Wednesday, June 21, 2017

King's Dominion

To kick off the summer and celebrate the successful end of 2nd grade x 2 + 4th grade, the boys wanted to go to King's Dominion.  We left early and arrived shortly after the park opened for the day.
Cort tried to spike up his hair to be taller for some of the scarier rides, but alas, he didn't fool the measurers.  He was still able to ride some milder thrill rides, like the Ricochet, the Avalanche and what used to be the Scooby Doo (which was my first roller coaster, when I was about 13).
Pierce has been trying to learn French through an app called Duolingo, so he wanted to go up in the Eiffel tower replica.

I can no longer ride the super spinny rides like the Scrambler, so Paul took one for the team and rode the Scrambler over and over (it was Pierce's favorite ride).
Reid turned out to love the roller coasters.  He wasn't tall enough ride the most intense three, but he rode all the ones he could (Cort was so jealous - he just needs to grow that last inch to be able to ride the ones Reid rode!).  I had a blast riding the Anaconda with Reid, which goes upside down three times and also goes under water.  It came out around the time I had season passes to King's Dominion in high school, so it was kind of like returning to an old friend.  Over twenty years later!  I couldn't stop smiling.

Here is Reid (yellow shirt) getting ready to go on the Grizzly, his last coaster of the day.  It was late and by this time there were no lines anymore.  Unfortunately, the boys were exhausted, and the drive home involved a lot of bickering.  Then we hit a closure on the interstate due to an overturned tractor trailer.  So we sat there, exhausted, staring at the sea of headlights in the dark.  It was almost 1:00 am by the time we got home!  Overall, though, we had a fabulous day, and the boys can't wait to go back, hopefully a little taller next time. 

Readers, do you like roller coasters?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Not Quite a Complete Disaster Camping Trip

Five years ago, we took the boys on a day trip to Fairy Stone State Park, and had such an excellent time we thought we'd like to camp there at some point (for fun, here is my first post about Fairy Stone - they were so little!)

So Friday night we got all our gear packed up and Saturday morning we were out the door around 7 am, to get to the park by 8.  We wanted two full days of fun.  When I booked our site, there was no chance of rain, but two days later the weather had shifted.  We were hoping that the storms would pass quickly, if at all.

 Once we were set up, the boys were already complaining they were hungry, so we decided to fix an early lunch.  It was supposed to storm in the evening, so we decided to make dinner for lunch and save the sandwiches for storming weather.  Sweet potatoes and corn on the cob and hot dogs hit the spot. 

Our roomy REI Kingdom tent.  We hadn't used it in rain before, so we were hoping for the best.  REI makes high quality gear, in our experience.  You can see my comfy camping cot.  Paul and I can sleep on the ground, but with plenty of room in the tent, I figure why not bring a cot. 
After lunch we hit the lake.  They have a playground for the kids that is so much fun.  Luckily, it wasn't too terribly crowded.  The boys had a blast.

The water was cool but not too cold to enjoy.  I wished I had brought a swimsuit, but at least I remembered the boys'.

While the boys were swimming, Paul took our kayak out.  The boys each took a turn, too.  By the time it was my turn, the first storm was rolling in, so I decided to wait until the next day. 

After dinner, we went to look for fairy stones.  After all the rain we've had, we found tons and tons of fairy stones!  Reid found over 100!  Everyone had bulging pockets on the way back to camp (you can see my old post for a chart of how they look).  The evening was the perfect time to search, because everyone else seemed to be back at camp for the night.  We had the whole place to ourselves.

Reid checks out his fairy stone collection by lantern light that evening.  We went to sleep around 9, but then the storms started rolling in.  We really got pounded!  Over and over again waves of storms rolled through.  Thankfully, our tent with rain fly was excellent.  Not a single spot got damp.
Unfortunately, Reid woke up around 4 am complaining of stomach pain.  Then by 6, Cort was up as well, and started vomiting in the woods behind our tent.  Having kids struck down by the stomach flu in the middle of the woods when you have a bunch of gear to pack up is not a good thing.  Cort threw up again and again as we rolled up sleeping bags and put away chairs and such.  No coffee this morning.  It seemed like we would never get everything packed up. 
Thank goodness we were only an hour drive away.  It was a VERY long hour.  We were sad we didn't get our second day of hiking and kayaking and fairy stone hunting.  We'd had such a great time the day before.  Paul said, "Maybe next time we can just do a day trip again".  I have to say - I second that!  And hopefully our next overnight camping trip (wherever we go) will be much smoother.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Up to Something

On Mother's Day, Paul and I had just finished cleaning up dinner when he said, "I think the boys might be up to something".  We went to look outside.

They were carrying one another around the place on an old WW2 stretcher that came from my grandparents' garage.  Good thing they don't know where my big bandages stash is...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


I ordered the boys a game called Mindflex, because one of them was having trouble focusing in school and at home.  To play this game, you wear a belt around your head with sensors on your forehead and ears.  It responds to brainwaves in the 'focused' zone, similar to an EEG.  When the player is focused or concentrating, the game's fan goes on, and the ball lifts into the air.

Once you learn how to control your attention, you can manipulate the ball up and down and around in a circle.  That's when the real fun starts.  You can add obstacles.

My hope is that once it's understood what attention and focus feels like, the boys can turn it on at will, just by changing their thinking patterns in the brain.  This is essentially biofeedback. 

The game is a little pricy, but I think it's a healthy way to help children learn to focus more effectively.  And I have to admit - the game is fun for adults too!  I suspect it will be popular with my psychology classes too, when we study EEGs and biofeedback.

Readers, do you feel like your concentration could use improvement?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When Birds are Jerks

This spring, a little bird decided to build a nest in my clothespin apron, which was hanging on the deck (convenient for grabbing to hang clothes).  Everyday, the bird would add twigs, and I would remove them.  We went back and forth.  Stubborn little feathered friend.

That is, until I got really busy.  And forgot to check for a couple of days.  After which, I found this.  Not only is the nest complete - on top of all my clothespins - but now the bird is sitting there all day.  Probably on some eggs.  Look how SMUG this bird looks.
I guess I won't be hanging out the laundry any time soon...
Nicely played, bird.  You win.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Butternut, Moths, and Peep S'mores

Gosh I love Spring.  Temps in the 70s, everything in bloom and green.  The promise of new life, new gardening.  Here's a picture of the twins on Easter, waiting to make s'mores out of Peeps.

After the suggestion of one of my blog readers (who are always teaching me wonderful things, and giving me new ideas), I canned the butternut squash I had left from last fall, before it could start to go bad.  When canning squash, you have to cube it, and you must use a pressure canner.  It was a lot of work to peel and cube so much butternut in one go, but now all I have to do is open a jar!  I plan to use it a lot in soups or rice bowls.  You can see my garden corral in the background of this picture.

Another sign of spring?  All the butterflies and bees.  On a recent run, I discovered this rather unusual moth.  I don't carry a camera or phone when I run on our trails, so I went back and found it later.  I loved it's creamy yellow coloring and brown stripe.  According to google, this seems to be a swallowtail moth.

Readers, what are the small things delighting you this spring?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Go Fly a Kite

We had three kites from previous beach trips.  One breezy day over the boys' Spring Break, we took them down to the large pasture.  One was missing a piece.  Reid got his stuck in a tree when a breeze jerked it out of his hand.  But Cort?  Well, Cort had a grand time.

Behold the joy of Spring! 
Readers, when did you last fly a kite?