In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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WOLF School Is WOW

When my daughter was in 5th grade back in 2009, she attended WOLF (Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility) and it was a great experience for our entire family.

2009 was the first year that this conservation based school was in business.  The classrooms were located in the old K-Mart building just West of Bass Pro.  They didn’t have a playground.  They had a parking lot.  They didn’t have a lunch room.  The lunches were catered by Parkview High School and they ate their lunch on the floor.  The kids didn’t care they loved the school, the field trips and the teachers.  One of which is still teaching there and the other?  Unfortunately moved on.

Fast forward to now and if you live here, I’m sure you’ved noticed serious construction at the corner of Sunshine and Campbell.  We live extremely close to this intersection so getting Lauren to this school was no problem for us.  WOLF School is now located in a brand new building and it is totally amazing!

We attended the Grand Opening last Thursday evening.  Lauren still volunteers when she can and it’s getting harder with school activities.  She does travel most of the summer with my parents as well.  But we do our best to get some hours in.  After school is out most of the time.  My yoga teaching requires me to be at work when she could be attending animal handling classes.  Lauren had already been inside the new shcool once.  She attended a lock-in prior to the public opening. 

This is the Grand Hall or the entry way.  The classrooms are on the left and are completely secure.  The green wall at the end of the hallway will be removed eventually.  This will allow a connection to the Bass Pro retail store and the WOW museum.  Basically the school will be open to the public so hence for the secure location of the classrooms.  Each area has a neat diorama by the door that features the theme.  So there’s a River Room and so on. 

The classrooms are really cool too.  They have neat stuff on the ceilings just like the Bass Pro store.  One room has the experience of water and a cave system.  One room has grass and flowers like the plains.  Of course there’s no lack of taxidermy and other outdoor gear on the walls as well. 

The ceilings in the main hallway and in the convention rooms are beyond high.  Just massive and beautiful.  The  convention room has a beautifully painted wall mural of the outdoors that was still in progress.  I believe the speaker said it will also feature a real waterfall too.  The gigantic chandeliers in that space are covered with what looks like animal skins.  Real ones?  Probably.  The concrete floors are embedded with animal tracks and the bathrooms?  No mirrors and the stalls appear to be metal with scenes of the outdoors overlayed into them.  And they also have gorgeous stained glass windows and a big round stainless system for handwashing like 6 kids at one time.

While wondering about Harry Potter came to my mind with the dark, thick wood and stone in the architecture.  My favorite space was a big room with big round tables.  The West wall houses the biggest stone fireplace that I’ve ever seen.  We attended the Awards Banquet this week and enjoyed a really nice dinner in this cozy space complete with the fireplace roaring.  The walls are adorned with vintage photos (big ones of course) of the Morris family on outdoor activities. 

Once the place is landscaped the kids will have a playground.  A place for archery.  A fully stocked fish pond where they can fish, clean and cook fish.  The yard will also feature a nature trail with native plants and a cave.  Heck.  They might not need to go on field trips as everything will be in-house.  Was my daughter jealous to see all of this?  Not really.  She mentioned how her class was the first class and they were the pioneers.  I do feel like chances of getting into this great program will be harder now because the building is so incredibly cool.  But if you have a child entering 5th grade, I highly encourage you to apply.  We feel honored to have had this experience and very lucky to be part of such a beautiful new space.


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Saturday At Stockton

Yesterday was a pretty hot day.  Almost too hot to go to the lake, but we went anyway.  Just Frank and I.  The kids were off doing their other weekend things.  We took the boat, some chairs, an umbrella, my floaty, some snacks (sushi) and some fishing poles and the camera.  We didn’t catch much but had a great day.

We saw a total of 4 boats all day.  That’s what I like about Stockton, it’s never that crowded.  Now a Saturday at Table Rock would’ve been a completely different and totally unrelaxing story.  We parked our boat here and played most of the day.

It was so quiet you could hear the flapping wings of this Turkey Vulture.  There were several out yesterday.  I saw two beautiful hawks as well.

While Frank was off fishing I was busy floating.  At one time I had 12 dragon flies on  my legs.  Eight on one leg and four on the other. 

 

This moth was pretty bland and gray on the outside.  Once she opened her wings she was quite the show.

We trolled the bank all the way back to the boat dock.  It was around six o’clock and the sunlight on the water was beautiful.

As we came around a bend I spotted this Blue Heron.  Frank didn’t stop trolling fast enough before we got into too much sun.  Then we were too close and it flew off.  Crazy boat drivers……just kidding.

We pass this old school house (and cemetery) on the way to launch the boat.  It has a high fence completely around it with with no tresspassing signs as well.  It’s a neat old building.  It’s near Aldrich or something.  I really have no idea of the exact location or town.

You can see inside of it and through the windows that were once there.

Woke up this morning to the hummers fighting over the feeder.  It’s a beautiful day I slept in and missed yoga.  I guess I’ll forgive myself.  Get outside while it’s still cool, I’m going to.


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Ritter Springs is Yoga

The WOLF School (conservation based 5th grade) that my daughter attends held their camping trip this weekend at Ritter Springs Park.  We had great weather with the exception of lots of wind Friday night!  We rented a tent which was missing some poles and heck, I don’t even think the rain cover went with it, but you make do with what you have and it’s all good.  Check out our weekend pad.  Stellar.  Actually, it was great!  More room than we really needed that’s for sure.  

100_37521Fast forward to that same evening.  We were scheduled for a Night Hike.  I had no idea where we’d be hiking, or what we’d be looking for and neither did anyone else.  We hiked to the mouth of a cave and checked out the bat flight.   We all stood around the mouth of this cave (like a huge sinkhole actually) and watched around 3,000 bats (not kidding) come and go.  They flew over our heads and side swiped our cheeks.  It was cool. 

Sleeping that night was cool as well.  The breeze was a little bit too much at times and it really kept whipping at our tent.  In turn that kept me awake, being the light sleeper that I am.  I didn’t think a bottle of wine was appropriate for this trip so I dealt with the wind.  I sat outside for awhile and checked out the stars and felt the wind on my face, I went to the bathroom (which was a hike) and watched my kid sleep like a baby.   

 

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I was up at 6 a.m. and took a jaunt down to the creek and meditated for half an hour.  I had originally planned to be in STL this same weekend with one of my favorite yoga teachers, but this trip was yoga in itself.  The grass around this creek was so lush and green.  I truly felt like Frodo might pop out from behind one of those trees any second.  I took advantage of the early morning sun to capture some of the beauty. 

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There were several activities we could sign up for and I let Lauren pick them all.  So on Saturday morning I found myself signed up for Trail Running.  Uh oh.  I’m no runner.  It was obvious that our guides were serious runners but they weren’t intimidating one bit.  In fact, a few of us found ourselves connected by some other time or place and I always enjoy reconnecting with people under different circumstances.  We learned about trail running do’s and don’ts.  We then headed to the lake and creek for a short little run.  Here’s a photo of our trail running team.  Go WOLF School!

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After lunch (all the food was provided) we met up with our cave guides and headed to Junction Cave.  This cave is up high, steep high above the river.   We stopped at an outbuilding and grabbed flashlights, hard hats and gloves and onward we went.  Actually, 3 people from Nebraska just happened to be walking by and the guides asked them to join us.  They’re probably thinking that the parks here in Springfield, Missouri totally rock right about now!  We had great guides and we were amongst another fun group of people.  When we arrived at the cave, we did a little cleaning.  This cave is open to the public and people like to leave lots of marks in the way of graffiti, candles and broken glass.  You remove graffiti with water (preferably cave water) and a wire brush.  How simple is that? 

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After a bit of cleaning, it was our turn to enter.  We were able to go in about 150 feet or so.  At one time, we all turned off our flashlights.  I have never, ever experienced darkness like that in my life.  You literally could not see your hand in front of your face.  It was awesome!  I shot a great photo of a cave salamander and a bat.  Below is my daughter Lauren, her friend Sierra and Sierra’s aunt, Jeri100_37592

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We slid on out of the cave and down the hill back to camp!  We played some  games, challenges and puzzles with groups that were fun, but I will say by the time we got to that event, I was spent! 

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I’m hoping for a smooth transition from this very cool 5th grade, to 6th grade when we re-enter civilian school.   And, if you have a 4th grader that likes being outdoors, applying for WOLF school is a great idea as well.

Go camping, it’s so worth it.


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Valentine’s Day Canoe Box?

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Last night was create the Valentine box night.  Lauren attends a conservation based 5th grade (WOLF) so she wanted something wolfish.  We decided on a canoe, then of course, we had to figure out how we were gonna make it happen.  It all worked using one small box, some construction paper, wooden chop sticks and pipe cleaners.  Though she didn’t win the contest, her friends loved her boat! 

They had their Valentine party this afternoon and in the morning they had a field trip to Bois D’Arc.  That’s where the archery and shooting ranges are located.  They also do nature based crafts.  She’s one of a handful of kids that won’t shoot the guns out there.  She cannot close the proper eye and she doesn’t like it covered.  It’s ok.  She still had a great time and made an awesome birdhouse (the kind you tack to a tree) out of wood instead.

I can’t believe how grown up she looks in this photo!!


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Snowy Update

*Springfield just called school off for tomorrow, January 29th, again.  I cannot believe it.  We’ve been out running around all afternoon!  I will be teaching my regular yoga class in the morning at BOWS from 9-10:30 a.m. anyways, so if you need to get out (and stretch) I’ll be there!

*Lauren got her wish of being out of school on her birthday, which is today!

*My kids have been in and out a gazillion times since it started snowing last night, and I’m way sick of melted snow and wet clothes after not even 24 hours.

*Milos (father-in-law) is doing amazing!  The guy was sitting up in bed, eating a huge lunch with a tube draining from his head today!  He can bring that right arm up above his head and only has a slight tingling in his fingers.  They also said the catscan showed his brain is already occupying the space where the clot was and that’s way cool.  I can’t believe it.  Thanks to all of those who were thinking of us during this crazy time!  We look for him to come home on Friday or Saturday!

*We now have an extra day to make fudge for Lauren’s class as her birthday snack celebration since there’s no school, again tomorrow.  I still can’t believe it.

*I hope MSU will be open.  I’m scheduled to teach there at noon tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it!

*I painted a small chalk board on my kitchen wall next to the phone today.  It looks great!  I also mounted a small white shelf below it, to hold chalk and whatever.  Looking forward to doodling on that!

*I hate laundry.

*I love cats but I am so tired of cat hair.

*I want my new (used) furniture.  Plan was to get it on Monday, but nope, weather blew that.  I’m ready to get rid of this sectional. 

*I took my kids to Burger King today because that’s what they wanted.  Yuck, but I ate a little something there anyways.

*There was no one at Wal-Mart this afternoon.  Everyone must’ve been playing in the snow.  I hate to say it, but the groceries there are so much more affordable than the grocery store by my house.  And (this is sad) their meat department even looks better.  Supply and demand keeps stuff fresh I suppose.

*My husband plowed our driveway and the sidewalk and a path thru the yard next door, at 10:00 p.m. last night.  Bad thing about our road is this.  The snow plows bank the end of your driveway in while you’re at Wal-Mart.  I had to gun it over the hump, but when I slid in the driveway a HUGE sheet of ice slid off the top of my van and bent the shit out of one of my windshield wipers.  And, it scared Lauren to death, she cried.

*I spent probably $30 extra at the store today, just because Lauren was with me.  Jordan only wanted a pack of gum.  He’s awesome as he NEVER asks for anything.  My child on the other hand…….

