Thursday, August 27, 2009

Maddy Time

Maddy has spent most of the week with us. We seem to have a very busy time whenever she is with us. Monday we had some chores around the house that needed to be attended so we only left the house to go to a produce stand to buy some fresh corn. Tuesday we went to Baltimore for the day. Our first stop was at Fort McHenry where we had a ranger lead tour over the Fort.
From Baltimore 2009 08 25

After eating lunch at the Inner Harbor Food Court area we went to the Science Center for the afternoon. This proved to be more exciting for Maddy as she likes the interactive activities.
From Baltimore 2009 08 25

While there we saw a young man that we thought we recognized as a flight nurse that works with Todd. Tom asked him if he was a flight nurse and sure enough he was. He was there with his children and sister. We spent several hours in the center. Before leaving Baltimore we stopped at a "Rita's" for gelatos. Maddy had never eaten at "Rita's" before but she found the gelato pleasing to her taste.
From Baltimore 2009 08 25

Maddy wanted to return to Cunningham Falls to climb rocks, as we had done one other time, so we tentatively planned to do that on Wednesday. The weather forecast was calling for a real hot day so we all agreed to forego that idea. After checking movie schedules we decided to go to a theater in Gettysburg to see "Shorts". Maddy said it was the best movie she had ever seen. It was cute but certainly not the best I had ever seen- then again I have been around a little longer than Maddy.
Today, Thursday, we went to Frederick to eat lunch at La Paz restaurant, Maddy's request. During lunch Maddy asked if there was a "Rita's" in Frederick. So after lunch we stopped for another gelato. We then travelled down to Leesburg, Virginia where we met Todd to return Maddy. It was a good week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Todd turns 40

Today is our son's 40th birthday. A day that almost didn't happen except for the actions of his wife, Beth and the emergency medical persons. The system came together and worked as designed to save him from sudden cardiac arrest. We hope and pray that he has at least 40 more birthdays and enjoys many years of good health. Happy Birthday Son, we love you. Mom and Dad.

From Parker 2009 08 22

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to Virginia

Yesterday we returned to Todd and Beth's house again. Our purpose this time, in addition to seeing grandchildren, was to celebrate Todd's 40th birthday a few days early. It's hard for me to think that Todd will be 40 years old on August 25th. It's also scary to think that he almost left this world in November. We are so thankful for the actions of Beth and the care of the medical care providers.
We had a nice visit. Anthony was home after being away most of the summer with his dad in Massachusetts and then in New York with his grandparents. Maddy was back with Todd for another week and was coming home with us for a few days this week. And baby Parker was just his darling little self.
From Parker 2009 08 22

We had planned to go out to eat but had to wait for the torrential rain to slow up before going out. Todd and Beth's patio was just swamped with water in no time. We finally got away and ate at a Ruby Tuesday's restaurant. When we returned we had cake and sang "Happy Birthday". It was hard putting that baby down and getting ourselves home.
This morning I thought I would have a hard time getting Maddy out of bed in time to go to church but she was up before "Grandpa". After attending early church services we have enjoyed a quiet day home with the possibility of an ice cream trip later this evening.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Annual Physical

Yesterday I got my annual physical for fire fighting and school bus driving.  The physical is paid for by the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association and the School Bus Contractor I sub for.  It is a good exam which covers you from top to bottom.  The hardest part of the exam is the stress test on the tread mill, but the rest of the exam is a piece of cake.

I passed again this year and now have to wait for the blood work results to come back.  Hope all is well in that area also.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Sunday we return to Virginia to see our grandson, Parker, now that he was home from the hospital. Weighing 6 pounds he is a tiny little boy. Tom and I took turns holding him most of the time we were there. It is so nice that his parents shares him. We have had a great week having Maddy with us in Tennessee and then spending time with less-than-a-week old Parker. Of course,we enjoy being with Todd and Beth as they seem so happy together. Life is good!
From Parker 2009 08 22

Friday, August 14, 2009

Coming Home

This morning we left Staunton about 9am heading for Fredericksburg, Virginia. We arrived in Fredericksburg a little before noon and were able to find a parking place at Mary Washington Hospital. We were here to see our new grandson and to leave Maddy in the care of her dad. Of course, this was Maddy's first chance to see her new brother, she is now an "older sibling"(her words). Once in the hospital room of our daughter-in-law we had to wait for little Parker to be brought back from having a test drive in his car seat, something that was required since he was a few weeks early. He finally arrived after passing his test and we got to ooh and aah all over him. He is such an adorable little guy, all of 6 pounds. He and his mommy were going to be leaving the hospital this afternoon with his daddy and sister, Maddy. We left the hospital and came home. What a day! Grandchildren are just wonderful!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our Trip is Winding Down

