Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Memorial Day (Rainy) Weekend

Can you tell by the first picture what kind of weekend we had. I love Crocs especially for rainy, wet, muddy activities.

After two bad experiences at Raccoon Holler we still decided to give it another try. We still love the area of course and it wasn't the campgrounds fault that my husband was run over by a dump truck last Memorial Day and we got the Stomach Flu over Labor Day. This time it was fun, but very rainy. It rained every night through most of the night then on and off the three days we were there. That wasn't going to stop us though and each time we got out to do something it stopped raining enough for us to enjoy what we were doing and start again as soon as we were done.

Bryce entered the kids fishing tournament and won the award for catching the most fish - 5 total. The picture of him holding one, he does not have a cigarette, just a dum dum lollipop. We also hung out with Daddy-D, his family and friends again. One couple has a seasonal site and has done a wonderful job of decorating as you can see by one of the pictures. The tree house even has a t.v. Very cute and fun to hang out there and of course you can't beat the company.

We discovered the greenway in Boone which I highly recommend and Bryce was able to ride his bike without training wheels for 3.9 miles on it! Not without a few crashes due to butterfly or bug distractions along the way. We also found a nice little beach area along the new river to throw rocks and catch water bugs. All in all I think the kids had great memories and we had a nice relaxing time. Helps that I love to listen to the sound of rain.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009 Camping Season started off great!

I can't believe its already April and we haven't been camping since Labor Day. Where does the year go? I was not too thrilled about this trip due to a major women's event I was helping out with at church the day we left. I was extremely exhausted, but knew it would be good for my family and I'm glad I decided to go. We left Saturday night which was beautiful and headed out to Falls Lake. The area we camped in was filled with kids our kids ages and they had a blast playing until it was time to go to bed.

The next day we hung around and Bryce tried to learn how to ride his bike without training wheels as you see from the pictures. He did succeed starting and stopping by himself by Monday morning. Bryce also spent some time fishing with his new pole and lets not forget Stacy with her new Princess pole. I casted a little too hard for her out in the water and broke the line. Ooops so she decided she would stab the fish to get them instead - as if her talking didn't scare them away already.

Of course we did smore's thanks to Campfire brand marshmallows who sent me two free 1 1lb bags just for asking for coupons. Bryce likes his nice and burnt. The doctors would have fun with that one I'm sure.

Monday morning rained of course, but cleared up enough for us to enjoy most of the morning and for Bryce to catch his first fish. He also caught a lizard that stayed alive amazingly for 24 hours. That lizard kept both of them occupied for quite a while.

Oh the joys of kids in nature - just makes my life SOOOO much easier. Especially the eating outside part.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Raccoon Holler Re-visited

Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching and we wanted to do one last trip out of town in the camper before the season comes to an end. We decide to head back up to Raccoon Holler to not only enjoy the beautiful scenery, but to actually have fun this time.

Right before this trip, I had been on a low iodine diet for 3 weeks in preparation for my 1 year thyroid cancer scan. The diet was necessary to starve my body of iodine so that when I take a low dose radioactive iodine pill, any remaining thyroid cancer cells will glow so they know if it has come back. I luckily only have to do this 1 more year. The diet is basically fruits and vegetables. No dairy, eggs, fish, or iodized salt or anything with those ingredients. I also didn't have to go off my medicine and feel horrible now that the FDA approved a new shot to eliminate my medicine in order to do the scan. I did the scan on Friday before Labor Day and left that afternoon. Results weren't given until the next Thursday and I'm happy to say I'm cancer free after 1 year. But that afternoon I indulged in just about everything I was craving for the past 3 weeks and it felt so good. Egg and cheese bagel, pizza, bar-b-que, m&ms, cookies, and finally cream back in my coffee.

