Road Schooling Today

Our friends at Wagonmaster RV Park and Alpaca Farm recently started a Project Wild Homeschool Program.  Today we enjoyed the afternoon at Ray Roberts Lake Park identifying and casting animal tracks. 

Out of Hibernation

It looks like this blog fell asleep in October.  To our followers- note we are still alive as ever, still enjoying the journey and plan to have some great highlights of the past few months here very soon. 

Snapshots of New England August-October 2015

Plymouth, MA, Plymouth Plantation, Mayflower II, Founding Father's Monument

Weekly trips to the best library in the country! Mattapoissett, MA. 

Lots of fun and movie making with friends.

Music Ministry at area churches

Outdoor science experiments at the Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, MA

John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester, Ma, One of the most famous dresses worn by Jackie, Piece of the Berlin Wall

Whaling Museum and Visitor Center in New Bedford, MA.  This is the pulpit at the Seaman's Bethel- Church for Seamen and the swearing in of Jr. Rangers at Whaling Visitor Center

Apple Picking

Cranberry Harvest

Day at Scusset Beach...Topped off with the release of rehabilitated seals

Dutch oven cooking in the fire.. yum!

Cape Cod railroad bridge and the Sagamore Bridge at sunset

Sports:  Iowa Hawkeye and Patriot fan at Gillette stadium, Pickle Ball and Tennis lessons at the Campground

Young business lady selling her handmade wares.. and did quite well and knitting with our new friend Debbie

Setting up our home extension... a special gift from our special friends Pat and Carol

Bringing musical joy to the precious folks at Sippican Rehab
Center (ConnectLives)

Fort Phoenix and a live scallop we enjoyed watching

Cape Cod National Sea Shore

Trip into Boston...Riding the Subway, Trinity Church, Capitol Building on Beacon Hill, In the Public Gardens we found the little ducks from a favorite book "Make Way for the Ducklings"

More of Maine

Geocaching on the coast 

Sketching in Nature Journal

Beach Day! Aunt Katherine comes to visit. 

Fun times with the Abdi kids

When in Rome...

We usually try to make sure we at least have a taste of each region we are in.  With a large family and tight budget, we often just get a couple of something to split.  With just a bite or two, somehow it's more appreciated.  

This sweet lady is a bird expert at Laudholm Wildlife Refuge.  We joined her for a bird banding demonstration and learned a lot about wildlife in an estuary (where fresh water meets saltwater) 

Listening to a bird's heartbeat. 

More beach time with friends that travel fulltime like we do. 

Back in Maine

We like to say we have many homes around the country.  Well, technically we bring our home with us, but there are many places that are dear to our hearts, and Maine is certainly one of those places. 

Before children and during our days living in Boston, James and I used to spend weekends in Maine.  Since we've been traveling we've made great friends as well as memories there.  

This years trip happened to coincide with blueberry season.  Carissa noticed a few in our campsite and the more we looked around the more bushes we found.  At least a quart a days worth.  It's so fun ... the ways God blesses us! 

The boys enjoyed the stream of young frogs running through our campsite too.  Here they take a break from frog play to eat their hot dogs.... Frogs and Dogs.. Since I wouldn't let them eat with frog hands they had to contain them for a bit in the fire ring in order to eat. 

One of our favorite short day trips ... Nubble light house..

A misty evening on the beach ...

Plymouth, MA

Once again, we've met some fantastic families on our journey.... Families that RV fulltime like we do.  Yesterday we enjoyed a day together at Plymouth.  

The view of the infamous "rock".  

Replica of the Mayflower 

Wait a minute... Could this be the real one? 

Crabbing and Pony Rides

Today, we all went crabbing-and no one is allowed to be "crabb-Y" (which is not typically the case but I couldn't resist the pun:)

Not sure we can officially call this crabbing since they are not big enough to eat but they sure are fun to catch! 

We got back to the campground just in time for the pony ride. 

Hudson Valley (New York)

Last week we enjoyed spending time at the foot of the Catskill Mountains and in the beauty of the Hudson River Valley.  

Crossing of the Hudson.. 

