Monday, November 28, 2011

Ohio to South Carolina via Tennessee

We sadly said goodbye to Ohio, but were looking forward to getting back on the road.  Our main destination was Traveler's Rest, South Carolina (near Greenville).  However, we had to make a 4 night pitstop in Pigeon Forge, TN on the way.

We decided to return to Bear Cove Village RV Park, where we spent the month of October.  It was so nice pulling into the "old" neighborhood :)  We were greeted by the friends we made during our first stay.  It was really fun seeing them again.  Our previous next door neighbors were our next door neighbors again.  And you know what they did to bless us---again---????


A Smoky Mountain Christmas, here we come!

Last visit, we hit all the rides---many times over!  However, we didn't see any of the shows.  This trip, we decided to make the shows and the light displays a priority.  We were delighted to discover Dollywood ensures that EVERY show proclaimes the gospel---which is the GOOD news that a Savior was born for us, as a gift.  

First up, Dollywood's Christmas on Ice

The ice show was really good!  We were very impressed with how much they did on a *tiny* rink!

Next, A Smoky Mountain Christmas

The cast was exceptional!  It's the first time we've seen this show.  We all loved it!

It was really hard for me to get a good picture because the cast was in non-stop motion!

Last, T'was the Night Before Christmas  

Very cute show.  We loved the St. Nick actor, as he reminded us of our dear friend Ken Broughton.

I loved all the shows.  However, the best part was watching my children watch the shows.  The pure wonder and joy on on their faces was priceless.  

It was a beautiful evening at Dollywood and the crowd wasn't too bad at all... so we were able to hit some rides, too!

Barnstormer!  Faith and I's favorite.  It was VERY different riding at night!
This ride definitely makes your tummy jump :)

DT and Jolie prefer the bumper cars...

We all jumped on the Ferris Wheel so that we could enjoy all the lights slowly.

My camera just doesn't do the 4 MILLION lights justice.  The lighting was incredible!

Our favorite tree:  there were white dropping lights on the branches, too.  It looked like it was snowing in the tree!
You can kinda seem them here... they're the little flickers of white.

The best seasonal ride is the 4D Polar Express.... so fun!  It was like we were actually IN the movie.

First, we had to give the conductor our tickets! 
Then, we had to put on these *really attractive* 4D goggles :)

A benefit of being the photographer... there are no photos of ME in those things :)

If you ever get a chance to go... we highly recommend Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas!!!  We're all in the Christmas mood now...  enjoying the season that celebrates the birth of our Savior, Jesus.

Team Monty wishes you all a very:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

O-H-I-O: Final snapshots

Oh, what was THAT????  Snow flurries????  It's time for Team Monty to head south!!!

Here are a few miscellaneous photos from our journey...

The welcoming committee :)  This beast was coming down the road right towards us!  We pulled our truck AND camper off the road to let him by :)

Do you recognize this machine from a previous post?  It's the combine without a harvesting head on it because the head is wider than the road! 

This was my view while driving to the outlet mall.

Jolie and Daddy on a long "heart" walk...

Sunrise on the farm

Harvest Moon

Good-bye O-H-I-O... 

“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”

Saturday, November 26, 2011

O-H-I-O: Amazing Opportunities

Farm Life, The OH Statehouse, and Operation Christmas Child

Farm Life:  Let me start out with this---farmers are a-w-e-s-o-m-e and generous!!!!!!!  Especially the 3 farming families that we got to hang out with :)  They all knew Jon from childhood, which was awhile ago now.  Hee hee!!!

The Purcells raise hogs along with their crops and had us over for an evening of fellowship, delicious porkchops, and garden veggies put up by Rhonda.

The Petersons hosted us for all of our stay in Washington Court House, OH.  And I've already posted about all we did on their farm from playing with their toys and "helping" with harvest.

I briefly mentioned the Persingers.  Debbie taught us how to make real Kettle Korn in a copper kettle over a campfire.  Her husband John, invited us out for a morning at his farm where he not only grows crops, but he also raises cattle and owns the Gator and tandem bike that we fell in love with :)  Let me share with you the fun we had on the Persinger Farm!

DT driving the Gator out to the cattle.

"Well, Mr. Persinger said we can go in and visit the cows.  Should we??  Where's the bull?"  

Of course we should go in!  Faith, wanna drive?

The welcoming committee!
Faith didn't even see the cow until her head was in the Gator :)  Sooooo funny :)

"OH. MY. GOSH!!!  Mom, did you SEE that?  The cow just came up and said hello!"

I LOVE all these cows!!!  Can we get one???

It was time to leave the pasture, as we spotted the bull!  

And it's the youngest driver in the family...Jolie!  She did a great job!!!!
All 3 of the kids had the biggest smiles while driving :)

On to check-out the Persinger farmhouse and discover more treasures! 

On the way, we found him in the field working!  Thanks John for letting us play on your farm!
I love the flag you're flying on the tractor :)

Yay, goats!!!  The kids had a *blast* chasing them all over the pasture :)
Faith's new buddy.... "Can we keep him?"

And they had a precious kitten.  I love this photo...see the kitten's back paw? :)
Another critter the kids desperately wanted to join us in the RV.

Thanks Persingers for the great memories we made on your farm.  We now have Gator, tandem bike, goats, and a kitten on our wish lists :)  DT also got to cross another item off of his bucket list... touching an active electric fence.  He's tried many times before, but they were never turned on.   So much to his delight, he now knows what the voltage feels like! 

A personal backstage tour of the Ohio Statehouse:  

Secret tunnels into the Ohio Statehouse :)  This area of the Statehouse used to be the stables.

How did we get this backstage tour of the Statehouse?  Because Jon is a childhood friend of a Great Ohioan,
Ohio State Representative, Bob Peterson.  He let us tag along during a morning that he received an award, then he showed us around :)

We're so proud of Bob and his family!  They serve our country as farmers, putting food on all our tables.  They also serve the state of Ohio in the House of Representatives.    

Let's go see where Representative Peterson serves...

The House floor, where the State Representatives make it all happen.

Learning how to cast a vote on House legislation.

Our turn to vote!
Well, in a few more years :)

We also got to peek in one of the desks on the floor.  Hee hee!
This is what my desk would look like if I had one :)  

Learning how to run the House from the Speaker of the House's seat.

It's rumored that Abraham Lincoln sat in this very seat!  So we all took turns sitting in it :)

Daniel speaking in the Hearing Room.

  Next, we toured the Ohio Senate.  They have bigger desks :)

The Ohio Statehouse is a beautiful old building.  We saw many pieces of art, architecture, and learned some cool stories about the building.

There is an amazing hands-on area for kids to learn how the government works.  I wish we had time to really dig in here.  This activity teaches Dollars and Sense and how to balance the budget.

Representative Peterson teaching some Ohio state geography... He showed us which 3 counties he represents.  The 85th House District is composed of parts of Ross, Pickaway counties and all of Fayette. 

Team Monty on a county map of Ohio... can you see what county we're near?
Look closely near Jolie's foot :)

Service project:  The kids had an opportunity to serve Samaritan's Purse at an Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing event.  Samaritan's Purse is a ministry that has been on our heart for years.  Check out ALL they do to minister to the world here:    The kids love participating with the OCC shoebox program every year.  This year, they were able to pack more than one box each :)

"Take my life and let it be... all for You and for Your glory..."  

They got to meet the special guest speaker that had personally been to Uganda to give out OCC shoeboxes!

Praying that all the kids that receive an OCC shoebox will understand that Jesus LOVES them and God has a special plan for the their life!