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Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Great Weekend with Kevin

Well, the party's over! Not really. We had a wonderful weekend with Kevin and saying good-bye was not as hard as all of us anticipated. We will see him again in just five weeks at graduation!

We didn't do a lot of special things this weekend, other than eating out a lot. But, it was kinda nice how we settled back into the family atmosphere very quickly. I have to admit, it was pretty nice waking up this morning with Kevin sleeping on the couch! Just like old times, but better . . . I didn't have to wake him up to get him to go to work!! :)

We also got to spend quite a bit of time with Kev's best buddy, Ted, and his parents. I am so grateful for Ted. When Kevin went to boot camp, I asked God to provide him with one guy with whom he could bond and hang with. I also asked our friends to pray that for Kevin, too. God provided abundantly in the person of Ted. How great is God!

I've posted a couple of pictures here, but all the rest are on our Webshots site at Please go there and take a look at the Fort Benning folder. There are just too many to share here.

As we drove away, leaving Kevin on base, I turned to Randy and said that it seemed our son was growing into the man we always knew he could be.
What a blessing. You know, the last couple of years were tough with Kevin, but I truly believe he (we?) had to go through them to be where he is now. He truly appreciates the opportunities being offered him in the Army. He's a Team Leader in his platoon!! He certainly seems to appreciate us and the rest of his family. I thank God every day for getting us through the tough times and giving us this gift of our son. I am proud of my Soldier son.

Tomorrow we are back on the road. We will be spending the next week in Savannah. Really looking forward to that. There are supposed to be lots of neat things to see & do there. I'm sure I'll have adventures to share with you.

Please keep in touch. Until the next time . . .

Friday, April 27, 2007

Time with Family; Arrival at Fort Benning

We had a good week visiting with Randy's sister, Missy and her kids, MacKenzie & Patrick. We were able to spend last weekend together as well as a couple of nights during this week. MacKenzie had a band concert at her high school and we attended that. Last night we ended our week at their home, having dinner. Patrick also taught his uncle how to play the Wii game system. That is one cool system; interactive sports. Amazing. I told Randy he'd be sore today after playing golf, baseball and bowling in one night! :) It's always hard to leave family to go back on the road, but we were excited because our next stop was to Fort Benning to see Kevin! Here's a picture of Missy and the kids.

We arrived at Fort Benning early this afternoon. Their campground is rather nice. After dinner we had several deer show up in the field just opposite our site. They seemed very much at home. It was great. Blackie even got off the couch to watch them!

Tomorrow is the day! We have a briefing at 10am and Kevin's company is to be in formation at 11am. I can't wait to see my Soldier!!! We'll have lots of pictures to share later this weekend.

Until the next time . . .

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Arrived in Atlanta

After a pretty long day (for us), we arrived at our campground yesterday sometime after 5pm. We left Summerdale, AL a few minutes before 8am and, as most of you know, we only like to travel about 5 hours a day. However, it was 6 hours driving time from Summerdale to Cumming, GA. We figured that it would be 7 to 7.5 hour day. That was fine, we planned on it. And the day actually went quite fast. I looked at the clock at one point and realized we'd been on the road for almost 5 hours and it didn't seem like it at all. Of course, crossing the AL/GA state line we "lost" an hour because we passed into Eastern time.

We were rolling along quite nicely until we hit Atlanta. We had hoped to get to the campground around 4pm, missing most of the horrid Atlanta rush hour. Not to be, unfortunately. We got around their "Beltway" without much problem, but when we were about 10 miles from the campground we found the traffic. UGH!
And the best part was that we got to merge off of one highway onto another right onto the FAST lane! Who the heck designed that!! It took us about an hour to go that 10 miles. By the time we got to the campground, Randy was pretty fried. Maneuvering that rig in all the traffic can be pretty harrowing.

But, we're here and safe. Once again God blessed us with safe travel. I'm always grateful for that. We've already seen Missy and the kids - we had breakfast with Missy and Patrick this morning. We'll be going back to their house for dinner tonight. It's good to be with them.

We are going to be boring this week; making up for the all the running we did over the past few weeks. Need to clean the RV!! And I'm looking forward to sitting outside, enjoying the lakes and playing my dulcimer. Gotta keep up the practice.

Take care of each. Keep in touch. Until the next time . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Exploring Dauphin Island

Yesterday promised to be a beautiful day, so we finally took to the Mobile Bay Ferry and spent the day on Dauphin Island. Dauphin Island is a barrier island that sits at the junction of Mobile Bay, Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

The ferry runs between Fort Morgan which is just west of Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island which is south of Mobile. It is a 30 minute ride and it sure beat driving all the way around the bay to the island. If we drove from our campground to the Island, it would be a 65.5 mile drive, one way.