We spent most of the day at the FDR estate where Franklin D Roosevelt was born, raised his own family and was buried.  On the way over however we had to stop in New Paltz for a true New York Bagel with the most amazing cream cheese EVER!  We also stopped along some beautiful road side overlooks and trails.

This sculpture is a cut out of the Berlin Wall.  

Speaking of freedom from fear… here is a scripture I read just that morning and this was fresh in my mind… 

Anytime FDR had to make a major decision during WWII, we would come back home.  Something amazing standing in front of his home knowing that so many major world events were decided here. 

Outside his home is the rose garden where he was buried.  We spent a lot of time here "smelling the roses".  They reminded me of my Grandma's house growing up. 

This is the backyard of the Vanderbilt mansion just down the road.  

This was the other scripture I just read that morning… I love how God daily connects His Word with everyday life! 

We've been on an electronic "fast" for quite a few days, taking break to delve into old-fashioned fun and family unity. So here is a picture of the youngest three at a pond near the RV.  They spent nearly the entire day there building water villages, docks, miniature people fishing etc.. all out of things they found on the ground (bark, sticks, rocks etc… ).  While they came home really muddy, it was such a normal thing for three boys to enjoy! 

Snapshots of Spring 2015

It's been some time since I've posted anything here, so, even though it's a few days past the official beginning of summer,  I'm just going to give a quick sketch of where we've been this past spring...

In March, after a few months staying at Wagonmaster RV Park in Sanger, TX, we washed down our outdoor stuff, packed it all up and said "see you later"  to all two legged and four legged friends there.  At one point we thought we might settle down near DFW, (so we were headed back to Iowa to get our storage unit in order) but realized later when we got there, God had some other plans for us.  How many times have I said that?

Here is Carissa playing piano before we packed it up.  I taught piano for 15 years… my how my standards how been altered!! 

Traveling through Oklahoma

On the way back to Iowa we made a couple stops near Carthage, MO.  The George Washington Carver National Monument was truly one of the most fascinating National Monuments we've been to.  We know the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, (we've lived and breathed it for the past 3 years on the road) but it's so awesome  to see this lived out in the life of a prominent figure.  Every quote in this exhibit gave all Glory to God.  GWC struggled to get a proper education because he was black, but early in his life he found Christ and he knew that because God created everything in nature, He could certainly teach him anything he needed to know about how nature fits together.  His laboratory  was not in a building but in his daily walks in the woods with God.  His love for people was remarkable. 

Later when we were visiting my parents in Traer, IA my 8th grade teacher from long ago,  gave us a tour of the Historical Museum there. The kids quickly recognized the picture of George Washington Carver and learned that he was a friend of Tama Jim Wilson, the secretary of Agriculture under Woodrow Wilson.  He used to come to Traer to stay with him.  One of the quotes of GWC in the Carthage Monument talked about how education is not the filling of facts but rather piecing together the relationship between the facts.  This was a case in point. 

We also visited the Precious Moments Chapel.  Such a peaceful place. 


A thought for when the kids are grown

So we got to Iowa, and had the goal of cutting our storage unit- basically in half.   It's so nice to live "out of site.. out of mind".  But we still chip away at it and keep reducing every time we go back.  It took a lot of team effort but we did it and moved our stuff to a unit half the size.

It's always fun to find a few treasures of the past.   Jay is looking at his old Hawkeye scrapbook. 

Filing music

Building our new unit


Then we went to help my parents work on cleaning their house out before putting it on the market.  They have done really well cleaning out but there are still some treasures to be found. 

Old spools make great marionettes!

Anyone remember these stained glass kits?  We put them in the oven and had to fumigate the house afterwards.  I'm sure they've made the non-toxic version since the 70s. 

Philip finds an old mower tractor to tinker with. 

Helping Grandpa put away the snow fences. 

Jay made it just in time to watch the Basketball Finals.  We have been TV- free for the past 13 years and LOVE IT but occasionally it is fun to be able to tune in to a game or two. 

Hawkeye baseball team had a great year and Nana took us to see one of the games. 

Jay is a crazy Iowa Hawkeye fan.  He went to the spring game with Nana and enjoyed it immensely. 

He even made up his own spring game for our family (which he did last year too). 

