Category Archives: Rob

Four Foto Friday – Virginia and North Carolina

 

(Yep, another Saturday post, but no wifi at yesterday’s campground. Really!)

Spent more time in Williamsburg, Virginia than we were expecting. Aside from the big three attractions — Jamestown, Yorktown, and Colonial Williamsburg — this location put us in close proximity to two other great destinations: Charlottesville and the Outer Banks.

DSC_0067

Monticello: Early in the week, we took a day trip up to Charlottesville in order to visit the home of Thomas Jefferson. We’ve been learning a lot about him as one of our “founding fathers”, and it was great to see so much of his character come through in this plantation home he had built for himself. We toured the house, which remains remarkably intact, explored the grounds, and enjoyed the excellent museum. He was a fascinatingly complex man, full of ideals and contradiction. Definitely worth the side trip.

DSC_0158

Outer Banks: Traveling in the opposite direction (towards the NC coast) we took a short sojourn to the Outer Banks. It was definitely off-season here, but a couple of days of clear and cool weather still made for a good time at the beach. We enjoyed collecting shells, listening to the surf, visiting the lighthouses, and swimming… in the indoor pool at our hotel.

DSC_0101

Corolla: One of the area attractions is seeing the wild horses that roam the dunes in the northern tip of OBX. These mustangs were brought by Spanish explorers 500 years ago and still retain 100% of that original genetic lineage. Our tour included a 4×4 ride through the dunes, some neat bird sightings (bald eagles and ospreys), and several of the wild horses. The boys also got a kick out of our funny guide, who gave their dad a hard time for being a Yankee’s fan.

DSC_0081

Wright Brothers Memorial: Another big attraction was in Kill Devil Hills, where Wilber and Orville Wright conducted their first successful flights. We enjoyed learning about their story, which was a lesson in perseverance, teamwork, and scientific thinking. Here, Miles and Owen challenged the park ranger to their own paper airplane flight tests (part of another Jr. Ranger badge).

All in all, another good week on the Gold Family Road Trip. We’re halfway through our southern swing, with this next week’s adventures in Charleston, South Carolina. Thanks for following along!

Four Foto Friday – DC and Around

(Just noticed that I forgot to post this last week. I hit “drafts” instead of publish… whoops! Sorry for the FFF overload this week!)

OK, so today is Saturday, not Friday. You may have also noticed that I missed last week’s FFF due to our action packed time in DC. To make up for this, I’m doubling my efforts with 8 photos from the past 2 weeks. Also, since it’s the end the month, our latest album of October photos can now be found on our Gallery page. Hope this makes up for last weekend’s laziness, and that you enjoy these shots from our recent adventures!

IMG_5839

White House: It takes some advanced planning to arrange a tour (thanks, Susan and Jeff!) but this was definitely a DC highlight. Our intern/guide met us at the gate and led us through the East Wing and Main Floor of the house, which was filled with spectacular art, historic furnishings, and many great stories about the presidents and families who resided there. While the Obama’s didn’t appear to be around, we did catch a glimpse of the family pooch, Sunny (Bo’s sister). The whole tour was a very memorable experience for us all!

DSC_0071

DC Sights: It’s hard to choose from our photos of DC, so I’ll just use this one to capture them all. Our visits into the city included: the US Capitol, Supreme Court, National Archives, Ford’s Theatre, the Newseum, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art… all of which can be seen in our October photo gallery. This one was taken from Arlington Cemetery (VA) on a crisp autumn morning.

DSC_0088

Mount Vernon: Along with the DC sights, we also explored the area on several day trips, like this one to George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon. Here we not only toured the house and learned about our first president, but also took the “Slave Tour” and saw Mount Vernon from a very different perspective.

DSC_0129

Gettysburg: Another day trip from DC was our drive up to Gettysburg (PA), known for the battle that’s considered the turning point of the Civil War. We took an audio-tour of the battlefield and found these Confederate re-enactors practicing their drills.  We also visited the spot where President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address to memorialize the fallen soldiers and embolden the Union cause.

IMG_5531

Family and Friends: Of course, it’s not all about historical people and places… DC gave us a chance to catch up with loved ones, too! It was great to leave the RV, spend time with family, and appreciate the comforts of “home”. We also enjoyed catching up with friends from Peace Corps (the Browns), from Delhi (Raj’s and her girls) and from Beijing (the Kochs).

