Sunday, June 27, 2010

Man Up!

This weekend I organized a men's ministry event for the church. We went camping at Pearl Hill State Park. One of the guys I know is a serious camper. He is a "mountain man." These are the guys that dress in period correct clothing and equipment and camp as if it is 1850. We didn't quite take it to that extreme, but he brought along lots of fun stuff for us to play with. He has things like tomahawks, flint & steel, open fire cookware. I got as many guys as I could muster and we braved the Massachusetts wilderness.

Of course we made fire - using Q's flint and steel. It's pretty neat to produce a flame with your own hand (no matches) in less than a minute. Here Steve shows he could man up and make some fire.

Our dinners were cooked over an open flame. FRI was an awesome chicken cheese and bacon masterpiece in a dutch oven. SAT was roast BEAST!.

We fished, hiked (geocached - 2 for 2 on the day - wahoo), and generally had a great time. We told stories, grew beards, and grunted a lot. It may have to be a new annual requirement for me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Whale of a Tale

Cory recently saw Ted's fishing poles in our garage and was inspired to go fishing. Right away. For weeks he bugged us about it, and for weeks we put him off, reminding him that Daddy would need to do a few things before they'd be able to go.

Then, after we had been putting him off for quite some time, our neighbors took their boys fishing. And Cory heard about it. And after that we were toast. He continued to press, and finally Ted got the fishing license and bait so he'd have no excuse. That very night he took Cory out with our neighbors. Cory was beside himself with excitement when Ted asked his if he wanted to go fishing. Umm, yes. He was ready to go in a flash.

And he caught the group's biggest fish of the evening. He was so proud.

When he got home it was time to learn the fine art of storytelling. So, Cory, how big was the fish you caught?

This Big!

Or maybe more like this big

Or probably somewhere in between.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Until We Meet Again

Although saying farewell is a common event in the military life, it doesn't necessarily mean we ever really get used to it. This past weekend we waved good-bye to some of our closest friends. We first met them when we lived in Florida--ten years ago now--where we lived two doors apart from each other. We each had one child then, and they soon became best buddies. While there we both had second children, who were destined to become friends as well. After Florida we were stationed in Virginia together--and although we didn't live as close, we still managed to spend a lot of time together, including a vacation to White Sulphur Springs in Pennsylvania. It was in Virginia that we had our third babies--boys just a month apart. Now, we were lucky enough to be stationed with them again here at Hanscom (where our fourth kids soon buddied up, too), and even luckier to end up as next door neighbors. The two years were not enough, but truthfully no amount of time would have seemed enough. They are such a blessing to us.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Halibut Point State Park Marks Milestone

We spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon visiting a state park about an hour north of here and on the coast. I had visited the park with my girlfriends when they came for a weekend in May. While there we found our 100th geocache!! Yay us.

There is a great little rock "amphitheater" where people have set up granite rock towers. There was a large slab with many rocks of various sizes that the kids called the "work station." They all tried building their own towers to the collection.

The highlight was the rocky shoreline where we were able to scramble and climb on the giant rocks.

Mary Beth loved this part of our day, and charged ahead of all of us climbing and exploring.

We only kind of got lost a on our way back to the parking...unfortunately our iphones didn't work out on the rocks and we missed another geocache on the trail we used to get back. Fiddlesticks--101 will have to wait.
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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wrapping up the School Year

Our final field trip of the year was to an Audubon nature center in a neighboring town.
I remembered to bring binoculars but not bug spray or water bottles. Obviously I'm not a good forward thinker. Although, in my defense, I didn't decide to actually join the field trip until 10 minutes beforehand, and there were kids to ready, lunches to pack, etc., so I think my forgetfulness was due more to the fact that we were hurried and frazzled.

We found lots of critters as we walked the trails...

The kids loved trying to catch the toads/frogs, and were sometimes successful! Ewww. Better them than me

I have about 7 different pictures of the kids with the frog--and in every single one of them the little guy in the front is turned around looking at the frog--don't know if he was that curious, or a little nervous about turning his back on the frog.

I suggested the girls try to kiss the frog--you never know what might happen, right? None of them were willing to, though.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010


Somehow I forgot our one moment of glory during the Camp Freedom Games. The Dads were challenged to stand on a 4 x 4 board, about 8 inches off the ground.

