Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wind warning!

Last night the National Weather Service issued both a "tornado watch" and a "wind warning." Though I understand that both statements were warranted, I couldn't help but feel it was a little redundant. In fact, it made me snicker.

While watching for tornadoes, I usually expect things to be a bit windy—but thanks for the warning!

It was rather windy last night. The rain was coming at us in horizontal sheets. It was noisy and the trees were blowing like crazy.

When we woke up this morning I peeked out the window and saw a foreign object resting on the fence.

"Looks like a branch blew down," I said to Andrew.

I hadn't yet put my glasses on so he clarified the situation for me. "A whole tree fell over, not just a branch," he told me.

Yes, I see that now:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Verbose

Very rarely can I talk a lot—one on one I feel like I'm a decent conversationalist but if you throw even one more person into the mix I clam up. Writing though has always been a comforting outlet for me. Perhaps that's because no matter who my intended audience is, whether it be one person or tens of people, the actually writing is always one on one. Me and my keyboard (and in the past, me and my pen/cil).

Andrew's also a writer, and not a pithy one, either. Our biggest task each semester, it seems, is carving his papers down to fit within the word count or page number limits of any given assignment. Okay, so perhaps that's not his biggest job but it probably is one of my biggest jobs (at least as far as his PhD program goes...you know, aside from raising children all day).

Rachel has a journal that she writes in fairly regularly during the week. She hands it in on Friday and her teacher reads it and comments in it. I had a similar assignment all throughout elementary school and my entries were always relatively lengthy. They started out short, of course, when I was just learning how to put my thoughts onto paper but as soon as I figured out how to get the words out of my brain they just kept on coming. Last night, Rachel made a breakthrough. She started writing and filled up an entire page and a half in her journal, which is rather impressive for a five-and-a-half year old.

My favourite part, I think, is slogging through her creative sound-it-out spellings.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Talks in Primary

Way back in November (on the 25th) Rachel gave a talk in primary. She was asked last minute but eagerly accepted the task, running off to get a pencil and some paper the minute I told her about it. Her topic was "I can prepare now to serve a fulltime mission" and she knew exactly what she wanted to say.

Here's her cover page:

Rachel's talk

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Babar & Bizet: Teething at the Symphony Orchestra

A few days ago we were offered tickets to attend a kid-friendly concert at a local high school. Naturally, I accepted them as quickly as I could. So late this afternoon when the girls had finished their afternoon ballet session we headed over to the high school to hear the Durham Symphony Orchestra perform their program called, "Babar and Bizet."

Before (and after) the show they had an "Instrument Petting Zoo," provided by a local music shop. A bunch of instruments were on display and the kids were allowed to try them out. The girls were rather interested in this pink ukelele...

Everything I need to know in life I learned from Laura Ingalls

This morning after the girls found out ballet was cancelled they had a "home lesson," led by Rachel, since they were already in their ballet clothes. They went over some of their positions and then remembered...snow! So they quickly got dressed and then bundled up to go outside, where the ice/snow we'd gotten was rapidly melting away.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Snowy stuff

When I was in a linguistics class in college, we began to discuss that myth that "Eskimo" languages have over 100 words for snow when in reality every culture/language/people who deal with a lot of snow tend to have a lot of words for it. The professor asked if anyone knew any other terms for snow and I scored mega points with the TA for suggesting "corn."

"You snowboard?" he asked.

"No."

"Ski?"

"No."

"How do you know corn then?"

"Canadian."

"Ahhhh..."

Canadians also have over 100 words for snow. I'm pretty sure that down south they have, like, three.

Okay, so I'm not actually sure where I picked up the term, though I do believe it was in science in grade nine—that Mr. Whatwashisname did some great lectures. (And seriously...what was his name? Also, where is my brain? I used to remember everything. Now it's a good memory day if I remember to buckle all three kids' seat belts).

I've dealt with a bit of snow in my life. Too much snow, really.

Today I saw something a bit different. We had an ice storm, sure—everything was covered with a thin layer of ice (see fig. 1—Andrew's motorcycle scooter cover, which wasn't blowing in the breeze because it was encased in ice).

fig. 1

Sharing is hard

So, this is kind of how my kids share:

make a gif image
make a gif image

Miriam just can't let Benjamin do his thing with his toys. He has to do things her way. Even when they're not playing together.

