Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Vacation-- part 7 (TN bound!)

After skipping Mammoth Caves, we headed off to TN after refueling.  I swear for Christmas next year, we're all asking for gas gift cards.  LOL.  Headed to TN & stopped off at the welcome center to pick up brochures.  Since we skipped one event, we thought we can take that money and put toward another.  Well, searched through the brochures and found this cool restaurant called the Aquarium in Nashville. Very cool looking w/ fish & sea life everywhere.  Like you're sitting in a big aquarium.  Take a look here!  Called and made sure prices were okay.  Yeh, I called.  Remember that one.  And btw, the prices on the web do not quite match the ones at the restaurant.  Anyhow, we all got excited.

This was the restaurant we we're really longing to go to.  But, we just couldn't do a couple hundred dollars for a dinner.  No matter how cool.  Kids took it in stride and we went on the hunt to find more.  Before we went in though, we went to Opry Land and took group shots in front of those giant guitars.  Sorry can't share them yet but very fun to do.  

Entrance to the mall.  Gigantic mall.  Literally the biggest mall I'd ever seen.

Since we could not find any reasonable price to eat, we decided to go onto the campground and set up camp.  Then decide what to do for dinner.  Nik w/ naked Ken (more on him later) and Summer.  Nice patio set on site.  We were at the "deluxe" sites.  

I hate that Halloween shirt.  But, in the heat and travel, we let them dress as they please.  I use teenage boys as the excuse for the way my older teens look.  LOL.  

Okay, now it's time to explain naked Ken.  He was EVERYWHERE.  See, Nik took on naked Ken when his sisters got into Barbies.  On the trip, he put Naked Ken in various places.  Bicycle spokes at the reunion, in the grass, in the shower, etc.  Here, Nik placed him on the windshield.  Notice Alyona in the RV?

The girls clearly appalled about Naked Ken.  

Hanging out till we decide where to go to eat.  BTW, it was late at this time.  Tent is in the background.  Remember that for later.  

Alyona checking out the campgrounds.  My kids go walking around to see where everything is when we first arrive at the grounds and to see what's available.  

Nik, with Naked Ken of course.  Next part will be our dinner out...finally. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Vacation-- part 6 (Headed to KY)

After a great cruise, it was time to head to KY for our one night stop.  And we were all ready after such a fun-filled weekend. 

And this is what happens after a fun-filled weekend.  Sleeping kids of all ages.  Was the quietest ride ever!  Reni managed to loosen her seat belt enough to lay down.  

Nik very wiped out.

Summer asleep w/ Barbie in hand.  Can we say tired?

Got to KY and realized it was on central time.  Got some carrots out for them to munch on along with cupcakes. Have to have balance.

Max getting everything hooked up. He's our main man.  

There was such a beautiful moon.  Kids came in to tell me.  So, we decided to walk together and go take a look.  It was June 23 and the moon was supposed to be the closet to earth.  I wished I'd caught a good shot of it.  

 A little better.  Just was wonderful to witness.  So, me, Summer, Little One, Reni, Alyona and Alex took a walk around the campgrounds.

Summer trying to smile.  I have some other shots but Little One is in them.  While on our walk, we talked to a few other folks.  A group of them was setting off fireworks.  So, got to see a mini fireworks show w/ some of the kids.  Was awesome just to have that time together, chit chatting and enjoying nature.

Tent some of the kids slept in.  Coleman does make great tents.  We run a fan in it to keep bugs at bay and the kids cool.  Works well.  

Max and Logan taking down the tent and packing up.  We did laundry that morning as well.  Plan was to originally go to Mammoth Cave and tour but frankly, every single one of us was simply too exhausted.  We voted to skip it and go to TN.  And that's where we headed to next. 

Summer Vacation part 5A (Riverboat Cruise)

Let's see if the weather cooperates this go around.

 Yana taking in some sights.

Kids thought it was cool we were riding on a pirate ship.

I just thought this was sweet.  My oldest son carrying my youngest daughter and making sure the sun stayed out of her eyes.  Sun seems to really bother her eyes at times.  she's fine, I know she is but as a mom who had a son dx'd with RP(retinitis pigmentosa) years ago, paranoia sometimes sets in w/ little things like that.  Max really does care for her.  They all do.

 Another cool looking bridge.  So many and all so different. 

Blurry but a cute one of Summer. 

 Alex, trying to find shade of course. 

Reni, letting the breeze on the top deck flow through her hair.  

Summer, getting to sit in the Captain's chair.  Nice of them to let kids do that.

