Thursday, August 30, 2007

Beauty & the Beast

We arrived home from our Star-Spangled Adventure in time to join the Mount Shasta Repertory Theater Company's summer production of Beauty & the Beast. This is the first show in which ALL six of the kids are performing. It may be the last. Who can tell? But it is fun!

Originally, as we were going to be missing most of the rehearsals while we were on our trip, all of the kids were given roles in the ensemble. But, just before we left, Sarah was given the role of Silly Girl (one of three girls infatuated with Gaston, the villain) and Matthew would be playing Cogsworth, the clock. Both would be splitting the role with another cast member, playing about half the shows. Well, due to some folks dropping out, Sarah got to keep her role the whole run, Anne was also made a Silly Girl, and Matthew got the role of Lumiere.
Here is the run down of parts for the Bryan Family Performers:
Anne: Silly Girl Two, Dancing Plate, mother in mob scene
Matthew: Lumiere
Sarah: Silly Girl One, dancing plate, girl at mob scene
Maddelyn: Village Girl, Dancing flower vase, girl at mob scene
Garrett: Village Boy, Little Drunk boy under table in Tavern, Dancing Knife (flatware), boy in mob scene & castle fight
Malachy: Village Boy, Salt Shaker, Scared little boy in mob scene


The show runs for 11 nights. Tonight starts the last weekend run. There are two Belles, splitting the shows. The one you see below in the photos is a very special friend to the kids, and she had her closing night last weekend. Only four shows to go!!

I LOVE live theater. Beauty & the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. This show is good. I wish all of you could see it!
Wanna enjoy a few photos? I have taken about 1000 photos.........because of all of the movement, only about 100-200 come out good enough to keep. It is fun to try!

The Bryan Family Performers,
posing with their special Belle, Kathy Young,
playing her ultimate dream role.
Gotta love Matthew's candle hands
that light up and flicker, like a real flame!

Garrett as a piece of a flatware set, with Belle,
during the big number, BE OUR GUEST.

Here is a BE OUR GUEST scene.
Maddelyn is the Flower Vase second from Belle.
Matthew is standing there to the right.....see his candles?
That funny tall thing in the back is a broom.
See the corkscrew to the right, in the back?

Anne & Sarah as the China. Aren't they adorable!
I wonder if they ever thought they would be a "plate" when they grew up. :)

Malachy as a Salt Shaker, in BE OUR GUEST.
The Pepper Shaker is the director's young son Caleb.
The audience just loves their sweet appearance.

Just Sarah.....cute 1940's look!

This is a part of the Mob Scene, when Gaston tries to have Belle's father locked up in an insane asylum. Isn't Maddelyn sweet? She and her friend Alicea have blue mob caps, shawls and a teddy bear between them. Maddelyn is the one with the big eyes. :) Anne's head is bent, top right, with a cream mob cap in place. She is holding a little girl, a wiggly one by the looks of it.



Belle says, "I am a little hungry." Here is Matthew as Lumiere the candlestick, with his castle co-horts Cogsworth the clock & Mrs. Potts the tea pot.


If you can join us this weekend, we would love to have you! If not, sorry we missed you!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where does the time go?

I am sad. My little fella lost his first two teeth on our Star-Spangled Adventure......and, now?, he has started organized sports. How did this happen???? What's to be next???

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Friday, August 3, 2007

Our Star Spangled Adventure Day Fifty-One

Space reserved for Thursday, July 12th, Day Fifty-One:

Our Star Spangled Adventure Day Forty-Nine

Tuesday, July 10th, Day Forty-Nine:

We were awakened quite early by very heavy wind. Our tents were blowing down on us, kind of doing a tent dance, maybe the twist. Does that help as a visual? :) It was one of those really blue-sky kind of days, with those gorgeous fluffy, cotton-ball white clouds blowing by.

I believe we got out of the campground around 7ish.......and then, we had one amazingly full day!

And.....we learned over the next two days, that we LOVE South Dakota! When I was planning the trip last spring, I fell in love with it, sight unseen. Who would have thought South Dakota would turn out to be a favorite state! We all want to come back, with more time to explore.

Today is the third day of our "Little House" days. We could have a 4th day, if we wanted to explore the LH connections in Keystone, but we had to draw the line somewhere, and not be on the road for our lifetimes. :) I also cancelled our side trip to Burr Oak, Iowa, another LH site, so we could have some quality time at the other houses.

We crossed the border into SD quickly, as we camped only about 15 miles from the border. We made a Wal-Mart stop, to stock up on groceries for the next few days, and headed to DeSmet, where the LH books: By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years take place. One could spend two whole days here seeing the sites. We only had about half of a day, so we stuffed our time. We arrived at the LH museum and signed up for the house tours, the only way to enter the homes. They had a fun LH gift shop........I resisted all temptations to purchase anything, especially all of the cute tea stuff. The two younger boys bought a bag of marbles each. They were really cool, based on famous artists' colors. Malachy had to borrow $5 bucks from Sarah to buy his, as he was all out of money. He will pay her back from his piggy bank at home. :) He got "Van Gogh" marbles, gorgeous blue and yellow. Garrett's marbles represent the planets.