Friday night we get up there and get settled, chat a little bit with Daddy D and his family who are also back up for the weekend and have a fairly quiet evening. Daddy D's daughter had just gotten a new puppy which was the highlight of the weekend. Bryce loves and I mean loves (will not separate) from little dogs. Saturday we wake up to beautiful, cooler weather and decide to just hang out at the park at the campground and have an easy day. The kids had a blast of course and they love Daddy D's daughter and her friend who are 12, to play with. We liked them too because they were a huge help.

Saturday afternoon comes and the campground puts together some fun activities for kids so while Stacy and Dave were napping I took Bryce down to check it out. He was hesitant, but that changed quickly. He got to create a paper plate smiley face in which he placed 2nd (out of 20) with a little help from mom of course. Then he played a game where you hold a plate on your head and one on your lap that has cotton balls and try to use a spoon to scoop the cotton balls on the plate on top of your head in the quickest time. This was a little challenging for him. But then came face painting and Bingo. He did win one game of bingo and the prize was an ice cream treat from the store. He was so giddy by this point. Last game was a water balloon toss back and forth between us. We were 4th from last to get out, so not too shabby. He was thrilled when getting me wet and how the afternoon ended.

Daddy D has several seasonal site friends who were also there for the weekend and we have obviously grown fond of them as well. Great group of folks to hang out with. We all collaborate for dinner, each bringing a different dish. Them more than us as we're learning, but that night was steak and potatoes. We decided for Sunday breakfast to head to the Daniel Boone Inn - which serves a family style breakfast, no menus, they just keep bringing the food.

I got to eat my biscuits and gravy and delicious cooked cinnamon apples. Everyone goes their own way after breakfast while our family heads up to Blowing Rock to enjoy the beautiful park. After about an hour there Dave and I sit down on the bench not feeling so hot. Dave actually started feeling kind of bad the night before and my stomach had been upset most of the week before. So we pack up and head back to the campground just in time for us both to get the Stomach Flu. I thank God we were not in tents! Dave quickly went off to sleep while I kept an eye on Bryce. Then we get a knock on the door and its our good friend from Raleigh who was also up for the weekend at his in-laws along with some other folks from our church who were doing a big ride on the Parkway. Dave was able to muster up the strength to say hello but that was about it. The afternoon got worse but then better for Dave and then got much worse for me. Daddy D's daughter and friend were so great and took the kids off our hands for a little bit while we rested. Talk about a huge help. We were able to sit outside and join folks for conversation at dinner and Daddy D's wife even had Dave's must have when he's sick - chicken noodle soup. I tried a few bites of green beans, but nothing tasted good. By the time everyone finished dinner and I was walking the kids back to the camper to put them to bed, I turned the corner and threw up just outside the camper. Unfortunately the kids had to witness this and all Bryce could think of to say was, "Mommy your beautiful." I had to laugh and throw up at the same time. I think I will always remember that though.

So once again Raccoon Holler has not been the greatest of places for us at this point and Daddy D and his family would probably like us to be a little more fun instead of needy the next time we join them. I also forgot my camera battery which was charging at home so no pictures either. Not that there was a lot to take anyway. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Emerald Isle Beach Trip

After May's attempt at a family vacation in the mountains, we got a second chance to have another vacation after David's accident. Actually we had planned a 5 day trip to the beach and then extended it soon after the accident. David is walking around fairly well now, still without a lot of mobility so he has to limp, but has a little less pain. We head to Emerald Isle at the Holiday Trav-L-Park campgrounds for 9 nights in which my mother-in-law will join us for 5 of those nights. I guess for most people that might be a nightmare - being stuck with your mother-in-law, in a small space, for that many consecutive days but thankfully she is very easy to get along with. She is working on her masters in school and has very little time or money to relax these days so we decided to have her come along. It worked out even better than I thought because she was a big help with the kids so that David and I could enjoy a few things by ourselves.

The weather was great - just a few afternoon thunderstorms that didn't last very long. The very last day Tropical Storm Cristobal had threatened to have us stay inside all day, but it spit out a few showers and strong winds in the morning and then cleared up for us to enjoy the rest of the day.