I'm pretty sure she learned that from Rachel.

Anyway, here he is playing after I told Miriam to leave him alone (for crying out loud!). He's awesome at the shape sorter...when the lid's off.

Whoa! A pentagon! I'm the luckiest boy!

That Winter Weather

As pellets of ice begin to drop from the sky, I have to wonder about the sanity of whoever's calling the shots regarding snow days out here. Last week, if you recall, a snow day was called on Thursday night due to the possibility of snow. And snow it did, but the amount we got was laughable (and the roads were bone dry by mid-morning). Granted, things were pretty slick when we first got up at the crack of dawn to play in the "snow," so I gained a little understanding of how southern snowstorms could be dangerous—everything turns into ice.

Today school is still in session, though they'll be releasing the kids early, hopefully before the worst of it hits. It's not supposed to really start storming until between noon and two. They're letting kids out at 12:30. This storm is supposed to be a big one.

So I just wonder why on an actual stormy day the kids are still going to school, whereas on a sunny, calm, post-storm, de-iced day school was cancelled...all day. I don't know. It seems like a bad call to me. If I were the one making the shots I'd have done a two-hour delay for last week (which still leaves the option to cancel school) for sure. As for today, I'm thinking, for the most part, that having a half-day is a good call...but we'll see how stormy it gets before Rachel gets home.

It might be a little unfair for me to make these calls with hindsight before me. I imagine it's a difficult decision to make.

I'm not sure how this storm will be. They just had an ice storm in Utah and I saw videos of kids ice skating on the BYU campus sidewalks. I brought my ice skates out here (but I think we left the kid ice skates at my mom's house (if the roads are ice-skatable Rachel will never forgive me)) so that could be fun to try. We used to do that on icy roads when we lived in Canada—though usually just in our boots (I don't recall ever doing it in skates).

I'm interested to see what an ice storm is like...though the prospect of being without power for a week is daunting (our home teacher lives up the street and has a generator and has invited us to spend some time over there if needed though).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Will work for ice cream

I've been looking for a new way to motivate my dear children to pull their own weight around here. We had a way that worked...for a month a half...until the holidays kicked in and then we gave up trying for a while because there was too much going on. Last night I jumped on pinterest—something I haven't done in ages—and found some cute ideas for chore charts.

I took the ice cream idea from here (but I just made my own instead of printing it) and the chore cards from here. I put it together when the kids were in bed and showed it to Miriam first thing in the morning. One of her chores for today was "get dressed" and for the first time in a long time we didn't have to argue about it (she lived in her pyjamas when everyone was sick and apparently that wasn't a habit she wanted to break). After she got dressed she ran and grabbed the broom so that she could do another chore. She finished 5 out of her 6 chores before lunch!


Where the grickle grass grows

My friend Geri posted a little Valentine's Day craft she made and I thought we could make that! It's cute, elegant, colourful, festive, easy. Yes, we could totally do that!

So a couple of days ago after Rachel was home from school we sat down to make some pompoms together. And then we went out and collected some sticks and glued our pompoms on the ends of them (using white glue, which worked just as well as hot glue, I think). And then Rachel declared, "I know what we're making—we're making Truffula trees!"

And just like that my vision of a cute, elegant, colourful, festive, and easy craft lost the adjective 'elegant.' It was now just a cute, colourful, festive, and easy craft.

The girls turned it into a Dr. Seuss habitat—complete with Barbaloots, Humming Fish, Swomee Swans, and The Lorax, himself. (As well as some Harry Potter themed Truffula Trees (ra! ra! Gryffindor!))






At home with Benjamin and Miriam

Now that we're all feeling better (not 100% yet but certainly better) we've been having much more fun at home together. Here are some pictures from the past couple of days for our grandmas to enjoy...

Miriam and I worked on patterns while Benjamin was napping. She made up her own pattern—it goes pink, purple, pink, purple, pink, purple...purple, pink...pink purple, etc. She only noticed her mistake when she was "reading" her pattern to me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gardening

Saturday—the day after our horrific "snow day," mind you—we went outside to do some yard work. We started out wearing sweaters but soon we stripped those off and worked in our t-shirts because it was warm enough for that. (Now ask me how much I'm enjoying my winter. Very much).

