Friday, September 30, 2016

Monthly Wrap-Up: September, Year 16

With only one left at home and only one class at our co-op, I'm enjoying a somewhat easier year thus far. I've had a little time for a few spontaneous hikes, I've been able to spend a little more time with my parents, I've been able to work out a few days each week, and I've even been able to keep my house fairly clean. It feels kind of like a sabbatical year for me, a between year. I like it.

On the other hand, I've been doing a lot of driving this year. Duncan has a class or two elsewhere every day of the week. On Mondays, he has chemistry at our co-op. It's Apologia, which is close to the bottom of our list for science programs, but it's what the teacher uses, so.... there is that. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he has a trig class that he absolutely loves. It's just him and 4 of his best friends and a teacher who, as he says, "really understands boys." That's hugely important. On Wednesdays he has college prep study skills and then my class, which is World Literature and World Geography combined. We've began the year with the memoir Funny in Farsi and are now reading Nectar in a Sieve. On Thursday afternoons, I teach a small German class (5 students) at my house. Fridays are different each week, but one Friday each month we have an Appalachian Studies course that takes the whole day (or even overnight). He also alternates Fridays with serving at Second Harvest Food Bank, having student council meetings, and Boy Scout events. I don't think we've had a quiet Friday at home yet.

Monthly group at Second Harvest Food Bank

Duncan during one of our Appalachian Studies trips. This was on a ranger-led hayride at Cades Cove.
Duncan and Emery helping the ranger show a black bear skin.

Besides school, Duncan has Boy Scout events weekly: regular meetings, camping trips, hikes, ultimate Frisbee, etc. On Sept. 11 he and several of his fellow troop members volunteered to do the 2 a.m.-4 a.m. shift for a 9/11 flag retirement ceremony.

9/11 Flag Retirement Ceremony

Next week he'll once again escort veterans at the airport as they gather for the next Honor Air flight. And he's also beginning his Eagle Scout project! He is writing up his project proposal now, so hopefully that will get approved and he can do the project itself in November.

Unbelievably, we've started the college search process. We visited Appalachian State University with several friends last week. It was a beautiful campus, but we're just at the beginning of the search process. I have no idea where Duncan will end up!

The boys after our Appy State tour.

White Duck Taco in Johnson City on the way home. Definitely a highlight for them.

Laurel is loving her semester abroad in Vienna and seems to be seizing every opportunity to have travel adventures. She has classes generally Monday-Thursday and then travels on the weekends. So far she's been to Dorgastein, Salzburg, Hallstatt, and Prague, and she's actually in Amsterdam right now.
Laurel and her roomie, Madelyn, in Vienna

At Shonbrunn palace in Vienna

In Dorfgastein

At the Sound of Music gazebo in Salzburg

Laurel and Bess at the John Lennon Wall in Prague
On a weekend trip to Hallstatt

And that's what's been going on in our own SmallWorld in September.

Linked up with the Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hiking 100

I've been doing a lot of hiking lately in order to finish hiking 100 miles in the Smokies by December 6. I'm making good progress, but I still have nearly 30 miles to go!

Here are some pictures of our most recent hikes.

Abrams Falls: 5 miles

Abrams Falls is a challenging trail for me. Lots of roots and rocks and, well, we also had biked the 11 mile loop at Cades Cove that morning. But getting in the creek at the falls made it all worth it! Lovely and cold on a hot day!

Meigs Creek: 7 miles
Randy and I added 7 miles with the Meigs Creek Trail last week. I really enjoyed this trail. We got there early on a Saturday morning and only passed a few people on our way back down.

Curry Mountain: 6.6 miles
My friend Cathy and I hiked the Curry Mountain Trail for another 6.6 miles on September 1. It was H-O-T!! It started pouring on the way back down, though, so we did get a little cooled off! We didn't pass even one single hiker that day.

Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls: 4 miles
In August, a big group of us did the hike to Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls. We spent a lot of time at the swimming hole—as did about 50 other people that particular day! That was just a short 4 miles added to my list— but everything counts!

Little River: 4.8 miles
Also in August, a group of us did the Little River Trail again for 4.8 more miles.

Those were my August and September (so far) hikes for the Hike100.  I'm really loving this Smokies Centennial Challenge and sometimes, even after 17 years, still can't believe I live by this incredible national park!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

She Turned 19

She turned 19.

{and her best friend turned 20.}

She went back to college to visit her friends for a few days.

And then she got on a plane to go to Europe…

…where she'll be for a whole semester.

Roots and wings. 
 Stand firm and fly well, my sweet girl.

"May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors."

Friday, August 12, 2016

Break = Over

I can't believe summer break is basically over. On the other hand, it's been a good, long summer.

Duncan and Randy spent a week at Summit Boy Scout Ranch and a week at Camp Buck Toms, where Duncan went off with a separate group and did the Mountain Man challenge. As Scoutmaster, Randy stayed back at camp with the younger boys. The Scout troop also biked the Virginia Creeper this summer. Some of them, including Randy and Duncan, rode 51 miles! Duncan also spent a week at church camp, which is pure fun and relaxation time for him.

Duncan and his fellow troop members who completed the Mountain Man Challenge

Biking the Virginia Creeper

Vineyard Church camp!

In other Scout news, one of Duncan's best friends received his Eagle Scout a couple of week ago.  Duncan has just started outlining his project, so hopefully he will have his done by December!

The three wise guys get wiser.

Laurel worked as a nanny for most of the summer, but she had a few weeks off, and we managed to cram in lots of fun and relaxation, including our trip to New York and some relaxing afternoons in the mountains. She got lots of good time with her hometown friends and even got to see her college friends one weekend.

Sweet childhood friends, all ready to go back to college

A weekend  in Nashville with her suitemates!

We had a lot of other fun adventures this summer, including tubing, hiking, rock jumping, a trip to Charlotte to visit family, picnics, biking, swimming, paddleboarding, and our new fave, disc golf. And lots of Netflix nights.

Cooking together in Charlotte


Disc golf: so much fun!

Our co-op classes start next week. That means I should be doing lesson plans for the World Literature class I'm teaching. But I can't quite make myself start.

Laurel will be spending first semester of her sophomore year in college in Vienna, Austria!

I'm so excited for her! She is going to have the experience of a lifetime. AND I am going over in October to spend a week with her! I mean, I need to make sure she isn't getting into mischief, right?

One of the best parts about this summer is that Randy actually took the summer "off."

Most people think that professors are always off for the summers, but Randy has always either taught classes or done research or administrative work during the summer. This year, he actually only went into the office about once each week. It's been lovely. I'm kinda looking forward to his retirement…

I know. We have a long way to go. In the meantime, we'll be breathing deeply as we start the new year. Only two more to go on this homeschooling journey, but a lifetime yet together.

Linked up with the Weekly Wrap-up