Sunday, October 23, 2011

At the Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden was celebrating autumn in a big way yesterday. They had pony rides, a parade of costumed children, scarecrows of various makes and models and cotton candy. While I was up in Marietta doing a Reiki session, Jeremiah and the girls partook in all this gaiety. He very kindly took ample photographs, so I could feel like I was there. So, here you go! Sunday at the ABG -

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another Reason to Throw Down

Sarah wrote that note herself. She's getting pretty good at sounding out her words, plus, a few of those are sight words. I don't know why she stuck it to her face. I don't know what came over me, but the girls asked if they could have a Halloween party this year, and I said yes. I immediately began thinking of Halloween-themed foods I could serve. It's always about food. So anyway, today we partied. The girls helped me a bit. Sarah even vacuumed. Kate refused. I made scary ghosts (which also sort of looked like Klansman, but those are scary too, so I was alright with that), spiders (not shown for some reason), a pumpkin-shaped cheese ball, monster cupcakes, and mummified hotdogs, which are also not pictured, which makes me sad, because they were really cute. Jeremiah made chili for the grown-ups. Joy made guacamole because before they left town for the weekend, Brendan gave her 9 avocados. See that green icing on the monster cupcake? Made with avocados.

The kids painted their own coffins, enjoyed temporary vampire fangs, ate a lot of sugar, and bobbed for apples. There were only a few kids here, but they made an amazing mess, and a surprising amount of noise - so I consider the evening a huge success! We couldn't forget the camera, since we were at home, but did forget about the camera a lot, so this is only partially documented. We're missing entire people here. Still, you get the idea...

No one was instructed to give me the thumbs up, but I guess everyone really wanted the camera to know all was well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fresh Air, A Billion Stars and Two Billion Daddly Longlegs

Our camping trip survival rate was 100%! Remember how I was so excited about car camping that I opted to bring everything? Cast iron reversible griddle? Don't mind if I do... We arrived at our campsite (very late, which I will passive-aggressively mention here, in reference to why we didn't make the hike up the falls), only to discover what the map of the campground really doesn't show - topography. We parked in our allotted spot, then we trekked up and down a daunting cliff to our designated site. The good news is, we can now crush our enemies to death using only our calves. And maybe by wielding a cast iron reversible griddle. The two powers together would be unstoppable. Here's what it looked like, walking down that hill:

But then, the payoff!

We were right on a point, and there was a nice-sized beach we could walk along, to take in the views along the lake. The girls couldn't wait to wade in and get their only clothes soaking wet just in time for the temperature to drop to right about hypothermia-degrees Fahrenheit.

They were so happy, though, we decided to risk death and let them frolic. We skipped some stones; it was a shale beach, so there was more than enough stone-skipping fodder to be had by all. I used to be pretty bad at this feat, but things were going pretty well for me that windy Saturday afternoon. Every time I managed to get a rock to make a few hops across the water, no one was watching. So finally I took the kids' approach and demanded Jeremiah's attention. I had a sweet stone, it was going to go clear across to the next outcropping. I took my stance, stretched my arm behind me, wrist ready to flick, then went for it, failing to release the rock at all, until it was much too late, and instead hit myself (with impressive velocity and precision) in the other hand. The bruise didn't even surface until Monday evening. Jeremiah was impressed, of course. I was really glad that was the one everyone got to see.

While we awaited the arrival of our friends, we located a wonderful campfire ring, right on the very tip of the point. Since our tent didn't fit on the nice tent-pitching spot, we'd had to set it up directly next to our site's little fire pit. It was pretty windy, so the campfire ring seemed like a better spot for flames and kumbaya'ing. I am much better at building campfires than I am at skipping stones.

Once everyone arrived (I have no pictures of our group because I was using my phone, and it was dying), we cooked a delicious dinner, then set to work on s'mores straight-away. The children ran through the woods with their glo-stick axes (compliments of Aunt Jo Jo) screaming at the tops of their lungs for what must've been 4 days straight. We did finally get them all into bed, cozied up with their glowing axes and dreaming of roasted marshmallows. We went to the beach and our friend Jerry set up his telescope so we could see that Carl Sagan was right, there truly are billions and billions of stars. It was cool, but also cold, and I had to go crawl into my own bed shortly after looking at moon craters.

The next morning, we made pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs and coffee and ate like kings while packing out all our stuff. Up the hill...with the cast iron skillet and all the other stuff. Up and down, up and down. Then, we headed to the apple orchard. It's an apple-pickin' jubilee, y'all! We saw contra dancing (I thought this would have something to do with Nicaraguan rebels, but I quickly saw I was either mistaken about the dancing, or about Nicaraguan rebels), picked some apples, slid down a 50-foot slide that looked as though it had been constructed by frat boys on a jello-shooter bender, ate some grease, milked the cow and jumped on the jumpy-thing until Kate melted down and we agreed we were getting all funned-out.

At last, it was time to home. We settled into the car with our peck of apples, 1/2 gallon of cider and collective stink and pointed ourselves toward Atlanta. It was a beautiful ride home through the mountains, but the girls didn't notice.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

To the Woods!

Next weekend, we are going camping. This will be the girls' first camp-out. I am very excited. We're heading up to Carter Lake on Saturday morning, where we will engage in the first bit of car-camping I've done in years. I'm used to backpacking. I love backpacking, but the mindset is different. When I'm going backpacking, I throw everything I want to take into a big pile, then cull the herd based on weight and collapsability and absolute necessity. But for this trip, we'll be right next to the car. I'm bringing everything.

We only have our little 3-person tent, so, after deciding that renting from REI wasn't all that, we found ourselves the perfect family-sized tent. It arrived in the mail yesterday. It's this tent. I was in the middle of doing several other things, but I stopped everything when the box arrived, and I set the tent up in the living room. Well, sort of. It's a 3-room tent. I was able to set the main part up, but the thing is larger than our living room. I am giddy. I left the tent up because I thought the girls might want to sleep in it last night.

Not only did they sleep in it, they slept in later than they ever do. That would've been awesome, except I was up at 6 for a bike ride. Too bad they didn't get to sleep in the tent Friday night. I rolled the thing back up this morning, and the pets were very, very sad to see it go. Rex the cat kept diving into the folds. He might still be in there now, come to think of it. I haven't seen him in awhile...