Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Wrap Up

 We have all been down with a respiratory virus the past week (not COVID, but either flu or RSV, I think), but I wanted to write my yearly wrap up post anyway.  

The boys are all still homeschooling.  Pierce is a junior this year, and interested in pursuing computer science.  Cort and Reid are freshmen, and while not quite sure about potential majors, Reid is leaning towards architecture or civil engineering.  Cort is enjoying the honors biology class he is taking so much that he would like to pursue biology further in the future.  

We continued our geocaching adventures and I found my 1000th geocache (which was in a tree - I did not go down into the hole in the tree - Paul took one for the team and went in there to get it).   

We had a blast taking a few days to travel to Martinsburg, WV to find some of WVTim's caches.  Our favorite, by far, was Cave.  

In August we toured a few colleges in Burlington Vermont, spent a day in Montreal, and also attended our first Mega geocaching event, in Napanee, Canada (where I had the pleasure of meeting Grace from Buttons Thoughts).  

Despite the fun of 2023, there were some challenging moments over the past year, including loss and grief.  I am hopeful 2024 will be a little kinder to all.

Miles run this year: 1127
Books read: 127
Book of the year: Remarkably Bright Creatures

I wish you all a Happy New Year and a Healthy and Fun 2024!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 Wrap Up

 Hello friends,

Just here for a year-end wrap up.  While I don't seem to be getting any blogging done, I do still post pics fairly regularly on Instagram - @twobearsfarm 

This past year we were fortunate to get to do some travel.  We spent a week with my family at the beach in North Carolina, a week in Austin, Texas (Paul had a work conference there, and afterwards we drove up to Baylor to visit our old stomping ground), and a week in New England (with fun days in Salem and Boston Massachusetts, as well as along the coast of Maine).  Everywhere we traveled, we had a blast looking for geocaches - it is one of our favorite activities as a family.  

We have continued to homeschool the boys - Pierce says he wants to finish high school at home.  Cort and Reid will be starting high school next year, and haven't decided yet if they want to continue homeschooling or if they would like to return to the local school system.  

This year I read 130 books.  My favorite book I read was Lessons in Chemistry, but I read a number of fun ones.  

This year I ran 1307 miles.  This was an increase in mileage for me over the previous few years.  I'm not doing long runs, but I managed not to get injured which helped keep my mileage consistent week by week.  Hoping for more of the same in 2023!

I hope you all are doing well and staying healthy.  Happy New Year!  

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Wrap Up

 Since starting this blog, I've never failed (yet) to do a year end wrap up post, but some years recently it has been the only post I've done!  

We continued homeschooling this year because of COVID-19, but it's gone more smoothly this year.  We figured out some things from last year that worked, and some that didn't.  I changed out some curriculum I didn't like.  And we've been able to do field trips!  This fall we spent a few days in Richmond visiting museums, we rode the train up to Washington DC for a few days and visited the Smithsonian museums, and we spent a couple of nights in Wintergreen hanging out with my brother's family and doing some geocaching.  

In 2021, I ran 1013 miles.  I was injured in February and spend a couple of months on the elliptical, and I don't count those miles in my running total. I am glad to break 1000.  

I read 195 books this year.  

Wishing everyone a happy and HEALTHY 2022!  

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Geocaching and Naked Nutrition

 We're homeschooling again this year, and Cort and Reid have been taking astronomy as an elective.  About a month ago they had a lab learning to read maps that sent us out geocaching, and we've been hunting geocaches several times a week since then.  A few weeks ago we found stage one on a two part geocache, which had coordinates to the second stage.  It was on a busy day, and we knew that we didn't have time to hike that far.  So today we finally returned with hiking shoes, hiking poles, and some Naked Nutrition snacks to find stage two.  

Having a fifteen year old and two twelve year olds, it feels like someone is always hungry.  I think we were on the trail for all of five minutes before Cort wanted to dig into the snacks.  But I told him we needed to wait until we got to the top of the ridge.  We had a couple of miles of walking to get to the top.  We didn't see a soul, and it felt so nice to be out in the woods, the leaves crunching underfoot.

Once we located the geocache hidden in rocks at the top and signed the log (success!), we were all hungry, so we broke out the snacks.  Naked Nutrition sent us their Chocolate Fudge protein bars and their Naked protein Sugar Cookies to try.  

We decided to sample a little bit of each.  I was pleased with how they didn't crumble in the packs during the hike.  The Chocolate Fudge bars are nice and chewy, with a dark chocolate flavor, 180 calories, 10 grams of whey protein and GMO free, soy free, and gluten free (Cort still doesn't eat gluten - these are made from almond flour).  All three of my boys decided they liked the chocolate fudge bars best.  

I thought the sugar protein cookies had a bit of a 'birthday cake' flavor to them, and they were my favorite.  The cookies are clean eating just like the fudge bars.  Cort asked, "Are these snacks healthy?" Pierce replied, "They're Naked bars, they have nothing to hide."  I thought this was pretty clever, until I realized he was reading the slogan off the package!  I do love portable snacks like this with simple ingredients, that serve as healthy and tasty fuel for our adventures in the woods.

The view from the very top of the ridge was so worth the hike up there.  And after our refueling stop, we had no trouble completing the rest of our hike - even having the energy to hit up a couple more geocaches on the way home.  If you're looking for a new protein snack to try for your geocaching adventures, or to fuel a gym workout, or even for the afternoon slump at work, check out Naked Nutrition!

