A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
Did you know that there are Jr. Ranger programs at the National Mall in Washington D.C.? Well, I didn't...until today! We were walking downtown to the Main State building (to get new passport photos and update Devin's stuff) and we walked past the Lincoln Memorial. As we were nearing the monument, we noticed a small ranger station (kiosk-esque style) and noticed that it said it was the Department of National Memorials and Parks... Hmmmm... So, we went to the information person and Voila! we are the proud owners of three Jr Ranger booklets! Luckily, we still have almost 2 weeks left here, so we can do them at our leisure and learn a TON about the monuments at the National Mall! Super cool! This will fit perfectly into the mini unit we're doing while we're here about the founding fathers/presidents/United States! Josh is Uber excited to add another badge to the hat (just wait until I get his Jr Ranger post up! What a hat he has!)--Andrew and Claire...not so much. But, they're going to learn things anyway. The Jr Rangers tend to have a lot of writing in them, and while I think it's important for the littles to do some writing, I think over-doing it is not a good idea. So I ask them questions or tell them cool stuff and they answer everything orally and I write it down. That works for us and they retain it better and are having a blast, so I have no problem with it. We learned all kinds of things about the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial today. The best thing about all of these Jr Ranger programs is that we learn more about the parks/memorials than we would otherwise. We seek out the rangers and ask them all sorts of questions and the kids are genuinely interested. We go on hikes that we wouldn't otherwise do. We look at memorials more thoroughly and with a more observant eye. It is such a great program. Everyone should do it. Seriously.
We didn't finish our Jr Ranger today, though. We got to Main State, the kids and I got our photos taken, then Devin had to wait to get his badge. We waited...and we waited...and we waited...and an hour and 40 minutes later he was done. Man, it was hard to keep 4 energetic kids occupied in a hallway for that long. We survived...barely. Then we had to run (literally) to the car as our time for parking was almost up! The kids were troopers and ran right along with us (well, Peter and Andrew were in the stroller and Devin pushed them. They whooped and yelled about how fun it was to go so fast! Ha!) and we made it just in the nick of time! Whew! It was HOT, and while we were hoping to float around and see some more things and find some cool D.C. t-shirts (always important when we're here to update the cheap off-the-street-vendor-touristy t-shirt), we just decided to sit in the A/C and go home with a quick side trip to Target to get some ice cream! Good times.
On another note: I love watching the Olympics. I can't help tearing up a bit as I watch cyclists tearing down the road, or synchronized divers execute something I couldn't even dream of doing. It's inspiring, even with all it's craziness and hype and politics. The people who compete are amazing and ALL of them deserve our awe. They're all Gold Medalists in my book.
Well, here we are in lovely downtown Falls Church, VA. It's always a cozy place to come back to, as we've lived here a few times. Our trip here was uneventful, really, which is good and bad. Good, because we didn't have to stress too much about anything. Bad, because there's not much to blog about when your trip runs smoothly!! Ha! It DID take us quite a long time to get our bags from the baggage claim (we went to the wrong one...I heard the announcement that the baggage claim was changed, but Devin didn't, and I couldn't get his attention without leaving the kids and the bags alone, so I just waited until he got tired of searching for the non-existent bags...once I told him where they were, we found them in minutes...but the entire process took over an hour), and once we got our bags and jumped on the shuttle to the rental car place, they told us that they didn't have the car we had requested (why has this happened to us so much lately? We even pre-paid, people!) so Dev spent another hour with the lady trying to decide which car we should take instead! This took a lot of ingenuity on my part to keep my poor cabin-crazy kids somewhat still AGAIN so they didn't start running all over the parking lot and smashing cars while playing tag. We sang '10 in the Bed' and 'The Ants Go Marching...' a few times, with some very creative actions by me (I bounced them on my legs like a horsey ride and threw them off--they thought it was funny--and I got a workout), and managed to get through the hour of waiting. Off we went in our HUGE Ford Expedition to find some food. We ended up at the kids' favorite buffet, ate until we were all so stuffed we could hardly move, then found our apartment and dragged ourselves inside (it was 10pm by this time). The kids were in bed by 11, but then we remembered that it was Saturday night and we had NO food! So, Devin left to see if he could find a grocery store open. He did, and managed to find food, but didn't get home until after 1am! Gah! So, we were REALLY tired...and luckily, church wasn't until 1pm the next day. Whew. But, we're getting better now.
