Well, not everything. For instance, I'm not going to summarize cellular biology, or literary terms, or principles of frugality. But what have we been doing lately?
We went to Mississippi and Alabama. I've never actually stopped down and visited those two states. The people we met were warm, friendly, hospitable, and really resistant to guests helping in the kitchen, but I helped anyway. We stayed in a beautiful home in the woods down in Hattiesburg, and on a family farm near Tuscaloosa, and felt like we'd known these folks forever. All my pictures were wiped from my camera for some reason, but the memory of that little guy singing 'Kaw-liga' on the porch of the dogtrot Saturday night will always be present in my mind.
On the way home, we stopped in Vicksburg and tried to picture the horrific 47 days in which the brave people of the city attempted to go about their 19th century lives while being beseiged with modern weapons I had never before considered part of the 19th century. I mean, armored ships? I know, everyone reads about the Merrimack and the Monitor, but those two names are just Concepts To Study As Part Of The Civil War. We walked across an actual armored ship in Vicksburg. We saw artifacts that had been dredged up from the Yazoo River. I never realized how very real and armored those ships were. We must be so careful as teachers to not simply Place Concepts in Boxes and Check Them Off.
We saw photos and read accounts of the ships trekking down the Mississippi past Vicksburg, dodging fire from the bluffs. We saw the stretch of sand and water (now a canal, since the Mississippi has deviated course) and could imagine startled soldiers manning cannon, could see Grant land down river and make his circuitous way to Vicksburg, that key to winning the war. We saw the Union and Confederate trenches, then so torn-- now serenely covered with green grass that belies the monuments to battle. It was astonishing to realize the vehemence and strength of conviction with which both sides fought.
We visited the Old Courthouse Museum and found a plaque commemorating the first Primitive Baptist church in Alabama, which descended in direct line from the little Welsh church. Dad took pictures, and we bought some Gordon Cotton books. Dad's preaching appointments were the reason for the trip, and we are so glad he invited us to go. He caught a cold the last few days, though. Poor Dad.
The day after we got back from Alabama, I received an email from a dear friend, who said they would get to visit us Columbus Day weekend after all. Yay! We spent the next two days doing some schoolwork, catching up laundry, and preparing our house to be the scene of fun. ;o) The weekend was wall-to-wall girlishness, with one sweet five-year-old boy to keep us from overdoing. Makeup, books, dancing, music, gymnastics. And visiting. I love visiting.
They left Tuesday morning, and Mariel promptly got sick. She has strep. The adventure continues...