The first stop, were the bathrooms at the LH park across the street, marked "Ma" and "Pa" instead of men and women. :) Then, our tour guide took us into the Surveyor's Home.

Surveyor's House

The original first schoolhouse in DeSmet is the white buiding in the background.

This was the actual home the Ingalls lived in when they were By Shores of the Silver Lake. The Lake is gone now, but there is a sign showing its place. The house was moved to town. It was the biggest house Laura had ever lived in at the time. It had lots of original belongings. Our tour guide was kind of different. I am not sure how to describe her. She would say things like this: "And they, were like, noooo waayyy....." Kind of a Valley Girl crossing with a midwestern gal........just a little odd. Though sweet. And kind of funny as she was middle-aged. Behind the Surveyor's House, are two buildings. One is either the original school house, or a replica (I think a replica), of the little school that Laura taught in when Almanzo began giving her rides home on weekends. Very small, but I could just see what the descriptions were telling us in the story.

School where Laura taught.

And then, there was the original first school house in DeSmet, which Laura attended, of course. It is being researched right now so they can restore it. It was very cool to see the way they do the research, looking for original blackboards. And, you should see the museum of items found in the walls! :)

First schoolhouse in Desmet, SD.

Then, the tour takes us to another part of town, where we find a house that Pa built with his own hands. The home where Carrie married in the living room, and Ma, Pa, and Mary died. So many pieces of their real lives, just waiting here for us to discover. One of the dressers had drawers we could open, to see belongings from the family. How exciting to be so close to this literature and history.

The house that Pa built.

I know we did a lot already on this day.........but, there is so much more to go! First, we drive west and then south, to get to I-90. This is the first time we saw signs for WALL DRUG, only a hundred miles away. Once we are on the main highway, we have a lot of stops to make. The first stop was in Chamberlain, where we were looking for St. Joseph's Indian School. We get "junk" mail from them all of the time. What a surprise to me to find we would actually visit the area. It seems the school and students have created a wonderful Indian museum. As we were passing through the "old town" part of the town, we found a quilt shop. Of course we stopped. One thing we have learned on this trip, is that most quilt shops have a distinct personality from other quilt shops. The quirk for this shop??? Glittery fabric! We never saw so much sparkly fabric. I knew I did not want any eventually will rub off, or wash off. We found a lot of fabric we liked, but not much to go with our themes. I finally settled on the two fat quarters below the flag fat quarter, which I picked up the next day, still in SD. Very funny joke on me: I found when I got home that the fabric with the pine cones.........was sparkly! It had been folded inside out. Oh, well. I may just use it with the non-sparkly side out.

For the Star-Spangled Quilt: South Dakota

The museum was free, donations welcome, of course! What a surprise treat this museum was! First, we watched a very well-made video. There were many artifacts & amazingly beautiful art. The bronze sculptures seemed like they could rival Remington's work. Just gorgeous. One thing I noticed about this Indian museum was the way they taught about their culture without using any blaming. They just told their story. It was a nice perspective. We cannot change the past, but we can minimize prejudice in the present and future.

Garrett & Malachy outside the Saint Joseph Indian School Museum.

Our day still had more.........somehow. :)

I had been given flyers everywhere I turned, about various large antique stores in the area. Since we ended up going the opposite way out of town, crossing a special bridge (though I cannot remember why :)) over the Missouri River, we bumped into one of the antique shops. It was hard to resist the begging from various members of our caravan. I did stop.

We actually spent about 2 hours there! The prices were fair, and we spent the majority of our time trying to decide what we would NOT buy. :) All of them were enamored with all of the wonderful old books, especially Matthew, who had a heck of time choosing which books to purchase. Since I had bought tri-cornered hats for the boys at John Adams bookstore, the girls convinced me to buy each of them an "old-fashioned" hat. I also came away with the book below, knowing that we were heading to Mount Rushmore the next day. When we came out of the store, we found our Thule (pronounced: Tooley--the storage on top of our car) kind of crooked. I have no idea what we would have done without Matthew to be the Thule manager. I can barely reach it, and I definitely had no idea of how it went on and off the car. He was a huge help.

Even though we left the store sometime after 5 pm, we still had one more thing to do before we went to our next camp. And, even though we had to backtrack a few miles to reach our next destination, and even though the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (great photos here) was already closed, I just had to see the area where Lewis & Clark stopped by the Missouri River. It was a lovely place for a rest stop, over looking the Missouri River. We explored, took some photos, admired the artwork: a tee pee as a monument to Lewis & Clark, and the metal display below. It was hard to capture the true beauty in the natural light that was available, but maybe you can find it? The metal art graced the front of the visitor's center. It is hard to tell in the photos, but they were very large, the whole side of a large building.

Bryan kids at the site of Lewis & CLark's camp area,
with the Missouri River in the background.

Scene 1 with Lewis & Clark.

Scene 2 with Lewis & Clark.

Finally, attempting to put an end to our day, we headed to a KOA in Kennebec, SD. Where we got our tent set-up barely just before dark, but ate yet another dinner in the dark. :)

America sure has lovely sunsets!