Upon arriving on the island, we tried to find the Visitors Center. We did find it, but unfortunately, it was closed. I couldn't believe it - it is only open Wednesday through Saturday. But, the island is small, so we figured we could find our way around easily. There were really only two things we wanted to see; the Estuarium and Fort Gaines.

Dauphin Island was first mapped by Spanish explorers in 1513, but the first French settlers gave it its name after the heir of Louis XIV. In 1718 the island was the capitol of the Louisiana Territory. Both the Spanish and the French manned forts that guarded the bay, but it was the Americans who captured it in 1813 and made the first attempt to construct a permanent fort here.

Fort Gaines was established in 1821, but construction wasn't completed until the beginning of the Civil War. It is the site of the Battle of Mobile Bay and was named in honor of General Edmund Pendleton Gaines. One of General Gaines' claims to fame is that he helped capture Aaron Burr in 1807. It was during the Battle of Mobile that the oft-quoted "Damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead" was given by Admiral David Farragut. That battle resulted in the capture of the fort as well as two other forts and the Confederate Fleet by Union forces.

The site of the Estuarium is the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. The Estuarium allows you to "walk through" the various water worlds of the Mobile Bay area. Mobile Bay is an estuary, which is a body of water where fresh and salt waters meet.
We were able to see typical sea life such as fish, turtles, crabs, snakes, etc., as well as sea life you don't usually get to see - especially this side of a dinner plate! I got pictures of a shrimp, octopus (they are actually very small creatures, nothing like the cartoons at all!), moon fish, crawfish, starfish, and a green moray (very ugly). You can see all of their pictures at our Webshots site. It is amazing how many different creatures live in the waters around us. It was a very interesting exhibition.

All in all, a pretty good day. We ended it by having dinner at an all-you-can eat shrimp place! Yes, it was quite easy to eat shrimp after taking a picture of one.

This day also pretty much ends our time here in southern Alabama as we are leaving on Friday. It has been a wonderful winter here and we have made some very good friends. We are looking forward to the next leg of our trip. The next six weeks will find us in Atlanta
, Fort Benning (YAY!!!!!), Savannah, Charleston, Williamsburg, Ocean City, MD, and finally, York, PA on June 1.

We hope to have more adventures to share over the next few weeks. Please keep in touch. Until the next time . . .

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Our Last Week in Southern Alabama :(

Well, it seemed as though this time wouldn't come, but here we are; just six days shy of leaving Summerdale, AL. This has turned out to be a wonderful winter. We've made some lifelong friends, seen some neat things, and enjoyed being together. Even though this was not our plan for this winter, God had other ideas. As usual, He was right!

One of the places we wanted to do before leaving, but really needed a sunny day to do, was eat at LuLu's Restaurant in Gulf Shores. This restaurant is owned by Jimmy Buffett's sister, LuLu. It's very open and beachy. It even has its own "beach" where folks come on Saturday nights with their beach blankets and have a huge bonfire. We went there yesterday for a late lunch and the food was fantastic! For once the atmosphere and the food both were good. So often, that doesn't happen. We sat out on the deck; the restaurant sits on the Intracoastal Waterway the runs through Gulf Shores. Boats park at the restaurant's dock and come in to eat. Pretty cool.

We plan to explore Dauphin Island on Monday. It's just south of Mobile, but we're going to take the ferry across the bay from Fort Morgan. Hopefully, we'll get some good pics for you!

Until the next time . . .

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Got my Reagan fix!

I got to go home for a week last week! Jason & Lindsay have moved into their new home (it's beautiful!) and I went back to be on "Reagan duty." Such a sacrifice. :) I got there the evening of March 27 and left them on April 3 to spend the night at Paula's so I could catch a morning flight on April 4 out of BWI.

Either my kids weren't that active or I am getting old! I prefer to think it's the former rather than the latter! Reagan never stopped unless she was in bed. It was "C'mon, Nana!" any time I wasn't right behind her!
And as you can imagine, she is just more beautiful each and every day! I would get into bed sore in every muscle (I do have those, they are just buried) and wonder how Lindsay does it every day.

I've posted some pictures of my precious girl so you can see how cute she is.
And we had a great time. I gave Reagan some Mardi Gras "finery" to play with and she loved it. The kids are all moved in and loving the space they have in the new house. I'm grateful I was able to get back to help and see family. I was also able to meet Sara, Kevin's girlfriend, for the first time. She goes to college near Lindsay's new house, so I picked her up and brought her back one afternoon. She is a lovely young woman.

The only down side was that Randy wasn't with me. But, it was wonderful to see him pull up to the airport to pick me up! It's nice that after more than 20 years together my heart still leaps when I see him. I know, I know - too mushy, but that's tough! It's my blog and I can write whatever I want! hahaha

Enjoy the pictures. We have two more weeks here in southern AL and plan to do a couple of sightseeing adventures, so hopefully I'll have more to tell you soon.

Take care of each other. Until the next time . . .