young and immature) waitress returned she said oh, I know Kilroy, he’s super old! The other funny thing is she didn’t even catch herself after she called us super old!

After supper we ran down the street to check out the gas station for the bus tomorrow morning, and stopped in at Albertsons to pick up some Cokes. We went back to the bus, put the boys to bed, and settled in for a little TV time.

14 June Wednesday

Peter D’s RV park was nice. We were able to pretty much level without any blocks. The whole thing was gravel, but there was lots of nice grass between each site. Kids were out playing, and the host was super friendly.

We woke up, packed up and left. We made it to Devil’s Tower KOA where it’s all gravel, but super level. There was plenty of length for the truck and the bus to park together, and a good enough amount of space side to side. There were plenty of amenities, and it is right at the entrance to Devil’s Tower, so that was cool.

We partially set up, packed some ice water and headed out to Devil’s Tower. It was pretty steep, but all on blacktop trails so pretty easy as well. Max did the Junior Ranger program here again, and there was so much information to fill out. At the end we sat right outside the visitor center for about half an hour while he finished doing all the puzzles and paperwork they wanted for it. He’s still a little nervous about going up to adults by himself, and doesn’t seem to have a good feel for when he can go right up to a counter and when he needs to hang at the very back of the line. A family of 5 kids was going to get their Junior Ranger patches, and since there was a big pledge they all had to repeat I told Max to just put his paper on the table at the same time. The pledge was really cute about not stepping on ants, not picking the plants, and not doing something else because that would be rude. TJ bought a shirt in the gift shop, but I didn’t see anything that I really wanted.

On the way back to our bus we were planning for the boys to go swimming, but when we got to the bus big drops of rain were starting to fall. Max hurried and put everything in the truck: the trampoline, the bikes, the skateboard etc. I started thawing out enchiladas for dinner, and then the rain stopped and the sun came out so brightly! I wanted the boys to go swimming but they both said they wanted to go to the playground so that’s what they did. TJ and I snoozed and read for a while, and then we got ready to go watch the movie. Being at the base of Devil’s Tower they play Close Encounters of the Third Kind every night. TJ popped popcorn while I fixed drinks and gathered snacks. We brought over a picnic blanket and two chairs and got there right as the movie was starting. About 20 minutes in TJ ran back to the bus to get us some blankets to cover up with because it was starting to get chilly. Jack fell asleep on my lap about halfway through the movie, which is always sweet. After the movie was over TJ carried him back to the bus while Max and I brought the rest of the stuff. Jack was ready to go to bed but he did go to the bathroom first. Twice lately he has pooped his britches! It does seem like his stomach was a little sick, so we haven’t busted him. But this has got to stop!

I got all ready for bed, had my ear plugs and eye mask on and was almost asleep when TJ says you have got to come outside and see the stars. They were beautiful! We could see the Milky Way even with the lights around. I think in these next few weeks while we’re at Ellsworth we’re going to have to make a point to drive out into the dark countryside and see the Milky Way now that it’s summer.

15 June Thursday

Not much to say about today. We drove to Ellsworth AFB and set up. Tj saw there was a Marco’s here, so that’s what we had for supper! It was just as good as I’d remembered. He also saw that we have a half off coupon from them that expires next week. Guess we should have them again!

16 June Friday

Today was a work day. The repairman came early to fix Max’s bed, but that ended up being a bust, sadly. Now Tj’s working on getting us an appointment at Thor.

After he left the boys played outside while we did chores around the house. Tj flushed the tanks and the water heater and hooked the half-bike on. There’s free laundry here and the washers are giant! So all of our comforters got washed. Lovely.

17 June Saturday

Today I cut Tj’s hair, and then took him to the airport. I need to cut my hair, but whatever.

18 June Sunday

I couldn’t find my way off the base this morning on the way to church. Just another adventure! I thought Google would take me there but it brought me to a third closed gate, and I’d left the map in the bus. When I finally gave up and went back to the bus to get the map I made sure to leave it in the truck! Turns out I drove right past the second gate but missed it. Oh well. We missed Sunday School but made it to church.

19 June Monday

One of the reasons I chose this church was because it had VBS for kids Max’s age. After service yesterday I asked if there were usually any kids in VBS his age and they said there would be, so I signed them up!

I stayed with Jack all morning, figuring it would be more mature than just leaving him and hoping for the best. He did really well! He stood in line for about 10 minutes while waiting for his class to go in, and I never even had to tell him to get back in line. I corrected him a few times during the day, but no more than you’d correct a typical kid. Looks like I’m gonna have some free time! Woot!