Good friends of ours and our children were staying in a condo with their extended family next door to our campground which was great. We got to see and play with them on the beach, but not be tied down to doing everything with them. I highly recommend vacationing with other friends, but staying in different places at least for long periods of time. It frees up both families to do what they want on their schedule, but with the flexibility to hang out whenever. It made such a difference on the beach when our kids had somebody else to play with that they knew besides us. Unfortunately one of their children got sick while down there so we had to stay away for a few days to prevent our children from catching anything. Plus they are Emerald Isle connoisseur's and could tell us the places to go and not to go. One great recommendation was a Drive - In eatery called Big Oak a few miles away in Salter Path, NC. They are only open for lunch and are known for their shrimp burgers. I was originally thinking this was going to be minced shrimp formed in a patty and thrown on the grill. Instead its tiny fried shrimp with coleslaw, tarter sauce, and ketchup on a hamburger bun. Makes my mouth water thinking about it.

David and I love Emerald Isle now because of their cool 12 mile round-trip bike path along the island. It pretty much started at our campground and went for a ways down the beach where you didn't have to worry about cars hitting you. David towed the kids in the bike trailer and it was flat so it was a nice and relaxing ride, even with his bad foot. He just loved the fact he was on a bike again and I loved that he wasn't near the main road. On one of those rides I was trying to be funny and held on to the kids trailer so that David had to pull all 3 of us, but I lost my balance trying to lift off and crashed in front of some folks having coffee on their front porch. Luckily I just got a really big "boo-boo" as Stacy calls it, on my knee. Stupid mistake for trying to be funny, but I learned my lesson.

Bryce's big entertainment for the week was catching sand fiddlers - they look like little crabs, but bury themselves in the sand. This was David's task every time we went down to the beach. Bryce also got to stay up late one night to watch the movie Cars at the outdoor theatre in the campground. We kind of regretted that the next day as his sleep deprived little body went into random temper tantrums and meltdowns. My mother-in-law also got to learn how early of a little bird he really is. His wake up times ranged from 5:45 - 6:00am every morning, no matter how early or late he went to bed. At least he didn't wake up Stacy whose wake up time is usually around 8am. David was great at getting up to entertain him until the rest of us got up.

Another adventure was the visit to the aquarium where they got to touch sting rays and horseshoe crabs and look at some sharks as well as a ton of other fish. Bryce also got his first pet, two hermit crabs since David and I are allergic to cats and dogs. The stores now paint the shells they live in so we picked up a spider man shell, which he named Lettuce. I know what you're thinking, why, but remember he's 4. The other one's name is Rocky, not tomato or carrot, just Rocky. He has dropped them a couple times, but so far they have survived. One has even changed shells probably in hopes of Bryce not knowing where he went.

Overall we had a great trip. We loved the campground and facilities. Everything was kept clean and neighbors were respectful and nice. I always hate to come home after we've had a good time, especially knowing my extra set of hands (David) has to go back to work, but the one thing I will miss most is feeding my kids outside for every meal. Why don't I do this more back home! There is barely any clean up - no sweeping of floors or food stuck to something it shouldn't be. Oh well -back to routine. Thanks for reading and I look forward to telling you about our next trip.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

First Vacation in the Camper - or so we thought

On May 17th we head up to a campground in the mountains called Raccoon Holler in Glendale Springs, North Carolina. We are staying for a total of 9 nights. We got there and the weather was a clear, beautiful 65 degrees, Finally! We check in and only pay $190 for those 9 nights - that's practically 2 nights in a hotel. Now the diesel gas to get there and back is a whole different story. We set up and meet a few young neighbors that are Bryce's age and they play until bedtime. So far so good. The one thing we are learning about camping is that everyone is so open and friendly. In hotels we pass our neighbors without saying hello and quickly enter our rooms. Camping puts everyone outdoors and so we are able to meet all kinds of different people. Bryce even walked up to a girl and asked her to play with him which is great for his social skills.

