Tuesday, July 29, 2008


This last weekend we drove down to Gettysburg, PA with some friends for some US history appreciation. We rented the Gettysburg movie Friday night - Ben got through it, I fell asleep after Part I. It's a long movie, but was helpful to review before getting there!

We bought the "self auto tour" CD's at the book shop in the visitor's center. You just slip them in, follow the signs, stop when they tell you, and listen. The narrator tells you what you're looking at along with all sorts of extra facts. We really enjoyed them and loved that we could go at our own pace.

I do hope that the soldiers didn't look as happy as Luke does holding their guns!

We drove down with our friends, the Crutchfields. Those are their kids, Ivy & Lane with Luke & Caleb at the pizzeria we stopped at for dinner.

This wild flower field wasn't part of the tour or any specific battle site, but we thought it was absolutely amazing so we stopped to take pictures. Unfortunately we did not do it justice.

This photo is on Little Round Top where one of the most inspiring battles occurred. Ben is purposely not smiling in this photo because he thought it to strange to be smiling where so many men died.

We're really glad we made this trip. We talked briefly about finding a hotel and staying a night, but thought, "how much could there possibly be to see?" We definitely could have stayed another day. The little town is so pleasant and was particularly charming as the sun was setting and families were together outside ice cream shops. I look forward to taking my boys back when they're older.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fun Filled Family Weekend

2 weekends ago (the weekend of the unfortunate hole in the head accident) G & G Rollins came to visit us and I think we set a record for the maximum amount of attractions seen in 3 and a half days. Here's a run down...

We started Friday morning in the Constitution Center and then grabbed a Philly Cheese Steak before picking up Nathan at the train station. Next we stopped by Costco (yes, I know, very tourist worthy) so that Nathan could birthday shop and we could grab some snacks. Next we picked up Ben and made it back to downtown for the Duck Boat Tour Ride. Luke especially enjoyed the quackers...all weekend long. We ate at The Tavern, which is a tavern turned restaurant that dates back to the 1700s. Ben Franklin actually met John Adams at this historic tavern. Lastly we took the Lights of Liberty tour which is a night-time walking tour around historic Philly. You wear headphones for the narration and music and they light up certain buildings with pictures. It's pretty cool!

These pictures were taken at the Constitution Center. Luke is signing the declaration of independence.

Saturday was Nate's birthday and he requested a day at Hershey Park - the amusement park. It was super hot, super crowded, but still lots of fun. Fortunately they have a lot of water attractions so mid day we all changed into our suits and tried to stay wet.

One of the most fun things for me was seeing Caleb ride the baby rides all by himself. He's getting so big!

Sunday morning we went to church and then visited Valley Forge National Park. We took a bus around the park and learned (or re-learned) lots of revolutionary history. Afterwards we drove over to a big Amish settlement in Lancaster. We took a tour through an Amish house and had an amazing "family style" dinner. It was super, super good. Better than the meal at The Tavern and only a third the price!

Monday morning Ben went back to work and the boys and I met G & G downtown for a few more hours before they headed to the airport. We visited the Liberty Bell, took a carriage ride (another high light for Luke), watched a short video in the visitors center and then took the tour through Independence Hall.

After the tour, which we left early so that G & G would make it to the airport on time, Luke crashed and burned! No wonder the kid couldn't walk straight with all the things we drug him around to do!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Luke's 2nd set of stitches

Okay, not really, but according to Doctor Grandpa who happened to be with us when the unfortunate accident happened, it was definitely stitch worthy. Instead of 2 or 3 stitches Luke sports 2 studly butterfly band aids!

It all happened on a pleasant day at the US Independence Hall building in downtown Philly. We met up with G & G Rollins before they were off to the airport for a couple last stops around historic Philadelphia. We were on the way out and Luke tripped on one of the bricks that made up the old roads. His hands weren't fast enough to catch his head so his head rammed into another old road brick. Of course we were asked to sign waivers before leaving the historic, federal property. He came up with a hole the width of a pencil right in the middle of his forehead.

Grandpa didn't have time before his flight to take Luke to a clinic where he would have been able to borrow some DermaBond (aka super glue for humans) and fix it up himself. Instead he instructed me on how to apply the butterfly.

So now we're counting on Luke to split open the other eyebrow next month so that he'll have a nice even, triangular look!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grandma What?? - (Edited due to issues)

I never hated my maiden name (Dutson), but I definitely think I upgraded with Rollins. I did not "upgrade" family heritage, simply the phonetic sound of a name. I would wager that most married women prefer the sound of their name with either their maiden or married name. Does that mean they favor that part of their family over the other? I think not! Okay, maybe some do, but I DON'T!

Nicole Rollins seems to have a much more sophisticated sound and much less, sort of dumpy sound than Niki Dutson. It sounds, people, sounds, not is-having nothing to do with the Dutson people being or not being dumpy. I mean, come on, they almost rhyme - Dutson/dumpy.

Recently Luke has given the Dutson name a whole new look by affectionately referring to my mom as "Grandma Nutson." Gotta love that! (The entire reason for this post.)

PS This post is not meant to be disrespectful to all the wonderful Dutson family who embrace and love their name. I love my Dutson heritage! I have never felt any embarrassment about my name and would gladly take it back, not that I gave it up, but you know what I mean...or do you??? (that is said with humor, sarcasm and love, I promise!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Jersey Shore

Ben had Thursday off so we drove over to Ocean City, NJ (about an hour and half from us) to play at the beach and on the boardwalk. It was super fun and I think we'll do it again before we leave again.

Caleb wasn't feeling to good and like the responsible parents we are, we packed him up and took him to play in the hot sun and gritty sand! He actually did really well - considering...he took a nap in a make shift tent Ben built with towels and lawn chairs and played in the sand. We joked that Caleb being sick may have made the trip easier (and therefore more enjoyable) for us because he stayed close rather than running off and stressing us out with strangers, waves and all.

Clearly, Luke loved it!

We don't have any pictures from our 4th of July celebration in Philadelphia because we decided not to take our big camera, instead we took our smaller one which had dead batteries. When we got there I resolved to find a 7-Eleven and buy some because I thought it would be so picturesque. Fireworks at the Philadelphia Art Museum above the George Washington statue...

After getting some dinner we ran out of time before the parade started. Yea, out here they do their parades in the evening which I thought was great. Parade at 6, concert in the park at 8 and then fireworks at 9. Sounds great, doesn't it?? Not so great...I think Philly's parade was the slowest parade I've ever watched...THE SLOWEST!! Each group actually stopped for like 4 minutes, sometimes longer, and just stood there until someone cued them to move along again. Very weird. Not only was it slow, it started to rain. Unfortunately I was in the worst of spirits after the parade and could really care less about finding batteries.

Round 2 (the concert and fireworks) didn't do much to lift my dipping spirits. John Legend performed a bunch of songs I didn't know, it continued to rain, and the fireworks didn't even start until 10:30. After whining throughout most of the concert for fireworks Luke feel asleep in the middle of the firework show. We stayed only so we could say we spent a 4th of July in Philly - that's it! I was really surprised Philadelphia couldn't pull it together.

We did enjoy a few things. When we got there we totally lucked out and as we were driving right next to the museum a van pulled out giving us a perfect (and free) parking spot. The dinner we got on the street, BBQ pulled pork sandwich, BBQ ribs & chicken, corn on the cob & carmel kettle popcorn, was all excellent! It's actually making my mouth water to remember it! Also, the fireworks were good too. They didn't skimp on that, but anything at 10:30 with tired kids in the rain isn't as good as it could be.