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!

School Projects – Eve

The kids have had lots of school projects lately.  Lots of homework in general!  Two weeks ago it was all about making 3D models of the Earth.  They each had grand ideas in mind, but ended up having to scale down for a variety of reasons.

Eve’s plan was a Jell-O/brownie Earth.  She planned ot use brownies as the core, different colored Jell-O as the layers, and fondant as the crust, with fondant continents as well.  It was a grand idea, for sure!  Implementation was a little trickier.  At first she wanted a full globe, but I talked her out of that.  There’s no way Jell-O can support itself in a full sphere!  She settled on a half-sphere.  The next question was how to make perfect half-spheres in an layer-able way.  We came up with this.  Not exactly perfect, or even close to perfect, but she tried!

Layers of Jell-O in containers.

Then she baked some brownies for the inner core.  The challenge came when we had to get the Jell-O out!  There are some preventative measures we could have taken, but we didn’t, so it was all pretty stuck!

The core inner core and outer core. Working on getting the mantle out next.

Things got a little messy with the final layer of Jell-O!

Jell-O EVERYWHERE!

We discussed some salvage efforts, but she decided to just eat the Jell-O and make a paper project instead.

Quick and dirty chart of the Earth’s layers.

The assignment was for a 3D model, so she made a few life-up flaps.

She decided to also make a slide show with these photos, so her teacher knows that she had bigger plans and the paper wasn’t her only idea.  Eve used all the pictures I took along the way and added her own captions to the slide show.  The teachers got a good laugh!

We were eating Jell-O for days and days.

Drum lessons are over now so I’m just going to post this here and write another one (soon?) with Lex’s science project.  Maybe I’ll get around to writing about their ELA projects from this week too.  All are pretty cool.

Hogwarts Homecoming

To the person who clipped the ad for Hogwarts Homecoming and gave it to Eve at school… thank you.  I’ll confess, however, that “thank you” wasn’t my first thought when she brought it home, beaming from ear to ear about the event and the fact that someone had thought of her and clipped the ad and mysteriously given it to her.  I had also seen the ad in the paper and NOT mentioned it to her.  Intentionally.   It sounded like a lame “church basement” sort of event.  No offense to church basement events, but I didn’t think it would entertain my child for long enough to be worth the drive.

Boy was I wrong!  The event took place across the whole village green, including multiple buildings.  They had a chance to meet the snakes of Hogwarts, learn about owls, get a wand, make potions, visit Honeydukes, do a scavenger hunt, and more.  I was amazed at how many grownups were there!  Everyone was encouraged to wear costumes, and the volunteers looked great!  I was impressed by the amount of thought was put in to the event and the attention to detail.  It was a lot of fun!  Eve and I were exhausted by the end!

Here are a few pictures.  I put lots more in a Google album: Hogwarts Homecoming

No vacancy.

Every building on the green had a copy of the Daily Prophet on the front step.

At Olivander’s, getting a wand.

Honeydukes! Yummy treats.

Divination with Professor Trelawney.

Honeydukes (again) for butterbeer. They were the first time we went through. Can you tell she’s wearing down? Can you read the posters on the back wall?

They even put thought into the decorations in the bathroom!

We passed Farm-Way on the way home!  I’ve always seen the ads and heard the rave reviews, so we decided to stop and check it out.  It’s a big store that has lots of stuff.  Including chairs for sitting in.  We were tired.

We tried out lots of chairs at Farm-Way!

Eve dozed the whole way home!

What an unexpectedly fun day!  So thank you, again, to the mysterious stranger who cut out that ad and gave it to Eve.  I take back all the negative thoughts I had about you initially. :)  We plan to go back again next year, with friends!

HPAC

Another year of the Hartford Performing Arts Camp has come and gone, and this time Eve got to go too!  Yay!  The theme was Where The Wild Things Are and they did a great job turning the sweet book into a musical show.

Lex on the glockenspiel.

Eve in the chorus. She’s the one with the light blue headband/ears.

We had the worst luck with seating this year, somehow managing to frequently be on the wrong side of the speakers from the kids.

The only picture I was able to get of them both together. Lex on the drum and Eve as a “wild thing” sneaking in front.

Eve’s friend and fellow DBS kid played Max. She was great at it! Here she is (in red shorts) arriving on the island of the Wild Things.

 

Quotable kids

Two more quotes for the neglected quotes page:  (or, what to do when you have a big paper due soon and you’re struggling to get started…)

 

“You know those toast hats?…” – Eve, 7/21/18

Eve, opens the door and yells from the office:  “MOM, how do you spell witches?”
Me: “What does it start with?”
Eve, closes door: “Echo, how do you spell witches?” – 7/16/18

YouTube-in

Hi guys!  Some of you may know that Eve started a YouTube channel awhile back.  It’s super (not) exciting, but she loves it!  This week Lex decided to start a channel as well to show off some of his Minecraft creations.  It makes me sad that most of their creative juices are going into the computer these days.   I miss having cool kid work around the house (and also at the same time I don’t miss it at all), but it’s neat to see what they are coming up with digitally.  Eve is still finding her voice online with some videos about DYI stuff, some about video games, and some about Harry Potter.  She’s been “colabbing” with her buddy sometimes too.  Lex has one video posted so far about a Rube Goldberg-style Minecraft device, and he has lots of cool things already built in Minecraft that he’s hoping to record over the next few weeks.

If you’re interested, check them out: Thunderpool and Legoman1342

 

A new lake

After a week of begging, I finally gave in and took Eve to the lake.  Um, I mean, we went to the lake today and had a great time!  We decided to check out a new (to me) lake that I’ve heard great things about.  Lex went two weeks ago on a school field trip and said it was definitely a great place to go.  Unfortunately he was in no mood to go today.

Eve, playing with the ducks. Sadly all of her friends are in camps this week and Lex wasn’t in the mood for swimming.  I did my best to be her pal, but she definitely tried to befriend the ducks too.

The ducks were pretty friendly.

The sweet beach babe had fun. We bought a float, rented a paddle boat for awhile, played on the playground, and ate unlimited SunChips and watermelon. Good times.

I snuck in a little of this too. :)

We came home exhausted and only a little bit burned. Luckily our cool house and welcoming screens were there to greet us. :)