Raft (or maybe swim) the rapids of the Rio Grande.
Visit a World Heritage church (on our to-do list for years). The subject of several paintings by Georgia O'Keefe, none of which I can seem to find online. And just a note that this photo wasn't touched up in any way. The sky really is that blue.
Our end of the summer camping trip was wonderful. We love camping. Love it. My husband and I were both happy and completely at peace. I am still a little blue that we had to come home! But I am incorporating our vacation into our lessons. We did this last year and it was a very personal and interactive way to approach nature studies. This year, we found and took photos of wildflowers, animals, and mushrooms and I had them printed up as business cards through Moo (yay, they finally got a US based site!) The cards are beautiful.
We will take each card and identify the kingdom, phylum etc.. And this year, we will also create our own watercolor postcards using the cards as inspiration.
I love looking at all those photos spread out like that. We encountered such amazing tiny treasures on our hikes. It's been a fruitful project too, especially since we visit the same spot year after year. While exploring the campsite one evening I said to my daughter, "Hmm, that's a funny looking aster." and she replied, "Mama, that's a thistle." In my defense, it was a tiny little closed up thistle!
I have a very rich science program planned for this year. We are using CHC's Behold and See, but that's the least of it. We will participate in as many Journey North projects as possible, specifically the Monarch Migration and Tulip Garden. It's prime time for monarchs here and many of our caterpillars have already hatched. My daughter and I have a weekly date at our Botanic Gardens to count the butterflies in the gardens there. It's fascinating to count and see the numbers spike through the migratory period.
So! I need some help identifying a bird. We found a group of three large birds sort of poking through the woods. I didn't get a great photograph because it was hailing and we were understandably in a bit of a hurry. They were larger than chickens and didn't seem particularly afraid of us.
Here's a little clip from a very creature filled evening including many bats, deer, beaver, and hummingbirds. There's really no reason to post it, except that I'm quite proud of my ability to upload a video clip to my computer (yes, I'm sure you've been able to do it for years)
..with ferns and mosses and wildflowers and a cold mountain stream.
I spent my evenings here....
... laughing with my husband and my children, my parents, my brother, his wife and their 20 month old daughter.
And I could actually wear all my hand knits because it was freezing cold. My dad said it was 28 degrees on our last night and we were in a tent. Hooray for wool!
We rafted down the Rio Grande, our first time as a family (my baby did so well y'all!). And, like Margaret, we star gazed.
List o' things that need to be tended to...
The pillows on my couch are decidedly summery.
I need to order fall bulbs and bluebonnet seeds for spring.
I need to start our fall vegetable garden.
Switch out seasonal books
I have not made panzanella this summer. This is a problem.
Tomorrow we begin the autumn phase of our school year meaning outside lessons and a slightly more intense schedule. I'm both intimidated and excited about this. I'm armed with big plans and new printer cartridges.
When my brother first told me his wedding would be in southern California I thought, "Yes we'll be there. (That's where Lissa lives!)". Right away I planned on meeting all the southern California bloggers I could. This was unlikely and there are many I missed, but Lissa made it a bit easier on me by hosting a small get together the morning we landed. It is hard to sum up the morning. I felt rather silly explaining to family what I was doing there, "Well there's this thing called a blog and I write a bunch of nonsense there and I met these people and they are my friends but I've never really met them..." .
I will say this: Everything you think about these ladies from their blogs is absolutely true. Lissa was a delight, full of joy and kindness, with the most incredible bookshelves and darling children. Kristen is every bit as lovely as her photos and as genuinely sweet as she appears on her site. And Erica was sincere and gracious - which I think I said yesterday, but it's just the perfect word for her. We had so much fun.
And the children! I wish anyone who doubts how well homeschooled children socialize could have been there. The children connected instantly, with little concern as to age or familiarity. I didn't see my two for hours. The older girls were helpful and capable in caring for the younger set - and helping the mothers as well.
I'm so very grateful that I had the opportunity to meet these incredible ladies and their children.
We didn't need Disneyland or Sea World. We didn't make it to the San Diego Zoo. We just barely made it to the beach. It rained every single day, almost all day, while we were there, but there was enough light and joy coming each other to make it one of the best vacations.
It will come as no surprise to long time readers that I love, really love, my brothers and sisters. And with two brothers in the Navy and sisters living far away, a gathering including all of the original six is a rare occurrence. The weekend passed in a blur of laughter, far too much completely sober dancing and far, far too much video and photographic evidence of said dancing.
And with this wedding, we added another sister to our family and in turn infinitely more.
I did get about ten minutes on the beach thanks to my incredibly generous husband who had to deal with me saying, "Honey, I don't know what the plans are for today, we just need to roll with it." every single day. He made sure I did all the things I really wanted to do including meeting a few new-old friends (and Erica who is one of the kindest and most gracious ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting). Thank you all for the wonderful afternoon friends! Pictures later if I can get caught up on everything else.
My "new things" last week:
Visit California, make a bridal bouquet, laugh so hard I gave myself a headache, learn to say "yes" in Laotian, take my children to the ocean and many other things as well.
Too dizzy and tired to proofread, but that's not new at all.
I remember when my son was an infant. Like many others, his sleep schedule was a mess. In hindsight, his allergies were responsible but we didn't know that. Desperate for an answer, I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". It recommended taking the baby outside in the morning to help set their rhythm or something. I can't remember the details, but it worked beautifully. I still try to do this every day when the weather is nice.
What kept my spirits up, as I was tipping piles of ice off of our tent top, was that we were still together and we were experiencing something real. Not one single time did my children complain about the lack of television, even on the 11 hour drive. They spent most of their time blissfully throwing stones into the stream by our campsite. And I'm not going to get all preachy and philosophical, because I love my television. I don't have the opportunity to watch it much, but I love it. But we balance it. And every minute we spend outdoors feels wholly good to me.
The stream running through the woods alongside the hiking trail, early in the morning.
This is one of those funny photos that didn't turn out like I expected, but in the end, is one of my favorites.
And then he went hop-hop over to a big pink clover that was buzzing with bees. All day long he ate big pink clover.
-Margaret Wise Brown, Bunny's Noisy Book
We return to this spot every year because it's beautiful and because it's cool. The nights are chilly enough to require some serious layering of fleece for the children. The climate produces some of the largest flowers that I have encountered, with highly saturated colors. This is a big part of the attraction for me. I simply cannot help myself but dart off into the woods when I see some flash of color. The lure of azure-hued beauties along the roadside is too strong to resist and I frequently implore my husband to pull over so I can go visiting.
The ferns, mosses, and mushrooms put on a lovely show as well this year, after abundant (tell me about it) summer rains.
At the beginning of every hike my husband finds me a tiny piece of moss. It's such a simple little gift and he knows I delight in it for a few brief moments before returning it to it's spot at the base of a tree.
We found these gorgeous berries growing alongside a stream on one of our hikes.
And the magpie - he just watches. For he's not interested in August. He's hungry.
All the children wore red-and-white spotted caps. If strangers came into the forest, the curled up, still as stone, for all the world like four red-and-white spotted mushrooms.
Elsa Beskow - Children of the Forest (one of our very most favorite books)
We're back from a few days of unplugging in the mountains. It rainedit hailedit hailed twice, hardin our tent It was as breathtakingly beautiful as it has ever been. And it's early still, but I'm already fondly remembering the four of us, cozy in our tent listening to the thunder echo through the mountain tops. Expect to be harassed with photos for, at bare minimum, a solid week.
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