Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shaver Lake "Work" Weekend

 This past weekend was Jason's birthday.  Our family of four celebrated by going out to dinner at Famous Dave's and finishing up with Yogurtland for dessert.  The next morning, we headed to our Shaver Lake cabin to join the rest of Jason's family for a work weekend.  All of us- kids included- spent time helping out around the cabin. 
 We raked A LOT of pine needles (this is one of many piles).

 Jason, Dan, Noah, and Jen worked on re-piling the wood pile.

In the evening, we celebrated Jason's birthday. 

Not only did we get a lot of work finished, it was fun spending some time together.
3 Flies Up

Wiffle Ball- adults vs. kids (they "won")

Uncle Dan is always willing to wrestle with Jeremy!

The kids were exhausted and quickly fell asleep when we left on Sunday afternoon (if Christa is reading this- we didn't notice Grace's seat belt until after we took the pic)
It is very possible that the next time our whole family is together again will be when we're on our way to Hawaii in June!!!!!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cedar View Winery

A few weekends ago, we got to do some wine tasting with some friends. Aaron and Christa had a gift certificate for a group wine tasting at Cedar View Winery in Sanger.  We got to sample some wines, eat some appetizers, and we got a glimpse into how the winery is operated.  It's a very small facility- the owners were passionate about their work and their wines.  In addition to running the winery, there is also a bed and breakfast on-site.  It's neat that more and more wineries are starting to pop up around this area. 
After our wine tasting, we continued on to Schoolhouse Restaurant and Tavern, about a half mile up the road.  We didn't think that a restaurant so far out would be so busy that reservations would be needed.  Turns out that with our group size, we would've had to wait a reeeally long time.  We decided just to hang out in the tavern and ordered dinner through there.  It was such a fun night- even better since we had free babysitting courtesy of Jason's mom.  Unfortunately, just as the sun was setting and it was getting dark, we got a call from his mom saying that she and the kids were accidentally locked out of our house.  They went to play in the backyard and forgot that the door automatically locks unless you manually unlock it.  So, we had to head back home.  Several of our friends went to get dessert from The Cracked Pepper and brought it over to our house so we could continue hanging out.  Fun times with fun friends!  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Happy Easter!

I returned from my East Coast trip with it being Easter the next day.  As it so happens, Jason's family wasn't able to get together until that Monday anyway.  I still wanted to celebrate Easter Sunday, so we invited our friends, the Bomars over for dinner.  I love how they are so easy-going and flexible. They were okay with a simple meal and just time to hang out.  We still ended up having a mini Easter egg hunt for the kids, but they would've been perfectly content just playing together.  I'm grateful for good friends to share special days with!
On Monday, we headed up to Jason's mom's home to celebrate with the whole family. The kids received Easter baskets from Grandma, they went egg hunting, and we enjoyed an amazing dinner together.
Easter is one of my favorite times of the year- a time to celebrate HOPE, new beginnings, life, and all of this because of our Savior, Jesus!  As I was reflecting about this, I was reminded of the song, "Alive" by Natalie Grant.  "Alive, alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome, Death has lost and Love has won, Alive, alive! Hallelujah, risen Lord, the only One I fall before, I am His because He is alive!"  Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Reflections about My Trip

I have really enjoyed sitting here these past few days, going through pictures and blogging about our trip.   Even with that, I don't feel like I've even begun to truly express how much I enjoyed this past week.  I can't say it enough- it was an awesome experience!  Here are some things on my mind:

1) I've never been away from my family for this long.  I thought I was going to be weepy and emotional, and though I missed my family, I was ok!  I'm so grateful to Jason for supporting me by taking care of things while I was away.  It meant a lot that he was willing to "give up" his Spring Break so that I could go.  Karen Unruh and my mother-in-law helped out immensely, too, by taking the kids so Jason could have time to himself.  I'm also thankful that some of Jason's friends hung out with him and helped him with his latest home improvement project (more on that in a later post).

