A pre-birthday hike

Now that we are all in Covid quarantine lock-down mode, it’s been interesting trying to plan a 13th birthday.  We had to cancel our big birthday trip, which was going to be her primary present.  I’ll reschedule it, someday, but I have no idea when that will be.  I ordered a few presents online, plus presents from family, but that’s all we got. I’ll make a cake on Tuesday. We asked Eve if she wanted to do a family outing and she decided on a hike. The forecast for the next few days is yucky, and we’ll be “in school” all week, so we took advantage of the dry weather yesterday and went for a hike up behind the school. There are trails there that the kids have gone up a few times in PE classes, but Alan and I had never been on them.  It was fun.

She’s debating about whether or not to let me take a family pic. It took some convincing, but…

She agreed to pose for JUST ONE photo! :)

I snuck a few others! :)

Look at this crazy landscape!

Huxley came with us too. Looking dapper (and dirty) in his fleece.

Eve drank from the creek, then taught Huxley how to. :)

We had fun exploring the area, on the well marked and not-so well marked trails. Towards the end we found ourselves back on the bike path, where, coincidentally, a guy Alan knows from the conservation committee was pedaling by.  We asked him about the brush clearing and he said there were invasive species in that area that were killing native trees, so last summer they brought up a “brontosaurus” to do massive clearing.  Crazy!  He pointed us to the trails website for more information.

The only down side to the day was the vast number of ticks we had to pick off Huxley!!  He’s wearing a flea and tick collar, but apparently it’s not working anymore! I ordered another one immediately! We all spent the rest of the day feeling like we had creepy crawlies all over us.  Yuck!

Falafels and lentil soup

A few weeks ago Eve said that she wanted to try falafels and asked if I would make them for dinner.  Apparently Magnus Chase loves falafels. Good to know, right? We bought supplies and it took me a few weeks to get to it, but today was the day.  I was fully expecting her to not try them, assuming I was too slow and the mood had passed. But nope, she ate them!  She even liked them!  Actually, officially she said, “they’re ok.”  I’m calling that a win! I’m also going to take her to a local restaurant that makes super delicious falafels and have her try the authentic version.  Maybe I should have started with that. :)

Sometimes I cook. :)

I was getting ready for grocery shopping today and Eve added lentils to the list. When I asked why (actually, I think I said “Lentils? What?!?”) she said she had a craving for lentil soup. I showed her the can of lentil soup we have in the pantry, but she said no, she wants the soup with the tiny pastas that I used to make a the old house.  It was one of Alan’s favorite meals too. And vegan!  The forecast for tomorrow is chilly and rainy, to the point of flooding.  Guess what’s on the dinner menu?! :)

I think there’s hope for Eve in the food department. <3

Eve

Eve is looking so mature these days, and now she’s rocking a cool new pixie cut.  She’s wanted one for quite some time and finally got up the nerve to do it.

This weekend she added some purple hair dye to the long pieces in the front.  She won’t let me take a picture, but it looks pretty cool.  :)

First day of school

There is so much I want to blog about these days, but never seem to find the time. I can’t miss a first day of school post though! I started my 4th year (longest career I’ve ever had, not counting parenting), Eve started 7th, and Lex started 9th — in high school! Eeek!

Eve has been dreading school and asking regularly if she can be homeschooled. She was in tears several times this week just thinking about going back to school. Somehow she woke up with a positive attitude though, and even smiled for a picture!!

She had a little fun with Lex’s picture too. Do you see her?

We all laughed, then told her to go away. :)

Alan brought them both to school. Eve at the middle school and Lex at the high school. Lex has a different start time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but he wasn’t sure what to expect on the first day, so he opted for the earlier start time, just in case. He ended up finding a friend and wandering the halls for 20 minutes. I think it was a really great way for him to start school.

