I love blogging, but even more than that, I love reading blogs. Bloggers I follow often come to feel like friends to me. I know their kids' names, what they teach them in school, what they like to read, craft (or not) and cook.
For various reason some bloggers move from being "blog friends" to "phone friends." Maybe it is the need to discuss a project or an intense conversation that seems to be stifled by the typing of emails, so an occasional phone call becomes an additional method of communication. Then your suspicions about the other person are confirmed -- you know you really like them.
Kristen over at Teaching Stars is a has been a blog/phone friend of mine for a while now. I enjoy her blog immensely, and we chat about things like blogging, homeschooling eclectically and classically, trying to wake up early, and surviving life with three small children. She also lives only one state away.
We were recently chatting about her husband's oversea trip, when she mentioned that she wanted to take a road trip with her girls while her husband was away. They had studied prehistory this past year, and she wanted to take them to visit one of her state's fun geologic touristy hot-spots -- caverns! It just so happens that those caverns happen to be much closer to my own home than hers. It also happened that my husband would be out of town during that same period. It just seemed natural to say, "Hey! You guys could come and stay with us!"
And so they did. Kristen and her girls were delightful guests. We quickly fell into a companionable, comfortable routine and everyone felt like old friends.
We met them at the caverns this past weekend. I felt guilty because they drove many more hours to get there than we did, but the kids were all excited to meet and became pretty fast friends.
This is the group pre-tour. Can you believe we were brave enough to take this bunch 50' underground for a 45 minute tour (that ended up being and hour-and-a-half thanks to a detailed tour guide) in dark, narrow caves where you are not supposed to touch anything. They all did fantastic!
Some of the cave formations we got to see. The caverns had stalactites, stalagmites, fossils, water, bats, huge crickets, and so much more.
Tropical Storm Debbie kept trying to put a damper on our fun. She gave us rain one day and high winds the next, but we made the best of it.
After the tour we ate lunch at every kid's favorite restaurant and came back here to the house. The moms were pooped, but the kids still had hours of dress-up and play in them. We finally got everyone settled into bed around 8:30, and Kristen and I were able to share a couple glasses of wine and look over each other's curriculum goodies. As you can guess, we stayed up way too late talking.
The next day dawned clear and windy, so the troops were in the back yard early to catch up on their outdoor play. Thomas was happy to drive the girls around on his gator.
The breezes made a mid-day trip to the park bearable and fun.
This is what happens to your pile of shoes during a tropical storm-spawned wind gust.
It was kid paradise around here as they had plenty of time to play, nice long naps, and a trip to Chic-Fil-A for dinner and ice cream.
And the biggest surprise of the trip was this super-cool, fabulous, totally awesome world map quilt Kristen and the girls brought us. Her mom makes them, and she gave one away recently on her blog. I think she could sense my disappointment in not winning, because the last night of the trip they gave us this sweet gift. We are going to love using this with our world geography studies this year.
So that's how I'm Making It Count this week, and I think this is my favorite one ever. It's all good to have crafty items or an organized closet, but using the Internet to make friends has to be the best thing of all. Thanks Kristen and girls; we loved it! You guys come back any time.
One more thing: Kristen is up to number 29 - so close - on the Circle of Moms Top 25 Homeschooling blogs. There is one more day to vote, and I would love to push her over the top into the Top 25. Would you please go vote for her? You do not need to register to vote.
Sarah's hosting today. To see how others are making their online time count, head on over and check it out.