IMG_5654

Williamsburg: After 12 fantastic days in DC, we hit the road again and headed to Williamsburg, Virginia. The area of Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum with so many attractions it was hard to see them all in one day. We learned about town life in the 1700s through visits to the courthouse, jail, silversmith, wig maker, brick maker, and governor’s palace. We even stayed into the night for a Ghost Tour… a creepy but fun way to explore the 300 year old homes.

DSC_0069

Jamestown: The history in this part of Virginia goes back to the earliest American settlers, those of Jamestown Colony. Another living history museum, it was interesting to see how Jamestown differed from Plimoth Plantation, which we saw up in Massachusetts. Like Plimoth, the Jamestown museum also showcased the lifestyle of the Powhatan indians who occupied this region.

DSC_0126

Halloween: What a perfect way to cap off another month on the road… trick-or-treating for Halloween candy! The boys dressed as scary bears, and even Jen got into the spirit. Although we were able to do some of this in Beijing, the neighborhood we found here in Williamsburg turned out to be an ideal spot: lots of kids, many decorated houses, and tons of American candy. Whoo-hoo!

 

 

 

 

 

Four Foto Friday: Favorites from Philly

Philadelphia… America’s birth place… the City of Brotherly Love. Our week in and around the city was filled with activity: visiting the historical sites, seeking out good food and entertainment, retracing memories (we lived here from ‘97-’99) and catching up with family (nephew/cousin Adam) and a former ISB student (Kevin L). Here are some of the details:

DSC_0276

Independence Hall: Nothing says Philly like this icon of American history. We spent two days checking out the most significant spots in Independence National Park. The State House, which saw the penning of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was definitely a highlight. Rooms here were amazingly well-preserved, making the leap back in time easily imagined. Back in the RV, we also enjoyed a screening of the film 1776, the Tony award-winning musical that celebrates the Declaration of Independence. Who knew that John Adams could carry such a tune!

IMG_6165

Valley Forge: When the British captured and occupied Philadelphia in 1777, this region on the outskirts of town served as Washington’s encampment for the Continental Army (with over 20,000 soldiers, it became the 5th largest “city” in America!). The conditions during that winter were notoriously difficult, and thousands of log huts were constructed as shelter. Miles got a first hand look at the bunks… not much room indeed! We had a beautiful autumn day to explore the area, visit the information center museum, and learn how the American forces were fortified during there stay here.

IMG_5409

Cheesesteaks: Speaking of fortification… we also found some great food in Philadelphia. Pictured here is the classic cheesesteak sandwich (though I made the mistake of replacing the requisite Cheese Whiz topping with bleu cheese… good, but just not the same!) We also enjoyed the fresh produce, meats, and pastries at Reading Terminal Market. The combination of Italian and Pennsylvania-Dutch influences made for fun market shopping and a delicious lunch.

IMG_5468

Benjamin Franklin: There are many tributes around town to this inventor, educator, diplomat, statesman, author, and philosopher, but this was our favorite. It sits in the middle of University of Pennsylvania, the institution founded by Ben himself. We enjoyed learning about his life at Franklin Court, the site of his family home and printing workshop. Miles and Owen also loved the Franklin Institute, where a day of hands-on science gave them a nice break from all the history. Of Franklin’s many witticisms, there were a couple that gave us the best chuckle:  Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead and Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days. That last one is worth keeping in mind as we visit family and friends during our year of travel… thank you, Ben!

By the way, we’ve shifted camp again and are now in the DC area. Our list is long here and includes time with more family and friends, so we’ll probably stay for two weeks or so. Can’t wait to get out and explore our nation’s capital.

Four Foto Friday – Back on the Road

After a two week “break” in CT, we’re back on the road again. It was great having the time at home to reflect on our first trip, make adjustments, and plan out the next leg of our journey. We also enjoyed having extra time with family/friends and taking several good day trips. This past week, we loaded up the RV, said goodbye to New England, and started our 10-week journey south. The first stop is Pennsylvania, where we are now camped halfway between Philadelphia and Lancaster. Here are some highlight from these past weeks:

DSC_0091

Fall Foliage: The couple of day trips that we took into Massachusetts found us at the height of some amazing fall colors. This photo was taken outside of the Clark Museum in the Berkshires (Williamstown). We also had a beautiful autumn day in Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum based in the early 1800’s. Crunching through the leaves, wandering around the fields and barns, sipping on hot apple cider… all perfect ways to enjoy the change of season.