We caught this one just before we pulled into the KOA.

Saint Felicitas & her sons, Pray for us!




Our Star Spangled Adventure Day Forty-Eight

Monday, July 9th, Day Forty-Eight:

We got our camp packed up pretty quick (for once!) and headed to the town of Winona, Minnesota, looking for a quilt shop. We found a very sweet one, in this little town. And, while we were looking around, the salesgirl, started looking for fabric with us, once she heard our plans.....and, here is what she found for me!

These fat quarters are very sweet, much prettier in person. I was very pleased!

Then, we went looking for the seminary located there, Saint Thomas Aquinas Seminary. The directions we had were so useless. Very confusing. Even though the girl at the quilt store used mapquest to help me find the site. So, I just took a chance on a "country road" to get me to the right road for heading to Walnut Grove. You may have heard of this town? :) So, there we were, just driving along on this two-lane highway, when we drive past the road we were looking for, to find the seminary! We just drove into the grounds, checked it out and left. We had intended to stop for a visit, but we really needed to head west........we were at least 4 hours form Walnut Grove. Oh! And, my little fella lost his first baby tooth today! Now, it is official..........he is NOT a baby anymore :(

They have a large museum in Walnut Grove, dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder AND the TV show :) The museum is put together very well, and has several buildings. That would include a re-created dugout house, as this is the town where the Ingalls lived in the "little sod house" which can be read about in ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK. This photo was taken outside the museum.

I figure since we keep mentioning quilting on this blog, I would share a photo of a quilt at the museum.

We had fun at the museum store and I picked up a bunch of tiny cookie cutters for tea time cookie making and a little metal milk jug to use as a toothpick holder at home, since someone just broke the ceramic one I had for years. A drive of about 4 miles out of town, takes you to a private farm, where the site of the actual dugout, or sod house, is located. A few years back, the roof caved in, so all that can be seen is an impression in the dirt. The owner has allowed the area to go back to the natural grasses grown there, so one can see what the view for Laura origially would have been. The coolest part for me, was seeing Plum Creek, which still flows by there. I did not see any leeches (you will have to have read the book to know what I am talking about :)), but I could imagine them. :) I could also imagine the girls playing in the creek. It was SO peaceful there. Except when a certain son of mine was hollering. :) Below, are photos of the dugout site, and the creek.

We then grabbed some food at a grocery and sandwiches at the local Subway for dinner, as we headed to Lake Benton for a campground. The campground was nice, but not near the lake, as I thought it was. Lots of manicured grass, and very nice showers. And quiet and peaceful. Hardly anyone was there........maybe five RVs. Two of the RVs were camped there for the summer. One had a couple that could not stop staring at us. And, they were not friendly and curious stares. We must have looked nuts to them, showing up in our car, setting up our funky tent village, "millions" of kids. I think they were scared of our potential kid energy.......maybe our noise would ruin their camp. Ah well, we did not give them any dirty looks, though we were tempted :) It is just a strange feeling to have all of our moves watched. Here is our Minnesota sunset. It was much prettier in person.

There was a definite lack of bugs here, at this camp. Tomorrow we head to deSmet, South Dakota. Home is only seven days away! And, we are anxious, but SO excited to see a few National Parks on the way!

Our Star Spangled Adventure Day Forty-Seven

Sunday, July 8th, Day Forty-Seven:
Even though I was short on sleep, we managed to get out of the hotel in a timely manner :) Hey, we have clean laundry..........and it needs to last us till we get home on the 16th!

Today was the first of three Little House days.
We drove across the Mississippi River into Minnesota today (my friend Paula says it is the best state in the union........I admit, I am kind of partial to California :)).......drove along the River, which looks less muddy up here than it did in Saint Louis.......and very pretty scenery here, too. Lots of trees....lotsa green.

We crossed BACK into Wisconsin, as we drove to Pepin, home of Little House in the Big Woods.
First, we went to the museum there.............where there was a very talkative and friendly docent. Then, we went to the Museum store, which thankfully had air conditioning :)
I already own most of the Little House books in the store but I did pick up a book called

I also picked up a prairie girl cookie cutter. Sweet.
We drove a few miles out of town, to the site of the Little House, and the place of Laura Ingalls Wilder's birth. We had a picnic lunch, felt the wind pick up and a very stormy sky develop. We worried, as we were camping in our tent tonight. The house is a replica of the original little House. The wayside park is surrounded by very tall cornfields. The people in Pepin are so proud of their Little House heritage.

Well, the storm was picking up, the sky getting scarier, so we headed back to Winona, Minnesota, where we were planning to stay the night at a campground, near the Mississippi River.

We found our campground, checked in, set up the tent and the kids got to go swmming till dark. Then we ate dinner in the dark, with the worst bugs of the entire trip, at any campsite.

Maddelyn and Matthew acted out a spontaneous "radio show" outside the tent for those in the tent. It was "Into the Bugs" a parody of the musical "Into the Woods." It was composed of all of the characters they have played in their past shows. Hysterical. A few raindrops fell. We slept.