Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kansas History Field Trip (Days 3 and 4)

Wednesday morning we traveled from Topeka to Atchison. Our first stop was the Santa Fe Depot Museum. A tour guide gave us a quick overview then we meandered through the small, but very interesting museum. The children liked the clip of the song "On the Atichison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe" in a Judy Garland movie "The Harvey Girls". We read an account of Reverend Pardee Butler and pro slavery ruffians who set him afloat on the MO River with a 2 board raft intending that he drown so his blood wouldn't be on their hands.

For lunch we ate at a soda fountain that was recommended. Burgers, sloppy joes, egg salad, tenderloin and chips were our fare.

We walked through the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in a beautiful old home built in 1861. Lots of reading and non touchable exhibits, neat maps and photos.

front porch of Amelia's grandparents home overlooking the Missouri River
Next we meandered down the shady town streets following a brochure that pointed out opulent and splendid historic homes, architecture, and dates. Some had beautiful carriage houses behind. We watched a video in one restored horse barn. Atchison was one of the first settlements when the Kansas Territory was opened in 1854. It's position on the bend of the Missouri River helped it become an important supply point  with steamboats docking , then later the railroad originating here. It is a lovely romantic anniversary kind of place!

There is a marker where Abraham Lincoln gave a speech outside the courthouse years ago during his campaign. Back then, the KS-MO border towns were hotbeds for debate!

tour group picture by Abe Lincoln marker
We ate out of our coolers for supper on the river's edge at The Lewis & Clark Trail Park. On July 4, 1804 their expedition passed through and camped in the vicinity.

We stayed at this little churchhouse for 2 nights. The first evening we watched an exciting documentary about Lewis and Clark.

Day 4
Thursday morning breakfast treat at the pastor's home in Atchison. Several of us also showered here for the first time on our trip. 

We drove a half hour south to Leavenworth, entered the army post, and spent the morning inside the Frontier Army Museum. After a picnic lunch and short playtime on a playground. We peeked inside an old chapel (as our tour guide is a retired army chaplain), drove past the National Cemetery, and walked through the Buffalo (black) Soldier Monument.

Next we left post and drove through town to the Veteran's National Cemetery. Sobering, impressive, and beautiful.

The children spotted a fox, stalked him, and chased him into a culvert.

Meg isn't much taller than the cemetery markers.

On our way back to Riverbend Bible Church we passed the impressive penitentiary and picked up rotisserie chicken, dill potato salad, and watermelon at the grocery. After eating, we watched a reenactment video of Quantrill's Raid, the children played board games, and we slept again on the hardwood floor or narrow cushioned pews.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Relatives Came

September 1-5 Shannon's sister and family came to Kansas. It had been 5 years since their last visit!

They came bearing birthday gifts!

Meg revealing a little doll stroller

Riley's funny singing chicken card was a hit
The men and boys spent most of the days replacing the door on the small shed, building a door for Shannon's shop on the big shed, and general outside work. 

They also went canoeing one afternoon with all the kiddos.

The older girls prepared a 3 course "mystery lunch" for everyone using leftover pizza, hot chicken sandwiches, carrots & celery, turnips, tomato slices, cucumbers & onions, apple slices, and peanut butter bars. 

filling our 1st course menu orders

the boys first plateful

Annie learned a new hairstyle from Kate.

Ginny and Caroline (with Mom's help) designed and sewed this knit dress for Meg out of hand -me-down t-shirts. Kate and Annie made a tiny orange skirt.

The girls prepared dinner, fed the children, and fixed a fancy table to celebrate Jay & Gentry's Anniversary.

Then provided entertainment after the meal!

Meg stealing the show

such flair!
(the outfits were more impressive than the acting)

another mealtime

We enjoyed our last evening in the front  yard with glow sticks Grandma sent out.

best friends

matching cousins

Goodbye! Don't wait so long to come again!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kansas History Field Trip (Day 1 and 2)

Where did we go? What did we do?
It was 5 weeks ago! I wish I knew!

So glad for pictures to help refresh the memory...

It all started at the home school conference where I attended a workshop about making history exciting. The speaker said he was planning a week long Kansas spiritual heritage tour for the summer, so we signed up for the informational email.

Next thing ya know..

August 11. We woke up in the pre-dawn hours to leave by 5 a.m. for Topeka.

First on the itinerary: tour of the capitol building. 


