Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Bike Ride Blues

I had this brilliant idea that a family bike ride on one of Fayetteville's many trails would be a fun thing to do in the nice spring weather (the weather that we have had for one day out of all of spring break!). So, we packed up all the bikes, putting the kid bikes in the back of the van and the adult bikes in the back of John's car. We decided to park at Gordon Long Park and ride south on Skull Creek Trail. The kids were raring to go as soon as we got there. John had a difficult time getting the bikes out and accidentally broke off the seat of my bike. But, I managed to balance it on the bike, sit on it, and if I didn't wiggle too much, it stayed on. (I did have this fear in the back of my head as to how much it would hurt if the seat came off!) And, we headed off the trail. I quickly realized that John wasn't behind us, so I sent Jacob back to see if there was a problem. There was. a problem. The chain came off of John's bike, and he worked and worked but couldn't get it back on. He sent us ahead and said he'd keep trying. So, we took off again. The boys quickly rode completely out of sight. They had strict orders not to cross any streets without me, and I just had to trust that they would obey. Hannah got tired quickly and wanted to go back. I had to keep telling her that we had to get the boys first, and the only way we could get them would be to keep riding. We finally (like 15 minutes later) caught up with the boys, who were obediently waiting to cross Poplar Avenue. They were a little dismayed at having to return (Jacob wanted to do the entire trail) but quickly turned around and rode out of sight going back the way we had come. Fortunately, Hannah did better on the return trip. I guess it was because she knew how far we had to go and that we would be finished when we got there. When we got back to the park, John was waiting in his car. He was covered in grease but was unable to fix his chain without any tools. Poor guy. I sent him home and let the kids play on the playground for a bit. Then, we headed for ice cream which always makes things better. (except my waistline)

So today, we tried another adventure (sans Samuel who had a play date). We went to Lake Fayetteville to walk on the new trail. Unfortunately, we had not fully briefed Jacob that the trail was paved and NOT a real nature trail. He had a full-scale meltdown making the rest of us pretty miserable. He did perk up a bit when we let him cross the creek on the old bridge instead of using the new one (see picture below). We walked until Hannah had to go to the bathroom then turned around.

I think I would really enjoy biking on either of these trails and plan to do so as soon as I get a new bike, preferably one that won't impale me when I sit on it, AND just as soon as I find someone to go with besides my children. Any takers?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Snowy Sunday

It started snowing on Saturday afternoon and snowed for a solid 24 hours. According to our resident meteorologist, we got a whopping 11 inches! The snow was beautiful and puffy with huge flakes. When we woke up on Sunday, we started trying to decide if we'd attempt to make it to church. According to facebook and local news stations, UBC was still having all morning activities, although many local churches were closing. Shortly after we got up, it started snowing much harder, and we decided to not try and get out. Our driveway is super steep, and while going down it in the van wouldn't have been difficult, getting back up . .. another story.

So, what'd we do with our day? I started by making pumpkin muffins (with the correct ingredients this time). I really liked them. John thought they were ok, and the kids wouldn't even try them. The kids bundled up for some outside play, sledding down that steep driveway and throwing lots of snowballs. John was a trooper and went outside with them; he knows that I hate being cold and wet. (One of these days, I need to get some boots and a ski-type jacket so that I can get out in the snow and actually enjoy it!) I made a big pot of chili for lunch (Samuel's favorite), and we played some games and goofed around most of the afternoon. At one point, I thought Hannah must have put herself down for a nap. She had closed herself in her room, and it was completely quiet - - for a really long time. Just as I was about to open her door and check, I heard the singing start. She proceeded to sing through her entire rendition of the musical, Annie. I did actually get her to sit still and sing a little for the camera. John was the cook for dinner. He made some really tasty chicken fajitas. My favorite tv show, Amazing Race, (it's the geography teacher in me that loves this show!) was on in the evening. Once the kids were in bed, John and I watched episode #2 of The Pacific, the new Speilberg/Hanks mini-series about WWII. It's supposed to mirror Band of Brothers in the Pacific theater. It is so good, and really makes you think about how good we have it today (even with all the mess in D.C. going on).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

A good friend of mine makes pumpkin muffins all the time and talks about how good they are and how much her family likes them. She finally posted the recipe (ok, so it was like in January or something), so I was excited to try them. About two weeks ago when I did my grocery shopping, I tried to remember the ingredients . . . cake mix, a can of pumpkin, and cinnamon chips. So, I picked up a yellow cake mix, the pumpkin, and the closest thing Neighborhood Market had to cinnamon chips, which I decided was Heath brickle bits. When I got home and looked at the recipe, I discovered that I needed a spice cake mix, not a yellow cake mix. I knew the chips were off, but I figured it'd be ok. Well, the results were interesting. John and I liked them ok, but all of the kids turn up their noses. I must admit, I was a little disappointed.

