Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer - Week 3

This past week, Connor went to sports camp all week and Helen went to Junior Naturalist camp.

Even though Junior Naturalist camp ended with Helen being stung by a wasp 3 times - twice by her eye and once on her back - I can tell this camp is going to be hard to beat. Every day the kids did some cool activity, and they spent pretty much the entire time outside.

Highlights included building their own shelters, going on a stream hike, and going on a morning hike at a different nature center that ended up at a water park. As far as I can tell,  the leaders of the camp brought a ton of energy to their jobs, and it was obvious everyone just adored Helen - which I'm sure is partly because the kid was so happy!

Connor's camp was OK, but not great. It's been super hot here, and playing outside pretty strenuously was a bit more than Connor was up for (especially as he looked back fondly on his prior week in video game camp).

This week, we're chillin' with the in-laws in the Adirondacks. The trip started a bit rough, when Ed tried to put air in the car tires. The nozzle that you put air into broke off - and all of the air in that tire escaped. Thankfully, he was able to get the little spare tire on, we found a service station that not only stayed open late to get our car on the road, they then refused to charge us. When I tried to give the guy who had saved our vacation $40, he told me he could not possibly accept it, took $20 and said he'd split it. People from Pennsylvania are clearly the nicest people on earth.

Prior to the mini disaster, we had been whitewater rafting in the morning which ended Helen's longstanding fear of "foot traps" and whitewater. She is now ready to brave the rapids in Cessky Krumlov when we go there in August.

The kids had more fun running around today with their cousins than one would think possible, and by the end of the day, Helen's eye (which had been swollen completely shut the morning before) looked basically normal. She was also so tired that even though a cousin spent the night, she wasn't even tempted to stay up late chatting.

I rocked 6 miles in the hills with Ed and am looking forward to more tomorrow. These miles are happier than others because I had a 2-day bout with sciatica that I thought would surely end my dreams of running MCM. But game on - my back has been fine for the past week.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer - Week 2!

And boom! Just like that, another week of summer has slipped away.

Helen and I went to Chicago (woohoo!) to visit a friend of mine from college, discovered that another friend from college happened to be visiting as well which resulted in a BBQ after a fairground hook-up. Photos in another post, when I remember to download the things off my phone.

When we returned, Helen spent her days at Knights of Columbus camp - which mostly meant hanging outside almost all day. Helen reported the camp was a lot more fun when she had slept the night before, than when she hadn't. This did not, however, encourage her to not sneak a book in bed at night! So yes, that makes two children that I now must wrestle books from after bedtime. This after hours parenting schtick is tiresome.

Connor went away to Boy Scout camp. Ed accompanied him for the first few (and rainy) days. Again, photos from that soon, if I can figure out how to pull them off Facebook. Sigh. Technology.

Helen enjoyed her stint as an only child, soaking up the attention, ability to choose what game we played at night, and even a night out dining with Ed and me. As soon as Connor returned, Helen spent the night at a friend's house, so he also got his own dining night out. Helen went for pizza followed by a trip to Pinkberry - Connor opted for Mussel Bar (a surprisingly kid friendly joint at 6:00).

Marathon training is officially on - and was kicked off by some mysterious ailment that I think was an acute case of sciatica. I could not even move without tremendous pain for two days, then I ran for 6 miles and everything seemed to loosen up (though my foot seemed to be trying to fall asleep a bit) and then the next day I ran 8 miles and voila - I was fine. I don't understand what happened and am naturally hopefully that this is just some weirdo thing associated with being old that doesn't pop up again this training cycle. I'm not quite ready to give up on running Marine Corps Marathon again. However, I really cannot miss any at-home training - given how many days away from home I'll be this summer. I'm already going to be plugging in a ton of solo miles, which will be tedious, I'm sure.

In other, possibly more exciting news, Helen has fully immersed herself in the internet and all it has to offer via an old iphone. We decided to get Connor a phone, and patiently waited for a buy  one get one free offer that I had heard were rare, but possible. The offer arrived, I took advantage of it, and Ed and I upgraded to new phones. This pushed my still decent phone to Connor, and Ed's barely serviceable phone down to Helen. There's no plan on Helen's phone, but she immediately got herself hooked up to the wifi in our house. She then proceeded to pretend to be just vaguely familiar with the vast expanse known as the internet, and asked me if I could help her find videos of puppies. As soon as I picked her phone up, she reached over, clicked on the internet and "Look Mom! I guess I already found them!". Oh dear. A wiser parent would've seen this as a sign of what's to come, but not me.

And what is to come, you might wonder? The next day she found a rent-a-puppy website, complete with price variation relating to cuteness of the puppy. I fully expect a puppy to show up at our house any day, as soon as she figures out how to enter the credit card information. Fun times are ahead, I'm sure. It might be time to up my parenting game.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer...week 1

Helen tried out a playwriting camp this week and Connor went to video game camp. Yes, that's a real thing. No, I don't really want to sit and think about how much dumber he probably got. I'm just focusing on how happy he was most days.

Helen's camp was filled with middle schoolers, which was naturally impressive to Helen. When I saw the camp counselor on the second day of camp, he told me she was able to hang with them,  so hopefully that's true. She certainly seems like she's had a good time - although I fear it has moved her even closer to understanding and emulating teens.

The best example of this is that a few days ago, I upgraded everyone's phone. I had decided getting Connor one for middle school was  a good idea. After all, we definitely need another electronic device in this house to fight about. IPhone 6s were on sale buy one, get one free - so I upgraded my 5 (which originally came from my brother-in-law) and got Ed a 6. This left my 5 for Connor and Helen quickly seized on the fact that there was now an iPhone 3 not in use by anyone in the household. She claimed it as her own, even though it doesn't have service.

The first thing she did was to look up puppy videos. She must have seen some with a friend and decided they were the best the internet had to offer. She came up to me asking innocently how to search for puppy videos, but as soon as she clicked on the internet icon to do the search, results from a current search "Puppy Videos" was displayed. I have no idea how many of these things she has discovered, but I do know that kid loves her wifi. She is continually disappointed that neither Ed nor I will allow her to take the phone to camp. I don't think she has quite figured out that without our home wifi, she's got a brick.

Helen's group wrote a tragedy. She is a princess that dies in the show. I'll see the fruits of her labor this afternoon - before we head out of town to Chicago!