Sorry for the lack of a new post, for so much has happened lately, but I've been a bit busy with school and youth group.
I'll start first with school. We all started school last week, though not on the same day. Seth and Mandy began their classes on Monday while mine and Mom's started on Wednesday (a bummer since I'd been waiting for school to start since June... no kidding). Mandy is bound and determined this year to win the Latin award, especially since Geneva's Latin genius student won't be coming back for a few more years, and we're trying to help Seth do better in English than last year. Geneva once more has shrunk in size and is down to nine students, but from what I hear, nothing has changed much from last year. Mom has less science classes to teach, as she's teaching advanced biology, physical science, and then human anatomy to the Geneva at Home students, so that leaves her with more time for her ecology and mycology college classes. My classes started on a Wednesday. Due to a problem with the English class I originally signed up for, my first class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays is at 11 AM, at the same time Mom has her ecology class. So, that means I get to sleep in on those days. Physical science is going to be tricky, as there are two teachers, one who teaches chemistry and the other who teaches physics. I want to pass this class because I dropped chemistry and because next semester I would get to take Earth science and astronomy, provided I pass the class (which makes me wonder why they give us the hard classes first for physical science and not the easy ones... oh, well). After physical science, I had to endure a very long walk from building A to Building B for lunch (which is hard, especially when carrying a thirty pound bag), and when I got to the only cafeteria on campus, it was a traffic jam... without the cars. After quickly eating lunch, I hurried upstairs for my Spanish 2 class. To my surprise, Blair showed up for the class, so we have two classes this semester together. Spanish 2 is going to be fun, as it was last fall, and I'm looking forward to it. On Thursday, I had three classes: US history, music appreciation, and Transatlantic Literature. History is going to be interesting, but I've always liked history, so we'll see. Music appreciation is fun, and today we analyzed a Gregorian chant... and I mean analyzed. Then came the class I had been looking forward to: Transatlantic Literature. This class was packed to the gills with many people, and the teacher was excited to teach us. However, when she passed out and discussed the syllabus, I completely lost any desire. The class would be dealing with the theme of rebellion (and would portray it as a good thing), would study Christianity hybrids in the Caribbean and South America, and would read an erotic homosexual poem. I lost all taste for the class since we would not be studying literature and I had no interest in reading that poem. I dropped the class that afternoon, and I'm going to wait to take literature when I get to Christ College, where I can study real literature! Anyway, it's been nice to get back into schedule and not be lounging around.
On Friday, we kids were excited for the youth group camping trip to northern Alabama. Because I did not have a physical science lab that day, I went to school with Seth and Mandy, where I sat in the kitchen and did homework. After school, we waited for our ride to arrive. Our youth group leader Mr. Brown and his wife Chris finally arrived, and twelve kids piled into the Howlands' white van. Everyone soon got hyper with the Mountain Dew and the candy, but then that was expected. It took us about three, four hours to drive to Alabama, counting the dinner stop at Wendy's. On our way, we had a little surgery when Bethany asked Ben to pull her tooth, which he did (and I got it on camera too!). We ate dinner at Wendy's, where a few of us spoiled ourselves with frosties (which were sooo good, but mine melted too fast sadly). It was getting dark when we arrived at our campsite, which was about ten, fifteen minutes from the boarder of Georgia. The boys set up the tents then we all went exploring around the lake/marsh in the dark. After finding firewood and starting a fire, we all decided to play "Capture the Flag" in the dark and without the use of flashlights. Because I was wearing flipflops, I was mainly just a guard who did nothing except point out intruders. My team won when Cliff single-handedly crossed the enemy lines through the woods and stole the enemy's flag. Then, we had time for a second game so we switched sides. The second game was boring because no action happened. The only action was when Micah threw grass on Mandy and Bethany and made them scream because they thought it was bugs. After we returned to the camp site, a few people gave tree-tipping a try. We made sm'ores around the fire and were on the constant lookout for a hornet that was in the vicinity. I went to bed around eleven and crashed asleep pretty quickly. That night though was restless because it was so windy (probably due to Tropical Storm Fay in the south), so the tent was constantly moving. The next morning, we had a breakfast feast of donuts, muffins, and fruit. Because it looked like it was going to rain, we took down the tents and packed up the cars. Then Mr. Brown gave us some pages to read, and we all went out by ourselves to read them. Then we came back and discussed what we read, prayed, and then left the campsite. We drove to Little River Canyon, where we looked at a scenic point and then ate lunch before driving downstream to go swimming. I didn't go swimming because it was too cold (the temperature that day was in the 70's, which is unusual for August in the South), but I took several pictures. Everyone had a great time jumping from the ledges, and a few even had the courage to jump from a 40-60 foot tall cliff. After our swimming excursion, we piled back into the van and drove back to Atlanta. It was a shorter trip because we took a different route, but it was more entertaining. Mandy and Bethany were hyper as usual, but they soon fell asleep. While Mandy slept, Cliff took Noah's deodorant and put some on her foot and leg. When Mandy woke up, Cliff pretended to lick his lips and said, " you know your feet are salty?" Mandy, of course, panicked, but we assured her that it had just been deodorant. When she fell back asleep, Cliff took a pen and drew a face on her leg. We all laughed. After arriving in Atlanta, we stopped at Chick-fil-A for supper then drove back to church where our families waited to take us back home. It was a great trip, and I think we all had a blast.
For the past few days, Fay has hit our area with strong winds and lots of rain. Some days it looks like it will rain but it never does, and some days it does rain. This morning, it rained hard here, so hard it looked white outside, though not as white as I've seen rain fall before. It's certainly making everything look pretty and green again, and it certainly helps especially with Lake Lanier's low lake levels. The rain and wind has also kept things much cooler than usual, which is nice since August is usually sweltering. As I write this, it looks like the rain and wind are coming back with a vengeance after a few hour's break.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention something that happened Sunday. On Saturday night, Dad thought he heard a cat meowing outside, but it never came inside, so he didn't think anything of it. On Sunday morning, we were close to leaving when Mandy discovered Claws, our biggest and fattest cat, stuck up in a tree branch about 20 feet from the ground. We had to go, so we left her there for several hours until we got back from church. She was still there when we got home, and we could not get her to come down. Since Uncle Josh and his family were coming over for supper that night, we waited for them to arrive. We did get the cat down, and she's fine, but we hope she won't try it again anytime soon. Dumb animal...
Nothing else has happened around here. Tonight, we girls are going over to the Murphys' house to watch "The Notebook," the saddest romantic movie I've ever watched; Mandy and Amy haven't seen it, but I'm sure we'll all be bawling like babies afterwards. The week is almost halfway through (has time gone by that fast), and we'll see what happens next. Down below is a link to pictures from the youth group trip, so enjoy them!
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