Disclaimer: I received samples of the Naked Nutrition chocolate fudge protein bars and protein sugar cookies for review purposes.  The opinions expressed above are my own.  

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Devil's Bathtub Hike

How's everyone hanging in with the tail end of 2021?  I hope you all are doing well. We are still here and fine - the boys are homeschooling again this year because of the continued pandemic, so that is keeping me busy (on top of continuing with teaching psychology).

I have a number of things I want to share from the past year, but I need my tech savvy fifteen year old to help me get the pics off my phone and onto my computer.  In the meantime, here's a start:

Back in June we took a few days to do some activities around the state of Virginia that we've always wanted to do, but never had the time.  We wrote down all those things on a list, and then took family votes for the top five activities.  We managed to fit in so much good in just five days.  

One of the top ranked choices was a trip to Devil's Bathtub.  Years ago I saw images on Pinterest or somewhere, and couldn't believe it was in my state.  Way down in a corner though.  In fact, in our rambling drive to get there, we tipping across into Tennessee for a few minutes, before passing back over into Virginia.  We managed to find the trailhead though.  

It didn't disappoint.  We found two rope swings and any number of lovely (but frigid) swim holes along the route.  The actual bathtub was just a little bit further back on the rocks (which were rather slick).  

All except Pierce and I took the plunge in the deceivingly deep bathtub, which judging from the whoops was also freezing cold!  

We had to make quick hiking to get back to the car, because there was a massive storm brewing that we were trying to beat.  We just barely made it - only a little damp from the rain.  

If you did something you've always wanted to do this summer, let me know what it was in the comments!  

Friday, January 1, 2021

Moving on from 2020

 It's hard to know where to start with 2020.  It certainly wasn't the year that anyone expected.  We made the most of it, though, because really - what else can you do?  

While I haven't written on my blog, I did do some writing this year, and had articles published in Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Magic of Dogs, All Creatures Magazine (Nov/Dec issue), and Backwoods Home Magazine (Nov/Dec issue).  

Cort and Reid graduated from elementary school in May - they did a drive thru graduation and it felt a little bittersweet that their elementary school, which Pierce started in Pre-K, would no longer be a part of our lives.  One of the biggest changes this year brought for us was that we decided to homeschool the boys for the 20/21 school year.  It was a little terrifying to pull them out of school, but it's been going well, and they seem to like it.  Depending on how things are going with the pandemic, perhaps they will be able to return to public school next year.

Paul and the boys built a tiny cabin on our land.  I even helped a few times!  They hewed all the wood from fallen trees on our land.  They are hoping to build another at some point. This one has three bunk beds inside it.  It was still in progress in this picture.  

In 2020 I read 173 books (it was a great year for reading).  A few favorites include Why We Sleep, Running with Sherman, Caravan (Dorothy Gilman), The Adventures of Robin Hood (Roger Lancelyn Green), The Thing About Jellyfish, Wolf Hollow, Around the World in 80 Days, The Cook and the Gardener, Boy's Life (Robert R. McCammon) and The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street.

 I ran 1051 miles this year.  This was up from the previous couple of years in which I struggled so much with Lyme, but still not at my typical mileage of 1200+.  I'm still getting there - but was happy to break a thousand miles this year!  

I had a decent garden this past year.  I just yesterday picked some kale - I have a few greens left (but not many).  I've already ordered seeds for 2021 and am eager to see what the growing season will bring.  

Kids and animals are all doing well.  I hope if you're reading this, that all in your family are also well, and that your 2021 is happy and healthy!  

Friday, January 3, 2020

A Trip North and Happy New Year

I just got an email from the twins' teachers asking for baby pictures to be used in their graduation ceremony this spring.  As in graduation from elementary school.  Which means I will have THREE middle schoolers next year.  Of course all the best baby pictures are on the blog, so here I was looking at old posts and I figured why not write a quick recap for 2019?

Last summer we went camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  I've wanted to make this trip since reading about it on someone else's blog years ago.  It's gorgeous up there and so much cooler in July than Virginia.  Reid sprained an ankle, so we ended up taking the COG up to the top of Mount Washington.  It was quite an experience! 

We also did a number of shorter hikes around the White Mountains.  And we took a day trip to Portland Maine, where we rode the mail ferry around to various islands and had lobster for lunch. 

The boys have continued to play music - here's a picture of them playing Old Joe Clark with the Junior Appalachian Musicians at a festival this past fall. 

My running wasn't the best this year - I've continued to struggle with some health complications, likely related to the lyme disease from the summer of 2018 (I do feel I finally have a doctor that is knowledgeable and helpful).  I ended up with 981 miles for 2019.  I'm disappointed about being 19 miles short of my minimum running goal, but am hopeful this next year will be much better. 

I read 107 books this year.  I was behind for a while - so I wasn't sure I would meet the goal.  Favorites included the Truly Devious series, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Shadow Divers, The Weight of Silence, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, Where the Forest Meets the Stars, Call Your Daughter Home, The Sun Does Shine, The Traveling Cat Chronicles, The Distance Home, The Honey Bus, Lassoing the Sun and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. 

I hope you all have a great 2020!