Saturday’s Nature Center Class

It was a small class called Cottontails. It was about rabbits. James only had an hour of scouts instead of his usual 2 hours, so he was able to attend it as well. I took Noelle along too, even though she was a little young. She sat on my lap and just listened.

The teacher was a woman who used to work at another nature preserve, specifically with the rabbits. She told some interesting stories about rescuing nests of bunnies from school yards and playgrounds. Did you know that a bunny is able to be on his/her own by 3 weeks? I thought it was around 2 months, but I was wrong. That is fast. After telling the kids some facts about bunnies, she read a story and then the kids made pictures. I helped Noelle and one of the ranger ladies helped AnnaBeth a little though she was impressed by how much AnnaBeth could do by herself. All the kids really enjoyed it. I need to check and see when the next class is.

Amie and Christine are interested in doing the summer day camps they are having. They will be one week for 2 hours in the morning. I think I will enroll them in those. James will be doing the day camp that our church is sponsoring, mostly because a lot of it will be focusing on things he needs for scouting. I would like to get Noelle and AnnaBeth into something as well, but we’ll see. Maybe the artsy day camp that the park system is offering. We’ll see.

Wonderful, Beautiful Warm Days

The kids and I have been enjoying the warm spring days… now that they are finally here. This last week was in the 70’s. We went out to the Nature Center one day last week a little later than we were expecting (4:00) and found that they close the trails and building at 4:30 and the park at 5:00, so we just went into the building for a little while, then walked out into the butterfly garden and inspected the little green spikes that will be flowers later. Then we headed over to the nature preserve park a mile or so away that stays open until sunset. Unfortunately, not 5 minutes after we got there, Jeremy texted me to tell me that he was waiting at the train station. He usually lets me know which train he’ll be taking so I can be there when it arrives, but he forgot that day. Anyway, I made him wait 20 minutes so the kids could run around a bit.

This week, we did most of our chores and schoolwork before lunch on Tuesday and then headed out to the Nature Center again. This time, I brought the camera and we took the wildflower path. We did a photo treasure hunt to find as many different flowers as we could. The kids also had me take pictures of a few different leaves they found that they want to look up. We need to get the books for those. I like teaching them how to use the internet for these things, but I think books are great too, especially since we can take them with us on hikes. For these ones, we are waiting until we are able to get to a bookstore and get identification books before we find out what they are. They found out what some were because the wildflower path had signs here and there telling the different types they had in that area, but others are unknown. After the hike, we went into the building and the turtles in the tank were amusing them. Christine saw the one turtle was up on the rock near the sunlight, warming himself and she went over to the glass near it’s head and started moving her hands up and down. The turtle followed her hands. The other two turtles swam on over and started following her hands too. It was interesting. They were so alert. Next, we headed out to the butterfly garden and saw daffodils and some pretty little white moths flying around. There are other flowers coming up as well, but no buds yet. As we were walking around, we found a mandible bone of some small animal and took it in to the rangers inside. They think it is opossum because of size and the teeth were carnivorous. While in the building before we left, we took a look over at where all the bird houses and feeders are to see if we saw any birds, but alas… there were none there. We went over to the Forest Preserve again after we were done there. We went to another part of it this time. James took his rollerblades and practiced in the parking lot while the girls went out to run among the trees. They found a recycle bin there for plastic and aluminum, so they went around finding trash in the park, some of which went into one of those slots and some of which went into the nearby trash receptacle. The small area we were in got cleaned up fairly well.

Oh, while we were there, we noticed that the Nature Center has a summer camp. Amie really wants to go to that. We’ll see. AND that they are having a thing for kids from K-4th grade this Saturday which I think I will bring Amie, Christine, and AnnaBeth to. It is during James’ Cub Scout meeting and he’ll be busy on a food drive at our church during that time. I think the Saturday after that is when the Prince Caspian movie thing will be at the Family Bookstore, so we have something for the next two weekends.


I think I have the post vacation blahs. I’ve had a hard time since coming back up here.

It may change soon. I have something that may potentially be a comforting thing for me to do sometimes, plus it will help me with figuring out songs for the church’s Children’s Choir. I’ll let you all know when I’ve got more details (and maybe pictures too, if all goes well.)

