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10:25 PM A quick post from the Hampton Inn in Asheboro, NC. The Carolina Pals program is sponsoring a zoo trip for the kids from UNC and their Carolina Pals. We've never been to the NC Zoo, so we're really looking forward to tomorrow. We figured that since we have to be at the zoo so early to meet up with folks, we would just go ahead and stay at a hotel tonight. Thankfully, the hotel has wireless. We got here around dinner time and ate at IHOP (Elisabeth picked it out). We discovered that the hotel also has an indoor pool, so we bought both girls a cheap swimsuit at WalMart. Elisabeth splashed around in the water (I won't call it "swimming") and Sophie was happy to sit on the edge of the pool and get her feet wet. She kept gingerly holding on to her dressing, like she was afraid it would magically fly off just because she was in the vicinity of the pool.

For the past week, there has been a forest fire (? or is it a wildfire?) near Sophie's school. On Monday, it was quite close--so close in fact that when I picked her up, there was smoke and ash flying through the air. Unfortunately, the fire was mostly inaccessible, and the fire crews did what they could, short of putting out the fire completely. Depending on the wind, the fire would pick up and smolder and move a little bit. It sounds as if it pretty much got out of hand again today--I picked Sophie up early so we could get on our way and I could tell then that it was smoking a lot more, and a fire truck from Spivey's Corner passed us as we left. We live in such a small community, aside from the fact that Sophie's school was evacuated, we know families who also live in the vicinity of the fire, so we're hoping for the best tonight. It is supposed to rain tomorrow. We hope that will help.

The girls are very excited to be on this little trip. Honestly, I think Elisabeth is just as excited about staying in a hotel as she is about going to the zoo! After the zoo tomorrow, we're going to drive up to Greensboro and visit with a friend of ours who graduated from Duke Divinity last year. Her youngest daughter was in dance class with Elisabeth in Durham, so it will be a mini-reunion.