DSC_0183

Personal Projects: Being at home gave us all a chance to begin our “personal projects”. The idea is for everyone to pick a topic to explore over a 5-6 week period and work towards a final project. Owen selected whittling, and here he is with his first project, a wooden letter opener. Miles chose video game design and is trying out some basic programming using Stencyl. Jen is learning how to make engravings on stone and I’m hoping to learn a few tunes on the harmonica. We hope these personal projects will provide a good break from the history, math, reading, and writing. We hope to have more on these in a few more weeks.

IMG_5393

Lancaster County: We arrived in PA this past Wednesday and took our first full day exploring Pennsylvania Dutch country. Our campground provided us with an audio driving tour that explained many aspects of the Amish/Mennonite religions and lifestyles. We had a great time driving the backroads and checking out the sights: traditional home, old school, flour mill, cemetery, various farm stands, and of course, a family restaurant for a hearty lunch.

IMG_5401

Independence National Park: Today was our first trip into Philly, and we spent the whole day in the Old City. First was a visit to Liberty Bell (broken, but still impressive). We also saw the Pennsylvania State House where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were conceived and signed. In celebration of the spooky month of October, we visited Edgar Alan Poe’s home and saw where he wrote The Black Cat, Tell-Tale Heart, and other great stories and poems. Like Boston’s Freedom Trail, there’s so much incredible history here. Good thing we have several more days to explore… I’m sure we’ll have more pics next week from this City of Brotherly Love.

 

Four Foto Friday – Boston and the Cape

Last weekend, the boys had a great time with their Aunt and Uncle (thanks Barbara and David!) while Jen and I enjoyed a relaxing couple of days to ourselves. On Monday, we resumed our family road trip with two days in Boston and another two on Cape Cod. Here are some photo highlights:

Practicing the muster drill at the Minuteman Museum

Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!

Concord: Minute Man National Park was the main historical stop with Uncle David and Aunt Barbara. Here they spent the day learning about the Battle of Lexington and Concord. They also enjoyed a private lesson on how to “muster” like a revolutionary solider. The boys also had a chance to go apple picking, do a corn maze, shoot paintball guns, watch the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, play in an arcade, win loads of candy, and ride a mechanical bull (seriously). Aunt Barbara and Uncle David are way too much fun… no way we can compete with that!

IMG_5198

Rockport Harbor

Rockport: With the boys in good hands, Jen and I also had a nice weekend exploring the north shore (Cape Ann). Our first stop was the quaint town of Essex, where we ate at Woodman’s, a 100-year institution that specializes in fried clams, and checked out the a few antique shops. Then, we visited Gloucester to pay our respects at the Fisherman’s Memorial in the center of town. Finally, we hit Rockport, a wonderfully picturesque village that beckoned for us to just poke around the many art galleries and cafes. A very pleasant couple of days.

Outside Paul Revere's House.

Outside Paul Revere’s House.

Boston: By Monday, we were back together in downtown Boston to explore many famous sites along the The Freedom Trail and Black Heritage Trail. The historical info was flying fast, but the guides and park rangers did a great job of keeping things interesting and understandable. We toured Paul Revere’s House, climbed the Bunker Hill Monument, boarded the USS Constitution, learned Revolutionary-era printing, and visited the first African American school in the country.  We also had fun checking out the buskers in front of Quincy Market and eating some incredible Italian food in Boston’s North End.

Skim boarding the Cape

Skim boarding the Cape

Cape Cod: On Wednesday, we said goodbye to Boston and headed south to the Cape. Most of the day was spent along Cape Cod National Seashore, which provided opportunities to hike around a salt marsh, climb the Highlands Lighthouse, enjoy the secluded beaches in Truro, and checkout the sand dunes near Province Lands. Skim boarding was the boys’ highlight… we even had seals (and probably sharks) watching us from the waves just beyond the sand bar. Sunset and dinner in Provincetown capped off the action-packed day.

Our time in Cape Cod has been so fun, we’ve decided to stay one more day in order to visit the annual Scallop Festival in nearby Yarmouth. Tomorrow, we’ll move to our final stop, Charlestown NH, and checkout a Revolutionary War re-enactment at Fort No.4.

Our first leg of GFRT comes to an end on Monday, so we’ll put a pause on FFF until our travel resume in early October. It’s been an amazing start to our yearlong adventure. More photos and reflections on New England (and much much more) are still to come.

 

7 Stages of RV Travel – Our First Big Drive

DisconnectedSeveral people have asked: What it’s like to drive this 35-foot long fifth wheel trailer? Reflecting upon my first driving experience, I’ve detected at least 7 specific emotional “stages”, described below.

