Experiencing our nation through its environments, animals, people and history.

Galatians 5:1

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snowed in.....

Oh, when the first flurries came it was all excitement!! Then last Friday night we were enjoying game night and it really started coming down. We made it back to the dorms in about four inches of snow...
Then the next morning we had about 7 inches and it was so cold, even Sherpa needed some protection. It was apparently getting to 4 with the wind chill, the official temps reading between 12-18. But it didn't stop the Kalers... we had been blessed with a couple loads of snow clothes, so away we go!! We are going for the full student experience so we went sledding on a cafeteria tray....
That plus some teamwork and a sled, and we were having a grand time!!..The next day, the sky cleared and the sun came out, and we were at it again. We even missed chruch cuz well, the roads weren't plowed...
Look Tina! Totally healed!! :)
Lesson number one: we must balance our desire to go next with the need to help the one who just crashed.

Or, you can all crash together!!

Tru biz... even Mommy and Daddy took a ride...

Final lesson: snowed in at the dorms, not so bad!! Here's some video if you want the full effect!! Now for me... back to the books....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Kentucky Derby

Imagine yourself going 35 miles per hour on a chestnut brown thoroughbred with 13 other horses jockeying for position. As you lean into the final turn, mud is flying everywhere, your heart is beating like crazy and you realize you're about to win. That is probably what it felt like for Oliver Lewis when he and his horse, Aristides, crossed the finish line of the first Kentucky Derby. It must have been exciting for him to win what is called the "most exciting two minutes in sports!"

Have you ever wondered where thoroughbred horses came from? "Historians say that it all started way back in the late 1600's and early 1700's. There were three kinds of horses, Darley Arabians, Godolfin Arabians and the Byerly Turk. In less than 100 years the lines of lineage crossed enough times to make an independent breed called the thoroughbred." Marsh, Carol The Mystery at the Kentucky Derby.

Horse racing has been around since Native-Americans roamed North America. In the late 1800s horse breeding in Kentucky became popular. Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr. established Churchill downs in Louisville. Does that name sound familiar? It should, he is the grandson of the famous explorer William Clark. In 1875 the first Kentucky Derby was held at Churchill Downs.

The Kentucky Derby is one of three events that make up the "Triple Crown" of horse racing. the Triple Crown includes:

  1. The Kentucky Derby held in Louisville, Kentucky in early May.

  2. The Preakness Stakes held in Baltimore, Maryland in mid May.

  3. The Belmont Stakes held in Belmont Park, New York in early June.

When Oliver Lewis rode to victory in the first Kentucky Derby it inspired many African-Americans to learn how to ride horses. It paid off because 15 of the next 28 Kentucky Derby's were won by African Americans. There has only been one African-American in recent history to ride however. Marlon St. Julien rode in the 2000 Kentucky Derby.

The Derby is referred to as the "Run for the Roses" because the winning horse is given a blanket made up of over 100 roses.

Post by JJ

Kentucky by Josiah

Hi everybody. Here are some facts I learned about Kentucky.

Kentucky is home to of the longest caves in the world. Mammoth caves and Fisher Ridge Cave System. (Hopefully, we'll get to visit one or both of these and show you some pictures!)

The capital of Kentucky is Frankfort.

The largest city is Louisville. Below is a picture of downtown Louisville.

The total area of Kentucky is 40,409 square miles.

The highest point is Black Mountain that stands 4,145 feet high.

It is the 36th largest state and is about as big as Iceland or half of Minnesota.

US President Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Derby is the oldest organized sporting event in the US.

I really like Kentucky. My favorite thing so far has been the basketball. I've realized that the team that I'm on is really on focusing on learning more about Jesus. It's called Upward.

I also like the Kentucky School for the Deaf basketball team.

This is a pictures of Jacobs Hall on the campus of KSD. RJ, is this named after you?

