Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Geocaching

Today, to spend some time together as a family, we decided to go Geocaching. I first read about this idea on a recent Triad Smarty Pants blog and thought it sounded like it would be fun.

What is Geocaching you ask? Well, geocaching (pronounced geocashing) is essentially a GPS guided "treasure hunt." Here's how the official geocaching website describes it:

"Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by
adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden
containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. "

All I did was to sign up for free on the official site, type in our zip code, and hundreds of geocache sites popped up. We just had to find one that looked easy enough for kids. Luckily, one cache was located in a near-by park.

So, off we went.
Daddy and Claire following the GPS coordinates.

Ben, huffing and puffing to keep up. He was not at all down with walking on the gravel path. The bits of gravel kept getting in his CROCS and that was NOT COOL with him.

WE FOUND IT!! It took a bit, but after Shawn figured out how to follow the coordinates, it led us straight to the base of this huge pine tree and underneath was the cache.

Another cool aspect of geocaching is that many of the caches are big enough to include little toys or trinkets left by others. The idea is to take something you want and leave something behind for the next seekers.

Here I am attempting to convince Claire that the beads were a MUCH nicer option than the dirty plastic Little Pony she wanted to take.
Me = 0 ; Plastic Pony = 1.

She left behind a plastic ring, and Ben left behind a miniature car in exchange for this:

Oh mommy, I always wanted a softball!
Huh, that's the first I've heard of this.

We re-hid the cache for the next seekers, and spent the rest of the morning together, walking the trails, and spying on some wildlife.

And since it was in a park, Shawn and the kids played on the playground while I got a few miles in on the running path.
We will definitely be trying this again in the future!


We have a bit of a family tradition every May. An old MOPS friend and her family own a gorgeous strawberry farm just at the foot of Pilot Mountain. We made our annual trip up there last week, and came away with tons of strawberries.

This was on the car ride up. I sincerely hope they always love each other this much. Doubtful, but I'm still hoping.

Ben, will you grow up and pin your sister down only to drool saliva into her face?

No, he wouldn't dare because that's disgusting, and only big jerks do that to their sisters. Do you hear me Jesse, Seth, and Zach???! Do you?!

Ahem . . .

Ben, scoping the scene.

Claire, wasting no time filling her bucket. Check out the rain boots. They are perfect for picking in a muddy field.

Ben, why is your bucket empty?

Oh, this is why.

Caught ya!

Though I often feared that more berries were going into tummies instead of into buckets, we did finally manage to fill them up.

That's 4 gallons of berries, people!!

Why I think that 4 gallons of berries is a good amount to have is beyond me. Do you know how quickly rained soaked berries start to rot? I was in panic mode baking, freezing, and canning to get all those berries used up.

No doubt next year we will return and do the exact same thing. After all, everyone has to have his/her own bucket. It just wouldn't be fair otherwise.

And we wouldn't dare miss out on the happy, berry-stained faces that the day brings.

Okay, so it's not so bad

I know I've mentioned before about how, despite my 10 plus years living in the South, I still consider myself to be a Northerner at heart.

But, I have to say, there's something really special about walking into your backyard and finding this:

You won't find these beauties in the North, and there's nothing quite like sitting on the back deck and smelling the spicy, sweet scent of the magnolia as it drifts on the breeze.

So, I'm thinking living in the South isn't all that bad.

p.s. please remind me of these sentiments when I am complaining about the broiling heat and sopping humidity that will arrive in approximately 48 hours. ;-)

Linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky for "Tuesdays Unwrapped."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So Sorry !

So, I have 2 things for which I need to apologize. I'll get to the second in a little bit, but first I really need to apologize to my parents.

Dear Dad and Mom, I am so sorry for all those years that you faithfully attended my dance recitals, choir performances, and band recitals. While my childhood naivete caused me to believe that you really did want to be there to hear 20 middle-schoolers squeak their way through "Hot Cross Buns" on their recorders or to sit through 5 classes of other people's kids singing to finally hear my 1 minute solo, I am now betting that the experience ran a close second to getting your teeth drilled.
I didn't know. I claim ignorance. I am sorry.
But now. Now, I know better.

I loved going to see Claire sing in her preschool performances the last 2 years. We never expected it to be really good, but at that age, the kids are all so darn cute, and you can always count on at least one kid to be pulling her dress over her head, another to be picking his nose, and two more to be pinching each other to get the audience laughing.

Sadly, this is no longer true.

I can't really explain why, but for some reason, sitting through a 2-hour Kindergarten/First Grade music performance was not at all fun.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVED watching my girl singing her little heart out, but the rest of it . . . ?

It's probably the fact that she is in a combined First Grade/Kindergarten class, so her entire class sang with the first graders. And the first graders only got 4 songs, but then we had to sit through about 8 songs that the Kindergartners sang, or tried to sing, rather. And then there were the countless "speaking parts" which were mostly mumbled or whispered into the microphone.

