We went on an adventure to Sequoia National Park, and leading up to our trip, we have been going over how to read maps in our homeschool lessons. Thus, True and Brave were (sort of) in charge of the drive. They each took charge of different parts of our adventure, and took turns highlighting the route we were following. The kids had binoculars, field notebooks, highlighters, maps, and I even handed each of the oldest three their own camera. The result is about 4,000 worth of images and a whole weekend full of fun. True and Brave are here to share their adventures and explorations with you. Here’s True’s account:
Hello again! It’s True and I get to share all about our adventures in Sequoia National Park. When we entered the park, we saw lots of trees and plants. Just like my sister, Brave, I had a field notebook, pen, map of Sequoia, highlighter, and binoculars, so that we would be ready for lots of exploring. My mommy even gave me her big camera to take pictures with!
At the entrance, I got my “Kid in a Park” pass that is for every fourth grader. That means I can take my family to any national park or waters for free! We were driving up the mountain, and our first stop was at Tunnel Rock. While there, I used my binoculars to see Kaweah River. We also saw some people standing up on top of Tunnel Rock. We didn’t go to the top, but we got to explore inside the tunnel a little bit.
Then, we got back in the car and headed up towards Hospital Rock. I saw some Native American pictographs on the big rock. We went up on the rock stairs to get a closer look at the drawings. After, we went down to read about the area. It was talking about the holes on the ground and how they used to be the kitchen for the Native Americans. When we started to leave, I saw a taller rock with a hole. It looked like another cooking place! Soul was pretending to cook there.
We continued up the mountain toward Amphitheater Point. The area looked like a theater! From there, we could see Moro Rock. We used our binoculars to look all around us and get an even closer view of Moro Rock. We saw a pretty butterfly on the ground, then we got back in the Explorer and ate some cheese puffs. Explorer detectives get pretty hungry on an adventure.
I was following the map as we drove higher and higher into the Mid-Sierra Zone. That is where the Sequoia trees are! It started to get colder and colder because we were getting higher in elevation. We drove through Deer Ridge all the way to the Giant Forest. We loved looking out the window to see all the giant trees!
The Explorer was good for exploring because it had a lot of space for our stuff and it had cool, big spaces on the side and in the back! It even has an opening above to see all the tall trees towering over us. We could really see how tall the trees are!
We parked, went by the museum, then walked the Giant Forest Trail. We saw plenty of giant Sequoia trees, and a lot of them had fire scars. Then, we saw a fallen Sequoia tree with its roots sticking out. I went inside it even though it looked scary, then I sat down in it, and ended up thinking it was fun!
On the trail, there was a big rock with a medium-size rock on top of it and it looked like a snowman. We walked over some cool bridges and my sisters were collecting stuff to take pictures of. We couldn’t take it with us, so we wanted to take pictures of the stuff to remember it. As we walked, I kept asking mommy, “Is this the biggest tree in the world?” She kept saying, “We aren’t there yet.”
After the Giant Trees Trail, we ended up back where we started and headed off to the Alta Loma Trail to see General Sherman. On that trail, we were using our binoculars to spot birds (we saw a Blue Jay and Woodpecker) and we made a lot of stops to check out sticks and rocks. I walked ahead of everyone and made some arrows out of sticks to point the rest of the family in the right direction. Brave and Glow didn’t know I was the one who made the arrows until later. We walked, and walked, and walked.
FINALLY, we got to General Sherman. It was a really, really big tree!!! I was amazed!!! After that, we eventually made our way back to our Explorer and headed off to Wuksachi Lodge to check in and eat dinner. We were all so tired from a full day of adventure!
The next day, we ate breakfast, finished filling out our Junior Ranger packets so we could become Junior Rangers, then headed off to Lodgepole to meet with a ranger. She swore us in as Junior Rangers and we got cool badges!
After Lodgepole, we drove on Generals Highway to Giant Forest through Marble Fork Canyon. There were lots more pretty views we could see around us. We made some stops along the side to use our binoculars and take pictures. I love looking out and seeing how big everything is!