Some of the things that I really love about this place is the fact that I can walk out of the building and there's a park or a pool that I can choose from to take my kids; there are activities all the time; the people are really friendly... I love starting up conversations with others around me and finding out about all the different places people have been and where they're going! It's just so cool to live in one spot and know that all the people who are staying there are part of the same job and travel all over and have the some of the same experiences! We can chat about traveling with kids (I remember thinking that the plane ride from D.C. to Utah was a horrendously long time...and now, it's my favorite because it's SO short!), movers at different locations, the hardships of moving often and to different cultures, the amazing things you can find in other lands...it's just so fun! I love the diversity!
The kids and I have managed to swim every day and play at the park every afternoon. We write stories and read stories and listen to music and eat food... We went to a park and played with friends for a special Pioneer Day activity. We are now very laid back and enjoying some quiet time so we can hopefully do some recuperating from our very active and exciting vacation. We have only 2 more weeks left in the states. While I DO have some fun field trips and outings in the works, our trip is really winding down.
Here is a cute story: The other night, while I was reading to Andrew and Claire, I could hear Josh reading out loud in his room, too. I thought he was reading out loud to help Peter go to sleep. When I finished reading to the other two, I went in to Josh to see how he was doing. I noticed Peter was sleeping, so I told Josh that he didn't have to read out loud anymore. He looked at me and smiled and said, "I'm reading to my bear." That melted my heart! What a sweet boy! He had his big blue bear cuddled up to him, and he was reading to him! How sweet is that? I love my kids. :)
It's a lovely morning here in Rexburg, Idaho. I'm sitting outside in the backyard in a camp chair, watching the packers pack up all our 'new' belongings to ship to Jordan. I was thinking about how many times I've sat and watched packers pack my stuff in the past 5 years, and while it's only been 6 times, it sure feels like this is ALL I ever do! :) I have no complaints, really, though. I'd MUCH rather sit and watch than have to do all the packing myself. The organizing and planning is hard enough for me. I think next time, I'll just leave all my belongings in Jordan, and order all my new stuff online and just ship it to our next post. Hmmm...that idea has some merit... It sure is fun, though, to watch all the things be packed up: stuffed animals, school supplies, bicycles...STUFF... We'll see it all on the other side and probably wonder why in the world we bought all that STUFF!
A few days after the 4th, we enjoyed our own 'homegrown' fireworks! The kids loved it and raved and raved over how cool it was! I think they're just starved for fireworks! Ha! :) We've really never had a lot of fireworks around us. I remember in Guatemala they were CRAZY about fireworks and when a holiday would come around where fireworks were appropriate, they'd be blasting them off for weeks beforehand and then it was like a warzone during! Ha! I wonder if Jordan does fireworks? Hmmm...
Another fun happening the same time was my high school Band reunion! It was super fun to see so many people that I went to high school with--especially all my band nerd friends! :) We are all OLD and have SO MANY KIDS!! Ha! It was great! :)
Now here we are in Rexburg! The warm days with cool nights; the family dinners in the back yard (hooray for dutch oven--Finally!); watching movies on the big screen; running laps around the park...
One of my favorite times of the year in Rexburg, though, is the 4th of July! Independence Day!! Yea! There's the small town parade that I've always played in with the marching band--although, I wasn't in the marching band this year. This year, Celeste's husband, Mike, had us in the parade promoting his computer repair business! It was super fun! Celeste dressed up her car, we dressed up the red truck, everyone had PC Penguin papers on their backs; the kids threw candy from the back of the truck; the big 'kids' rode their scooters; Peter rode a tricycle until he got too tired...then I rode it! HA! Good times were had by all!
After the parade, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the backyard, followed by our annual trek down to the Falls to watch the AMAZING fire works!! :) We found our 'usual' spot was cordoned off with police tape, so we found another just as cool spot in a little island on the same offramp. It's just so cool to sit on the ground right next to the freeway! :) We set up our chairs and blankets, ate some chips and snacks, lit some fireworks, and enjoyed some time waiting around for the sun to set and the fireworks to start!
Then it was time! So exciting!! 30 minutes of NON-STOP fireworks! By far the coolest thing ever. And it's all choreographed to music. So, we watched fireworks while listening to great patriotic music. Can't beat it! I'm proud to be an American! :) The kids loved it (although, Peter fell asleep...) and we had a great time enjoying the day of America's Independence!
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
by Dan Brown
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I'm reading this one again. I liked it the first time I read it. I'm still liking it for the second time around. I like all of Shannon Hales' books. **Still lots of fun the second time around! I do like this book for a comfortable...