Shannon & Caroline climbed many steps above this dome (pictured below) to an exterior dome and walkway outside where they looked over the city from the tip-top of the tall tall structure!

inside looking up into the dome
The very old library had one solid bookshelf towering from the bottom level to the 2nd, glass floors, a dumb waiter, and neat-o lighting.

Details in the ceilings, furnishings, and wall paintings are amazing!

When the tour guide offered for anyone to sit in the big chairs for a picture, Meg quickly retorted, "I want to!" So Daddy escorted her to the front of the room.

such a handsome Daddy
Next on the schedule: Old Prairie Town. We ate a picnic lunch and wandered midst the old buildings. There was a garden behind the log cabin where the little girls picked and slurped cherry tomatoes. The unpicked okra was higher than our heads and 8 inches long! An old apple tree's low branches made a lovely shady perch for Caroline and her new friend. They gathered the windfalls and we enjoyed apples the rest of the week.

In front of the old barber shop, soda fountain/candy shoppe. Apple tree on the right.
A beautiful botanical garden was also on the property with winding paths, fountain, and sparking stream.

kaleidoscope of  living flowers
Then, we spent several hours at Brown vs. Board of Education national historic site learning about the role Kansas played in the desegregation of public schools. Very interesting, unfortunately both Annie's and my camera batteries were dead. There she he received another Junior Ranger badge.

The day was waxing old and the historic churches were closed. However we sat on the steps of the church where Charles M. Sheldon preached his sermons that eventually were compiled in the book In His Steps (WWJD) and listened to our tour guide give a short account of Charles' life and ministry.

We ate a picnic supper at the huge Gage Park where even the big kids had fun playing!

Cora met a new local friend and they moved from one play area to another, almost covering the entire park!

At dusk we arrived at our overnight accommodations: Topeka Bible Church. The children played in the gym upstairs and we settled our packs and bags on the basement floor, each family in their own corner.

Day 2
We spent all morning browsing through the Kansas Museum of History. Annie took a survey that likened her to William Allen White, a famous newspaper editor. She liked the Indian exhibits and the more modern displays. The younger girls liked the discovery center where they dressed up, had puppets, and hands on activities.

Most of our group stood for a picture next to the famous Kansan mannequins...Carrie Nation, George Washington Carver, Amelia Earhart,

Dwight D, Eisenhower, Kiowa Chief Satanta, and painter John Stuart Curry. Annie is in the back next to her similar personality, Mr. White.

The Pottawatomie Baptist Mission building has been relocated outside the museum.
We picnicked on tables nearby.

Then we drove 30 minutes to Lecompton and browsed through the Territorial Capitol Museum and Constitution Hall: places and events in history that our family knew nothing about because we grew up in different states that had different statehood significance.

mid-1800s jail

Next we traveled to Lawrence where we watched a  documentary at the Information Center at Santa Fe Railroad Depot. Just down the street by the river, some children had made mud forts similar to those built long ago. Our children played and pretended awhile before we walked downtown Lawrence retracing Quantrill's Raid.

Our second day of the tour ended with supper at South Park, Lawrence. Another homeschool family had joined our group for this afternoon, so we enjoyed more fellowship on a lovely summer evening!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Big Boy, Little Boy- celebrations of life and death

August 29, 2014
A little boy came into the world as part of our family. He was the fourth little boy to join our family in this way; not as a newborn, but as a tiny fetus. 

Too tiny to survive, too tiny to cry, too tiny to see the adoring eyes of his older siblings...

This tiny person who has little fingers and little toes; 
eyelids that open and close; 
tiny ears and thin skin; 
a mouth that opens when we press on his chin... 

did he die?

Bouquets and food from caring friends. 
Healing comes slowly, yet we mend.
As we ponder we say goodbye 
to our Tiny Redeemed who is with The Most High.

August 29, 2000
A big boy came into this world as part of our family. Weighing in at 9 pounds 3 ounces, he was a healthy little fella with a lusty cry and voracious appetite!

This year we celebrated 14 years with him. Alexander Riley. Our firstborn and only living son.

He chose chicken fried steak, potato salad, macaroni & cheese, and cherry cheesecake for his birthday supper. A filling meal for a growing man.

Happy Birthday Riley!

Thank you God, that Life conquered death 
and that joy cometh in the mo(u)rning.