Stage 1 – Exhaustion: It took a Herculean effort to get through our last week in the house. The “perfect storm” of new RV, packing for the trip, preparing for house-sitters, and dealing with 170 boxes from our China shipment proved to be overwhelming. There was a lot of unpacking/repacking, along with numerous trips from basement to attic and house to RV. On our last night, Jen was up until 3:30PM with the final push. Needless to say, we were both pretty foggy… not ideal such a momentous launch.

Stage 2 – Trepidation: The moment of loading into the truck was exciting, but also filled with many questions: Have we done enough practice driving? Will we be able to avoid low overpasses? Will our tires hold up under all of the gear we loaded in? Will our fuel be sufficient to get us from one diesel station to the next? Will we get stuck in a bad situation, like trying to do a K-turn in front of a long string of angry commuters? All of these questions were swirling around in my mind as I smiled boldly for the family selfie on the front lawn. Were we really this insane?

Stage 3 – Fear: Not a minute into our drive on the highway with the big rig, and a huge piece of scrap metal (looked like aluminum siding) appeared in the middle of the road. With no way to swerve out of the way, I knuckled down and drove straight over it. The moment of relief that followed, however, was short-lived, as my next glance at the dashboard was one of sheer terror: Trailer Disconnected. What?? Disconnected!!

Thinking it through, I realized that the metal must have dislodged the cable that sends power to the trailer (it’s near impossible for the trailer to accidentally unhitch). Still in crisis mode and without trailer lights or power brakes, I scanned the road frantically for a place to pull over. Unfortunately, we were in the middle of Hartford, which had few good options (remember that K-turn question?). Knuckling down again, we crawled our way through the city, across the Connecticut River, and into East Hartford, where I knew there’d be plenty of space to maneuver at the exit for Cabelas and the UCONN football stadium. Upon inspection, our suspicion about the dislodged cable was true, and we seemed to have made it through the ordeal just shaken, but unscathed. Without another thought, we plugged our trailer back in and resumed our course. Crisis averted.

Stage 4 – Uncertainty: Our first destination was the Travel America truckstop near Willington, CT. I wanted to weigh our rig on a CAT truck scale to see if we were within the limits of our towing capacity. Our combined vehicle weight turned out to be 20,000 lbs, which prompted me to start second guessing our earlier calculations (and the 16K hitch). After a few calls to Ford’s customer service line, we determined that all the numbers – axel ratios, towing capacity, trailer loads – were within limits. Re-assured once again, we were soon back on the road.

Stage 5 – Acceptance: Routes 84 (CT) and 90 (MA) had a good bit of traffic, so although I was feeling better about our weights, I also had to pay close attention to the road. In many ways it felt like being a new driver again, slowing down for every bump and hyperaware of each sway. I cursed all of those RV salesmen who told me that hauling a fifth-wheel was so easy that I might even “forget that I was pulling anything”. Ha, what a load of bull. Still, the more I inched along in what was now becoming rush hour traffic, the more settled I felt behind the wheel. I was making my way around the greater Boston area, and I hadn’t wrecked it yet.     

Stage 6 – Excitement: It wasn’t until we made it through Massachusetts that I actually started to enjoy the ride. At the NH border, the song “Happy” came on the radio and we all started butt-dancing and singing along. The traffic had thinned out, the roads widened and improved, and we were zipping right along. For the first time that day, I appreciated the gorgeous New England scenery of bright blues, deep greens, and late-summer sun. A few other good highway tunes came on – Going Mobile by the Who and Roadhouse Blues by the Doors –  which added to the thrill. We were finally making it happen.

Stage 7 – Relief: Rolling into that KOA Campground, I could feel my back muscles relax. It had been just a 4 hour drive, but it felt like full day’s journey. While the campground (just across the border in Maine) was little more than a stopover, it felt nice to be nestled amongst the tall pines and listen to the sounds of nature. Evening gave us time to test more of the systems and appreciate those creature comforts that we’ve hauled all this way (OK, I admit it. This really is glamping, not camping). Comforted by my home on wheels, I fell quickly to sleep. It was a successful first day of towing… a success that I hope to repeat many times over this year.

