Archive for July 2011

The first of many times

July 27, 2011

The kids have been in our church’s summer Day Camp this week.   A lot of the kids in camp are older brothers/sisters of our Child Development Center (i.e. preschool) students, so they may not regularly attend our church.  So it’s another chance for J and A to get out of their comfort zones and be around kids they may not know, but in a familiar environment.  It also gives Nana a chance to breath a little during the long summer break from school.

Ready for camp. Today is "Wear Your Favorite Sports Team Day." J is dutifully wearing his Redskins hat. A is wearing one of K's vintage soccer shirts that Nana saved for 30 years.

They’ve been doing a lot of interesting things (like going to a Washington Nationals game) and learning a lot of interesting things (like a cursory introduction to “the birds and the bees” courtesy of one of the older campers).  And, like for VBS, they get to ride to and from work with me (Hello HOV lanes!).  And I get to see them throughout the day.

This morning, I got a little taste of their teenage years.  I was walking them from the car to drop them off at the playground when A said:

“Daddy, you don’t have to walk us all the way there.  You can just go inside and sign us in and we can walk ourselves to the playground.”

Thinking this was odd, I asked A why she was so anxious to get to the playground.

“Because I want to see Ethan.”

Ah, another boy.  Of course.

Well, undeterred, I continued to walk them to the playground (while possibly holding A’s hand a little tighter than normal).  When I got to the gate, J turned around and gave me a big hug and said “Have a good day, Daddy!”  However, when I turned to hug A, she had already run off, with nary a word to me.  I looked up to see her standing next to a little blond boy, talking and gesturing very expressively.

It may be a wild guess, but I’m pretty sure it was Ethan.


The big seven-oh

July 21, 2011

Seventy years ago today, my dad was born. It’s hard to believe that he’s 70, because the man never stops moving.  And in typical fashion, he is in motion today, traveling half way across the country to a wedding for his brother’s grandson.  But we did manage to get everybody together to celebrate before he took off.

A Chinese smörgåsbord was the food of the evening. I love the juxtaposition of mixed cultural references. And being able to use an umlaut.

The obligatory kids table.

J's grilled cheese (not a fan of Chinese food) was easy to pick up with chopsticks.

A proved that she can think outside the box by eating with a fork being held in the chopsticks.

Cake with candles so numerous they all blur together.

All the grandkids gave him a t-shirt with their handprints and ages

I found some cool cufflinks made from a wooden seat that had been in Ebbets Field, where he used to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers play back in the 1940s-50s.

Happy Birthday Dad/Granddad!

Another Internet-free vacation week

July 11, 2011

Last Sunday, we left for a week of vacation, starting with 5 days helping our good friends CPQ and MrCPQ get settled into their new home.  Now, based on the “Internet-free” portion of the title of this post, you may be wondering if our friends moved to Outer Mongolia.  Let’s just say that I’m sure that Outer Mongolia’s Internet Service Provider technical and customer service departments are a step up from AT&T (more on that later).

K's OCD kicks in as she cleans my truck during the trip down.

Once at the CPQ house, we were presented with the makings for a typical CPQ household lunch (actually just the pre-organized pantry contents)

Mr. CPQ works on one of three ceiling fans we installed

Yes, the CPQs really like Tim Hortons coffee

And yes, MrCPQ still thinks that vinyl is on the verge of making a comeback. Maybe he can load those records into his Microsoft Zune and combine outdated technologies.

Part of my assignment was helping MrCPQ with essential technological upgrades. Here he is purchasing a lovely new TV. Which, after much discussion on the merits of HDMI inputs, contrast ratios and the like, we later returned. And then later re-purchased. More on that later.

Fireworks on the new front porch to celebrate the 4th of July. From the grimaces and ear/eye covering, you can tell that the fireworks were actually bright enough to allow me to take this picture.

J and A enjoy their first sparklers.

So, what did J and A think of the fireworks?

The next day, the entire gang (minus MrCPQ) took a trip in CPQ's new van. You can tell the 5'11" Tommy is thrilled with being crammed in the middle.

We really need to have A's eyes checked. And yes, these glasses now reside in our home.

In her blog, CPQ has mentioned some of the creatures her cat Cosmo has lovingly presented to her.  In their new house, they decided not to install a cat door in order to have a little more control over what Cosmo brings in.  For example, I’m sure this cicada (and its oh-so-pleasant screaming) would have been a nice surprise in the house if Cosmo had his way:

As mentioned, TV and Internet access was an issue during the week.  When the AT&T guy showed up on Tuesday to “finalize” the installation, he said it would only take him “20-40 minutes.”

I believe the TV situation was resolved 5 days later, but the Internet is still in limbo.

JJ and Tommy look none too pleased with the lack of internet access.

A (and the rest of us) made up for the lack of TV and Internet by eating continuously. She especially liked it when her tongue matched the Fruit Roll-up.

Thanks to, Travis had a new video to help him weather the no-Internet storm. And is that the beginnings of a mustache on him? Yes, yes it is.

For one brief, shining, yet ultimately cruel moment, the Internet blinked into existence, causing everybody to run to the electronic device of their choice. But the moment was gone as quickly as it had arrived.

A was so delirious with the lack of Netflix that she tried to eat the corn shaped balloon we had purchased at Kroger. Did I mention that CPQ's new house is a tenth of a mile from a Kroger? It's like having the world's largest pantry only a 2 minute walk away.

It's not a trip to the CPQs without a Chinese buffet.

Same TV, different outfit. As previously mentioned, we reversed course and re-purchased the lovely new TV. The employees in BJs must have thought we were part of a TV/money-laundering scheme.

Before we left, we had to take our requisite “See how tall Tommy is in relation to K” picture.

Here they are in March of this year.

And here they are last week, a mere 4 months later. Did I mention the boys turned 12 only a week ago?

Once again, the 5 days went by too quickly.  On Friday, we left the CPQs and headed for my brother’s lake house.

But that will have to wait for another post.

VBS week

July 1, 2011

Yes, those three little letters that strike fear into church workers everywhere.  But this VBS week was a little different because it was the first time that J and A would be at VBS.  Aside from the fact that they could ride in with me in the mornings (meaning I would have the requisite number of people in the car to drive on the HOV lanes … yeah that was a pretty exciting part for me), it was nice to have them at work during the day.

A looked excited to see me in the hall

J, not so much.

J also wasn't thrilled with with band.

But he liked the blindfolded obstacle course

Tuesday was Crazy Hat Day.

So of course I had to break this bad boy out.

A was in the competition for best hat (please excuse the over-zoomed cell phone photo)

A workin' the Hokie look for Team Spirit Day.

And once again, she was in the competition for best dressed.

A has the moves.  And once again, J, not so much.

On Friday, we had a van full, taking two of their cousins. J took the opportunity to give everybody a dinosaur lesson.

And it was crazy hair day. Again, J, not so much.

It's always nice when the city decides to dig up your main sidewalk during VBS. With only one hour notice.

Finally, our Family Life Minister and our Youth Minister had a friendly wager regarding whether the boys or girls could raise more money during the week for our Missions programs.  At the end of the week, the girls had raised $900 more than the boys.  But since we handily beat our total from last year (and since one of the girl’s mothers had contributed $800, kinda skewing the results), our Senior Pastor decided that both Ministers should have to pay up.

This is what they had to do: