Homecoming

This last weekend we drove down to see Mark and enjoy Cedarville’s Homecoming.

All the freshmen engineers had a cardboard boat project.  They were to design a boat and build it using provided cardboard and tape.  Their grade would be determined, in part, if they made it across the lake or not.

Mark’s team worked hard. Their boat was not the fastest, but it made it across the lake with very little damage.

A few teams ended up taking a cool swim to the finish line.

Mark was disappointed that his team did not place high enough to be in the water fight after the race.  However, he was excited when his professor saw his boat, liked the design, and asked if he could put it on display in the engineering building for the next year.

Mark had homework, but joined us as often as he could over the weekend.  We enjoyed a few concerts, watched a movie outside, went to a parade –collected lots of candy– and just spent time together.

It was great to see Mark and meet some of his friends.  He enjoys school and the opportunities to learn a lot!

History Ride

On Saturday, we were given a ride in a 1929 Model A Ford.  The chauffeur, Mr. Stoner, said that he bought this car when he was 17 and has owned it ever since.

Megan was not interested in riding in the car at first, but after her first “date” with Mark, she was hooked.  She rode three different times!  Mark and Adrian asked many questions and learned a lot about the car’s history.  They inquired about the machine gun in the back window and learned that Al Capone was in Elkhart a few times. Everyone enjoyed the history lesson!

Ready for Hiking

hiking

campsignI am ready for a good back packing trip. Since Mark was a newborn, we have often taken the kids out for challenging vacations.  As the kids grow older, Allan keeps looking for new places to take us.  When Mark was seven, Andrea almost five, Audrey just three and we were waiting for Adrian, we went to Glacier National Park for a week of back country hiking.

The older two had to walk all of the way and Audrey did a fair amount of hiking herself.  We slept in a tent and ate dehydrated food all week. We played in ice cold mountain rivers and explored bear country.tent

(It is cold outside, and I am daydreaming of a good hike with the family.  I wonder where we should go?)

First Lobster

img_7210-lobster_shareWhile in Maine, we knew that we should try lobster. We asked around all week and most people suggested getting a lobster roll which sounded like lobster in mayonnaise on bread.  One of the last days there, we were talking to a college student who suggested going to Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bass Harbor.  She said the prices were reasonable, the lobster caught recently and at times there were lines down the road waiting for a table. Plus, it was a lot less expensive than most other places!

So, we decided to try fresh lobster.  We chose what size we wanted and then approved the lobster they chose for us.  We watched them label the lobster and get it ready to put in huge vats of boiling water. Our table was next to the harbor and it was fun watching everything outside.

We agreed that lobster was similar to shrimp. Everyone liked it in varying amounts.  Megan liked it with a little mayonnaise, but everyone else enjoyed it with LOTS of butter.

Adrian was excited to get the lobster and eat it with a bib.  Mark was given the privilege of trying to figure out how to get to the meat, though everyone got to try. Then Mark had fun dissecting it and commenting on how it was different from a crayfish.

All of us would enjoy lobster again sometime.  But, only when it is freshly caught and less expensive than what we can buy in the midwest!

The South Bubble

people-lesson-3_shareMark enjoyed looking at park maps and wanted to find a really good hike.  He wanted something difficult, but not too hard for everyone.  He would have been happy to find a place that only he and Daddy could go, but that did not work this time.

He did find a hike for us though.  We walked around Jordan Pond and climbed the South Bubble. It is not the climb for people who dislike hikes or climbing over rocks!

Unfortunately, I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked.  I had used up all my memory cards and deleted the obviously bad pictures just so we could have a few more pictures.  Allan would later comment that I took over 1500 pictures before running out of space. He also promised new memory cards for future trips!

The kids all took off ahead of us again and helped Megan over rough spots. There were only a few spots she had trouble with because of her height.  We had people stop and ask if that bunch of kids ahead were ours.  Then they would comment how polite the kids were or how good they were with the little ones.  We heard so many complimentary things about our kids during that walk!  They even tried helping another family with younger children get to the summit!

The trail going up was a bit challenging for me.  I don’t enjoy climbing rocks as much as Mark does; though climbing down is a lot worse! There was one spot where my legs were just not long enough and Allan had to give me a boost up. Mark and Allan both were there to help when needed and I often thought how blessed I am that both of my men are so considerate. I was also thankful that I can hike trails like this.  I don’t like them as much as others, but it would have been awful not to have been able to enjoy the day with my family.

When we got to the top, we could see a long way off.  It was a beautiful place to rest and enjoy our lunch! Coming down was a lot easier, it was less rocky and the scenery completely different.

 

Beech Mountain Fire Tower

img_2115-ladder-tower_shareWe learned that the Beech Mountain Fire Tower was going to have an “open house”.  It is usually closed, but a ranger would be there to answer questions and the tower would be open to look at.

Going up, the trail was easy in spots, but more difficult over rocks in places.  It was never super hard, though someone who struggles with walking would not be able to get to the tower.  It was a pretty walk and the kids all had fun running ahead.

The view from the top was pretty.  We enjoyed the scenery and talking with the ranger so much, I forgot to get a picture of the tower.

The ranger was very helpful and explained that there is not as strong a fire hazard there as in the west because they get so much rain and snow.  Because of this, the tower was only manned during the day until the mid 1970’s,  There were three fire towers that used triangulation to pinpoint where fires were.  Now the tower is  on the National Registry of Historic Fire Towers and is not used.

We took a different way to get to our car.  The way was a lot easier, but we took longer since I stopped to admire the scenery so often.

Junior Ranger Badges

Junior Ranger Patches
Junior Ranger Patches

The kids have been collecting Junior Ranger badges at every National Park we visit if we have time to work on them.  If we are just passing through, it is hard to complete the work needed properly.

In order for the children to earn their Junior Ranger badges, there are different activities to complete in a workbook.  The younger you are, the easier to earn a badge, though Megan tried to do everything in her book. They also needed to interview a ranger and attend a ranger led activity. They were able to finish both projects the first day, though it took longer to finish their books.

They also had the opportunity to earn centennial Junior Ranger Badges. There was a separate book with different activities.  The kids enjoyed working on that book also.

All of the children earned Junior Ranger patches and their centennial Junior Ranger Badges.