We got an early start this morning with Lucan rising and shining at 6:15 a.m. Ah, well, it just allowed us to leave the condo and beat the rush, right?! This morning we actually had a plan and knew what we wanted to do, so we were able to make the most of our time.
We took the shuttle to the Magazine stop and saw the magazine and guardhouse, highly recommended to me by Eilene. That was a highlight for all of us! The soldier who interacted with us was wonderful, really engaging all the kids in his presentation of what it was like to be a soldier shooting at enemies who were shooting back at him. We saw all the steps that went into loading and firing a rifle (at least 3 teeth were necessary, LOL, to rip off the paper containing the gunpowder!) and heard a shot that was less noisy than a real one would have been.
Next stop, the shoemaker's shop. It was pretty interesting, but not quite as fascinating as the wig-maker's work (for me, anyway). Next up was the gunsmith, which we thought for sure would be a hit with the boys, but Tobin was too busy shooting his toy musket at passersby and waging his own private war in the yard to be bothered by actually going inside the building to see what was involved with the making of the guns. So we didn't stay as long as Ted and I might have liked.
Then it was a quick walk up the street to the Governor's Palace, to the rear garden where Thomas Jefferson spoke! Once the kids got a glimpse of him, their curiosity was satisfied and they were ready to go, LOL. We listened for a little while, though I did have to take Kenna and the boys out for a trip to the bathroom. We spared the kids any further grief and left to get in line for a tour of the palace and just missed a group going in. There were 7 in our party, and that would have put them over. I mentioned that there was a couple who was right behind us and maybe they could go on in. You would have thought I had offered to pay for their Williamsburg vacation--the character at the gate was just so impressed by that "kind and thoughtful act." I thought he was joking at first, but he and the lady who came to relieve him both told me I'd be "surprised" at how rare that was--something I would have thought would simply be common courtesy! So, I guess it was a good lesson for our kids, but gee whiz, doesn't everyone teach that kind of thing?!
Lucan was a little squirmy during the first part of the tour, during which we had to sit on benches (first outside, then inside the first room) and listen, but after that we managed all right, though he wanted up and then down and then on Charis's back and then all over again, so we kind of had to be creative in distracting him. It was an interesting place to tour, especially the entryway with all the guns and swords. The boys thought that was AWESOME! The rest of the house probably didn't interest them all that much, but since we were on the move, it was pretty tolerable for them.
We did the hedge maze after the house tour and were pretty un-a-mazed, LOL. There was only one way in...and no other way out! However, there were smaller paths cut through the "walls" of the maze, so you could escape any old way you wanted. Hardly a challenge. But the kids had fun, especially Kenna, running around and around and around.
We had our picnic lunch on the Palace Green--it was very nice in the shade, though quite hot in the sun. Then we tried to see the basket maker and the weaver only to discover that apparently neither of them were open on Tuesdays. We did make a brief stop at the wheelwright's shop.
On our way to the Bindery we stopped in to see the inside of the court house. We learned some interesting things about crime and punishment during Colonial times. One of the things I found amusing was how "accommodating" the court was; if you were assigned 39 lashes and found yourself fainting after only 20 lashes, you could go home and return the next week to receive the last 19! I'm sure that would go over well today, LOL!
I bought ginger cakes for treats for us, since I had left our chips in the Suburban. I knew I'd be hearing cries of "I'm hungry!" all afternoon, and I probably would have heard that even if the kids HAD eaten their Sunchips, LOL! Lucan conked out on the way to the Bindery, so I stayed with him in the stroller while Ted and the kids took a quick peek inside--there was a homeschool mom monopolizing the man's time, reading off a list of questions and videotaping all the answers. So the poor man wasn't able to actually DO anything, and, believe it or not, the boys got bored! So that was a much quicker stop than we would have anticipated, but visiting the post office next door made up for it. Charis bought a tin whistle (rule given by the clerk: no playing it in a vehicle!), and Tobin bought his own copy of the Declaration of Independence.
The kids really wanted to see the presentation at the Play Booth titled "Fops, Rogues, and Villains." Unfortunately, since it was a presentation of excerpts of plays from Colonial times, put together with what to the boys seemed like lengthy explanations beforehand...you guessed it, the boys were bored! Oh, and Lucan woke up and began wailing during the show, so we left after about 2/3 of it. Since Ted and the boys ended up taking a bathroom break, Charis and I got to stay behind and finish watching the show.
Lucan managed to have a poop blowout AFTER we left the bathrooms behind, so I left Ted and the other kids at the Children's Discovery Center while I went to change him. It was a good break, as the activities in the barn kept the kids engaged for quite awhile. In fact, I even played a round of Old Maid with Arden and Tobin and a set of very old playing cards (or at least a replica of very old playing cards, LOL).
Finally, we were ready to head to the Great Hopes Plantation, where I met up with a friend from college (Kimberly S) and her family. She lives about 45 minutes away from Williamsburg, and we had arranged on Facebook to try to meet up. I haven't seen her probably since a mutual friend's wedding in 2003, so it was very fun to catch up! The kids tried their hands at dipping candles while we chatted. We didn't get to see as much of the plantation as I would have liked, but it probably worked out well since I was busy visiting anyway.
We said goodbye to our friends and Colonial Williamsburg and arrived back at the condo around 4:15, which was perfect since I planned a Stauffer's lasagna for dinner, and it needed to bake for an hour. We sat around in the hot tub for awhile and I tried to read the first chapter in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, but when Lucan kept trying to dunk himself under water, we decided we had better wait to read. After dinner, when Lucan was safely in bed, we read the first 3 chapters of Book One. I think it's safe to say we're hooked!