As Allie says, the Rodgers family is always "adventuring". And I quote, "You never know what our family is going to do next, do you Momma?" :) She's right. Last weekend was no exception.
One of the things I love about homeschooling is the endless opportunities for field trips. There are literally hundreds of educational sites for field trips within driving distance of Huntsville. Lucky for us, Brian owns his own company, so he has a lot of flexibility in his schedule and loves to go with us as a family when he can. Also lucky for us, we have interesting relatives all over the state. My mother in law lives in Childersburg, the home of Desoto Caverns. And my cousin Becky works at 4H camp about 20 minutes from Childersburg. So, we decided to make sort of a "loop" and cover Desoto and 4H in three days.
Of course, as often happens, our plans changed a bit at the last minute. Brian was asked to do a job in Mississipi on the second day of our trip, and since he's just started his company, he's not really in a position to turn down a job. So logistics got complicated a bit but we made it work.
Thursday morning we headed out for Childersburg. Even though potty-trained Maggie had a diaper on for the 3-hour trip, she held it all the way to Na-Na's house. She is "too big to go tee tee in a diaper" (thank the Lord!) When we got to Naomi's, she had warm chicken enchiladas waiting for us for lunch. What a great hostess! After lunch, we left Penelope with her, since she was still a little under the weather from a stomach virus and we weren't sure how much she would enjoy the cave. The caverns were so much fun. I have to say, we've also been to Cathedral Caverns in North Alabama, and I think that cave is much bigger and more impressive. But Desoto has a park built around the caverns that is fun for the whole family. And since we went on a Thursday during school hours, we pretty much had the park to ourselves. After our cave tour, we visited the butterfly house, dug for gemstones, panned for gold, and raced bathtubs, toilets, and toy Mustangs. What fun! I'm not sure where else in the world you can race toilets.
When we got back to Na-Na's, she had another delicious meal cooked for us. After dinner, Brian had to leave to go to Mississippi, leaving me his employee Clancy's truck (which I had never driven) to drive to 4H Camp the next day (which I had never driven to. Like I said, we're always "adventuring"!) We got the younger two in bed, then Naomi, Allie and I stayed up doing crafts. Naomi has a whole craft room full of fun stuff for making cards and scrapbooking. (Although I swore I never would, I think I'm going to have to start scrapbooking. I am about to have 4 children and all. When I am going to find the time, I don't know, but it sure is fun. :)) When I finally went to bed in the guest room, Maggie (who was in a pack n play in the guest room with me), groggily said, "Mama I wanna go potty. . . PLEEEEEEZ. . . ") I got up to take her to the potty, and realized she had taken her nighttime diaper off (remember she hates to pee pee in a diaper) and was sitting naked in a pool of urine. Oh, I forgot, she wasn't completely naked, she had soaking wet socks on and was shivering. Anyway, I put her on the potty, gave her a fresh diaper, socks and pajamas, and put her in the bed with me. Allie, Maggie and I shared a double bed that night. No, I didn't get much sleep. Luckily, Penelope slept great in the other room. Allie and Maggie slept great too. Maggie changed positions about every 15 minutes, kicking both of us every time.
Friday morning after a delicious breakfast, the girls and I set off in a foreign truck to find a foreign place with a few written directions. Allie said a quick prayer for us as we backed out of the long, curvy driveway. I think she could tell I was a little nervous. I don't really have poker face. Anyway, the directions turned out to be great and we went straight to 4H camp without a hitch. Becky was waiting for us when we got there, ready to show us around and teach us new things. That afternoon I learned so much listening to Becky tell us all about the animals and their eating habits, behaviors, instincts, etc. She really is a wealth of knowledge. We are so lucky to have her in our family!
Brian got back to the camp just in time for dinner on Friday night. Becky took us to this great place in Columbiana, which is one of the cutest little towns I've seen. And I slept like a LOG that night. Partly because it was Brian next to me and not two kicking, moving girls; partly because the campground was so quiet and peaceful; partly because I was so tired from my lack of sleep the night before.
Saturday morning we took a nice hike in the woods with Becky and her dog Sydney. Then we drove over to Becky's new beautiful house, and she took us to yet another wonderful restaurant, The Fish Market, in Calera. Becky really knows good restaurants. Lucky for us!
All in all, I think it was very educational for Allie and very fun for the whole family. We've got a few more field trips planned for September, including the Amish Village and Tate Farms. I hope God gives us the go-ahead to keep homeschooling so we can keep going to all these fun places on weekdays. :)