What a week we had. We were so blessed to be loaned an RV by our generous uncle so that we could take a family vacation, and it was amazing. Exciting and exhausting...but what else could you expect with 6 kids and 2 parents in an RV for a week?
I'm thankful for photos to document the journey, because it was a memory-making time!
Our first night was spent in Taylorville Lake State Park in KY. The following day we had a very memorable unplanned hike (that we were not wearing the right footwear for!) and spent some time exploring the creek and getting really dirty. [Can I just say that campground showers are the BEST EVER...well, maybe it was actually the relief of getting cleaned up. I'm not used to getting that filthy. LOL!]
Being in such a small space together really challenges the little-people relationships, to put it lightly. :) But overall there were more happy noises than bickering, so that's good by me.
At a stretch-your-legs pit stop the kids discovered a cicada shedding its old exoskeleton. It was amazing to watch! This trip had opportunities for learning new things every day.
We decided to add an extra hour to the trip and go down to the beaches in North Carolina. They were breathtakingly beautiful. There was a distant tropical storm brewing the day we got there so the tides were quite dramatic. The kids were amazed by the power of the ocean and didn't venture out too far that day, especially after they watched the lifeguard have to rescue a man who had been caught by the rip tides while surfing.
We stayed at Oregon Inlet, which is a national park on Cape Hatteras, more popularly known as the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Our campsite was right in the middle of the sand dunes. And we had great "neighbors", a retired couple from Australia who were in the middle of a 45 day trip across the US. They had even been through our home town. :)
On our way out of North Carolina we visited the Lost Colony of Roanoke Museum, which the kids had learned about last year in American History, and also the Wright Brothers Museum. This was an amazing place, mainly because of the incredible park ranger who gave the daily talk. She was so passionate and exciting to listen to! Halfway through she picked Leo to help demonstrate how the Wright brother's first plane worked. After the lecture the kids completed the Junior Rangers program and were awarded really neat wooden badges. A very serious park ranger had them raise their right hands and promise to help preserve National Parks everywhere. :)
I just loved all the workers at that museum!
Our next stop was Virginia Beach. We stayed at the First Landing State Park, and also visited the exhibit they had, about the first landing of the English at Cape Henry before they settled at Jamestown. What a neat campsite! Even though there were lots of people camping (in the middle of the week! I was so surprised!) you really felt like you had the place to yourself because each camper spot was surrounded by these gorgeous trees. The kids hung up our hammock and climbed the trees as soon as we parked.
Virginia beach was more populated and not as unspoiled as the N.C. beaches had been, but the water was calm and there were crabs scuttling around, so the kids had a blast.
Isabella's big hope before our trip was that she would find a hermit crab. In fact, she was pretty set on it. She had bought a critter cage, checked out a book on hermit crabs from the library, and she was looking hard! The days passed and she found nothing. Then, as we were about to leave our last time at the beach she stepped on something in the water, reached down and picked up...a hermit crab! Amazing. I just love how God surprises us sometimes with those little gifts just to show how much He loves us.
Stopping for groceries and a laundromat visit where we got to chat with curious locals...
We got to see the healing power of God in a powerful way halfway through the trip. Samuel closed his finger in a door, and I actually had to kick the door open to free it. There was a deep dent with a cut in his smashed finger and we were concerned that it might be broken. He was exhausted so we wrapped it, prayed for him, and let him nap for a bit. An hour later we looked at the finger and it was healed! No dent, no cut, not even a bruise. What an incredible God we serve!
Our final part of the trip was spent in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia.
After a final 9 hour drive from West Virginia, we arrived home late Thursday night, stuck sleepy kids into their beds, and crashed. What a great trip!