Sunday, September 17, 2017

First Day of School - 2017

We love our first day of school traditions!  Breakfast out, this time at IHOP.

The number of students in our home school has dwindled from 6 to 3.  It feels weird, yet is also really fulfilling to have graduated half of our children.


The college boy joined us for breakfast.  Smart boy not to turn down free food! ;)




Son L.  We have another senior this year!


Son C.


Little Man.




We made our cookie dough maps of the United States this time, with a special emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, since we will be learning about the 1800's this year and are starting with a study of Thomas Jefferson's presidency.  For complete directions on how we make and bake our cookie dough maps, go here.






On his map, son L set the Louisiana Purchase apart with chocolate chips.  He showed the Missouri River with a twizzler.  This is before baking...


....and after.


Little Man showed the Louisiana Purchase on HIS map by covering it with red sprinkles.  Before...


....and after.


Son C did both with his depiction of the Louisiana Purchase ~ he outlined it with twizzler, and filled it in with sprinkles. :)


It was a great first day!

College Readiness

Within hours of returning from our wonderful TN vacation, we helped son G buy his first car, and in the next couple of days went to parent day at his college orientation, and moved daughter G in to her dorm at HER college, for her junior year.  It was a busy few days with lots of "firsts" (yay!) and lots of "goodbyes" (boo).



Son G and my hubby, watching the family of geese that lives in the pond on campus.  There were also some carp swimming in this pond!




After convocation, all the freshmen met together in groups of 15 or so, and they stayed in these groups for the next days of orientation.


Son G is in the green shirt and grey pants, waiting for the rest of his group members to show up.  He bonded really well with his group leaders (one guy and one girl), and they were really great at showing him the ropes every day.


Meanwhile, the rest of us moved daughter G to her college dorm for the third time.  Hard to believe she is half done!



Love her so much.  So hard to say goodbye.  So happy that she loves her college and is thriving there.  That's my heart in three sentences.



Back home, her vacated bedroom, which used to look like this:


...now looks like this!  Son G moved in to her room to begin his college experience.  It's bigger and brighter, and.....he doesn't have to have a roommate.  First time since infancy that he has his own room!


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Smokey Mountain Vacation - Day 8

NASHVILLE!!!

We decided to forego "official" (and expensive) tours, and just do our own walking/driving tour of Nashville.  There were a few things we knew we really wanted to see, such as this life-size replica of the Parthenon, in Centennial Park (we later found a Bicentennial Park, so it appears that Nashville builds a new park every hundred years!).  Daughter G has always loved Greek architecture and history, and last year in her art history class she wrote a paper on this replica in Nashville being an example of how important the Greek culture was to our own culture.  She was pretty stoked to see this!  The inside was closed the day we went, but we thoroughly enjoyed the outside.


We marveled at how the original must have been built, without the use of concrete or modern tools!














Being a football fan, I was excited to see the Titans Stadium!



We had fun walking down the main strip downtown, listening to all the musicians.  Every restaurant and bar had live music, and the stages were just inside the buildings right next to the sidewalk, with open windows to the outside, so you could hear a variety of music as you walked by.  We wondered if we were listening to the next big star!



Starbucks.  The same in any city!




We had been told that a specific men's restroom in the Hermitage Hotel was not to be missed.  It had become a "tour" bathroom, preserved in its 1920's art deco style.  So to the Hermitage we went.



We found the bathroom!  And after all the kids posed "going".....


......they posed washing their hands, too.  (daughter G wiping her hands on her pants, as some men do....)  Ha!



Really cool painting on the outside of a building.




We selected this place to eat and listen to live music from the inside.  It was delicious!




A mural not far from the restaurant.



Then we rented a Red Box movie (La La Land) and went back to our airbnb house to watch it.  It was a wonderful day in Nashville!

On our way out of town the following morning we stopped at not one, but TWO bakeries to get an assortment of goodies.  Our friend Paul, who lives in Nashville, told us that many of Nashville's best and most unique features have to do with food.  I think he is right!


We did have a small mishap on our drive home, that could have ended badly.  We are so thankful that when this happened, going 75 mph in the far left lane of the highway....


....hubby was able to keep control of the car and get us safely to the right shoulder.  He and son L stayed with the car waiting for the tow truck, while two different friendly state troopers drove the rest of us to the closest 24 hour walmart, where I looked up tire shops in the surrounding area that might still be open (none) and hotels we might stay at overnight, and the kids played a rousing game of hide and seek!  Long story short, the tow truck driver was able to sell us a used tire and after an 8 hour delay, we got back on the road at 1:00 in the morning, drove all night, and arrived home at 7 the next morning, to begin a whirlwind two days of preparing our two oldest kids for college.  Whew!

We are so thankful for the fabulous vacation that we had!!  And for God's mercies shown to us both on and off the road.