Eclectic Tastes in Reading

I got a Shelfari account and started putting books on there that I have read and loved. I realized how broad my reading is. I like such a variety of authors, from Terry Pratchett to Dee Henderson to Louisa May Alcott. Terry Pratchett‘s humorous fantasy series of Discworld is my choice when I need a good pick-me-up and a laugh. I like other fantasy as well. Elves, dragons, and such are so fun to imagine about. A few other authors of these that I enjoy are Terry Brooks and the Christian author, Donita K. Paul. Dee Henderson‘s Christian suspense thrillers and other various authors in murder mysteries are great for when I want to think. Louisa May Alcott and L.M. Montgomery are for when I want to read old-fashioned stories. I also like some of the Christian romance authors, like Janette Oke, for when I want a simple love story with no graphic physical encounters (if you know what I mean.) I like the way her books focus on loving who the person is more than what they look like and that is what I look for in a Christian romance novel. If you know of an author who writes like that, let me know, I don’t have enough of those for when I get in a sappy mood. I tried science fiction, but it was incomprehensible to me. I just didn’t understand it nor enjoy it much. I tried a few different books and one of the sci-fi mysteries, The Caves of Steel, by Isaac Asimov was kind of interesting, but still wasn’t enough to make me want to read more.

Anyway, if you have any new author suggestions for me, I would love to try them out.

Ok, Here Comes the BIG Update on Last Week

First, the pictures start with a sunset that we saw on Sunday night, next are flowers I took pictures of while down there. I haven’t played around with those pictures yet, but plan on doing something with a few of them. After that, begins our adventure. It is mostly in the order of what we did… from Monday to Saturday and our trip home, but Flickr flipped a few orders around while uploading, so some are a bit out of their place. That’s okay though.

I’ll just go day to day on here. We left at 4:30 pm on Friday, March 28th, after picking Jeremy up from the train station and dropping the cats off at the boarding place. We bought the kids special sippy cups for the car, so they would have non-spillable cups in the van. I bought a gallon of lemonade for $1.49 and we just poured it in their cups during different stops. It lasted for both the trip down and back up, since we didn’t need much for the trip down since they slept most of that time. That saved us a LOT of money. We didn’t have to buy drinks at our meals.

On our way down, we had a few detours/pauses, so we didn’t get there until 4:00 am our time, 5:00 am there. There was an exit closed in Louisville, KY with no warning and we had to find our own detour which took an hour. Then there was a wreck on I-40 just west of the NC border on our side of the interstate. It wasn’t too bad, just the front bumper and a few other front pieces of an SUV were ripped off, but parts of those were scattered all over both eastbound lanes, so they had to shut it down to clean it up. We sat there for at least half an hour. Jeremy put his seat back and caught a quick nap. The good thing was that this woke the kids up, so by the time we got to my parents’ house about an hour later, they were ready to lay back down.

On Saturday, we just rested a bit. We did head over to Asheville for a little bit to get some shoes for Jeremy and Noelle. Jeremy’s were worn out and would have been no good for hiking and Noelle’s were getting too small. When we moved, I either threw out or gave away all shoes that weren’t fitting the kids at that time, so I had to buy Noelle new shoes this time.

On Sunday, we went to the early service, which is a Praise and Worship service at my parents’ church. It was nice. After the service, we attended Sunday School. We were in a class that was just starting to study the story of the prodigal son. It sounded like it is going to be a good study. After church, we went home and a few of us changed into different clothes before heading out to a nice little buffet in Waynesville, NC. I kind of napped in the afternoon and then we went back to the church for a youth sponsored dinner of sloppy joes. They started showing Cheaper By the Dozen 2, but we didn’t care for it too much. Too many times of focusing on female chests, so we left and let the kids watch an Adventures in Odyssey movie at the house.

On Monday, I did a few loads of laundry in the morning and went outside and tried the swing that my dad and James put up this last summer when James was visiting them. In the afternoon, my mom came home from work and watched the kids while Jeremy and I walked around downtown Waynesville and explored a used book store. I found a book there that I’ve wanted but couldn’t find, so I was happy.

