Weekly Wrap Up

Another odd week here.

Sunday morning Parks and I drove up to Asheville so that he could ride at Kolo Bike Park. He enjoys the dirt jumps. We headed back before dinner.


Parks at Kolo


Parks at Kolo

Monday through Wednesday were fairly typical minus a mini mental breakdown- mine of course. I think I’m ready for summer.

Sims started the driving portion of his drivers education on Thursday! Since he was out hitting the streets, he missed horseback riding and Bella’s first play date. She played with Steve, a five month old chihuahua. They had a blast!!

Friday the kids had a party with some friends. Parks found his first ever four leaf clover at the party. Sawyer is a master four leaf clover finder. I have never found one. Crazy. Then Friday afternoon, sims and I headed to Nashville for a climbing competition.

He competed Saturday. Then we drove home. Sawyer sang at a festival in town with her band. I missed it, but her dad, Parks and her grandparents made it. I hear she did well.

Sunday we just hung out at the lake. Bella learned to swim. Cinnamon just watched. I ended the night with a magnificent sunset.

Finding Passion-Rock Climbing

A new passion has arisen among two of my three children-rock climbing.  The kids climbed at the US Whitewater Center many times when they were younger.  They always enjoyed the thrill of completing a route.  I remember the first time that Sims climbed with a person belaying him instead of using the autobelay.  I think this is when he became hooked.  He saved up and purchased his own harness, which he passed down to Sawyer and now Parks.

Fast foward a few years…Sims and Sawyer display amazing confidence in the climbing gym and on a rock face.  They both have learned how to read routes and to know how they climb.  They have learned so much about self-control, breathing, mindfulness, and how to work with what you have (short stature, tall stature, less flexibility, anxiety…).  They are learning about safety while climbing outdoors and how to help rescue fellow climbers.

They utilize many of our school lessons while climbing.  Sims researches outdoor climbing areas to learn about the rock type.  His geology lessons from last year are being put to use now.  He understands the importance of weather on the rock.  He discusses the physics behind the different types of gear used and why each is important.  He looks at the terrain to get to the rock faces.  They both train and show true commitment to the sport.  I look forward to watching them grow in this passion!

Weekly Wrap-Up

May!  It’s May!  How did that happen?  Seriously, it was just August of 2017.  I really wish that I had done a weekly wrap up throughout the year.  Even though there isn’t much exciting to report on, I would like the record of what we did.  Well, its better to start now than to never start at all.

Last weekend was full.  You know those kind of crazy weekends when you need another set of parents to get everything done?  That is what we had.  Sims and Sawyer had a climbing competition at the same time that Parks had his first day of sailing team practice.  Next, Sawyer had to be about an hour away to sing at Catawba College.  Her voice instructor brought all of the bands that she worked with this year to come play as part of her senior project.

We had a bit of an off week of school this week.  Parks was supposed to participate in the Starbase Program at our local Department of Defense.  Unfortunately, the class did not work out for him-but it was a week long camp and I had plans with the older two.  I know, I know.  Plans are meant to be flexible.  Tuesday, Parks headed to his ecology class at Latta Plantation while Sims, Sawyer and I took Bella on her first official walk/hike.  Then we went to the Discovery Place in Charlotte for Sims to take a class on cell biology.

Wednesday, Sawyer and Parks went to their drawing class.  They are learning to draw what they see and not what they imagine.  They both love to draw, but this class is really challenging them to step outside of their box with their art.  Thursday, Sims and Sawyer met with their writing teacher.  They are both wrapping up their writing programs for the year.

Friday, we hit the trails.  We met up with two other families and hike Stephens Road Nature Preserve.  Hiking was the perfect wrap up for the week.  The forest had lots of fun finds.  Then we ended the week with a performance of Parks’s band at a local spring fling and the Avengers movie.