I figured I deserved a break after VBS so we went to Philly Ted’s. I ordered us half size of three sandwiches: the Bear, the Viking and the Steeler, and some chili cheese fries. All three sandwiches were awesome, but the fries were the best for me.

Then we went to Goodwill and Max hit the jackpot! He finally found a white shirt and red tie. He’s over the moon about his Odd Squad uniform. It really does look right, especially with his gold Junior Ranger badge from Devil’s Tower.

In the afternoon Jack and I rode our bike. He doesn’t like it, but I’m hoping it’ll grow on him. He also rode 4 laps around the dumpster on his own bike.

I wanted to take the boys to see the Milky Way again…it’s best seen in the summer according to the internet. I found out when last light was, checked the weather and the moon timing, and we headed out tonight. Of course, last light doesn’t mean last light, and when we got out there and I was talking to Tj on the phone he looked up even more info for me and said we’d probably have to wait another hour for the best time. The boys will be beat tomorrow as it is. So this night’s a bust. Maybe next time.

20 June Tuesday

While the boys were at VBS I went to a thrift store and bought a wooden sword and some books for Max. While I was waiting to go into the first store a woman came to my truck window. I was on the phone with Mom, but could see that she had the shakes. I put up my hand to tell her to wait, and she went away after a minute.

We’ve ridden the half bike every day so far, but it’s too hot today!

Our Marco’s coupon expires tomorrow, so we used it today for supper. YUM!

21 June Wednesday

Today was water day at VBS.

While on my own I bought some gifts for Jack’s teachers; chocolate covered cherries, cute little chalkboards and chalk. I really appreciate this free time! I finished World War Z today.

22 June Thursday

Today while on break I got the oil changed and worked on my blog. I found a corkboard for Max’s Legos at a thrift store. After buying that a
woman stood by my truck till I walked outside and asked for a ride to the Post Office.

After VBS we went to Arby’s for lunch. The billboard announcing their pork belly sandwich had been taunting me all week! Sadly, it wasn’t worth it. I gave half of it to Jack and mostly ate the smothered fries I also ordered.

After our nap I started crocheting a washcloth.

Today Jack rode 5 laps around the dumpster! He still fusses, but I make him do it, and up the number of laps each time.

23 June Friday

Last night after the boys were asleep I went to the living room/their bedroom for some reason. When I opened the door J was awake and commenting on the wind…it’s so windy here, almost every day. I went over to him to hug him and put him back to bed, and tripped over Max! I found out the this morning that he doesn’t remember any of it, so fortunately there was no permanent damage, but I was kinda scarred from stepping on his face! He said there was a moth fluttering around near him while he was reading before bed, but he couldn’t get it to go out the window, so he moved to sleep on the floor by Jack. Ugh.

I made rolls using a 30-minute roll recipe…they were awesome! I cooked up some sausage and that on a roll was wonderful for supper.

This base does Revillee at 7:30am, the Star Spangled Banner at 5pm, and Taps at 10pm. It’s so cute to see the boys facing the music with their hands over their hearts.

24 June Saturday

Hermit day! I only got out of my pj’s to see if the office was open to pick up our package, and only then because Tj asked me to. It wasn’t. In the afternoon I made cinnamon rolls using the roll recipe, and they were awesome!! I brought 4 over to our neighbor so I wouldn’t be too tempted. Heh.

After we’d been in the bed an hour or so Max came to get me and said there’s an incident. The moth is back! I told him I was sorry, but he had to kill it. He didn’t fight me, but he didn’t want to do it at all. He was so mad at the moth for always landing in a tight space between two cabinets. If only it would land on the floor or plain wall he could kill it easier! Poor kid, we struggled with this for at least half an hour before he got it. He’s so freaked out by moths it’s sad to see, but I won’t be doing him any favors if I kill it.

We’re having the same situation as at the last place. We’ve been here for a week with no moths, and then in these last two nights I’ve killed about 3 moths. I hope they’re not breeding in here, but the last time this happened the weather got hot the next day and we didn’t see anymore after we started running the a/c. The last time we had this the moths were black and these are brown, and it’s been about 3 weeks since the black moths so I know it’s not the same moths.

25 June Sunday

After church today we went to the hardware store for a bit of pipe to fix the half bike. Here’s hoping!

26 June Monday

Jack is humming The Star Spangled Banner! So sweet!

