Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Beautiful Day Near the Water

For more years than I care to admit, I've been getting together with these two ladies every month. We used to scrapbook together every time, but now we often work on computer projects, go shopping, or go on other outings. Today we headed to the coast and enjoyed a great day together.

This is called the Rockland Breakwater. It's a about a mile long walk along the granite block to the lighthouse one way. It took us just over an hour today to walk out, explore the lighthouse (which was open) and walk back. 

It's an interesting walk because you can go at a slow pace (although people do jog along the rocks) and you have to watch your footing. It's also deceptive since it doesn't seem as long as it really is. In fact, I thought it was only half of a mile until I looked up information about it!

It had been drizzling and rainy most of the morning. When we had almost reached the coast, the sun came out. It turned out to be a perfect day to spend near the water. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Flowering Decorations

Every year I buy hanging flower pots for my front porch. I love how they look. However, I am awful at remembering to water them. I typically buy them the week I am hosting my homeschool open house and water them a couple of times before I start to forget and they start to die. 

However, this year we graduated our oldest son from homeschooling. This happened two weeks before my open house so I bought the plants early and was determined to keep them alive until the open least.

Well, here we are in mid-July - almost a full month since the open house and six weeks since graduation - and they are all still alive! It's amazing what a little water once a day can do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Meet Maggie

This little sweetie joined our family today. It's been many, many years since we've had a cat in our house. After we were first married, my hubby adopted a cat for me and gave her to me for my 22nd birthday. She was a tortoiseshell colored. Her name was McKenna. Sadly she passed away suddenly when she was only nine years old. 

This was my McKenna.

My hubby is not a big fan of cats. He's definitely a dog person. As a result we've just never had another cat. Every so often I'd mention wanting to get another one. My boys all wanted one too, but my hubby was adamant he didn't want another one. He thinks they are smelly and I will admit that the litter box can get nasty at times. 

This  past Sunday, however, we were driving to church and saw a "Free Kittens" sign on our way. I, of course, made mention of it and we talked some about why I like cats so much. They fit with my personality very well!

On Sunday we dropped our youngest son off at camp. It's the first time he's been to a "sleep away" camp. He was struggling with the goodbyes. He was excited to go but had a rough transition. I had a bit of a weepy moment myself on the way home. Then suddenly my hubby pulls into the driveway to the house with the "Free Kittens" sign. What?!

He decided that since I wanted one so badly, it was time. Unfortunately, we couldn't make contact with the home owner so we left. I went back the next evening with my boys. Again, while the house was open, no one answered our knocking so we left again.

When we got home I did a bit of computer sleuthing and looked up the last name that was on the house as well as the address and I found a phone number. I called and talked to a very nice lady and made an appointment to go over in this morning to pick out one (or more!) kittens.

My hubby thwarted my plan, however. He very wisely told me this morning, "One! Only one!" He knows me a bit too well.

As soon as I saw this little one poke her head out from under the bed she was hiding under, I knew I wanted her. She instantly reminded me of McKenna. 

The woman who had her had named her Margaret. I decided to keep that name but call her Maggie. She is so tiny and very sweet. She's settling in very well.

She was purring while I rubbed her belly.

She slept for about an hour on the table by the computer while my son played on the computer. 
She is very well socialized.

For now we are keeping her in our downstairs bathroom. While our dog seems completely unimpressed by her, I don't want to take a chance, especially at night when we're all sleeping. 

This afternoon while I was holding Maggie, our dog, Annie, came up and really seemed to notice the kitten for the first time. Annie looked at me, huffed at me, and then turned her back and laid down. She was clearly not happy about our newest addition!

Earlier they were both in the living room while my middle son was playing with Maggie. Again, Annie had her back to the kitten (she is the most expressive dog I've ever met) and little Maggie (who probably weighs no more than 4-5 ounces - seriously - she's small) started trying to hiss and arch her back, but couldn't quite figure out the whole arching the back thing. So funny. 

We are all enjoying having her here. Well, maybe not my hubby or Annie, but the rest of us are thrilled!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Field Trip to the Maine Wildlife Park

Last month I coordinated a homeschool field trip to the Maine Wildlife Park located in Gray. They have educational classes in May, June, September and October for school groups including homeschoolers. I realized last year that we could fill a class (75 spots) and then some so I started coordinating a class time just for homeschoolers. This allows for a reduced entrance fee and then time to explore the park after the class. Last year we had just over 100 people attend (including younger siblings and parents), but the weather was iffy that day and it did start to rain part way through the morning. This year I had over 130 people attend and we had gorgeous weather.

Our time there started with a class on bears. The educator is wonderful. You can definitely tell she's done this a few times with all kinds of children. She does a great job relaying the information and keeping the children engaged.

This baby fawn died in utero when it's mom was hit by a vehicle and is now used in educational classes.

Pretty impressive paw print! The huge one on the left is from a grizzly bear. The one on the right is from a Maine black bear.

Once the class was over - they last about 45 minutes - we were able to go explore the park. I had a couple "bonus boys" with me today so I had a crew of five boys with me. 

We like to start with the deer and work our way around the whole park. I think we hit a lot of it since I had almost 15K steps this day according to my FitBit. This is one of our favorite places to visit and we often go every year either in the spring or the fall.

Of course, we did manage to stop for a fun photo op first....

Bonus Boy #1

Bonus Boy #2

My youngest

Mr. T - getting some help to get up there.

And yes, I'm missing a boy. I couldn't bribe or otherwise convince my 14-year-old to do the photo. 


They had just fed the mountain lion. We had a great time standing there watching him (her?) eat.

They hide the food so that the animals have to work (kind of) to eat.

