Friday, August 31, 2012

Playing catch up!

The wisest advice I have ever been given is "the only thing that is constant is change." As I travel down this road of life, I am constantly challenged to be flexible and fluid in an everchanging world. When my older kids were younger I remember finally getting into a groove with naps etc. then  one would teethe or drop a nap just to start all over again in a new routine. Does it ever end? Nope, I think not... Someday I will learn to go with the flow instead of fight kicking and screaming!

So when I told everyone I knew "Oh! I am going to school year round, la ti dah!" I knew there would be a bump in the road somewhere. My intentions were good, it is too hot to do anything so I might as well do school with the kids, we don't want to loose momentum...yada yada yada but as my kids grow, the more their opinion gets in the way. Ha ha! Everyday we started school it was like an uphill battle so I waved the white flag and took a break. It was good, healing and oh so needed!  School started again this week and I can see the difference in my kids. They are ready and eager to learn and we have all had a blast. 

But last week we needed to fit in a much overdue field trip to a river. I had been planning, plotting and gathering information about places to go around the area. You know, research research research but no action? Yep, that was me. So last Thursday morning, the weather was perfect and we loaded up. We wanted to get this field trip done because we had been reading Higgin's Bend Song and Dance which took place on a river about a month and a half ago and if we waited any longer, the river would be freezing and we wanted to play and explore. We have some dear friends who live in the Raleigh Durham area that have been to Few's Ford on the Eno River and loved it so that was enough for me. To the river we went!

Food is necessary so we stopped to eat our picnic first before hiking. Little bit of silliness to get out before we set off on our hike.

Food was consumed and we were off. Glad he has the map... Right?

Totally forgot to take a big picture of the whole river. We just kind of flew in like we had never seen a big shallow river before! The kids were so excited and I was worried that I was going to loose a toddler to a fast current so my mind kind of left me for a moment! So you get what you get and you don't fuss a bit. ;)

As you see, we weren't the only ones there but they quickly left and we basically had the place to ourself!

Jake doesn't take it easy. At.all. So I was a bit stressed that he was going to fall and hit a rock but he quickly felt comfortable to walk over the slippery rocks with ease.

The thing I love about being outside is that the kids can be physically active and use all of their senses. Really, it is the easiest gig to parenting as they are occupied and happy. You notice from this blog how often we are at parks etc, and it is really just a cover up. My kids are happy here so I am happy here. No yelling, breaking up fights, he said she said mess. They just get along and enjoy nature! Boom. Perfect.

Little Mister getting his run on... He became more confident and giddy!

Thankful for these grippy water shoes!

Kids checking out bugs and plant life.

The boys found some amazing butterflies that were all hanging out in this one area.

Can I have this as my backyard please?

 The kids threw in leaves and watched the current take them downriver.

So glad Kylie really doesn't have a beard!

 Love this boy experiencing the world around him.

End perfect moment when kids have to go to the bathroom and there are none around, toddler jumps in a huge deep area and soaks himself and when first child who has to go to the bathroom needs to find the closest bathroom LIKE NOW! you make your way up the trail to the car with soaking children who really don't want to leave the river coolness.

Regroup with lollipops.

Potty breaks taken and a new trail is found. Kids venturing in the right direction to find the coolest bridge!

Mother's fear and trepidation return when bridge is extremely wobbly and wild and crazy toddler wants to exert his independence. We move forward with my hand tightly wrapped around Jake's wrist. 

Very high and very swingy!

After a lot of jumping and squealing and "really I think you guys need to stop that!" we made it to the other side. Why is it that we see the warning signs AFTER we make it to our destination? Happens every  time.

The kids go off to check out the cool rock while my heart palpitations simmer down only to have them start right back up again!

Luke screams SNAKE!

That guy scooted quickly away but we all were pretty excited. So much so Kylie slipped on the rock and slammed right down on her hind end.

We posed for a few more pics but gently made our way back to the car.

Kylie at this point was putting on such a good front but two seconds later said, "Mom, I think I broke my butt."

I really thought I was going to have to carry her up the hill to the parking lot but she was brave and strong and slowly made it up the trail.

My boys are enthralled with bugs. We took a class at the Piedmont Environmental Center near where we live and now they think they know it all. If any locals are reading this, check out their classes as they are awesome and cheap! But since Kylie had some confidence, she picked up this nice creature. It is called a Cherry Centipede and it really is kinda cool once you get past the whole lotta legs part. When it is scared it puts off a scent that smells exactly like Cherries. Seriously!

Shiver. You still won't see me pick up one of these.

Jake trying to catch one... But really I had to put this picture on here to show Jake's tattoo that Kylie made. Notice his back... Sigh... what am I going to do with that girl?

Kylie forgot all about her pain and they enjoyed just chasing bugs and getting dirty. I let them. Part of homeschooling for me is allowing them to take their time and learn without me rushing them to the next thing. It takes a lot of patience on my part, and I am learning but the payoff is huge for them. I see it daily in the little things.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Goin's On...

I don't know about your kids but with mine, the act of loosing teeth is extremely painful! Not as in full of actual felt pain, but emotionally painful for me! How can loosing a tooth! Both Kylie and Luke has been deemed late loosers (by the dentist!) and usually their permanent teeth grow in long before the baby teeth are lost. So when Luke finally had a really wiggly tooth I forced him to stay in the bathroom until it was out. Thankfully it finally worked it's way out!

A letter was written and joyous shouts followed as he told everyone he saw the long drawn out saga of pulling his tooth. I have a bazillian pictures but I will save you from those. I have tons more to share so grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfy. This might feel like Aunt Edna's trip where she pulled out the slide projector and screen. Seriously...

Did someone say road trip? Surprise, surprise... The dishes must have been overwhelming because when house duties back up, I hit the road. This time I convinced my hubby to come with us as well!

It is funny to hear my kids sigh and say, we are headed to the mountains but I really think it has become therapy for us as a family. It used to be theme parks but somehow the cost and payoff is much more here in the woods. Something simple about exploring new things gets the family back to square one. 

Maybe the fact that there is a clear line for us all to travel on, leaving no room for deviation has us all on the same path. No single opinion or agenda stands out, just us together, moving on. Even Jake the wild man travels ahead with little resistance. I think his favorite line now when we get in the van is "hiking?" or "waterfall?" or as of late "Gambi's house?" (my mom's house which is a 5 hour drive!) Yes, we are raising a roadtripper extraordinaire. But I digress... One direction, together.

As I said earlier, sometimes said hiker wants to mooch a bit on the way and ask for us to carry him but after a little man to man he was ready to hike again.

So, people ask me how can we just jump in a car and head to our destination? Well, we first wanted to see a waterfall so a quick Google and voila, Linville Falls is a must see. That and we had never been there made a sure fire winner. So Linville Falls it was.

So off we went down the trail and somehow Kylie and I got seperated from the boys. Why did that happen? Well, I had my camera and I was too busy trying to be some National Geographic Photographer and Kylie stuck with me and before you know it, the boys were gone. And there was a fork in the trail so naturally I assumed they went to the falls. Yeah, no. But we had joy in knowing that we beat them and saw it first!

We were a bit late for the summer wildflowers but I was able to find this little guy. Hello happy yellow!

With no cell service we were happy to find the boys! Only 15 minutes later...

There was this cool tree over the trail that of course the kids had to climb.

And since the biggun's could do it, of course Jake had to try.

I guess he was to busy stealing Luke's water to try and climb up the tree.

Ok, nevermind... off to climb.

And then later hide in a cool tree stump. Bet you can't see me! Ha!


Pictures really don't do this waterfall justice. It was so amazing! Jon and Jake just sat and stared for the longest time. Really, that is a  feat. 

Kylie stole my camera and took a few shots too.

First glimmer that fall is on it's way!

Then we hiked to another overlook. 

Hiked some more, stopped some more, hiked more, then stopped again.

Another overlook.

Downstream from the waterfalls.

Yeah, straight down. Yikes!

A few of Luke's shots when he snagged my camera.

Jake was starting to loose it and be silly. We had stopped and talked to many a hiker with dogs and if you know Jake, he had to pet So he decided he needed to be a dog as well. Kylie was trying to call him to her.

Poor puppy is tired and thirsty. Notice the panting puppy? Sheesh...

Oh good puppy.

While all of that puppy shenanigans was going on I just had to sigh and take a look at my happy man. Yes, he puts up with me and loves me no matter what. Sigh...

Made it down the mountain and to a calmer river. The water was chilly but very refreshing!

We headed north up the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Poor Jon never complains when I shriek, "pull over!"

Then I turn around and see this. Shaking my head...

My happy go lucky girl. We stumbled on Moses Cone Park and whew, I would sure love to live there back in the day!

Who needs a playground when you have a slippery rail down stairs.

Or a freshly painted banister thingie. They gained some speed on that thing!

Of course Jake had to try too and Luke carefully guided him down the slippery slide.

Then you know, there was a little sweet family behind us and of course my kids were being loud and giggly but oh well. I am sure they were having a moment (the sweet family) but we were too so sorry sweet family if your sunset time was overtaken by our crazy family! We were having a moment too!

Love these windows. And clouds. And view. And really, the whole package!

THE OUT TAKES - lest you think our family is perfect....

You want me to stand where??

Well if he is out, so am I! Boo yah!

What, I am an angel??!!

Love how they love eachother. My heart melted with Jake's face towards Luke.

Road trips rule. That is all I have to say.