Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hiking Alone

A few years back, there was a book called Bowling Alone and it talked about how we are becoming less community-minded and more individualistic in our lives. I whole-heartedly agree *except* in the case of seminary here in Sewanee. We are so community-minded, and it's such a good, supportive thing, but I often have to remember how to do things alone. Now that the kids are in school, I've discovered hiking alone. Everytime we take the kids on a hike, I think about how nice it would be to come back sometime and hike by myself and enjoy the sounds and sights of nature without having to worry about someone falling off a cliff. But of course, that never really happens. Mostly because if we're going to hike, we *want* the kids to come explore with us (and get really worn out!).
Well today after dropping the kids off, I was all dressed and ready to go workout at the gym, and I found myself taking a detour to one of the trails that surround campus. As appealing as it sounds, I've always been kind of scared by the idea of hiking alone. I mean, what if I get hurt somehow...get bitten by a black widow, snake, rabid skunk, etc? I know I should always take my cell phone in case anything happens, but I wasn't really prepared today. So I decided to just try one of the less extreme trails. I picked a trail that runs through the woods along the length of a road that leads to the War Memorial Cross (or "the big cross" as the kids call it). It's about 3/4 of a mile to the cross, and then you get to take in the beautiful view of the town below before turning around a heading back to the start of the trail. From the cross, there are many options for continuing on the Perimeter Trail, but for today I decided to take it easy and just do the mile and a half roundtrip back to the car. It was uneventful(no injuries, just a few spiderwebs to walk through), fun, and just challenging enough to make it feel like a workout. Also, since the trail is pretty mild, I was able to run some parts of it. So, I think I've found a new hobby for the mornings I don't have kids or other obligations. And mom, I promise to bring my cell phone next time, because I know you're worried now. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Gourmet Picnic...sort of

Sunday was our 1st family day in awhile and we decided we needed a little adventure. I remembered this cool park my parents and I found soon after moving to Sewanee on one of our driving explorations, and realized ^J^ wasn't with us back then, so we decided to try and find it yesterday and take a picnic. The park, it turns out, is Grundy Lakes State Park and it's very pretty. Of course I have no pictures to show you, but I promise, it's nice. (The broken camera is in the mail as we speak). As you enter the park, there are these cool cave-looking holes along the hill on the side of the road. They look like tiny hobbit-holes and as it turns out they were ovens where convicts would convert locally mined coal into coke (a smoke-free fuel) up until the late 1800s. They are all overgrown with weeds and such now and they are very mysterious, so of course I had to come home and find out more about them.

Anyway, we drove the circle of the park and found a beach/playground with picnic tables in the shade. After our gourmet lunch of goat cheese(local), tomatoes(local), and basil(local) sandwiches, we braved the lake. It was really pretty everywhere *except* for the designated "beach" area, so we kinda moved around and didn't get in too deep. Then *A* found a friend and she wanted to really swim, so we all ended up swimming in the not-so-clean area of the beach. It was fun though and refreshing and a perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Here's my "gourmet" (and mostly local) Goat Cheese Sandwich recipe:
1 pkg/roll/etc. plain goat cheese
20 or so leaves of basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste (at least a tsp of each)
*Mix all of the above and form into a ball. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Spread goat cheese mix on bread of choice and top with slices of fresh-of-the-vine tomatoes and thinly sliced Vidalia onions (or other sweet onion if you're not from the south). YUM!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The New Normal

I'm just starting to get a taste of what this new schedule is going to be like and I *think* I like it...yesterday was too busy to even realize anything was different but I have to say, it was a strange feeling picking the kids up from school and not really knowing what they'd been up to all morning. I'm not sure I like that feeling, and I'm not sure I'm done with the idea of homeschooling, but I'm willing to wait and see how things go this year. Today (H) was upset he didn't get to go to school, so I guess that's a good sign that he likes it. He whined a bit yesterday when I dropped him off, not full-out crying though and actually as we pulled in the driveway of the school yesterday he said "I'm not gonna cry Mommy". So sweet. His teacher is a wonderful, gentle person and she has a Montessori-style approach and demeanor. She's really the only reason I even considered sending (H) this year. I was so impressed with her and her classroom that I knew he'd benefit from going a couple days a week and getting that foundation like *A* did at Counterpane. *A*'s classroom I'm not so sure about yet. The whole school is a Montessori/Reggio-based program, but they have a new teacher and they moved the room around from the way it was when we visited in the Spring so I'm waiting to learn a bit more about how they do things. I know they try to prepare them for how Kindergarten will be a bit more, but I want to make sure they are true to their word about following the child. I was encouraged yesterday when I came back in to drop off their school supplies and she was already at a table doing sorting work.

Normally our Tuesdays and Thursdays will be spent going to PMO but since that hasn't started up yet, we have a few weeks of (H) and Mommy time. He wasn't too happy about this when we dropped *A* and Daddy off, but after the *special* trip to McDonald's this morning, I think he decided it was ok. We're headed to the grocery store the morning and then to lunch at the seminary after we pick up *A*.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Full Plate

Do you sense a theme here? How it possible to be running on empty and yet have such a full plate all at the same time? Hmmm, deep thoughts. Anywho, life has kicked into high gear the past couple of days trying to get the end-of-the summer/beginning-of-the-semester jobs completed before we leave for a wedding in Michigan this weekend, but that's not before celebrating my parent's 20th wedding anniversary which isn't before getting the entire PMO room cleaned out and put back together so the floors can be waxed. Plus, either going to dinners or hosting dinners every night since Friday, and our phone has rung off the hook all day. It's a little intense.

Last week at this time I was having an inner-crisis about *A* going to preschool, and it being our last week of summer, and how we were going to fill our days with fun before reality set in...but suddenly, reality is here. It just jumped right in the middle of my plans for the week. And it's not stopping, not yet...I'm looking ahead and seeing the challenge of a long drive this weekend for a very short, fast-paced visit with family we rarely see, only to turn around and have to adapt immeadiately to a new morning-school-routine and life at the seminary staring again. It's all good, happy things, but it's all so soon, and so new so suddenly. So, so-long Late night with Conan O'Brien and so-long sleeping in until 8...well maybe not so-long yet...I still have a few more days of summer bliss to enjoy, even if my plate is overflowing.