I thought it hilarious that this poor moose was trying to get this one little green plant on the other side of the fence. The enclosure (which is pretty big for one moose) had some nice greener in it that was much easier to get at.

Checking out the bears.

We always take a photo on this metal turtle. I need to go find some older pictures so I can compare how much my boys have grown!

Almost all of them are looking at me....

This was a great end to our 2014-2015 school year. While coordinating these field trips is always a lot of work, it is a lot of fun too. Although, this one did start with a bit of extra stress!

I was less than 10 minutes away from the park. I had turned on to a side road and was following a fully loaded dump truck. I noticed that he was swerving some, crossing the yellow line, and just not driving well at all! I backed off a fair distance and just made sure to keep my eyes on what he was doing. 

Once again he crossed the yellow line, but didn't correct back. Unfortunately, he did this just as he was crossing over a highway overpass. A Subaru wagon was coming towards him and I laid on my horn as he was clearly in the other lane and the car coming had no place to go. I must have alerted him because just before it could have been really bad, he jerked the wheel to the right. However, it was too late. He crunched that car right into the guardrail. 

He also kept going! He crossed the entire overpass before stopping to back up. Meanwhile I pulled up to the car and checked on the driver. She was shaken but completely fine. Her door, however, was smashed in and she couldn't get out. I backed up and called 911. By this time the dump truck had backed up. 

Thankfully a First Responder arrived soon after I hung up from 911 and checked on the driver. I was, however, beginning to panic just a bit. I had 130 people waiting on me and all the admission money with me! I was already later than I told folks I would be there and now I was the witness to an accident! Thankfully, the First Responder cleared me to leave after I left my name and number. 

I'm so glad I did because the dump truck driver was telling the other driver and the First Responder that he had hit her because he swerved around a bicyclist that was ahead of him. Even the boys in the truck with me knew he was lying. I had followed him that entire road and there was no bicyclist. I'm not sure he was impaired by drugs or alcohol, but he was definitely distracted! I'm so thankful no one was hurt, that I was able to leave when I did before the road was clogged with safety vehicles, and I managed to get to the field trip on time. The check in process went very smoothly and we started out class on time! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. July 15th is National Give Something Away Day. What can you give away? Will you? I've been busily cleaning out my basement. I've been weeding clothes from the boys closets as well as my own and hubby has even joined in. Just a couple of weeks ago I filled the back of my truck with bags of clothing and even four boxes of books. I gave them to Goodwill. I will admit to getting a tax donation receipt because of the shear volume of what I gave away! And I have another truckload of miscellanous stuff I'm planning to drop off there tomorrow. 

I will also say I tried to give that truckload to a local thrift store and they refused it. They said it was "too much" and they couldn't take it all. I opted to make it easier on myself and just give it to Goodwill. It took all of 10 minutes to unload all of it and get the form I needed to claim it on my taxes. For a busy mom - that was awesome.

That also doesn't include the two trips to the dump just today to get rid of not only trash and recyclables but also a few items I dropped in the "Share Shack" (free for the taking). I'm hoping to make things way easier to find and get to in the basement catch-all space.

2. Do you have a mantra? Please share with the class if you feel comfortable doing so. Not really.

3. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? How many times a week do you shop? Do you make a list or pray for inspiration in the produce aisle? I do all the grocery shopping. I usually go weekly. I will sometimes do a quick mid-week run for milk and water (I drink SoBe LifeWater and often run out in between trips.) And yes, I usually have a list. I actually use a neat app on my Kindle for this. I can even "cross off" the items when I buy them. Then I just "uncross" them for the next week and I can add and delete as needed. The app is called "Simple List Lite." It's free.

4. Is there a TV show you're embarrassed to say you watch? You're going to tell us what it is, right? I like a lot of reality shows, but there is nothing I'm really embarrassed to say that I watch.

5. A recent article listed fifteen words we should eliminate from our (written) vocabulary in order to sound smarter- that, went, honestly, absolutely, very, really, amazing, always, never, literally, just, maybe, stuff, things, and irregardless 

Of the fifteen, which word is your most overused? Most of them? I probably tend to overuse absolutely, amazing, and literally the most though. And irregardless is overused? That's a great word!

6. So apparently dying your hair gray (in your youth!) is a thing right now. It's called 'The Granny Hair' trend. Your thoughts? Interesting. We were just discussing this with friends the other night. I have great genes and even at my, ahem, advanced age (early 40s), I have no gray hair and I don't color it. My grandmother was in her 80s before she started to turn gray. My mom died when she was 65 and still had no gray hair. 

I think the trend is silly. Gray hair is earned. You shouldn't be able to buy it out of a bottle.

7. A while back Buzz Feed asked members to share the most beautiful sentence they've read in a piece of literature. A hard thing to narrow down, at least for me, but let's try. What's one of the most beautiful sentences you've ever read in a piece of literature? I read a lot and I oftentimes am just reading for pleasure so I don't notice the words per se. And I don't keep a book of quotes (although I should!). I did, however, just finish reading The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. (It's fantastic by-the-way and I highly recommend it!). This quote struck me and continues to stick with it a beautifully constructed sentence? Probably not, but it's definitely thought provoking.

"Don't ever give up in freedom what we would never have given up in persecution! 
That is our witness to the 
power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!" 
(quoted by a man named Stoyen in Eastern Europe who 
suffered much in order to proclaim the power of Christ).

8. Insert your own random thought here. I saw this bug the other day while I was pulling weeds from my garden....

I posted it to Facebook and some friends identified it as a milkweed tortoise beetle. They feed on vines such as morning glories. I just thought it was so pretty. I had never seen anything like it before.