Aug 25, 2017

Birthdays, Solar Eclipse, and School Begins!

 This precious girl turned 11 this month!  What I cool girl she is becoming.  I am so happy God decided to put her in our family.  I love watching her grow in valuing God's Word, being thoughful of others, and continuing to have a deep interest in learning about God's created world.  She loves all things astronomy and reptiles right now and her birthday reflected that. :)
After gift opening, we took a jaunt to Reptile World.  The surprise was that Malia got to pick out one to take home. :)
 She is the proud new owner of a crested gecko named Treecko.
 After Reptile World, we hit Northview Pool.
 Then came back for pizza and homemade donuts (that she and I made that morning). 

There were a few other special birthdays this month including some ladies in this picture.  I am so thankful for them.  They add so much value to my life!
A major event happened just yesterday in our neck of the woods: the Total Solar Eclipse!
We did a little learning on our own and at the library earlier this month.
My hometown, an hour and 20 minutes north of here, was in the path of totality, so we packed up this weekend and took off to Bern!
Set with our Astronomy-themed Trail Mix.
 We made eclipse cookies at Grandma's, but they turned out more like annular eclipses, rather than total eclipses. :(
 Several Manhattan friends made the trip up north to watch with us, which made it extra special.  We all viewed together at the Hecht home.  We really thought we were going to miss most of it due to clouds, but they parted at just the right time and we were able to see all 4 phases (C1, C2, C3, and C4) despite the cloudy day.  It was spectacular, particularly the totality phase.  What I found most interesting is how long it stayed light.  It really only got dark just a few minutes before totality and got light again just as quickly afterwards.  We heard locusts come out as it got darker and cooler.  The air was an eerie green, not like a normal dusk.  We saw 1 star or planet, not sure which.  We saw "the ring", "bailey's beads", and the 360 degree "sunset".  We wanted to catch shadow bands, but did not see any.  An extra special gift was that something about the mix of the eclipse and cloudy weather created a 360 degree rainbow around the sun during totality.  The kids were the first to spot that and it stuck around long after totality.  God put on an awesome show, and I feel lucky to have seen it!
 I did not catch any good photos of the event.  I took one during totality with my phone, and it looked nothing like the real thing. But I am thinking that that is okay.  It is such a unique sight, that I am happy to remember it the old-school way - in my mind.  This is one that a friend took.  You can kind of see the rainbow here, but this doesn't portray the way the sun appeared at all.
 And now we are ready to start up another year of school.  This year, the kids told me they wanted to transform one of the rooms upstairs into a school room.  I thought it sounded like fun to make a school room, so I was an easy sell. :)  We are starting Classical Conversations (and a bit more structured approach to our days along with it) this year.  I have loved the flexibility of our first several years of schooling at home.  But as my older to are becoming more independent and want to understand how their day is being used, I am hopeful that this will help them to know better what to expect.  We have been easing into school slowing the last couple of weeks.
The finished room:

Aug 22, 2017

Bunnies, Hobbies, and the Fair

Mabel and Tabi are growing.  And they made it through the heat of July!
 We love games in this house!
Malia has taken up electric guitar.
 There has been much gardening.
Aliza's napkin drawing from her date with Daddy. :)

 We welcomed some dear friends back home in July! 
We helped with the Swine Classic food stand.  There is some fake posing going on here.
At the end of July came the Fair!  Working on our club's float:
 Some of the kids' exhibits:
 And of course the rides:

Jul 13, 2017

Bern Camp 2017

My siblings and our kids spent 4 days in Bern for Bern Camp this summer!  Activities included:
outdoor eating EVERY DAY in July...beautiful weather.
 4-wheeling, which included a roll-over, 2 broken bones, 1 torn muscle, and VERY THANKFUL parents that it was not worse. :)
Picnic and Hayrack Ride to Excelsior School

 Roller Skating at Sycamore Springs in Sabetha
Fireworks!
A relaxing drink at Cornerstone Coffeehaus in Seneca
Visiting my Grandpa in the nursing home

the handing out of Big Chief Tablets :)
And plenty of horsing around!
 I SO cherish the time our family gets together and the memories we make!