Thanks to generous friends giving Sam an incredible night and day today, we were able to sneak away with Ben for a hike. I usually get to roust the family for a Mother’s Day hike but I think roller hockey games were scheduled for that day…so Dave suggested hitting the hills today. Good call – but it was HOT!
Here’s a run-down of Sam’s incredible 24 hours first, though: dinner with friends last night; sleepover with other friends; blueberry pancakes, hang-out time, hockey game, hat trick; pool time, and Hammy’s burgers! OMG!!!! All day I was feeling a bit badly for pawning him off, and thinking of him sweating it out with a 1pm game at the rink. I was texting another mom to make him drink water (I swear – I’m not a helicopter parent! ha!) and now I know he had plenty of breaks, drank 10 gallons of water, and enjoyed himself immensely luxuriating at the pool… what a day. Who would want to come home to boring parents after that? I can’t wait for school tmo. He is not enamored anyway…and after a Sunday like this? So help me.
As for Ben, Dave and me – we got a bit of a late start due to Hood Canal bridge closures, two in a row, so we did Mt. Walker for a warm-up hike. The rhodies were in peak form, though, so it was a great climb for a hot day. Fairly short but steep enough to feel a burn. We hit ice cream afterwards. I have never indulged before, but lemon meringue? On an 88 degree day? I could NOT resist. Here are a couple pictures of the day.
Regarding move prep, things are progressing pretty well. We hope to hear about medical clearance this week. I dropped off all the records last week after visiting dental with the boys for a quick peek in the mouth. They checked out ok, as did I. Then they were spoiled with a BROWNIE at the dental clinic staff’s special lunch event…imagine their luck? A brownie at the dentist? From there we went to the Naval Hospital for medical records, and a Japanese encephalitis vaccine. I was keeping that bit on the down-low because (as you may recall, Richard) they tend to not so much enjoy shots. I went to get mine and the boys started asking the nurse what I was doing. She explained the shot, and why we get it, and how serious it can be (I’m listening the whole time, my jaw dropping more and more as I can hear them engaged with her) and get this: they came around the divider and ASKED IF THEY COULD GET THE SHOT!!!!! I was so nearly moved to tears by this. It was quite the Navy medicine day. I filled out two compliment cards – one at dental and one at medical. Everyone was so friendly, efficient, thorough and helpful. You don’t have appointments to do this, you have to just walk in, records in hand, explain what it’s for, and hope they can drop everything and see you, which they did. Unreal. From there Subway for lunch (Mom – no ordering issues this time!) and then to PORTLAND for a roller hockey tournament over Memorial Day. This is why it’s been quiet here…no time to jot things down.
Work continues. Volunteering is wrapping up at the schools, and I’m trying hard to find people to fill my shoes for Math Coach (I think I found someone great!) and Coder Dojo. It’s a tremendous group of people who donate their time to the schools. I’m lucky to know them. And I’ll miss working with them, but I already know which leadership teams I hope to join in Yokosuka…we shall see. The middle school is 606 kids 6th-8th, elementary 1700 K-5th. The base is 579 acres, and the population is 24,500 – not sure if that’s how many live on base or includes residents and workers. I’ll find out soon enough, but it sounds cramped.
This week we need to nail down government passports and how much we should rent the house for. We also really need to start laying out piles of donate/trash/sell. Not Dave’s favorite thing. Nor am I permitted to do that myself…so…tiptoe into that shall I. 😉
Lastly, were you wondering about chick mania 2.0? Everyone is doing well. The teens are out with the big chickens but have a separate eating area that the big ones haven’t figured out how to penetrate (I have studied the mind of the chicken and am not sure I should be proud to say this, but I am one with the chicken brain. I know their ways.) I watch them while lifting weights sometimes to see how they operate. I’m watching them, they’re watching me (usually it’s “happy hour” and they’re calm, preening). Odd, perhaps, but if you’re going to enjoy being a naturalist, you might as well be a strong, fit one. Takes nothing to do lunges with weights while watching the birds as neighbors run by and yell out a “HEEEY ALLI!” The smallest babies, the two which I incubated, are also doing well, but they are not as brilliant. They are not figuring out roosting very quickly. I put sticks in the hutch instead of plastic poles. Maybe they want a more authentic experience. Ben took them out to watch a BBC program on dinosaurs on his kindle so they could get outside time, AND he could chillax after hiking. They were mesmerized, little dinosaurs that they are. Scary that birds can be sucked in, too. They didn’t much like the spooky music documentaries employ to amp up the drama, so they moved on in a minute or two. I’m very relieved all the extra chickens are doing well integrating. That could have been a VERY high-maintenance proposition precisely when it would have been not so helpful. The teens are probably, at this moment, nearly 9pm, finding their way into the big coop and squeezing into their Japanese sleeping room in a nesting box. I created a little sliding door so they can sleep and wake without being harassed. Actually…I need to go open that door. I closed it for the day…yikes!