The next morning is Bryce's 4th Birthday. We make cinnamon twists for breakfast which are his favorite and decided to visit a church nearby. Church was great then we come back to eat lunch and it starts raining. One of the deacons at the church had prayed for more rain and David and I looked at each other like - no fear, the Corbetts are here. The rest of the day we just relaxed and enjoyed hearing the rain. Night time came and it cleared off enough to have a fire so we introduced Bryce to roasted Marshmallows - the moment I've been waiting for. Bryce liked them hot, Stacy liked them straight from the bag. They went down for bed and then mommy broke out the chocolate and graham crackers to finish the complete Smore product. I'm not messing with melted chocolate and kids yet - sticky marshmallow was enough.

Monday morning we woke up to clear skies. David and Bryce made Pancakes and eggs on my fancy new electric griddle that I got for Mother's day. Last year I got an ice cream maker. David disregards the whole gift with a cord rule and that's okay, I have really enjoyed both gifts. We decide to go for a bike ride along the New River railroad grade road. Its flat enough for Bryce to ride which he did for a little ways. We then headed back to eat lunch and take a nap. David decides he wants to do a 2 hour bicycle ride while the weather is good, so off he goes.

The kids both fall fast asleep and I was able to rest for about 30 minutes until I hear a knock on our camper door. It was a volunteer fireman who asked if I was Laura Corbett and said my husband is okay but had an accident on his bike and had to be rushed by ambulance to Ashe Memorial Hospital otherwise known as the "band-aid station". He didn't give very many details just reassured me he was okay and said he had to be checked out to make sure nothing was broken. So I wake the kids up, load them in the truck and head to the hospital to find my husband in his tight spandex strapped head to toe on one of those Emergency boards. Scared me, but I was just glad to see him breathing. Luckily he was alert and could tell me what happened. So now I know why the Volunteer Fireman didn't tell me the story. He was riding his bike, descending a mountain and his back tire blew out. This threw him off the bike across the road where a commercial dump truck with a full load was coming. Everything happened so quick that the only thing that got hit was his right leg from knee to toes. PRAISE GOD! We've had plenty of time to think of what could have happened and not only was his life spared, but not even a broken bone in his leg or foot. His cycling shoe was so hard that it must have protected his foot from being crushed. The swelling was severe and had to be monitored so we packed up what we could, left our camper and drove home to be in Raleigh. When I went to pick him up under the concrete awning of the emergency room I had forgotten that our Mountain bikes were on the roof rack on top of the truck so - WHAM! went the rack into the bed of the truck taking everything off the roof. David was in too much pain to be mad, but there were some nice by- standers who saw how helpless we were and placed the bikes in a safe position to ride home in.

When we got back to Raleigh we went to see an orthopedist who admitted him to the hospital to make sure the swelling didn't cut off circulation to the muscles and tissues which could lead to amputation. Gratefully it didn't swell to that point. The pain was tremendous as you can imagine. We believe God still has a purpose for him here and I'm so glad he does. David obviously is sure of his salvation and where he will go when he leaves this earth, but didn't want to leave us behind - NEITHER DID I!

We stayed a couple days back in Raleigh and Bryce actually got to attend his last day of Preschool. I figured David could either lay around here and be taken care of or be in the mountains for Memorial Day weekend so I let him pick the scenery. I'm glad he chose the mountains, so back up we go. It was a little extra work for me but was worth it. We had friends, actually Daddy D and his wife were coming up and their daughter and friend helped us with the kids. It was a beautiful weekend too.

There are a couple seasonal sites at Raccoon Holler where folks can leave their campers and stay March through October. Every one of those folks knew who David was. He is now a celebrity there and call him "Dump Truck Dave". They were so nice they even offered to drive him around in their golf carts to get from our site to where he wanted to go. They are mostly older folks like grandparents and they loved the kids and the kids loved their golf carts. Can't wait to go back, under better circumstances of course.

Daddy D was kind enough to leave his camper up there since he will be back soon and drove ours back to Raleigh since Dave couldn't drive and I had no clue how to drive it. That would be a scary and nerve racking sight on Memorial Day. What would we ever do without Daddy D.

