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2014.07.22

July 22, 2014

Alistair spent last week attending Early Engineering Robotics camp – or, as we call it, Lego Robot camp.

Each day had a different challenge, and the campers had to work together and use programmable motors to achieve the goals. Among other things, over the course of the week they built rovers, tug-of-war robots, mini-golf obstacle robots, and animals.

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It was pretty awesome to see the results each day, all the more impressive when you realize these kids are between 8-14 years old.

 

2014.07.14

July 14, 2014

Last week Larry went to the farmers market unsupervised.  He came back with a few pounds of pickling cucumbers.  A few trips to the grocery store later, we had these:

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They need to sit for a few days before they can be sampled.  I’m not a fan of pickles myself, but I’ll give them a try.

Sunday morning I was up and out early – it was a race day, my second Sasquatch, but the first race I’ve ever run without a buddy.

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On the plus side, I cut 6 minutes off last years’ time.  On the minus side, the pre- and post-race stuff is pretty lonely when you’re there solo.  Before the race I sat in the shade and did some knitting; afterwards I had a quick hard cider and sandwich, and then home I went.

Had a quick shower, packed up some lunch and then we were out the door again.  Destination, this week’s pick out of the ‘weekend activity’ jar:  the lake on the other side of town.

We had a nice stroll from the main recreation area to the dam between the upper lake and the lower one, complete with a scramble under a fallen tree.

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Then back to the meadow near where we parked, for a nice shady picnic lunch.

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2014.07.10

July 10, 2014

Today I thought I’d share with you a bit of my summer survival plan.

We are going on our annual family vacation to the farm at the end of the month, and Alistair is going to camp next week, so it’s not all gloom and doom.  But I’m only able to work at home once a week, and Larry isn’t able to at all.

Furthermore, Larson is too young for camp, and our child care providers are all eligible for senior discounts.  So we have to get creative to avoid either the “I’m bored” chant or the vicious cycle of the boys beating the stuffing out of each other for two months.  For one thing we’ve limited computer time to 45-minute increments each, and the thing is turned off entirely between 11am-2pm.  So that’s a start.

Since I’m working at home on Tuesdays, I’m able to start early and take a breather at some point in the afternoon;  I’m hoping to either do a craft or a short excursion with them (library, ice cream, etc) during that time.  This week we made terrariums.

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But beyond that, there’s a lot of free time folding out ahead of them.  This is where Pinterest comes into its own.   So many ideas!

I created two pick-em jars.  One of them is labeled “Are You BORED?”  and it contains 36 different slips of paper.  Each one falls into one of the following categories:

BBe creative

O – go Outside

RRead

EExercise

DDo something helpful

And if they say one of the magic words (any variant of “bored” or “boring”), they have to pick a slip and do what it says.  Only the D category involves chores, and even those only take a couple of minutes to complete.

The idea is to send their minds into a different direction, and the hope is that once they do what the slip says their little brains will be sparked to do something else.

So far we’ve only delved into that jar a few times, but they’re still digging it. Whew.

 

The other jar is the “weekend” jar – it’s full of day trips, all within an hour or so of home; most are much closer.  We pick a slip on Wednesday after supper, which gives Larry and me a chance to get the logistics together, pack the necessary bags, find discounted admissions, etc etc etc.  Last week’s beach day came out of the jar.  The boys like the idea of doing something different each weekend.  There are 15 different slips in the jar, although we only have 7 weekends open this summer.  If all goes well and schedules permit, we might stretch it out all the way through the fall.

Who knows, maybe we’ll pack the jar with winter activities too.

2014.07.07

July 7, 2014

Hurricane Arthur notwithstanding, we had a GREAT Independence Day weekend.

The powers that be rescheduled the Boston concert and fireworks to Thursday evening because of the forecast.  We watched the fireworks on television, and not five minutes later were treated to a REAL display from Mother Nature – literally 30 minutes of thunder and lightning, complete with sideways rain.  Our front door has a storm door and is sheltered under an eight-foot porch roof, and it was still soaked from top to bottom.

Friday morning was cloudy, and the drizzle began around noon.  We managed to get the annual watermelon challenge in right before the skies opened.

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There was a boatload of food to be grilled.  Larry moved the grill to the bottom of the back stairs, and relocated the patio umbrella to cover the whole setup.  It worked perfectly.

Saturday dawned clear and breezy.  We spent the afternoon in the sun, recovering from a food coma.

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Sunday we took a short ride to the coast.  Revere Beach is literally 7 miles from home, and it’s long and flat (and nowadays, really clean).  It’s perfect for splashing in the shallows, looking for shells and rocks, and generally lazing around.

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And what’s a trip to the beach without some ice cream?

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If you ask me, any weekend that involves a cookout AND a beach day is a banner weekend.   To say nothing of the exploding watermelon.

2014.07.01

July 1, 2014

Last week I went on my first business trip in ten years plus – all the way to Washington DC for a marketing conference.

Business travel is about as glamorous as I remember it, which is to say, not glamorous at all.  But we did manage a couple of good meals, the most memorable of which was at The Pig (www.thepigdc.com).  At which we had barbecued pig tails, roasted pig cheeks, and a few different types of bacon and sausage.  It was porky heaven.  HEAVEN.

Here’s a pic of the pig tails – soooo awesome.

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The worst part of the trip was missing Alistair’s last day of school; we have a little tradition where we go out to lunch etc etc.  Larry took the day off, and the three of them (plus Larry’s brother) went to Five Guys.  Not a bad consolation prize, if you ask me.

But you know how mommy guilt is, I overcompensated all weekend, and by Sunday they were sick of me hovering and were ready for some boyish shenanigans.

So out came the water balloons.

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Which neither of them know how to tie.  So after Larry and I were on Gunga Din duty to the tune of 20 balloons, we pulled out the squirt guns and let them loose.

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There were fireflies in the backyard last night.  Summer is here….yay.

2014.06.24

June 24, 2014

Back in April the guild had a handyeing workshop.  We selected the yarn base in advance (worsted or sock weight) and had the professionals come in and give us a tutorial and sort of shepherd us through the process.

The colors were all our own choosing, though, and here’s what I came home with.

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After looking at it on the counter for a few months, I decided it wanted to be a hat.

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And it did.  Then there was so much yarn left that I decided why make a hat without matching mitts?

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And so there you go.  I actually made two – but you have no idea how hard it is to do a hand selfie, much less get both hands in the shot!


 

2014.06.16

June 16, 2014

We had a great weekend – a few errands, a little geocaching, and general good times in the sunshine.

And Larry had a very happy Father’s Day.

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