Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples


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The Skies Proclaim

I am sure that everyone is getting tired of all the solar eclipse photos flooding their social media right now, but I am not! I just love looking at the pictures over and over again. Because seeing this solar eclipse was one of the coolest thing I have ever experienced. I am so very glad that we took the time to plan our trip to see totality. It was totally worth the effort! Every sleepless night, every toddler tantrum, and every hiccup in our travels & plans was worth it!

We were very lucky viewing totality of the eclipse. We only had to travel a few hours and we were able to stay with family. We definitely had the best setup! We went down a few days before to beat all the traffic and had several days to spend with family. The only bad thing was that Ada decided that she didn’t want to sleep during our entire trip. So we went days without a good nights sleep before the eclipse. I was running on fumes by the time Monday came along. Luckily, all the excitement and adrenaline kept me awake during the eclipse (and Sundrop – lots, and lots of Sundrop!). 😉

On the day of the eclipse we had an awesome setup in the backyard. We had a tent to give us some lovely shade, Randy had his camera all set and ready, we had a kiddie pool for all of us to enjoy but it was mostly entertainment for Ada, and we had Sundrop, moon pies, and many more goodies to enjoy. Just the perfect setup. Ada played in the kiddie pool until her nap time, which meant she was exhausted and ready for a long nap. It was perfect timing because she laid down for her nap around 1 pm and the eclipse started at 1:15 pm. This way I didn’t have to worry about her staring into the sun without protection and I got to enjoy the entire eclipse.

Well, every thing was going to plan until the clouds came in. We had clear blue skies all day but as soon as we were ready to watch the eclipse, we got one big, dark cloud right over the backyard. We stood there in the rain, wearing our solar glasses, staring up into the dark cloud hoping to get a glimpse of the eclipse for a while. The cloud didn’t move. And that’s when I started to cry. I know, I know – I was a bit emotional; but I really, really wanted to see this. I have been dreaming of witnessing something like this my whole life and I was missing it.

That is until we got a call from a local friend who said they were several miles from us and had clear skies. Everyone packed up and drove off, except us. We didn’t know what to do. Ada had just laid down for a nap and we knew she was exhausted. We stood there for a few minutes and let the disappointment of not seeing the eclipse overwhelm us. Until, I started to think about it. We made all these plans and preparations and we were just minutes from seeing a total eclipse. And we weren’t going to see it because we were afraid to wake up our child? What? The worst that can happen is that she would cry the whole time, but so what?! Isn’t it worth it? Yes, yes it is. So we were selfish! We woke up our exhausted toddler and made a mad dash to clear skies. Luckily, Ada was just fine with it. She sat in our air-conditioned car, watching TV, while we watched the eclipse.

We hastily set up the camera again and had about 15 minutes to spare before totality. Whew! I am glad that we moved to downtown to watch the eclipse, because some things happened that we wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. For one, as it got dark, we watch street lamps turn on. The crickets started singing and the temperature did drop. Plus, being around other people and hearing their excitement was contagious. When there was just a sliver of sun left, people started yelling in excitement. Then when the sun was completely gone, everyone just gasped in wonder.

When we had totality and we were able to take off our solar glasses, I was literally awestruck. I just started babbling incoherently on how beautiful everything was and how amazing it was to see the sun’s corona. The corona shone brightly behind the moon in a delicate white halo, which contrasted beautifully against the still blue sky. The world around us was dark, but not completely dark. It wasn’t quite nighttime dark but it was darker than dusk. It was strange and beautiful all at the same time. It did get dark enough to see Venus, Mars, and even Mercury; which was a wonderful added bonus. Totality lasted 2 minutes 28 seconds where we were; which is a good while, but it happened too fast for me. I could have stared and studied the corona & my environment for hours.

Watching the eclipse made me remember how awesome God really is and how He so elegantly designed the universe. The more we study the universe, the more concrete I feel in my faith. Earth is so perfectly placed within this unfathomable large universe that not only can it sustain life, but we can witness something like this solar eclipse. Earth has one moon that happens to be the right size and the right distance so that when a solar eclipse occurs both the sun and the moon look like they’re the same size producing a beautiful solar display. I mean, what are the odds of a setup like this occurring naturally, all on it’s own? It is true that seeing God behind this breath-taking event requires a leap of faith; but I believe that seeing this event as a mere coincidence requires an even greater leap of faith.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1


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Solar Eclipse Fun

As some of you know I went to school for physics, but the main reason I chose the physics program, is because I love astronomy. My concentration was in astronomy and I loved every second of it. Appalachian State has a wonderful astronomy program offering so many different opportunities for students. For introductory students, they have an observation deck with a retractable roof and about 20 11″ automated telescopes. For intermediate students, they have a private lab with an observation dome housing an 16″ telescope. And for their advanced students, they have an entire observatory off the Parkway with an amazing 32″ telescope with all the latest observation tech. Yeah – it’s pretty awesome.

My college years were amazing and I sometimes miss the late nights observing the cosmos. But I don’t miss those tests or those all nighters studying! But I am super excited to be witnessing the solar eclipse this weekend! And because I celebrate everything, I put together a few ideas to help all of you to celebrate, too! 😉

Since we will be traveling to see totality, I put together some coloring sheets for Ada. I found these free printables that are all about our solar system. I kept it simple and just picked out the star, the moon, the sun, and of course, the solar eclipse. I am using a cookie sheet as a lap desk for Ada to use (which I am sure everyone knows about thanks to Pinterest). She can use it on our trip to color and play with her magnetic letters & numbers.

I found this craft for Ada to do that seems a bit more age appropriate for her (besides coloring). Plus, the finished results look really pretty.

These t-shirts are so darn cute and so corny! Right up my alley! 😉

There are tons of great ideas for eclipse themed food on Pinterest. Everything from eclipse cookies, galaxy popcorn, and sunshine cupcakes. Since we will be traveling, I decided to keep it rather simple – Moon Pies, Sun Chips, and Sun Drop is the way we are going! Plus, who doesn’t love Moon Pies? 😉

And to make things more fun, adding star & moon shape balloons will add the perfect touch!

I hope you all get a chance to enjoy & marvel at God’s beautiful creation on Monday! And I hope you make a party out of it! 🙂 Happy Weekend ya’ll!