LEAF Spring 2011

 

 

Another spring, another LEAF to enjoy!   We had another wonderful LEAF experience and were thrilled to bring along 5 new LEAF recruits- Kelly, John & Oscar and Sarah & Josh.  I think they were all converts after the weekend.  I was super worried about the weather this year because the forecast was for rain, rain, and more rain.  What happened was the total opposite.  It was some of the best LEAF weather we had ever experienced!

Graham expanded his kid’s market line this year to include LEGO earrings.  As a LEGO fanatic, it was the perfect choice for an addition to his wares.  His uncle Chris sent us a bunch of extra LEGO pieces to work with and he and Holly stopped in on their way back from Asheville to help us get some earrings made.  They turned out looked way better than I expected and were a huge hit at LEAF.  Graham sold out of almost all of his earrings.

Graham and Surae had a blast at the festival as always and we tried some new things this year like the rock climbing wall and the trampoline.  The kids loved doing that!

 

 

Easter 2011

I know posting about Easter when it’s almost July??  Pretty slack!!  We’ve just been so busy this spring and into the beginning of summer.  Busy with fun stuff, but busy.

We once again went camping for Easter this year which is a tradition I hope we will continue.  The kids think it is so cool that the Easter Bunny comes to the campground and it’s usually nice enough out for our first camping trip of the year.

We went to Oconee State Park again this year.  They have an enormous Easter Egg Hunt, so it’s a good choice for Easter camping.  Surae actually got pretty sick this year at Easter and ran a little fever.  Pop Pop brought his camper too and Surae stayed with him one day while Michael, Graham, and I went on a hike to a nearby waterfall.

The Easter Bunny arrived on time and left fun treats inside the camper and hid Easter eggs all over our campsite.

LEAF Fall 2010

The Lake Eden Arts Festival in Black Mt, NC has come and gone again this fall.  We had a great time as always!  The weather was beautiful, the people kind, and it is always such a great time to reconnect with family and friends!
Graham once again made record bowls to sell at the Children’s Market this year.

He expanded his line though to include record cover bookmarks and wine cork earrings.  Such a little entrepreneur!

Surae, of course, worked as the record bowl apprentice!

He did a great job selling all weekend.  He loves to make some Lego money!!

The Weisers camped with us along with 2 other families from Atlanta.  We had a big group and lots of kids running around all weekend.  It was wonderful to get to spend some time with Chris and Tammy and to let all the kiddos play together!

The music was super as usual.  The Secret B Sides played all 3 nights which was fantastic.  Surae even got to go on stage with Juan!  Such the little groupie!!

Lots of fun was had by all as always.  I was once again blessed by the blue fairy and I’m hoping that will hold me over until the spring!

 

Goodbye Summer 2010

Well, summer has almost flown by.  Our smaller, more portable camera broke a few months back, so we’ve been relatively pictureless, but we have managed to take a few, some with just my cell phone.  We’ve all had a busy, but fantastic summer!  Graham is now back in school and just started first grade and Surae is getting ready to start 3 year old kindergarten!

Graham, Surae, and I joined Otter Creek Water Park this summer which we all loved.  Going to the pool several times a week was so much fun and Graham was able to learn how to swim.  He loves to swim underwater the most.  Surae is getting much more comfortable with the water too and I think by next summer, she’ll be swimming right beside him.

Graham and Surae have spent lots of time with their grandparents this summer which they both have loved and Michael and I have greatly appreciated!  Thanks Grands!!!

They took a trip with their Nana and Poppy to the beach and stayed at Pirateland in their camper.  They had a great time!  They were able to swim lots, go to the beach, and to the Imax theater.  Fun!

All that fun in the sun certainly wore them out!

Surae spent lots of time camping with her Pop Pop and Roni this summer too.  That girl loves her Pop Pop!!

Graham has also continued his obsession with Legos.  His little word really revolves around them:  buying them, putting them together, taking them back apart and doing it all over again, drooling over the ones he doesn’t have, watching reviews of  Legos on the computer… The boy is in love with Legos!!  I decided one day this summer to take him to Charlotte to the Lego Store as a surprise.  He loved it.  He was even able to participate in a Lego building competition and take home a mini fig.  That was the ultimate in cool for my little Lego freak!

We made a side trip on the way to the Lego Store at a Natural History Museum that was super cool.

And finally, to officially end our summer fun, Graham started 1st Grade.  He is growing up way too fast.  You always hear everyone say that, but you never understand it until you have kids and watch them do it!

I feel very lucky to have been able to spend the summer with the kids!  We stayed super busy and had so much fun and I already can’t wait to do it all over again.

Yogi Bears Jellystone Camping Trip with Pop Pop

Pop Pop took Graham, Surae, and I on a trip to the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Campground in Marion, NC.  It was a great trip!  The campground was very cute with a big pool, fun water slide, arcade, mini golf, paddle boats, etc.  The weather was insanely hot that week even way up in the mountains, so we weren’t able to try out the mini golf or paddle boats.  We mostly took day trips during the hot afternoons and swam in the mornings and evenings.  Graham and Surae both loved the waterslide the best.  It was super fun!

