Push Away the Screen Patriots Point Charleston SC

We spent Spring Break 2017 on Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Edisto Beach is a small (very very very small) beachfront community. I wouldn't call it a town or a city. It's a collection of vacation homes, some permanent residents, and NO STOPLIGHTS.  When he was a small child, my husband spent a few summers on Edisto vacationing with his grandparents. One of the memories he shared with us prior to our vacation was a day trip to Patriots Point. He vividly remembers seeing the USS Yorktown and wanted our kids to have a similar experience/memory.

Patriots Point was kind enough to host us for the day, and we drove the 45 miles from Edisto Beach to Mt. Pleasant which is just across the harbor from Charleston, SC.

 

Upon arrival it's hard to miss the USS Yorktown. 

Image result for uss yorktown


She is named after the Battle of Yorktown of the American Revolutionary War. And if you know me, you know I am a HUGE Hamilton fan. Therefore it was only fitting that I wore my "Guns and Ships" shirt which is the song where Lafayette explains how he is going to go to France for more funds and comes back with more guns, and ships, and how the balance shifts. This leads to the 1781 Battle of Yorktown, led by Hamilton, in which the Patriots WIN and the British surrender. The Revolution is over. 

Okay, back to Patriots Point.

 

This was the first time the #TampaTrio had seen a warship. They had NO IDEA how big these ships actually are. They were so surprised that the ship was like a mini town! In fact, this ship could probably house more people than Edisto Beach! Wink

I found it very interesting that the Yorktown was the recovery ship for the Apollo-8 astronauts!

They even had an Apollo 8 replica that the kids were able to go in to experience what it was like to orbit the moon and crash back to Earth.

You can click HERE to see the video Ronin took while he was sitting inside the capsule. 

On the hanger deck, each kid had the opportunity to sit in a F9F Cougar fighter jet. That was pretty cool.

And then we went below deck. The kids were amazed by the sleeping areas, the kitchen, the dental office, and the brig.

I think they forgot about someone and left him in the brig for just a bit too long!

I found a bunk where a navy man had left his mark! I can't imagine sleeping over 2 years on this ship or this bunk. 

And imagine being a cook on this ship! Check out this recipe!

That's a lot of eggs!!

The flight deck was pretty incredible. The views went on forever!

Ella and I climbed up to the bridge and she sat in the Captain's chair!

But unlike when James visited Patriots Point more than 35 years, there is much more to do now than "just" the USS Yorktown. 

There is also the USS Laffey, which is the ONLY Sumner-class surviving destroyer ship in North America. The USS Laffey was commissioned and supported the DDay landings at Normandy June 1944. My grandpa fought at DDay.

After her time in Europe, she was sent to the Pacific Theater where off the coast of Okinawa, she was attacked by 22 Japanese bombers and Kamikaze, killing 32 and wounding 71 of the 336-man crew. The heroic crew shot down 9 Kamikaze aircraft and saved the damaged ship. This earned her the nickname "The Ship That Would Not Die."  There is an interactive exhibit Mount 53 which gives the visitor the experience of what it was like on the April 16, 1945 kamikazse attack. The trio did this, James and I did not. Ella was impressed by how realistic it was. She said it was so loud.

Click HERE to see a video and explore the USS Laffey.

And then we went on a submarine!!

It was the first time any of us had been on a sub. And let me say....submarines are not made for fluffy people, or tall people or people who don't like very small spaces. So....this was a little difficult for me. I had a hard time breathing and felt like the walls were closing in on me.

But it was really interesting and I'm glad I can cross that off my bucket list.

But we're still not done!! Patriots Point recently opened a brand new exhibit about the Vietnam War. I fully admit...I do not know much about the Vietnam War and this exhibit taught me a lot!

Set in a "Brown Water Navy" support base and a U.S. Marine Corps artillery fire base during the Tet Offensive and the Battle of the Khe Sanh in 1968. There are more than a dozen components that simulate life during wartime.

Ronin and I had a talk before we went into the exhibit because he often does not do well with loud noises, but he said he'd be okay, and I trust him to know when he's uncomfortable and needs to leave. He did fine. But other Autistic kids might not do as well, so just make sure you have those conversations beforehand. 

While they enjoyed walking from hut to hut what they enjoyed the most was the military car.

James and I were both very impressed by the exhibit. It was very well done.

 

We all really enjoyed our experience and I'm so glad my husband suggested that we make a visit to Patriots Point. 

If you go, this is what you need to know:

  • Open 364 days per year. Only closed on Christmas Day. Other Holidays have reduced hours, so make sure you check before you go.
  • Open from 9am-6:30pm
  • Only the USS Yorktown is accessible for visitors in wheelchairs.
  • Parking is $5
  • Admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors over age 62, $14 for children ages 6-11, children under 6 are free as are active duty military in uniform.

If you are planning a trip to Charleson, SC I highly recommend you take a few hours and visit Patriots Point.

 

Have you ever toured an aircraft carrier, destroyer, or submarine??

 

Summer is nearly upon us

How is it already the end of the first full week of February? I just can't even wrap my brain around how quickly this school year has gone by.

What really hit home for me was that last week I registered the #TampaTrio for a week at a specialty summer camp of their choosing. They'll all attend a traditional summer camp, but each year we allow them to each pick one week away from home. Consistently the girls have always picked a week at Girl Scout Camp. But this year, this year is something new for them, and it really shows me that they are growing up and becoming their own unique little people with huge ideas and an eye towards the future.

