Friday, July 22, 2011

A Hissy Fit & a Re-Cap

Before I continue recounting our summer adventures, let me throw in a little hissy fit...if you decide for whatever reason to take a peek at archived posts between the dates of 10/08 (when I came to Blogger from Homeschoolblogger) and 12/10 (when I started using Flickr), you will notice all of the photos are missing. Here's what happened: I joined Google+, which is Google's version of Facebook. They automatically uploaded all of my blog photos I had uploaded through Blogger. I saw that album of like 865 photos sitting in my Google+ profile, and I thought to myself, Self, why do you need an album of 865 photos sitting on your Google+ profile? Many of those photos won't make any sense to anyone anyway without the accompanying blog explanation. Besides, all of those photos are on your blog, so what is the purpose for them to be here?

And I deleted the album.

What Google failed to tell me as I so casually clicked on "delete" is that I was deleting the photos from my blog, from everywhere. Poof! Vanished! Never to be least that is the answer I have discovered as I have perused various forums filled with venomous rants from various ranters who are furious at Google for also deleting their blog photos.

All is not lost, however. It's not like those photos are completely gone. They are on my computer and my external hard drive and on various CDs. You might even guess they are everywhere and thus not at all organized. But such is life. Really the disappointing thing for me is that I had planned to convert my blog to a book, you know, for posterity's sake. For the children. And now all those photos are missing. And honestly? I don't see myself taking the time to wade through my thousands of pictures to find the photos that correspond with each blog post.

What I have rediscovered, however, is my passion for digital scrapbooking, so that is where I will place all of those missing photos. And, consequently, you may not see me here as often because digital scrapbooking can consume an awful lot of time if one lets it.

OK, hissy fit over.

What have we been up to during Simel's second week here with us?

The kids had sports camp at church this week. I think they enjoyed it. Sort of. It's sad, but I do see that enthusiasm for "campy" type things evaporating from my children. As the whole group sang and did song motions at the end of each day, my children as well as most their age just stood there. I don't blame them. I remember being that age...and feeling really stupid singing kid songs with silly motions to go along. They did have fun playing the games, though, so that made it worth it.

Camp has taken up most of the week. And it has been so, SO hot all week, we really haven't felt like doing much else. We did make it to the YMCA one day to swim. Other than that, we spent the week melting. Literally. Almost anyway. I have wondered to myself often during the last week how I managed to live in Africa all those years sans air conditioning and so hot.

I have to say that, honestly, I had no idea there were still parts of America that don't have things like central air. When we came up to CT last August to look for a house to rent, it was a cool weekend, so it really didn't cross my mind to ask a question like, "Does this house have air conditioning?" It was just an assumption because, you know, we live in America and it's 2011. But anyway, apparently, my assumptions were way off. I finally bought a huge, portable AC unit for our downstairs, but with the intensity of the heat and the size of our living room, it just isn't doing a whole lot. I keep telling myself that this is certainly better than winter. I'll let you know once I actually believe what I'm saying.

Today we decided to enjoy an air conditioned theater. Of course, that's quite an expensive couple of hours just for some cool air, so we chose a movie as well - Zookeeper. It was OK. I mean, Kevin James and talking zoo animals - my expectations were low to begin with. It has its funny moments, though, and the kids seemed to like it.

Once we got out of the movie, my plan was to have dinner at Applebees because it sits next to the theater and because I have a little bit left on a gift certificate. But the crowd in the foyer hinted at a long wait, so we sat in the air conditioned car for awhile (it was 104 at 6:00!) to decide what to do. The kids voted Lunchables. There weren't many other options, so, folks, we went totally gourmet and stopped by the grocery store for Lunchables.

And some sparklers. Because what is a hot summer night without sparklers?
16 Simel with sparkler

17 Alex with sparkler

20 Audrey sparkler

19 Jacob sparkler

18 Michael sparkler ghost

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Laundry, Tourist Attractions, Tents, and Pop Rocks

I've neglected the blog because of this:

Of course, if that were completely true, the pile of laundry wouldn't be there; all of the items would be neatly folded and put away. But certainly between roadtrips, camp-outs, outside play, and sports camp, the washing machine has been running almost non-stop.

We had a big roadtrip last week, an unplanned one, but one that was a whole lot of fun. Simel had some issues with his visa to take care of and a friend in DC who could help him, so last Wednesday we made the 5 1/2 hour trip down to our nation's capital.

