Monday, September 28, 2009

I Heart Faces: Blue

As you can see, I'm back in the blogging saddle again after taking a week off to recover from Road Trip 09. So to celebrate, I wanted to join in today's I Heart Faces Challenge. This week is all about blue; which happens to be my favorite color. I chose this photo not so much for it's technical perfection (which is non-existent) as for Sofi's expression-- which is one I expect I'll be seeing more and more of as we approach the teen years. And of course, the beautiful blue sky puts it nicely in this week's category :)

I tried to upload to Photobucket, as I usually do, but something's up with Firefox and it won't let me.... Hmmm. So that explains the grainy quality-- Blogger Photo uploads stuff all weird.

Don't forget to click on the picture to see it full-size!

Now go check out all the other blue faces this week :)

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In case you were wondering what the kids did in the van the whole time...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

*happy sigh*

We've had a very intense, but quite lovely weekend. I have to say, there are no friends like old friends. Having Hos and Omi here for three days was so.... refreshing. All the shared memories, the old jokes instantly remembered and the comfortable conversation-- so real and relaxed after nearly two decades of fighting and making it up. No need to worry about offending, this friendship fits like an old pairs of jeans.

Thanks for coming, guys! It was a blast!!

P.S. More pictures of the weekend and of Susi's new house to come! I'm back, baby!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Margaret Sanger is turning over in her grave right now...

Overheard today during play....

"Judah, you can be the prince and I'll be the princess. Here's your hat and your sword."

"Do pinces fight ba' guys wiv dere swords??"

"Yes, they do."

"I'n a pince!"

"Yes, and I'm the princess"

"Sofi, do pinCESess fight da ba' guys wiv a sword, TOO?"

"No, princesses just sit at home in their pretty dresses and weep for their princes."

J has always said I'm the worst male chauvinist he's ever seen. I reckon it's rubbing off on the kids now...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hi there

As I'm sure you've gathered by now, we are home again, safe and sound. Praise the Lord! He watched over us and we didn't have so much as a flat tire the entire 3000 miles.

My family's been here off and on the two days we've been home, I start teaching again tomorrow, co-op is Wednesday, dinner with friends on Thursday night (I think?), etc. I'm gonna take this week pretty much off with the whole blogging thing-- just to get back into our routine a bit. I may get around to posting some pictures, but in general I'll just see y'all next week! Thanks so much all of you for joining in our adventures of the last two weeks. It was so much fun to get on here and see all the comments and get a few emails. I love it!

Till then,

Friday, September 18, 2009

Late Night Thoughts

I have to say, despite complaints and groans and moans you may have read from my Facebook status in the last few days, I have really enjoyed this trip. I have enjoyed spending time with the kids (mine and my niece) and my sister. I've enjoyed seeing new places and learning more about how the rest of our country looks and lives. I found out that Montana has more mountains than people, Wyoming has lots of flies (we're bringing some home with us in the van!) and that there are oil wells still pumping away all across the midwest! Seriously, I though that was all in Texas. Who knew? I also got a better picture of just how much corn it takes to run this place-- and it's all in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. And I think perhaps we drove past every stalk...

I've got all kinds of new experiences to add to my repertoire. I can now say that I have ridden a steamboat on The Big Muddy (I can call it that 'cause we're now on a first name basis), been legitimately scared of a bear encounter in the dark on the way to the bathroom and seen a Bald Eagle soar through the air over a mountain stream. Never to be forgotten, that. I have also backed up a trailer hitched to a mini-van (mom award for me too!) and peed in a bucket. A lot.

I am so grateful to the Lord for protecting us and guiding us and giving us good weather and (fairly) good health. I think I can safely say that I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It has been quite an adventure and as we begin our final day of driving tomorrow morning, bright and early, I am glad to be going home to my beloved, but also just a wee bit sad to be done a'wandering. I find the Took and the Baggins warring within me...

But the gentle waves of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the sweet ice tea, the biscuits, the Indian summers, the warm southern accents, and even the soft humidity of the South in September is wrapping a warm blanket of familiarity around me and as I settle into my last hotel bed (for now, although I've earned enough Expedia points to get $10 off my next reservation... J, honey??) my thoughts turn fondly to Shenandoah and my sweet, shabby cottage in Virginia, where my lover waits for me...

