On Saturday, April 2nd, we drove toward Atlanta, Georgia to see the capital, but on the way we had a fun detour stop in Knoxville, Tennessee. We met another sweet family from home at a park there and had a great time catching up with the DeBoers. Abby and their oldest are good friends and they very much enjoyed catching up for a couple of hours. The rest of the kids all had a great time on the playground. After leaving there we drove the rest of the way to Atlanta.
That’s a lot of kids!!
On Sunday, April 3rd, we went to the Georgia capital building and then to The World of Coca-Cola. Once inside we were all handed bottles of Coke or Diet Coke and we could keep getting more which just blew our kids’ minds! We walked through a bottling area to see how Coke is mixed, bottled and packaged. We also saw the vault where the secret recipe for Coke is stored and we saw the giant Coke polar bear….Ben was so excited he ran up to him before we could stop him and totally photo-bombed another family having their picture taken with him! The best part of the tour was at the end when we entered the tasting room. It was a very big room with many, many drink dispensers with over 200 varieties of CocaCola from all over the world. You could try whatever you wanted and drink as much as you wanted. Our kids were gone in five different directions (not six, but only because Rose was confined in the stroller!) and we didn’t get them all back until they had taste tested to their heart’s content. Ben just stood by one fountain machine and filled a cup over and over with regular Coke….he didn’t even drink it all, he was just so intrigued with the drink dispenser and being allowed to use it. We never would have guessed how high this activity would rank on our kids list of trip favorites….apparently we underestimated the power of “all you can drink pop”!! https://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/
Walking around downtown Atlanta on our way to The World of Coke
Everybody’s happy when drinking a nice cold pop! These are the cute little pops they hand out for free when you enter. They just keep going around with baskets of them so when one’s gone it’s on to the next!
Rose didn’t know if she liked the taste….but she really liked the bottles!
Joe, Abby, Elise and Ben in front of the vault door
Sam was intrigued with the robots bottling the Coke
Joe and Sam near the end of the tour
Ben learned real quick what that button did….and he wasn’t leaving anytime soon!
From Atlanta we drove to Nashville, Tennessee. We got there on Sunday night and settled in at a campground outside of town. On Monday Lance worked so the kids and I spent the day doing laundry and playing on the campground playground. That night Lance and I went out for a date. We went out for dinner at a place called Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant where they have up and coming country singers perform every evening. We had a great time, but I didn’t convert Lance to a country music fan yet! The next day we all went to see the capital building. The capital was fine, but what really caught our attention was the building being torn down a block away. The boys (especially Ben) were mesmerized…it was pretty interesting to watch, I have to admit. As people went about their day we were the dorks buying hot dogs for lunch from a street vendor and sitting down on a curb to watch the giant machines work!
Rose enjoyed her hot dog from the street vendor
It was fun to watch the giant claw rip off chunks of the cement building
After Nashville we drove back to Lexington, Kentucky. We had intended to go horseback riding. It was a pretty rainy couple of days so we didn’t do that, but we did just enjoy a couple of nights at a nice campground out in the country. We have stayed at a fair share of campgrounds and this one had the best playground I’ve seen! Our site was right near it and I loved being able to watch the kids play right outside the window.
Rose loved the little wooden train! You can see our “house” in the background!
Ben loved the ramps and bridges….he kept saying “Last time. Last time. Last time” and then he would go up again and again (he might not know what “last time” means!)
On Thursday we drove into West Virginia and then on Friday, March 8th, we went to see the capital in Charleston. It is a beautiful building and we decided to go inside and take a tour. Things were pretty quiet in the building so we had our tour guide all to ourselves and could tour the building at a slower pace. She was a wealth of knowledge and was very patient with all of our questions. We learned all about the priceless materials and artifacts inside the capital and how they built the building during the great depression, but because of smart money management, they did it without going into debt. After seeing where the house and senate convene (and learning that they have the youngest delegate in history, an 18 year old who ran right after high school and is attending college while serving her term!!) we ended with the Governor’s formal office and had fun taking some pictures there.
The gorgeous crystal chandelier in the rotunda
Elise for Governor!!!
After the capital visit we drove a little more east to Beckley, West Virginia to visit a coal mine and mining museum. Rose and I hung out in the museum and read a lot about mining while Lance and the other kids took a train ride into a mine and had a tour. After they were done we went to the small children’s museum right next door and played there for a while. Even though it was super small, it had some very fun exhibits and we had fun there until they closed.
They had this fun area where you set up little houses and farm animal and then get the tops spinning through it to knock them over and see what a tornado could do.
We had WAY too much fun with this mirror!!
Saturday we left West Virginia and drove into Ohio. We stayed one night near Columbus, Ohio to see the state capital and then drove on to Cincinnati. We stayed a couple of nights at a very nice campground there while Lance had some work to do at one of his customers. The campground was not one with lots of bells and whistles, but one that has large sites with lots of green grass and tall trees and is very clean. It is part of their city parks so it has miles of bike paths and trails to explore. Unfortunately for us it rained a lot while we were there so we couldn’t take advantage of the trails, but if we ever camp in the area again we will definitely stay there.
