We have soaked every last minute out of our time away from home.
I put the blog to sleep for the past two weeks (I have NEVER done that!) and truly cleared my mind.
In fact, I know this post needs to be up by Friday morning, and I have opened up my laptop on the drive back to Georgia to write. I just couldn't bear the thought of blogging while we were on vacation.
In the past year we haven't gotten away as a family at all. My husband has been traveling for work. I traveled to a couple of speaking engagements. The kids went to camp. With all of our comings and goings, however, we had not spent extended time away just the four of us.
This week was PERFECT in every way.
While our CC community was on a Fall Break last week, Anna's online classes didn't stop, so we did some schooling from the road. My husband and I marveled at how our entire lifestyle can be lived this way... he works from the road and we can school from the road.
We agreed we will be doing this MUCH MORE.
I have a dear friend who is writing all about Epic Family Travel on her blog this month, and I am trying to take pointers from her as we strive to travel more with our family.
(Next stop later this month for us: Washington DC -- I'm very excited!)
Learning at the Beach
We were able to spend a couple of lazy days at the beach in Siesta Key.
Reading, talking, listening to music, and floating in the water dominated those days.
It's fun to get one-on-one time with each of my children and really LISTEN to them. There's something about sitting on the beach that inspires deeper thoughts, know what I mean?
The CC science memory work has been about groups of vertebrates and invertebrates. We found a hermit crab in its shell and observed that for quite a while. We also spotted tons of jellyfish (washed onshore) and swimming creatures in the water.
I grew up in this part of Florida and took so much of the wildlife for granted. It is a joy to return "home" and relive my childhood with my own children.
*One day we made sure we were home from the beach by 2 p.m. so Anna could attend her online Henle I Latin class... I think she was tickled she could do Latin by the pool!
Time with Grandma & Grandpa
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know that both of my parents have had tremendous health struggles in the past year.
In February my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastasized breast cancer of the spine. Her diagnosis was a HUGE blow. She endured reconstruction of part of her spine, removal of the tumor, and a long road of recovery.
Look at her now (see the picture below) -- she is WALKING and is cancer free. It's truly a miracle and sometimes I still have to remind myself God has gifted her with this miracle.
My dad, however, is not doing so well. He is trying to recover from Double Pneumonia and is facing a lot of struggles. We had the chance to visit with him in the rehab center. He wasn't even getting out of bed, but I told him that I wanted him to get out of bed so we could wheel him down to the grand piano and the kids could play for him.
Lo and behold, both Anna and Grant played piano for him on Monday. It was one of those moments I will always treasure.
The kids decorated his room with get well cards, too. My kiddos have seen all three of their grandparents in life and death health situations in the past year. They have learned a lot and have grown beyond their years. I believe it has made them more compassionate, patient, and appreciative as a result.
My parents live in a continuing care community, and everything is within a golf cart ride. I think Grant likes driving the golf cart more than a trip to Disney World! Hal and I took turns taking him out in the golf cart to practice his driving skills.
While at Grandma & Grandpa's Anna attended her online Algebra I class with Mr. D. My mom was amazed at how many opportunities the kids have. She watched Anna during her class, which was kind of fun.
Mote Marine Aquarium
We love visiting aquariums wherever we go.
We've been to the Dallas World Aquarium, the Aquarium of the Bay (San Francisco), the California Academy of Sciences, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium, and now the Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota, FL.
This aquarium was a GEM! It wasn't crowded, admission was reasonable, and there were some very interesting things to see and learn about.
Our two favorite animals from the aquarium were the sea turtles and the manatees.
At the ages of 14 and 10 our kids were extremely interested in taking time with each animal, reading about them, and soaking it all in. This was a highlight of the trip for me!
We enjoyed a week of no true commitments (other than 2 online classes and a lunch reservation!). There is a lot to be said for NOT having a schedule.
Within the first two days I had started and finished a great little beach read... I don't usually read fluff, but this was PERFECT! I also started The Boys in the Boat, which I can tell is going to be excellent, too.
We spent a morning on St. Armand's Key - and of course we had to eat lunch at The Columbia. Hal and I went here more than 10 years ago (sans children) and wanted to take the kids there this trip.
We also strolled around and loved the Statues of the Seven Virtues.... all related back to John Ringling (yes, of Ringling Brothers Circus) and his role in the cultural development of Sarasota. The statues were all from Greek mythology and (thanks to D'Aulaires' Greek Myths) the kids knew ALL about them!
Finally, we enjoyed getting to spend time with my nephew. He works for an investment research company in the area and also loves all sports. He was able to give Anna tennis practice since she missed tennis team practice at home last week.
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Obviously now we are back at home and ready to sleep in our own beds and see our doggie!
Our basement finishing project begins next week, so life will certainly not be dull as we clean out more from the basement and prepare for construction.
Once again I am overwhelmed with the blessing of homeschool, family, and the ability to document it all here on the blog. I'm thankful for the Collage Friday community and love reading your posts each week!
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