LEAF Fall Festival


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.


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!


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.


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



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!





Camping at Table Rock State Park

A few weeks ago, the family took another camping trip to Table Rock.  The weather was great and the kids had a blast as always.  They love the new pop up and it sure makes camping easier and more comfortable.  Napping is no longer a battle as they can nap in total comfort in an air conditioned bed.  Graham is now riding a 2 wheeled bike and way too over confident on it.  It’s scary!  The boy who was too scared to go down small hills now wants to fly down them.  He met some other kids around the campground and biked around with them quite a bit.

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Surae got a stroller for doing such a great job using the potty lately and she loves it.  She hasn’t replaced her pocket book, but now likes to let the pocket book ride in the stroller.  Too funny!

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My dad and Roni came up on Friday night to camp with us too.  The kids were so excited to see them and Graham immediately asked if he could stay with them instead.  He is spoiled by his Pop Pop!!  Roni had a birthday coming up the next day, so we all celebrated together.  Michael made a super dinner!!

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Surae was my little hiking buddy for the weekend.  We hiked some of the Table Rock trail and she kept up wonderfully.  She loves the outdoors!

It was a great weekend and another super pop up camping experience!

Maiden Voyage in the Pop-Up


This past weekend, we set off for our first family trip in the pop-up to Oconee State Park.  We wanted to stay fairly close to home in case anything went awry and Oconee has so much to offer in terms of beauty.  The campground was really nice.  We booked late, so didn’t get the best spot, but it was still not bad at all.  There are some great spots overlooking the lake that we want to try for next time though.  The park has a great little swimming lake that the kids really enjoyed.  There are also lots of hiking trails accessed from the park including the Foothills Trail.  We did a hike around the lake that was very easy and really nice for the kids.  They love to hike, but still can’t go too far without getting tired.  Those legs are little!


As luck would have it, the 50th annual Hillbilly Day was also taking place in Mountain Rest.  What a trip!  I’ll just let the pictures tell that story.





We also visited Isaqueena Falls and Stumphouse Tunnel which are really close by.  Isaqueena is absolutely beautiful and the kids loved that hike.  Graham felt like a mountain climber.  Stumphouse scared Surae pretty badly.  She’s not a huge fan of dark tunnels I guess.  Plus, everyone in the tunnel was making ghost noises, so that didn’t help.




This was definitely a great first outing in the pop-up.  I forgot to take pictures of the actual pop-up, but I will next time.  It is surely a step up from tent camping and I am loving it!

Chinese New Year


Michael and Surae went to the Chinese New Year celebration put on by the Greenville Chinese Cultural Association and Families with Children from China Upstate (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FCCUpstateSC/ ).  Half of the fun is dressing Surae up in her beautiful Chinese outfits.  It’s the year of the Ox.  Surae was born in the year of the dog which is supposed to mean that Surae is a giving, compassionate personality.  They are good listeners, always available to lend an ear or a shoulder to a friend in need. They are incredibly attentive people.  Graham was born in the year of the monkey.  They are curious and clever people who catch on quickly to most anything. Monkey people generally can accomplish any given task. The curiosity sure is true of Graham!!


Downtown Photo Names Experiment


The family went downtown today in search of the letters in the kid’s names to take pictures of.  The ultimate goal is to get a photo for each letter and put it in a frame together.  I’ve seen it done in a few magazines and wanted to give it a shot.  The kids had fun looking for letters and it was good to get out.  I’ve been really in hibernation mood lately and just want to curl up in front of a fire, so I was glad to drag myself out.  Here are the results:





Riverbanks Zoo Holiday Trip


The family took a trip to Riverbanks on Tuesday.  This was Surae’s first time visiting the zoo.  She loves animals and really enjoyed all of the animal feedings.  She has no fear when it comes to a giraffe eating out of her hand.  Graham, on the other hand, is much more apprehensive.  I have a feeling that Surae is going to be the daredevil of the family.







Greenville Zoo in the Fall


The family took a trip to the Greenville Zoo today.  The weather has been right around the 60’s-70’s lately and fantastic.  The kids had fun with all the animals and playing on the cool new playground.



