The Stream

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Items of Biz

A few things have been happening in the Harris home.

1) The home preschool that I teach is wrapping up. I took the kids to the college farm on Monday and they were nice enough to send the kids home with their own organic lettuce. Happy gardeners!

2) We also celebrated Micah's summer birthday before the end of the year. I was afraid that this was going to be very confusing to her because everyday on our trip to Florida she would ask when her birthday was and if she was "fourwure" yet (see past posts). Honestly, after celebrating at preschool, she hasn't asked about her birthday since! Maybe this is all she expected.

3)The kid's also had field day. Aww, those were the days! I remember the nerves and spirit of field day. As young graders, they have no idea what heavy competition they have before them, so for now it's just fun and complete heat exhaustion. It was so hot that you didn't even want water.

Becket cried after his team lost twice to tug-o-war. I didn't know what to say to him after the 4th time of trying to calm him, except toughin' up old chap, it's just a game.

Micah also enjoyed the benefits of field day with a popsicle! Maybe next time she will listen to me about wearing a short sleeve shirt instead of her long sleeve princess shirt.

Oh! And since the school year is winding down, our piano practicing is not. We got out of the habit of practicing, so to help me remember, I stuck a note on the front door to remind me to do it. (things out of place, such as a post it note hanging from my door, tend to bug me therefore, I remember to do them) Becket was not so keen on the idea and thought he would be funny.

Hardee! Har! Har!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Email to Gretchen's Teacher Went Like This

My Email:

So, Gretchen desperately wants her hair to be like Brooklyn's. Not sure how Brooklyn wears her hair and I imagine it is a lot longer in length, but I did NOT do it right. Imagine that? Gretchen is very self conscience about her hair today because it doesn't grow and in her words, "It looks horrifying!" She started to take it it out, so it looks even worse now. She's an onion, with many layers. Give her a big hug for me and tell her to continue on with life. Thanks!

Her concerned, yet not so concerned mother, Micki

Teacher's Email:

Aww...I will definitely give her a hug for you! It's funny, because I complimented her hair this morning as soon as she walked in the room, as I do many mornings because it always looks so cute! Brooklyn usually just wears her hair down or in a ponytail, so I'm not really sure what hairstyle Gretchen would be referring to. It is longer than Gretchens and has wave to it... I'll try to chat with Gretchen at some point today and not act like it's a big deal, just make conversation. =) Thank you for keeping us informed!!! I enjoy hearing about cute stories like this.

Mrs. Lenhart

To My Mom:

Good thing I WAS NEVER like this at five! Right?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Wrap Up

That wraps up our trip to the south! Good times.


Drove: 2100 miles = our drive across America this summer (for the second time)

Listening to: Lemony Snicket book 8 The Hostile Hotel (five more to go)

Loaves of bread: 0, the last loaf of bread had mold on it, so I had to skin it to make sandwiches.

Water bottles swigged: Countless + 3 bottles of cranberry juice filled daily from the hotel breakfast bar. I'm sure complimentary breakfast worker lady was happy to see me go. It was rather rude of me to fill them, but they tasted so good at the beach with ice.

Gas price of the day: $3.71 then it jumped right back up to $4.09 when we crossed the WV border.

Car sickness: Our little detour cost Gretchen two puke buckets full. It was still worth it and thankfully she recovers quickly.

Mat broke his toe on his run down from the mountain.

The car is beginning to choke and then die when you start it. Luckily, baby doll runs fine once it gets going.

Micah and I have a little heat rash on our legs and back. At least, that's what we think it is.

We couldn't find Becket's ball at the beach that he buried in the sand. You would think he would learn not to bury his precious things! The ball and Gretchen's shoes that I left during the terrible storm can now be friends.

Funny Things:
Micah is still asking many times a day if she is 4 yet.

Pheneous and Ferb quotes make us scream with laughter. Especially, Duckie Mo Mo.

Becket and Gretchen had a heavy debate about which was better, tree house or hotel. Gretchen was in favor of the tree house. Her argument: "You can swim in the lake (with or without clothes), canoe in the lake, walk around barefoot, see the chickens sleep in the outdoors and be in nature Becket!"
Becket's argument: "In a hotel Gretchen, you're clean, you can swim in the pool, you can wake up and watch TV in your room, free breakfast, and couches to sit on."