The Yogi Campgrounds have themes each week and the week we were there was Pirate Week.  They have games and activities each day to go with the theme which the kids loved.

We took a trip to Linville Caverns and Linville Falls one day.  The caverns were very interesting and it was great getting into 57 degrees for a change!  Graham and I did the hike to the falls and went around to all the different views of the falls.  The hike was pretty easy to moderate and Graham did a great job keeping up.

Another day we visited the NC Mineral Museum  and checked out a 100 yr old apple orchard, both right off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The parkway is always a treat.  The whole camping trip was really wonderful!  Thanks Pop Pop!!

Jekyll Island Summer Beach Trip

After visiting Jekyll Island last October for Tish’s wedding, we decided we would go back this summer for a longer stay.  It really is a magical place.  We camped again and loved the campground.  It is right across the street from the beach just a quick bike ride away.  The campground does have a plenitude of raccoons though, so be prepared!!  They came to visit us nearly every evening right around dusk and they are not shy at all.  They even took off with our trash one night before we had put it up and Michael had to go running after them.  It was quite the scene.  The worst raccoon nonsense occurred though when we put the trash up in the car, but didn’t roll up a single window.  I had never seen a car so trashed.   It was a total wreck.  We had to hit the car wash right away.  After the initial shock, I had to laugh at us being so senseless!!

On the way down to Jekyll, we stopped in Savannah for the night and walked around the next day.  We went to the Pirate House for lunch and it was really fun and the food was actually pretty yummy too.

We had a great time on the beach each day.  The beaches are filled with life.  There are hermit crabs everywhere and you can just scoop them up while sitting in the water.  One section of the beach we went to was covered in sand dollars.  There were tons of them dried up on the beach and even more to be found with a little digging sitting in the ocean.  It was so cool!!  Graham also found a turtle fin on the beach.  We thought it was driftwood at first, but then visited the nature center on the island and saw one just like it.

We also visited the water park on the island which was surprisingly great.  There was a wave pool and lots of cool slides.  Michael and I tried all of them even the ones I wished later that I wouldn’t have.

We biked a ton again too.  The island is totally covered in bike paths, so most of the time we would just hop on bikes instead of cars.  We biked downtown again and ate at the Rah Bar.  It was scrumptious.  We scarfed down peel and eat shrimp and oysters.  Graham loves oysters.  He could have eaten several dozen!

The trip to Jekyll was seriously great and such a perfect time to get away after a stressful end to May!

Breaking in the Camper

Sorry for the total lack of posts lately.  We really were in winter hibernation for what felt like forever.  Now, in the past few weeks we have been so busy enjoying spring, I have forgotten to post.  Well, weekend before last we got a chance to take the camper out of hibernation for an Easter trip to Oconee State Park.  I really do like the holiday camping trips.  Easter egg hunting around the campsite was so cool although we did have to wait for the last minute to hide the eggs because otherwise those park raccoons would have had some super fat bellies and probably a tummy ache in the morning!  It was also a little tricky picking out candy because we had to stick to non melting candy.  Besides that, it was super fun and the weekend weather was beautiful.  We took off on Friday and Michael’s parents met us there as well with their new camper which was great.

Friday, we set up camp and went on a little hike and nature hunt around the lake.  We found toads, turtles, fish, and lots of birds and bugs with Graham as our lead explorer.

On Saturday, we visited the Walhalla Fish Hatchery.  It was our first time there and a very cool place to visit.  This is the only trout hatchery in South Carolina.

After we got back, the campground held a 2,000 egg Easter hunt.  How cool!  The kids were split up by age groups and there were more eggs than their baskets could hold.

Sunday, we dragged ourselves out of the camper still in pjs for a sunrise service at the lake.  It was a great weekend with gorgeous weather and fantastic QT with the family.  So glad to be back in the camper and ready for the next trip already.

Jekyll Island, GA

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Michael’s cousin Tish recently got married in St. Simon’s Island which gave us a wonderful opportunity to visit Jekyll Island.  Jekyll is a barrier island off the coast of Georgia and is only about 7 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide.  There are biking trails all around the island, so we spent a lot of time biking which was great.  You can bike along the ocean, marsh, and in the historic district.  We got there Thursday afternoon after about a 6 hour drive from Greenville.  The campground is fairly packed in and nothing too great, but nice enough for being able to stay right across from the beach.  There are live oaks throughout the campground and the bathrooms were some of the cleanest I have ever seen at a campground, so that’s always a bonus!

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We spent Friday on the beach and biking around town.  The biking really was fantastic.  It would be great if every town had so many biking trails that get you everywhere you need to go without ever having to get in a car.  The beaches were really beautiful too.  We went to some sections that were covered in some of the biggest pieces of driftwood that I had ever seen. The kids loved climbing on them.

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At night, we went to eat at Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill with Michael’s parents.  It was absolutely delicious!