It's kind of strange to need to do yard work in the winter. Shoveling snow seems like a perfectly normal winter chore for me. Weeding the flowerbed does not seem like a perfectly normal winter chore for me but that's what we were doing on Saturday anyway.

We started with just pulling up the grasses and wild onion that had tried to take over the plot this summer. And then we thought about how much we wished the bushes weren't there—a half-dead juniper and some ghastly ornamental grasses, that kind of thing—and how much we wished to have a flower garden or a vegetable garden or both. So, with our landlady's blessing, we ripped those bushes out.

Andrew grabbed a shovel and started digging down by the roots of a bush—not a juniper or the ornamental grass clumps but just some blah-type bush—but the soil's been so moist here and the bushes weren't very big so I decided I could probably pull up a few while he was working with the shovel.

I grabbed the bush by its stem, rooted my feet into the ground, gave it the ol' heave ho, and yanked that bush right out of the ground.

Rachel's jaw dropped open.

"Whoa, Mom!" she exclaimed. "That was amazing! Dad, did you see that? Did you see what Mom just did?!"

"That's what you get for marrying a cowgirl," I said to Andrew, flexing my muscles.

We sometimes joke that I'm a cowgirl because I grew up in southern Alberta where cowpokes are aplenty. But it's only a joke—I'm not really a cowgirl.

Monday, January 21, 2013

One Eno


Due to it being Martin Luther King Jr. day—or at least the "uniform Monday" we celebrate his birthday on—there was no school today. We had a very lazy morning, which was wonderful.

Benjamin slept from midnight until 9:30 in the morning on Sunday. He didn't do so well Sunday night, though, and I was up with him several times. Miriam came into our room at around 6:00 this morning and when Benjamin woke up to nurse she enthusiastically greeted him with a "Hiya, Benja-Boy!"

"No," I told her flatly.

She threw herself facedown on the bed and sobbed dramatically. Andrew carried her back to her bed where she fell asleep until around 9:30 when she woke Rachel up. My visiting teachers were due to arrive at 9:40 so we quickly got dressed and sat the girls down with some cereal. Benjamin didn't wake up until shortly after 10:00. That's how slow our morning was.

It was such a nice day that we later decided to go on a little hike, even though Rachel's been running a low-grade fever... *sigh* I thought we were over being sick.

I had quite the time convincing Miriam to get ready to go. She put on a dress first thing this morning, naturally, and it was my duty to convince her to put on something better suited for hiking.

"You need to put pants on because we're going hiking," I told her.

"What!?" she asked excitedly. "Okay. Are we moving away from this place?"

"No...we're just going hiking," I clarified.

"But Hawaii is very far away!" she felt duty-bound to explain to me.

"Hiking," I told her. "Not Hawaii!"

"Oh," she said.

So she went and put on a pair of tights under her dress. If we were just going outside to get the mail or wait for the school bus this wouldn't have been a problem but we were going hiking so I pulled out some jeans (pink ones!) and asked her to choose a pair to wear. She wouldn't.

"You can wear this pair or this pair," I said holding up the jeans for her.

Miriam said, "No."

"Come on, they're both pink! You love pink!"

Miriam said, "No."

"Just choose a pair," I said shortly, my patience quickly running out.

Miriam said, "No."

"Don't be a pill," I sighed.

"Why not?" she asked indignantly. "Those are like pilgrims! Pilgrims aren't bad!"

"You're wearing this pair," I said, making the decision for her. "Let's get them on you and then you can find a pair of socks and shoes to wear."

Miriam wandered over to the shoe bin and selected a pair of pink socks with a lace trim and her white church shoes.

"Not those socks!" I reprimanded. "Those are Sunday socks. We're going hiking—choose regular socks."

"But I like these socks," she sniffed and then made the excuse that "no other socks have a match!"

"Your drawer is full of socks," I observed. "Choose a different pair."

"Okay. I will just put these ones on," she said, getting ready to pull on the pink lacy socks.

"Don't put those on!" I growled.

"Why not?" she asked innocently.

"Because we're going hiking!" I said, exasperated.

"Hiking?" she asked. "I love hiking!"

Finally...finally...she chose a pair of regular socks and her pink rain boots (which are fine enough for hiking in my book).

Eventually we made it out the door and to the Eno River State Park and hiked out to the suspension bridge, like we did last time, but this time we kept going and hiked Fanny's Ford Trail as well.

