Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up September 23

 We finished off last week with the 150th anniversary of the battle of Antietam. While we were there, the girls started working on their Junior Ranger for the Maryland Campaign in the Civil War. They got the Antietam piece signed off on, but to complete the Junior Ranger they had to visit several other sites connected to the Maryland Campaign, so that was our entertainment for the next couple of days.

We stopped at Washington Monument State Park, and the South Mountain Inn across the street, and read the historic markers there for one requirement. Little Bit was right in there in the middle of things :)

Another stop we didn't get a picture of was the Frederick Historic Society, where we learned more about Barbara Fritchie. A couple weeks  ago we read Whittier's poem about Barbara Fritchie, so it was fun to see more about it. As a fun sidenote, while we were at the Historic society, they also had a display about Cunningham Falls, including a big "life size" picture of the part of the falls that my friends and I often visited on Sabbath afternoons when I was a teenager. The girls thought it was pretty cool that I could point out the exact rock that Daddy & I sat on and watched people on our very first date :)

The most exciting stop was to go to Monocacy Battlefield to see Special Order 191. I have absolutely NO recollection of ever learning about Special Order 191 in school, despite taking an entire semester of Civil War History from a truly excellent history teacher. BUT now that I know about it, it's definitely a highlight of the Maryland campaign, and the war in general. In a nutshell, Lee's entire battle plan was left behind when the army moved to a new camp and a few days later the Union army ended up camping the same place & found the copy of the battle plan and delivered it to McClellan. Normally the original is kept at the Library of Congress but in honor of the 150th anniversary, it's been loaned to Monocacy Battlefield. Unfortunately, they didn't allow pictures around the actual document, but while we were there, we had some fun dressing up in the confederate uniform they have there. The fun thing about this particular "dress-up area" is that the pack is "weighted" to be the weight of the packs soldiers actually carried, it was rather amusing to watch MiniMe helping Sassy get the pack on, it was HEAVY!!!

Little Bit decided she'd just stand next to the "soldier" for her picture :)

We also got the C&O canal signature, but we got there just as they were closing, so just got it signed real quick, and the girls did the activity for that one at home.

Our other adventure was to start geocaching, as I mentioned here.

Since we were all fighting colds, we mostly just hung out at Mama & Papa's house the next day. The girls helped mama harvest squash from the garden (that picture ended up on Papa's camera and I forgot to get copies of his pictures), and all 3 girls had fun playing in the playhouse. They've moved the play kitchen from the basement out to the playhouse so Little Bit has great fun "cooking" in their house. And we did some of the geocaching talked about above.

Tuesday was rainy, but we had chosen to wait until then to go to our final stop for the Maryland Campaign Junior Ranger. Newcomer House is at Antietam Battlefield, one of the only original farm houses that is open to the public, but was a separate stop on the Junior Ranger, and we figured it would be easier to get to if we waited until AFTER all the 150th stuff at Antietam was over. So, since the actual battle anniversary was Monday (the 17th), we headed over to Newcomer House on Tuesday.

When we got there the girls noticed right away that HERE there were UNION uniforms to dress up in AND they had the boots too! Sassy had to try them out, and then, when we showed the ranger, he pulled out his own fife and showed the girls how to play it. You can be glad these are SILENT pictures, the girls made quite a racket trying out the fife.

And of course, MiniMe had to try on the whole get-up too. This pack was empty, so it was much easier to try on than the weighted one LOL.

The ranger at Newcomer house was very friendly and we spent quite awhile there talking to him about the civil war medical equipment that was there, and the Lee statue that is nearby, and not accurate for the battlefield it's on. It shows Lee riding his horse, holding the reigns with one hand and looking through a spy glass with the other hand, however right before Antietam he had fallen from his horse and injured his hands/wrists, so wouldn't have had full use of his hands at this battle. (see all the fun trivia we get to learn).

Once we finished at Newcomer house we headed back over to the main Antietam Visitor Center to get their badges and certificates for the Maryland Campaign Junior Ranger. A lady who was there while the girls were getting their certificates, suggested that we take a picture of the girls with the ranger who gave it to them, so we did, but the lighting wasn't real good, and by then Little Bit (who had stayed in the car with Mama) was WAY past naptime so I didn't want to take very long.

Wednesday we headed home.

Friday was gorgeous weather, so we ended up spending time at one playground with friends in the morning, but then couldn't resist stopping by another playground later in the afternoon too. We had the place to ourselves.

The girls had fun swinging, and playing on the monkey bars.

And climbing on the dragon:

While they were all having fun on the playground I decided to check for geocaches in the area, so on our way home we had to check out a nearby geocache. We're still getting the feel for things and I was wanting to see if we could find the necessary coordinates using my car's GPS and/or the free app I currently have on my phone. What I discovered was that my car GPS, even when set in pedestrian mode, just isn't "exact" enough for geocaching. It assumes I'm looking for a building, so once I'm close enough that I'd be able to easily find the building, it tells me that I'm "at my destination", it won't lead me to specific latitude & longitude coordinates. The app I have on my phone would, I think, work fine for a simple cache. It will take the coordinates off the website and lead you to them. However, this particular cache involved finding information and then using it to determine the final coordinates of the cache, I couldn't figure out a way to enter my own coordinates into this app, so we got close, but couldn't find the cache. 
Additionally, the area we determined it to be also had some fallen trees, so it might have been recent storms had further "hidden" this particular cache. Still, the girls had fun looking for it, and climbing around on said fallen trees to try to find it LOL.

Sabbath we had our typical church, and potluck, then came home to relax for a couple hours before we headed off for more fun.

A local area church had arranged for a free Jaime Jorge concert Saturday evening, so the big girls and I went to that. I'd first heard Jaime Jorge 20+ years ago and have always enjoyed his violin music. Since Sassy is wanting to learn violin she was very excited to go to a violin concert and sat completely engrossed through the whole concert. Since piano is MiniMe's instrument of choice she was slightly less into it all, but still enjoyed it, and the stories and antecdotes he shared between pieces.

Since we figured Little Bit wouldn't do so well sitting through an evening concert, she and Daddy had their own date to Chuck E Cheese. Rodney said it was PACKED, so not as much fun as sometimes, but she still enjoyed herself. Of course, the thing that made the biggest impression was going for ice cream afterwards LOL.

So that was our busy week. Believe it or not we DID fit some school into the cracks, LOL.

And now I need to get off the computer and join my children outside to continue enjoying the lovely weather we're having!!!

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