Friday, April 21, 2017

Pulling Up Roots

We have been in our current house for 16 years, but are getting ready to move (quite literally) into a new chapter in our lives.  Moving is always hard. Hubby and I moved 5 times in 2 years when we were first married and I haven't missed it!  However, this move will take us closer to Ducky and Grandma, and that is a very good thing.

The last few weeks have found me pouring through all of our accumulated things to see what to take, and what to move on.  Today as I mowed the yard, I was brought to a whole new realization of things to take - our plants. While that may seem a bit silly to some, to the "keepers" it is not.  Hubby and I are keepers.  We have often joked that we cannot get rid of anything in the house because it has some family tie to it - this is not too far from the truth in many cases.  It is also true of our yard.  With each dissolution of a grandparents' estate, we took some of the plants with us.

During my contemplative mowing, I counted off numerous plants that I "need" to make sure we take with us.
My roses, that Hubby bought me, which remind me so much of my Papa Mauzey and his prized roses.
Papa and Granny Mauzey in their backyard
The surprise lilies, aka "naked ladies" that Papa Mauzey gave us before he died.  Those flowers always make me smile because I remember when my Granny Mauzey first pointed them out and said, "There's a naked lady!" and just laughed and laughed :)

The irises: the short purple ones which bloom twice a year that Grandma Patrick thought so highly of, the multicolored ones my Grandmas Murray collected, the light purple ones we brought from Grandpa Bevitt's house.
Mookie and Bubby in the flower bed
The lemon lilies that had been my great-grandma's.  The forsythia that we grew from a start at our first home in Illinois. But the list doesn't end there...
Bubby and the tulips
There are ones I wish I could take, the violets that grow randomly throughout the yard kind of like weeds, but always make the yard look magical in the spring.  The dumb Star of Bethlehem that if they would just stay out of my nice flower beds and grow where I want them to, I would be glad to rejoice in their presence and the meaning of their name instead of cursing them ;) The flowering almond bush that presents little pink puffball flowers for a week in the spring.  Just one week, no more, but it is so pretty.
our fairy garden
My mental list encompasses the whole yard give or take.  In the end, it's just more "stuff".  But every item brings back a memory of one that is no longer here, and that isn't all bad.  So, my whittling down of the list of items to take may just not be very short...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Singing for Joy

I'm not a great singer.  I like it and feel more and more comfortable with doing it with the family listening or in public, but it's never been a huge thing or so I thought.  Just after Christmas I came down with influenza.  I was down and out for a whole week, followed by a nearly two months of respiratory troubles.  It wasn't until a few weeks had passed and I was in the kitchen fixing supper, listening to music and singing and Hubby said, "oh, Mom must be feeling better, she's singing again".  Wow!  It apparently was more of a part of my life than I knew!

Growing up, my mom always had a song for everything.  Anything from little advertisements from her childhood to songs from her youth.  Every car trip had the "golden oldies" playing on the radio and us singing in accompaniment - those were the best songs to sing to, songs these days aren't quite the same. She didn't branch out to anything more than regaling us with those musical numbers and I even repeat some of them to my own kiddos ;) 
Me (center) and my buddies at the Easter Passion play

Last year, I participated in the church's Passion play for the Easter season.  I was pushing my limits by taking on a part that included a bit of singing - I like to do that every once in a while ~push my limits~ I think it's good for the soul :)  My fear was that I would sing off key or crack on a high note.  My constant thought through the process of was my great-grandpa Cecil.  He would lead worship at the Methodist church my family attended.  He would sing his heart out, you could hear him outside the church - he was not a great singer, but he poured his heart into it. 
Grandpa Cecil
Or the gal attending our present church when we first started.  She had terminal cancer, her voice was weak and she was off key, but she sang because she loved the Lord - her song was one of the most beautiful I've ever heard and I don't even remember what song she sang. 