Love to all! Family – we will call sometime soon. I promise. Your best bet is to come visit, though. Seriously. Do. We love you! Friends – come visit, too! Molly – are you in town this week???? On your way to a wedding??? Grand Forest calls you!
More pictures and the full story in the album…
I can’t believe how busy the past couple weeks have been. I’m sorry for being so lame sharing photos and stories of what the kids are up to. Both are enjoying ice hockey very much, and soccer as well. Last weekend Ben was in a half-day soccer tournament and came off the field after 6 games saying “Can we do this next weekend?” He would enjoy a different sport every day I think. Sam is adjusting really well to 6th grade and getting into a groove managing his organizational skills and homework load. It’s definitely a team effort but he’s taking the lead more than ever and remembering if he’s taking the bus home or catching up with me at school to drive down to ice hockey. The days certainly fly by at this pace!
I’ve been working on coordinating math coach programs at two schools, recruiting and screening volunteers as a good match for the teachers. It is going well but entails quite a bit of communication with all concerned. I’m also starting a Coder Dojo club for after school computer programming with mentors. It’s a cool model conceived by an Irish teenager to get kids into coding, so I’m working on recruiting high schoolers in need of credit or service work hours to be a part of the program. Also working…and the work load is heavy right now.
Here’s a quick video of Ben in his first ice hockey game. It was very cute to see these young kids playing! The 1’17” video ends on a high note – stay tuned to see Ben’s hat trick (third shot) of his first game go in!
We decided to close out the summer with a bang and hike Mt. Townsend, a very popular hike in the Quilcene area. It’s 8.2 miles roundtrip, 2900′ elevation to the 6280′ summit. We were hoping the clouds would clear for a great view spanning miles and many mountaintops. Dave had his doubts…I kept thinking “glass half full” 🙂
We had a great first day of Spring Break today. A waterfall hike in Quilcene followed by late-lunch-early-dinner at a roadhouse (doesn’t that just sound great?!). The waterfall and rushing river were really peaceful, and we caught a patch of sun out there in the woods. Then we laughed and made “a spectacle” of ourselves at the roadhouse (even though I pointed out to Dave that the only other couple there was not watching so it wasn’t really a spectacle, right?). You’ll see below why I was laughing so much.
Thank you to the friends who joined us on this incredible spring day (it’s the Equinox or something, right?) for a long walk to a road end and the beach, rock cracking, mineral hunting, and some mischief. We walked 5.2 miles from our house, down to Bay Hay and Feed, raided a friend’s house who we thought might be joining us, walked along the beach rock hunting, then back up hill with our loot to Jiffy Mart for ice cream and then back home. It was a great time!
Here are some pictures (click on the picture below to see more).
We enjoyed a great little hike on a new trail yesterday. Gibbs Lake is on the way to Port Townsend and the trail is only about 2.6 miles long. The boys are a little tired from their holiday hours 🙂 Ben wanted to go to sleep at 6pm! He got in a little sport stacking first, though. That is Sam’s new hobby – the cups came with his Speed Stack timer which he uses for cubing. It’s really fun! Here’s a link to more info on it (http://www.speedstacks.com/instructors/resources/history/).
