Waiting for the New Baby Hoffman

While we stayed at Picture Lake Campground, we did a few things including going evangelizing and eating dinner with the Hoffmans on the weekends.  Also, for the birth of the baby, Mimi and Papaw (Mr. Josh’s mom and stepdad) came down with their RV and stayed a few weeks.

On September 2, us Wongs went to Richmond, Virginia and went to a couple of NPS sites.  The first was Richmond National Battlefield Park, dedicated to a bunch of battle sites from the Civil War (around Richmond).  We went to one of the visitor centers and watched a few videos about some of the main battles that happened in the area.

The next site we went to was Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, the home of an entrepreneurial black woman who lived during the Jim Crow era.  She is known as the first black woman to found a bank, and she set an example for others of courage, perseverance, and kindness.  She lived in her home with her big family (including adoptive children).  We were given a tour of the house, which even had an old-fashioned elevator.

On another day, we went to the Science Museum of Virginia (in Richmond).  The museum’s main theme was speed, and there were time lapse videos, a multitasking test, air hockey with a robot, and more.  The museum was built out of an old train station, so there were trains in the back, which we got to look at.

Anna Joy Hoffman was born on September 14, 2021, around 6:22 PM.  I included pictures of food we ate recently in the video below as well.

On September 21, we went to Pamplin Historical Park, which is really near by to where we were staying.  It was a homeschool group, and a guide at the museum took us around and talked to us about the Civil War.  Inside were displays, an audio tour, and artifacts, while outside, there was a battleground model, historic buildings, and more.  There were multiple buildings to look at and go into, and we went everywhere.

Last time we’d been here, Petersburg National Battlefield hadn’t been completely open (due to covid).  On September 24, we revisited the area and went to the museum in the visitor center.  We also walked around the battlefield and looked at where the crater (a failed attempt at winning during the fighting) used to be.

If you didn’t already know, during the Civil War, this is where a nine and a half month siege took place.  Grant was on the offence and tried to gain control of the railroads that went in and out of Petersburg, since the city was such a large supplier of goods to the South.  Lee fought to protect the city, and when Grant’s attempt to capture Petersburg failed, it led to a long and difficult siege.  Ultimately, the Union won, and Lee surrendered soon after.

Atlantic Ocean – North Carolina

RV North Carolina

On March 20, we moved to Lanier’s Campground in Holly Ridge, North Carolina.  During the weekend, we drove around Topsail (pronounced Topsul) Island, bought seafood from an outdoor seafood market, and ate the seafood, which Daddy cooked at our RV.

The Hoffmans drove down to North Carolina the next week with all their belongings in their passenger van.  They are staying at a condo near us while they wait for their RV to be ready to pick up.

When the Hoffmans were in North Carolina with us, we went to their condo a lot and spent time with them and ate meals together.  We also went to the beach (right by their condominium) and their condominium’s outdoor pool.  Aiden, Mason, and Mr. Josh went fishing in the ocean a few times and caught a stingray and whiting.

On one weekend, when the weather was warm and sunny, the Hoffmans came over to our RV.  We ate lunch and dinner together outside, and afterwards, Aiden and Mason tried fishing at our RV park’s pier but caught nothing except seaweed.  Mr. Josh took us to a nearby place in the afternoon, where we gathered fallen trees to turn into fire wood.  Aiden and Mason had a lot of fun sawing the wood into smaller pieces.

We got to meet a bunch of Miss Erin’s family when we visited the Hoffmans’ condo, including her sisters, one of her brothers, her parents, and the Hoffman kid’s two cousins.

Mr. Josh’s son, Joshua Cole Hoffman (aka “LJ” for Little Josh), also visited us in Topsail for a little over a week.  He lives an hour or two away in North Carolina with his mom, stepdad, and half-sister.  He turned 17 the week he was visiting.  

The Battle at Moores Creek Bridge

On Friday, April 9, we went to Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie, North Carolina with the Hoffmans.  We walked on a couple of trails, ate hamburgers and hotdogs which Daddy had grilled at the picnic area, and learned about the battle that happened in 1776.

During the Revolutionary War, North Carolina was a British colony.  The Royal Governor wanted to put a stop to the rebels’ (Patriots) uprising, so after negotiating which got them nowhere, both sides prepared for war.  Some Highland Scots who’d settled in North Carolina joined the Patriots, while the others waited for the British army to arrive.

After both sides were ready for war, events led to a battle at Moores Creek Bridge.  The Loyalists, being about six miles away from the Patriot encampment, sent an ultimatum to the Patriots by courier.  While the Patriot leader read and refused the ultimatum, the courier noted the Patriots’ position.  This, he reported to the Loyalists upon return.

That night, the Loyalist planned an attack based on the courier’s information.  They however were missing a big part of the picture, a mistake that would cost them many lives and the loss of the battle.  When the Loyalists went to attack the Patriot encampment, they found it empty, so they crossed Moores Creek Bridge (which the Patriots had dismantled).  They were met with earthworks and Patriots battle-ready.

Now with the swamp behind them and Patriots in front, the Loyalists fought—and quickly surrendered, after their leader was killed.  Most say the battle lasted only three minutes.  While only one Patriot died and one was wounded, many Loyalists died.

The Hoffmans will not be able to get their RV as soon as they’d previously thought, so we (the Wongs) will be moving on without them, hoping to meet up with them in a couple of weeks.

On our last weekend with them before we moved, we spent some time with them outside our RV, at the house they’re staying at temporarily, and at a U-pick in Murraysville, North Carolina.  We picked a bucket of strawberries at the strawberry farm.  When we took it back to our RV park, we ate a lot of them, and the rest Mommy turned into jam, which we had on PB&J’s.

Here are some pictures of food that we ate while we were in North Carolina.  Some of the food was from restaurants, but most of it was made by either Daddy or Miss Erin.

Mason, Aiden, and Mr. Josh went fishing a few times in the ocean.  Once, they caught a lot of fish, which Aiden and Mason cleaned and Daddy smoked.

Update On the Hoffmans and Us

At first, we thought we’d be living in Zanesville, Ohio with the Hoffmans, but when we thought about going door-to-door and running out of places to evangelize at, the Hoffmans decided to get an RV, live in it full-time, and travel with us in order to go door-to-door in different places.  Before I continue on with updates on what we’re doing now, I’ll insert a video of what we did for Aiden’s, Mason’s, and Daddy’s birthdays.

For these three birthdays, we spent them at Mimi and Papaw’s house, where we broke bread and celebrated together with birthday cakes (red velvet, tiramisu, and cheesecake).  Now on to the updates.

So, the Hoffmans and us have a desire to share the gospel with others.  Traveling in RV’s and going door-to-door seems like the best way to do it for us at this time.  We know that the church is not a building or services, but the body of Christ (meaning all believers), so we meet, fellowship, break bread, sing praises to God, and evangelize together.  We have a very close relationship with each other, and we build one another up when we are together.  Although it is a very unconventional way of Christian living, I find that it is very upbuilding to my faith, more than anything we’ve ever done before.

Now, here is something you might not know: our RV (a Crossroads Volante) is in need of repairs, and we just recently were able to get things moving along so it can be repaired.  In the meantime, we bought a smaller, new RV that we’ll live in for 3—6 months (or longer) while our Volante is being fixed.  Here are pictures of us moving into our new RV (a Grand Design Transcend):

We moved to North Carolina recently (temporarily; we will be moving around), and the Hoffmans will be joining us, living in a condo until they can pickup their RV (at a dealership in North Carolina), but more on that in the next blog post.

Oh, and here are some pictures of the National Road campground cat we named Zaney (short for Zanesville) and her recently-born kittens.  We saw them right before we left to North Carolina.

Turning 16 and Museums – Ohio

kayla wong

We’ve been meeting with the Hoffmans like usual, but we haven’t been able to evangelize due to snow and/or cold weather.  We’ve also been seeing Mr. Josh’s parents, whom we call Mimi and Papaw (because the Hoffman kids do).  In the video below, you can see pictures of when we celebrated Mimi’s birthday at the Hoffmans’ house, then when we celebrated my 16th birthday.  Also, there are two pictures of our pets.  Mommy recently took the pictures after she’d dressed up our cats.  Julius doesn’t mind the necktie, but Tennessee really didn’t like wearing the clothes or bows.

On February 13, we went to First Ladies NHS in Canton, Ohio.  There, we learned about the roles of the First Ladies of the United States over time.  We learned about the White House being built, and how it was decorated, and how it was mainly the First Lady’s role to decorate both the outside and inside of the White House, as well as host parties and celebrations there.

Afterward, we drove to McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, which was a few minutes away.  It is a science museum/historical museum/museum about the McKinleys.

The museum had a special event for the Mars 2020 space mission, where a rover and helicopter will land on Mars on February 18.  As a result, we got to learn about the mission when we went to the planetarium show.  You can actually watch the landing live on February 18, 2021 here: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/landing/watch-online.  There will be some options to choose from on this page.

In one section of the museum, a man showed us some cool things that were used during the McKinleys’ time.  One was a stereoscope.  The stereoscope is a device used to view two slightly different images, resulting in a 3D image.  The other thing the man showed us was a Reginaphone.  The Reginaphone is a music box that plays a disk, creating music that has a deep, echoing quality to it.  It sounded really nice.

Another part of the museum was a fake, old-fashioned town, with a blacksmith, a dentist, houses, a firehouse, and more.  We could go into some of the buildings, as well up some stairs to a few other buildings.

Holidays in Zanesville – Ohio

Zanesville blog

For the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s), we went to the Hoffmans’ to fellowship, break bread together, and continue in reaching out to the neighbors and community around us.  Over the past few months, we have met many neighbors living in Zanesville and have been able to minister to some of their needs.  It has been a great opportunity to learn more about the people in this area and how we can best serve them with the love of Christ.

In the video below, you can see us and the Hoffmans playing Hedbanz and other games, as well as the younger kids playing in the leaves near Thanksgiving time.  The last picture in the video is of me, Miss Erin, and Tanner knitting.  Recently, I taught my two youngest brothers and Miss Erin how to knit.  When we are sitting around and talking, a few of us will pull out our crocheting/knitting projects and work on it.

It snowed a few times in December, which provided many opportunities for snow-fun!  We constructed caves and forts, had snowball fights, and sledded.  Aiden and Mason made a huge walk-in cave with Mt. Rushmore-esque heads on the side of it.  We woke up on Christmas day to many inches of snow, piled up and ready for us to play in.  It’s fun to play in the snow, but getting our truck de-snowed was a bit of work which we are not used to.  Two of the Hoffman kids (4 and 2 years old) enjoyed sledding with us down their side hill.  We also had a fun time sledding in the RV park where we are staying.  Although we have experienced snow before for fun, short outings, this is the first time we have been living in it.

Zanesville – Ohio

Zanesville

In the last blog post, I wrote about the RV park we were staying at.  Well, this RV park had a few trails that were very pretty, so with our new bikes (some of which my brothers had bought, and another which the owner of the RV park gave to us), we explored the trails.

Fall in Zanesville is very pretty.  There are beautiful red, orange, yellow, and pinkish trees.  In Zanesville, we went to a roadside farmer’s stand, where they sold produce.  We also went to a weenie roast event with the Hoffmans, where we roasted hotdogs and my brothers participated in a cupcake eating contest.

We see the Hoffmans a lot to evangelize and fellowship with them.  For evangelism, we go door to door and talk with the people we meet about the gospel.  One day while we were evangelizing, a stray cat followed us to the Hoffman’s house, where my brothers pet and played with it.  We named her S.C. (stray cat), but we haven’t played with her again, but we have seen other cats that look like her around the neighborhood.  At the Hoffman’s house, we eat and sing together.  Us children like to climb the trees in the front and back yard and give the Hoffmans’ kids rides on our backs (hence the picture of Aiden with the two oldest Hoffman kids on his back).