Four Foto Friday – Acadia NP

Well, it sure feels good to finally be on the road, and Acadia National Park in Maine was a great first destination. The initial long drive in the the RV was quite a thrill (I’ll be writing a separate post about that) and our five days in Acadia were filled biking, hiking, boating, and exploring the gorgeous natural surroundings. It’s really hard to narrow them down to just four (I’m also working on setting up a photo gallery on our website), but here are some photo highlights:

DSC_0111

Jordan Pond: Our first day was spent exploring the interior of the Mount Desert Island, which contains many picturesque, glacially-carved lakes and ponds. We biked along the carriage roads, which were built by John D. Rockefeller nearly one hundred years ago, and crisscrossed the forested hills. This shot was taken at the Jordan Pond House, where some of our readers recommended that we stop to enjoy the traditional afternoon tea and popovers (great suggestion… mmmm!).

IMG_5114

Oceanside and Gorham Mountain Hikes:  Day two was classic Acadia – hikes along the rocky shoreline with spectacular views of Bar Harbor and Frenchman’s Bay. The Oceanside trail took us to Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs, two must-sees. Gorham Mountain was a steep climb, but afforded great scenery at the top. In this photo, the boys are recording their observations as part of their Junior Ranger program. Teacher Jen is taking advantage of this “school work” and grabbing a quick nap.

CSC_0258

Boat Tour: Day three and four were down along the coast: first at the less travalled Schoodic Pennisula (which can be seen in the background of this photo) and then on a Maine lobster boat tour which took us around the bay. We learned the ins and outs of lobstering and caught several glimpses of the area’s wildlife: porpoises, harbor seals, sea birds, and even a bald eagle. This pic shows one of the seals frolicking in the surf, a rare event to see at mid-day, according to our guide.

DSC_0281

Yummy Lobstas: No trip to Maine would be complete without a lobster dinner. Here we are on the wharf in Bar Harbor enjoying the scrumptious crustacean. Food was definitely a highlight on this trip, which also had us sampling such “Downeast” staples as steammed mussels, fried clams, blueberry lemonade, whoopie pies, BBQ, and craft beer. A delicious way to refuel after some very active days.

We left Acadia on Wednesday and are now camped just north of Boston. Yesterday we toured the bewitching town of Salem and today we’re headed to Gloucester, Marblehead, and Rockport. The boys are with their aunt and uncle, so Jen and I have the “run of the house”… all 35 feet! We’ll reconnect with them next Monday on Boston’s Freedom Trail. Hope you’ll stay tuned!

Four Foto Friday – Hitting the Road

This past week took a lot of energy… unpacking our shipment from China, getting our home ready for the house-sitters, gearing up with supplies for our first big trip, and learning all that we could about the new RV. That said, we enjoyed a great Labor Day weekend at the Goshen Fair. We’re also looking forward to this coming weekend, as we made it (today) up to Acadia National Park in Maine. Stay posted for more pics from Acadia. Here are four from this past week: Jen and chicken Goshen Fair: This is an annual event for Jen’s family. The agricultural fair in beautiful Litchfield County is a Connecticut tradition that we’ve truly missed each year while overseas. The fair itself is a throwback to much simpler times, when swine judging, tractor pulls, log rolling, and carnival rides all made for a memorable day. I have so many great photos of Jen to choose from – beating Miles in Whack-a-Mole, grinning ear to ear with a steaming bag of fresh apple fritters, competing against a field of much larger women in the “skillet toss” event – it’s too bad I have to pick just one. But this one really captures Jen’s enthusiasm for everything at the Goshen fair, even the chickens. Truth be told, they were pretty amazing chickens.

Hit the Road Thursday, Sept 4: The official start of Gold Family Road Trip. As you can see, the RV is loaded, the truck is hitched up, and the Golds are ready to go. There’s an air of excitement, but also apprehension about driving such a formidable beast. This was taken just seconds before our departure. So glad to finally be hitting the road!

Welcome to MaineWelcome to Maine: Our first drive took about 4 hours and ended at this campground in Old Orchard Beach, just across the border in southern Maine. Getting through traffic and construction in CT and MA was a challenge, but the open road and beautiful scenery of Maine made for an auspicious end to our first day of driving.

IMG_5072 Our new home: This was also our first night in the RV, which will serve as “home” for much of the coming year. We testing out the equipment (with a few quick peeks at the Owner’s Manual), had a simple meal of pasta and veggies, then settled in for a long and much deserved rest from a very exhausting week.

In many ways, it feels like we’ve left our home and stepped into a whole new world. It’ll take some time to adjust to life on the road, but if Acadia is any indication of what’s to come, then I think it’ll all be worth it.