We wanted to keep exploring so we drove down to the Giant Forest Museum to hike to Beetle Rock. Beetle Rock is this giant rock that looks like a beetle. It’s kind of scary because it sort of looks like a cliff. As we were standing near the edge, I used my binoculars to look out and I thought I saw a lake!
After Beetle Rock, I found a little gold rock and it was beautiful. We walked back to the Explorer and headed back down the mountain to adventure through Mineral King (read about my sister’s report on that adventure here). It is so much fun to explore new places!
Sequoia Scenic Drive and Adventure: Generals Highway to Lodgepole (Allow a full day for drive time and hiking trails)
1. Park Entrance to Tunnel Rock – A quick stop to check out the river below and get some shots with Tunnel Rock.
2. Hospital Rock – A short drive further up, then park to see the Native American pictographs and kitchen.
3. Amphitheater Point – A gorgeous view of the mountains and Moro Rock.
4. Deer Ridge – A beautiful drive and you can see wide vistas.
5. Giant Forest Museum and trails – Stop to see the Sentinel tree, then hike the Giant Forest trail (about 1.5 miles). We continued from here onto the Alta Loma Trail, which was a 2.5 mile hike to get to General Sherman. You could also do the Beetle Rock hike from the Giant Forest Museum because it is a short distance from the parking lot.
6. Marble Fork Canyon – A short drive from Giant Forest Museum to Lodgepole. More amazing views of the mountains and trees.
This content was created in partnership with Ford to help make creativity a part of every drive. I hope you enjoyed Brave and True’s reports on our adventure! They were quite excited to share it on the blog.
It’s fun to see my girls develop their own style. True is girly, but relaxed. Brave likes sporty vibes with Spider-Man and Nancy Drew influences. Soul is princess and super girly… she likes things above the knee, not really into jeans, and she loves all things pink. Something frilly is her ideal outfit. Glow does not like sleeveless anything. She refuses to show her armpits, not sure where that came from, but it’s kind of funny. We’ve had many tantrums thrown because I might have picked out a tank top or sleeveless dress and she wasn’t happy about it.
They know their own style and dress accordingly, and despite their different styles, they also like to try to coordinate somehow. They also split themselves into pairs to coordinate. Their Halloween costumes are planned like that. I wonder how this will keep evolving as they get older. I can just imagine the clothing fights they will have. They are so close in age that it’s bound to happen. Thankfully, they like to share their clothes with each other now, and maybe they will love lending each other clothes later too.
I picked out a couple outfits from Melijoe that I know would match my girls personalities. 1) This is totally True, but Brave would borrow it. This denim Stella McCartney dress is way cool and I would wear it if it came in my size. Of course, paired with Stan Smiths, she’d look like she was kid fashion week ready. 2) These red Adidas are right up Brave’s alley. Then, paired with this stripe dress would be such a funky little outfit. 3) Pink? Check. Ruffles? Check. Princessy? Check. Soul would love to be twirling and dancing with this dress and ballerina shoes. 4) Fun and playful this outfit is perfect for Glow. The dress is so simple and has a vintage feel, and for her age, Velcro sneakers are a must. We’ve always been a fan of Supergas too.
Growing up, I was probably more like Soul. I loved wearing flowers and pink, and hated pants. I don’t dress as girly now and I have an appreciation for a good pair of jeans, but I typically gravitate to dresses and skirts.
We went on an adventure to Sequoia National Park and leading up to our trip, we have been going over how to read maps in our homeschool lessons. Thus, True and Brave were (sort of) in charge of the drive. They each took charge of different parts of our adventure, and took turns highlighting the route we were following. The kids had binoculars, field notebooks, highlighters, maps, and I even handed each of the oldest three their own camera. The result is about 4,000 worth of images and a whole weekend full of fun. True and Brave are here to share their adventures and explorations with you. Here’s Brave’s account.
We set off on an adventure, and True and Soul were in charge of one part of the trip (they were sitting in the third row), and Glow and I were in charge of another (we were sitting in the middle row). We would switch rows, so we could take turns getting different views. My mommy taught us how to read a map and all about how to see what highway we were on, so I was following our journey on a map my mommy gave me. I was highlighting all along the route we took. I felt like a detective explorer! We each had a field notebook, pen, map, highlighter, binoculars for the adventure. We even each got a camera to take our own pictures!