So, today at the store (went to Harps because my friend said that's where they had cinnamon chips - - who knew they made cinammon chips like chocolate chips??) and got the correct ingredients. I figured being snowed in would make it a good time for muffins.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I intended to write a post this weekend, but I was too busy doing NOTHING! Well, it seemed like nothing compared to the normal weekend of the past three years. Drumroll please . . . . I have finally finished all of the work for both of my independent study classes (6 hours) AND have written and submitted my comprehensive exam questions. Of course, I do still have to deal with the oral defense of those comps, but there's no other written work that has to be done. For one independent study, I had to go through a human development textbook chapter by chapter and do some sort of project. I did a combination of powerpoints, blurb books, outlines, quizzes, etc. My professor seemed to like everything that I submitted. So far, I have only met with him the one time we orignally made course assignments in December. I don't even think I have to go and meet with him. He emailed that he's giving me an A! Yeah! For the other class, I created a binder of social studies lesson plans that fit the Parallel Curriculum Model (it's a GT thing); it ended up being almost as long as the whole curriculum unit I wrote last spring. I haven't taken it to my advisor yet, but I hope to run it up to her office this week. It's done and sitting in my van for when I get a chance to swing by campus.

What's next?? Well, I intend to do much of nothing for the rest of this school year other than Samuel's baseball practice, trying to actually exercise, not getting so far behind with stuff for my classroom, etc . I can't believe that the school year is fast approaching an end. Of course, the end of the semester brings GRADUATION. I'm actually going to walk, something I didn't do as an undergrad. It didn't really mean anything to me then . . . it does now. And, graduation is on my birthday! So, it'll be a big day at our house! (And yes, it's a big # birthday too!)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bring Your Parents to School Day

This week is "Bring Your Parent to School" week in Hannah's Montessori class. I went this morning and observed for about 30 minutes. As always, I am so impressed with Hannah's class and her teachers. Every single child was engaged and working quietly - - EVERY single child. Words can't even describe how jealous I am, and how much I wish 7th grade could be like this. Of course, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the students get to choose much of the work they do. At the beginning of the day, the students get their notebooks and stand in line to meet with one of the teachers. Hannah met with Ms. Lisa, who made all sorts of "work" suggestions. She went through several categories: building work, math worth, journal writing, geography, and natural science. I got to watch Hannah complete two different tasks, building specific shapes and sizes as her "building work" and the "multiplication stamp game." Hannah was so proud of her "work," and she was so much fun to watch.
This afternoon, Hannah went for her kindergarten check up. We went to a different doctor because the Pediatric Clinic couldn't see her until the end of May. The doctor I chose is the mother of Samuel's best friend and of one of Hannah's good friends and Montessori classmates. I must admit that it was really nice going to a doctor who knows my child so well. I may really consider switching; after all, I got an appointment quickly and easily. Hannah is in fine shape. She is 44 inches tall and weighs 45 pounds. (I don't think I'll tell her that neither of the boys weighed 45 pounds until they were in 2nd grade!) I asked the doctor to look at some warts I've been treating on the bottom of Hannah's foot. She said she needed to freeze them off, or they'd never go away. So . . . bring on the liquid nitro. I was a little worried about getting this done on top of getting all of her immunizations (4 shots total), but Hannah was AMAZING. She made not a sound, moved not an inch, and didn't even make any bad faces during the procedure OR any of the shots. (She later told me that the freezing part really hurt bad, but that she wanted to be a big girl.) Big girl she was! The nurses seemed very impressed and allowed her to get more than one toy as a prize.
I can't believe that my baby will be starting kindergarten in the fall. She is very ready and very excited. How did she get so big so fast???