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Eight Years Ago

IMG_3053Tomorrow my little girl turns eight. Do you remember your 8th birthday? In my classes we’ve been remembering when we were 12 (the middle school years). I have a hard time remembering specific ages. I always remember 9 because it was the year Frankie was born. I guess 8 was the last year I was the baby of the family. Zoey wants us to have another baby but it’s not in the stars for us. She really wants a dog for her birthday, but we can’t deliver on that either just yet.

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Hatley Castle in Victoria, B.C.

Over the weekend we visited Hatley Castle in Victoria. The tour only included the first floor because the upper floors are now administrative offices for the Royal Roads University. We enjoyed visiting the castle gardens with the huge Western Red Cedar trees.

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Stephen and the kids took me to Goldstream Park next to the TransCanada Hwy where there is a waterfall and big rocks the kids enjoyed climbing.

IMG_4063.jpgIMG_4061.jpgBelow is the birthday verse I am giving Zoey. She continues to teach me so much everyday about being fully alive.

Bright golden sun o’er all the world is warming,
Tells me now that new summer days are forming.
Be filled with Light!
My Spirit can take heed
Let thoughts take flight
From winter’s darkness freed.
With joy I see the beauty
Nature everywhere is showing
And I shine like the stars and flowers
Dancing, laughing, changing, growing

 


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A Lesson in Recycling (It’s not what you think)

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Zoey sharing Zane’s bed instead of sleeping in her upper bunk.

The hot water dilemma continues. Last night the hot water heater switch was turned off, yet we were able to get hot water. Tonight it’s cold again. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the hot water heater switch is turned on or off or whether it’s running on electric or propane. I have noticed that we tend to get hot water more in the afternoons or evenings, but never in the morning.

My first week of classes have ended. It was an exciting week in Physics and Chemistry from burning magnesium over dry ice, adding sulfuric acid to sugar, making cheese, and many more experiments. Next week I’ll begin Roman History and the Middle Ages for Grade 6, Health, Nutrition, Hygiene, Anatomy & Physiology for Grade 7 & 8, Coppersmithing, Singing, and more Eurythmy. Tomorrow we are going to visit Hatley Castle in Victoria. I’m looking forward to having the weekend to spend with Stephen and the kids and to do some exploring around Victoria.

And last of all, a short conversation Stephen overheard as the kids were lying in bed trying to go to sleep.

Zane: “Zoey, I think I’m all out of boogers.”
Zoey: (talking about the boogers) “Don’t put them on the sheet. You can put them in your mouth.”
Zane: “I know, that’s what I’m doing.”

 

 


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Day 26 of Traveling

It’s quite difficult to keep a blog going when you don’t really like to be on the computer. The kids and Stephen are in bed. It’s 9:55pm. I’ve started, deleted, and restarted writing this post several times now. We haven’t had reliable wireless internet in the last two campgrounds we’ve stayed at. Here’s a brief update in photos.

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Zoey with her cousin Tessa at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, WA

 

For the past 2 summers I have been in Canada for Zoey’s birthday. This year she really wanted to celebrate her birthday with her classmates before we left on our trip, so we had an early birthday celebration for her in June. She had another early celebration of her birthday last week. Seven more days until her actual birthday. She’s turning my favorite number.

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Sand Art display at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma

It was rainy and cold today, although Stephen disagreed with me about the cold part. It was in the 60s I think which is cold for July for this Southern California girl. I am looking forward to a hot shower tomorrow morning in the campground bathroom. We have propane in our tanks because I can cook on the stove top just fine, but we have no hot water. I’ve taken one too many cold showers recently. Anyone have any ideas why this might be happening?

We’re staying just outside of Victoria, British Columbia for three weeks. My summer Waldorf teacher training session ends July 19th. Three of my classmates were denied entry at the border, so I feel pretty lucky we didn’t have any problems getting across. It sounds like I may need to get a study permit/student visa for the next session in November even though it is only 1 week.

Tomorrow my day begins with a half-hour of singing at 7:30am, Math for grades 5 &6, Christology, Physics for grades 6, 7, 8, and our last class of the day is Eurythmy.

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The Sea Captain pilot at an airplane museum in Victoria


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Summer Solstice

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Eating dinner at the Open Door in Sisters, Oregon

Today marks the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. We are now in Troutdale, Oregon near Portland at Sandy River RV Resort. Our site backs up to the Sandy River.

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Since my last post, we stayed three days in Deerwood RV Park near Eugene, Oregon and then before that stayed at a RV park between Bend and Sisters. We took the kids to the Lava River Cave near Bend, Oregon where Stephen and I had been in 2010 when we did our California to Washington road trip. I think the kids were more impressed by holding their flashlights in the dark than the cave itself.