We were on Interstate 5 and we saw Magic Mountain. It was pretty, but I do not like the rides. Then, we exited to see Castaic Lake; we even got to see Lake Hughes! I highlighted those places on my map. After we checked those places out, we went back on the interstate up to Lake Pyramid. I think that Lake Pyramid is called Lake Pyramid because the mountain by the lake is shaped like a pyramid.
After Lake Pyramid, we got back on the freeway again and I kept following the map to see where we would go next. I felt like a detective (I like detective things), trying to figure out where we were going to next. We ended up going somewhere called Murray Family Farms … dun, dun, dun! We got pears and apples, and there were even pomegranates too, but we didn’t get any of those.
There was this picture thing where you put your head through, and it said, “Eat your colors!” My sisters and I liked taking pictures there. After the farm, we got back in the car to head off to the next adventure. The next stop was at Moo Creamery for some ice cream. There was a mariachi band playing while we waited for our ice cream. We got a caramel milkshake (it had nuts), jalapeño raspberry cream cheese ice cream, corn chili y limon ice cream, and peanut butter brittle ice cream for my mommy. We like trying different flavors, but the corn chili y limon was too spicy for everyone. It made our throats hurt.
After we enjoyed our ice cream, I was back on map duty to see where we were headed, and we ended up going toward Sequoia National Park. My sister True, will tell you more about some of the adventures we had at the park.
They said I was in charge of the ride to Sequoia, and then I was back in charge on our way back down the mountain. After we left the national park, we took a left onto a road called Mineral King. That road was super narrow and dangerous, but we were all kind of excited about exploring a new area. The road was so narrow that there wasn’t much space to fit two cars. My papi did a good job of navigating us through the scary roads.
Our first stop off the Mineral King drive was Kaweah River Bridge. We got out of the car and I went to stand on the bridge to get a picture of the river, but I was a little nervous. It seemed so high up! The Kaweah River was so pretty and the bridge too!
We continued on with our drive to see what else we could explore at Mineral King and we ended up at Lookout Point. We got a really nice view of the canyon from here, so we parked there to enjoy it. We were all so hungry, so we ate lunch there. After lunch, we looked through our binoculars to see what we could see from there. I could see more trees, birds, the canyon, and more scary road up ahead. There was a map there and my papi showed me where we were at and how far we had gone. We were really far from home!
While at Lookout Point, we noticed the pine needles were starting to yellow. We had learned earlier that day that if they start to yellow that means there is damage to the ozone layer.
We turned around because we saw there was this part in the canyon that had a large smooth rock we can kind of hike on, so we wanted to go explore over there. We all got back in the car to drive back to that spot. The rock was so smooth and we had fun walking around there. There were even holes filled with water! I think that once upon a time ice and water flowed through this area and that is what made it smooth. It took a long time of course.
As we were headed out of Mineral King, my papi was driving and he saw a tarantula in the middle of the road. He pulled off to the side and told mommy to come check it out with him. I told mommy to take a picture for me. They ran out of the car to see it, mommy got a picture of it, and papi filmed it to show us. The spider was so huge! It was really cool, just like our trip! I’m ready to go exploring again!
This content was created in partnership with Ford to help make creativity a part of every drive. I’m so thankful for the continuous support you’ve given me, this space, and the brands I partner with!
Soul and Glow share a room and it’s filled with all their favorite things. They each have an antique French baby bed and we will probably be moving them to bigger beds soon. I’ll be so sad to have to put these baby beds away; True and Brave used them when they were little too. Their walls are decorated with lots of their art work, and the shelves and baskets are filled with plenty of their toys. It’s definitely a fun and playful room.
Sometimes I think there’s so much going on in this room and I need to simplify, but they love everything that it’s there. The bear rug gets sat on, so does the bean bag, the dollhouse pillow, and all the chairs. Glow always hoards stuffed animals on her bed; she calls them her “babies.” We added some hooks near Soul’s bed because she always wants to hang her bags nearby (she loves purses!). And Glow requested her deer wear a headpiece. She kept bugging me until I made something for it, so wool felt flower crown it is!
