We got off to a smooth start on our last day of vacation. Amazingly we were out of the TLF and on the road before 9 a.m. It was mostly going to be a travel day--our original thought of perhaps camping outside of Gettysburg went by the wayside after our last disastrous attempt at camping! So we decided it would be best to press on toward home, even if we got in really late, and have Friday as an extra recover-from-vacation day rather than stay at a hotel (and pay more money!) and get home Friday evening.
However, we did plan a couple of stops along the way. First up was Valley Forge. It was raining, but thankfully it was mostly a drizzle, so we were able to get in and out of the Visitors' Center without much difficulty. We looked around the little museum and then went out to another building to watch the movie about the famed year o' misery that Washington and his troops spent in the area. An interesting perspective--and one that is admittedly new for me, and perhaps others who mostly know of Valley Forge as the desperate wintering place for the Continental Army--is that really, it was no more difficult than a soldier's life in general at the time. The soldiers weren't sitting around in despair, longing for home and whining about their lot in life. They pretty much sucked it up and did what they had to do, which included activities for basic survival. Yes, there was disease and death, but truly the winter there was a time of preparation, training for the next phase of the war, which became a turning point that led to eventual victory. So, it was good to learn that side of things instead of the typical woe-and-misery scenario that seems to be the usual lesson plan. I guess a modern-day parallel might be asking a Democratic politician how the war in Afghanistan is going and asking an active-duty Army officer on the ground IN Afghanistan how the war is going...hmmm. I'd better stop here with that.
Anyhoo, due to the rain, we piled back in the Suburban and slowly drove around the area, looking out the windows at the little huts/cabins that the soldiers built (I suppose most are replicas) but opting not to go tromping around. It really is a beautiful area. (I'm sure it would have been even prettier on a sunny day with the autumn colors blazing!)
We hit the road and wondered about our next intended stop, which was the Flight 93 memorial site. It was a couple hours' drive away, and we thought perhaps we'd be out of the rain by then. Ha! As it turned out, most of Pennsylvania was under a tornado watch that day! We were in a torrential downpour for literally hours! When it was obvious that the memorial site would be a pretty dismal experience, we simply pressed on toward home. I continued reading our book out loud, and Kenna and Lucan got good naps at various points of the day.
Since we didn't stop earlier, Ted decided it would be fun to have dinner at Young's, and we pulled in there shortly after 7 p.m. It was blissfully empty, so we enjoyed a wonderful family dinner and ice cream, and the kids took pictures by a ginormous pumpkin on display outside before we buckled up one last time and headed for HOME!! (Poor Lucan...it seemed he was always strapped in somewhere...a car seat, a stroller, or a high chair! Was he ever happy to get home and run amok!)
So, now we're home, obviously, and we enjoyed a three-day weekend to recover. I made the obligatory commissary trip, Ted did most of the laundry, and the kids trashed the house in about three minutes flat. On Saturday I took the older three kids to Goodwill to find pants and winter shirts, since the weather here was considerably cooler than when we left. Thank the Lord, we found some clothes that fit! It was 45 degrees Sunday morning when we headed to church!
Now we're supposedly back to "real life," LOL. Ted's probably still at work, wading through hundreds of emails, and we managed to stumble our way through our school schedule despite errands and various interruptions from short people. We're literally hitting the ground running this week--I realized that I have something EVERY evening this week! Yikes! I'm trying hard not to overbook myself or my family, but it somehow ended up that this week is incredibly busy.
Tonight--rehearsal for a benefit concert on November 19. (Most Mondays from now until then will be spent thus.)
Tomorrow--I take Charis to an auditioning class from 5:30 to 7 p.m. (Presumably I can drop her off? I hope so!)
Wednesday--We host our small group study for dinner and accountability/prayer time.
Thursday--Ted and I are both on for music next Sunday (I'm filling in for someone else), so we'll be at rehearsal with the kids bouncing around in the play area.
Friday--We host our once-a-month family community for dinner, fellowship, and devotions.
I have scheduled NOTHING for next weekend, and I intend to keep it that way! (Although I do need a haircut...!)
I'd better close here and start working on dinner! If you want to see Valley Forge and big pumpkin pictures, go here!