See you later from Kentucky


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Our arrival to Kentucky was in the middle of a cold snap... many of the hills and cliffs had icicles that made the kids think "we're in Narnia!!"
Since our arrival it has warmed up a bit and melted, and next few days have serious snow in the forcast, we'll see how it goes. We'll also be here in Kentucky awhile.... you're likely to get quite a few Kentuckian adventures. We are already enjoying the benefits of settling down for awhile, especially.... the library! The boys are also playing Upward basketball and loving that. We are in cultural encounter mode, realizing this state is serious about a few things: horses... and basketball. And cheerleading. The upward teams have cheerleaders (Gimmie a V! Dot that i! circle that C.......T-O-R-Y! too cute) And apparently Obama even called the UK basketball coach yesterday, congratulating them on thier Haiti fundraising... (but he messed up thier undeafeted record....)... anyway, we're in for some good learning and all is well. Mom is busy with her internship so kids will probably keep you updated about once a week. HUGS

Smoky Mountains, Tenn

After our big Atlanta day, we continued on for a quick stop at Chick-fil-A (we had abandoned the headquarters in liu of MLK, but managed to find some nuggets just the same.....) and spent the night at Greg's brother's place in Chattanooga, Tenn. It was great to catch up real quick and realize how close we are up here... hopefully we'll explore a bit more with Bob and Tracy in the Spring. Perhaps we'll blog their dogs here soon!!
The next day we ventured on for a little detour to the Smoky Mountain National Park. It sits on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina... and we were happy to see some mountains again!! It is pretty darn flat down there in the swamplands, and now these really are looking like big mountains. I'm sure we'll be flabbergasted when we finally get back to Rainier!!

We had promised the kids some snow this year... and not sure how it will go in Ky, we made this our big snow day!
It was pretty chilly.... but fun to see the creek almost entirely frozen over,
and the kids throwing snowballs!!
We are happy to announce, Josiah has now officially outgrown his fear of snow. He would never touch the stuff in Seattle, but he said "this day is perfect and I'm actually having fun!!"

Carpe Diem....
next stop, Kentucky!

Atlanta, GA

Our day in Atlanta turned out to be a day we'll never forget. We wanted to see the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr-- and we found not only his birthplace, but an entire National Historic site that includes his home, his grave, his church and an incredible museum repeating his message. The part of Atlanta where MLK grew up was a segregated all black neighborhood. His family was middle class, and every day he came out to see a block divided with low income workers who lived to his left, and wealthier doctors and insurance agents to his right. Inequality was ever before him. His father also would not support any institutions that were segregated, such as hospitals. Therefore Martin and his brother and sister were all born at home.
Most everyone knows the sad ending to Dr. King's life, but it was powerful for us to learn more about the beginning, and the middle. The wagon pictured above is the very one that carried his body during his funeral procession. It is a humble, simple wagon to signify his work and comraderie with the poor. Did you know that MLK served several years fighting for the rights of underpaid workmen? We were humbled by the extent of his work: the civil rights movement, the Southern Christian Leadership conference, political work, workers unions, the list goes on. While we were there we listened to his message given the night before he was shot. He said "We might not make it to the promised land together, but I promise you, we will make it...... and at my funeral? Don't tell them about my degrees, about my awards, about my nobel peace prize. And don't let them talk too long. Tell them if I did one good thing in my life, it was to love my fellow man...." (paraphrased)
Above is the church where MLK's father and grandfather preached. His first congregation was in Montgomery, Alabama- the same place where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, where MLK was voted the leader of that movement and started a year long political struggle to end segregated bus lines. He eventually moved back to Atlanta and co-pastored Ebeneezer church with his father. This original church is being restored and will be open for tours soon. Below is the modern Ebenezer church, that packs a full house every Sunday.
The kids did the work to become junior rangers for the museum. In the process, we got to meet a reverend who marched along with MLK, and is about to retire from the park service (pictured below with the hat) as well as receive some testing and encouragement from one of the younger rangers. While we were there, several homeless people came in-- I suppose taking a break from the cold. The back two rows of the movie theater where they showed movies of MLK's life were filled with homeless African Americans. A powerful message: is MLK's work done? Just because we have our first black president doen't mean "we have arrived." Racism, privelege, ignorance and poverty are real issues today and one that I myself am guilty of "forgetting." I hope I am forever changed by remembering and experiencing MLK's life and message this day in Atlanta.

Friday, January 15, 2010


We left Florida with fondness in our hearts and a little chill in our bones.... heading north into the next phase of this adventure, called Mommy Doing Her Internship. Its actually the main thing that inspired this creative venture for the year, so in a way, its like we've just taken a really long scenic route to get to Kentucky. None of us really know what we are getting into. However, this year has taught us that no matter what it is, it will likely be amazing and we will surely learn a lot. So away we go.

We stopped the first night in Southern Georgia, where it was even colder, but Jo still got out and played mini-golf. He's doing research, you see, for a future Kaler RV camp where people can play putt-putt for a dollar a game. He wants to design the course. MAYBE they can play for free.

