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.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Coloma Gold Rush Field Trip

Every year, the younger kids' school does an all-school field trip.  One year, it was Monterey Bay Aquarium, last year, it was the San Francisco Zoo.  This year, we went to the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park

There were costumed docents in period clothing, acting in character for the time of the gold rush. 

They showed the kids how various different things were made or done during that time. 

We learned about soap making, and canvas buckets, and primitive safety pins. 

We met a donkey. 

We saw the Chinese store, but it wasn't open.  Bummer! 

One of the docents pointed out that if the girls had come from China in the 1800s, they would have had to come by ship.  (And I thought the flight was long!)

Stamp mining equipment.  Very much like the one we saw at Gold Bug Mine

I enjoyed the textiles, of course.  These ladies were spinning wool (both with a treadle spindle, and with a drop spindle), and weaving the finished yarn into rugs and shawls. 

Katie at the Post Office tent, writing a letter.  The docents told the kids they could send letters "back to the states" since California was not a state until 1850, and gold was discovered here in 1848.

Ancient guns, and a musical instrument. 

They fired the cannon twice while we were there. 

This miner's cabin gave the kids an idea what guys had to come home to at the end of a long day standing in a creek. 

The scenic old style building against the backdrop of nature helped us feel as if we'd stepped back in time.  Until you try to cross the street and you have to wait for SUVs to go by. 

This photo is actually a little misleading, but it was the only posed shot I took that day.  The museum was without power (thank you, PG&E) while we were there, so we couldn't see what was inside the building.  Fortunately, outside was well worth the price of parking. 

After wandering around from 10-12, we sat and ate lunch.  Once we'd cleaned up from lunch, it was time to go pan for gold. 

It was an easy walk across a bridge and down to the river. 

View from the bridge.

And in the other direction.

One of the teachers brought along about 8 pans, so while the kids were learning how to swish dirt, I kicked my shoes off and waded into the cold river. 

I was not the only one to do so. 

Jack had a fabulous time.  I love getting the kids out in nature.  I feel like the older kids got something really special from spending so much time outside when we lived in Santa Rosa. 

It was a really fun day, and I'm glad that I went. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Crazy Much Love

I have a sweet children's book to share with you today:  A Crazy Much Love, written by Joy Jordan-Lake. 

We received a copy of A Crazy Much Love and a cute matching tote bag, in exchange for our honest review. 

My reviewer for A Crazy Much Love was Katie.  Katie is 9, and was adopted from China when she was almost 3 years old. 

Author Joy Jordon-Lake crafts a peppy tale of infant adoption.  From eager first time parents painting the nursery to school days, this is a make-you-smile story. 

Some points correlated to Katie's own adoption story, like the way we couldn't wait to get on the plane that would take us to her, and having family and friends waiting for us at the airport when we got back. 

Other things were more geared toward babies, such as first steps.  While there was a time when the majority of kids coming out of China were infants, those days are over now.  The children coming out of China are older, almost always at least 2 years old, and sometimes all the way up to 13 years old. 

I asked Katie what she thought of the book, and she said, "I like it."  She mentioned that the pictures are funny.  Sonia Sanchez illustrates A Crazy Much Love with bright, vivid, and whimsical pictures, with charming details. 

I'm pleased to add this to our collection of adoption books.  I feel it's important to give the girls access to a variety of adoption tales, since no two adoption stories are alike.  A Crazy Much Love is available on Amazon (affiliate link).  You can connect with the author on Instagram and Twitter

Thursday, October 10, 2019

School Pictures and More

So last time we talked about animals, I think we had a foster kitten and a couple of foster bunnies.  

Puff and Blackberry grew big enough to be altered, and they've gone to the adoption floor now.  I'm taking a little break from fostering, so our only household livestock are Grumman and Tuzi. 

We went to a jump place with an above ground course.  Yes, that's Josiah.  He had a blast. 

We were there for Brayden's birthday.

Jack, Josiah, Eli, Zach.  Just missing Sam.  My boys.  💙 

This guy recently had a birthday, and I took him out for ice cream to celebrate.  Because you're never too old for birthday ice cream. 

