Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hike Gone Sideways

On paper, it all looked great. We were going to Read Mountain with E's boy scout den. It was a leisurely four mile round trip hike - about two hours.

We started strong and happy.

We set off up the mountain. These guys were energetic and ready for action!

Here ad there we saw some pretty views.

But somewhere along the way, we lost our way. Probably, we shouldn't have had the pack of nine year old boys leading, but we realized it had been some time since we had seen a trail blaze. But we thought we were doing ok. Until it became abundantly clear that we were no where near a trail.

We were now hiking through this.

And by this, I mean slippery slopes, full of thorny vines. [By the by, if  you are about to fall on your ass, I do not recommend grabbing said vines. They hurt.]

We slipped our way down the mountain and there were some tears. Morrigan, at one point, requested we just leave her, as she could not make it.

Made it we all did, eventually ending up on private property, with signs abound telling us to KEEP OUT, and then having to wander through a subdivision for a mile to get back to our cars, but we survived, and have a better story for it.

Red Ribbon Dance

Yesterday Maggie went to her first middle school dance. [Morrigan opted out as many 8th graders do. We made pizza and watched Scream together instead.] I offered to take her shopping for a new outfit, but she insisted a dress she already owned was fine. I also offered to help her curl her hair but, still emotionally scarred from an accidental ear burning as a young girl, she refused. Whatever Maggie.

It was not until we picked up her compatriots, we've learned that one wants to arrive to these gigs in a pack, did I realize everyone was wearing red. Some sort of tie in with the Red Ribbon Week anti drug stuff. Just say no!

Maggie was especially pleased that, without planning it, she and Megan had on exactly opposite black and red outfits. She came home tired and happy, insisting that she did not dance with any boys, because eww.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

After sitting on the counter for a week, we finally got around to carving the pumpkins. Everyone started off with gusto.

Eion was the first done. Can you tell?

I think he was mostly in it for the dessert and roasted pumpkin seeds. Maggie lasted longer but soon tired of the whole process, leaving me to finish her partially done creation.

Morrigan was by far the most meticulous and detail orientated. She finished last but had the best looking product in spite of having to work around a soft spot on one side of her pumpkin.

And everyone enjoyed the roasted pumpkin seeds!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On Contacts and Clippings

So it's been quite a school year. And as the kids get older and more connected to the online world, the number of topics about which I am willing to blog gets smaller and smaller. It is all well and good to write all about their misadventures when they are five and none of their friends will read it. When you're thirteen, well, it gets much more dicey. Not to mention that sometimes there is just shit going down that I don't want to share with the whole wide world, as unreal as that seems.

But, a big but, I know that there are people (grandparents) who like to keep up with the kiddos and I love that they can have a regular look into our lives even though they are physically far away. So I'll try to be in here on a more regular basis. And if it seems that all you are getting is sunshine and rainbows, and occasionally unicorns, it is a heavy self censorship. Never think it is too perfect around here, even if I don't tell you about it. Believe me, things are routinely falling apart around here.

I'm also threatening to do more food blogging, though I'll confine that to my other, long dormant, blog, It's Not Cheap, It's Garde Manger. If you're so inclined, check in there for all the food we've been eating. Or not. I may just be issuing idle threats and have you checking in on two separate blogs only to find I am a woefully poor correspondent on both.

But enough with the self loathing! We do have issues of importance 'round here.

Because you know you want one, a chicken update.

The Peepers found a way to escape their confinement by hopping onto the stair railing and then setting out into the world.

The would go a-foraging in the planter boxes filled with lemon balm and, presumably, bugs and worms. Sadly, one of the black birds was always left behind. We wondered why she would stay when the others broke out and determined she was the Peep who was, earlier this year, the hawk attack victim. She apparently sustained injuries that prevent her from flying. The poor girl would fuss about it as everyone else expanded their territory.

It was mostly funny until they took over our neighbor's yard. Daily they would escape and invade an ever expanding portion of the yard next door until they were showing up on their doorstep. It was time for some action.

A quick search of the interwebs let me know that you could clip their wings just like you can smaller birds. Before you get all PETA on me, please note this only entails cutting feathers, which are like hair in that they have no feeling. Operation Peeper Confinement has thus far been a great success for us, I have a feeling they disagree.

Maggie is going to her first middle school dance on Friday. Morrigan has decided she is so over these and is staying home. Her older sister's plans almost made Mags bail out too but we're glad she decided to give it a chance.

And the top news item of the week, Morrigan was fitted for contacts this week! They are more expensive but we opted for the daily disposables. I remember what a blessing those were for me and couldn't imagine dealing with the cleaning etc again. As I think is the case with most people, she looks better without her glasses and we are happy to see her pretty eyes!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

STEM Day Downtown

The Science Museum, in conjunction with Virginia Tech, had a STEM day downtown. To be honest, I can't really get on board with the all science, all the time thing. Some people, and some girls, just aren't interested, and no camp, fair, or club will change that. That being said, Tim was working, it was raining, and a friend wanted to team up for a morning of technological exploration. I was in!

The rain meant all the fun was indoors and we started in the downtown Market Building. 

The people manning these booths were smart, there was candy everywhere. And if you weren't in to sweets, you could collect other fine swag, including chip clips, reusable grocery bags, and water bottles. All smiles in our group.

We were there just when things were getting started, so it was not too busy yet, thank goodness. We went to each and every display. 

All the kids were not enthused about the giant cockroach.

Except Ned, who was all about it. (And ewww, by the way.)

From there we went to the Science Museum proper where things were starting to get busy. But the kids were happy and had big fun, in spite of the dearth of candy.

We wrapped it up with a late lunch and got the hell out of Dodge before things got too busy. Thank you STEM, it was a great day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Prowl A Thon

Last Friday was the Prowl a Thon fundraiser at Eion's school. And in his mind, this is "Hey Mom, I want to be at the silver level so I'll need a check for $100." Whatever works son.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Go Bombers!

Last year when I signed Eion up for soccer, I contacted a friend who I knew coached a rec league team and asked if he would have E on his team. This was for several reasons, all selfish. I knew all the parents from this team and better yet, the coaches. I knew they would be nice as we moved our way along the learning curve.

What I had no way of knowing was that we were joining The Team. This is the third or fourth season that they are undefeated. Last season, they were the younger kids in the age group and we had a couple of close calls, including a tie, which the boys are quick to remind you, does not mar their undefeated record. But now on the older end of the spectrum, we haven't seen any tight games. The last few have been bloodbaths where I honestly lost track of how many goals the Bombers scored.

Eion is not what you might call a powerhouse, but he is always happy and certainly enjoys winning. It is even better this year because we run across his friends on other teams, which Eion sees as an opportunity to socialize, often mid game.

Don't worry Ned, they'll get along fine without me.

Our coaches have been great. All along, even last year in the tight games, they made sure everyone played at least two quarters. This year presented new challenges as they had to prevent the boys from running up the score. One game, the coach essentially had them running passing drills during the game. It effectively slowed down the game and minimized goals. 

The strategy I liked even better was employed in the last game. Comfortably up 9 - 0, the coach had the team routinely pass to the weaker players all during the second half. Eion told me the plan was that he was going to get a goal. He didn't, but as long as a slurpee was waiting out there for him, he didn't care much.