My day was long and busy. As my job evolves to include more and more tech, I’m finding less and less time to do library work. I had a chat with my principal about it on Friday and we will make some changes to the start of school next year. For this year it will be what it will be. I spent the day doing tech support, cleaning the library (there was a conference over the weekend and they left a mess!!) and teaching a few classes. It was fun to see everyone again, smiling kids, a few crying kids, lots of new faces, all eager for a new year.

At the end of the day I headed home to find my kiddos having snack. Eve immediately broke down into tears and told me her day was awful, too many people, doesn’t like this, that is dumb, etc. I think middle school is tough for her. Lots of struggles to find her place. I know she’ll find it, eventually, but these past few years have been tough. After a good cry, a snack, and some alone time in her room, she rebounded and had a nice evening with us.

Lex had a great day. He was happy with all of his classes, gave me a play-by-play of his day (which classes he went to, anyway) then pulled out a huge packet of paperwork for me to sign! There’s always first day of school homework for the parents! Most of the paperwork was band related. I’m so happy that he has found band. It’s done wonders for him. His friends are all band friends, he joined jazz band last year, he joined Pep Band this year, which means he’ll be playing at all of the home football games, and he’s going to audition for two district events this year. Band has given him a level of confidence, a peer group, and an area to excel. It makes us all happy.

Country living

Eve decided to go back to summer camp in NY, so we’re spending a week in the country.  We dropped her off on Friday and she even allowed me to take a picture! :)

Cabin 9, just like last time.

Camp starts with a swim test. I snuck a little picture. She passed the test with no trouble at all.

While she was away, Lex and I hung at in Franklin. We watched G’Tom and his friend repaint the house, we had a little mani/pedi session, we watched lots of TV and played lots of Minecraft … I say “we” but I think you can guess who did what! :)

Greg, hard at work painting. Mema was gardening and Tom was painting, but somehow neither of them ended up in my photo.

Just for fun.

We also took a trip to Target, saw Toy Story 4, watched the Tour de France, and took a few walks.  The heat steadily rose all week.

We picked up Eve on Friday. She had a great time at camp and is already planning her return.

A cheer tunnel for all the campers to run through. Camp is fun!

Closing ceremony. It’s hot and humid, and Eve is wearing her sweatshirt. At least it is unzipped!

Eve introduced us to all her new “friends,” that included a few animals she made at craft time, and a collection of rocks she drew faces on.

She made friends (of the human variety), collected email addresses, and is now enjoying a screen-filled day today.  :)  We are all spending the day doing as little as possible and riding out the record high temps.

Life in the country. <3

 

Horseback riding

After many months of asking for lessons, I finally found a place that’s nearby and offers beginning horseback riding lessons.  It was not an easy task! Today was Eve’s first lesson.  She learned to groom the horse, tack it, and mount/dismount.  She was quiet and reserved, but when we left she said she loved it and definitely wants to continue with lessons.  That’s good, I suppose.  It will get her one step closer to her goal of living on a mountain side and riding a horse everywhere instead of owning a car.  :)

Mounted and ready to ride

She rode in the barn today to minimize distractions for her and the horse. Nothing to speedy today! :)

Hello Murial!

Clearly I’m going to have to work on my horse photography skills if this becomes a real hobby.

Walking

We are on school vacation this week and Eve has been happily accompanying me on daily walks around town.  She is pretty amazing at keeping up a running monologue for an hour and half each day!

The other day, after severe rains, we were out checking out the water levels.  One guy had his driveway completely washed out!  He had a board propped over the ditch so he could walk from his driveway to the road, but he couldn’t get his car out!  (We passed by the next day and he had fixed it, don’t worry!)  We also saw the Dothan Brook, usually just a small babbling brook, now a rushing river!

Eve also tried to save the earthworms that were scattered about the street and bike path.  Fortunately that effort didn’t last too long.  There were A LOT of earthworms!