We decided to go to Reptile Gardens today. I read some good things about the shows there, so I was excited to go. I had to just stop at the office and get a package first. Of course when I got there they didn’t have our package. They sent me to The Postal Service Center, but they didn’t know where that was, they just had a phone number. We went to ITT next to see what kind of tickets they had and I asked them where the Postal Service Center was and they didn’t even know the base had one! ITT didn’t have what I wanted but they did have a really discounted price for Disney, and a great price for Watiki, the local indoor water park. We went back out to the truck and I called The Postal Service Center to see where they were and then drove over there. They didn’t have our package but sent me to BITC. That place was way out in the boonies, there were 3 deer sleeping in the shadow of a nearby building. But they had our package! By this time It was basically time for lunch. I was on the phone with TJ and he said I should just go get some lunch and then go to the Reptile Gardens, so that’s what we did. We went to Pacific Rim Cafe and had Vietnamese egg rolls, spring rolls, and half a bhan mi sandwich. It was all good, but it didn’t bowl me over that’s for sure.

After lunch we headed Reptile Gardens. I had seen online that there was military discount so I asked about it; I didn’t really calculate the price but had somewhat of an idea of it when we went in. I was completely surprised when she said it was $50 for the three of us, but then she said the crocodile show is starting right away so we just went straight to the crocodile show. It was awesome! The guy who led it was really a natural speaker, he had some funny corny jokes. It surprised me how often he just prodded those alligators to get them to move. It was a 30 minute show, and he talked about alligators and crocodiles facts, where they live, etc. Then at the end he brought out a bucket of chicken scraps and got the gators and crocodiles to catch them in their mouth. Some were eager, but most were lazy. I could have watched that show a few times, that’s for sure. It was pretty interesting.

After we watched it we went to the playground for a little bit, where I pulled out my receipt and checked my math. She definitely overcharged us somehow, so after about 15 minutes we went back to the entrance and talked to her about it. She was very kind and tried to figure out exactly what she did, and after a minute or two she refunded me what was due. The awesome thing about this place is even though it’s pretty expensive in general if you’re visiting you can get a free pass for the entirety of your stay. But TJ told me later that if you live here one ticket purchase entitles you to a month-long entry pass. So that’s cool too. I think we’ll probably go back when we’re close to it several times just to look around. After that we went into the dome area and saw massive pythons and other snakes, sadly they were roaches there too. Jack and I split off from Max and we went upstairs. We got behind a couple while we were looking at all the snakes and we each chatted about nothing much. When we got around to the flattened penny machine they were making one and then offered to buy Jack one. That was so nice of them. I said something about being nice isn’t just a Southern thing, and they said no, it’s also a small town thing.

We went back to the playground for a bit, walked around and saw the tortoises, saw a bunch of turtles, and then watched the bird and the snake show (those were two separate shows, but how cool would a bird and snake show be?) The bird show was fine, there was a vulture that was actually kind of pretty.

But the snake show was really good. Almost as good as the crocodile show. There was a good mix of facts and interesting stuff, the different types of snakes, the different types of venomous snakes etc. The guy rolled out this dresser of locked cabinets full of snakes. And would explain each one as he took it out. It was funny because when he started talking about the venomous snakes he said I’m going to use this metal pole instead of my hands to get the snakes out so that I can keep their heads away from my body as much as possible. Well then that snake started slithering up that pole to get as close to him as possible. He laid the pole down for a little while and then when the snake started going toward the other again he picked it up again, and the same thing happened. So he laid it down again and grabbed another pole. He kept talking throughout the whole show, it was just very enjoyable.

We went back to the playground one more time and then looked through the gift shop for a bit before heading home. I saw a bunch of bowls from Turkey just like the one I already have. I know it’s crazy but I am considering buying another one. They tied it in by saying some of the animals in the exhibits are from these countries and then had souvenirs from several different countries. We’ll see if my common sense or my lust for Beautiful Things wins out.

On the way home Max reminded me that we were out of milk so we stopped at the grocery store for a little bit. There went my plans for making pizza for supper. It only takes me about an hour, but there are other things I can make quicker, and we didn’t get home till about 7:30. We had quesadillas and watched Star Trek with supper and then got in the bed pretty late. We all talked to TJ for a bit too so that pushed our bedtime off even later.

27 June Tuesday

We went to Jump Craze today. I thought I’d looked at the website thoroughly, but after I’d plugged in the address into the truck’s gps I saw it opens at noon! Doh! Guess I’d better check better next time. We all piled out of the truck and back into the bus. After a bit I sent the boys outside while I made pb&j graham crackers for lunch.