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IMG_3989.jpgGive the kids a little green grass, and they are happy as clams.


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Color Codes

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Crater Lake with view of Wizard Island

As you can imagine, as exciting as a year-long adventure in a trailer around the country can be, it’s not without some stress. So Stephen and I have borrowed the risk of wildfires color code chart: green = low to no stress, cool and calm, blue = moderate stress, yellow = high stress, orange = very high stress, and red = extreme stress. We’ve been staying in the green/blue range.

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Yesterday we visited Crater Lake and took a walk up the road that was still closed to cars due to snow still blocking the north entrance of the park. They had cleared at least 5 miles of the road when we were there, but we only walked about a mile up with the kids. The kids enjoyed making snowmen and placing them on the road hoping they would still be there when we hiked back down (they were not). Stephen received more than a few snowballs thrown at his neck, head, and backpack. My kind husband iced my arms and took my hand with snowballs in his hand just to cool me off. I remember one being thrown at my chest.

Crater Lake was incredibly beautiful. It was a warm (low 70s), sunny, blue sky day with a few clouds. My stress level was bordering on yellow as we walked and viewed the lake because there are no guardrails on the road and the ranger had told us the day before a man had walked out onto the snow and fell 800 feet. Miraculously he survived. I was just glad we all got out alive.

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The Bicycle Gang at Crater Lake Resort and RV Park

Today we visited Badger Run Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Klamath Falls. Stephen will share some photos from our trip there in another blog post. Tomorrow we pack up again and drive 2 hours north to Bend, Oregon.


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Hitting the Road

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School ended last Thursday. Summer vacation began for us on Friday and we departed for our around the country trip in our 2018 Flying Cloud 30 ft. Airstream. It’s a year of big changes. We sold our ranch in January. Our plan is to travel for a year while I homeschool the kids. We’re headed north so I can complete the July session of my Waldorf grades teacher training. Our first stop was Redding, California.

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We hiked around Manzanita Lake at Lassen National Park. It’s difficult these days to take a normal photo of the kids because they always have to make their funny faces.

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Manzanita Lake with Mt. Lassen in the distance

We arrived this afternoon at a RV park north of Klamath Falls near Crater Lake in Oregon. We’ve had a few snafus with trailer living. I learned tonight I cannot use the Instant Pot, microwave, while also having the AC on with the refrigerator and freezer running on electric power with 30 amps.

Tomorrow we’ll visit Crater Lake and a local train museum. Zoey and Zane have already made biker friends with a 6 year old boy and 9 year old girl in the RV park. We’ll spend 4 nights here and then on to Bend, Oregon.

 


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Thoughts for the Coming Winter

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Photo taken by Zoey at the arboretum in San Francisco

My days begin around 5 o’clock in the morning. The sun has not yet risen. I rise in the dark and in the quiet of the house. I rise to make lunches for the kids, lunch for myself, breakfast for myself while reciting John O’Donohue’s A Morning Offering:I bless the night that nourished my heart/To set the ghosts of longing free/Into the flow and figure of dream/That went to harvest from the dark/Bread for the hunger no one sees. Stephen makes his way downstairs around 6 o’clock, making breakfast for himself and the kids. We do our morning dance around the kitchen, back and forth as we get food cooked and prepared. By 7:30am, I am off down the mountain to work as the sun begins to rise. Orange and pink fills the morning sky.

Tonight as I drove home from work, I listened again to the SuperSoul conversations with Joan Chittister.  In the midst of darkness, how do we hold light for one another? I make attempts at that daily with all the patients I see at the clinic for therapy. And in my own family and friends? I could do better. When I turned 40 in October, I had this awakening that seems perhaps obvious, but usually isn’t until we bring it to our consciousness. I realized I had the choice to choose what media or content passed across my eyes. I didn’t have to take everything in and feel crummy afterward. I didn’t have to watch a scary movie and feel frightened. I didn’t have to read news stories that were ugly and disheartening. I could filter what brought more light, beauty, laughter, and joy into my being. It’s not that I’m not aware of what is happening in the world. Reading the headlines is often enough to fill me in, or perhaps an article sent from a friend that I can trust is worth reading and being moved. But the daily bombardment of ugly, selfishness, and greed? I’ll pass on that.

As we move towards greater darkness, we hold on to the hope of the coming of light. Nature points us in the direction of more understanding if we wake up and look. There are beautiful, inspiring things happening in this world. There are people who are living their life as prayer. May you and I be one of them. And in the words of John O’Donahue, May I have the courage today/To live the life that I would love, To postpone my dream no longer/But do at last what I came here for/And waste my heart on fear no more.