Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What's Working Wednesday: ABC Trip Memory Lists (with NH Trip example)

What's Working Wednesday is my weekly post to showcase something that is working for me or my family at the moment. It may not work for us forever and it may or may not work for you.

We like to take road trips. Usually we take them to visit friends and family far away. One thing that we often do on our way home to help us remember all the things we experienced and to help pass the time is make an "ABC list." We go through the alphabet and shout out anything that we can think of that starts with each letter. It is fun to see what kind of things everyone comes up with. Some of the letters are more difficult than others to come up with words for so we try to bring quesadillas with us on every trip ;)

Between sharing stories rehearsing things that happened and coming up with words for all the letters and the random conversations that ensue this activity often takes us over an hour. It also leaves us with a fun list to help us remember a lot of the little details we would otherwise forget.

We have posted several of our ABC lists here on our blog and they are fun to go back and look over.

Here's an example that I haven't posted on our blog yet of our recent trip to New Hampshire:

A- Abigail, alphabet memory game, Atlantic Ocean, autumn beautiful-ness
B- beaches, bunk beds
C- Caleb, Chris, crabs, chowder, chats
D- Dover, NH,
E- Elias, enchiladas, earring (crab variety hanging from Chris's ear)
F- friends, falling, flashlight
G- Glenn, giant rocks
H- Hannah, house (saw Chris & Jaynie's new one)
I- ice cream
J- Jaynie,
K- Kittery Trading Post, kelp
L- Lydia, lunch, leaves
M- Maine, Massachusetts
N- Nafzigers, New Hampshire, new states!!, Nalgenes, no rain (when we were out on our walk), New England Clam Chowder (Glenn's first - he waited until he went to New England to be able to eat "the real thing")
O- old friends, ocean
P- peanut butter and jelly, pictures, Phillips 66 - gas for $3.60 in Durham
Q- Quichee Gorge
R- road trip!, rocks, Rutland, VT - cheap gas
S- Sophia, Speculator, star fish (we got to hold one!), sleeping bags, shells, scrambling, study-free weekend, seaweed, little shrimps, sunshine, states (4 new ones for 5 of us!)
T- tide pools, time off, trees, Timber Harvester (I saw one in a yard when we were driving down a road in Maine!!)
V- Vermont
W- Wallace Sands Beach, water-water-water-water-water
Y- York, ME
Z- zero responsibilities

Yay! It's the last day of October!!

This year I decided that I'd try The Nester's 31 day writing challenge. I didn't do it "right." I didn't make a cute button (like these) to put on each post. I didn't write all I could on one topic to help people or improve myself everyday for a month to exhaust the topic to it's deepest reaches (this sounds painful to me - something I would like to do in the future - but painful.) I didn't link up  on The Nester's link-up page.

What I did do was write a post every day and here is a top 10 list of things I learned along the way:

1. Blogging everyday is really hard
2. Blogging takes a lot of time
3. I really need to read through my posts more than once - grammar, spelling and wording errors abound.
4. Blogging daily is not really for me - I'm a slow processor and even with just mostly writing words for pictures for my "31 Days of Flashbacks" it took too much time away from my husband and kids. I think they are glad today's the last day too.
5. I really like the schedule your blog feature - you can write whenever and then have it post to your blog when you want it to. This is especially helpful if you're going away for the weekend or have a few extra minutes on a day before a day you know you won't get to the computer.
6. I learned that if, on accident, you have a post open on one computer and it stops connecting to the Internet so you then open and finish and post it on another computer so you can go to bed when you go back to the first computer to do something the next day and it starts connecting to the Internet again it will revert your post that you've already posted and people have already read to a draft at the point you last were working on it on that original computer. Hit "save" and "close" before walking away from any post! (by the way Glenn is my hero in this one - he had read my post and had a cached copy on his computer so I was able to copy and paste the words back in to re-post it - thank you Glenn!!)
7. One reason I'm glad I did it was because I got to post about many things that I've wanted to post about but never got around to. It was fun looking back at great times we've had as a family and it will be fun to look back over these posts in the future.
8. I'm especially glad to have finally finished up our train trip journal.
9. I'm so glad it's the last day of October.
10. I'm looking forward to going back to being a "What's Working Wednesday," "Five Minute Friday," and occasional "I really want to remember this fun family activity" or "I want to know where that great recipe is" or "I really need to process this so I'm going to blog about it and maybe it will help someone else" type of blogger for now.

Though it was hard, I'm glad I did it. Will I do it again next year? I have no idea. I guess that depends on many of the too many unknowns out there in our future. We'll just have to wait and see. For this year, I did it and I'm done - hurray!