2) I broke away from some of my "norms."  I didn't use an iron ALL WEEK, lol!  I went to a 3D show...  I only got nauseous once the entire trip- that's not usual!  I was expecting to have to load up on Dramamine all week, but I didn't need to!  That's pretty darn close to a miracle!

3) I can't wait to share with my class everything that I learned... The trip was successful in that I am enthusiastic and motivated to see/find ways that I can make history come alive for my students. 

4) Some of you probably don't know this, but I went straight from living with my parents (traditionally, Asians don't move out until they get married), to living with Jason's parents for a few months before we got married, to living with Jason.  I've never had the experience of living with a roommate!  Michelle was my first "roomie" and she made this experience so much more memorable (Virginia carpet bugs... there's a story there!)
5) I got to know quite a few people in our teacher group this past week.  We've been together all year, but this trip let me get to know them on a personal level.  Despite coming from different schools, I love that we're all 5th grade teachers and that I will be able to continue collaborating with them in years to come. 

I'm most grateful that I made some "friends for life," as Aaron put it.  Part of the reason why this was such an amazing trip is the company I was with: Mike, Michelle, Lisa, Rita, and Aaron.  The six of  us pretty much did everything together all week. When I think of this trip, I will remember the fun times that our group had together.  We definitely bonded and I am grateful to have shared such a memorable week with these wonderful friends.
6) I know without a doubt that Jason and I will return to this area in the future.  So, I didn't get to do everything that I wanted to do, but with Jason being such a history buff, we'll be back!  He wants to see these places firsthand.  Our goal is to take the whole family in 6 years (when Jeremy is old enough to really experience it all).  I can't wait!

Day Five: Colonial Williamsburg

My group got a good preview of Colonial Williamsburg when we were wandering around town the night before.  The next day, after hearing the morning's guest lecturer, a tour guide took us on a walking tour of Colonial Williamsburg. 
We first headed to the Governor's Palace, the home of Virginia's governors during the 18th century.  The mansion has been reconstructed from its original foundation. 

 As we entered, we were greeted in the lobby by an extensive collection of guns!  They were meant to show off "strength" and to intimidate.
 I love this- the wig and powder room, from which we get the term "powder room."
 This original painting of King George hangs in the ball room.
This huge coat of arms was on the outside of the palace and is pretty symbolic.  The motto loosely translates to: God and My Right, basically the belief of the monarchy that God has given them the right to rule.
Next, we headed to the Town Jail.  The Jailer lived in the home attached to the Jail.

The longest amount of time a prisoner would be held was 14 months.  Notice the "throne" in the corner!

Near the jail was the Capitol that consisted of rooms for elected representatives to meet (House of Burgesses), a room for the Governor and his 12 appointed leaders, and a supreme court.

After our guided tour, we were given time to explore on our own.  We took our time walking down the main road.  There is so much to do here- I love how a person can learn firsthand about this time period by visiting homes of different trades (eg. wigmaker, shoemaker, tailor, or printer) and see them in action.  Everyone is in character and dressed accordingly.       

 Michelle and I goofing around in Market Square

Our group headed to lunch at Berret's and then spent the afternoon shopping in Merchants Square.  In the late afternoon, I heard some drums and fifes being played in the distance.  Rita and I went to check it out- here's what we saw coming towards us.
I was so excited- we got to watch a reenactment of the Continental Army being rounded up under the direction of General Lafayette (on his horse, speaking English with a French accent).

It was one of the highlights of the day!  The soldiers shot their guns and a cannon, too.  So cool!  
Our day ended off at the King's Tavern near the Capitol.  We were treated to a colonial style dinner, served by people dressed in character.  It was a nice way to end off our week.  We boarded our bus and were on our way to Richmond.  We had to get to the airport the next morning by 5:30am to head to Dallas.  We arrived in Fresno by 1:00pm (Pacific Time), and I was exhausted! Well, can you believe it?!  That was my week in a nutshell!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day Four: Jamestowne & Yorktown

We stayed in Williamsburg for two nights. Look at this beautiful hotel (we stayed in some nice places!).
On Thursday morning, we boarded a bus and headed to nearby Historic Jamestowne.  Apparently, we missed out some of the features of the area, like the Jamestown Settlement area and a "glass house" (?) which I am sure would've been very neat to visit.  I didn't know it at the time though, and based on what I did get to tour, I still think it was pretty fantastic. Next time, right?