For Tanner’s 10th birthday, September 28, we ate cake and gave him presents.  Some things he got were painting supplies, rock painting kits, and a bike.  We video called our family in Hawaii who got to sing to Tanner and talk with all of us.  It was nice to see our family on the video calls.

stinkbug

Oh, and here’s a pesky insect that we found was planning on hibernating in our RV for the winter.  It’s the brown marmorated stink bug.  There were tons of them in our RV slides which came out when we recently moved our RV (we killed them), and I’m guessing that there are dozens more still.  When they are dying, they release a stench, which smells like stinky watermelon.  It turns out that our pets don’t like the smell.  Tennessee, our kitten, was playing with one and got sprayed and ran away, and another stinkbug sprayed my bed where Ruby usually naps, and Ruby avoided sleeping there for a while.

COVID-19/Part 1 – Tennessee

When the government started ordering everyone to shelter in place, we were staying at the Natchez Trace RV Campground in Hohenwald, Tennessee.  We remained there for just under three months.  This series of blog posts talks about the time we spent waiting for things to open back up, so that we could start traveling again.

March 21, 2020 – We moved to Natchez Trace RV Campground in Hohenwald, Tennessee.  The internet was bad, but the place was very pretty.  The weather was cold, and most of the trees were bare at first.  Aiden, Mason, Tanner, and I explored in the forest behind our RV.

March 22, 2020 – The weather was still cold.  We went to Meriwether Lewis’ burial place.  Meriwether Lewis was traveling to America’s capital, when he stopped to stay in a cabin for the night.  He was found bleeding from two gunshot wounds, probably from suicide.  By the morning, he was dead.  The monument was a pillar (on a base), which looked chopped off at the top.  The part that looked chopped off was to represent a great life cut short.

Aiden got to play his bugle here, since there weren’t lots of houses or people around.  The bugle was very loud.

March 24, 2020 – We celebrated Mommy’s birthday at home with cake and presents.  I made Mommy two clay cat charms, one which looked like Julius.  I also made her a picture of Ruby sleeping and another of Julius with oil pastels.

Caving and Visiting My Cousins – Alabama

On March 1, Sunday, we went caving in a cave on a privately owned property.  The cave was called Tumbling Rock Cave.  Inside the cave, we saw a lot of small, brown bats sleeping.  The cave was a little difficult to travel through, as there were no maintained trails or lighting.  It seemed very natural,  and there were rivers, stalagmites, stalactites, slopes, drop-offs, mud, and ledges.  That made it very fun to explore.  We stayed for about three hours, and we traveled up to a formation called Elephant’s Feet, which were big, thick pillars of calcite.  

On March 6, we moved to Huntsville, Alabama, where we stayed at Daddy’s brother’s family’s house for two days.  This is where Aunty Kristy (see this blog post) made me my personalized T-shirt.  I also played with my two younger cousins.  During those two days, we went to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and Hellen Keller’s Birthplace with them.

At Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, we took a hike and looked at the swamp.  We also attended a presentation in the visitor center’s theater about different birds.  The presenters carried and flew the birds around the room so that everyone could see them.  Some birds that were included were a screech owl, vulture, and bald eagle.

We got to tour the place where Helen Keller was born and taught by Annie Sullivan.  Helen Keller was born in 1880 with both sight and hearing, but at a young age, she lost both to a severe illness.  At age six, Helen met Annie Sullivan, who eventually taught Helen to communicate through the fingertip alphabet, behave (she was spoiled), and read braille.  Helen eventually grew up and graduated, and she helped to improve education for other blind students.  

On March 8, we moved to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s RV park and went inside the place.  There was a planetarium, displays, rides, actual missiles and aircraft, rock wall climbing, a fake mini space station, and more

After, to celebrate Mason’s 12th birthday (which happened on March 7), we went bowling.  We ate dinner there, had cake, and enjoyed ourselves.