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On Saturday, we biked again back into the historic district.  The historic district houses the Jekyll Island Club Hotel which was built in 1886.  It seriously feels like one has entered lifestyles of the rich and famous when you step foot in this area with old men and women dressed in white playing croquet on the manicured lawn.  Ridiculous!  It’s a gorgeous area though and you do get the sense that you have stepped back in time.

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The historic district also houses the new Sea Turtle Center where they were having a Halloween Party.  It was lots of fun and we got to see all of the sea turtles that were being rehabilitated.

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Saturday night, we went to the wedding in St. Simon’s Island.  The ceremony was held overlooking the ocean and it was really breathtaking- beautiful weather, gorgeous bride, so fun!  Graham and Surae had a blast at their first real wedding.  It was a great night.

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We headed back home on Sunday with everyone exhausted from a busy few days.  We definitely plan on returning and experiencing even more of the region next time.

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LEAF Fall Festival

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The Lewis family has been having a really, really busy month of October.   We’ve been squeezing in quite a bit of fall camping which has been so fun.  In mid October, we made our annual pilgrimage to the LEAF Festival in Black Mt, NC.  Boy, were we happy to have that pop-up!  It was a cold, cold weekend, but luckily fairly rain free.  We arrived on Thursday and were actually able to get electricity in the camping lot, so we had lights and heat all weekend.  The Weiser’s camped right next to us in their pop-up, so we had a great set up with both of our pop-ups and Halloween lights and decorations strung about the site.

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Musical highlights of the weekend were the Secret B Sides in the barn.  They are out of Asheville and super funky.  They played Friday night and the barn tuned into a huge dance party.  It was so fun.  The Cowboy Junkies played Saturday night and that was incredible.  I spent many a night in college listening to the Cowboy Junkies, so this was a serious treat for me.  The lead singer’s voice was perfectly heart wrenching.  Great show!  And then on Sunday, Arrested Development played again.  They played at the last Fall LEAF and it was certainly my favorite at that fest and they did not disappoint.  Their energy is amazing and that was another huge dance party.  So fun!

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Graham also sold at the Kid’s Village for the first time this year since he is now 5.  Michael came up with the idea for him to make record bowls which was a great idea since they are easy to make and we were able to get the records for free.  He sold them for $5 a piece to start and then marked them down to $3 on Sunday.  They were a big LEAF hit and he ended up making about $150!  He doesn’t really even have any concept of how much money he made, but he was able to buy several ice creams at the fest for he and Surae.

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The kids both had a great time as always.  They both marched in the kid’s parade on Saturday which is always a blast.

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LEAF has become part of our family tradition and one that everyone looks forward to and I am sure we will be back in the Spring!

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Camping Trip To Edisto State Park

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Over Labor Day weekend, the family took a trip to Edisto State Park.  My dad and Michael’s brother’s family joined us, so we had a big group which was so fun!  This was our first time camping at Edisto, but it will not be our last.  We booked kind of late and ended up in the Live Oak area instead of the beach camping area.  I was worried about bugs, but they really weren’t bad at all.  The Live Oak area is really gorgeous and the shading helps so much with the midday heat.  The campsite bordered the marsh area and Graham loved getting in there looking for crabs and covering himself in pluff mud.  The camping area is also connected with all of the biking trails, so that was convenient.  The biking trails are wonderful and easy for kids to ride on.  The peace that overcomes you riding past live oaks and over marsh boardwalks is something to experience.  Even though I had a long week at work and was very stressed when I left town, riding my bike through those trails really helped to alleviate all of my worries!

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When we arrived into town, we had lunch at McConkey’s Jungle Shack and it was delicious!!  Michael and I split a fish tacos and homemade fries and it was more than enough food.

http://www.goedisto.com/restaurants/mcconkeysjungleshack.html

Once at camp, Michael immediately set out fixing up the camp and hanging up our ever growing collection of party lights.  It is a sight to see at night!

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The next day, everyone else arrived and we all hit the beach.  The kids love the beach and they had a great time swimming and building sand castles.  That night, we all feasted on seafood from Flower’s Market in Edisto.   We had lobster tails, scallops, and red snapper.  Yum!

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On Saturday, we all decided to check out Botany Bay, a newly opened nature preserve in Edisto.

“The centuries-old farm is a vista of hardwoods and pine stands, crop fields, salt marshes, hummock islands and a maritime forest beach with its own “boneyard” — a ghost forest of dead trees in the frothy surf. The spread includes a three-mile motor tour trail past 19th-century brick and tabby structures, 20 more miles of trails for hiking, biking, birding and horseback riding, fishing ponds and a “throw” launch into Osceola Creek for paddle-powered boats.” http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2008/jul/18/almost_magical47916/

It is an amazing beach.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many shells in one spot and I love the trees coming out of the water.  So beautiful!

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As always, Edisto was an amazing time.  The kids all had a great time together which was awesome!  I really do love the SC Coast and feel so lucky to be able to drive to such an incredible place  in just a few hours.  Can’t wait to go back.  Luckily, I have one more trip to Edisto and then a trip to the GA coast before winter.

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