On Tuesday, we went to Dillsboro, NC. It was somewhat closed up because the tourist season hasn’t really started yet, but it was still pretty to walk around. We stopped into a pottery shop and watched a guy make what I think was a vase. I forgot to take pictures though because I was holding Noelle so she could see and talking to her about it. After Dillsboro, we headed over to Sylva and stopped at a playground there. The kids got a good amount of energy out while there.

On Wednesday, my friend Colwyn met us in Cherokee, NC. We hiked up to Mingo Falls and then went to a park there (the name of which I think starts with an O, but I can’t remember it) After wandering through the bamboo forest there and letting the kids throw rocks in the river and play in some sand, we walked around a little of the touristy shops and got the kids ice cream (pretzel for James). It was nice seeing him again. I’ve known him since my freshman year in college. He was in the choir with me back then and good friends with my roommate the second semester, so I got to know him fairly well back then. He found me through the internet later and we’ve been good friends since.

On Thursday, both my parents took the day off. Mom stayed home with AnnaBeth and Noelle. The rest of us went up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to hike. It was very foggy up there, so there was no view to see, but that helped us focus more on the things close to us, like the dew drops on some budding plants and all those little streams that criss-crossed the path. I took a bunch of pictures and had to dump all my pics onto a CD because I used up all the memory on my camera’s card that day and wanted room for more. This was Christine’s first big hike and she did really well. She was tired out by the time we were done and had gotten the bottom of her pants wet in the stream, but she really enjoyed it. Just as we got done, the rain started. We got a little wet, but not too bad. Because of the fog, there was hardly any traffic on the Parkway. We stopped in the middle of the tunnel and I got out of the van and took this picture, which I totally love. That’s the B&W version. The color version isn’t much different, but I like the B&W better. They are both on Flickr. After a bit of rest, we headed out to Asheville and went to Ryan’s to eat.

On Friday, my dad took a half day off, so once both he and mom were home and we’d eaten lunch, we went to the Asheville, NC Nature Center. It’s kind of like a little zoo. After that, my dad wanted to buy each of the kids a book, so we headed to Books A Million. Amie got the first book in “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket and James got “Ironman” which is based on the movie which will be coming out. Christine got a book with a story about a ballerina in it as well as a bunch of crafts like tiaras and how to make your own tu-tu. AnnaBeth got “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein and Noelle got “The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” by Dr. Suess. The last book is one of my Dad’s favorites and apparently Noelle loves it too as she has had it read to her many times since then. After we got home, I did some laundry and packing up.

On Saturday, I finished packing up and we headed out. Other than bathroom breaks almost every hour, the trip was fairly uneventful. We did have a dense patch of fog on the TN/KY border. Thanks to my dad, the trip home was mostly quiet. Amie read and finished her book and James read more than half of his book. The other girls had their books read to them at least once during that time. Christine spent a lot of time looking at the crafts in her book and planning which ones she wants to do first. We got home in time to get the kids ready for bed.

We had to wait until Monday to pick up the cats. It was weird coming home and not having them here to greet us. Mittens and Charlie have been extra lovey to me since coming home, so I know they missed us too. Charlie didn’t leave the room I was in all day yesterday except to eat or use the litter box. They’re feeding was different there. They probably were fed about the same time in the morning, but they were fed earlier in the afternoon than I normally feed them, so they have been begging for their food a bit early in the afternoons yesterday and today. They’ll get back on their schedules soon, I’m sure.

AND there you have it! It was such an awesome week. I have missed my parents and I’ve missed the mountains and waterfalls and hiking and all. It was so very good to be down there. Now, to get back into our regular homeschool routine.

Working on Pictures

So far, I’ve uploaded photos to Flickr from before we left. There is one picture of the kids in their Easter outfits that I made… the girls’ dresses and James’ vest. You can’t see the pattern on the vest very well though and you can’t see the strawberries too well on Noelle’s dress. I plan on getting each one individually sometime. Maybe it will be easier to see that way.

I’m working on editing the photos from NC right now. I don’t know how long it will take me. Once I have them done, I’ll write up a post on our vacation down there.