In other news, it was time to integrate flocks today, so the six babies got introduced to the big kid house. That meant cleaning and dusting the big house, replenishing food, moving hens over and separating flocks for a bit, getting babies acquainted to new food and water locations, spreading plenty of snacks all around so there’s enough for everyone to peck at (so they don’t pick on each other), and then leave for swimming lessons and a hike so I don’t obsess over every sideways glance the chickens give each other. Still, it weighed on me all day. After all, these little guys were hatched by Jersey and me. I didn’t want them to come to an untimely demise. Tonight they were uncertain about getting in the house – I think Jersey was acting as a bouncer. Merlin really just wanted to hunker down and not think about the cheeping. Lots of cheeping today. At one point I had 6 little hens all tucked into my lap as I comforted them and told them to go in the house. Then they piled on top of each other, climbing all over each other to be the one on the bottom, protected. It was a hen heap. So then I moved them all to the nursery where Jersey had nested, gave them fresh water in the hamster waterer, and put up a concrete block to give them privacy. I stroked their little necks and talked to them. Finally the cheeping calmed down. I think they will be fine – it’s snug where they are and together they’ll generate enough heat. They have food and water handy, and we’ll hope for the best. They’d been weaned off the heat lamp in the garage over the past two weeks and it’s upper 50s at night. The farmer in me says they’ll be totally fine. And so they will. And if they aren’t, well, you can be sure I’ll think it through and try to improve next time. But they had totally outgrown their brooder box in the garage and were starting to fly around in there any time I had to do feed or water. And you already know how those little rascals had messed up their food and water SOOO many times. I was really done with that! They’d soaked the bottom of the cardboard apartments I had made. Time to move on, guys 🙂 Cross fingers with me!
We just went on a local hike today because it was so hot – wanted to make time for smoothies afterwards, and I am pressed for time due to move-related chores on top of the usual routine of work and miscellany. We had a great time, and found a cute orange snail, a spider, and some cool breezes as we neared the top. Here’s another picture I really like which shows Kailua against the backdrop of the mountains and the marsh.
Click for more pictures of the outing. And here is a link to Sam’s bday invite.
We had a great time on the trail today with friends from school. Sam invited Keani and her family and luckily Tamera and her boys decided to come as well! So there were 5 kids age 2 1/2 to 7. Despite some early misgivings about actually going all the way up (any time in the woods is a good time, so we weren’t being goal-oriented about it), the kids all made it to the top of the Lookout! We had a great time and found lots of fun diversions along the way, as if hiking 5 miles roundtrip over 900 ft elevation weren’t adventure enough. I am wondering if the vigilance that I maintain for those 4.5 hours is about like being a cardiac surgeon – do they feel the same sense of profound relief and compelling desire for “fortress of solitude” time that I do after a hike like this? It is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. I am so glad they all had a great time! You know what is really nuts about me? Should I even share this? I found it relaxing to remind myself about how the Krebs cycle works in my new Biology book that I bought from the thrift store. Sam and I are really excited to dig into the 1200 page book…ok. Maybe I shouldn’t have shared that…
We have such a great group of intrepid moms of preschoolers! Today five of us went to Senator Fong’s gardens to take a tour of native plants and fruits. We could easily go again and hopefully absorb even more information next time. We are often very busy watching our little ones’ feet so we don’t get to look up as much as we’d like. But we did get to see a chocolate tree and watch our guide Patsy crack open the weird oblong yellow fruit to reveal this sticky, slimy white substance surrounding the cacao seed. We tried a taste of it – very sour and a weird texture. Kinda changes your thoughts about chocolate…a lot of work goes into harvesting the seeds and fermenting them before it remotely resembles a Hershey’s bar. After the hike we came home for me to work a bit while Ben napped, then off to after-school fun (yesterday it was dentist, today flu shots), playground, homework, dinner (the boys just wolfed and wolfed some salmon)…and then Dave found an odd bulge in his VW GTI’s tire. Oh no…hoping against hope it’s not another round of several hundred dollars of repairs. He’ll be taking the truck tomorrow because he has to go in early (like 4 am early) and we can’t have a blow-out happen on his way in. I’ll deal with the car because I can run anywhere we need to go. Cross fingers and toes…