Stephen does not yet  know it is illegal to tackle by hitting with a baseball bat. 

Players are also the halftime entertainment

Johnny opening with the Star Spangled Banner

The spring game players

The boys (and cousins) had so much fun at the spring airsoft war in the 100 acre wood of our friends Ernie and Mindy.  They are already strategizing how to get back to Iowa again next spring. 

Stephen painting his fort in Nana and Papa's woods

Stephen wanted to make sure we had Christmas in the woods before we left

Carissa making jewelry with Nana's friends from China.  We also went to an International Women's Club event featuring food and exhibits from various countries.  It was fascinating for the kids to talk with many of the women there. 

The magician

We got to celebrate our friend, Lark's golden birthday with her. Carissa gave her a gold scarf that she made. 

Watching a tree being removed from the yard. 

A trip to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site.  Here we gleaned a lot of interesting facts from this real blacksmith. 

Our family enjoyed celebrating Easter with a Seder Meal, which is so rich in foreshadowing the promised Messiah. 

Philip celebrating his birthday on the same day as his good friend Jeremiah.  We had such a wonderful time with our dear friends the Kerns! 

Philip (and his cousin Caleb) also got surprised with a party at the cousins house and our friends the Atkisons also were able to join us which made it all the sweeter! 

Well- I might get in trouble for putting this picture on, but my parents are good sports.  


The kids and the big rooster

My dad decided it was time to auction off the 530 John Deere.  While being a sentimental sort of day, it was fun to see him with grandchildren as well as hanging out, talking with the farmers.  Something he loves to do.

As my parents move toward getting the house on the market, we are keeping flowers and other things in the family.  Here is the transfer of the rhubarb to Nana and Papa's house. 

Cousins and Iowa City neighbor friends, Margaret and Helen. 

Saying "see you later" again… 

Enjoying one last (possibly) sunset over the acreage I grew up on.  Many evenings through the years, we sat out there and either looked at the sunset or the stars.  

We moved on to the Chicago area and spent precious time with the Fry's and the Burkharts.  We have the most incredible friends who we thank God for all the time! 

I know I don't mention it much but we do have school year round.  We had taken time off to work on the storage unit so now we are back at it.  We try to do a nature walk once a week, wherever we are.  The kids have journals and they sketch something they are unfamiliar with.  They then look it up and record the common and scientific names.  Since we move around so much, it's a great way to see how ecosystems are different in various areas of the country.  We all look forward to this time. 

Time on the  Michigan coast at Lake Michigan

While near Wilmington, OH, we discovered there was an alpaca farm nearby!  The kids missed the alpacas so much down in TX.  A special thanks to Kim KB Alpaca Farm for letting us come over for an afternoon and enjoy her babies! 

And speaking of Alpacas… Do you want to know what this baby alpaca's (cria's) name is… Knabe Kid!  Born on Easter of this year.  Janet and Ken at Wagonmaster named him after the kids.  We can't wait to meet him but here is a picture of a good friend of ours, Gage, feeding him during a recent stay there. 

And here is David's special friend, Kerney whom he played with in Texas nearly every day.  He was surprised to run into them again in Michigan and this wonderful dog still remembered him! 

We've met and reconnected with so many special people on this journey of life.  Really, in the end, isn't that that the only thing that is lasting?  Here are some of the precious people God has given us the honor the know. 

We had the privilege to spend time with Ron, sharing stories of God's incredible greatness and healing in people's lives.  His life is a beautiful reflection of Christ's love. 

These are our friends the Bowsers,  whom we met a couple years ago in Ohio and we had a wonderful time encouraging one another in the faith and making many fun memories.  

We were so blessed by our new friends Bianca, Guy, Gordon and Lillian!!

Sweet time with our family friend Elaine, whom James and I stayed with once as we moved from Iowa to New York 23 years ago.  We had not seen her since and it was such sweet time catching up. 

Our campground neighbors near Cleveland and their birds.  

A week of fun with our great friends, the Mann's… fishing, playing, celebrating birthday and enjoying time together. 

David's 10th birthday

Our second great lake in a month.  Lake Erie

Prepping to head out again.  Philip hooking up the car on the tow unit.  

Following the Clouds