Sunday, September 12, 2010

Zoarin'

video

We went on a hike through Zoar State Forest yesterday. Enjoyed beautiful blues skies, a mixture of trees and sweet-singing birds. The recent drought hasn't helped the marshy environments within the forest, but perhaps last night's rain will provide some small relief.

Looking forward to going back in a month to note changing leaf color. Plus, there are two nature trails near rivers still to be explored.

Such a swell find. A gem in the "backyard," if you will....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And....They're Off!!




One, clearly ready for the challenge of middle school. Yea, CJ!





The other? Well....

It's OK, RJ2.

Actually, by the time she was dropped off at school, she was leaping for joy out of the car and dancing her way into the building. Go figure!


Yes...They're off!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer Send-Off

Tomorrow marks the official end of summer. OK, well, summer is not officially over, technically. You will still find several days before we get to Autumn on the calendar. But, you know, it's Labor Day and school starts on Tuesday [finally!]. So, since there's one more day to go, what a better time to check out the end-of-summer vacation pics!



We spent a really amazing afternoon at The Discovery Museum of Acton, MA--Massachusetts being the first state stop on "Cousin Tour 2010." RJ2 is sitting in front of a roadway on which the kids can ride bikes and trikes, or set up play road signs. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and some time in a very large sandbox before heading inside Part #1, the Children's Museum.



This is part of the museum's water display room--this exhibit, explaining how water travels down a river. A recirculating pump that the kids can control sends the water back up to the top. Plenty of duckies! RJ2 and cousin, H, had a great time.



I just love the realism in the museum's diner! RJ2 and H are cooking up lots of things in the kitchen. The glow you see comes from lit-up burners on the stove--great touch! CJ is waiting for her food in this swanky stylin' booth, complete with jukebox. (Wish they actually worked; great way to take in some extra money for the museum....although it would probably cost a fortune to pay the rights to play the tunes in the first place.) The murals throughout the museum are wonderful! Really fun....



When we finished our time at the Children's Museum, we walked across the parking lot toward Part #2 (the Science Museum). But, being the excellent kid-friendly place it is, the museum set up some great exhibits to play with along the way. This is a Slap-a-Phone! Although the kids seem to be looking into the holes as if this was a multi-manned periscope, they should be slapping the PVC tubes, making cool sounds. (Their own version of "Blue Man Group.")



As if that wasn't enough, they had a whole music room inside, complete with this PVC and wood block xylophone! I took a bunch of pictures, thinking, in my silly ole head, that I will craft one of these for the backyard. Remember that scene in the movie, Big, in which Tom Hanks dances on the giant foot piano with such childhood glee? That was me, here. They had to drag me away while I was trying to play the theme from The Flintstones. (The museum had the music there. How could I not try it?)



Wall of shadowboxes. I'm thinking I have new inspiration for the playroom....



Next stop on the "Cousin Tour" was, actually, Grandma and Grandpa's house! But, we did see more cousins there, so that worked out nicely. CJ joins her cousins on a tube. There was lots of cross-ball, jumping, splashing, etc. Just like old times....



RJ2 enjoyed the swim. We swam both days we were there--one day in a light rain and the other day clearly overcast. Didn't bother anybody!



CJ had the special privilege of trying out Grandpa's SCUBA equipment! It was not as fun breathing from an air tank as she thought it might be. But, she really enjoyed scoping out the pool below the surface with the full face mask and snorkel. (Fins came later.)



The water theme continued into warm (not hot, for a change!) Ohio. We have enjoyed some activities that are now tradition when it's August in Ohio and the J Girls are in town. The plastic pool came out along with the super soakers, and everyone had fun spreading water every which way.



Cooling off with games indoors. (And making Cousin Studios' latest video productions!)



Camping out in the backyard! This is a "before" shot. By the time morning came, only three of the five cousins were still in the tent. For RJ2--buried and asleep in the LOVE sleeping bag--this was her first campout, and she made it all the way through. Although CJ is a backyard campout veteran, a pesky round of congestion brought her inside before midnight. Next year, perhaps, they'll get me out there.



And Bella the dog--the REAL Bella the dog!--showed off her soccer (er....volleyball-setting?) skills for us before we left for Virginia.



We returned home, some 2,000 miles later, and have had these past two weeks to unpack, resettle and enjoy some take-aways from our trip. Aunt Ed gave RJ2 some cool new Sesame Street cards on which to trace letters and numbers. RJ2 took it one step further, adding her own characters and even one card with a sentence: "Mom says no." (Yea!...sigh)



CJ received a birthday present from Grandpa--a fantastically made 'tween mirror. How can you not look sharp in that?!

All in all, 10 days of amazing fun and good times with the family! Fun photos and videos to view. Cherished memories now on file, to add to those already stored from summers gone by. Talk of next summer already begun (and "Can we stay longer?!?!").... Thanks, guys, for EVERYTHING!

P.S. Decided just to shoot the front cover of the Herald-Progress with CJ's theater camp story. She would be the speared one on the far-right.




Bye, Bye Summer!