A lot of the elements in the room are handmade or vintage, so I don’t really have many sources for the items as I found most at the flea market. The shelves on the wall are vintage crates and drawers, and the Rody Horses are from Tree House Kid & Craft. The deer head, hanging light, and colorful rug is from Uncommon Goods. The black and white rug is from IKEA ($20!). By the way, this rug had major trouble staying put on carpet, but this rug pad from Rug Pad Corner is the only thing that works and keeps it from moving. We have a big round one for the rug in the big girl’s room (see here) and it keeps it from bunching too. I hate when rugs bunch up on carpet, so I’m glad to finally have a solution. I used to constantly fix and pull their rugs to flatten them, but I no longer have to do it with this rug pad. There’s a certain texture on the bottom that grips the carpet, and a different texture on top to grip the rug. I think I shared the sources for most, if you have any other questions, ask away!
This is what the room looked like when we first moved in (our only kids were Brave and True), but it keeps on evolving as our kids grow.
Last Monday was a tough day and I just about had it with all things mothering, so I said, “I quit.” I wasn’t joking. I walked off the job. I went on strike. I declared that if they weren’t going to listen, then I was done, so I was done.
They would call, “Mommy! Mommy!”
“Um, don’t call me mommy. You can call me Ruby.”
That was my response. For real.
When Ben came home, and in exhaustion said, “I’m done.” I told him I’m going to work or he needs to stay home. I’m not opposed to flip flopping the current situation. The next day, my strike continued. I didn’t make breakfast, didn’t make lunch (thankfully the older girls do that already), we didn’t do school (I saw True trying to teach her sisters), and didn’t clean up one bit (oh you see a bit of the chaos above, and yes, I took pictures of the mess). I did get caught up on email though, so that’s one plus. HA! Ben came home and the house was upside down. I helped the girls with one thing, but that’s only because they started crying. *raising my hand* Totally failure of a mom right here.
Yep, my heart was so hard. My mom called and I told her how I quit, and she said, “Okay, come home now.” I talked to my MIL and I told her the situation, and I could hear her during Spanish lessons telling the girls they need to do a better job of listening to me. When Ben came home, he said, “So what do you want to do for real?”
Through the course of the day, I remember thinking that my heart isn’t being quick to repent and this is so scary. My sin had such a strong grip on me and it didn’t want to let go. In fact, it felt like my heart was holding on to this frustration, selfishness, pride, and rebellion a lot tighter and tighter as the day wore on.
I could tell Ben wanted to get mad at me and tell me to snap out of it, but he didn’t know how to. He wanted to be sensitive to my feelings, but also knew that I was being ridiculously selfish. I left Ben and the girls alone to eat dinner and I was chilling by myself. I knew that my heart couldn’t continue this way, nor do I really want it to. Sure, it felt good for a little while, but in the end, it will lead to destruction. I didn’t want to follow Anakin Skywalker’s path.
Eventually (and pretty much right before bed), I opened my Bible to read a little bit (with much hesitation, but I knew it was necessary). Then, I read this article, “When Your Life Feels Like a Waiting Room,” and boy did I need to read that. Throughout the day I could see my selfishness in wanting my way, pride in thinking I was deserving of things going my way, and rebellion in not wanting to do the job I have. After I sobered up, and was rebuked with God’s word, I was ready to repent. First to God, then Ben, and then the girls. I told them all about how I failed and asked them to forgive me. Of course, I got to use it as a teaching moment to remind them that we all fail, and that’s precisely why we need Jesus, me especially. I’m broken and only He can do the fixing. Not even Olivia Pope is good enough to fix me. Only Jesus. I lead the charge when it comes falling short as a mother. I admit, while I do adore my children, I have plenty bad and hard days. And while it does take me awhile to repent, I’m thankful that God’s word transforms my selfish heart and gives me a new one. #ineedgrace #andtheyneedgracetoo