Saturday, June 21, 2014

An update

Once again I have slacked off with posting. I did write about/sing the praises of RiverQuest, an educational boat ride on the North Shore, so please check that out in my previous post below!

Anyway, here is what has been going on in my life since last time.


  • J is done with 5th grade. Hooray. This was a tough year for a number of reasons. She had a lot of HW up until the end; she had only one homework-free weekend the entire year, which I disagree with. She also was no longer friends with the group of friends she had been (their friendships ended at the very end of 4th. Looking on the bright side, we saved some money by missing out on birthday invites, and I did not and will not have to worry about taking time off work to get her to various gatherings held during the week. :-)  I tell J that I went to an even smaller Catholic school and also did not have a lot of friends, but high school and college were different, each better than the previous.
  • Things are still going well at the job. We are slowing down, but I know that won't last too long. If only I had more vacation time, I would take one day a week off during July. But still happy to be employed. 
  • That is one of the things about my working. I finally have money to do (some) things, but I don't have much time. Pre-job I had a lot of time...
  • We are taking our first family vacation in five years this summer. It will also be our first vacation with just the three of us. I am really looking forward to it. I will hopefully have a good post around that. After our failed attempt two years ago, I do worry.
  • We don't have a lot planned for the summer. We did the RiverQuest boat ride a few weeks ago, Kennywood the last day of school, mini-golf the weekend after, and the zoo last weekend. Not sure what else will happen. But June has definitely been busy!
  • I have been getting in to better shape. I participated in a 30-day challenge (30 minutes of exercise) in 30 days. It was a challenge, but I did it. I am still trying to keep up with it, but I am okay with six days a week with close to 30 minutes per day.
  • Someday I will write that post on healthcare. :-)
I hope all of you have a great summer. And I hope I get back here before another month goes by. Oh, and I hope the Pens can find a good coach soon. Who is left?!

RiverQuest

This past fall, I had the wonderful experience of being a chaperone on a field trip to RiverQuest, a non-profit educational organization that operates a river learning center for students, teachers, and the community of southwestern Pennsylvania. During the four-hour boat trip, the students got to examine organisms under microscopes, test water, learn various facts about plant and animal life in the river and environment, and much more.


Recently, I looked up RiverQuest on the great big internet, and I discovered (or perhaps just remembered) that the organization offers Saturday cruises. So I decided the family should go. After a long walk around the North Shore on beautiful sunny day, we boarded the RiverQuest boat on the Ohio River, after having purchased our tickets at the nearby Science Center.

The one-hour trip did not disappoint. The hubby, who was still slightly under the weather, appreciated time in the sun. And J and I did various learning activities. She was particularly engaged in looking at things under the microscope, including some rarely seen phytoplankton. I had fun doing a sand activity having to do with sediment! :-)




We were one of only two families on the boat that afternoon, so we had the undivided attention of the educators. Ever the money-minder, I told them I felt bad that so few people took advantage of this educational and extremely reasonably priced boat ride ($6.95 for children and $9.95 for adults; you would pay way more than that for a ride on the Gateway Clipper). Unfortunately, the org is hurting for money, but they are exploring a partnership with Rivers of Steels. I really hope that works out. I talked to someone at RQ yesterday who was optimistic. She said there was a good chance the Saturday sails would start up again the weekend after the Fourth; right now the last one is scheduled for next weekend.

If you live in or are visiting the Pittsburgh area, please consider taking one of their Saturday cruises. It would be most ideal if you had a child to bring, but I am sure they would be happy to have grown ups as well. Hopefully next weekend won't be the last one. But you may want to check them out on the web at riverquest.org. I am optimistic that we will get the chance to enjoy another ride before the summer ends. I sure hope so!