I know I mentioned that my oldest daughter, 7th grade Haley qualified to take the ACT as part of the Duke TIP program. We received her scores last month and YES she scored high enough to attend one of the Duke Summer Programs. It's a 3 week residential program at Rollins College. She was most interested in the program From Wonderland to Hogwarts which is a creative writing program. But as we sat and discussed her options, she decided that she'd rather attend BAND CAMP!! Yes, band camp. After lots of research she (we) decided on the music program offered at Stetson University.

My sweet little flautist. She has really come into her own this year and I am so proud of her.

And my Ella girl, she decided that she wanted to go to my Alma Mater, Eckerd College and attend their Summer Science Splash program! 

 

Ella's choice of camp took me by surprise. I know she enjoys science, but to attend a week long science camp? I didn't think she had it in her. I thought for sure she'd be much more interested in attending a drama or modeling camp. I'm proud of her for stepping outside her comfort zone and giving something new a try. 

And we're still working on choosing the right camp for Ronin. Last year he did an ID Tech program and he LOVED it!! But it's the same program this year, and ugh. I don't think I can handle another summer of MINECRAFT!! So I'm the hunt for the perfect camp for Ronin.

So as I sit here and reflect upon how much academic and personal growth my trio have made, I can't help but shake my head in awe and disbelief. Are they perfect students? No. Do they often forget to turn in assignments or study for a test. Yes. But I really try to let them know that these are the years (middle school) where they can feel safe to "fall forward." Now is the time where I am trying to teach them about good study habits and work ethics. 

It's not going to be too long before they head off to college. I've talked about it many times on the blog, but I'm so happy we did the Florida Prepaid College Plan for all 3 kids. 

I have no idea what path in life they will travel, but I'm happy to know that I have provided them with the tools to get there.

There are so many benefits to starting a Florida PrePaid Plan. With the years flying by as quickly as they are, don't put off starting a Florida PrePaid Plan for your kids! 

Florida Pre-Paid Open Enrollment ends February 28.  Use Promo Code BLOG1617and save 50% off your application when you enroll. For more information, visit www.myfloridaprepaid.com

 

Ninja books for kids

Ninjas are as popular as ever with kids.  The Lego Ninjago series is a big hit in our libraries, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles still have a following, (especially in my house, Ella LOVES the TMNT.)  Here is a list of picture book and juvenile fiction ninja titles published most recently:

 

 Ninja Bunny by Jennifer Gray Olson. 

A little rabbit tries to follow the rules in order to become a "super awesome ninja," but discovers that his book is wrong about one very important thing.

 

 My Grandma's a Ninja by Todd Tarpley ; illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou. 

When Ethan's grandma suggests they take a zip line to school, Ethan realizes that his grandma is a little different. In fact, she's a ninja! Ethan is soon the hit of the school when his grandma drops from the ceiling at show-and-tell, and teaches the kids karate moves and how to do backflips in slow motion. But when his grandma deflates his team's soccer ball, everyone is upset--including Ethan. Why can't he just have a regular grandma? But when Ethan tries out his new karate moves during the championship game, he's happy that his grandma isn't ordinary.

 

 Little Kunoichi, the Ninja Girl by Sanae Ishida. 

Little Kunoichi, a young ninja in training, is frustrated. Inspired by tiny Chibi Samurai's practice and skills, she works harder than ever--and makes a friend. Together, they show the power of perseverance, hard work, and cooperation when they wow the crowd at the Autumn Festival.

 

 Dojo Daycare by Chris Tougas. 

One morning, six young ninjas are dropped off at Dojo Daycare. As soon as their ninja moms and ninja dads have left: KABOOM! KAPOW! The ninja boys and girls kick, push, punch, and quickly turn the place upside down in a full-blown ninja riot. Try as he might, the hapless master can't control the children, and the disaster plays out through lunchtime and story time. No one heeds the master's repeated mantra of honor, kindness, and respect-- until one little ninja steps up and rallies his ninja pals to undo all that they have done, just in time for pickup.

 

 Ninja Boy Goes to School by Nathan D. Wilson. 

A little boy explains what it's like to go to school--when you're a ninja.

 

 Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!by Todd Tuell ; illustrated by Tad Carpenter. 

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text reveal a young ninja who uses his special moves to sneak up on the family dog, take a cookie from his brother, and escape Granny's kisses, but before day is done he meets his match.

 

 Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz. 

In this twist on "Little Red Riding Hood," a certain wolf trains to be a ninja in order to catch his prey, but he is not the only one mastering a martial art.

 

 Ninja!by Arree Chung. 

A ninja must be strong, courageous, and silent! He creeps through the house on a secret mission. There may be obstacles! But have no fear--a true ninja can overcome all challenges.

 

But not only primary readers are interested in Ninja stories! Check out these great titles for the older readers in your life!

 Get Mooned by Kevin Serwacki and Chris Pallace.

Best friends and ninjas-in-training Joey and Johnny are sent on a special mission to investigate their rival ninja school's use of advanced technological weapons.

 

 The Sweetest Heist in Historyby Octavia Spencer ; illustrations by Vivienne To. 

On a trip to New York City to visit Randi's aunt, the ninja detective trio explores Randi's old neighborhood in Brooklyn, where they uncover an art heist involving FabergeĢ eggs. Except no one will believe them. So they'll just have to catch the criminals in the act.

 

 The Ninja Librarians : the Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey.

Dorrie and her brother Marcus accidently open a portal to Petrarch's Library, where they discover a secret society of warrior librarians who travel in time, protecting the world's greatest thinkers from torture and death for sharing knowledge and ideas.

 

So what do you think?? Any of these ninja books sound like something your child would like to read??

Special thanks to HCPLC for helping to curate this great list!