LEAF Festival 2008

Last weekend, the family headed back to our favorite festival, LEAF in Black Mountain, NC.  The weather was cold, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast.  We arrived on Thursday night and got a great camping spot right on the edge of the woods.  Michael packed the whole house it seemed like which I was a little frustrated with at first, but then so thankful for once we arrived and got set up.  His greatest item he brought that I protested was our fire pit which turned out to be a lifesaver Saturday night.  We really had a great camp set up thanks to Michael!  People walking by even commented on how awesome it was.

Thursday night, we got set up, put the kids to bed, and cooked dinner.  It was a laid back night and so enjoyable.  On Friday, we began exploring the festival in the morning.  Graham played in the sand some, Surae and Michael carved a pumpkin, and I was able to enjoy a much needed afternoon nap. 

 That night we caught my favorite band of the weekend, Vieux Farka Toure, the son of Ali Farka Toure.  He and his band were so moving.  At night, we made a fire and cooked some homemade pizza.  The people camping next to us were actually vendors with a big camper and they even contributed some fresh basil to the pie- Yum!!

On Saturday, we explored the wonderful kids market in the morning which is always one of my favorite things to do at LEAF.  It’s hard to believe that Graham will be able to make his own wares to sell soon if he wants to.  I think he will make an excellent salesman! 

We took it easy during the morning and afternoon: catching music, eating ice cream, and just enjoying the day. 

Late Saturday afternoon, the LEAF Kid’s Parade was held.  It was a visual treat as always and the kids had a blast participating in the parade of puppetry arts.

The musical highlight of Saturday night was definitely Betty Lavette, a soul singer who has been making music since 1962, but was just discovered in 2005!  She was overflowing with emotion and a true joy to watch. 

That night, we froze our butts off.  Man, was it cold!  That fire the next morning was much appreciated.  Graham had fun popping Jiffy Pop and roasting marshmallows though.

Sunday’s highlight was definitely the Shangri La Chinese Acrobats.  We saw a similar show in China, but from farther back in the audience.  This time, we had a front row spot and boy, was it amazing.  I am so glad that LEAF was able to bring that experience to the festival this year.  There is no other place around where one can experience so many cultures in one spot. 

We ended the day with Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck.  I always love seeing Bela and this was no exception.  He is one amazing musician and it was the perfect way to end yet another fabulous LEAF experience. 


Greenville’s War Museum

A few weeks ago, we took the kids for a picnic in McPherson Park and ended up walking past the Greenville American Legion War Museum.  Of course, Graham was drawn in by the big guns displayed outside the museum and wanted to get a closer look.  Graham is totally obsessed with guns.  I have no idea why as we have never let him watch violent cartoons or have any guns besides water guns, but his obsession is strong.  I had always heard that boys will turn anything into a gun and for my boy, that is so true.  Even though I have done everything in my power to discourage it, it has not seemed to help.  So, of course when we walked by the War Museum, he had to go and see it and I gave in.  

There was actually a lot of interesting memorabilia inside and the sweetest man that showed us around.  He loved Graham and seemed really happy to have him there visiting.  The man’s own war story was on display in a news article and it was the kind of story that haunts you.  This man had been seen things that no one person should ever have to experience.  So, I was really happy that Graham could put a smile on his face and give him a hug.  It ended up being a worthwhile visit and for a few minutes, I let Graham be surrounded by his current obsession.

Graham Catches a Monster

Graham and Surae stayed with their Nana and Poppy last weekend while Mommy and Daddy went to a wedding in North Carolina (Congratulations Anna and Mike!!).  They had a blast, even Surae, who seemed to warm up fairly quickly and decide to enjoy herself.  When we came on Sunday to pick them up, Surae was napping and Graham was fishing.  Shortly after we arrived, he reeled in a gigantic catfish.  It was a wonder his Spiderman fishing pole withstood the fight, but it prevailed and the catfish was reeled in.  Graham was quite proud.  We threw the catfish back to enjoy his days on Lake Keowee, but it was fun while it lasted! 

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