MetamorFit

Jenny Hodges. Tampa Librarian. Book Lover. Slow Runner. Mom to Irish Triplets. Living and Traveling in the Autism World.


26. March 2017 09:11
by jennifer
1 Comments

Push Away the Screen: Patriots Point Charleston, SC

26. March 2017 09:11 by jennifer | 1 Comments

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??

 

4. March 2017 18:27
by jennifer
0 Comments

Push Away the Screen: 2017 GASPARILLA DISTANCE CLASSIC 5K

4. March 2017 18:27 by jennifer | 0 Comments

For the sixth consecutive year our family participated in the Gasparilla Distance Classic. But unlike in past years, this year we all did the 5K. And what a blast we had!! We started off our morning like we usually do on race day. The kids pick where we go to eat breakfast. This year they picked Dunkin' Donuts. Not my choice for race morning, but it's what they wanted. I did not eat any donuts.  We arrived, parked and made our way over to the staging areas. Ronin was in a different wave than the girls and I based on how fast he can run. I told him he was welcome to wait and head out with us, but he chose to go with the first wave. He didn't want to take the chance of getting behind any "slow people." We took a quick selfie, and then he was off with his fast group. His wave left at 9:15am and the girls and I weren't going until 9:45am. I joked that Ronin would probably be done by the time we started. I was only joking, but it turned out to be true! He is one fast little dude. Haley is in a mood lately where she doesn't want her photo taken, so this is Ella and I just before the start! And soon we were off! Haley managed to get ahead of us at the start line and we didn't see her for the rest of the race! Ella and I stayed together the entire time, just walking, talking, holding hands, making goals, and just enjoying being with each other. We finished in 54 minutes. Haley and Ronin quickly found us on the bridge and we got a post-race photo! We went through the Expo so that they could see what was going on. Ella and Ronin both did the line jump.  Ronin then asked if I thought he might have won anything for running so fast. I hadn't even thought about his time, so I asked him what his finish time was and he said "oh I think like 24 minutes or something."  24 minutes?!?!?  Could he really have finished in less than half the time it took me and Ella?? So off we went to check out the race results. And you know what? He won something! We knew for a fact that he placed in the top 10% of his age group and he won a cool coffee mug. But what we didn't know until the next day is that he finished in the TOP 3% OF ALL RUNNERS!!! He finished 593 out of over 10,000 runners!!! How amazing is that?? I am so proud of him. Here's a little flashback photo. The trio at their first Gasparilla in 2011 and at their sixth in 2017. They grow up so fast.  We had a very nice time at the 2017 Gasparilla 5K and are all looking forward to 2018. Though Ronin will be in a different age-group, so he better get to training!  

19. February 2017 11:12
by jennifer
1 Comments

Florida PrePaid Open Enrollment ends SOON!!!

19. February 2017 11:12 by jennifer | 1 Comments

You don't want to miss out on the reduced application fee for the Florida Prepaid College Savings Plan!! Depending on how many children you have, this can be a very significant savings. I have three kids. But you already know that. And you already know that I have Florida Prepaid accounts for all 3. You also know that my husband and I have worked very hard to pay those accounts off in full.  But what would happen if our family decided to move out of state (say to North Carolina) but the kids decided that they wanted to come back to attend college in Florida? Would we lose all that money? The answer is NO. But not only that, the kids (or their parents, cough cough) would be billed at in-state tuition rates when using their plan at a Florida college or state university. That's pretty huge in my mind. With so much that Florida has to offer, it wouldn't surprise me if the kids wanted to come back here to go to college (of course, that's provided we ever move out of state, which who knows?!?!) But it does give me a great deal of comfort knowing that the kids can always come back to Florida and receive Florida tuition rates, which is a HUGE savings. Plus you can save MORE when you enroll your kids by FEBRUARY 28.   Use Promo CodeBLOG1617 and save 50% off your application when you enroll. For more information, visit www.myfloridaprepaid.com.