31 Days of Flashbacks: Laboring on Labor Day

On Labor Day we went up to the woods to help our friends "do wood." There are various reasons that we did this including, but not limited to:

1. We have been helped so much by others so it's nice to help someone else once in a while.
2. Glenn had the day off.
3. It's called Labor Day so you really should labor, not just hang out and have that last picnic of the summer
4. There is not a lot of manual labor required in keeping up an apartment when you rent so our kids haven't had much chance to do manual labor and this was an opportunity for them to do some work helping others prepare for winter. I think that hard work is good for kids
5. We knew these two families were getting together to do wood and they hadn't invite us so we actually asked if we could come if we brought some food just so we could be involved - gluttons for punishment? Yes, we probably are.
6. We know that many hands make light(er) work.
7. More people = more fun.
8. We love these families and any excuse, even hard work, is a good excuse to spend time with them.
Caleb got to run the splitter.
Creative kids carting firewood.
Hungry workers need to eat.
Some workers in for a break.
Caleb and Hannah taking a break to give Clementine some love.
We brought the kids so that they would do manual labor. We were thinking "cart and stack firewood." Instead they mostly worked on this fort. I wouldn't even want to start to guess how many nails they used.
Lydia holding a board in place for Emma.
Timmy planting ferns.
These clever children decided to make the fort into a garden center.
Cuties in the car.
"Gardening" kids. This sure kept them busy
while the older ones stacked wood (We made Sally sit down because she is pregnant. She protested but finally consented)
The little girls started helping the daddies because...
they found out you can only get wheel barrow rides if you work.
All of a sudden the men disappeared. Oh, there they are - working on the fort with the kids :)
Looking down from the second floor of the fort.
It didn't work quite as well this way around.
All the kids - proud of their fort/ garden center. (It had a really big name but I can't remember it now.)
A smiling Craig and Mary Anne who aren't going to freeze this winter partly because of this day.

Thanks for letting us crash your Labor Day Labor Party. We had a lot of fun!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days of Flashbacks: Quick New England Trip

 A couple of weekends ago we decided to take a spur of the moment trip to New Hampshire to visit some friends who recently moved there. The list of reasons include:
1. Glenn had just taken his Step2 CK and was taking the weekend off from studying - yay!
2. 5 of the 6 Maas family members had never been to New England
3. We had been so busy we hadn't been able to take a drive to see the leaves yet (and New York and New England are the best places to see the leaves. I am not partial, just stating the facts)
4. We will soon be traveling west, and Lord willing moving west, and this might be one of our only chances to check out New England while we still live a reasonable drive from there.
5. We hadn't seen Chris and Jaynie in over a year and wanted to check out their new home.
6. It was a trial run to practice spending time in the car and packing.

A lot of the leaves had already fallen but we did get to see some pretty views.
I heard Glenn slip up and call these "mountains." I think he's probably been in New York too long ;)
 On our drive through Vermont we got to cross Quechee Gorge and decided to stop and check it out.

It was fun seeing our shadows so we raised our hands for a picture.
We got to Chris and Jaynie's house in New Hampshire and ate really quick before heading out to try to check out the Atlantic at Wallace Sands Beach before the sun went down
We weren't super successful but we brought flashlights and were careful on the big rocks.
Checking out a tide pool by flash light.
We found a starfish.
Chris grabbed crabs out of one of the tide pools for us to check out
and then decided to try one on as an earring.
It didn't want to let go so he tried to light it on fire to scare it off :)
Caleb was really scared of the crab leg we found.
 Sunday morning we got up and made breakfast before making them skip church (we are so used to having our church service on Sunday nights now we are used to lazy Sunday mornings. We're going to have to get over that though...)
 After breakfast and hanging out we decided to head to Maine to check out Kittery Trading Post where Jaynie just started working.
You need to snuggle a moose if you are in Maine, right?
The only moose we saw were stuffed.
 Then we headed to find a beach in Maine and found a pretty fun little section of the ocean in the town of York.
Sophia and Abigail
The rocks were pretty cool - the grain makes them kind of look like they were trees at one point.
There was a "safe" path up above but it was more fun to walk along the rocks.
Sophia and Abigail collecting rocks
The littlest girls and I walked the sidewalk to get to the top of this part but everyone else scaled it.
Chris, Jaynie, Eli & Sophia!
My beautiful family!
 After a quick lunch together we had to head home so we wouldn't be back too late with real life starting again bright and early Monday morning. We drove home through Massachusetts - new state #4 for the weekend for all but me.
 It has been confirmed for us that New England is beautiful.
Thanks Chris and Jaynie for letting us invade for the weekend! It was great to see you!