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, November 13, 2023


I'm coming to terms with the reality that I'll probably never blog the rest of our summer road trip.  As it's November.  [eye roll]  But I can at least share the very end of it.  After heading down California along the coast, we came home inland, and visited different things on the way home.  Our last stop was Yosemite.  

I'm embarrassed to say we'd never been before.  It's only a few hours from us.  

Bridal Veil Falls

Grammy and the girls wandered off for a bit.  I looked up from checking out a charred stump, and didn't know where they'd gone.  So I stayed put, knowing they'd come back to Matilda minivan at some point.  Grammy took this lakeside photo.

Next time we'll plan better.  But I'm usually a "roll with it" kinda gal, so that's what we did.  Lunch was a random assortment of things from one of the stores in the park.  Obviously not the most balanced or economical choice, but it kept us going.  

A covered bridge

Okay, this one is outside the park.  The bear was outside a restaurant we ate at the night before Yosemite, in Oakhurst.

Our first get out and stretch your legs and experience some nature stop inside the park.

There was, of course, a raging fire when we were there, so the air quality was not great.


Matilda was quite a trooper through the whole 11 days.  

Grammy & the girls coming back from their lakeside adventure.

Hungry wildlife

Coyote crossing

I'm really glad travel has come a long way since these vehicles.

They're quaint and all, but I like my a/c in the summertime.  

The night after Yosemite, we stayed in a cabin on the other (homeward) side of the park.  

They hand out s'mores kits every night.

Katie and Hannah in the cabin

Breakfast the next morning

We stopped in a little ghost town on the way home.

There were lots of rocks, so I thought of Brianna, who has an online rock shop.

Grammy hopped out to make friends with a flock of pea hens.  We saw peacocks, too, but I don't seem to have a picture of those.

Upon arrival at home.  We covered almost 1900 miles in 11 days, and saw 3 missions, 2 traveling exhibits, a botanical garden, 4 museums, a zoo, 2 ghost towns, 2 national parks, an art gallery, and 4 other major attractions (Hearst Castle, Winchester Mystery House, Santa Cruz Boardwalk, and La Brea Tar Pits).  Plus the little unplanned things, like the elephant seals on the beach, and license plates from 49 different places.  

It was a good trip.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Whizzing along from September to October

We've acclimated to the school year routine.  We're weathering the cooler temperatures.  The nights are getting dark earlier.  All signs that winter (my least favorite season) is on it's way.  

I appreciated this reminder not to let the turkeys get me down.  

Terrible dark pictures of Katie roller skating at a birthday party.  

I'm thrilled she's so capable.  I don't roller skate, so it's awe inspiring to me.  

I'm reading my 5th/6th graders The Horse and His Boy this year.  (We did Magician's Nephew last year.)  I decided to get the Narnia map I'd grown up with, but I was disappointed in the quality of this version.  It's not a printed paper poster like the one I had as a kid.  It's photo paper, and not great print quality.  It feels like someone took a cell phone photo of the real map and printed that.  

Katie's flag football season is drawing to a close.  They won one game this year.  

Took the cats in for their shots.  It's nobody's favorite.  I ended up bleeding and Grumman and Fiona gave me the side eye for the rest of the day.  

I stopped at a local Little Free Library to swap some books, and it was full of baby frogs!

It's been a while since I've been up close & personal with amphibians.  

We read a book about the changing season and watercolored autumn leaves on diffusing paper.  

I like that I could use different leaf shapes for different classes, so I could see at a glance which dry leaves belonged in which stack.  The following week, we mounted the leaves on construction paper and wrote Give Thanks in paint marker for a fall decoration.  I didn't get any pictures of the finished projects, though.  

I'm pretty sure there's a picture of Annaliese very similar to this somewhere.  Just purple softball uniforms instead of blue flag football ones.  Katie is #2.  

Speaking of Katie, she had a birthday!

My baby is 13.

At the pumpkin patch for evening church one night.  

This story isn't finished yet.  I introduced my 2nd graders to Kandinsky, and we're working on a Kandinsky inspired project.  

Here's the example I made them.  Fingers crossed they can create something similar.  

My eclipse supplies.  I sat outside on the porch swing for the whole thing.  The kids popped in and out of the house.  

We were in the 80% band of the map.  We did have some clouds, but they were moving quickly, so we got some good views.  

No, Grumman did not look at the sun.  

Is it me, or does the eclipse look like the French hood Anne Boleyn wore?  Not that I'm Tudor obsessed or anything.

Fiona IS autumn decor.  

She's also a fairly good seat warmer.  

Jack's boss needed an aerial shot of his business for the county.  So Jack and I flew the drone one morning.  (Okay, Jack flew the drone while I hovered nearby telling him not to crash, not to go over the road, not to go too high, and other "helpful" things.)  

Tell me you've been flying a drone without telling me you've been flying a drone.  I'm just glad he had access to the roof it came down on.  

Still weird.  

Grumman pulls random things out of the clean laundry and drags them upstairs to me.  He was really enjoying this pair of boxers.  

Fiona would much rather hold down my latest projects in the sewing room.  

Speaking of projects, this was a fun one.  Our city was holding a drive through donation event for the food bank.  Instead of going through the pantry and pulling out random garbanzo beans and such, we made birthday cake kits.  A couple 4 packs of disposable covered casserole pans, cake mix, frosting, candles, extra packs of unopened napkins from birthdays gone by.  I printed coloring pages, and we put a colored page in the bottom of each one, hoping to brighten the recipients' day.  

My step mom sent us an advent calendar.  I put it away so I wouldn't peek at it.  Now to remember 1) to pull it out on the right day, and 2) where "away" is when the time comes.

The school choir performed in church.  I was impressed.  The accompanist lost her guitar strap in the middle of the song, and the kids kept right on singing while she seated herself and began playing again.  

I've found some odd things in the washer over the years.  But this was my first pair of scissors.  Instead of, "WHO PUT SCISSORS IN THE LAUNDRY?!?!" which would have elicited panic and lies, I left a note on the white board, and the guilty party laughed and indicated they'd seen it.  

This year's school pictures, brought to you by the color orange.  Not sure why they're using the Trump filter on everybody, but several of the moms were like, "This barely looks like my kid.  They're supposed to be blonde, not redheaded."  

Unlike the cake kits, this was an idea that was better in my head.  I had no idea how long caramel takes to melt, and by the time it finally did, the kids had lost interest and wandered off.  The results weren't really worth the trouble, so we won't be doing this one again.  

Stay tuned for visits from the adult kids.  Maybe if I get really inspired I'll even go back and share the highlights of the rest of our road trip.  It really was quite the adventure.