Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hanscom Halloween

It was a windy day today for Halloween. But it was warm, so it made for a great afternoon of hot dogs with our friends in the Circle and trick or treating through the base afterwards. As usual, the kids scored big with the candy--which means Ted's office will score big because I've got to find a way to get it out of my house. All of it, that is, except any Snickers, Butterfingers, Twix, Almond Joys or, my all-time favorite, Take 5s.

We always try to do a family costume theme. Unfortunately, it didn't work this year--Cory would only do a theme if it was a Star Wars theme. So when the family theme broke down, it was easy for Mom and Dad to opt out--we dressed as a happy couple. Riley was a jellyfish, and Mary Beth was a mermaid:

Lucy was a sea turtle:

And Cory was Captain Rex, a Star Wars Clone:

Lucky for Cory, half the Circle liked his theme idea, so he was not alone.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Flashback Friday

Little Bo Peep and Little Miss Muffet--2004. Not pictured is Little Boy Blue. Little Miss Muffet did NOT like the spider who sat down beside her, so after this picture we had to remove the spider from her dress.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Men's Retreat

I have recently taken an active role in the men's ministry of my church. You might have picked up some of my earlier discussion on this. You know the whole Christian Fight club thing. My current focus is something I call "The Challenge" ministry.
In the past we have gathered to Geocache and kayak. The Grace Race was challenge #3 until I broke my ankle. But I digress...

The Church's not so annual men's retreat was just a few weekends ago. I was part of the planning committee. I had a block of time on Saturday morning where it was my job to intro the challenge ministry. I decided to split the guys into 4 man teams and rotate through a series of "challenges." Each event had a scoring system so I could total points and award a coveted prize at the end.

One event was the Egg Drop - each team had 20 min to construct a vessel to hold an egg and keep it secure for an approx 15-20 foot drop.

Another event was a team tightrope crossing. Team-members had to assist each other in navigating from tree to tree on a tightrope (just a few inches from the ground).

A third event was the William Tell bow and arrow competition. Shoot the apple on the head without killing the guy (pumpkin - used for safety).

The fourth event was classic man stuff. Start a fire. I gave them a stick of wood, a hatchet, and three matches. Shortest time to make the water in the can boil - wins.

The coveted prize was straight-up man food - a gift certificate to Moe's (welcome to moe's).

I received lots of good feedback. The guys really seemed to enjoy the various events. It wasn't about who was the biggest or strongest, but a combination of factors that made the team successful.

I had a great time watching them and organizing it all. I spent a few minutes discussing how I work to make the challenge events object lessons, so that you get more than just conquering something, but you get some words and ideas to chew on as you go back to your normal life.

The retreat was a huge success overall. Praise God.

Next up for the challenge ministry - GUNS!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grace Race - Results

10 Oct the family ran in the Grace Race.  The Grace Race was a 5 mile road race put on by our church to raise money for an orphanage in Kenya.  This year they also had a 5k (3 mile) run/walk.  Kristi and the Kids participated in that one while I cheered on the side.  I had planned to run the 5 mile, but then I broke my ankle.  So I just watched on the side with Lucy. 
Many of you may have received letters from us asking for donations for the orphanage. The fundraising efforts are still on-going, but so far it has been a huge success.  They received over $100,000 dollars.  The orphanage had building plans already drawn up that can now be put into motion.  The end goal is $200,000 so this one year gets them over half way. 

The kids really enjoyed the race.  Here's some pics from the finish line.   Riley and Mary led the team.  Cory and Mom were close behind. 

Many of our neighbors and church family ran.  Here's a pic of the Brooks before the race.  It was a great Saturday morning.  Thanks to all those who helped contribute on our behalf. 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

School Pictures

My kids probably thought I was torturing them when we went to the Minuteman Battle Trail and Old North Bridge for some annual photos.  Hmmm...that's probably a misnomer, it's not as if I only take their pictures annually.  This blog alone attests to the fact that we take pictures all-the-bloomin'-time, and my kids will wholeheartedly agree.  Nevertheless, I took them out for some pictures--the ones that I will hang on the wall as their yearly pictures.  I have the added benefit of being able to insure that this year's "school pictures" are neither right after P.E. when their hair is all crazy nor right after lunch when they have food in their teeth and on their faces.  I also get to go on location somewhere fun.  Again, I think all of this might, by my kids, be considered somewhat close to torture.  If nothing else, it's very low on their "ways-I-want-to-spend-my-afternoons" list.  To compensate, I promised them that all who were cooperative would be rewarded.  It was a vague promise, because at the time I hadn't come up with a plan for how exactly I would reward them.  It worked nonetheless, and as proof, here's my reward:

Their reward?  Well here's the best part.  As we're returning home, I'm aware of the fact that I really need to go to the commissary.  Yet another of the many things low on their "how-I-want-to-spend-my-afternoon" list--actually, that's probably on the other list--the "how-I-absolutely-do-NOT-want-to-spend-my-afternoon" (come to think of it, it's on the same list for me).  So, I had to figure out a way to make this work out for all of us.  The conversation went something like this:
Kids:  What's our reward?
Me:  Well, I was thinking that I'd let you pick out any kind of cereal you want at the commissary, but that means we'll have to go to the commissary right now, and I'm thinking you guys would rather just go home.
Kids:  That's okay, we can go now!
Me:  Yeah, but I have a bunch of stuff on my list...we can't just go in and get cereal and then leave, I need to get other stuff too.
Kids:  We don't mind.  That will be okay.
Me:  Are you sure? 
Kids:  Yeah!  Let's go to the commissary!!!

Win-Win.  Not bad, huh?

Friday, October 16, 2009

All the Bells and Whistles

A week or so ago was Fire Prevention week, and our homeschool group organized a field trip to the base's fire station. 

Cory was thrilled with this field trip--definitely right up his alley. 

We walked around the station checking out the different trucks,

looking at the equipment and picking it up to see how heavy everything is,

and seeing where the firefighters spend their days on duty.  As our tour wrapped up, a crew headed out with their truck for a visit to the base day care, and they obliged us with some flashing lights and sirens-it was loud. 

The firefighters host a big event every year at the end of Fire Prevention Week.  This has been and continues to be a highlight for our kids for two main reasons.  The first is they demonstrate how they rip apart cars in order to extricate victims--breaking windows, peeling away pieces of metal, etc.  Perhaps more exciting than the jaws of life, though, is their big demonstration showing all of us why you should never, ever, ever try to put out a grease fire with water...
Here we have small little grease fire, made by heating up your standard canola oil in a skillet

And here's what happens when the firefighter pours less than a cup of water onto the flames

Obviously, this is one of those "Don't try this at home" moments.  Can you imagine that flame in your kitchen?  Frightening

Monday, October 5, 2009

A is for Apple

We spent a beautiful afternoon at Parlee Farms (remember the raspberries?) picking apples and pumpkins, feeding goats and bunnies and running on the hay bale maze with our homeschool friends.  There's not much we don't enjoy about a fall trip to an apple orchard.  From the tractor-pulled hay ride, to the juicy apples and fields of's all good.  

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fractured Medial Malleolus

There I was...on a fast break streaking towards the hoop.  There was only one defender, and I had a teammate in poisition under the basket.  I forced the ball in as far as I could in order to get the defender to commit before I deicided to pass or shoot.  He played it well and I ended up trying for a layup...and then I landed on him.

The ankle rolled - I fell, writhing in pain. 

The next day it hurt but I forced the ankle into some combat boots and soldiered on.  At the end of the workday I had soccer practice for Cory's team (the Green Giants).  I changed into sneakers...after noting my ankle was not a healthy color.  I was in pain and unable to really move much in the sneakers.  We elevated and treated that night, but in the morning it was black and blue and really, really swollen.  So I decided it was time to call in AF medicine. 

At first they decided it was sprained badly, but x-rayed it just in case.  While I was waiting at the clinic pharmacy for my Vitamin M (that's AF speak for Motrin) the doc came and found me.  She said it was broken.  The next two hours were spent splinting and bracing with some crazy gauze that solidifies after you take it out of the package.

Here are the X-rays.  In low res version.  It is my Right ankle, medial malleolus, that's the lower tip of the tibia the larger bone in the lower leg.  It's really just a chip so it should heal well without surgery.  It's the inside, same side as the big toe. 

Today they sent me to an orthopedic Dr off base.  They gave me a much smaller boot/brace/splint.  They said stay off it for 4-6 weeks.

I guess I'm not running in the Grace Race in 10 days.  That stinks.

Now K really has her hands full with the kids and a big gimpy hubby on crutches.