Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More Ohio Adventures

While in Ohio, we had some other adventures. A family friend let us come visit her awesome place that has donkeys.
We got to see a baby donkey that was just a few hours old.
We spent a lot of time at her pool.
We went swimming a few times because it was sooooo hot. 
We went to Great-Grandma's house to eat all her cookies. She gave Bruce a big box of comics that she cut from the newspaper because she knows Bruce loves comics.
We visited my brother, Dan's, backyard farm. He has a goat and alpacas...
...and chickens. 
We visited my brother, David's, house and hung out with his posse too. He also has chickens, kittens, a dog, a trampoline, beehives, play set, and a gigantic garden. The kids loved playing with their cousins. I loved going for a long run with David; he knows every road around, where all the dogs live and their temperaments, and where to find "water stops" (garden hoses close enough to the road to swipe a sip from). When we got home from our run, David's wife Sarah had homemade bread made into French toast with eggs from their chickens and served with honey from their bees and strawberry jam from their garden. This is what heaven tastes like.
We visited my sister, Karyn, and her family. We went to a cool creek and searched for frogs and salamanders and such. 
My brother, Chris, took Phoebe for an airplane ride. 
They flew over my parents' house and Phoebe got to steer for a bit. They flew by a hot air balloon too. Awesome!

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Running to my roots

I'm training for the Akron Marathon and so far things are going well. A few weeks ago I ran the Bill Luti 5-miler - a race I won in 2004 and 2006 and haven't really done since just because of scheduling conflicts. I made the trip up to New Hampshire for it this year and put in my best effort and came out in third place. The competition was fierce this year: the woman who won ran in the Olympic Trials marathon. The following week I ran the Jim Kane Sugarbowl 5K with my club team. I haven't raced the 5K in awhile so I went out completely stupid fast and hung on for dear life. Everyone else went out fast too and didn't fare as well, so even though I was seventh at the mile I finished in second place with an 18:27. Success!
Running in Ohio was awesome. My parents watched the kids every morning so I could go run trails.
They are the trails that I ran on in middle and high school when I really fell in love with running. The trails have rolling hills and some roots but are very runnable.
There are only a few hazards. 

I ran with my sister, the cross country team from my high school, and a former teammate. I put in plenty of mileage and am getting excited for the marathon. I am racing a 10-miler at the end of August and a 25K on Labor Day that will help me get ready for the big race at the end of September.

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The Ohio!

It took us 11 hours to drive to Ohio - about 10 hours driving and an hour of getting gas, scarfing down lunch at McDonalds, and...
...getting our crazies out.
But we eventually made it. The kids wasted no time. Within an hour, they had already gone for a tractor ride with grandpa, fed ducks, picked blackberries, and we went out for pizza and ice cream shortly after.
The local ice cream joint has a bunch of kiddie rides for a penny or quarter. 
Phoebe really wanted to play "Pretty Pretty Princess" with her cousin Sam. He was kind enough to play with her. She isn't really into jewelry and girly stuff, so she may just be playing this just to see Sam get beautified.
Most days we spent lots of time in the backyard: playing with cousins, blowing bubbles with grandpa, 
Riding the jeeps,
Swinging on grapevines in the woods,
Picking berries,
Riding four-wheelers,
Playing on the swing set (this plane swing has a button that turns the solar-powered propellor on the front!),
Snacking,
Catching toads,
Bouncing in the bounce house,
And roasting hot dogs on the bonfire.

Summer bucket list

The kids took swimming lessons this spring and they paid off: Bruce improved his skills, Phoebe learned to swim independently, and Oliver gained confidence in the water. Swimming is also on the bucket list, and we have been a few times. It is much more enjoyable than last summer when I was trying to keep two kids from drowning.
A random item on the bucket list was to make a solar oven. Bruce's fifth grade class made them in groups, but Bruce missed some of the project because of our trip to Maine and Canada. We got a book and built one out of a cardboard box, foil, black paper, and tape. We made some s'mores on a sunny day at the park and are excited to take it camping so we can make nachos or something.
Also on the list was going to an outdoor movie. We went to one at the park and they had a juggling show before it got dark enough for the movie, Zootopia.
We went to the Museum of Science and saw a cool spider exhibit. Another one checked off the bucket list.
We went to the beach with friends.
Phoebe found lots of hermit crabs.
Our friends were visiting from California. The Rodgers used to live in Boston and moved around when Phoebe was born. It was fun to get our kids together to play.
Our summer has been fantastic. Phoebe went to one week of summer camp - "animal week" run by her school and with some of her teachers. She went to the zoo and a farm playland, made animal crafts and played with many of her school friends. She was happy to see her friends and I was happy to have some one-on-one time with Oliver. Once Phoebe finished her camp and Bruce finished his internship, we packed up the car to fulfill the biggest wish on our bucket list: go to OHIO.

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Happy July!

July 4: we spent the day swimming and playing at Harold Parker State Park, then stopped by our neighborhood's annual celebration (pictured above - always awesome). Scott and Phoebe went to the fireworks while Bruce, Oliver and I went to bed!
The summer routine: Bruce did a four-week internship at City Sprouts. He cared for a school garden, learned to cook, visited restaurants and food pantries and farms and other food-related places (like a chocolate factory!) and got paid $100 to do it. It was four hours a day, so while he did that Phoebe and Oliver and I visited lots of parks and libraries and such.
Pretty much all the parks have arts and crafts and bubbles and activities for kids in the mornings, so we took full advantage.
July 7: Phoebe's restaurant's grand opening. She put on our summer bucket list that she wanted to go to Rainforest Cafe, but we later found out that it closed. So I told her she should make her own Rainforest Cafe. She ditched the animal theme and instead called it "Yummy in my Tummy." She put together a menu, shopped for ingredients, and trained her wait staff (Bruce). 
We sent out invites to her exclusive trendy pop-up restaurant and about a dozen customers came. 
She really wants to do it again sometime, so keep an eye out for her next pop-up.
One thing our summer is not complete without is Barn Babies. It's like a tiny petting zoo of baby animals that come to the library. Phoebe especially loves this. 
Her favorite is the diapered goat. 
But the swaddled ducklings were a hit too.

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Friday, July 01, 2016

Summer has arrived!

Hurray for summer! We skipped school to go camping, but came back for the final week of school. The kids did a lot of playing - field day, fun run, etc - but also had some legitimate business to attend to. Bruce's school had a nice fifth grade graduation ceremony. It wasn't too overdone or stuffy - no caps and gowns, dressing up was optional, etc. But each of the 40 kids have a short speech, mostly thanking teachers and such. Then the teachers thanked each kid and handed them a certificate. Bruce loved being at the top of the school and is a little sad about moving on to middle school and being at the bottom of the totem pole again.
He is excited though too. We went to a middle school open house a few weeks ago and he met a few kids, saw the facility, and learned about the gazillions of programs available.
Phoebe is sad to leave kindergarten but happy to finally be a first grader. We will still see plenty of her kindergarten teachers: Val sometimes babysits the kids (she claims she loves it) and we are watching Justin's pet snake for the summer...
Domingo is a four-foot-long corn snake. I just hope he doesn't get out.
The day after school let out, we lazed about for a few hours and then went strawberry picking. Phoebe is an excellent berry picker. Bruce too. Oliver, not so much. I think he ate every one he picked and then moved on to the ones we had picked. Happy summer!

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