Yesterday, Wednesday, we awoke to rain. What to do in the rain? Maddy had asked about going to Wonder Works when we first got to the Pigeon Forge area. Wonder Works is in a building that appears to be upside down and has interactive activities to entertain you. So with a rainy morning we went to Wonder Works where we were entertained for several hours. As we were leaving this place the rain stopped and the sun was out. We went to Gatlinburg for lunch and then to the Sugarlands Ranger Station of the Smoky Mountains National Park. We had planned to watch the movie but as we were waiting for the next showing it was announced that a ranger program- Do You Want To Be A Scientist- was to start. The program was aimed at kids and Maddy wanted to participate. So we followed a ranger to an area behind the ranger station and were given equipment to find bugs in the park. After finding the bugs the ranger helped to identify them. The bugs were then set free.
This morning, Thursday, we left Tennessee and headed north through Virginia. We are staying in a campground in Staunton. Tomorrow we will continue to Fredericksburg or Stafford to return Maddy to her daddy and see our new grandson.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Grandson

This evening around 6:00 our grandson, Parker Joseph Van de Bussche was born. He weights 6.1 pounds and is 19.5 inches long. Mother and baby are both doing fine. We can not wait to see everyone on Friday when we get back to Va.

Wednesday with Maddy

Today was going to be a rainy day, so we were unsure of what to do. Maddy wanted to go to Wonder Works. She had been there several months ago when she was here with her mother. It bills itself as an amusement park for the mind. We spent about 2 hours there. Maddy had alot of fun and we enjoyed some of the activities as well. From there we drove to Gatlinburg and had lunch at a Mexican Restaurant called No Way Jose. The food is good and we recommend it everyone.

After lunch we decided to go back to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitor's center to see a movie they have about the park. Before we had a chance to see the movie, they announced a ranger talk for the kids. We took a small walk and the ranger told the group about insect life in the park. They handed out some supplies that we could be used to collect insects and later view them. Maddy had fun and enjoyed herself. Afterwards we returned to the motorhome. It was another fullday with Maddy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Smokey Mountains

On Sunday we drove around the Smokey Mountain National Park. We had taken Travis along with for the day so we were not permitted to go on any trails with him. We stopped at Newfound Gap,a sign here marks the boundary line between Tennessee and North Carolina. Tom and Maddy walked a short ways on the Appalachian Trail while Travis and I wandered around the parking lot observing the views of the mountains. We went as far as Cherokee, North Carolina. Cherokee is much less developed than on the Tennessee side. Maddy saw a mechanical bull that kids were riding and wanted to try her hand. After seeing that the operator was being very gentle with kids we allowed her to try it. She rode for a little time without falling off.
On Monday we spent the day at Dollywood. It was a really hot day, concession stands were giving out free ice water upon requests. We had hoped to see more shows but somehow we just ran out of time. We all had a nice time and were glad to get back to the motorhome at the end of the day.
Today, Tuesday, we went tubing on the Little River. It was another hot day so it was a good way to keep cooler. The vans transporting the tubers were quite busy. We went on a section of the river that was for family tubing traveling one and a half miles. Just as we were getting out of the river and were being transported back to where our car was parked a storm struck, sure glad we got out of the water. When coming back to the motorhome we tried to cut across a mountain and ended up getting lost as we drove around on some back mountainous roads. There were some very nice log homes along the way. When we finally got home it was close to 4pm and we had not had any lunch so we quickly showered and headed out for dinner. The Applewood Restaurant is a short distance so we ate there. We had observed this restaurant is most always busy and after eating there we can understand the draw, the food was very good, prices reasonable, and a nice homey atmosphere. Later in the evening we drove to downtown Sevierville, the home of Dolly Parton, to see the statute of Dolly.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Smoky Mountains and lots of Traffic

We had a nice drive from Max Meadows, Va to Sevierville, Tn. The traffic was moving along without any backups on Interstates 81 and 40. However when we turned onto route 66 to head down to Sevierville the traffic really picked up in volumne. Our final 10 miles was bumper to bumper. We were a bit worried that we might be in the wrong lane and miss our turn off to the campground we are going to be staying at for the week. We are staying at The Dell RV Resort. It is a mile off of the main drag so we don't have any of the noise to deal with. I didn't take my camera with us when we drove around this afternoon, so I don't have any pictures to post.

Maddy joined us today

This morning we hooked up with our Son and picked up our granddaughter, Maddy.  She will be with us for a week in the motorhome.  Leah and I have really been looking forward to this trip for a while.  We made plans to go to the Pigeon Forge, Tn area.  Last night we found out she had been there two months ago with her mother.  We were disappointed to find that out, but we are going to go anyway, knowing we will have a great time.

When we pulled off of I-81 to go to the campground, we pulled into a Flying-J to fill up on gas.  Boy, what a Chinese fire drill that turned out to be.  They had two different ways to get into the car and RV gas pumps and it looked like a demolition derby with vehicles coming in from different directions needing to fill their tanks from different sides.  Somehow we were able to navigate the mess and get in and out with a minimum of problem.  We will be certain to not stop at this Flying-J again.

While on the road we decided to call ahead for a campsite.  It was good that we did as there were only two sites left when we called.  The park, Fort Chiswell,  is a good sam park and cost less than $30.00 for a full hookup pull thru site with cable TV and free wi-fi.  We had not problem connecting to the wi-fi, but for some reason could not get on the Internet, so I am using Microsoft Live Writer to write this offline and will update the blog with it when we get to another park.