Anatomy and Physiology

We decided to join/start up a new 4H group in our area this year.  We didn’t do a whole lot as a group this year, but we did try out a few activities and plan to do a lot more next year.  One activity we did was charcoal making-you can read about that here.  In addition to primitive skills, we tried out an anatomy and physiology class.  Two other moms and I split up the systems and went to work.  We grouped the systems into -systems for movement, systems for nutrient delivery, and systems for nutrient absorption and excretion.

Systems for Movement 

We started with the skeletal system, learning the anatomy of the bones and the skeleton and the physiology of the bones.  Then we moved to the muscular system. We wrapped up this group with the nervous system.

Systems for Nutrient Delivery

This unit began with the circulatory system and finished up with the respiratory system.

Systems for Nutrient Absorption and Excretion

The kids went into the depths of the digestive system, and they loved it.

The class concluded with each child presenting on a disease, disorder or condition that they researched.  We had a fantastic array of information.  The list included pulmonary fibrosis, autism, diarrhea, strokes, heart attacks, pace makers, hemophilia, central core disorder, celiac disease, and Paget’s disease.


I really enjoyed teaching this group of systems and tying them together in this manner.  I felt that the kids were able to put the systems together and realize that they are never separate from each other.  The kids also really learned the importance of taking care of your body and how ignoring one body system can really effect more than that one system.

A Perfect Friday

The spring is on its way!  It is not completely here yet, but it is close (I will post on the signs of spring when it does!).  On Friday, we had a perfect spring day.  The weather was perfect for riding in the field.

After riding we headed to the lake to hang out. The neighborhood that the lake house is in is beautiful this time of year.  The azaleas and the dogwoods are blooming.

Then while I was working out, our newest family member arrived!  Meet Bella Puddles.  She is an eight week-old blue healer border collie mix..  We have been watching her and her sibling for the past few weeks.  Parks has fallen in love with her.


Charcoal Making

We recently began a 4H group in our area which has opened up some new opportunities for us.  One new opportunity is primitive studies. Charcoal making initiated the series.  One of the fathers of the group taught the class.  Everyone had a can filled with a various type of wood-MDF, plywood, pine, oak, black maple, cedar, cherry and cotton (not a wood, but we did make charcoal with it).  We placed them in the fire and waited…and waited…and waited.  Initially, we only saw the steam come out of the containers.

Next, the wood went through pyrolysis.

Finally, the wood turned into charcoal.

The class was absolutely fascinating.  We saw how tar is a byproduct of burning (and had a lesson on how tar can coat your lungs from a burning cigaret).  We are looking forward to using the coal to smith some iron next!!

What’s New?

I realize that I have gone a little MIA on the blog lately.  I guess that I am not exactly sure what to write or show.  I don’t have too many pictures, and we have just been doing the same old thing.

Parks has completed two blocks since I last wrote.  He did a block on Ancient China and a block on Ancient Greece.  He is now working on trying to get a skatepark built in our town.  He went to a town meeting.  He has contacted a few towns that have public skateparks for information, and he plans on working on that for a bit.

Sawyer completed a block on China during the Middle Ages.  As a group we read the books, The Starry River of the Sky and The Odyssey (a revised version).  Then Sawyer and I read, Along the River: A Chinese Cinderella Novel by Adeline Yen Mah.  We both LOVED this book.  Sawyer has also been sewing up a storm.  She has made a dress and a jean skirt and experimenting with different materials.

Sims completed a block on Chinese and Russian geography.  He is also working through Biology and World History now on a daily basis.  The block system hasn’t worked as well as we had hoped for high school.

We haven’t gotten out for a hike in a while.  Hopefully, we will start back up again soon.  Parks has visited several skateparks over the past few months.  He has gained quite a few skills on the scooter and his bike.  Sims and Sawyer are both rock climbing competitively right now.  Although, Sims prefers to climb outside.  Although the blog has been quiet, our lives have been far from it.  We are staying busy.

As the year starts wrapping up, I should have a little more to post on.  We are starting an anatomy and physiology class.  The air is warming up so I know that we will be outside a good bit more.