This vacation was interesting and not how we thought it would be. I'm glad we planned a few other short ones for the summer so I'm not totally bummed. I would post a picture of David's foot but I'm afraid you might get grossed out.

Rain, Rain, and More Rain

One of the many advantages of the camper is that whenever we feel the need to just get away we can take it close by to our nearest state park and feel like we've escaped Raleigh for $20 a night. We've taken at least 3 trips since our first one to Falls lake and all 3 times it rained almost the entire time we were there. That's another advantage, the camper keeps us dry. North Carolina has been in a bad drought, 9 to 10 inches below normal rainfall numbers, but the Corbetts have changed all of that. Not only has it rained the 3 times we've been, but it has been such a heavy rain that it has filled up Falls lake to normal levels again. We figure if there is ever a drought again the Governor of North Carolina can call and pay us to go camping so it can rain.

We tried to make the best of it. Don't get me wrong, I love rainy days and in the camper it was cozy, but not with two kids that need to run around and get energy out. They are not old enough to play Monopoly or read their own books so it was up to us to entertain. Plus I didn't want them to think that indoors was camping, they might not want to go next time. They were able to watch a movie, but finally I decided we needed to either head home or go to the mall to let them run around. We headed to the mall which helped tremendously.

We can't control the weather, but at least we have a dry place to stay and be very comfortable. I just want some Smores over a campfire - but its been too wet to have one. Guess that's what the microwave is for.

I've posted some pictures of the inside so you can kind of picture what it looks like. The first one is of the kids room. Bryce sleeps up in the loft above and Stacy sleeps in a pack n' play in a corner on the left. There is also a slide out wardrobe in their room giving them a little more space. Hopefully I'll be better at taking more of us in and around it.

First Test Run Weekend Trip

Campgrounds have started opening for the season and our camper is pretty well stocked with everything we need so lets go try it out. Its still a little chilly out but that's why the camper is so great - its got heat. I was a little apprehensive about our first trip because all of us had the stomach flu two days before, but Dave said it would be a good time to test out our toilet and septic system to make sure everything worked.

We head to Falls Lake Campgrounds which is about 20 minutes from our house so we are close by if we forget anything or something happens. As 1 of maybe 4 people total in the campground we have our choice of sites. We were getting set up and I realized I forgot several essential items back at the house. I head back to pick them up while Dave watches ACC Basketball with the kids. Yes, our camper came with a Flat Screen TV and Antenna that picks up HD so he was able to watch a clearer picture in the campgrounds than at home. Life is tough. We grill up some hamburgers all bundled up and put the kids down for their first nights sleep in the camper. This is better than a hotel because they have their own room with a door and then we can stay up in the living area for as long as we like.

I'm cleaning up dinner and realize the lights are really dim. Dave finds out that we had a bad converter which means the lights and heat will eventually stop working all together. I'm thinking we bought this thing new everything should work, but its why we take it for a test run local before heading out of town. Good thing we did. Luckily we had flashlights and Dave bought some ceramic heaters on clearance that can heat the camper in case we needed it and I'm glad he did. We all sleep pretty well, but are still not feeling the best so we head home the next afternoon in time for the kids to take a nap.

When packing up to leave the campgrounds, we need to stop at the dump station to empty our tanks. There is a reason they call it this. It was the first time Dave had to do this and its usually a spectator sport when crowded so he got lucky that nobody was there. He realized one of the valves was partially open which means when he goes to hook up the hose to let everything out it will basically explode in his face. If you've ever seen RV with Robin Williams you'll know exactly what could happen. So he calls up our friend who has a similar camper for advice- we'll call him Daddy "D". We would probably be clueless without all of Daddy "D's" help and this was not the first call we made to him this weekend. He walks Dave through it and everything goes better than expected just not as good as it could have been. Don't worry David wears latex gloves when doing this job.

We go home and order a new converter and start making a packing list so we are better prepared for our next trip.