First time in a movie theater in over 2 years!  Paul and I went while the kids were in school. 

Eli and I did the Walk For Alzheimer's. 

And Grumman had to check out all the loot I brought home.  Eli said it was like grown up trick or treating, shuffling from vendor table to vendor table.  There was a lot of loot.  Some of it, we bypassed because, let's face it, who wants to carry a ceramic mug while they're walking a mile?  But I'm set on pens for quite a while.  And we got a new water bottle, which is nice, since the girls' Shriners bottles melted a bit in the dishwasher.  They're supposed to have a water bottle at school. 

Isn't he regal?  He's added so much to our lives. 

I feel like this face needs an evil laugh to go with it, bwa ha ha ha!

Aaaand there's glasses glare.  (We're not even going to discuss the hair, that he actually *did* get cut before the picture.)

Katie's picture looks pretty good. 

Eli at the air show with a tank. 

Milestone!  This was my very first "by myself" 5K.  Eli has been doing them with me.  This one, I signed up for with my exercise class, and everyone is at different levels.  We had people doing the half marathon and people doing the 5K.

So, I was part of a group, but I walked/jogged by myself, instead of with a buddy.  I pushed myself, and set a new personal record.  I'm not a runner, I'm a walker.  But I did jog more little bursts than I have in previous races, and I came in at 50:01. 

And the race pictures?  Yikes.  I think my next race goal is going to be to end up with a photo where my EYES are OPEN and my mouth is closed. 

My next race is the Be The Gift 5K in support of organ donation awareness.   I'd love to have you sponsor me! 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Making Things

Making Clothes
Hannah had a growth spurt, and needed some new things for church and chapel day at school, going into the cooler weather. 

I cut out half a dozen skirts for her, and I finished 3 before running out of waistband elastic.  Hello Kitty stash fabric, ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  Shirt from Old Navy. 

Making Crafts

I'm teaching crafts at the kids' school once a month.  I decided to go with a service theme, so the first month, I taught them to make paracord bracelets.  They could make one to take home and one for Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to service persons and first responders.  Sam got a package from them, which is how I heard about them.  So the kids made bracelets and wrote notes to send with them.

Poor Grumman couldn't understand the difference between his scrap of paracord and all the nice paracord I wouldn't let him get into. 

But believe me, he's not lacking for playthings.  (Mylar tape from a mailing envelope binder clipped to the fan) 

And with the change of seasonal decor, he also plays with things that are not actually intended for him.  But we love him.  He just had his annual shots & check up.  He's a healthy kitty, still 12#. 

Making Cake

We had our first couple of rainy days here, but the temp has now bounced back up to an expected 90* today.  However, the first day it rained, Eli was craving cake.  I had just bought cake mix and frosting in anticipation of Katie's birthday.  So he made a cake celebrating the rain. 

Making Music

I mentioned a while back that Hannah and Katie started piano lessons in February.  After more than 7 months, it's starting to sound like music, and it was time for a recital. 

It seems that we're the only family who stuck with the Gift of Play program, so it was just Hannah and Katie performing.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but there were about 2 dozen people (Shriners staff and actual Shriners) aside from our family.  They took tons of pictures and did a little video interview with the girls and their teacher after they played.  There was even a little reception with snacks afterward. 

Making Strides

We've now completed 4 weeks of the 5 week program of the Healthy Kids Running Series. 

They've been working hard, and I'm proud of them.  Katie's best time is currently 11:21 for her mile.  Hannah's best time is currently 15:39 for her mile. 

It was warmer yesterday than the week before, so both girls were a little slower, but still better than their first week.  Katie's pretty excited about her *new running shoes.* 

In fact, Miss Katie had a birthday on one of their run days.  She's 9 now. 

Making Sparkles

This month's craft at the school was glitter podge pumpkins, and pony bead Indian corn.  The students could choose to take their projects home or donate them to a local care & rehabilitation facility.  These were the ones we donated to the nursing home to decorate their dining room.  I hope they bring smiles to the residents. 

And because my boys are always on my mind, I made an Air Force blue pumpkin and a Marine Corps red pumpkin as part of our autumn decor. 

Happy harvest season!  Enjoy the pumpkins and falling leaves!