Between the thoughts that even if I was singing badly but with feeling and the "Mom must be feeling better, she's singing", I realized singing your heart out is not only glorifying God during worship, doing yourself good, but it leaves an impact and maybe even a legacy :)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Field Trip: Brown's Battlefield and Osawatomie

  Our wanderings took us to Osawatomie today.  We've been doing a lot of Bleeding Kansas discussion here at home, so I was excited to see some John Brown artifacts!  The Adair cabin, aka John Brown State Historic Site, did not disappoint.  I was a little confused when we pulled into the park and saw a stone building with the words "John Brown Cabin" inscribed on the outside - but the cabin is within the stone walls, perfectly preserved. 
I did not get many pics within the cabin.  I was busy chasing this guy around...
and his big siblings apparently had an aversion to getting their pictures taken.  All the furnishings within the cabin are original to the Adair (John Brown's sister) family.  You could even poke your head into the loft.  The site is free (although gladly welcomes donations) and the site administrator very welcoming to homeschoolers.  After we were done we walked the Battle of Osawatomie which is also located within the park. 
  Next stop, the historical museum and railroad museum... well, not really... they were closed :(   This after I told Shorty we were going to a museum with trains *sigh*.  But wait!  We heard a train!  This momma turned that van around as quick as she could and "raced" to the RR tracks! Success! 
We might have missed one train experience, but we made up for it!

Next was lunch at the Whistle Stop Cafe, who's theme was.... trains! They had a train that ran around the ceiling, and tiled floors that looked like tracks! 

The service was just great too :) We were able to wander the downtown a bit after our meal, talked a little historic architecture, and then talked to a friendly local who told us "Jesus loves you".  What a wonderful day all around <3 br="">

Monday, February 13, 2017

Walking the maze

On a recent trip to Johnson County, Kansas we encountered a labyrinth at a local church.  The kids were excited to run the maze and see who could come out the end first.  After reminding them that no matter where we are we needed to be respectful, especially with items associated with religion, they completed wandering its path at a slower pace.
Hahahaha, silly kids, they thought they would be done at the walking of the labyrinth.  With homeschooling, EVERYTHING is a life lesson.  We took pictures of the explanation of the labyrinth and had Bubby read them to us as we traveled to our next destination.  We then talked about what we learned and how it agreed or didn't agree with our worldview.  One of my personal pet peeves is people not knowing why they believe what they believe or just pushing an opinion without regard to the background of others.  Hopefully one day our kiddos will be reinforced with the knowledge they need and be able to stand fast in their beliefs and listen to opposing viewpoints while being respectful <3 br="">

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Field Trip: Hanging with the eagles

This fall has me all kinds of distracted.  I took a bit of time off, but hopefully will organize my time a bit more to include regular blogging again. In August we took a much needed family trip which included Effigy Mounds in Iowa and the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin.  We ended our trip with a neat pause at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.  I had never heard of it before and we might not have stopped because we were travel weary, but we had some time and it had come highly recommended by a cousin and so we worked it in.
The kids hanging out with a statue of Wabasha in front of the National Eagle Center

We were not disappointed.  During the day they have a special talk by one of the keepers which allows a limited audience to see an eagle being fed.  We were a shade late to attend, and Bubby our "want to learn it and see it all kid" was pretty disappointed.  There was so much else to do though, that the disappointment was soon forgotten.

We were able to get up close and personal with these guys anyway in the viewing arena.  They were pretty talkative at times too because of a recent addition to the bunch.  All the eagles living at the center are rescue animals. 

The center was great for learning by all ages.  Everywhere you looked were interactive and colorful displays.  Our favorites were the eagle nest...
This is a life-sized model and Shorty pretended to be the "egg".
We also enjoyed matching the animals on this board that had pelts, antlers and feathers of local wildlife.
As a parent, one of my favorite experiences was not part of the center at all.  The kids and I were approached by a gentleman who used to be a former teacher and just wanted to show the kids how to make words into cartoons.  He was a little cautious about being a stranger interacting out of the blue, but we were blessed that he did!

This little side trip really was a nice end to what was one of our favorite trips  - but don't make me say which ones are my favorite, because really most are in their own way ;)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


  We've bumped around in history a bit this past week, getting to relive it with those re-telling their own stories, or watching an interpretation of it played out before us.  Parts of the wonderful blessings of homeschooling :)
  A while back, while posting some of my Granddad Murray's World War II pictures to the internet, I discovered that his division, the 504th Bomber group was on-line and I got hooked up with them.  It has been my desire to be able to attend one of their reunions and this year it was only an hour away from us in Kansas City!  Granddad did not fly on the bombers, he was part of the medical division and was an x-ray technician.  He used to tell stories of how he would watch the bombers come in to the island of Tinian where he was stationed.
  Our oldest, Bubby, is especially in to anything war related lately.  This includes everything from the Civil War, World War I or II, so Hubby and I made sure he was able to attend with us :) The day we picked to attend consisted of a POW-MIA ceremony and dinner.
  The POW-MIA ceremony was performed by a local ROTC and involved a symbolic table set for the missing soldier and a reading of the 504th men who lost their lives during the war.
  Our favorite part of the day was getting to visit with the five 504th veterans and one Marine in attendance.  Bubby found a new friend, Fiske.  Fiske served on one of the bombers and was captured as a POW (prisoner of war). I have bemoaned the fact many times that this kiddo's great-grandpas are not around to share their experiences with him.  What an awesome experience for this kid to get to meet some of the men who served where one of his great-grandpas served!
  This may have been our first time attending something like this, but it's not our last.  This is another wonderful way to encourage the love of history for our next generation!
  Continuing with our war theme, just today we were able to witness a reenactment of the Battle of Hickory Point here in NE Kansas.  This is one of the battles during the Bleeding Kansas era when pro-slavery and free-staters were battling it out quite literally for control of Kansas Territory.  This was to commemorate the 160th anniversary of the battle (which took place 5 miles to the north of Oskaloosa where we were) and just a perfect day for it! We joined a couple hundred Jefferson County school kids to watch the excitement!
It was thrilling to see the battle and hear the roar of the cannon - well, only if you prepared yourself for that one, it was quite startling ;) 
Next week in further continuance of the war theme, Bubby will once again be able to take place in a reenactment of the Battle of BlackJack, another Bleeding Kansas battle.  We're setting quite a precedent with these kinds of trips, a museum might seem kind of tame after this...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Field Trip: Effigy Mounds

  A real vacation!  *sigh* a long time coming, but this trip brought no deadlines, except when to check in and check out of lodging.  Yay!  Our first stop was Effigy Mounds National Monument near Marquette, IA.  It was another stop where we could pick up a Junior Ranger badge!  We did this part of our trip in to sections the afternoon when we arrived in the area and then we took advantage of the little museum area and finished our Ranger requirements.

We were so late in the day that we were one of the only ones there and we got to spread out a bit.  Shorty was wired for sound having waited patiently (if you count two dozen "are we there yet" queries) and finally I told him, "I think they saw a table just for you over here", silently thanking God for touch tables all the way.  
The next morning, we braved the chance of rain and took a hike.  Effigy Mounds gives a guided tour twice a day, but because of the threatening rain the morning session was cancelled.  A wonderful ranger gave Bubby an outdated guide book (it contained markers that were no longer visible even though the features were there) and Bubby was our guide on the Fire Point trail, regaling us with stories of the mounds - it was even better than having a ranger with us ;)
conical mounds on the left

bear mound - you're looking at his head and foot

the Mighty Mississip, but Shorty was more interested in the train track ;)
Before we took off from the area, we stopped in nearby McGregor, Iowa. Excellent pizza, excellent bookstore and "refrigerators" of old carved into the limestone cliffs.  One thing we learned on our entire trip to the North Woods was that one week was not going to cut it ;)
A little fun in McGregor, IA

McGregor, IA