Pete and I continued to work in the nursery at our church UUCA, while Katie and Zack took the OWL class. The OWL class was the main reason I originally chose UUCA over the other two UU churches in the area and it did turn out to be a very good experience for them. It is a comprehensive sex education class, starting in 2nd grade then again in 5th and 8th grade. The 8th grade OWL covers IT ALL. Parents are not permitted and ANY questions can be asked and will be answered honestly by the adult conductors.
At the end of the month we went to Orlando to see the Harry Potter section of Universal (along with the rest of the park) and I couldn't help spending a couple of days at Disney as well. The kids took one of the Disney classes and really enjoyed it. WWOHP was wonderful but we didn't love the rest of the resort much.
Started with the end of our trip to Orlando and then spent a week with mom in NC. We had only spent a night there on the way down to FL, so wanted to spend a bit more on the way back up. A fun time and good to relax a bit before the long drive home again.
The rest of the month was spent with our usual activities. Katie and Pete went to the sweetheart dance again and had a fun time.
Zack tried doing the Ancestral Knowledge program, kind of like Scouting without all the military nonsense and tons of time outside. He liked it, but ultimately decided it was "not his thing."
Then, my big deal was the VaHomeschoolers Conference, which I headed up. I didn't have to do much at the actual conference due to the amazing team of leaders who stepped up to do all the jobs on site. Also, Katie and Zack qualified to be teen volunteers this year and had a great time--except that Zack became very ill overnight and spent the main day in bed at the hotel. :(
I'm heading up the 2013 conference again this March, and then I'll be retiring and look forward to actually attending the conference and catching some sessions.
Come join us this year--registration will be open in a few days!
Not sure when exactly our robin moved in, but didn't have a picture for this month. Maybe it was March..
End of the World homeschool dance--both kids with new outfits and meeting a ton of friends, but poor Zack kept up his sick streak during all fun activities by getting very ill at the dance and he called it a night fairly early. :(
Pete and I also called off the regular search for a new house while we got Hershey Lane ready to sell. It was a good plan, but turned out to be hard to stick to.
I was on Car Talk! I got all in a tizzy once I was talking to them, and forgot to make my noise at the start of my story, but it was really fun and even more lucky when I found out that this is their last season. But who can compete with the goat lady, I ask you?
|Taking a moment at the dance|
Pete was supposed to have his sinus surgery this month but had to re-schedule at the very last minute to work out annoying insurance details.
A visit from my mom for Mothers Day. A nice brunch and to Arena Stage to see The Music Man. Everyone enjoyed the show, but Katie had the extra thrill of seeing the actor who played Gaston in the B'way Beauty and the Beast play Harold Hill.
Katie had a Girl Scout camp out and Kate and Zack turned 14, if you can believe it!
We also said goodbye to my trusty Subaru :'( It was my ticket to radio fame on Car Talk, but the guys convinced me that things weren't going to get better and it was time to move on. We test drove a few cars to be sure that I could see over the dash and Pete didn't bang his head on the roof and went for the Hyundai Elantra Touring. Love It.
A mellow beginning to summer. A nice visit with Uncle Fuad and Sandie who came in to visit Pete's cousin Melissa. We really don't get to see them enough!
Zack was invited to a beach trip with a friend and despite my poor travel planning, we got him to the meeting point in enough time to catch a ride. It was a bit churchy for him, (it was his friend's church youth group) but they did have a good time at the beach.
Meanwhile, Katie and I went to see her friends perform in truly the longest version of Beauty and the Beast I've ever seen. All the kid performers did very well though, just not great direction from whoever ran the show. A more talented director would have shown off the children's talents much more. (and maybe cut a good 45 mins off the 3 hour show!)
Katie and Zack enjoyed separate birthday parties this year. They all had a great time, but I'm not sure I'm up for two parties in two weeks again.
We also got to see Phil V who was in DC on business. We had breakfast together, headed to a comics store and then Katie and I peeled off to join her GS troop at the 100 Anniversary sing along on the Nat'l Mall. Pete and Zack got to hang with Phil a bit longer before he had to re-join his colleagues.
The last week of June was spent in NC with mom. It was the only week of the summer we could get away and it was nice to have a good chunk of time to do things around Sunset Beach. The kids went to the "upside down house" a new attraction at Broadway on the Beach. It wasn't what they expected, but they still had fun and it was a nice way to spend a chilly, rainy day. I think this was the trip we went down to Myrle Beach to see the new boardwalk. Pretty disappointing for mom and me, who think of Coney Island when we think of a boardwalk, but Katie and Zack enjoyed the arcades--and the soft serve! (Thanks Grandma!)
Spent the 4th of July with the Marts! A great tradition we haven't been able to participate in for the past few years. Very nice to see their new extended house and hang with them and the Ebbins.
