Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sebastian Inlet, Florida

We continue camping at Long Point County Park on Florida’s intercoastal waterway. School is the focal point now, and the boys are working hard to make up for lost school time at Disney. They’ll be taking green tests #100 this coming week. It’s nice to stay in one place for a week, with both Thom and I teaching. The kids get into a nice rhythm, and make rapid progress with their lessons. For recess, the boys ride bikes, fish, paddle around in our red kayak, or play in the sand. We’re at an ideal campsite directly on the water. Dolphins swim past, and yesterday we spotted about six fins. We watch pelicans diving for fish from our small beach where Sam likes to build sand castles.

Last night the boys all went tent camping while Thom and I had the RV to ourselves. They’ve done this many times, but last night was different because they paddled out in the kayak to camp on an island! They made multiple trips hauling their tent, sleeping bags, food, and gear. They kept in contact by radio, and let us know at 7:40pm that it was time for bed. We asked what time they thought it was, and Will guessed 10pm! Thom paddled a canoe over this morning, and found them eating oatmeal. What an adventure.

The boys love playing in the Atlantic, which is a 5-minute car ride from our site. Yesterday for recess, we all went over. The waves were the largest they’ve seen, but they all went in! Poppa bought a surfboard for the boys, and they also have their boogie boards. Tommy, a friend of ours who lives in the area, loaned the boys three surfboards. With the big waves, they just decided to play and get pushed around by them. The water’s too cold for Thom and me, so we watched from shore while doing our pilates exercises. Julia and Matt introduced us to this workout using stretchy bands. It’s perfect for us living on the road.

We’re all reading books more than ever before. That’s a real plus for this lifestyle. Ben’s on his 4th Harry Potter book, while Will’s on his 3rd book by cowboy author William Johnstone. Robby’s a big fan of Tom Clancy, and Sam’s reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Thomas Friedman is the author of Hot, Flat, and Crowded which is keeping my attention with its eye-opening news about the pressing need for alternative energy. We’ve got to wean ourselves off of foreign oil! The book analyzes global warming and how Americans have been incredibly short-sighted with our consumption of energy. Thom’s reading the same books as the boys, along with Homer’s The Odyssey. We watch very little TV, and about once a week the boys watch a movie on the big screen TV. Most of our news comes from the internet and NPR. Thom and I recognize how much time we’ve wasted in the past watching TV. Well, the boys are paddling the kayak back, so I’d better go.

Feb 25
Clayton and Louise flew home to New York today after a very good visit with us for a week. I know Louise was sad to leave this lovely beach atmosphere in the middle of winter, but I think Clayt was ready for home. Halfway through their visit, we changed accommodations to a beach house through MWR of Patrick Air Force Base. It’s been wonderful! It’s a 3 bedroom house that comfortably sleeps 8 people, and it’s right on the beach. Diane Vose’s son, Tommy, lives nearby and he loaned us 3 surfboards. So now the kids are doing a completely different February sport from hockey….surfing!

One day we all headed over to Cape Canaveral to visit the Kennedy Space Center. Discovery STS-119 is the space shuttle scheduled for launch hopefully in about 2 weeks. We saw it in position on the launch pad! There’s a chance we’ll still be in the neighborhood to actually view it on the launch day. At the space center, we watched many movies of Apollo rockets, and the earliest astronauts from the Gemini series. We rode a bus to three different stops, so we saw much more than just the main museum. We learned that “the crawler” moves the shuttle from the vehicle assembly building to the launch pad about 3 miles away. The crawler weighs 6 million pounds, and carries another 12 million pounds for a total of 18 million lbs! There are 14,000 employees at Kennedy Space Center, and I encouraged our boys to consider working there one day. Will informed me that he’ll never live in Florida because it’s way too hot here. We also learned that each space shuttle is worth about $3 billion dollars. We spotted numerous alligators in the small canals and waterways throughout Cape Canaveral.

Thom flew up to Maryland for a couple days to complete his VA medical review. He’s pleased with the appointments so far. Once he flies back to FL tomorrow, we’ll head south a bit and continue with school.

Feb 20
Florida’s east coast is beautiful with long beaches as far as the eye can see. Around this area just south of Cape Canaveral, it’s not as developed. We’re enjoying this slower pace, after our Disney venture. School has risen to the top of the priority list. The boys have settled into a nice pace, checking off at least a lesson per day and sometimes more. We spent a few days at a terrific campground called Long Point. It’s about a mile inland from the coast, but is on the intercoastal waterway with most campsites on the water. Dolphins, pelicans, and fish can be easily spotted, giving the boys lots to do at recess. A local wood stork which stood at least 3 ft high awkwardly stepped around the campsites in search of handouts. The boys rode their bikes, swam in the small pond, and fished daily.

Thom’s parents’, Clayton and Louise, arrived yesterday from New York to spend a week with us! Thom arranged for them to stay at a nice little hotel right on the beach. Thanks to Diane Vose for all your help! We pulled our RV into the parking lot where the hotel’s letting us stay. Sam woke up the morning of their arrival excitedly saying, “Today Nana and Poppa are coming!” The boys have gone boogie boarding each day, as the giant cruise ships head out to sea in the distance. It’s quite lovely sitting in a beach chair, reading a good book, and just taking it all in. Today, Thom bought a used surf board and wetsuit for the boys. Will was the first to try. He took a surfing lesson 3 years ago in Hawaii, and seemed to catch on with the basics, like paddling out. Once the kids get cold, they all head for the Jacuzzi!

It’s nice spending time with Clayton and Louise. They left sleet and freezing temperatures behind in NY. The weather here is cooler than last week, with high’s in the 60’s. I’m not complaining though! The boys are getting along nicely, and we’ve played cards and read books with Clayt and Louise. We’ll finish the night with a dip in the Jacuzzi.

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