Thursday, April 29, 2010

CA History Adventures, Part 1

Our 4th grade history trip was a fun, memorable experience!
I love exploring "hands-on," in the field!
Our first stop was to see the state redwood trees.
We called for conditions, and discovered it had snowed 8 inches that morning!
In mid April??!!
While we didn't get to walk the trail, it was a great surprise...
a beautiful wonderland.

Arnold, CA
Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Josh had never actually been in "real" snow before!

It was fun to see him take it all in!

Columbia, CA
Columbia State Historic Park

The next morning we drove up to an 1800's town called Columbia.
It wish I could have taken outdoor shots, but it was pouring rain!

We spent the morning learning what is was like to attend school
back in the 1800's in a mining town!

We also visited a museum and the kids got to dip their own candles.

The kids were learning brick patterns.
Columbia buildings were once wood, but there were horrible fires
that resulted in rebuilding, using brick and other more fire resilient materials.

Murphys, CA

Mercer Caverns

Next, we explored Mercer Caverns, beautiful cave formations
which extend 16 stories below the surface of the land.
Walter J. Mercer bought this land for $1 after discovering the cave,
and made his "fortune" buy charging pinches of gold dust for tours.

This formation was named "The Twins" because it looks like crouching children.
This is the only place in the cave we were allowed to touch,
because the oils in your hands hinder the calcium formations.

When you are underground for an hour, you go cave crazy!

Our tour guide, Megan (behind Josh),
broke open geodes for us.

Angels Camp, CA

We stayed at this resort in Angels Camp, which is known for Mark Twain's
"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
We read the story one night and did the voices and everything!!
Don't fill a frog full of quail shot!

The creek bed behind our room.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Gold Miner Camp

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Road Trip Revelations

I have a love/hate relationship with road trips! I love the closeness they foster and all the fun memories that make for great "inside jokes"... and yet they are good at bringing out the quirkiest parts of us, along with all our weak spots, too.

Patrick and I generally have a rhythm when we travel, now. We have developed routines over time, and we generally know what we can tolerate, when we need to push through, and when we need to just take it easy and enjoy the scenery. But Patrick wasn't there...

So I had the opportunity to learn lots of interesting things about myself on the 4th grade road trip. For instance...

  • Discovery #1: When I'm playing "leader" I have an insane obsession with being on time. This is so bizarre, since I am normally 5-10 minutes late everywhere I go. All of a sudden, I transformed into Officer Penelope Punctual, and it was a good thing I didn't have a whistle! A really good thing!!

  • Discovery #2: I discovered that when I have Daphne (my GPS) talking to me on my left, and my friend navigating by map on my right, I get D.A.C.S., or Driver Anxiety and Confusion Syndrome. This affliction results in missed turns, making sudden exits, and a general brain fog. It is slightly dangerous to drive if you are afflicted with D.A.C.S., especially of you are prone to getting lost anyway. Maybe I should have let said friend drive, but then I would have had to read the map, which is scarier than having D.A.C.S.

  • Discovery #3: Trying to start a 6-7 hour drive at 4pm, after you have not slept the previous night due to freezing conditions in a very small tent can result in Multiple Personality Disorder. I started off as Officer Punctual, turned into Mean Molly, and then took some Advil for my headache that turned me into Relaxed Rita. Along the long stretches of highway, I transformed once again... this time into Philosophical Phoebe. And around midnight, I ended the trip as Kooky Katie, laughing while singing camp songs like "Duh Moose, Duh Mooo-ooose!" I heartily apologize to friend in Discovery #2.... I really wasn't trying to be Sybil.

I certainly discovered more of my strengths and limitations! Had I been born in the 1800's, I would have made a lousy pioneer woman! I would also come in last on the Amazing Race, but I already knew that about myself!

Aside from discovering more of my own quirks and shortcomings, we did have a fantastic 4th grade adventure. I will post pictures and stories this week!

Have you discovered anything interesting about yourself lately?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Random Thoughts

First off, here's some cuteness on a Monday morning!
Oh, it just makes me want to kiss their chunky little cheeks!

I am a little more chunky, too. I gained 2 pounds last week. I'm not sure, but it might have something to do with the Sees' candy we bought on the way home from church last week. The chocolate goodness that keeps on giving. Oi! But oh, how the truffles melt in your mouth.

This week I'm taking my son, 6 other kids and 3 other chaperones on a 4th grade history/science extravanganza. We're going to see the Calaveras Big Trees, Angels Camp, participate in a live history program and candle-making in Columbia, explore caves in Murphys, and do all the Gold Rush fun in Coloma. I'm sooooo excited! This kind of stuff was always my favorite thing about teaching! It's supposed to rain, though, so please pray for us!! We are supposed to be in tents part of the time! I'll post pics when we return.
Hi Hucka Haw!
I'm not sure what this means, but our Gold Rush pen pal teacher used it as a closing in his letter! Mr. Lee, if you are reading... I'm going to need a 49er translation!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough

Many, many years ago, Patrick and I were preparing for marriage by going through premarital counseling sessions. We each had a "Before You Say I Do" workbook. The book was mauve and it had a photo of an 80's couple filtered through a soft lens. Every week we would get homework to do separately in this workbook, and then we would share our answers at the session.

One week, our assignment consisted of a few pages of "What would you do if..." For instance, what would you do if you lost your job? What would you do if a family member died? What would you do if you couldn't have children?

These were serious life questions. Serious! I devoted a great deal of time thinking about my reaction and how I would respond and what steps we might take as a married couple together. I had a short paragraph answering every single one... partly because I was taking it so seriously, and partly because I can be an over-achiever. I was going to be prepared for this marriage thing!

The time came to share our homework with the counselor. I glanced over at Patrick's workbook. He had one short sentence to answer each question. It appeared to be the same sentence. I was slightly furious. He hadn't taken it seriously at all, I thought. We are going to have a horrible marriage, I lamented.

"Pray, and know that God is sovereign."

That's it? How can that be it? That is much too simple. That is like answering "Jesus" at Sunday School.

And yet through all the ups and downs we've had over the past 16 years, that has always been the best answer.

You were right, honey! R-I-G-H-T! (And that's another good piece of marriage advice.)

What's the best piece of marriage advice you've ever heard?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Can You Hear Him?

He spoke the world into existence.

His creation speaks of his majesty, beauty, & power.

He spoke to Adam & Eve, Abraham, & Moses.

The prophets of old heard his voice and relayed His messages.

He sent Gabriel to speak to Mary.

His Word became flesh, and He spoke through His Son, Jesus.

Volumes of love and redemption were spoken through His death and resurrection.

"His" story was cannonized and bound in leather.

In the past, I have heard people say that He has spoken,

...and that He doesn't speak today.

But I just can't believe that.

Because I hear the trees and flowers declaring His glory.

I feel His Word speaking to me in ways it didn't 10 years ago.
The voice of His Spirit convicts my heart.

The voices of His children speak into my life, if I bend my ear to listen.

When I pray, I expect Him to answer...

It may not be audible.

It may be "yes," "no," or even "wait."

But I know that He will answer me...

Because I am His.

He is my Good Shepherd, and I listen for His voice.

Where do you hear His voice?

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