A pair of socks

A couple of years ago I took the girls to the Bean Museum on BYU campus. We'd come into campus with Andrew so we parked where he was parking and then unloaded the stroller and walked all the way up to the museum. It was chilly and rainy and once we were there I noticed that Miriam was missing one of her socks.

I was rather upset about this not only because it was chilly and rainy and my baby now had bare feet but also because I really hate to lose things.

We looked for Miriam's sock in the museum but didn't find it so before we left I pulled into a corner and announced that we were going to say a prayer about Miriam's sock.

"About a sock?" Rachel verified.

"About a sock," I nodded.

We said our prayer and discussed how we are so important to Heavenly Father that even the littlest details of our lives are important to him. I wasn't sure what kind of miracle He'd turn our missing sock situation into—answers to prayer come in many forms and I'm often (pleasantly) surprised by the method Heavenly Father uses to give me exactly what I need.

To say I was expecting to find the sock would be an exaggeration. Finding the sock would have been the most obvious solution but there were many other ways to answer our prayer. We could have lost Miriam's other sock (two missing socks is better than one because there's no painful reminder that you lost something), I could have been blessed with peace (so that I wouldn't continue worrying about the sock), I could have come home to find that someone had left some hand-me-downs on our front porch (and a pair of socks could have been inside). See? Lots of ways to answer a prayer.

After we'd said our prayer I recited the adage that my mother would recite to me (and her parents would recite to her...and so on): Pray like everything depends on the Lord. Act like everything depends on you.

If we were going to find the sock, we'd have to look for it—I doubt the sock would snake its way across campus to us if we had just prayed and sat there—so out we went to retrace our steps.

As we were walking past the Marriott Center we found lying, on the sidewalk, a soggy little baby sock.

Miriam's sock, 2010

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow Day

Last night it snowed.

By mid-afternoon yesterday it was still in the balmy 50s and we got a phone message from the school superintendent calling for a snow day. It did get a little chillier by the time the sun went down and by the time we had dinner it was raining. We put the kids to bed, looked out the window, and got them back out of bed. It had started snowing...ish.

We knew we couldn't postpone an opportunity to prance around in the snow this far south, so decked out in pyjamas and boots the girls pranced around the porch.

Miriam twirled around and repeated, "I can't believe it! I can't believe it! I can't believe it!"

Rachel kept yelling, "Snowball fight!" and flinging handfuls of slush at no one in particular.


Some churchy stuff

Last month I was extended a call to work in the primary of our new ward here. I almost burst out laughing the minute I heard what it was. I had been so nervous about it because when I got the phone call the counselor of the bishopric asked to meet with both Andrew and me, which could only mean that it was a presidency calling. Andrew and I spent the whole week hypothesizing about what it could be. Finally, I got to meet with the counselor and find out what it was.

"We'd like to ask you to be the primary secretary," he said. "Is that a calling you feel you can fulfill?"

"Yes," I said, trying my hardest to remain my composure and not snicker out loud. "Yes, I do."

That settled it. I shook hands with the counselor and he called Andrew in (to ask if Andrew would be willing to support me in my calling).

"So, what is it?" Andrew asked when he came in.

"Don't laugh," I warned him before spilling the beans. "Primary secretary."

"That's...that's great," he said, pulling the corners of his mouth down into the most serious-looking ridiculous grin he could muster.

You might be wondering why this is so funny. Let me spell it out for you:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Damage Control

Yesterday I started a load of laundry because I had no clean nursing pads left. Benjamin's not been nursing very well—he's been nursing more often but for shorter duration—this past week and it's wreaked havoc on my milk supply. That load never got switched over to the dryer because life happened (and I spent all morning at the doctor's office and forgot about it).

It was raining when we went to the bus stop to pick Rachel up. We're taking care of our neighbour's cat while they're on vacation and so I decided we'd go straight from the bus stop to the neighbour's house since I didn't want to have to get Benjamin and Miriam all bundled up (in...sweaters) to go outside twice. I shared my plan with Rachel as we made our way up our street.

"Right now?" she said excitedly—she's thrilled to be taking care of a pet even though we've never once seen hide or hair of this sweet, incredibly shy kitty—and prepared to dash across the street. "One, two, three!" she counted, looking to the right. "One, two, three!" she counted, looking to the left. "One, two, three!" she counted, looking to the right again.

