Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summer Vacation part 11 ( having to go home early--URGHH!!!)

We were having a wonderful time at the Nashville KOA.  Really great.  Fantastic people & nice place.  Okay, to go back a bit.  We are apparently, a bit unusual when it comes to the camping world.  I mean truly, who would camp with 13 people, right?  We would.  So, I ALWAYS call and speak to a human being when reserving any campground simply due to the sheer # of us & also our camping set up.  I always tell them, it is an RV AND a tent on the same site.  We don't mind paying extra for a bigger site as some places require that.  Fine. 

So, booked Nashville months ago.  Person on the phone said their regular sites aren't all that big but would we care to pay more for the deluxe sites as they could house a tent and an RV.  This is Nashville (touristy) folks so I knew it would be quite a bit more.  Still way, way cheaper than a hotel so I booked it.  Paid a deposit of $70 something and paid the rest later when I got there.  I do believe it was $210 or something around there for all 3 nights. 

First night set up.  Actually, early in the afternoon.  Met people around us, chatted, etc.  Also, many KOA staff had come by. Waved.  No one said a word day one.  Day two same exact thing.  In fact, we were there all day.  Well, all of a sudden Bojan comes to us and says the campground people said we can't have the tent on the site, we must move.  Clearly, there was some mistake.  I mean shoot, it was 7 something at night at this point.  We go into the office.  KOA staff said we have to take down the tent as it is considered a safety hazard.  Afraid someone will mow the kids down in the middle of the night.  If they did, truly they shouldn't be driving an RV in the first place!  Hellooo, it's a campground folks.  They have like 5mph speed limits.  Tent was off the road and far enough up.  We said fine, how do we resolve this problem.  They said they could move the tent...across the campgrounds.  Umm, no folks, not an option w/ our kids.  Explained to them some of them are special needs and being away from our parental guidance is NOT an option. In addition, the RV sites have electric and we can use the fan in the tent to keep them cool and bugs at bay.  Called manager.  He said there was another location we could see from our RV. Well, yes...sort of.  Right near the dumpster, construction material & no hookups whatsoever.  Again, not an option.  They said there was nothing they could do.  I called Jellystone Campgrounds but it is summer time peak season.  They had something that could possibly house us but too expensive.  I'd already paid KOA remember.  At this late in the game, we had no choice but to pack up and leave.  Went to tell the office people. Office closed at 8pm.  URGHH!!!  Thought about staying that night too but we had already unhooked everything, empty tanks, etc. and were told we HAD to leave so did. 

So, at 9:30pm at night, we hit the road for a 12 hour drive home in the middle of the night.  KOA did not refund the money.  Don't worry, writing to corporate tomorrow.  We paid the money for the site months in advance.  They knew our set up.  Had NO trouble at any other KOA's we stayed at during our trip.  We left the office a note taped to the door that evening.  They never called us to apologize nor did they refund the money for the 2 nights we did not stay there.  And remember, these are now kids that knew they were missing out on touring the Parthenon and the water park.   And dealing w/ FAS kids who go by routine and calenders of what we're doing each and every day.  Nik is also autistic and he just fell apart.  Not to mention we were emotionally spent knowing House guest was coming back but could not tell anyone.  I was proud the kids took it in stride and made a promise to indeed go to a water park at some point this summer. 

I think KOA handled the whole thing wrong.  Reason being, we saw plenty of other non-deluxe sites available side by side.  Give us two of those sites, we would have paid the difference.  Actually, would have been a wash b/c the deluxe sites were double the regular sites.  So about even.  We would have had no trouble moving the RV and tent to another site at the campground.  We passed a few on our way out.  And truly rarely anyone comes in the middle of the night to a campground w/these huge things b/c you have to have some light to set them up.  Trust me, doing it by flashlight is a royal pain in the butt.  Lesson learned!  LOL.  But, the Nashville KOA has not responded whatsoever to the letter we left them nor the entire situation.  If it was truly a safety hazard, how come you didn't tell us that the entire two days you saw us there?!  Just doesn't make sense. 

