June 14, 2010

Our Trip So Far

So my plan was to blog every day, but obviously that hasn't been happening.  So here is a condensed summary of highlights so far:

Favorite Sights:
Sparkling fireflies
Waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains

Favorite Quotes:
We were in the Smithsonian and looking at a giant skeleton of some ancient fish that would feed on shark.  I said, "Andrew, this fish has shark for dinner!"
He said, "Oh.  I wonder what it has for breakfast and lunch."

We were at my cousins house and she was telling me how her son had got ahead in school.  Impressed, I re-emphasized, "Wow, he just got ahead?"  Andrew piped in with "So he has two heads now?"
(we're thinking this was an intentional joke which marks the first time Andrew had meant to tell a joke and it was actually funny.)

What was lost:
One of Megan's teeth
Andrew's first loose tooth

Feelings of Inadequacy:
So, staying with people, you get to see exactly how much cooler they are than you instead of just guessing how much cooler they are than you.  For one thing everyone seems to know how to cook such interesting and delectable things.  Yum!  One mom had themes for each day.  In the morning it was "Muesli Monday", "Toasty Tuesday" (and smoothie), "Wheaty Wednesday" (homemade), "Juevos Jueves" (Thursday's a hard one for alliteration so she had to break into Spanish), and "Fruity Friday".  At my house the themes would be "Make-your-own Monday", "Toasty-Os Tuesday', "Wheaties Wednesday" etc.

Scary Moment:
None of us was feeling very comfortable in Missouri, especially in Independence where we were planning to camp.  As Rex was searching for a campground we kept passing tattoo parlors and discount cigarette stores etc.  Here was some of our conversation at the time:
Rex:  Don't look anyone in the eye or make any sudden movements.
Alicia:  Okay. Hey, this will probably make a good story later.
Rachel:  We can't tell any stories if we're dead.
Me:  Anyone want some string cheese?

We told our kids to pack one week's worth of clothes because we'd do laundry at the end of each week.  Last week we were staying in a very wealthy neighborhood where we were passing Porches and BMWs everywhere--not that I would even recognize them, but it was pointed out to me by people who know anything about cars.  The friend we were staying with said that their washer was broken and that there are no laundromats in their ritzy town.  That's just about the worst news to a ripe-smelling carload of people.  When we left their house we found a laundromat quite a ways away.  We had a huge garbage bag full of rancid-smelling clothes.  We pulled up to the laundromat just before 9:00 but decided we should buy our own laundry soap instead of pay top dollar for small packets.  When we got back with the soap, the laundromat was closed.  NOoooooo! 
Fortunately, both aunts gave the kids hand-me-downs and we dipped into that supply to get us through.  Now I'm finally doing laundry--which explains why I have a second to finally blog!

Cheapskate Stories:
I've always wanted to see Monticello, but when we got to the parking lot it was later than we thought it would be and we had just enough time to get in on the very last tour.  I ran to the ticket office but nearly had a heart attack when I saw the entrance fee.  I told the ticket attendant that I had to go out side and figure things out.  He said, "Okay, but you only have five minutes because that's how long I'll be in here."  I said, "Okay, I'll just step outside and talk to my family and figure out what we want to do.  I'll be back in five minutes."  He said, "Now you only have four."  Wow.  We ended up getting the tickets and thoroughly enjoyed having the grounds almost entirely to ourselves.

My second cheapskate moment involved the $23 CD necessary for the Gettysburg audio tour.  Rex bought it and we did the tour, but then I got thinking, we'll never use this thing again.  They should rent these CDs instead of sell then at such a high price.  So I decide that we would go back to the visitor's center and I would sell the CD to someone else at a discounted price.  I sold it to the first person I talked to for $15.  They got a good deal and I wasn't adding to the clutter heap in our car.  I was so very proud of my white trash cheapskate self!
River Moments:
I was so hot the day we walked across a bridge spanning the Potomac that I decided I'd wade in the water.  What I didn't account for was the the river bottom was silty soft and me and my water shoes sunk in super deep.  I was so muddy!  I stood on a fallen tree branch and swished off my feet and then jumped up to a branch so I could climb down a tree onto more rocky footing.  While I was in the tree a deer pranced by.  I finally got down and away from the yucky Potomac and it's mud-sucking bottom.

Another river moment was in the Smoky Mountains.  There's a Smooth-rocked waterfall that people slide down into freezing water at the bottom.  I went down on the slower side with Andrew and then I decided I should be brave and take the steeper plunge.  When I started sliding down the mossy rocks, I lost control and then started screaming like crazy.  I plunged under water and came up to the sound of laughing and the sight of all eyes on me.  Andrew comforted me by saying, "Mom, do you see all these people?  They all heard you scream.  All of them."  Then a man walked up to me and said, "Well, you certainly win the award for best screamer.

Then last night we camped by a wide, shallow river and Andrew and I decided to take a walk in it.  We waded out and saw all sorts of creatures skirting around us.  Rex joined us and explained that they were crayfish.  Andrew said, "Hey sisters!  Come see this.  There's tiny lobsters in here."  Then we stepped up on a rocky shore and I did my best to teach Stink (Andrew's nickname) how to skip rocks.  I was a complete failure (probably due to the fact that I actually don't know how to skip rocks), then we heard something screeching and we looked up to see four large owls in the tree above us.  It was awesome.

The People:
Our very very favorite part about this trip has been the getting to hang out with some of our favorite people.  Everyone was so generous and fun to be with.  We had chocolates on our pillows, yummy meals, and great tour guides.
Thank you to everyone who hung out with us and let us stay with you.  We love you!

There are so so many more stories but the dryer buzzed and I have to go.  (Oh, and please don't judge the bad grammar and haphazard writing style.  I wrote in a rush.)


  1. Andrew made a joke on purpose? Are you sure? Meredith's been trying to make jokes for years now and has only been funny by accident. I'm a little worried.
    I love your recaps! Can't wait to hear more details.

  2. You are not cheap! You're living within your means, making a plan (budget) and sticking to it, making the most of your resources. You know the old adage: "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or go without!" That's not "po' white trash" . . . that's not going into debt when you don't have to. It's SENSE!

  3. i really love the gettysberg cd moment. everyone i knew had dilemmas with that same thing... but you are the only one cool enough to do something about it. you guys are fun.

  4. We had so much fun seeing you all. Thanks for stoping by. We love our water bottles and dinner out was so fun!!!. Jaccob appreciates the help with his mission. You guys are great!!!! Enjoy the rest of your trip!!!! Love Christine

  5. I love your stories. And I love that you sold your cd to someone. I'm sure they were glad you came along. Market forces at work. Good two heads joke, Andrew. Wish I could have seen you screaming and falling in the water. hee, hee.

  6. Sounds so adventurous! I'd love to hear more. Let's get together soon.

  7. It sounds like you are all having a blast! The cd moment is classic, I am so proud! Hurry home, my summer is so boring without you!!!