After being in the heat, awesome to come back in and grab a cup of water.

Nik and us waiting for a few of the others to deboard the boat.

Just had a really fun time.  We left and headed to KY. More to come!

Summer Vacation part 5 (Riverboat Cruise)

After leaving the reunion, we headed onto KY.  Would just like to tell the folks of Cincinnati that your one way streets are a lot like those in Raleigh.  We hate them equally in both places, especially when driving an RV.   You miss one turn and it is quite the puzzle to get across the river you can see but can't get to.  LOL.  We had to waste time earlier so headed to Target to restock just a few items.  Water being one of them.  Don't like to carry a lot of bottles b/c they are heavy.  Next investment in the RV will most definitely be 2 Britta Water Pitchers.  Think they'll pay for themselves over time as well.  Anyhow, made it to KY and saw the boats.  Every trip, I like to try to do at least one thing knew none of us have ever done to experience it together.

Alyona and Yana.  Hand in hand.  Nice for a parent to see closeness on a trip when many times at home there is ahem, sibling war fighting.

My 10 and 11yo's.  Not all super close but do like each other.  Hey, you take what you can get sometimes w/ kids. 

This is the riverboat we got to go on!  Very cool.  Smooth riding and they served ice cream.  Yum. 

Summer, anticipating the cruise.  We were getting ready to leave port.

Now, these two are very close sisters.  These two are very close and Max & Bojan are very close.  Summer and Little One are close.  Alex and Logan are either very close or mortal enemies.  Depends upon the day. 

Alex and Nik hanging out.  This was such a relaxing cruise to take.  Highly recommend it.  Was just a gorgeous day and pleasant.  And not too long.  We boarded at 2:30 and cruise was over at 4:30. 

Alyona enjoying her view of the city.

You're never fully dressed without a smile!  And ice cream on your shirt and a torn up skirt.  Total kid.

Very nice bridge.  There were so many cool bridges we passed.  Really was neat to see.  This was just one of many. 

Okay, was going to post all the pictures in one post but we've had major storms roll through here and computer is not letting me post more pics up.  So, I'll write a 5A part to this cruise post tomorrow when I can get more pictures up.  And when storms have passed.  Sorry to cut it short.  Also, digging through pictures b/c I do have many group shots or certain kids together but can't show Little One yet.  Believe it or not, that is harder than it seems.  One group shot I may post.  Little One is in it but whining so bad she covered her whole face w/ her hands.  This really was a fun cruise and just our speed.  We needed that break before going onto KY campgrounds that evening.  5A post coming as soon as the weather changes.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Vacation part 4 (Bulgarian Reunion)

Dummy me forgot my camera at the splash park so no pics from there.  Also, though I have a ton of pictures, we can not share those of others so trying to pick out ones w/ just my kids in them.  Hard to do at times but giving it my all.  Plus, so much going on all the time, miracle I caught any of my kids on camera.

Alyona enjoying a bike ride while others were eating lunch.  Hence, the vacant lot.

Summer and Nik cruising along waiting for friends to come back.

During a scavenger hunt, the kids had to write what adoption meant to them.

I love this poster.  Yana said the gum was her idea.  Umm, I believe that b/c she's one of our gum fans in the house.  

All of these posters are so great.

Notice the bars and then the freedom from it?  Lots said w/out words.

They even wrote their names in Bulgarian!  Very cool.

Summer, Little One, Nik and Alyona got their faces painted.

She looks way too old here to me.

My butterfly princess. 

Nik wanted to be a bear.  I think so he could go around and growl.  Little One ended up wanting a puppy dog.  She went around barking at everyone.

Alyona.  Growing up way to fast.  A flowering blossoming for sure.

Summer and Yana enjoying each other.  See, siblings can get along when they want to.

Last morning there and no one but no one wanted to wake up.  There are 3 boys there.  Nik, Alex and Logan.  

There are two girls in here.  Little One and Summer.  

We had a super duper time at the reunion.  There was something for everyone to do.  We had the splash park, art, scavenger hunts, music, cultural learning, food, fun, food(yes, worth saying again!), friends hanging out, glow sticks, bike riding and the list could go on for days.  4 of my kids are from Bulgaria.  It is an important part of who they are.  Great to be able to enjoy it all with new and old friends.  Made our trip so special.  Made new friends, kept the old.  Awesome.  Just plain awesome.  Everyone was welcomed whether new to the process or not.  Can't wait to return next year.  Now, to start planning that trip.  Stay tuned for part V.  Onto KY and a riverboat cruise!