My non-enjoyment may also have to do with the fact that Shawn and I spent much of our time trying to wrestle Ben to the ground so that he wouldn't make a scene. He was SO over it after 5 minutes. Watching his sister sing was not at all what he planned to do with his evening.

It all brings back memories of my grade school days when I vividly remember a younger sibling in the audience standing up at the end of our band performance and yelling, "NO MORE MUSIC!"
I hear ya, kid. I hear ya.

Furthermore, now that Claire is in "real school," the audience has gotten much larger, which means that unless you camp out for days in advance to get prime seats, your pictures of the performance end up looking like this:
or even worse, this:

Blurry-faced kids with demon eyes. SWEET!

Now, beyond the fact of seeing my girl sing her heart out AND silently mouth along with each and every speaking part the other kids had, I actually was looking forward to seeing her play her instrument (unfortunately, this wasn't until the VERY LAST song of the night!). She was the ONLY kindergartner given this job, and we are super proud of her.

However, and here comes my second apology, because I have a new camera and because our disk drive is malfunctioning on our computer, the video I shot of this moment is sideways.

I know. I'm sorry. But I just had to get it on here. Hopefully, I can get it fixed soon.

So, tilt your left ear to your shoulder and enjoy my girl keeping the beat! (I know, this will probably be running a close second to getting your teeth drilled. It's only about a minute of torture. I promise. :-)

You can view the video by clicking on this link.

My absolute favorite part is when she reminds the boy next to her when to play at the end.

A little control-freak after my own heart.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Too bad she knows the Tooth Fairy is fake

. . . because this is how Claire came home from school today.

This is one proud little girl.

Here she is to tell you all about it:

Some thoughts on the video:

  1. "Blue carpet," "the measuring"??? Apparently, we are all in Kindergarten and should know exactly what she is talking about.
  2. Could she wave her hands around any more?

  3. No, she is not tattooed. Apparently, coloring with markers at school is a full contact sport.

  4. Do you like how Benjamin felt the need to correct his sister's personal story by reminding her that the tooth, in fact, fell out on her tongue and not just on her mouth like she said? (can you tell he's already heard this story a few times?)

  5. The sweetness of the video is nearly ruined at the end by the gross protrusion of her tongue through the space between her teeth.

  6. Oh well.

While I'm not totally down with all this growing up business (I mean, I feel like she will be packing for college tomorrow), I will say that it's about darn time for that tooth to fall out! It has been loose for months . . . yes, MONTHS!!

My timid, pain-allergic daughter was not at all interested in inflicting self-harm in order to rid herself of said tooth. She waited so long, her permanent tooth is already in appearance.

Yet, she is now revelling in the fact that she can now join the ranks of those kids "who have lost a tooth." This group has a select membership, and she has been able to tell me the names of each of the members all year long.

When she got in the car this afternoon, she very smugly rattled off the names of the those individuals who have yet to gain access to the "lost tooth club" and even proceeded to tell me the names of the poor joes who do not even have a loose tooth yet. Hunh, as if she would even deign to associate herself with that group now. :-)

Anywho, she totally called me out a few months ago about the whole Tooth Fairy business. For some reason a fat man in a flaming red fur suit sliding down a chimney seems way more plausible to her than a little fairy flying into her room and swiping her tooth.

I'm thinking her disbelief is largely due to the fact that I was unable to answer her question about "just what, exactly, does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth?"

Um, er . . . huh.

I got nothing.

But don't you even think for one second that she isn't still expecting to get some cash under her pillow tonight.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Humor Me? . . . Please?????

UPDATE: So, we totally lost. I think the little girl that won had about 75 votes or something crazy like that. Oh well. Thanks for all your help though!!

So there is this wonderful local photographer who is having a "Cutest Kids" contest, and the winner gets a free photo session with her.

Now, I'm not suggesting my kids are cuter than yours, but we think they are something special and would love to get some great photos of them. (Lord knows I'm not the best photographer) BUT I AM begging for your vote. Even if you don't think my little ones are the cutest kids, we do, and we would love to win this contest.

If you love me, like me, barely know me, wish you didn't know me, whatever, I'll take your vote if you're willing to give it.

You can vote for each of my kids 2 different ways:

The easiest way is to go directly to Zoe Zen's blog site and leave a comment, voting for my little guys. Claire is #K21 and Benjamin is #K22. I think you would need to leave a separate comment for each of them.

OR, you can go to the Zoe Zen page on Facebook. Then click on their individual photos (they are both on that page at the top right) and leave a "vote" comment.

If you REALLY love me, you can vote both ways and really add to the total.

Please? Please? Please?

(contest ends on May 7th at 9:00 p.m.)