Becket and Gretchen have also decided to pool their money (their whole $25, which Gretchen has lost $16 of it, but is sure she'll find it) to buy themselves an iPad.

Trip highlights

Here's some more shots of the tree house



Here's the alligator crossing the road, see I told you it was fo' real!


Here's Becket sitting waaaaaay over there because he can't stand the smell of tuna and eggs for lunch.


Complete exhaustion


Gretchen finally getting to fly her kite from her birthday last August.


Becket getting left on the dock and patiently waiting for his joker to return


And finally, beginning at Shenandoah National Park


Ending at Ameila Island, Fl. Our trip is complete! (Thanks for staying with us and reading it)


Spontaneaous Detour

With all the fun we had on our trip, coming home is the worst, wouldn't you agree? You're tired, the van is dirty/stinky, and you know you'll have to face life when you return. We drove part way of our 12hr drive and got up the next morning to drive the rest. When we reached the Virginia border, we realized the high point Mt Rogers was not too far off our path. It is a Harris family goal to conquer every high point, so with a quick clasp of the hands, Mat and I charged for it. It was a little over 8 miles to the top, so Mat was going to have to sprint to the top, while I tended the kids. (note: he had already ran ten mi that morning, but I'm married to a machine, so I knew that wouldn't slow him down)

Mt. Rogers ascent

What's neat about this high point is that there is a herd of about 200 wild ponies roaming the range. You can feed them straight from your hand. Mat was lucky enough to see them.

Mt. Rogers ascent

We also stopped to see the New River Gorge Bridge. On bridge day, which is held on the third Saturday in October, more than 450 BASE jumpers from 10+ countries and 40+ US states will leap from the bridge, hundreds of rappellers will descend on fixed ropes, and up to 200,000 spectators attend.

Here are a few facts about the bridge

Longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere with a 1,700’ span
Second highest bridge in the United States at 876’
The bridge length is 3,030’

I always wanted to see this festival, but never had the chance.

New River gorge bridge Panoramic

New River gorge bridge Diptic

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Island

Amelia Island was lovely, with the exception that I was used to having Mat 24hrs a day and now he was having to endure a conference. He was done by 1:30PM, so I suppose I could survive the beach and three kids for that long. These kids don't require a whole lot of entertaining.

Amelia Island beach

Well, let's say the older two were easily entertained, but as soon as the third saw her mother sit down to read a magazine, it was time to become the bossy sandcastle lady. Micah "Mom, I need 20 of them. One here, here, and here," as she marks them out with her foot. Geez!

Amelia Island beach

We went to a local beach Friday and then the Ritz Carlton beach on Saturday. I quickly learned that I should have lounged at the Ritz both days. They had umbrellas, cabanas, and towels. Der!

At the beach, I was able to chat with a mother who felt the same way as I did coming to these conferences. We were both a little out of our comfort zone and we were having a hard time reading the other spouses. In ONE conversation, we shared birth stories, her adoption story, growing up, getting pregnant and where we were going in life. At the end of our conversation, I finally asked her name and we laughed. Her name was Kim. She was a congressman's wife from NY and I am so glad she was on the beach that day. Our conversation ended rather abruptly when an ominous storm rolled in. I didn't even have time to grab Gretchen's shoes, so I left them to take refuge under the outdoor restaurant. I would have gone into the hotel, but little Miss fell asleep standing up, imagine that? So I waited with my rugged crew until Mat was done presenting.

Micah falling asleep sitting up

The girl can fall asleep anywhere, even in a dramatic rain storm!

After the storm, we went into the historic district, Fernandina. We found lovely sidewalks and docks to meander down.

Amelia Island waterfront

Amelia Island waterfront

We also got some inspiration for our future home in SLC.

Amelia Island historic district
Afterwards, we went to family movie night at the Ritz and I ran into my new friend Kim from the beach.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rags to Riches

Rags to Riches

We said goodbye to our happy, peaceful friends of the forest and we headed south towards our final destination, Amelia Island, FL. We stopped at a few places since we had some time to kill before check in.

St. Simons island for tree art. A local artist carved faces into trees to represent sailors that had drowned at sea. Little did we know we would be sent on a challenging scavenger hunt all around the island. We only found one out of the five.

