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.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Between Adventures


Upon coming home from Europe, I discovered that Hannah had broken her glasses.  So one of the first things I did that week was take her to pick out new ones.  Two weeks seems like a long time to wait for glasses when your eyes are as bad as hers.  


But they were finally ready, and for the most part, she's happy with them.  They don't darken up as well as her old transition lenses did.  


We've been helping with the school rummage sale setup two mornings a week.  


There's rather a lot


of rummage to rummage through.  These were taken a couple weeks ago.  The quantity of stuff has doubled as donations have come in, and it's quite overwhelming at this point.  I'll be glad when it's over.  


I did, however, find a blast from my past among the clutter.  My mom had these dishes when I was a kid.  


Books, books, books.  I'm currently reading The Princes in the Tower.  Having been there in person makes it all the more real and fascinating.  


I don't think I mentioned summer school.  I'm working one day a week.  I do story time for the summer camp kids and the preschool, and I've been processing tons of books.  

The summer camp has an around the world theme, so when the kids learned about Australia, I had them make aboriginal dot paintings.  

The staff start school next week, although the students don't come back until mid August.  


Speaking of rummage, 1/3 yd. stripey woven cotton and 1/3 yd. tie dye-ish flannel made 3 pretty new napkins.  


Which inspired me to make some more napkins.  Bugs are flannel, gold is woven.  

I cut out a peasant top for Hannah.  We'll see how long it takes to get to the sewing part.  


We had a trip to Shriners.  Hannah will be getting a new leg, so we're headed back again in a week or two for the next step.  


And when they learned about India, we did faux henna hands.



Sigh.  Cats.  


My Target box looked like whoever packed it literally just tossed it all in there.  

But the point of the picture is that we're close enough to start of school to be buying uniforms!  We did the annual try on of last year's unis, and Hannah found one of Jack's shirts in her closet and Katie found one of Hannah's skirts in hers.  Sigh.  This year, I bought the girls slightly different styles of tops and skirts, hoping this makes it easier to tell whose is whose.  

I'll wrap this up for now and hopefully tomorrow I can share about a little trip we took.  


Friday, July 29, 2022

Europe Trip: Getting Home

My last morning waking up on the ship was a Friday.  


This was my view from the balcony as I prepared to disembark in Southampton.  

Getting off the ship was a bit of a zoo.  That was the most "crowded" I felt on the cruise.  Every single person was trying to get out 2 doors at the same time, so that was not especially fun or efficient.  

Once I got off, I was left with a bit of a "now what?" feeling.  After being shuttled about, herded here and there, for most of the last week, I was on my own.  I had hours before I needed to be at the airport... but I also had all my luggage with me.  :sigh:  If I hadn't had baggage, I might have tried to see the Titanic museum, but without anywhere to store my stuff, off to the airport it was.  I grabbed a taxi.  


After checking in at the airport, I had several hours to kill before my 5:20 flight.  I did have a book on my iPad.  I tried to get up once an hour (when my Fitbit reminded me) and walk.  It rained during one or two of these walks, but the walkway was covered.  

Southampton airport is over 100 years old, and is pretty tiny.  I'd later find out that it has 9 gates, except 7 and 8 share a door, so is that really 9 gates?  Not really.  


If you look that way, there's a train station at the end of the walkway, across a street.  


And if you look that way, you occasionally see a plane take off.


It's the sort of airport where you have to walk outside and climb stairs to get on your plane.  


Bye bye, England!  Hope to see you again someday!  


Hello Netherlands!  Why is there a plane in the airport?  Amsterdam is a much bigger airport than Southampton!  

Fortunately, many people spoke English, and I was able to get directions to my attached-to-the-airport hotel.  It was a long walk.  


After all the talk about cruising ducks on the cruise Facebook page, I was amused to find ducks in the lobby.  

The guy at the desk asked what time my flight was.  "9 a.m."  He then said, "Be sure to get over there 3.5 hours beforehand."  Yikes.  "Sometimes people don't believe me and they come back later needing their room for another night because they missed their flight."  All righty then.  3.5 hours it is.  


The hotel room



Looks like a good place to spend a 14 hour layover, does it not?


With it's atrium facing window, overlooking the check in desk and bar.  

I basically slept (I forgot dinner that night), showered, and headed back toward security.  My flight was 9:50 a.m. and I left the hotel desk at 6.  Seems the airport was having a good day.  I was through security at ~7:30, and found myself some breakfast.  


I got a chuckle out of the clogs in an airport gift shop.  "Tell me you're in Holland without telling me you're in Holland."  


 As in the airport, I tried to get up every couple of hours on the long flight to Los Angeles to stretch and move around.  This picture was taken from the window of the void space where people wait their turn for the tiny restrooms.  In Los Angeles, I had another layover, but there's lots and lots of room to walk there.  I walked some, read some, and I may have even dozed a little, since it had been hours and hours since Amsterdam.  

