Monday, March 14, 2011

It's all about the learning curve

Wow!  I hate to say this, but I'm looking forward to getting a little rest at school today.  I thought I was tough.  After all, I teach high school juvenile offenders all day every day.  But two adorable 8 yr olds kicked my tail (and I think the goddess was dragging a little too!). 

When we picked them up on Saturday morning they were so excited they nearly ran into the street.  After a short visit with their mom and little brother Drake (who cried when he couldn't go too) we stopped by Nan's house to leave my car and after securing the kids and their books into their seatbelts at the dinette we heading west toward the Tennessee River.  Addy sang a Justin Beiber song for us then the two of them sang Big Green Tractor.  Quite entertaining. 

Seeker climbed the hill to the campsites like a champ and I found the site I liked best which was #13, but not unlucky for me.  I backed her in first try with all levels dead center in the bubble!.  Aiden was a big help hooking up the water and electric because as he told me, he knows all about that man stuff.  Addy walked Gus along with the Goddess, who they call Aunt Brenda, up to pay for the night.  We sat out chairs, put out the awning and the slide and just sat for a minute. 

The adults sat outside enjoying the woods and quiet.  Of course, the kids went back into the rv to play in the upper bunk which seemed to draw them in.  I took a cute picture of them looking out the window.  Finally I decided to wind them down a bit so we went on a hike down to a nearby creek and bushwacked through the woods back to the camper.  I discovered that although they are only 6 minutes apart in age, they are drastically different.  Addy has a thin body and long legs which allow her to lope along easily even up hill.  Aiden is a solid country boy who outweighs his sister by 30 pounds and moves quite a bit slower on the trail, especially the up hill parts.  But he is constantly watching the ground (he is a little closer to it than her) and discovered a wonderful rock with brachiopod fossil imprints.  One even had crystals forming in it. 

After a discussion about how we could only take a picture with us because the fossils, like the park, belong to everyone, we headed back to camp to discover we had company.  Some geocaching friends from nearby Parsons had stopped in to see us and brought along their 8 yr old grandson Gavin, so the kids all played and ran while we visited.  They left to take their daughter home but agreed to return later with wood for the campfire and Gavin to play with the kids.  I took the kids for another walk in the opposite direction to the ranger station where they learned about animal identification and fossils in the area.  I showed him the picture of the baby snake that Aiden found on the road along our walk and he confirmed my guess - copperhead.  We left and hiked up the trail through the woods behind the ranger station up to the campsites and found that our company was back and the campfire started.

So the evening ended with lots of good conversation around the campfire, hot dogs, s'mores, and laughter.  We laughed at the kids playing hide n seek after dark and Addy hiding at the top of the ladder on Seeker.  Those boys never looked up!  Of course at bedtime the twins were still excited and played in their sleeping bags in the upper bunk with flashlights until 11:00.  The goddess and I sat by the campfire till the embers died, then doused it good and went to bed.

Sunday morning was another beautiful day but sadly, not much wildlife around (probably scared of the kids).  Discovered the pilot light was off for the water heater and the stove, then discovered how to relight it.  I made pancakes for all.  The goddess took a picture of that since Vickie and cooking don't really appear in the same sentence EVER.  We broke camp, stopped to play at the playground near the entrance, then buckled in and headed back to Hohenwald.  It was a great trip but I was worn out.  I had forgotten how much brothers and sisters argue and compete.  But it was all done in love and one day long from now it will all be a great memory for them.  For me, it was the best learning curve I've ever experienced.  Thanks kids!

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