St. Simons face

Next was the submarine coming out of the grass in St. Mary's, GA

Land submarine

And finally, we made it to Amelia Island. Apparently, pirates used to frequent the area The island has collected over $177,000 dollars in gold doubloons and they say the pirate chest has still not been found. We even looked, still no chest. The island's other major industries are the paper factory and shrimp.

So rags to riches. Here we are at dinner that night on Amelia Island for Mat's work conference and it dawns on us what completely different worlds we stepped foot in. Hippies last night, the Ritz Carlton the next. The dinner was set on their own private beach with linen covered tables, waiters serving hors deuvres of scallops, crispy Brie with cranberry compote and gently wrapped egg rolls (the word, appetizers would have been too casual) There were also around the world mini buffets served for dinner.

ASOPRS welcome banquet, Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, FL

Mat and I soon realized what middle of the road people we are. I like my pits shaved and toenails clean, but I don't like people waiting on me or listening to higher ups trying to work their way onto higher social ladders. Bleh to both! I shan't complain, we were on a beautiful island and once I found ME niche me and me mateys were alright.

Swiss family Harris

As I was researching things to do for this trip, I remembered an article I had saved about spending the night in a treehouse. Even though it banks close to Amelia Island (our final destination), I felt the opportunity was one we couldn't pass up. Months ago, Gretchen planned out her treehouse for our future home in Utah. This included hand drawn treehouse passes. I had a feeling this place was going to give us inspiration for our own.

It's called the Hostel in the Forest and there is a lot of peace and love here, literally. It's a hippie commune that has developed a way of life in the forest. Here you'll see our treehouse and at the bottom are the gathering places.

The Hostel

The Hostel panoramic


The rules are:
1. There are no rules.

When we arrived, we found Karen cooking a mixture of garbanzo beans and peppers dish, a mushroom quinoa, broccoli cheese bread, and hummus in the kitchen. All organic, vegetarian,and fresh. She checked us in and told us our communal dinner was at 7:30pm and that we should explore the forest. Karen also said, "Your sheets are in laundry land, toilets are down that pathway (that they safely compost somehow) along with the showers. And the lake, which is clothing optional, so be mindful of the kids, is down that way."

So,there we were the five of us standing there trying to process everything.

Off we were to our treehouse. We got better pictures on our other camera that I'll have to publish later. We stayed in the honeymoon treehouse. It had one full and two twin mattresses on the floor. It was painted with eyes, goddesses, and squiggly art. There was a chair hammock, wild flowers placed in recycled bottles, and a journal where visitors could write down their thoughts (some expressing their fun night in the treehouse, usually in poetry).

Honeymoon suite hostel

Sweeping the treehouse

We found the lake, the outdoor kitchen, and the indoor kitchen.

Harrises at the Hostel

Micah at the Hostel

If you want a drink, you just go in and get it.

Gretchen at the Hostel

Dinner was lovely. We gathered in the dining room, an outdoor screened place, speckled with lights and tie dye. We all joined hands and introduced ourselves and stated what we were thankful for. Some said forest nymphs, fairies and lizards, others said family and safety. Micah said nothing.

In the morning, Mat was out for a run so I took the kids canoeing in the clear lake. The water was warm and Gretchen desperately wanted to get in. They did say clothing optional, so in she went, glowing white bottom and all. Becket refused to swim in the buff so he swam in his shorts. Mat found us, and jumped in. It looked so refreshing and nice that I wished I had brought my swimsuit. After a while, I threw my clothes to the wind and jumped in. It was so worth it. The water was too clean and warm to pass up. You could see the fish swimming right by you.

Once we packed up I asked Freddy if there was anything we needed to do.his reply "Just give someone a hug or say peace on the way out." I hugged him.

Location:Surprise Location; A Crazy Mad Treehouse

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why did a gator cross the road? To get to Savannah...

We rolled out of Myrtle beach and headed to Savannah. A few miles out of town we were shocked to see an alligator crossing the road, holding up traffic. He moved pretty fast and Micah missed seeing him. For the lnext hour she demanded that we find another one for her to see.

Savannah was a delight. The old architecture and trees make this one of the more quaint cities we've visited. It was spared from burning during the civil war, unlike many other southern cities in Sherman's path, so the historic part of the city has all its original buildings. We started off by skipping all of that, though, and headed to the spot where Forrest Gump was filmed. They have these great squares every few blocks, around which all the houses face. Chippewa square was the site of the bus stop in the movie. The bench has since been stolen away by some museum, but you can see in this comparison, the statue in the background remains.