It was a very, very hard trip home.  And then we had to prepare the kids to tell them house guest was returning home.  Again, we've almost always stayed at KOA's.  I hate for one bad apple to spoil the bunch and won't let it.  I just think KOA should do something.  Shoot, at least give us our money back for the time we did not stay there!  So, writing my letter tomorrow.  Any suggestions for wording, send them my way.  Hope they choose to do the right thing.  Time will tell and will most definitely let you know what the Nashville KOA decides to do.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Vacation part 10 (Big news/ having to go home??)

Gosh, more of the day.  Guess I should get back to it.

Alyona, playing ping pong with Reni.  

Summer enjoying putting discs in.  These are the two colors she's been working on at home and at speech.

Logan and Nik played the Wii forever.  Yana and Bojan picking out songs in the background.  Either Bojan or Max.  Can't tell from here.

Alex and Warren battling it out.  Again, great area to play in and all included.

This was the road we were on.  Notice the big buses and RV's.  Customized and all.  Some even light up underneath at night.  We looked like the Clampetts coming to town with our RV in these sites.  

Kids and I loved the bus on the end.  Hard to see but it's in the left side.  Guy is watching tv outside.  All these buses/ rv's were super duper clean.  I mean like not even a bug on them!  Warren was wondering how the heck they do that.  The bus in front even had a car behind it w/ the same custom paint job.  These people are serious rv'ers.  

Summer, just being Summer.  Always smiling.  Notice,she has all her teeth here.

Max was not happy we wouldn't let him play basketball or do certain other things.  Remember, he just had surgery not too long ago.  He's not supposed to do that much and was supposed to have his sling on.  URGHH!!!  Teens.

Okay, so things seemed to be going well, right?  Yes, they were.  Until Bojan came up to us at the pool and told us he had a visit from the campground people who told him we have to move.  What?!  We thought must be some sort of misunderstanding.  So, went back to the office to figure out what happened.  The story of why and how we had to go home early in a post of it's own.  Too tired to finish this tonight folks.  I will tell you earlier that day, we had received news that Houseguest was coming back home.  To say we were elated was an understatement yet did not tell the kids.  It was a crazy 24 hours to say the least.  More to this story coming up! 

Summer Vacation part 9 (interesting day)

My camera had disappeared and we'd hoped we had landed at another honest campground.  Honestly, thus far I've only been to honest campgrounds.  Shoot, the KOA in WVA called while we were in the RV to let us know they found Max's keys and were going to send them to our home address.  So, it was Tuesday and we decided to spend all day at the campgrounds and hang out and go to the Parthenon and water park on Wednesday instead.

 Again, why can't they do this at home too?!  Reni made sure Nik had plenty of sunscreen on, especially his ears.  If his ears get really burned, he can't wear the implants.  She knows this.  Reni was helping Nik get ready to go out.   Irina helped Little One at the pool get her life vest on.

Nik was swimming and in his element.

Bojan was in pain.  He truly can't wait for his amputation surgery.

I believe Alyona was tattling on Summer here but not sure.

 I do believe Summer was getting tired.

Yana snuck up on Alyona to throw her in the pool.

Max and Bojan goofing around.

Summer, learning to swim again.  For those that don't know, c-ACC kids have a very difficult time w/ things that require right/ left.  Big accomplishment for her!

Alyona will a beach ball about as big as she is.  

More on the day in another post along with what went right/ what went wrong.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Vacation part 8A (hanging out campground style)

After a fantastic dinner just a walk away, we headed back to the camp grounds to check it out a bit more.  Love being able to just let the kids go hang out. 

Little One trying her hand at chess.

Checking out the pool there. In the background is where the live band plays every night.  VERY cool to listen to music while you swim or play.  Just very relaxing atmosphere for sure.

Nik, can only catch him running as he's always in motion.

Nik on the tire swing.

Nik and Logan using the backhoes.  This was actually kind of neat.  