Mountaintop River – Alabama

On February 24, we moved to Crow Creek Camping (try say that three times fast) in Stevenson, Alabama.  On the way, we went to a few places.  Tellus Science Museum was a giant interactive science museum with displays about space, rocks, and fossils mostly.  This museum was different than others we had visited previously, because it had free gem panning and fossil digging.  There was a display with fluorescent rocks (which glow under an ultraviolet light), which was very cool.  There was also an area which taught about sounds, tools, weather, and other things found in daily life.  That area’s design was very cool to me.  It had a gigantic fake tree, and the whole area looked like it came out of a kid’s play set.

Little River Canyon National Preserve protects what some call our nation’s longest mountaintop river.  We went on a scenic drive through the park and stopped at Little River Falls.  It was very loud, and the cold, wet weather only made it more beautiful.

On February 27, we celebrated Aiden’s 14th birthday at home in our RV.  We had cake, and he opened presents from all of us.

Beaches and Forts – Florida

On February 5, we moved to Tanglewood Gardens Mobile Home & RV Park in Brent, Florida.  It was rainy and cloudy that day.  The next day, February 6, we celebrated my 15th birthday in our RV.  We did our homeschool like usual, then I opened presents from my family, and we all had ice cream cake for dessert.

On Saturday, we went to Fort Pickens Area Gulf Islands National Seashore.  It was on a beach, and we were able to walk around the fort.  The fort was built in 1834 to defend Pensacola Harbor, and it played a role in the Civil War.

We went to the visitor center, explored the fort, and played on the beach.  The fort was big and cool.  There were stalagmites inside the fort, probably because of mineral water seeping through the roof for a long time.  There were also small tunnels and cannons.  On the beach, my brothers had fun digging giant holes in the sand.

Another day, we went to Johnson Beach, part of the national park, where we relaxed and my brothers dug giant holes in the sand.

Christmas – Texas

For Christmas, we made gingerbread houses and opened presents at home.  We then went to Main Event, a place that has games  We went bowling, did miniature golf, played laser tag, played arcade games, and had dinner there.  I especially liked playing laser tag, because there were two stories and obstacles to shoot around, and there were also a lot of other people (strangers) who played with us.

The Mount Rushmore State – South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

On September 28, Tanner’s birthday, we celebrated at home with presents and cake.  We moved that day as well, to French Creek RV Park in Custer, South Dakota.  That same day, we went to Jewel Cave and Devils Tower.

Jewel Cave is the third longest cave in the world, with over 200 miles of mapped cave.  We did not go into the cave, but the visitor center had displays and a map of it.  One name of a particular part of the cave caught my attention.  It was called Shelob’s lair (I am a fan of Tolkien’s works).

At Devils Tower, we hiked to near the base of the tower.  It was very tall, with super steep sides and long lines running from top to bottom.  The weather was cold and cloudy where we were.

September 29, 2019

The next day, we went to Badlands National Park.  The landscape was like a mini Grand Canyon, with layered rock, spires, canyons, and rock formations.  We took a few short hikes.

After, we went to Minuteman Missile NHS.  It was a museum about the Cold War and the U.S. and Russia’s  building of missiles.  We learned about how life would have been in America during that time, and there was a mock 20th century living room with a fake old TV showing how American children would have done bombing drills at school.

Then, we visited Mount Rushmore.  This famous landmark was completed by Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum in 1941.  The faces carved into the mountain are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.  Susan B. Anthony was almost added, but funds for it ran out.  We hiked in the park, and since it is such a popular tourist attraction, it was a bit crowded.

One thing I find interesting about the mountain is that there is a room behind the heads.  It is called the Hall of Records, and in it, there is a teakwood box in a titanium steel vault covered by granite.  Inside the repository are sixteen porcelain enamel panels, describing the construction of Mount Rushmore.  However, the Hall of Records is not accessible to visitors, so it seems a mystery to me.