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea:
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar,
Eyes... Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

Brought to you three days later by crappy hotel internet....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Omaha, Nebraska

Today we went to the Zoo! Oh. My. Word. This zoo puts the one in our Nation's Capitol (the CAPITOL, people) to SHAME (SHAME!). It's super awesome. You should all go. I mean it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sioux FALLS, SOUTH Dakota (allrightalready, I get it...I goofed)

Here's our video blog for the day, but there will be a bonus post! At some point... We went to Sioux Falls and got some awesome pics of the kids playing on the rocks and in the water. I just have to get them off Susi's camera, so.... At some point, there will be extra pictures....

Also for your viewing pleasure, our angelic children :)


Still catching up

This Krappy KOA "wi-fi" is getting on my nerves, but today we finally have enough service for me to post some videos of the last few days. Although I have to do this while crouching on a log in the only spot that seems to give me three bars of whateveryoucallit. Anyways. Here's our Missoula campfire experience, for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photo Dump: Spokane to Missoula

Apparently Montana and Washington got all the mountains, leaving Idaho with...ho-hum:


This is my new favorite spot on earth: Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho



There were better mountains in western Montana, but somehow I didn't get any good pics of them...


Our Kabin (seriously, I feel like a fool spelling it that way...):


Our first sunset in the land of the Endless Sky (or something like that)


Makin' s'mores!



Photo Dump: Seattle to Spokane

I finally have some dependable internet, so I'm catching y'all up in the photo department. Here's a sample of what we saw on our way through Washington State.







Saturday, September 12, 2009

Doing my public service duty, for the good of all Kampers

Dear KOA Kampground Proprietors,

The putting together of two single bunk "mattresses" into a lopsided frame does not a "double bed" make. The whole one-side-four-inches-lower-than-the-other thing is a dead give-away. For your information, this is not the most comfortable way for an adult to sleep. Unless perhaps that adult is less than five feet tall. I am 5 feet, 8 inches. I do not appreciate the dwarfish ambiance.

Also, the whole "K" thing? Is stupid.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Return from the Wilderness: Sheridan, Wyoming

I'm not sure if I have enough bandwidth here at KOA Sheridan, Wyoming to upload my videos and pictures, and moths keep flying into my screen-- which is very distracting-- but I did want to take a moment and update y'all on our trip. Trust me, you haven't missed anything. :P Here are a few highlights of the last three days in bullet form:

  • Saw a bald eagle
  • Fell in love with Lake Cor d' Alene
  • Judah dumped a pot of ketchup on his lovey blanket
  • Washed out a blanket that looked like it had wrapped a murdered corpse in the public restroom on I90
  • Navigational Device died five times, causing us to miss countless turns and involving lots of creative swearing
  • Saw some antelope
  • Saw some bison
  • Arrived at KOA Yellowstone at 9:00 pm to be informed that "the bears are out, lock up your food"
  • Lots of peeing in a bucket to avoid meeting bears in the dark on the way to the bathroom
  • Judah dumped my caramel mocha on his sweatshirt
  • Took first shower in 72 hours. Never felt so good!
  • Did NOT see Old Faithful
  • More antelope
  • Lots of mountains. Everywhere.
  • Finally getting quite tired of beautiful scenery. Would trade it in cheerfully for hot bath and accessible bathrooms.
  • Arrived at Sheridan KOA in time to discover that Violet has diarrhea and Sofi has a wicked cough.
  • Judah is still kicking the edges of his peapod at 9:00 om.

My dearest love, J,

Next time I think up a hair-brained scheme like this, remind me how much I HATE camping!

your distracted and sleep-deprived wife

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Warning: Cliches Ahead!

So. Our first day on the road. It was Amazing. We drove through the Cascade Mountains and I have to say, all the cliches about the grandeur and majesty of that mountain range are completely true. And this is coming from someone who's lived for eight years in Appalachia, so I'm no stranger to major mountain ranges of the US. But still. These mountains are in a class all they're own. I have tons of pictures from the passenger side window, but will have to wait to upload them in the morning, since my stupid laptop is sloooooow and I need to go to bed RIGHT NOW.