Ted was a rock

And Riley is so proud of her daddy

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Camp Freedom Returns

Camp Freedom began Sunday evening with a digital scavenger hunt. We dispersed as families around the base looking for all kinds of things--like a family on a slide...

and a stack of tires...

We weren't sure why the pizza guy was pulling up next to us, but then he rolled down his window and asked if we needed a picture of a pizza. ?? We did a quick scan of the list--sure enough, pizza was there!! I guess someone else had stopped him earlier. Thanks pizza dude.

There were lots of other crazy things to look for a take pictures of--an SP (security police) with a doughnut, a detour sign, a bumblebee... Of course we want to win, but it's just fun doing stuff like this with our kids--where we can all run out of the van to take a picture at some random place (and sometimes not so random-one of the items on the list was the POW/MIA Memorial, fitting for the weekend) and then high tail it back to the van, giggling and laughing the whole time.

The scavenger hunt created one moment of panic--when we got back I couldn't find my phone--my precious iphone. Ted and I jumped back in the van and retraced our steps. I found it in the grass leading up to the 'outdoor steps' we had photographed.

After the hunt we all settled in for s'mores and campfire fun. There were over 8 tents spread out in the yard between our house and our neighbor's (where Ga-Ga and Freedom Rink are). I think camping in your own yard is just the grandest. Having a clean bathroom is probably the best perk.

No kidding the birds woke us up before 5:00 on Monday morning. UGH!! Around 7:00 everyone started emerging from their tents (or homes, as some of us, myself included, retreated there for an hour or so in the early morning) and began making pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Wow--the best was the European chocolate one of our friends brought out and chopped up to put into the batter. Oh. My. That was GOOD!

Of course, it's Memorial Day, and even though we were planning to spend the day having all kinds of fun, we didn't want to neglect taking a moment to remember exactly why we were able to have the day with our families. Ted gathered all the kids at the Camp Freedom sign and spoke a few words about the meaning of the holiday, and then the oldest boy on the Circle shared a prayer and we laid a wreath on our sign.

So after breakfast and the moment to remember what the day was about, we began a day filled with games and competitions...

The Hula Hoop Race--getting the hula hoop from one end of your team to the other the fastest...

The Frozen Toes game--using your toes to extract marbles from a baby pool filled with ice water...

The Tallest Tower--building the tallest structure you could with marshmallows, toothpics and playing cards...

The Egg Drop--building a container to protect an egg from a drop off our second story roofs (the best part of this game was watching one of the dads stand on top of the roof to do the dropping)...

The How-Can-We-Make-Our-Parents-Do-What-We-Say Game--with all the parents blindfolded, your kids had to yell directions to you. The point was to find two bean bags and drop them in the container by your kids. This part where we're all holding hands is the beginning where we all rotated in a circle in an attempt to lose our bearings.

There were many other games, too, most of which Lucy missed out on, because she had gone inside and crashed on the living room chair.

After an afternoon of games, the parents were then competing in one last competition...The Grill a Better Pizza contest. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the end results, but suffice it to say that the eight pizzas were all very unique and all very GOOD!!! A Breakfast Pizza, a Hot Wings Pizza, a Pesto and Prosciutto Pizza, a BBQ Pizza, a Classic Pizza, A Toffee/Coffee Pizza, and two Taco Pizzas, to include ours. They were all so fantastic!! Our pizza, inspired by one we had at a pizza joint in Dayton called Deweys, had Fritos on it, which I think makes the pizza fantastic (and honestly I very much dislike Fritos), and it won 2nd place. Way to go TED!!!

The day wasn't quite done though. After pizza we had banana splits with Ted's homemade ice cream, brownies, bananas, strawberries, candies, fudge, whipped cream and cherries, and then we capped off the day with a neighborhood game of Capture the Flag--which I doubt you've every played Capture the Flag quite like the Circle.

It was a fantastic day--we won absolutely nothing tangible--not a single game or event, let alone any of the grand prizes (a $40 gift card to an ice cream place for the top winner of the games and a $40 gift card to a pizza place for the top winner of the pizzas), but we had an absolutely great day with our kids, which is the real prize. We joked all day that we were always scoring 100 points in fun, and that everyone could win that.