Sunday, February 24, 2013

Scotty's Snow Day

 Last Sunday, my nephew Scotty turned 13.  My sister, Gail, now officially has three teenagers at home.  Which may explain her generosity in lending one of them out as my kids' rental brother. 

Really, though, this relationship has been going on for years.  Scotty is somewhere between a regular cousin and a big brother.  I treasure every season that goes by in which this connection perseveres.
Our original plan for Scotty's birthday was to bring him along on our ski lesson day.  He ended up being concerned that he would be by himself while the girls did other things.  As it turns out, he was probably right!  So we re-designated Friday as his day, and he got to choose the activity.  I offered skiing, sledding, movies, Blackbeards...kind of keeping it open.  He chose going up to the snow, just to sled and play.  Sold!  So up we went!

We found several fun spots to slide.



Threw a few snowballs... 

And made all kinds of snow creatures.

A great day, and great satisfaction in taking advantage of what is in our own backyard!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ski Week

We are at the end now of "Ski Week".  In the olden days, this was a week where school kids would pile on the bus and head up to our local ski resort for ski lessons.  This year, our elementary principal wanted to rekindle some of that.  He arranged a 2-day series of field trips, with some fantastic rates.  But wouldn't you know it, the first day was cancelled DUE TO SNOW!  We got socked by a big, wet, cold storm that played havoc with our roads, even at the 2,000 foot level.  But here we are on the second day, heading off for a day of skiing. 

Now, I need to point out, this is photo is taken at the school, before we even got on the bus. Yes! That is what it looked like at 2,000 feet! What a day to go to 7,000 feet! 

The wheels on the bus go Thump Thump Thump.  All the way up the hill (with the chains on).  Sing it with me now!

We had a great day.  Although it looks cloudy-foggy here, we drove up into sunshine.  Mark chaperoned a group of boys, and I chaperoned a group of girls that ended up being just my two!  I hope to go a couple more times before the end of the season.  Because spring skiing is my favorite!

Monday, February 11, 2013

I've been Droned

My sister, Karen, is the source of all the best Christmas presents.  I hear about that endlessly from my own children.  Yes, she is generous, and at times extravagant.  But always on the mark.  This past Christmas, she gave my father a DRONE.  Yes, a quad-rotor Parrot with an HD camera.  You can fly it via your I-Pad.  And my Dad, who for 35 years flew jets for United, is the perfect target audience.  He's been learning the controls, venturing farther and higher as the weeks go on.  So here we have his latest shot, of our beautiful farmhouse.

When I look at this picture, I think two thoughts:

"Wow, that new porch looks GREAT!" and "Wow, we really need to do some landscaping."

Kind of a good news / bad news thing, I guess. 

Ahem...Karen, can I put in a request for a tree for Christmas?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Just Hanging Out

In addition to being Basketball Impaired, I am also Football Impaired.  Meaning I don't really "get" football, and I don't really follow it.  Sure, I'll hang out and drink a beer with you if the game is on, but I'm really there just to hang out, not watch the game.  Very fortunately for me, Mark is pretty much the same way.  He knows more of the rules, and can shout with outrage or joy at the appropriate moments, but he is also more of a "social watcher".
Which brings us to SuperBowl Sunday.  In addition to a football game, and my Mom's fantastic cooking, Sunday was also the day for Mark's long-awaited project of teaching our niece Megan how to belay (the technical term for holding the rope when someone is rock-climbing).  These little forays will then undoubtedly be followed by trying to teach her how to rock-climb.  Because if you indicate ANY interest, Mark will be there, hoping for another convert to his "rock climbing is the best thing in the world" worldview.  And perhaps that person might even turn into another climbing partner!  But maybe that's rushing things a bit...

At our SuperBowl Sunday family gathering, Mark set up a rope station off the peak of my parent's roof.  Mark and Megan suited up in harnesses, and the lesson began.  Here is the very first part, where Mark identifies "the rope".  Megan mastered this quickly.

But after that, it gets more complicated.  You have to be able to handle the rope with someone else hanging on it.  And hopefully stop them  from hitting the ground.  That's what all the goo-gaas on the harness are for.

Here goes Mark, up the ladder, ready to see if Megan can catch him.

Well, I THINK that is a success.  Megan stopped the fall.  And that was the whole idea.  We can always tie her to the ground.

So that's how our family hangs out (get it?  hang out?) on a Sunday.  And then, of course, we go in and watch the game.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Box Out

I guess most of you already know what "box out" means.  But I didn't.  Until recently, that is.  I'm just learning, you see, because now we have basketball in our lives.  Yes, we had it before...we went to my nieces' and nephew's games.  But I never "got it", and was content to clap when the orange ball when through the hoopie-thingie.  Yay, team!
But now, I'm accountable.  Because that's MY kid out there.  Abigail decided, without any parental influence, that she wanted to play in our rec league this year.  Mae, interestingly, has zero interest.  Which, of course, is just fine with me.
So here's Abigail out on the floor.  She is number six.  It seems to me she spends a lot of time standing around, watching the action, looking like she doesn't know what to do.  And I don't even know what she SHOULD be doing so I can shout out directions like all the other parents.
Okay, here she is maybe guarding someone.  I think she is on defense.  As you can see, it is a co-ed league, just like soccer.  These girls learn to play tough.
Hey, here she almost touched the ball!
Wha???  Here she is WITH THE BALL!!!!  SHOOT BABY SHOOT!!!  BOX OUT!!! 
So, as you can see, basketball is a growth experience for both of us.  But one that we are also both enjoying.  Too bad basketball and soccer are the same season in high school. 
But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself!