Sunday, October 14, 2018

Two Elementary Schoolers

This year is the first year both kids are going to be in the same division. The next time will be when Luke is in 9th and Evan is in 12th...but let us not think that far ahead. I'm barely surviving having a fifth grader.

This is Evan's last year on the Germantown Campus of St. George's and to say I have ALL THE FEELINGS is quite literal. He has been on this campus since he was 3 months old, so his entire life. He and I know nothing else! I have been desperately trying to savor and hold on tightly to our final year together before he becomes too big and moves to the other side of the world...the Collierville Campus.

Luke is in 2nd grade this year. I am partial to second graders since it was the grade I taught for seven years before moving to St. George's. I think it is just the best grade of the entire academic career. It's big boy stuff. Like big kid school and grown up.


Have a great year, boys!! Don't rush or hurry any of it by because next year will be here before we know it.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I'm very indoorsy...

Just after we both made it out of the 1.5 hour WILD tour

I am what I call 'indoorsy'. I am not saying I hate the great outdoors. I love the outdoors...from the inside. Give me a great view or even a nice patio, and I am great. Heck, I have even been known to hike off the trail before.

What I don't like is nature falling on my head, or sleeping in nature, or getting nature on me. That's where I draw the line.

So when my boss told me I was going on the cave trip this year....

This trip is all about pushing students outside their comfort zone. Apparently, that applies to adults too. McMinnville, TN is home to these amazing caves. We traveled through Shiloh since the kids have spent the first part of the year learning all about the battle that took place there. They got to see a musket being loaded and fired and heard about what it was like during the war.

Gran and Jed went a couple years ago and found an ancestor of ours! As we walked through the museum, I quickly found his picture. 

Then the kids took a tour of the National Cemetary. It was amazing to see how the soldiers were buried. There are only 2 Confederate soldiers are buried in the cemetery and over 2,300 soldiers are unknown. 

We got back on the bus for the four hour ride to McMinnville. We powered through with the help of some homemade cookies.

We were early, so we had dinner and plenty of playtime at the park. The kids were raring to get their wiggles out...even if it was raining!

We arrived at Cumberland Caverns and loaded up for the half mile trek to the inside of the cave. Now, a lot of the adults bring a cot to sleep on. I was no exception...or so I thought. My cot was pretty swanky with springs and a pad. People who made comments (and recorded video) were just jealous. Thankfully Mrs. Greenslade had a wagon and I was able to load it up with THREE people's items and roll it into the cave. I mean, dragging 3 people's stuff is hard work people. Quit with your judgy eyes. 

Being my first time, I didn't pack myself very well. Evan was packed perfectly. I, on the other hand, forgot some items. Thankfully my experienced cave dwelling friends helped out with things like a tarp, and rain jacket, a bandana, and wool socks. They love me.

We got to the entrance and delved inside where there was more walking. We went over 100 ft (I think) underground to find our final resting spot. 

Evan was in my group and we first went on the walking tour. I really recommend it for anyone who travels toward East Tennessee. It is well worth the stop.

Next up was the WILD tour. The first thing you need to know about the wild tour is you have to fit through a box before being allowed to go. A box. That looks like a coffin. And by crawl, I mean on your belly like a snake. 

I have never had a problem with small tight spaces. Never. I mean, I have a bigger problem with nature encroaching on my space, but tight spaces..I got this.

The next hour and a half can only be described by experiencing it. I was on my belly. I was literally jumping from ladder to ladder. I was hoisting students up and over rocks. I was in a space so tight, I thought my hips were stuck. The only ONLY time I got nervous was when a crew of students went ahead of me and I was facing a long narrow space that was completely dark. Pitch black. I had to turn on my side and alternate between my knee and hand to get through. I was super thankful for students behind me who I talked through. Had they not been behind me, I might have choked.

The whole time, Evan was at the way back of the group. I had no idea how he was doing. There were about 3 times we stopped and waited for everyone to catch up. I made eye contact with him and gave him a questioning thumbs up. He gave me a thumbs up back with a big of a smile.

We went through Bubblegum Alley ('a special kind of hell') and finally made it to the other side. I waited for E to make it out and picked him up for a big hug! I was so thankful his teacher Mrs. Greenslade was there to capture the moment. 

Around midnight we all settled in for a peaceful night's sleep. Who's laughing at my cot now?

I was so impressed with the kids' bravery and perseverance. I saw extremely nervous kids put aside their feelings to help another child through. Kids who encouraged one another and then cheered when their friends got through a difficult spot. Kids who ran BACK into tight spaces because they heard someone needed a little extra encouragement. Kids whose parents said, "I don't think they are going to do that...", and then ROCKED IT!! This crew continues to amaze me. So thankful Evan and I get to be a part of it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

'The Californians'

We were so excited that my sister and her family could come for a visit this summer. 

They came out to celebrate Gran's birthday, which is also Imogen's birthday! It was a great celebration of two great gals.
Gran and ALL her grandkids

While they were here there was lots of swimming, lots of eating, lots of hanging out, and lots of fun! 
Uncle Ian seemed to be conned into giving strokes lessons several days at the pool. All the kiddos loved it when he got in the pool.

The cousins got along famously which gave the adults some great hanging out time!

Liam had some food goals we had to meet while there were in Memphis. Top of his list was BBQ, which he ate 3 sandwiches of, fried okra, and some things he didn't even realize he needed in his life like Banana Trifle and Poncho's Cheese Dip.

We spent one day rock climbing at Memphis Rox, which Evan quickly named "Heaven on Earth." Man, the bouldering is harder than it looks. I much preferred the big wall with someone belaying me.

One of the last days we had a thunderstorm. These aren't very usual in California, so we had some free entertainment for a couple hours. Their entertainment was watching the storm. Our entertainment was watching them...

We are so glad they got to spend a few days with us. We can't wait for our turn to take TN to CA!!