Four Foto Friday – MA and NH

Just returned from an action packed week in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Even though we don’t have the RV yet, we wanted to visit Jen’s Aunt and Uncle at Silver Lake, something we try to squeeze in each summer. We’re also easing in to the “school” year with a few educational activities, which are part of the highlights below.

Boys at Plimoth

Plimoth Plantation: The first stop this week was a day trip to Plimoth Plantation. This “living museum” tells the story early English settlement of the northeastern US. Historical re-enactors go about their daily lives and answer questions from visitors to their village, just seven years after the Mayflower‘s landing. The story is told not just from the English perspective, but also from the Wampanoag Indian’s whose camp lies just outside the plantation walls. Miles and Owen especially enjoyed hearing about Native American life, learning to how to plaster a colonial house with wattle and daub, and checking out the muskets that were used at this time. We finished the day with a quick trip to the Mayflower II, a full sized replica of the original ship that carried these settlers to the New World. A great trip for us all!

Mt. Chacorua

Camping and Climbing Mount Chocorua: From Plimoth, we drove to New Hampshire for two days of tent camping. Even though we don’t have our RV yet (pickup this coming week!) it was a great way for us all to get into the camping spirit with a pretty location, evening campfires, and a great hiking challenge. It took us 6 hours to hike the 8 mile trail up and down Mt Chocorua, a beautiful climb that affords incredible views of the state’s White Mountains. This was a big accomplishment for Miles and Owen, who have done hikes in Asia, but nothing of this length or altitude (3478 ft). Let’s hope this is the first of many more mountains to come.

Boys Letterboxing

Letter-boxing in Madison, NH: From two nights of tent camping, we joined Jen’s aunt and uncle at their cabin on Silver Lake (Madison, NH). Debbie and Dean are both history buffs, and they recently obtained a set of letter-box clues that describe the history of the local area. This scavenger hunt activity took us to an abandoned lead mine, to the huge glacially-deposited Madison boulder, and to the site of bean-hole cooking that was inherited from Native Americans and is still celebrated in the town today. In this photo, Owen is adding a stamp (found in each letter box) to his journal.

Jen Silver Lake

Relaxing at Silver Lake: No trip to New Hampshire would be complete without a bit of fun at Silver Lake. Whether it was listening to family stories, playing with Bentley the dog, jumping from a rope swing on Blueberry Island, or spotting baby loons from a kayak, there’s no shortage of entertainment at the lake. It was especially nice to experience the lake so late in the season (something we often miss) with its cooler nights and hints of autumn colors. Thanks for a great visit, Debbie and Dean!

 

 

 

 

 

Four Photo Friday – Still in CT

Wow, this week went by quickly! We continue to stay really busy gearing up for our travels, but we’re also managing to squeeze in some fun. The extra time in Connecticut has been great. Here are some highlights:

Pequot Museum

The Pequot Museum: This week, we began easing ourselves into “school” work. Jen started the boys on a personalized Math program using Ten Marks, and I’ve got them looking into the topic of Native Americans of the northeast. The academic highlight of the week was a trip to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. A product of casino revenues, the museum is really amazing for its vivid and realistic portrayals of Native American life prior to European contact. We especially enjoyed the village area where life-sized figures engage in various aspects of daily life. A hidden gem for anyone visiting Connecticut!

Owen Hotdog

Baseball and Hotdogs: You can’t get more American than this! On Wednesday night, we took in a game with the Rock Cats, our local minor league team. It was a beautiful late summer’s night with plenty of action (two grand slam home runs). Owen has recently discovered chili dogs (his Grammy would be proud) and this one had the added benefit of melted Velveeta cheese. Nom nom nom nom.

Trampoline Time: Another fun activity for the boys was their first visit to Flight, a new trampoline gym they found not far from our neighborhood. The place was filled with trampolines, obstacles, dunking nets, and a foam pit. Miles and Owen exhausted themselves with an hour of bouncing, flips, and a bit of parkour.  I’m breaking my own rules by showing a video instead of a photo, but it’s really the best way to see what it’s like.

Chore Sticks

Chore Sticks: Well, it’s not all just fun and games around here. We’ve also needed to figure out a way to take care of all the house work. Jen has devised a plan that gets everyone involved. We pick sticks out of a jar at the beginning of the week and keep those  jobs until the the weekend. The colors represent whether it’s a daily, weekly, or every-other-week kind of chore. Trades are allowed as long as you keep the same number of sticks. We hope to keep this going when we’re in the RV, too. Day 1 went well and the house is tidy and clean. Thanks for the help, boys!