A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Calaveras Big Trees

We visited a state park with several families from our church.  

This was most of us, before our hike.  

An obligatory, "we were here" photo.  I got in the habit of taking pictures of the kids when we went somewhere, just in case I needed to be able to describe what they were last seen wearing.  

We had a lovely 2ish mile hike/walk through the giant sequoias and other evergreens.  We saw some very Big Trees indeed at this pleasant recreation area.  

There were trees you could walk through.  

We spotted wild strawberry plants, tiny waterfalls in a flowing stream, and even some snow in the very shady spot where snow plows had piled drifts.  

The weather was warm enough to be comfortable in short sleeves.  

And at the end of it, there was a little gift shop and museum (tiny museum).  I took this picture of the separating arrow for Hannah, since she was hanging out with the teens and wasn't with me in the museum.  Hannah is fascinated by weapons, so I thought she would appreciate this.  

Since the park was a couple hours away from where we live, we listened to a book.  Hannah and I are reading/rereading the Susan May Warren books in order this year, so we were listening to her The Heat Is On.  Watching my long suffering husband as he was subjected to Christian romance was quite amusing.  

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Spring Break Road Trip - part 2

It's really time to clean photos off my phone.  Aside from there being 2,700+, it takes forever to find anything.  

This was taken at Harry & David.  The little souvenir boxes we're holding contain a chocolate and 2 cookies.  

Lunch out, visiting a friend I went to school with.

Covered bridge, pointing out local flora & fauna.

The alpaca ranch!

Even though it was raining, this was a fun outing.  The alpaca rancher was very knowledgeable and personable.  There's a small gift shop, with some lovely knitted and felted items made from alpaca fiber.  They also partner with a Peruvian co op, and I brought home a lovely shawl.  

Grammy's fan club

The hotel had a basketball court, and Katie was delighted to shoot some hoops one morning.

The science museum.  This was magnet play.

A giant book?  I might need to take a peek.  I read 2 books while we were gone, not counting this one.  

Swilling from a jeweled goblet in the storybook area.

Climbing wall outside the science museum

We all missed our cats so much we stopped at a local shelter to say hi to the Oregonian kitties.

"Seriously mom?  It's rainy!"  We stopped at a creamery and a couple of chocolate shops.  

Katie, rocking out with the statues.

Did I take a picture of the crosswalk painted with books outside the public library?  Yes.  Yes I did.  I also FaceTimed Jack to show me my bookcase at home so I could fill in the gaps from a series of books I have at home, while I was at a bookstore.  

Shakespeare night!  We saw Macbeth.  I had the girls read a junior version of it before the trip so they'd have the gist of the story going into it.  When we got to the theater, they had signs up for Jane Eyre coming this summer, and I sighed and wondered if I could drive back up to catch that.  (Probably not.  I wish it would come here, but looks like only Ashland and Dallas.)  

A bookstore called Bookmarks, with a sweet old Manx kitty, Callie.  

This book made us laugh.  "When you look like your passport photo, it's time to go home" right?  Actually we were having fun.  Lots and lots of fun.  

Eating and exploring and walking and learning and doing and reading and watching and being.  

This was the set for the play Clue.  

I've played the game, but I never watched the movie.  The play was hilarious, and we all enjoyed it very much.  Katie liked it better than Macbeth because it was funnier and easier to understand, language wise.  

On our way home, we did hit a bit of snow, but we weren't in it for long, and it wasn't enough to require chains.  Actually the scariest part of the drive was when it was pouring rain and a semi whooshed water at us as he passed us on a curve, and we were blinded for an instant.  

I'd hoped we could stop at Turtle Bay on the way home, but the weather was yucky, so it wouldn't have been worth it.  

We have 8 weeks of school left.  I'm looking forward to summer.  I'm planning to visit Annaliese in Northern Ireland.  

Friday, April 5, 2024

Spring Break Road Trip - part 1

I know, it's been months since I've blogged.  But we finally did something blog worthy.  We took a road trip up to Oregon for spring break.  My motivation was to see a Shakespeare play in Ashland.  But, of course, it turned into so much more.  

Fiona gets a little concerned when the suitcase comes out.  Jack was responsible for the animals while I was gone, so it's a valid worry.  

The drive up north was a bit rainy, and it was whooshing windy when we stopped in Weed.  

We went to the Wildlife Safari in Winston.  I got our tickets via Groupon.  This cheetah has an emotional support dog in the cage with it.  

We saw lots and lots of very cool animals, and the girls even got to ride a camel! 

After Winston, we stopped on the way back to Medford (where we stayed all week) to stretch our legs.  

We took a nice walk along the Rogue River, and I introduced the girls to miner's lettuce.  

You can take a girl out of the library, but you can't take a love of books out of the girl.  We stopped at 2 used bookstores, we pottied at 2 public libraries, and we visited at least 19 Little Free Libraries.  

We wandered around historic Jacksonville, but most things were closed, as hours are limited during the off season.  

But it was still very pretty.  Lots of daffodils and tulips.  

Deer roaming the streets in Ashland.  (We saw more of them by the science museum, but I didn't take a picture then.)

We walked around Lithia Park a bit.  It was chilly, but picturesque.  

We toured Harry & David.  

Many of the machines were not in use since most workers had the week off for spring break, but we did see some activity.

The tour guide made it sound like a great company to work for, and of course, after the tour comes the...

...gift shop!  I didn't buy a mug, but I did miss Grumman while I was gone.  We bought some dark chocolate truffles and a soup mix I'm looking forward to trying.  

So, it goes without saying that we visited a lot of public restrooms.  In fact, this morning when Eddie Murphy's Party All the Time was playing on the radio, I mentally changed the chorus to, "My kids want to potty all the time, potty all the time, potty all the tiiiiiiime..."  Anyway, I spotted a duck in one of the restaurant bathrooms we visited and it reminded me of cruising ducks, which made me smile.  

We had lunch with an old friend in Eagle Point, and afterwards we explored a bit of the historic sector.  

Another walk along a different stretch of river.  

Hannah and Katie loved the food.  Eating out all the time, picking what they wanted, was one of their favorite parts of vacation.  We had Panera, Cracker Barrel, Black Bear, pizza, a leftover night, and more.

My grandmother loved rocks.  My dad loves rocks.  I have a fondness for rocks.  Two of my children have expressed a love of rocks.  So we went to Crater Rock Museum.  Which was more impressive than I expected it to be.  

Some very big specimens.

Some scary specimens.

Hannah's favorites were the native bows & arrows, and the stone knives.

The train, fire engine, and planes are MADE OF ROCKS.

This fort, and the "painting" below, yup, MADE OF ROCKS.

And off in a back room, oh yeah, a couple dinosaurs.

I'll stop here because this is really photo heavy, but I have more to share!