Jump Craze was fun, and pretty empty. Max got upset at the boys playing dodge ball but calmed himself down and went right back to playing. I don’t even know the particulars, but I’m glad he worked it out by himself. Jack roamed all over, and attached himself to a teen girl for a while. I made sure he wasn’t annoying her with his constant ‘tag, you’re it’ business. After a while he was trying it with a teenage boy but Max quickly came over and told me Jack shouldn’t be playing with that boy…that he’d used the middle finger a couple of times. I’d been watching the boy while Jack was with him and everything seemed alright. I asked the boy if Jack was annoying him and he said no so I let it be. Jack left off playing with him, but went back another couple of times, and each time Max was right next to me saying the same thing. He’s so protective of Jack, when he’s not picking on him.

I used the rest of the peanut butter for lunch so we stopped at WM for a few more groceries on the way home. We came in and quickly changed into swimsuits and headed to the pool. It’s been warm today, but it’s always so windy so it’s hardly been hot enough to really make you want to swim. The boys only got to swim about 30 minutes before lightening was sighted and we had to get out of the pool. While we were there, though, I chatted with the only other mom there, and Max played with her kids. Fun!

After that we checked out the youth center. I thought it would be a place for Max to hang out with other kids inside while I took Jack out to the back to play on the playground. Nope. It’s basically after school care, even in the summer. I can pay for them to keep the boys, and they’re even having a lock-in! I talked to Tj and he’s all for Max going to that.

I made buffalo chicken pizza for supper, without the chicken! Max asked about it while at the store but I forgot to get chicken. I did have bacon so I put that on there, but it was a waste. You couldn’t really taste the bacon. I seeded and diced a tomato to put on half of the pizza…Max didn’t even know it was there, and it didn’t register on my pallette either.

28 June Wednesday

Black light golf at Putz and Glow.

Since we passed right by Reptile Gardens to get to Putz and Glow we stopped in at RG again so Jack could play on the playground and in the sandbox.

29 June Thursday

PJ day! It rained off and on all day which was nice. We skipped breakfast and then I made ham and cheese scones for lunch. I’m always disappointed in flavored scones…these were good, but much better when I put a slice of ham in there! I guess I just need to stick to biscuits.

We all worked after lunch. Max had a letter to Greyson to finish up. G’s grandmother asked if they could be pen pals; I said yes, but Max is loathing it. I told him he had to write at least 3 letters…after that we’ll evaluate. I finally changed our address with Uncle Jerry and Aunt Vicki, finished up putting insulation around the bus, and finally ordered Jack’s ID bracelet.

For supper I made a new recipe: sausage and sun dried tomato pasta. It was fine, but again, a little bland.

30 June Friday

We hit up the office for free doughnuts. Man, I’m gonna miss that when we leave here! Then we went home and made ice cream from a recipe off of FB. Shake cream in a mason jar with a little sugar/vanilla/salt and leave in the freezer for 3 hours. Then it was time for the base picnic. It was close enough that we walked there. Jack was ecstatic about the jumpy castles, of course. Max had a lot of fun with the bubble soccer…I didn’t know what that was, but I guess it was the body size bubbles you get in and run around into other people with. Paintball was available but Max didn’t want to do it because he’s heard it hurts. When we first walked by the paintball area there were just adults playing, but later there was a kids time. By the time I saw that it was about time to go. Lunch was provided…pulled pork or hot dog, cole slaw/beans/chips, and Cokes or water to drink. There was a mock jail where you told on your friend, then someone went and put real handcuffs on them and walked them to the jail cell set up right in the middle of activities. There was a judge who told everyone what your crimes were, and I don’t know if you had to pay to get out or pay to put your friends in, or of the whole thing was free. I”m sure it was fun for everyone here who knows other people they could send to jail…it went on the whole time we were there which was 10:30-1:40pm. We would’ve stayed another 20 minutes to then end but Jack threw up! Fortunately not in the jumpy castle! I made sure he waited a long time after eating to go back and jump and he was fine. Then we went to get a bottle of water and he drank a good third of that. He played bubble soccer a bit and had the rest of his water. 5 or 10 minutes after that he threw up…I guess I should’ve slowed his water consumption down. It seemed funny to me that he didn’t throw up while being active, it was after 2-3 minutes of standing still. Of course as we were walking home he was asking to jump again.

We came home and showered him, then he watched Milo and Otis while I dozed. Max and I put together the water rocket we’ve had forever, but it didn’t work. I guess we’ll have to wait to ask Tj if he can figure out where we went wrong.

I’m planning on cooking bacon and eggs to go with the rest of the scones for supper, and then our homemade ice cream for dessert!

I just stepped outside to see if we should go hunt down the Milky Way and it’s perfectly clear! But the moon’s already out. Bummer.