Finally, we went to Wall Drug Store, a tourist attraction with gift shops, eateries, cool decorations, and other things inside.  We got some rocks and food from Wall Drug Store, and in the eating area, there was a really beautiful stained glass ceiling pattern.

October 4, 2019

We went to Wind Cave National Park, but didn’t go into the cave.  It contains about 95% of the world’s discovered boxwork (cave formations).  We learned about how Alvin McDonald used to explore the cave by candlelight for fun and then give tours of it.  He died at the age of twenty from an illness.

San Francisco – California

pinnacles np

On Sunday, we visited Pinnacles National Park.  It was formed, supposedly, by volcanoes, creating the giant pinnacles of rock.

We learned about the California Condor which used to be almost extinct, but was put into captivity in order to safely breed them.  Eventually, their numbers rose, and they were released in different parts of the world, some in Pinnacles NP.  The California Condor weighs around 20 lbs, and can have a wingspan of 9.5 ft (hence the picture of my brother with the big black “condor wings”).

Then we went on a hike that led through a cave at the Bear Gulch Nature Center.  The cave was wet, roaring with the thunder of the waterfalls inside.  There were rivers, stairs, and lots of rock.  It was really cool!

Mason's Birthday

The next Saturday, we went to four NPS sites.  The first was Muir Woods,  known for its redwoods, and a very pretty place.

The second was Marin Headlands National Park.  We got a tour of the Nike Missile Site and learned how it was built, along with a couple hundred others, as a last line of defense against Soviet bombers during the Cold War.  Surprisingly, it was run by mostly young men.  We got to see the equipment and nuclear warhead missiles.  It was a very detailed and interesting tour.

The third was Fort Point National Historic Site, a Fort built during the Civil War to guard San Francisco Bay from foreign attack.  It was later used intermittently as Army barracks.

The fourth was Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  We went to Lands End Lookout visitor center and rushed through junior ranger books because the park was closing.  We didn’t see anything except what was by the parking lot.

Here's what San Francisco is to me...

San Francisco
...funny houses
San Francico
..and lots of traffic

Just kidding – sort of.  I know this is a long post, but before you go, you might have noticed Granny in some of the pictures.  She came from L.A. and stayed with family (we visited them, but I can’t show their pictures) in San Francisco.

The Mighty Pacific Ocean – California

San Diego CA Silver Strand

Seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time in eight or so years was amazing.  We drove to Silver Strand State Park and arrived in the pouring rain and rough wind.  Sand mixed in the rain flew everywhere, and when I was in bed, I could feel the RV shaking and swaying in the wind.

The next morning, when everything had calmed down, we walked to the beach and enjoyed it for a bit before it started drizzling.  It was cloudy and cold the whole time we were there.

San Diego CA Silver Strand
My brothers digging in the sand

We moved to Catalina Spa and RV Resort that morning, in Desert Hot Springs, California.  It was fun staying there, because they had swimming pools (some with odorless mineral hot spring water), pickle ball and mini golf.

I got to spend my 14th birthday in California at home, where we had homemade sushi (Daddy’s a great cook) for lunch.

I also got presents.  One of the best ones was a MP4 player from Mommy and Daddy, and I put a whole bunch of music on it.

BEFORE YOU READ MY BLOG

knwbooks screenshot

Hello friends, family, or whoever you are, welcome to my blog!  Please read this first before moving onto the next post.  This will help you get the most out of all the pictures and excitement here.

First, if you are new here, make sure to start from the very first post at the bottom of the Blog page.  That is where the adventure starts.

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In the later posts, you will see that the way the pictures are arranged are different.  This is because complications came up with the methods I had been using previously.

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Last Notes:

My mom is more than 99% responsible for all the pictures here.  I am very grateful for her photography help.  The other less than 1% of pictures have been taken either by Daddy, one of us four kids, or a stranger who helped us take a family photo.  Thank you, whoever took those pictures.

*I try to get people’s permission before posting pictures of them on my blog.  For random strangers in the background of pictures though, I can’t help it.*

Mommy often helps with writing and editing my posts.

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