Wednesday, June 18, 2014

School still isn't out!

The kids are dying because they still have to go to school.  Now we're paying for a school district that mandates a lot of days in class combined with all the glorious snow days of the winter.

We're still having fun, though, and there have been beautiful days mixed in with the humid hot ones.

 Iliana finished up Crew with a chance to race in a 4 person JV boat.  That's a big deal! She did really great this year.

Adelaide had her orchestra concert and got to show off what's she's learned this year on the violin.

And then we had Memorial Day weekend and Mark's birthday!  We had his birthday artichokes early, as house guests were on their way.  It was a beautiful evening to eat outside!

Ellie designed and made this T-shirt for Mark.  She's gotten really good at graphic design in her class at school.

Opening Presents

Dane decided to help make blowing out the candles more exciting!  We would have put one more candles, but they don't stick into pie crust very well!

On Saturday, we war thrilled to have our Utah friends the Huntzingers come to visit!  On Sunday after church, we went to Manassas, site of the first and second battles of Bull Run or battles of Manassas, depending on whether you're from the North or the south.  Manassas is a beautiful place, but very sobering.

We were covered in ticks afterwards, and we even stayed on the mowed areas.  Ugh!

Here are the kids on the stonewall Jackson statue.  It's pretty sad; after all his courage, he was hit by friendly fire, then died of pneumonia a week later.

On Memorial Day itself, Mark's birthday, we participated as a family in the inaugural Baden Powel History of Scouting hike in downtown DC.

At the FDR memorial.

We signed up and got a packet, then had to follow clues all over town and through various monuments.

Hiking along the tidal basin.
 If you did the hike perfectly and never had to search for clues, the hike would have been 7.2 miles.  That's a big "if" because we had several places where we had to search for the clues.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
If you completed the whole hike and filled in at least 18 of the 21 answers correctly, you could earn a limited edition patch and a medal.

Washington Monument, finally free of scaffolding!

Iliana with the Lincoln memorial in the background.

We did various things at different stops, like using semaphore flags to make our initials

WW II Memorial: One star for every 100 soldiers who died.
 Many of the monuments were decorated with memorials to the fallen soldiers of many wars.

Somewhere mid-day in the heat and with sore feet, we started planning ahead, thinking that we couldn't expect Dane to do the whole thing.

DAR Constitution hall
 It was really cool also to see so many scouts all over the city!

Boy Scout Memorial

We got trapped on the wrong side of Pennsylvania avenue by a parade, but we weren't too upset.  The kids needed a rest, and the parade was really cool!

We crossed back over and started working our way further east with the clues.  Dane didn't want to give up, he wanted to earn his medal, so we plowed ahead.

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

At this point, Dane helped me soak both our neckerchiefs in the water to help cool us off!

Here a clue led us to a place to replenish our water.  Pfew!

After finally finishing the hike, we found out we had to walk further to the spy museum to get our patches and medals!  Those kids truly earned their awards!

We walked back from the museum to the Washington Monument and let Mark and Drake go get the car for us.  It was a great, and tiring day.

A few more events from the last couple of weeks.

Adelaide did a plant experiment with her class.  These are her lima bean plants.  The one on the left was put in a dark closet, the one on the right in a window.  Pretty cool!

Last weekend, Dane had a graduation ceremony to move from Tiger Cub Scouts to Wolf Cubs.  He took it all very seriously.

Crossing the bridge to Wolves

Getting his new neckerchief.

Dane's Den
After the ceremony, we had a potluck dinner.  I asked Dane if he needed help dishing up his food, and his said, "I'm fine Mom!  I'm a Wolf now!"

And some more parent bragging moments:  I was walking down the hall at the high school and saw this banner.  Ellie is in the Crew picture in the top center.  I've never thought I'd have a child on a sports banner in the high school hallway!

And in the elementary school newsletter, I found this listing for in the Virginia Run Olympiad. Dane did the flexed arm hang (like hanging at the top of a chin-up) for 71 seconds!  Wow!  He didn't even tell me that he won!

I also got to go to the High School Awards assembly and see Iliana get the award for best student in Computer Graphics I.  Like her dad and Grandpa, she assures me that it doesn't mean anything, but I think it's really cool!  She has produced some amazing graphic art this year.

Last Saturday, I got to go along with Drake and the 8th grade to King's Dominion, a local amusement park.  It was a beautiful day, and Drake had fun with the girls who all really seem like him.

They had some crazy rides.  This is a picture from the big ferris wheel, which I rode just to get a brake for my poor head.  Roller Coasters didn't used to HURT.  There was one called the Intimidator 305 that went up 305 feet, then almost straight down, reaching 95 mph.  Most of us who rode it had our vision start to black out near the bottom.  Yikes!

The one pictured here is the Anaconda; not as high as the Intimidator.  Drake loved it, but didn't make it on that one!

While Drake and I were at the amusement park, Mark made a sign for the entrance to his Troop's campsite.  It looks REALLY cool!  On Sunday, he painted the letters to make them stand out more.  Mark painted the outline, and Dane filled in the the letters.

Later, Brandt and Julie and Andrew came for a farewell/Father's Day dinner.  It was their last full day here in Virginia before moving back to Utah.  I will REALLY miss them.

The boys of course had to have some fun.  Mark decided to shoot a BB gun at the empty can of clear spray from finishing his sign.  Drake decided to get out his throwing knives and tomahawks.  No danger in our backyard…

Boys will be boys.

Brandt and Julie

After dinner, we opened cards and presents.

Father's Day Cherry Pie

Mark got a replacement for his long-missing 10" crescent wrench, and a 12" one too, just so it wasn't lonely.

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