Monday, December 07, 2009

Katie's new brace face

Katie got braces today. I'll try to take a picture every week, then at the end I can string them together into a movie and we'll see how she's changed.

I will get around to posting about the rest of our trip. Feeling more up to it but haven't had a second to devote to it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Dad's Passing

For those who were following our trip on the blog, I wanted to update it to say that we ended the trip at the Grand Canyon due to the death of my father, Phil. It was a long road back to NC to be with the family.

He was a great father, grandfather and man. There are so many people who loved him and pulled me aside to tell stories or repeat a joke he had told them.

I miss him.

You can find a link to his obituary via the Legacy web site (I don't post last names here, but it is the first part of my last name).

I'll get back to summing up our trip, which was really wonderful, at some point. Just not ready to do it yet.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

More SF

Tuesday and back on the bus to the Exploratorium. This time I forgot our membership card aaaaaagh! Called our museum and they wee nice enough to fax a letter confirming our membership, which allowed us to get in for free--a savings of at least $30. Yay! In return, I agreed to write an article about all the museums we get into with our membership (ATSC and AZA) during the trip.

The museum has discreet areas in a very open space, so I was able to let the kids roam freely in each section and they enjoyed the independence. They also loved the museum. We spent 5 hours there.

Drawing, ofcourse!

Wednesday, we went to GG park to visit the CA Academy of Science. Sadly, they do not reciprocate with our sci museum, so the price was steep--but it included a 3-D movie on bugs and a digital planetarium show--and if you haven't been to a digi planetarium, get to one ASAP--it was AMAZING. The museum itself has lots of hands on activities and an entire aquarium too. Another 5 hour visit and we could have stayed even longer.

Zack checks out Homo Sapiens and Neaderthals

Thursday we scouted around town a bit on the cable car. Went to the Cable Car Museum and down to Chinatown and the SF fortune cookie company--a great place where you can see them make the cookies. We were the only people in the shop, so we got lots of warm free samples. Back down to Fisherman's Wharf to Boudin's for soup in bread bowls and a look at their museum on the history of SF sourdough. Onto a bus up telegraph hill and Coit Tower, walked back down to Levi Plaza to check out their archive exhibit and play in the fountain for a while before heading back to the hotel.

The view from Telegraph Hill

Cable Car Museum

Pete was able to do dinner with us and we went to Chez Panisse in Berkeley. It was without a doubt, the best meal we ever had. I can't gush enough about it.

Friday, Pete was done with his conference but still had to work from a local office. He left and then came back around lunchtime to help us change hotels. Even though we were only going a couple of blocks, we have so much stuff it took a cab ride to get there.

We had lunch together and Pete went to work while we hit the Contemporary Jewish Museum which I enjoyed and the kids took some interest in. They enjoyed the exhibit on Jewish music and I enjoyed the exhibit on the Jewish Russian theatre.

OK, heading to bed now. Will finish up San Fran in the next post. zzzzz

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

San Francisco

San Francisco was great!

Pete went on a separate flight because of work, so he dropped us off at the airport and went home to prepare for his flight. We all arrived in SFO about a half hour apart and cabbed it over to the Westin Market St. Hungry, we walked over to Lori's diner (one of many around town).

Here's Kate enjoying pancakes for dinner

and Zack with French Toast

We tried to stay up pretty late to make the time change, but konked out around 9pm PT

Here's the view from our room. We could see the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge from opposite ends of the window.

This cool building was near our hotel. Zack liked that it looked like a leaning building. It is the Contemporary Jewish Museum, which we visited later in the week.

Sunday we met up with Pete's friend Chris and her partner Jen for a hike around the Presidio. It was chilly but very lovely and a great chance to chat and move around after travel the day before.

Here we are near the GG bridge.

Monday, Pete was off to his conference and the kids and I headed back to the Presidio to see the Palace of Fine Arts and visit the Exploratorium. BUt, I forgot it was Monday and so the museum was closed. DUH! It was a nice day to walk around though, so we walked around the duck pond, then, as payback for the disappointment of the the museum, I took us to Ghiradelli Square where the kids got some icecream. We then walked down the wharf to Pier 39 to see the sea lions and check out the shops. Katie ended up part of a magic show, riding on the magician's back while he walked over broken glass! Kate and Zack them rode the carousel and then we visited the Aquariumof the Bay.

the Palace of Fine Arts

Ghiradelli ice cream

with the sea lions

Kate and the magician

getting close with an octopus at the aquarium

Much more to tell but it's getting late. Will catch up next time we have wifi.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Catching up before hitting the Road

Haven't been very motivated to update the blog lately, but thought it would be a good idea before beginning to send updates on our road trip.

A note about the trip--we will fly out to San Francisco on 8/29 and from there go to:
Monterrey, Big Sur and San Luis Obispo
Anaheim, Los Angeles
San Diego
Palm Desert
Joshua Tree NP
Grand Canyon NP
Meteor Canyon
Petrified Forest NP
Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns
Dallas/Ft Worth
San Antonio
New Orleans
and then flying home

But now, let's travel back to June. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A fairly mellow month after all the travel in May. We hit park days, wrapped up Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities, and hung around doing nothing. Zack took his TKD belt test and is now just one test away from becoming a Black Belt. He was slotted to take the test in October, but since we will be gone for all of Sept, Master Yun is holding off so Zack will have some time to ramp up to it.

Zack attended Boy Scout Camp. Last year, he psyched himself up to go but it was canceled at the very last minute. This year, he was again nervous but had a great time, earned two merit badges and earned his tenderfoot rank. He had been considering quitting scouts before going to camp, but is now reconsidering. Since he missed a lot of summer meetings due to our travels and will also miss the Sept meetings, he agreed to return to the troop when we get back and to then decide.

We had a quiet 4th of July as Zack arrived home from camp that morning. Just set off a few fireworks and lit some sparklers. We made s'mores on the grill as a treat.

Pete was able to take a couple of days off work so we could have two full days at Hershey Park this summer. We hadn't gone in a few years and so had never seen the water park. It was terrific! Katie went on her first big roller coaster--the Comet--and loved it! Zack and Pete went on all the thrill rides, while Katie and I spent time on the less intense rides.

Zack just off "The Claw"

Katie gets a Kiss

The next weekend, we were off to LI for a not-surprise birthday party for Carrie. It was nice to see everyone and the weather was great. The traffic was, as usual, awful.

Home for a week and then off to Gma and Gpa's in NC to hit the beach! The weather cooperated fro the most part. We also took a day to take a ferry to the Aquarium at Ft Fisher and spend some time at Broadway on the Beach, first to see a magic show courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa and then the kids and I went back to play mini golf at Dragon's Lair. Katie and Zack have loved the dragon since they were toddlers--although it seems to get smaller every year ;-)

Zack at the beach

Katie looking for critters

At Dragon's Lair

August has sadly turned out to be all about doctors. 5 people in our family are dealing with medical issues and it has been pretty stressful. A planned trip back to NC for my dad's birthday turned into welcoming him back home from emergency surgery. He is on the mend and I am very grateful for that.

Also, my medical issues have turned out to be basically minor, although there will be a few more Dr. visits when we get back in Oct.

And there goes summer!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My great kids

More to come on doings in June, including Zack's latest belt test. But for now, I just like this picture:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Killer May

Every weekend this month has been booked with something. Every. Weekend.

I feel like I am going to explode if I don't get some down time. The clutter in the house is making my head cluttered and I can't wait until we are back from Boston on Monday and I can get cracking on some projects.

So. what have we been doing....

The first weekend of the month, our dishwasher died and we spent the weekend researching new ones. We ended up with a Bosch and so far really like it.

I started working on a project in late February and the event was this month. So, we fell out of site for most of April and the start of May. This year the event was in Baltimore. I didn't need to travel but I sent the kids to my mom's to spend the week. Sadly, it rained most of the time they were there so they didn't get much beach time. They did get plenty of TV time.

My folks were good enough to come get the kids the second weekend in May. So that weekend (Mother's Day) we hosted my folks. We drove to Woodbridge for brunch on Sunday and then they headed south with the kids and Pete and I headed north.

I worked Mon-Wed, was sick as a dog and slept all day Thursday, and Friday headed down to NC to hang with the folks and pick up the kids. Happily, it was nice on Sunday and Monday and we spent the mornings at the beach. One day, a large turtle crossed a neighbor's driveway and we all went to take a look. Katie tried to feed it some lettuce but it was more interested in getting away than eating.

At the beach

Katie tries to feed a turtle

Back home on Tuesday.

That gave me a couple of days to prepare for Katie and Zack's 11th birthday on Friday. Katie's GS troop was taking a camping trip Fri-Sun, but at the last minute she decided she didn't want to sleep in a tent on her birthday, so we delayed going until Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous day and I had been tasked with leading the girls in a hike to do some badge work. We had a great time, made even nicer by the fact that the camp is only 25 minutes from my house. I left that evening to go home and sleep in my own bed!

Girl Scouts has been a pretty bad experience this year for Katie. No program and no real leadership. Mostly a lot of girls from age 6-13 running around for two hours. Katie was refusing to go to meetings and almost decided against the camping trip. However, the trip was much more organized (thanks Brenda and Chris!) and Katie had a great time. We were looking at other troops but will now keep this one in the mix and wait to see who leads next year before deciding. It's nice to have choices though.

Camping Katie

In the meantime, Zack is making noises about quitting Boy Scouts. That's fine, but he liked Cub Scouts a lot and seemed excited about being a Boy Scout. He's also not being very specific about why he wants to quit. I called a friend who is one of the asst. leaders to check-in about how things were going--to see if there was teasing, or other signs that things were getting unpleasant. So far no reports of that kind of issue.

We told Zack he needs to go to BS camp (it's paid for already and he earned half the fee by selling so much popcorn) and then he could decide about scouts for next season. He did skip the canoe trip planned for his birthday weekend, which I think was disappointing to Pete!

The kids' birthday was nice. We let Katie pierce her ears and Pete was able to meet us after work to be there for the big event. This was two years earlier than she expected--I always told her she could get them done at 13--but she's been taking very good care of the brace on her teeth, so I felt she could take care that the holes didn't get infected.

Just pierced!

Zack wanted a low-key birthday celebration, so just had two friends over for burgers and dogs and a sleepover. Katie didn't plan anything because of the camp out. The boys went to to play Laser tag the next day--I'm always tied up when there's a chance to play and I never get to go with them :-(

Checking out some of the new Heroscape castle set

And here we are, just heading into the last weekend of May, packing to go to Boston. My in-laws are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary (wow!) and are having a big party. Should be a nice event but wish I wasn't so sick of traveling! We also need to fly :-p -- not my favorite thing.

In June, I hope to get some projects done, take some hikes and hang around and do some nothing. It would be nice if the rain moved on for a while too...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Focusing on the 1 instead of the 99

Did you ever hear the one where you're in a room of 100 people. 99 of them like you and one of them doesn't and you spend all your time on the 1 who doesn't and forget about the other 99?

I do that all the time and last week I had the opportunity to do it again. I was aware of it right away. I worked really hard at not chasing the 1, with pretty good success. I talked about it with trusted advisers. And now, three days later, that snub is running over and over again in my head.

I hate it when my head has a mind of its own! When self awareness avails me nothing. I'm sure tomorrow I will remember that I am loved and lovable and that the people in my life are the kind of people I want in my life. That I will never please everyone and that even saints are not loved by all--and that I am no saint ;-)

But right now my head is running on the hamster wheel and I'm tired. :-P

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Katie's lucky day

No fooling! Katie found a four leaf clover today but had a hard time making anyone believe it. It's April Fool's Day and she's been playing tricks all morning! But sure enough, I can vouch that all four leaves are indeed attached to this one stem.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our life in Photos

I won tickets on Jet Blue and the warmest we could get to was to Cancun. We stayed at a great B&B. Eco-friendly, with composting toilets even. Not unexpectedly, there was a beautiful garden. We got all kinds of perks from one of the big resorts that wanted us to buy a timeshare. We didn't buy, but did enjoy the free food, nice beach and the trips to Chichen Itza and Isla Mujeres. Our last day, we went back to Isla and rented a moped to see the sites, including lounging iguanas (see behind us). Katie and Zack had a good time being spoiled by Gma and Gpa E.

On the first nice warm-ish day of the year, we wanted a picnic and I thought the Manassas battlefield would be a good lesson for the day and nice grounds to picnic on. A bit chillier than expected, but still nice.

We went on a pie tour for my birthday. 4 diners and 9 pieces of pie. MMMMMM. The best of the day was blueberry.

Zack is now a Boy Scout and received a walking stick at his bridging ceremony.

A trip to the new ocean exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History museum.

We took a trip to NYC just for the fun of it. Went to the free Friday at MoMa. Here are Kate and Zack in one of the installations.

The Egypt exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We also liked the Greek and Medieval exhibits and peeked into the Renaissance wing but ran out of time. Need to go back!

Last weekend was wonderfully warm--80 degrees! Pete wanted to check out the Sam Ash in Richmond, so off we went. He dropped the kids and me off at the Science Museum, where the kids lost their heads, and he went to bang on cymbals for a few hours.

Trying out steering in zero gravity at the Science museum.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Constant Worrier

We've been at this homeschool experiment for a little bit now (we're in our 4th year) and I am once again plagued by the post-February doubts and worries.

Maybe it's because this is the time of year to order the tests. Maybe it's because we don't see as many people in the winter months as we do in spring and fall and I don't have the support of as many other HS parents. Or maybe I'm just having a later winter nutty as usual.

Whatever the cause, in the wee hours I am thinking over all the things my kids ought to know by now, what I should have exposed them to, how far along the curriculum we should be, blah blah blah blah blah...

Never mind that Katie has developed quite the witty sense of humor, Zack is more focused than ever, the Math Wars have ended with the use of the computer math course from Teaching Textbooks, and they thoroughly enjoyed the Met Museum of Art and wished we had the energy to stay longer. They are wonderfully curious, articulate, probing, comic, caring and happy people.

But still it's hard to have faith that they will get what they need, even if I don't supply the perfect everything, every day. I still struggle with the notion that they will get what they need and it won't all come from me--as a matter of fact, more and more it will come from others. Yes, puberty is on its way with all the eye-rolling, heavy sighing and shoulder shrugging that comes along with it.

So, a deep breath before the spring. Off to the eye doctor this morning, lunch with Pete this afternoon and a mental-health-for-mom driven day-off from schoolwork to enjoy the warm weather.