Wednesday night I dropped Simel off at this friend's house, and we met back up on Thursday. We had a wonderful time seeing the sites, but the best part of all for me was that some friends from Atlanta happened to be in the area on the same day, so we got to see the sites together.
White House1

Vietnam Wall 2

Lincoln Memorial 2


There was one shot I was SO excited to capture...yes, the one that EVERYONE captures. But, alas, it was definitely not meant to be:
Reflecting Pool 1

I did get a little bit of the monument in the reflecting pool. Of course it was a mud puddle that captured the reflection, but anyway...
Reflecting Pool 2

Washington Monument

Washington Monument with sunshine

Washington Monument kids

girls in front of American History

Remember that 5 1/2 hour drive down to DC? Well, it took us 9 1/2 hours to get home! I can't stress enough how nice it was to be home. Since we've gotten home, the kids have enjoyed a night camping in our backyard, and they have also been participating in sports camp at church.

We also had an outing of sorts yesterday. I saw Fizziwigs Candy Factory pinpointed on a map of Connecticut and thought it sounded like a fun place to visit. I assumed it was going to be a bit like Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC. Not really. We could have just gone down to the local drugstore for the same sugared assortment, but the experience gave me a good picture anyway:
15 Fuzziwigs

A note to Simel's mom: No, I did not buy that giant lollipop for him; it just served as a great prop for the photo.

AND...the experience also afforded me an opportunity to give Simel a new experience: Pop Rocks. A must-do for any visitor to America! The jury's still out on whether or not he enjoyed the fizzy candy.
14 Pop Rocks

So the pile of laundry grows's been busy around here, that's for sure. Someday I will see the bottom of that mountain of clothing!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Playground Fun

I've been feeling a little under the weather the last few days, and today was definitely the worst, which hopefully means I'll be good as new tomorrow. So we didn't have any really extraordinary plans today, but we had fun anyway. We went to a park this morning where the kids played on the equipment while I sat in the shade and rested (and chatted with a friend).
12 three kids

11 Simel on slider

10 Michael helping Audrey

13 the playground

Monday, July 11, 2011

Favorite Part of the Day?

I'm pretty sure our day only got better as it went on. I know this because we started the day with a short summer school session. Undoubtedly, this was not the kids' favorite part of the day.

We spent a few hours this afternoon at the pool. That's a no-brainer; the kids always love pooltime.

So maybe the pool was the kids' favorite. I'm not sure, but my favorite part of today might have been watching Simel watch his first episode of Wipeout. He was positively tickled by it.
9 Simel watching Wipe Out

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our Special Guest

We are so excited about our very special guest! Simel is an 11-year-old young man visiting us for 3 weeks from Senegal, West Africa. We picked him up in Boston yesterday.
1 Arrival

2 Airport

Poor guy was exhausted and slept all the way home. Then went immediately to bed. We didn't learn a whole lot about our guest last night, but today he has come out of his shell! He is here to be immersed in English, and I am so impressed with him. He has done great all day keeping up with the boys' endless chatter, and they have all played so well together.

We stuck around home most of the day so he could get acclimated to a different continent and get to know us a bit. We let the kids take our two room tent out this afternoon. It didn't take them long to construct it in our backyard.
5 Jacob & Simel

6 Michael tent

4 Simel tent

3 Jacob tent

7 girls in tent

Of course we had s'mores once the tent was all set up. Have you ever seen such giant marshmallows?
8 smore

After some playtime in the tent, the kids busied themselves for a couple of hours catching tadpoles in the water that has collected on the pool cover. And after dinner, playtime continued with a few nerf gun and light saber fights.

The night concluded with a wonderful magic show by our new guest, a show which had my boys giggling like little girls. He is a sweet, funny young man, and the kids really like him. We're looking forward to the next couple of weeks as we get to know him better!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just Swingin' Around

It all goes to show you that when the TV and video games are turned off and the imagination is turned on, fun things happen...

This afternoon while I was simultaneously doing some computer work and placing a take-out order from the Princess' new restaurant, the boys were busy outside.

They built this:

Jacob swing

It looks like an ordinary swing, but it isn't. It has a cardboard seat which is carefully attached to the rope with some handy dandy packing tape, and...the swing is anchored to the very tiptop of the tree. The fact that Jacob climbed so high up in the tree would have caused me a minor heart attack had I been a witness. Good thing I was enjoying pretend pizza and blueberry pie at the time.
Jacob in tree

Michael in tree

There's more. The other half of the rope serves as an additional swing.
boys swing

3 kids

Like I said - a lot can happen when you throw in some imagination.