Rapid City and Branson

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.

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