A very informative guide took us around and pointed everything out to us.  We also heard a lecture from the author of one of the books I had to read about Jamestown.  We visited the archaearium, which houses over 1,000 artifacts that have been uncovered at Jamestown.  In the last 10 years, archaeologists have actually found over 2 million artifacts, but not all of them are on display. I think that would be the coolest job- imagine doing that every day, searching for treasure!

 If I heard right, Jamestowne is the only place where British flags are allowed to be flown without the USA flag
 Fun times with Michelle
 It is said that the actual site of the first landing by the British has eroded into the James River, but still- isn't that neat?

Human bones were found in these areas marked by the crosses (there's even a human skeleton on display in the archaearium- no pictures were allowed in there)
 Here is an actual archaeology dig, right in the middle of the colony. Work is more sporadic in the winter because the ground is harder to work with.
 There has been evidence discovered of the foundation of what would've been the settlement's church.  The four crosses are where four people's remains were found, most likely people with authority (such as the priest and captain). Right between those four crosses is the location that is believed to have been where Pocahontas and John Rolfe got married.
Statue of John Smith
This church was built in the 17th century and still stands today.      
 Inside the church
A statue of Pocahontas

So interesting!  We boarded the bus and ate lunch as we headed over to Yorktown Victory Center.  

Flags representing the Thirteen Colonies

Yorktown was the site of the last battle of the Revolutionary War, where Cornwallis surrendered and the Americans ended up winning the war.  The museum has recreated a farm and even an army encampment from that that time period.  We had guides take us through, but there were also people in period dress to help us understand what life would've been like.  I loved seeing the farm, complete with kitchen, tobacco barn, crop fields, vegetable garden, and even the chickens running around.  

 Tobacco became the cash crop- money became obsolete as people used tobacco as the means of trade

 The home's kitchen area
 The garden area
There is a beautiful, new exhibit that showcases different perspectives that people would've had during this time period.  I thought this museum did a great job portraying daily life of colonists and the impact the war would've had on their lives. I think that my fifth graders would've loved it here- the museum is very informative, interactive, and kid-friendly.

How would you have liked to have this as a soldier?
Here's a glimpse of the encampment.
I got to watch a cannon demonstration!

So much fun! This was probably my favorite day of learning. The information I learned, the things I saw, and the connections I was able to make will surely help me to convey what this time period was like when I teach this to my students.  It'd be awesome to be able to take our kids on field trips to places like Jamestowne and Yorktown.  If only!

The rest of the day was free time.  My group and I decided to go explore Merchants' Square near our hotel.  We visited a few shops, then had dinner at DoG Street Pub, a gastropub with an extensive beer menu.  I even texted Jason a picture of it- he would've loved this place!  After our delicious dinner, some locals suggested we visit Chowning's Tavern, a short walk away.  What a cool experience- musicians dressed in 18th century clothes sang colonial songs and played fiddles as they went from room to room.  As well, the waitresses taught us some colonial games (Shut the Box, and Ship/Captain/Crew), which we played by candlelight.  We celebrated our friend, Aaron's birthday with colonial-inspired cocktails.  Did you know that the Happy Birthday song hadn't been composed yet?  We sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" to him instead.  It was such a fun and memorable night!       
Our group!
 Our group with one of the musicians

Not only did I love our Jamestowne and Yorktown experiences earlier in the day, I had an amazing time with "my group" exploring the town in the evening.  This was probably my favorite day of our entire trip! (by the way, I took some of these pictures from my fellow TAH teacher, Heather- thanks, Heather!!!)