In Georgia they said we must leave the water running ONE PINKY thick so the pipes don't freeze.... none of this drip drip stuff we got away with in Florida. Welcome, rookie RV lesson number $%##*??. Its called pinky-thick water will fill up your holding tank in.... hmmm, judging by the water dripping down our steps and forming icicles on Steppie on the way down, must have been about 5 hours. But at least our pipes didn't freeze, and we got a bonus mopping out of the deal!!

The next morning we were blessed with a free pancake breakfast... at 7:am no less. Good to get us up and going. At breakfast we were asked several times Don't you know you're going the wrong direction? and aren't we going to stay til Friday? There's pecan pancakes on Friday. There's also a civil war prison camp we could see, and will you be here Sunday? On Sunday we could go see Jimmy Carter teach Sunday school, just down the road. (Seriously.. I checked it out... )

But alas, we had just enough time to find all this out and recieve bits of encouragement from our on-the-road comrades. We really could spend a week at each little stop. But we're off... heading north on the 75 and excited to visit the birth place of Martin Luther King Jr and learn more about the civil rights movement. And maybe check out Chick-fil-a Headquaters while we're there...

Til Atlanta, friends....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Linkin' up!!!

Look! You can have really interesting visitors when you live in an RV park....

these are sandhill cranes, and they love to fly through camp and make really loud taradactyl sounds. They're actually another threatened species, so we are happy to hear them squak overhead, and (uhm uhm) see them mate in our backyard... http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/education/interactive/springscoast/sandhillcranes.shtml

We've had other cool visitors this week, some of you from Seattle might know them. You might even follow their blog, they are on a one year road trip (just like us!!). We were so happy to see our friends the Links, time went too fast and we could have spent a week. They are a little too popular though, even strangers were coming by and taking pictures of thier rig....

Yes, even RVers are impressed with a set up like that! Their kids sleep on top, and Troy and Katie sleep in the back. The kids loved giving "tours" of each others homes, and we sure did have a good time!!! We spent most of our time enjoying the warmth and each others company in Winnie... until Katie let it slip that is was actually her birthday, and then the girls got busy in whipping up the funnest little surprise party ever. With chocolate frosting pancake cake, sprinkles and all... and gifts, and food, and laughs, and games.... we sure love you guys!! Thanks for our time to "Link up" and may God ever guide our wandering vehicles, while our hearts stay on Him!!

Happy Birthday Katie!!!

follow thier adventure at http://timberwoodlinks.wordpress.com/

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Freezing in Florida...

Our last week here in Florida has been freezing... this morning we woke up to 28 degrees. However, the sun is still shining and the people are still friendly. Most of the natives seem to be excited to get to wear some winter clothes. All the snowbirds are wishing they brought some!!!
The weather here in Florida is kinda whacky. Just a couple weeks ago we went down to Key Largo and the Biscayne National Park on the Atlantic shore, and it was so hot we had to buy a fan to hang in our tent so we could sleep.
We were hoping to go snorkeling again, but the next day it was going to rain and was super windy, so we bagged it. But we did enjoy their indoor aquarium and saw a great movie that featured many of the same fish we had seen in the Bahamas.
And now here we are, freezing at night and getting up to 50-60 during the day. It was under these conditions that we went out to the Canaveral National Seashore (right by the Kennedy space center) to celebrate our anniversary. (we got the numbers right this time.....)
We loved this day of homeschooling which started out with our kids making us chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and then learning about the land and water managment at the wildlife center and seeing all the cool birds that are wintering here. We got amazing views of entire flocks of birds taking off in flight from the water.... you know sometimes you wonder if that little out of the way drive the ranger suggests will be worth it? Well, they always are!!
The fish, however, are not faring so well. The extreme temperature changes had many of the fish in shock and washing up half dead on the shore. The rangers had rescued some juvenile turtles that were also in shock, and I'm sure they've gotten many more through the week as the temps have stayed so cold.
Our surprise of the day were these friendly looking wild hogs along the road!!
Happy Anniversary, baby!!

Goodbye Tampa....

We are getting ready to leave our Tampa home base so we'd like to pay tribute to all her glory...
We've loved your scenery....Plus all your manatees, and birds....

We loved your treasures...
and all your surprises!!
We have loved your temperatures.... And your people.
Thanks to all the fun terps mommy has worked with, your lovely gulf shores, and the chance to call ourselves Floridian for awhile.Til next time!!!

(Sara says bye too. We'll send all your pics soon!)