A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
I hadn't seen my mom's side of the family for a VERY long time! Some of them, it had been a few years (my grandma). Some had been 10 years, some 20+, and some I'd never even met! It was a great time to be together. WAY too short, I thought, but it was good to enjoy even that short time! Our venue of choice this year was the Grand Canyon! We stayed in Williams, AZ. What a fun little town! It boasted as being the last town on Route 66 to be bypassed. It reminded me a little of Radiator Springs (from the movie Cars)--a small town still trying to be small while still trying to be noticed! There were live performances at many of the restaurants, and there was a live Wild West type show in the middle of the street every evening! So fun!!
The Grand Canyon
This place does deserve it's own title! It was amazing! It's SO HUGE that it looks just totally unreal.
We had such a lovely time! Of course, it wasn't without its issues (like Peter screaming most of the morning, and Josh being a little on the grumpy side...and everyone was HOT HOT HOT and miserable during our little hike), but I think that's part of the 'charm' of family get-togethers! Ha! I could have only wished for a few days' more so we could have had more time to chat and play and maybe do some hiking!
One of my favorite highlights from the trip were eating lunch by the clock tower! We had just arrived and were trying to find somewhere to eat (well, and someTHING to eat! My parents were in charge of dinner and had dutch oven on the menu--only no one counted on one thing--the fire alert was on extreme and you weren't allowed to start any fires with wood, charcoal, or anything else! Gah!! We looked and looked for somewhere to cook it to no avail. Finally, we just parked ourselves by a big clock on a street corner, dug into our coolers and came up with cold cuts and veggies, etc., and ate right there! We did run into one little issue: It started to rain while we were eating! It didn't rain very hard, and the sun was still shining, however, my poor displaced and exhausted children had some serious issues with that rain! Andrew loved it. Josh complained. Claire sobbed her little heart out. :( Poor little girl. It didn't last long and was pretty funny since it was sunny, but it was enough to throw a real wrench in the enjoyment of dinner for my little ducklings.
My other favorite highlights were: going running with my cousin Leah! It was so nice to get out and run and chat with my cousin! Thanks, Leah, for running with me! I also enjoyed our one late night chat in the hotel hallway! Wish we could have done it again! Thank you everyone who came and made this a fun reunion!
Touch the ceiling!
I had never heard much of this National Park before we went. Arches is much more famous, but it's only 30 miles away! How come no one knows about this one? It's super awesome--a lot like the grand canyon in some respects--but it's HUGE!! It has 3 different parts: The Island in the Sky (a HUGE mesa and canyon), the Needles (think Bryce Canyon-esque), and The Maze. The Maze, no one can get to. The Needles was 70+ miles out of our way, so we went to the Island in the Sky. (Yes, this is the one we went in the BACK way! Woohoo!)
Happy Family Posing
The Canyon View (from Above)
A view WITH the kiddos in front:
A view WITHOUT the kiddos in front:
It was an amazing view! These shots just don't do the height and scope justice, but it gives you an idea. I think the canyon looks like a giant dinosaur print! :) I'd hate to meet that guy...!
We've learned SO MUCH about the desert already! I didn't know half this stuff! So, I thought I would put in a few pictures that remind me a little of the things we've learned and studied--and inspires me to continue to learn more about this amazing and diverse world we live in!
We made a little hike to Mesa Arch, as it seemed to be one of the big attractions of the park (and it was a short hike--the kids were super tired!) Little did I know that not only was the view pretty amazing from the arch, it was the very edge of a cliff with a sheer drop-off! So, as you look at the pictures, you can see Devin gritting his teeth, and I'm seriously on edge! It was unnerving! And the kids asked if they could climb up and walk on the top of the arch! Um, NO! And they kept trying to walk over and peer over the edge which gave me some serious vertigo issues! We survived and it was amazing, but they could have at least WARNED you!! :)
Jr Rangers and Family Fun!
Arches was so awesome...we spent 2 days there!! We just couldn't get enough! Or maybe it was because we did almost no hiking the first day and we (ok, me, Devin and Eric) were aching to do some awesome hikes and at LEAST see landscape arch! But we enjoyed ourselves, despite the heat, and we would definitely go back again! My favorite comment from the whole trip was my little niece, Jolie. She asked why we were at the park. I said it was because it's a beautiful place and we like to see all the neat things there. She replied: "The only places I like to go are the bank, the mall, and the ice cream shop!" Ha!! What a girl! You can't argue with that one! All the kids were such troopers and got their jr rangers badges the very first day. Aside from that, I just couldn't get over the amazing delicacy of the arches...nor their HUGENESS!! The pictures of this place are really cool--but the reality is astounding. These structures are really larger than life and more amazing than what the pictures portray. It is a place everyone should visit.
We'll finish this off with a parade of elephants:
The family reunion being over, Devin and I decided to take a family trip to some National Parks that we (well...I...) have never been to! So, off we went to Moab: The hub for Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point! We headed down Monday morning and by the afternoon, we were enjoying the views of Dead Horse Point. Amazing.
What we saw on the way there...
Cousins and Jr Rangers
The National Parks are super cool--but even cooler when there are cousins there to share the fun!! We loved doing the Jr Ranger programs together and playing in the shade!
Going to a Garden may sound like a somewhat lame thing to do. It didn't sound like it was going to be a place I could take the kids and spend all day without some battle going on: "Mooooooooom, WHEN are we leaving? This is SOOOO boring!" Well, we heard none of that. These gardens were AMAZING! There was a beautiful walkway with flowers all over, a rose garden, a Monet garden, gazebos, a lake with fish to feed, cool statues, a butterfly garden, a Secret Garden (Claire kept asking if it was the really really REAL Secret Garden that Mary Lennox found in the book...I told her yes, but Devin said no...), a river with frogs, AMAZING waterfalls, and super cool fountains. It was lovely and we spent 3 hours wandering around the place without seeing everything! Then, we headed over to the Children's Gardens and spent another few 2-3 hours! It was much smaller, but there were caves to explore, a pond, and the coup d'etat: Noah's Ark complete with water, water everywhere for the kids to play in and cool off (and some lovely shade for the adults to sit and watch). A WONDERFUL outing that is well worth the cost of admission!
The Beauty of the Gardens
The Natural Wonders of the World!
The view of Utah Valley from Mt. Timp
We are so excited for our very first Unit Study! We will be using the National Parks of the Western US as our classroom!
We plan to visit:
Some of our topics of study will include:
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
I like that the plot twists and turns a lot...and it makes you think. However, I don't appreciate Dan Brown's endings in his books. I find the endings incongruent with the rest of his stories--why make it a romance for the last chapter...
I loved this book. I'm a sucker for fairy tales/fantasy. This was so well written! I can't wait to read all the rest of her books!
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...