The Family

The Family

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Fernbank

The Fernbank, a natural history museum in Atlanta, is what Jack refers to as his third favorite museum. His first being the natural history museum in New York and his second The Field Museum in Chicago.

Jack had been to The Fernbank before, on two other occasions with my mother-in-law, and is always asking to go back. So for his 8th birthday we made the quick drive to Atlanta where we met my mother-in-law and her stepdaughter's son for a fun-filled day.

The three-story museum, filled with dinosaur replicas and other pre-historic fossils and creatures that once dominated Georgia's landscape, has enough exhibits to keep you intrigued, but few enough so that you are able to walk through them more than once. It also has an indoor nature play area as well as a hands-on experiment station.

And because Jack requested a hot dog for his birthday meal, we drove to the world famous Varsity restaurant. The place was packed,  and this picture doesn't even begin to show the extent of it.

But it was SO worth it!

Chili dogs, onion rings, cheeseburgers, apple pies and ice cream were just part of our order.

And there was no way we could leave without the hats!

Monday, August 17, 2015

On The Nightstand

We've been reading, reading, reading around here lately.

For the Kids:
I have a 1960 copy of a folk and fairytale edition Childcraft book. It includes everything from Aesop's fables to classics like "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Rumpelstiltskin" and "The Princess and the Pea." Three of my favorites ended up being stories I'd never heard before: "Salt" (an old Russian folk tale), "The Fisherman and His Wife" and "Snow White and Rose Red" (who knew Snow White had a sister?). We finished this book just last night, and Jack is already asking to start it again. I'm so glad he's gotten into fairy tales. I had tried reading this book before, but gave up quickly when it was apparent he had no interest in the stories. I was beginning to think he was going to grow up and never have heard things like "Hansel and Gretel" and "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." This will serve him well this fall because fairy tales is the theme for his clay class this October.

We are also on the last chapter of "Robinson Crusoe." This read through with the children is my first time reading the classic novel. I put it on my list a couple of years ago when I read an article in which the author claimed to be forever changed by the adventurous story when his father read it to him when he was eight. Since Jack is fast approaching this milestone, I figured it was time to give it a try. How do I know he's taking it all in? Case in point: last night he was talking to someone about going on an adventure. His story was complete with a cave and a foot print, and he looked at me and said, "Like Robinson Crusoe mom!".

My Reading:
Anthony Trollope. Never heard of this Victorian author? Don't feel bad. I hadn't either until this summer. I came across an article about him and would have felt like a complete moron for not knowing about his work if the author hadn't made it clear that the name Trollope, unlike his counterpart Dickens, is a widely unknown name for such a popular novelist. I read "The Way We Live Now" and am looking forward to spending more time with his works this fall.

"The Well-Trained Mind" had been on my list since spring. As a homeschooling mom I'm always looking for solid content related to both practical and rigorous study and the ways to go about presenting content with my own children. I was initially intimidated by some of the suggestions, then I sat down and looked through some of the material recommended in the book and realized it was exactly the direction I wanted to go. The book is broken into grades 1-4, 5-8 and 9-12. I stopped at the end of the 1-4 section, because let me tell you, that was a whole lot to absorb. I'll make my way to the later grades once we get there.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


For four days last week we found ourselves displaced.

Ok, so maybe displaced is too strong of a word. It would be more accurate to say we stayed with my grandmother for four days across town while we had hardwood floors installed throughout our home.

We bought our home nine years ago as a new construction. At the time it seemed perfect. But what is it about time spent in a house that makes so many of its features become glaringly lacking?

For several years I had been telling, or should I say warning, my husband that I wanted hardwood.

"I like carpet" was always his reply.

Then a year ago we got a dog, and I was more convinced than ever that all the carpet downstairs had to go. It was constantly stained and no matter how much cleaning we did it was just plain gross.

There were also pieces of tile that began to bulk. We found a guy to come fix it, or so we thought, but he patched it up and never returned to finish the job.

At this point I became tired of trying to convince my husband and started making calls.

After several no shows and a hard time tracking down anyone in town that would do the job, I took the recommendation of a neighbor and found someone reliable.

We originally had hardwood in our dining room, but it wasn't quite the color I was envisioning for the whole downstairs.

 Here is the updated result.

They ran the wood longways throughout the entire downstairs, excluding the bathroom where the tile remains, and I definitely think it feels like it opened the house up and gives the impression of more space.

It took a lot of work on our end to get the house ready for the installation. While the men installing the wood moved all the heavy furniture, we had to remove all breakables, pictures off the walls and everything out of the closets before their arrival. This is what our upstairs bonus room looked like after that:

I knew we would have a lot of work in store for us putting everything back up when we returned home, but there was one bit of information - and it's a REALLY big bit of information - that no one saw fit to pass along to me. And that is the amount of dust we would be cleaning up upon or arrival back home.

By dust I mean so much gritty, grimy covering in E-VE-RY room of the house that my father-in-law had to come over with heavy powered equipment yesterday to help us tackle the walls, the curtains and every nook and cranny in between. It took me four wipe-downs of the kitchen to get the counters and appliances clean. I also had to wash every single dish, pot and pan because the dust seeped into closed cabinets. 

On the bright side, not only does the floor look fantastic, but I get to do some rug shopping! I was super excited last week as I browsed the rug collection on Joss & Main's website. It will likely take several months to acquire all we need because I'm going to have to spread the expense across multiple credit card payments, but I'm eager to add color and design to our new floors.