I was very happy to finally land in Sacramento and roll myself and my suitcase out to passenger pickup.  The sight of Matilda pulling up cheered me immensely.  Travel is amazing, and I absolutely want to take another trip next summer, but coming home is good, too.  

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Normandy: Bayeux

I was very excited to see the Bayeux Tapestry!  Being fascinated by British history, the Bayeux Tapestry seems like a must see, since it's an account of the Norman Conquest.  


Off the bus, down the street, through the arch, and to the building that houses the tapestry.  

Okay, I have to pause here for a moment.  "Bayeux Tapestry"  It's a two word name that is doubly inaccurate.  It was created in England, not in Normandy.  And it's an embroidery, not a tapestry.  But it hung in Bayeux cathedral for many years, so the Bayeux part of the name is understandable.  A tapestry, is a woven piece.  This embroidery is a story told with thread on a piece of existing cloth.  


The guy outside was torching weeds with a little flamethrower, which seemed like a really effective way of dealing with weeds in rock, but maybe not such a good idea at home.  


We went inside, and I was crushed to discover that we couldn't take any pictures!  

You put on the little audio guide and move through 58 talking points, where the voice narrates what you're seeing.  You can explore it here:  Bayeux Tapestry.  

After viewing the tapestry, there's a gift shop, of course.  I bought a book about it, so I'd be able to show the kids what it looks like.  Then there was time to walk about picturesque Bayeux.  


I found a French cat.  I missed Grumman.  


The shop housed inside the poppy windows has poppy everything.  More like an upscale boutique than the usual tourist kitsch.  Silk scarves, not beer can cozies.  I bought a sweatshirt.  


This section of town just screams "quaint."  I found myself humming, "Belle" the song about a provincial town from Beauty & the Beast, which was set in France.


The Notre Dame cathedral of Bayeux.  

Here's a good video to give you a quick (under 4 minutes) look at the cathedral.  


It is thought that Odo (William's half brother) commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry to decorate the cathedral.  William made Odo the Bishop of Bayeux prior to the Conquest.  


It lived here for 700 years.  


Poppies are a big thing here.  


I'm kicking myself now for not going down into the crypt, just to see it.  But, this was the same day as both Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery, and I skipped it at the time.  


Still a little time before I have to board the bus.  Found a bench to watch the water.  This might be the Aure river, or it could be some smaller tributary.  


But it was pretty, either way.  


Back on the bus.  Another monument.  


And some more sprinkles


I'm told that's a Sherman.  


Back to the ship, and thus, the sun sets on the last night of my cruise.  

I'm a little embarrassed that it taking me twice as long to blog about my trip as the trip itself actually lasted!  And I still have a couple of other adventures since then to share with you.  We'll close the Europe trip with the next post, hopefully tomorrow!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

More Normandy

After Omaha Beach, it was back to the bus for a quick roll over to the American cemetery.  


The quiet, park like atmosphere and well manicured trees reminded me of the magician's island in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  


You can see the ocean from the cemetery.  This labeled the beaches and indicated which allied forces came ashore at what points.


You really can't convey the magnitude of row after row of crosses in every direction.  


Many of those boys were just like mine.  


Our guide shared a few noteworthy stories, including one of Theodore Roosevelt's sons who was moved to this cemetery (he perished in WW1) to be interred by his brother.  


Also, the grave of the captain whose story inspired the film Saving Private Ryan.  


Altogether another somber and reflective place to visit.  Much like Pearl Harbor.  


After our walk through the cemetery, we were herded back onto our bus.


I noticed several of these billboards with the Big Red One on them, so I'm assuming there's some sort of local historical memorial walk you can take that gives more information about other local points.




We call military equipment displayed outside "sprinkles."  As in, many bases have tanks, planes, large guns, etc. sprinkled about as d├ęcor.  Seems that's a thing in France, too.  


Okay, so here's another thing I learned:  Those lumps in the ocean out there?  Yeah, those are part of the harbor that we brought with us when we invaded.  Can you imagine that conversation?  "We can't land there; there's no harbor."  "No worries, mate, we'll make one and pack it along."  


We were let loose in another little town for lunch.  I spotted Big Red One stuff in the tourist shops.  I did buy a tiny little 1 pin.  


Me to tour guide: "Hey, what are the flags with the lions?"
Guide, indignant:  "Those aren't lions; those are leopards.  That's the flag of Normandy."
Odd that leopards have manes, but okay.  


Another picture I took for Jack.  The downside of traveling carry on only:  can't take any of this home on a plane.


More beach.  More flags.  European Union, Normandy, looks like #3 might be Canada, USA, France...


Decaying bits of harbor


If these rocks could talk, oh the tales they could tell.  


More sprinkles


I had fish & chips for lunch, then it was back to the bus and off to Bayeux!