In other news, we tried to name the van today. I think any vehicle that drives from Seattle to Virginia needs to be named. It's a well-earned badge of honor. Like, the purple heart of vehicular commendations. But. Although her sensible husband named his truck, Chuck (because, you know, Chuck the Truck, what else could you call it??), Susi insists on calling the van "The Silver Surfer". I was all, "But it's a mini-van", and she was all, "But it's silver and cool and all sleek and stuff...", and I said "But it's a Mini Van!", and she said "But it's MY mini van", and really, what can you say to that?

But I must maintain some journalistic integrity here on this blog, I will refer to the vehicle as (air quotes) The Silver Surfer (air quotes).

So now you're all up to date. See yous guys in the morning!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Eagle has landed!

Well, we're here. But I'm too jet-lagged to write much of anything, so I'll leave you with this little tidbit from yesterday morning as we were leaving home :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Overheard at breakfast, or: "The wonder is that I'm as sane as I am!"

Judah: "I have muffins!"

Me: "Aren't you a lucky boy"

Judah: "Yes! I'm a doggy!"

Me: "Haha, he remembers Lucky is a dog"

Sofi turns her profile to the lighted window and gives a sobbing sigh, full of despair and anguish;
Sofi: "I miss Lucky. I want him back!"

Me, sarcastically: "I want a million dollars"

Judah: "I don't want a balloon"

Sofi: "Yes, you do"

Judah: "No I don't"

(lather, rinse, repeat)

Sofi, diplomatically: "We both want a balloon-- you want a balloon, and I want a balloon"

Judah: "I have pink, Sofi, and you have byoooo. Whaso funny, Sofi? Why you yaffin'?"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I bet you had no idea how cheap I really am, did you?

Sarah, at Ordinary Days, asked some questions of her home-schooling readers recently and one in particular caught my eye. One of the things she worried about, before beginning to home school her boys, was being able to afford curriculum. So I thought I'd do a post detailing our curriculum this year and give you a taste of just how cheap it can be to home school, if you know where to look.

As a caveat, let me say that you certainly can spend a bundle on curriculum if you are determined to choose one publisher and buy all their stuff brand-new and in every subject. I refuse to conform to normalcy in that manner and insist on cherry-picking my way through the wilds of home school publishing and buying everything possible second-hand or begging, borrowing or stealing (not really, at least I haven't resorted to that yet) it from friends, relatives and neighbors.

Sofi is in second grade, mostly, this year. I say "mostly", because in a few subjects she's doing third grade material, or somewhere in between second and third, and she's reading at a sixth grade level. I know. :) That's my girl!

So here are the subjects she's studying, the curriculum for each, the price we paid and the place we bought/found it:

Math: Saxon (grade 3) $33 Ebay (includes Teacher's edition, workbook and materials)
History: The Story of the World (Modern Times) $33 Amazon (include textbook and workbook.
Latin: Prima Latina $14 Amazon
English: Reading through the Newberry list-- paperbacks at $2.50/ea from GV Bookfair. We've bought five so far. Pretty sure that will last us all semester.
Grammer: Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (grade 2) $10 Ebay (bought it last year-- includes 1st and 2nd grade in the same textbook)
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears (grade 2) $2.75 Ebay
Science: just doing the co-op class this semester
Geography: Geography Songs (world geography) $9 Amazon (mp3 download)

Grand Total: $114.25

Not bad for an entire year of school! Beats private school, that's for sure :) And the majority of the curriculum listed above is non-consumable, which means we'll be using it for Judah, too, when the time comes.

I'd love to see lists from you other home school moms to compare, and also get a peek at what's on all y'all's school bookshelves this year!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tot Talk Tuesday: Judahisms

Dorritos: "Porrreeeboes??"

Tomatoes and potatoes are both: "Puhmadooooes??"

Please may I have....?: "Puhaaaa dat?"

Granola (which he like on his "yoooogit?"): "Gwoyiyah?"

And yes, he really does talk in perpetual question marks, and in an incredibly high squeaky voice. Which will embarrass him in a few years :)

Check out everyone else's cute little ones at The Monkey and Me!