*Visiting hours in I.C.U. were at 1:00 p.m. today.  So 11 years ago today, I was at the same hospital giving birth to Lauren, who was born at 1:03 p.m. on a Wednesday.  Except today, we were on the 6th floor instead of the 4th.  Weird.


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Advice to Beginners

Years ago (I’m only 42) I wanted to be a nurse.  So, I did what people would do.  I enrolled at SMSU and started with the nursing pre-requisite classes.  This would be my first college experience and I was married, working full-time during the day, and I was 25.  I got almost half way through those classes, when I had the opportunity to own my own business.  I worked the business and went to school, actually, I worked for FREE for two years to pay off the debt.  After a short time, I discovered that by going to school and running the business I would definitely fail at both, so I had to make a decision.  I quit the school and ran with the business.  I loved the classes that I took, I especially loved the English class.  I still have the book from that very class, and in it, is the poem below.  I have it memorized.  I love it.

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Begin.  Keep on beginning.  Nibble on everything.  Take a hike.  Teach yourself to whistle.  Lie.  The older you get the more they’ll want your stories.  Make them up.  Talk to stones.  Short-out electric fences.  Swim with the sea turtle into the moon.  Learn how to die.  Eat moonshine pie.  Drink wild geranium tea.  Run naked in the rain.  Everything that happens will happen and none of us will be safe from it.  Pull up anchors.  Sit close to the god of night.  Lie still in a stream and breathe the water.  Climb to the top of the highest tree until you come to the branch where the blue heron sleeps.  Eat poems for breakfast.  Wear them on your forehead.  Lick the mountain’s bare shoulder.  Measure the color of days around your mothers’s death.  Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you.

Author Ellen Kort


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Sarah Palin in the Burg

The WOLF School meeting was good.  Focus was on some winter gear, forming a parent organization (since there is no PTA over there) and of course, all the positive things that are happening with the kids.  I’ve already mentioned before, how close my daughter is to several of the kids already.  I think the stuff they do at that school, enhances bonding.  They also mentioned how the kids have increased independence and how their self esteem has risen.  I totally agree.

The meeting was at Bass Pro.  They have a Starbucks, lucky me. I was able to get my favorite tea on the way out.  This cold, will NOT ruine my weekend.  The place was also crawling with a bunch of people, doin’ the set up for Sarah Palin.  Guess she’s going to speak at Bass Pro, not MSU like originally planned.  When you think about it, I guess Bass Pro is more appropriate!  The kids are actually walking over to see her speak today.  I’ve never been to a politcal rally, I’m 41, my kid is 10.  I’m not envious though, I have little patience for politics, they actually exhaust me.  I met someone at the Starbucks kiosk that said they were going to send their kid to school tomorrow in an Obama shirt.  OK.  I’m undecided on who to vote for, but I am leaning towards Obama.  My entire family will disown me.  I will have to live in exile with my brother in Boulder, the land of the democrats!

Back to that Starbucks tea.  Quote #292 was on my cup.  I dug it, so I’m sharing it.

The way we get to live forever is through memories stored in the hearts and souls of those whose lives we touch.  That’s our soul print.  It’s our comfort, our emotional nourishment at the end of the day and the end of a life.  How wonderful that they are called up at will and savored randomly.  It seems to me we should spend our lives in a conscious state of creating these meaningful moments that live on.  Memories matter.   – Leeza Gibbons

Now, I don’t know much about Leeza Gibbons.  I don’t watch much TV.  There are some things, that you just don’t expect some people to say.  Hence the above.  But, I truly love moments of revelation, who knew?  Just another fine reason to not judge people by their outer shell.

Off to heavily medicate and teach a class.  I hope I can kick this enough to really enjoy the yoga at the workshop.  At this moment, I’m thinking all the meditation and breathing will be out for me.  My labored breathing right now, would take everyone flat out of their state of bliss for sure!  If not, just being there will have to do!