We spent the night in York, PA and headed to NYC the next day for a short visit which we piggybacked on a show Pete's band was playing. We hit a lot of our favorite spots on the lower east side but also took the kids to the Cloisters for the first time and learned from my friend Allison that we should check out the High Line in Chelsea. We weren't able to meet up with Allison and her family this trip, but were able to meet with Ivanna for lunch on the high line and browsing at the Chelsea market. It was a poundingly hot day in NYC, and I knew Ivanna would never have ventured out on a day like that if it hadn't been for us! The High Line was quite breezy though and Chelsea mkt was pleasantly AIR CONDITIONED!
We also visited and cried at the 9/11 Memorial and visited Coney Island.
Back home and Katie started her three week stint working at her old preschool to help out with their camp.
Zack spent a week later in the summer at Parkour camp and loved it. We need to find more of that for him but it has been difficult.
Mom stopped in between camp stints on her way up to LI to spend time with Phil's family. So, just by chance, she was with us when we came to check out the house we ended up buying. I say that we bought this house by accident, because we had suspended our search. I suggested we look at it because I had been intrigued with the layout, but was sure that Pete wouldn't like it at all. Turns out we all loved it and the wheels began to turn for our move in August!
|On the way to the Cloisters|
August was all about getting our bid in on our new place, getting the financing in order, packing to move and getting the old place ready to sell. Mom was a huge help on her way back down from LI before heading home. She got us packing and organized, keeping Kate and Zack busy, while I organized other areas of the house.
We got rid a of lot of stuff and still had plenty more stuff to pack.
We closed on 8/20 and as most everyone knows who knows me, I broke my ankle right before closing. We moved the next day while Pete came to the rescue by taking a day off to help run things and Jeannie helped by getting me to the Dr to get x-rays.
The end of the month we joined Pete's folks at the Cape for some time at the beach. Sadly one day was rainy but still very relaxing and it was a spot that Pete grew up vacationing at and he was really happy that the kids got to spend some time there.
|Bye Bye Hershey Lane|
I actually updated the blog with some not back to school stuff, so won't re-write here, but the summer definitely went too fast and it was time to get back to work. Studies for the kids and unpacking and work on the old place for Pete and me.
Mom once again came in to save the day to help us unpack while I limped around and Pete recovered from his re-scheduled sinus surgery. Pete fared very well through the surgery, but has unfortunately had a problem shaking a sinus staph infection, but at least now it can be treated.
We did get a lot done and Katie and Zack were tops in helping with EVERYTHING. They cleaned out stuff they no longer wanted, packed up their own rooms, unpacked their new rooms. They mowed lawns at both houses, spend hours hanging around the old place, painting and cooling their heels while I got other things done, and spent way more time at Home Depot than should ever be expected of teenagers. They were (and are) fantastic.
September 10, Katie at long last, got her braces off!
Phil and Carrie stopped in to see our new place while they were visiting in the DC area--we didn't take any pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it, but next time they need to make a longer visit!
K&Z also began to attend Youth Group at UUCA. I was a bit stunned that they wanted to try it but they were looking forward to the overnight and had a great time. There was some drama associated with the advisers, but we stayed fairly clear of it and now (in Jan) things seem to be more underway and more fun, so I hope they will stick with it.
|Bye to the old measuring wall :(|
We were actually home for the whole month! Spent lots of time over at the old place fixing things up. K, Z and I painted all the closets--you really don't notice how banged up they get when all your clothes are still inside. The open house was on 10/14, I think and we got two offers right off of that. The buyers were terrific and didn't ask us to do much, so the extra fixes after their inspection were pretty minimal.
The kids were mostly wrapped up with Halloween activities. Pete was doing a lot more drumming at UUCA.
Pete had uber amazing tickets to see The Who, with seats right up front and the ability to see the sound check. He was in heaven and I was glad he treated himself for something that there probably won't be a chance to do again.
The house sold! Yeah! After all the cleaning, fixing, upkeep and back and forthing to the old place we were not especially sentimental about leaving Hershey Lane for the last time. We took the kids out to Ping Pong Dim Sum to celebrate and got them some special gifts to thank them for all the help and lack of complaining while doing it.
We had a nice long visit in NC to celebrate mom's birthday and then Thanksgiving. Pete flew in for Thanksgiving and to stay the weekend after and my cousin Jayne and her husband Donald also came in from their place in Asheville to spend the holiday. It was great to catch up with them and they had not seen Katie and Zack for a very long time.
It was an eerily calm December this year except kind of a quick turn around getting back in town from Thanksgiving and heading out to Great Wolf Lodge. A homeschool group arranges for an amazing discount and any size room costs the same as any other, so sharing a big suite is easy and even more economical. I knew there would be a big pack of boys there, but not many girls, so Katie's BFF joined us as well.
Then pretty mellow, due to almost exclusively online shopping for the holidays.
We had people over to warm the house and the following weekend, mom arrived to help with the last of the Christmas prep and we had a lovely Christmas.
Pete's parents were able to join us on 12/28 and stayed for New Years.
And so here we are at 2013. Whew--that was fast!
In the coming year, may you enjoy side-splitting laughs, smiles that make your cheeks hurt and surprises that make you shoot milk out your nose.