I love this time I get to spend with her. When we’re out walking I’m able to mentally just be with her and not be distracted by all the things I should be doing around the house.  She still has ridiculous life plans, but she is so happy to tell me all about them and I love to hear her enthusiasm for life and all creatures big and small.  I’m lucky to be her momma and so lucky that she likes spending time with me.  <3

Happy Birthday Eve!!

What started out as a trip to check out the First Robotics Competition in Shrewsbury, MA, ended up being an awesome birthday weekend for Eve in Boston!

Lex will be joining the local FRC team next year and I thought it would be fun to check out a competition.  Unfortunately I was a little slow with the planning and missed the two closer ones (day trips) and leaving just one in MA and one (championship, I think) in Washington, DC!  It just so happens the MA event was this weekend and just outside of Boston, so I suggested a birthday trip for Eve.  She hadn’t asked for any other birthday events or parties, and she jumped at the idea of going to the Boston Aquarium!  Yay!

So we drove down to Shrewsbury, MA yesterday, arriving mid-afternoon.  The event was big and loud and we lasted about 20 minutes. LOL!  After about 10 minutes Eve was ready to go, and Lex was ready shortly thereafter.  We stuck around to watch our local team compete in one match and then took off.  Lex says he’s still excited to join, but thinks it will be much more fun next year when he’s part of it and knows what’s going on.  I can’t argue with that!

As soon as we left this mansion of a high school, Eve found a hill she wanted to climb.

Since we were out sooner than expect, I asked Eve what she wanted to do next.  I suggested a movie, or bowling, or shopping.  She suggested a nature hike.  She’s so smart!  We found a local nature reserve and took a beautiful hike through the dry spring forest.  We heard lots of frogs and saw some signs of busy beavers.  We also decided to have family meeting in the woods.  :)

After that we headed to the hotel for check in, then out to dinner at the Olive Garden. Her permanent birthday request. :)

This morning we drove into Boston to check out the Aquarium.  I love parts of that museum and feel totally overwhelmed with other parts.  I think we all felt about the same way. :)  The fun starts before you even get inside, with a seal exhibit containing fat playful seals who do flips and swim upside down.  They were so silly.

Inside, we had a great time watching the penguins and checking out the enormous tank in the middle!

This turtle is over 95 years old and weighs 535lbs!  Her name is Myrtle and she’s a Green Sea Turtle.  They have two other turtles, called Loggerhead Turtles, that are a bit smaller and younger, but they were napping in the tunnel below so we couldn’t see them.  I remember them from years ago though. One is blind and feels his way around the tank.  Both are rescues that the Aquarium took in.

We headed to Quincy Market for a late lunch, then home.  We got out of town just before the driving rain started!  Poor Alan had to drive in it. :/

Back home we  opened presents, ate cake, and measured Eve on the wall.  I had to reach UP to write her height!  She’s a pretty amazing girl.  She was in a good mood all weekend and we had fun laughing and being silly together as a family.  It was wonderful and heartwarming. <3

Tomorrow it’s back to reality with work and school and meetings and play practice and dentist appointments.  But for now, we relax and enjoy the the rest of the evening together with our amazing 12yr old!  Happy Birthday (not so) little girl!

If you want to see all the pictures from this weekend, check out the Google Album.

ELA projects

The project for last weekend was a book report project.  All year they’ve had to do “book talks” each month about a book they were reading.  This month the teacher decided to mix it up and gave out a variety of options.  Lex decided to do a book trailer about a Minecraft book.  Eve chose the option of making a playlist of songs to describe the first Artemis Fowl book.  She had a great video project started with images from the internet that resemble the characterless, but when she started looking for music she got frustrated with the difficulty in finding the songs she wanted in good quality, not remixed, and, of course, for free.  Alan and I had a good laugh.  We remember those days of downloading free music!  She ended up just doing a poster for a different book.

Lex, on the other hand, perservered and made a really amazing book trailer!  Alan helped by recording Lex playing the scenes in Minecraft, then Lex used WeVideo to put it all together, with sounds and voice overs.  It came out great!