I hate it when she does that because she doesn't actually look. She simply counts and thinks that alone is enough to protect her from oncoming traffic, as if it's some secret code that generates a forcefield around her. Every time she does it I emphasize that counting is nice but looking is what's actually important. I'm not sure she'll ever get it. *sigh*

So, she took off to the neighbour's house, full speed ahead and... Oh...did I mention it was raining? It's been raining so much that the rain has no where left to go. The water table is apparently full so the rain is puddling up on the lawns instead of soaking into them, which has turned our entire neighbourhood into one big swampish bog (complete with snakes, frogs, and turtles (thank goodness it's January and not July)).

Rachel made it safely across the street but her feet went out from under her the minute she hit the neighbour's lawn. She skidded a few feet before falling flat on her back.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shoo flu, don't bother me

So many things happened today; it's all kind of a blur.

I remember waking up this morning after I'd gotten Benjamin to fall asleep in my arms for an entire half hour and saying to Andrew, "I can't do this! I can't do this again!"

Benjamin's been crying for about five days now, nearly non-stop. Something had to be done. I can't pull another all-nighter.

Technically Andrew was supposed to go to campus for a seminar today before his class but instead he called the doctor and made an appointment while I held the wailing baby. I spent the morning at the doctor's office with Benjamin and Andrew spent the morning at home with Miriam (but he also wrote a paper so it wasn't like his morning was a complete waste).

We had several doctors milling around Benjamin within minutes of arriving at the clinic. It's like there're a couple of medical schools in the area and a surplus of doctors hoping to get some experience or something. Three doctors listened to his chest with a stethoscope. Two doctors looked in his ears with the otoscope. They listened to him cough. They asked a million questions.

They came to the conclusion that it was probably the flu and he'd probably be alright if they just sent him home with a tamiflu prescription but that it might already be pneumonia so they'd better take some x-rays (just in case).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ballet

Two weeks ago the girls started ballet. They've been begging for lessons for a while and we've been hunting around for a studio but everything seemed so out of our league. Then Rachel came home from school saying that her kindergarten teacher was also a ballet teacher and she said that she'd give Rachel lessons and her first class would be on Saturday.

I didn't hear anything from her teacher, though, and so I passed it off as the ramblings of a five-year-old.

The next day I was surprised to find a flyer for a dance studio (with a 15% off coupon for the first month!) stuck in Rachel's homework folder. Her kindergarten teacher was indeed a ballet teacher and she'd just invited us to check out her studio.

We toured it over Christmas break and it was just lovely. We met the owner, who is so kind and wonderful. She took time out to meet us and struck me as a very genuine person—she reminded me of my old gymnastics coach Darlene (that will give at least my mom an idea of what she's like) and, frankly, we could use a Darlene in our life. The studio is rather small and the beginner classes in particular are struggling.

Both Miriam and Rachel have Rachel's kindergarten teacher for their ballet instructor but they meet in separate classes. Miriam meets with her first and is the only one in her class. They both do 45 minutes of ballet and then 15 minutes of tap.




Saturday, January 12, 2013

Catch up!

I think if I can just catch up to the present I'll be able to get back into blogging like I used to. We'll try it.  Ready to hear about the past two weeks? Here it goes...

A package came in the mail, all the way from California. Inside were some dolls made by a girl from Grandma and Grandpa's BYU ward. They were made to look like the girls and Grandma made matching skirts for the girls (which they opened on Christmas). It just so happened that Miriam was wearing her skirt when her doll arrived. She was thrilled when she noticed how well they matched.

On not blogging

Rachel was the third one awake this morning, which was good news for Benjamin. She's patiently holding him on the couch right now, happy to have him all to herself. She's always begging to hold him. He's usually fairly content to let her but there are often complicating factors (Miriam yanking on his limbs being the most common).

Miriam's still asleep. She's coughing dreadfully, but she's asleep.

Just kidding. She just wandered out of her bedroom. So much for a few minutes alone—now my lap is full and I'm being coughed on.

It doesn't matter. These germs have already been well-shared in our house.

My throat hurts so bad I can hardly stand it and my head is pounding.