Reni hanging around the trapeeze.

Summer really enjoying herself.  Was starting to get dark.

I love how the kids are always helping each other on these trips.  they don't think twice about encouraging one another.  Why on earth can't they do it at home?!  We had such a great time that evening. Talked to a lot of people.  In doing so, totally left my camera on a picnic table. Could not find it when we went back that evening.  Nor the next morning.  Asked the office.  Stay tuned for more and why we had to depart early.  Never dull with Chaos Manor on the Road.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Manic Monday

Been a big weekend for us as some of you are aware.  For those not aware yet, one of the Littles has now come back to us to stay.  A topic for another post.  For now, it's Monday.  Here's a little of what's happening here...

  • Houseguest came back!
  • prepping house to sell
  • houses in our neighborhood have all sold recently
  • had someone look at the RV
  • Alex's birthday is this week
  • Alex becomes a teenager...yikes!
  • 4th of July is this week
  • having a cookout that I've done nothing for yet
  • need to decorate for the 4th (maybe)
  • need to sell some things around here
  • homestudy is done...going over final draft
  • prepping all adoption paperwork and looking it over
  • really need to write an adoption book one day
  • we feel so utterly complete as a family now w/ houseguest back
  • broke down and bought 2 high chairs off Craigslist this weekend 
  • glad I didn't take down or get rid of any of houseguest's stuff
  • Summer and Little One were elated their sister is back
  • van needs washing
  • been raining a lot lately
  • Max has PT this week
  • Nik has speech all week as does Summer
  • painting doors this week
  • planning a family reunion
  • Houseguest was taken back tonight...again.  We're all sadden
  • Being told houseguest will be back again but very guarded as you can imagine
  • lots and lots going on
  • need to pay some bills before I forget
  • we'll be going to the courthouse most likely next week as this week is holiday week
  • ordering pictures from our vacation as I'm determined to get back on picture track.  
  •  I have much more to say as you can imagine.  It will have to wait a bit longer.  I'm trying to get very organized w/ papers and many things going on at once this week.  Will finish up our vacation posts soon as well as explained what happened at the KOA that prompted our quick trip home all night.  For now, need to go read some bedtimes stories and practice speech cards w/ kids.  More later. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Vacation part 8 (dinner out in TN)

After much decision making, we ended up just walking next door to a restaurant near the campgrounds.  Convenient to be sure.  Was called Cock the Walk.  Hey, just the name made us wonder.  They served catfish, shrimp and chicken only.  Hey, limited choices are awesome for our family. 

The pan has cornbread in it.  The kids liked the metal pans we were given to eat off of.

It's buffet style servings.  So, coleslaw, cornbread and pickled onions are served in large containers.  Eat as much or as little as you want.

Nik enjoying some more cornbread.

Not sure what the expression is for.  Seriously folks, it's just water in those cups!

I was VERY reluctant at first as were some of the other kids.  But hey, this was vacation & was meant for new experiences.  So, we tried our first pickled onions.  And they were delicious!  More like a sweet pickle taste to me.  Just very tasty.  Couldn't believe I ate them

Yana, Nik and Alyona trying out the giant rocking chair in the restaurant.

The trio trying out another style.

Alex and Logan thought this was a riot.

Max and Bojan trying to be good sports.  We have pics of Irina and Reni too but they were with Little One so can't put them up quite yet.  But they too did get in the chair.  We all did.

And, anyone wondering what these 5 are laughing about so hard??

Dad decided to be a good sport and make them all crack up.  Or it could be titled this is how dad feels about taking 11 kids on vacation in an RV.  That in and of itself could be a tv show. LOL.

And due to extreme peer pressure... I hopped in that giant chair too.

Alyona and Reni getting ready to see what evening activities they have.

 Reni, enjoying a game of checkers with me.

Nik loved the bowling there.

All of us figuring out our moves.  

More of the vacation to come.  Next up is more of our evening activities, me losing a camera and a very unexpected trip home.  Stay tuned for more.