Our peaceful campsite near Cincinnati
From there we drove to Columbus, Indiana where Lance had another customer to see. While he was working on Wednesday, April 13th, I took Abby, Sam, Elise and Ben to the really cool children’s museum they have downtown. It’s called Kidscommons and the kids and I had visited there once before a few years before when Lance needed to get some work done in Columbus. The most unique exhibit is the giant toilet that kids can “flush” themselves down. It’s part of a playhouse designed to teach kids how different things work in a house, like plumbing, heating and cooling, appliances and so on. There are lots of other neat areas to explore there also. We happened to be there on a school day and for most of the time we were the only visitors there. It was so nice having the place to ourselves and it made it a ton easier to keep track of where Ben was. Sam loved the circuit work table….he literally spent more than 2 hours putting different wires together and experimenting with what would happen. He loved making the helicopter spin or the doorbell ring just by switching up the combinations of wires. Ben loved the turtles, the train table and the architect workshop area where you can draw with a cad type program (I know…he’s 2 ½….maybe we have a budding architect on our hands?!?!) The girls especially loved the art studio where you could use any of the materials they had on hand to create artwork. We had so much fun that afternoon, if you are ever in the Columbus, Indiana area with kids I would definitely recommend visiting Kidscommons!! http://www.kidscommons.org/
Abby, Sam and Elise getting flushed down the giant toilet!
Elise and Ben painting with watercolors
Abby and Elise both had lots of fun with the hot plate stations where you could put a piece of paper and then draw with crayons on top while they melt.
This was Sam’s favorite spot in the museum, by far!!
Ben the computer whiz!
We all loved the bubble room
I’m not sure why….but Abby and Elise are real experts at playing house with a camper!!
From Columbia we headed…….north! To Michigan!!! My sister and I had been planning a surprise party for our parents’ 60th birthdays and the party was set for April 15th. My mom and dad had no clue that we were coming home for a visit….in fact, I had to do some major lying to them in the time leading up to it because they knew we were in Indiana and they wanted to come visit us. After some of our kids got sick with a “fake” stomach bug they decided not to meet up with us. We knew that if they knew we would see them in a few days they wouldn’t want to drive all that way to see us. We got back to Zeeland on Thursday and the party on Friday was a huge success, they were VERY surprised!! On that Saturday we moved our camper to their driveway and enjoyed the visit……..which lasted MUCH longer than we had planned. We knew that our camper needed a few repairs and had already scheduled them with the dealer, what we hadn’t anticipated was how long it would take for them to fix them and what else would go wrong…..like car repairs because of funny noises and a trailer hitch that broke leaving our camper just an inch or so from the ground. Well, God has perfect timing and even though it was frustrating at times, we were very thankful that everything happened when it did. At least we had a great place to stay (my parent’s house) while all of the repairs were taking place and at least the hitch hadn’t broken when we were going 65 down a highway somewhere in Pennsylvania….that would have been pretty bad.
We had a great visit home and loved seeing friends and family. The kids had fun seeing their school friends and even visiting their schools a few different times. It was also a great time to catch up on some things like doctor appointments and enrolling the kids for school in the fall.
This happened A LOT while we were staying there!!! A tractor ride with Grandpa is always awesome!!
Ben getting some banjo lessons from his Grandpa Kornoelje
This was a BIG DEAL…..Rose finally started walking!!! We had been in Michigan about a week when she made the switch from her cute and crazy crawl to a toddling walk!
The kids with my Grandpa and Grandma Wolters
And here we are with my Grandpa and Grandma Haveman
Me and my kiddos on Mother’s Day…love them tons!! As an added bonus…we got to be in Michigan over Tulip Time and I was able to Dutch Dance with my mom a couple of times on Mother’s Day!
I LOVE dressing up my babies in Dutch costumes!
Ben had a blast wearing his Dutch costume and even dancing with Grandma one night. He loved the sound his footsteps made while he wore the wooden shoes so much that he walked around in them the whole two hours we were downtown!
While we were home we even tackled a couple of house projects. Here’s the wrecking crew! Joe, Josh, Isaac, Sam and Andrew (not in the picture) worked very hard for a Saturday. They tore down our old fence and even used a jackhammer to break apart some of our sidewalk and load up broken concrete. They earned their pay that day!
Since the camper issues were taking longer than we had anticipated we decided to take a day trip to Lansing, the capital of Michigan, and even took a tour of the capital building.
Lance and the kids inside the rotunda in the capital
It’s gorgeous inside! Did you know that the Michigan capital building was the first state capital to have a dome? It was modeled after the U.S. Capital building in Washington D.C.
We hit the road again on Wednesday, May 25th, and are heading east to finish out the trip with exploring the New England states. We are excited to see new things and learn new things, but we are also looking forward to rolling back into Zeeland for good in July!
As a side note…..if you want to follow our trip on Instagram just follow Lance, Joe and myself. @lancekornoelje, @joekorny and @susanekorn