Benjamin woke up shortly before 2 AM and spent the next 4.5 hours cough, writhing, and fussing in bed beside me. He wants to nurse every time he coughs. I'm not sure how much sleep either of us got last night or the night before or even the night before. I suppose sleep is optional.

"Mom! You have to look at what Benjamin did!" Rachel called proudly from the couch.

She has a cough, too, but seems to be on the mend. Maybe.

I looked over.

"He took his diaper off!" she announced.

Fabulous.

Stupid velcro tabs.

I suppose I should have put a onesie over it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Peek-a-Boo Benjamin

Here's a little video of Benjamin and me playing a little peek-a-boo during a diaper change this afternoon (technically before a diaper change—so, yes, that's a clean, albeit stained, diaper). At the very end I ask him if he can say "Hi!" and instead he says, "Laa!"

The girls were very proud of him for telling me 'no' in Arabic—because it's true: he can't say 'hi.'

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Ringing in the New Year

My dad has wanted me to keep an eye out for Spanish Moss. Technically we should have some in North Carolina but there doesn't seem to be any in this area. I suppose we'd have to go farther east to see it but instead we went south and were able to find some there.


Monday, January 07, 2013

Hello, old friend

The Carolinas are both so beautiful. I'm happy to call the north one home but the south one was might be a little more favourite right now. That might have to do with the fact that we were only there on vacation. It could also be that I grew up on the coast for a while—only the northwest coast, not the southeast coast—and I simply love the beach.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Patriot's Point

Patriot's Point was the best kind of museum—full scale and hands on. The USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier, was the most impressive ship on the horizon and kind of stole the show (but it's difficult  to be unimpressive when you have a runway on board).

I'm just a floating airport; don't mind me.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Fort Sumter

After the aquarium we headed next door to the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center to wander around the museum while we waited for our turn on the ferry. Rachel joined the Junior Ranger program and went around the museum collecting information so that she could answer the questions on her form in order to earn her badge.

One of the most shocking things I learned was this: "Based on 1860 Census data, 26% of southern white families owned slaves. Percentages ranged from 49% in Mississippi to 3% in Delaware. Some free blacks also owned slaves."

First, it's just hard for me to think of Delaware as being a southern state. Second, free blacks owned slaves?! I'm not sure I knew that. At first I was shocked at the idea, but this article seems to quell those feelings rather well, declaring that most of the slaves held by black owners were likely "benevolently enslaved" (ie. purchased by well-meaning, free relatives who had the money to buy but not the power to free). It does, however, say that there were regular, ordinary black slave-owning as well, who thought of owning slaves as some "divine right," as J.S. Preston called it. He said, "Slavery is our King — Slavery is our Truth — Slavery is our Divine Right," when he addressed South Carolina's 1860 Democratic Convention (p. 16).


There were many quotes like that that simply made me shudder. That idea is so foreign to me.

This quote, however, just cracks me up:


 “South Carolina is too small for a republic, but too large for an insane asylum.”
—Federal Judge James L. Petigru of Charleston, December 1860 (p. 20)

Anyway, Fort Sumter is where the first shot of the Civil War was fired. I learned more about the Civil War than I probably ever knew—at least, I had more sink in than ever had before. There's something about being places and seeing things that makes history (or any subject) tangible and memorable. My geography is much better in places I've been than places I haven't, for example. And this was no different.

For Sumter was built on a man-made island and wasn't entirely constructed in 1860, but it was finished enough that the Union felt it could set up base there (abandoning other forts in the area, which the Confederacy took over). James Buchanan was president, but was lame-ducking through it so he did little to calm the rising revolt of the South. It was a bigger problem for Lincoln when he took the presidency than it would have been if there had been better negotiations with Buchanan, I'm sure.

So, by the time Lincoln got in office the North was in the fort (to show their control of federal property) and the South was like, "Hey, get out of our fort!" The North said no so the South pulled out the big guns (literally) and fired the shot that began the Civil War on April 12, 1861.

I still don't know as much about the Civil War as I should could will. There's quite a bit of Civil War history around these parts (go figure) so I'm sure I'll be picking up and putting together bits and pieces of history while we're here.

Out of the Education Center and onto the ferry...

We had to wait in line for a while. Miriam played around with Grandma and Grandpa:



South Carolina Aquarium

Our first item of business last Thursday was...