Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Trip Phase II

The saga continues...

Tuesday dawned bright and early for us. We had breakfast with C's parents and bid them farewell to begin our drive to the conference. We took the northern route through Tennessee. We had to stop at Cracker Barrel for lunch, of course. No road trip is complete without that, especially one in TN! I had a little detour planned for us before we got to the conference site. We passed through Asheville, NC and I wanted to make a stop at the Deltec Homes model home. I really want a round house! C agreed it would be nice after walking around inside one. Yea!
The kids were anxious to get to the conference, even though we were a day early, so we made it a quick stop and got back on the road to head to Black Mountain. As it was getting late, we got some dinner at a chinese restaurant before making our way to the Blue Ridge Assembly. This was a big change for the conference, moving out of a hotel and onto a mountainside, but as we drove up the road taking us to the heart of the grounds, we were excited for the new adventure to begin. It was so beautiful and serene and so many things about that place reminded C and I of places we had been before. Even the color of the porch floors (blue) reminded me of home (my mother always painted our porch floor blue)! It felt like HOME.

We checked in and unpacked the car and started seeing friends who had arrived early as well. We walked around the grounds and explored a bit, and hung out in the lobby of the main hotel where we were staying, talking with people and getting acquainted. A was determined to meet some new friends and she got off to a great start! The next day our friends, Flo and family, were due to arrive, but A did not want to stay safe and hang with only people she already knew.

Wednesday morning we got up to go out for breakfast, since the meals for the conference did not begin until lunch. When we got back, Flo had arrived and we showed them around and helped them get settled. Then it was time for lunch in the cafeteria. We joked that our kids don't need to go to school to know how to navigate a cafeteria now! It was an adventure to find food the girls would fill up on, but they survived the weekend. Next year we will have more snacks and stuff in our room, but I was proud of how the girls handled the limited food choices. A really surprised me with how willing she was to try new things!
That afternoon was spent playing around with tie-dye, henna, balloons, and temp tattoos, meeting and greeting folks, playing in the stream, and listening to great music on the porch of Lee Hall. After dinner there was the bonfire down by the lake. It was just Flo, A and I who went. E and Flo's daughter C wanted to play Hannah Montana in our room, so my dear husband volunteered to stay close by (he was not allowed in the room). We had a nice time singing campfire songs, eating marshmallows, and listening to ghost stories with our "tribe".
After a morning of cheerleading and beading for the kids, my dad and step mom were due to arrive sometime Thursday afternoon. The kids were loath to leave the hotel area because they wanted to meet them when they arrived. So, they set up in the Untreprenerial fair area and sold their wares. E had made four pairs of earrings at the bead funshop that morning and wanted to sell them. Talk about an opportunist! She made 100% profit on those earrings! Course she did turn right around and buy a pair of earrings from another lady later with that money.

My dad arrived and we helped them get settled in. There was to be a group photo taken that afternoon on the steps of Lee Hall. So, as an intro to the wonderful unschooling community, my dad and step mom got an eyeful of the colorful crowd when we gathered on the steps for the picture. That night after dinner was the first talent show. No one from our group was to perform that night, but E was signed up for the next night. It was the best Live and Learn talent show I have seen so far! Everyone was awesome and the support and love from the crowd was as palpable as ever.
I realize now that I can't remember all the details well enough to continue this play-by-play account. So, I'll turn this account over to the pictures and add comments to fill in the rest.

E pumping up a balloon at the Balloon Madness funshop.
A's elegant balloon hat.
Tie Dye extravaganza : Holly Dodd sharing a little of her green dye with A when the bottle of green was scarce.

Squeezing out the dye.

A's sunburst henna tattoo.

My pretty henna design.

After Jon Kream's speech, he invited us all to paint outside the box on this canvass. The finished work of art was auctioned off in the raffle.

E and a new friend entered the talent show Friday night, singing and dancing to a Hannah Montana song. This is a shot from the practice session earlier. I got video of the actual act. Talk about a proud mama. Need I say she was great?!!

C and I after my speech on Saturday. Don't I look happy? Everything went well and I actually enjoyed the experience, no matter what my stomach said that morning!

The beautiful Smoky Mountains as seen from the porch of Lee Hall.

Saturday afternoon beading in Lee Hall with my step mom.

One last shot of the girls, before Flo and crew headed out Sunday. Such a colorful bunch!

The end of conference picnic would not be complete without Nitrogen Ice Cream ala James.

The infamous Marty Dodd, dueling cameras with me down by the lake at the picnic. Who got the first shot? I think it was a draw!

A, second from right, hanging around with new friends.
And so ends another L&L. As my henna tattoo fades, I hope for the experience of being together with my tribe to not fade too much until we can be together once again! North Carolina, here we come in 2008...


Flo said...

How fun! I love that pic of the mountains. Maybe I'll photoshop mine and see if I can get one looking that spectacular.

Did it really have to end? ;(

PeacefulGoddess said...

I WILL be there in 2008! I am so jealous it looks so fun to Life Learn in North Carolina!

PS I think the Z is truly under used so I decided to give it the attention it deserves LOL

Stephanie said...

Looks like a great time! Can't wait til next year.

Hope you're feeling better.

Annette said...

Sounds and looks great! What was your speech about? Can you blog a summary?

kelli said...

Love your photos! I'm gonna steal the canoe one, my daughter is in the middle! :) She's gonna love it! hee hee

OrganicSister said...

What about your speech?? You should post it for those of us that couldn't make it! :D