Forrest Gump locale

Next, we headed down to the riverfront. They have a free ferry ride which gives you a view of the city from the river. Then we walked back along the riverfront shops, stopping in wherever free samples we readily available. Our hands-down favorite was this nut shop with bountiful nuts gratis. We were full after leaving (what a bunch of cheapos). Everything else on the street was prohibitively expensive on our meager budget, including some $30 bottles of honey we sampled.

Savannah riverfront

The kids just had fun getting into every fountain we encountered.

Harrises in Savannah

Savannah sites

We finished up at a park where the kids could yet again get wet and dirty. It was a fun time had by all. We need to come back however for an architectural tour. (14 years, 2 months and counting until we get to enforce the empty nest clause).

Forsyth Park, Savannah, Ga.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Surf's Up, From Surfside, SC

We sailed our way into Surfside, SC. The Plantation Resort that we've been staying at has been good to us.

Plenty of pools.
Plenty of beaches.
Plenty of putt putt

Plenty of fun finds

Habibi's Cafe, a Lebanese restaurant. My goodness was it good! Homemade hummus, tabouleh, pita bread and falafels.. Mmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmm.

I stocked up on some couscous, tahini paste, sugar-coated garbanzo beans (who knew they existed) along with some roasted and salted ones, and some orange blossom honey.

I have loved the workout classes, early morning bike rides, going to the beach without our clocks and building a sundial just to guess what time it is, falling asleep reading (nothing new, except it was on a beach towel) and Mat's one of a kind hole-in-one, caught on film.

Tomorrow morning we head out to a surprise location in Brunswick, GA.

Here are the stats from Surfside:

Listening to: kid's squealing that they're at the beach and then later in the evening, sobs of tiredness.

Loaves of bread: 3.5

Water bottle swigged: a jug

Gas price of the day: $3.61 boo-yeah!

Car sickness: nothing to report, double boo-yeah!

Mishaps: ummmm. Nothing really. Becket buried his toy snake in the sand and then he couldn't remember where he buried it. That happens everyday.

Funny things:

At the beach, Mat holding the camera: "Gretchen smile." Gretchen: "Dad, not now, I am working." she later was pretending to be a rabid squirrel burying her nuts, I mean shells.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Skyline Drive

Winchester, VA ( where we stayed) turns out it is a beautiful historic town..

Mat's run

My bike ride in the morning displayed cute little houses like this

The junior high

And the shops had a potential Gilmore Girl feel

Shenandoah National Park:
The park is best known for Skyline Drive , a 105 mile (169 km) road that runs the entire length of the park along the ridge of the mountains. 101 miles (162 km) of the Appalachian Trail are also in the park. In total, there are over 500 miles (800 km) of trails within the park.

We rolled down the windows, cranked up the Beatles, and I put my feet on the dash. It was a beautiful 105 miles of sunny day in the park.

We hiked the Dark Hollow Falls

I don't know about your kids, but mine could spend hrs throwing rocks, poking sticks, and dabbling their toes in the water, while engaging themselves in their own make-believe conversations.

Today's Stats

Listening to: Miserable Mill by Lemoney Snicket

Loaves of bread: 4.25

Water bottles swigged: 4 plus 1 Dr. Pepper and 1 root beer

Carsickness: 1 puke( Gretchen ) nothing from me, not even queasiness. Odd since the roads were so windy.

Gas price of the day: $3.77


Becket gets a blister on his big toe and was forced to where his mom's girlish socks.

Gretchen was grumpy from the Dramamine we gave her so she was too drastically tired to climb twenty more ft to the top of the hill.

Funny things:
Micah: "look at all the water fountains!" ( waterfalls)

The audiobook finished. Becket:"Where's the next book?" Mic: " Well, I thought we could actually talk to each other. Don't you think that would be a nice break?"
Becket: "No. I would rather listen to the book. "

Micah: "Mom, today, am I four?" Mic: " the answer is still no, not until July. "

Becket had to smell tuna and hard boiled eggs for lunch. His worst nightmares as he has told us before He sat on his own picnic table twenty five feet away.