Rock Climbing at Geneva Hills

Thomas, Dan and I spent this past weekend camping, about an hour away from home, so that Thomas could do his first outdoor rock climbing. He has been climbing at Vertical Adventures for the past year, but this was his first time climbing on actual rocks! it was a great weekend spent with some really nice rock climbing families. We can’t go wait to go back again.

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This is Thomas’ first ascent up the boulder.

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I am amazed at how strong he has gotten this year. He is no longer my little boy, he has definitely grown into a man body.

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He looks pretty proud of himself. Actually, I think he’s laughing because his coach Justin chastised him for whale-rolling onto the top.

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And since this was a rock climbing trip of course he needed to bring the slack line.

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Geneva Hills is privately owned summer camp facility on 350 acres in Lancaster, which just happens to have some undeveloped rock climbing areas. In exchange for the climbers coming in and clearing out paths to the boulders and cleaning off the rocks, we get to camp for just a donation to the campground. It was a beautiful area, that we’re looking forward to returning to.

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and here’s a few more pics of Thomas climbing some of the others boulders.

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The first day of Spring

And it is only 43 degrees, brrr… unless you’re working out in your yard, then you may build up a little bit of a sweat. I was motivated to clean up my flower beds because I bought myself a present at the antique mall today.

The antique mall where I have my booth is like my very own room of requirements from Harry Potter. if there is something that I am pining for eventually it pops up in one of the many booths at the mall. When I go in to restock my booth I will walk down just one or two aisles on my way out. Even while walking through such a limited part of the mall I happen upon treasures that I have been searching for.

Today’s treasure is something I’ve been talking about for a few months now. But I really didn’t think that I had any hope of finding one. Until I walked around a corner at the antique mall and right in the middle of a booth I saw a claw foot cast iron bathtub! Yay, I think I squealed when I saw it.

I love having two strong boys to help me move things around. Because this tub is HEAVY!

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BJ tends to get hurt at my house, so I don’t know why he is the one walking backwards through the rock garden.

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I’m not sure if that will be its permanent home, I’ll have to watch it for awhile and see how I feel. Whenever it does find it’s final home then I will start worm composting in it. I think I need to clear out some of the other yard junk around the tub, the tub put me over the maximum amount of yard junk for one area. No worries I have plenty of other areas to spread it to.

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Dusting off the blog

It has been almost 2 years since the last blog post that I have written. Long enough that I couldn’t remember how to log in to my blog or even what program I used to use to write my blogs. Thomas and I are starting a new adventure and a friend suggested I should blog about it. I love the idea of documenting everything we’re doing but I’m not sure if I’ll have the dedication to take the time and write about it. We’ll see how this goes.

It’s funny how I have shared different interests with each kid. When Daniel was still living at home we watched a lot of cooking shows; Iron Chef, Anthony Bourdain, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Man vs. Food. Mostly shows with exotic foods and chefs that travelled around the world. Then when he left for college I never watched another cooking show, it made me too sad to watch them without Daniel. Beth and I watched Project Runway and Americas Next Top Model again not shows I ever watched without her. Thomas and I also have our favorite shows, we love car shows; Top Gear, Fast N Loud, Counting Cars if we had the space we would buy an old car to rebuild together, sadly we don’t have the garage space for that. We also like auction shows, house flipping shows and renovation shows. Thomas has also been the kid that has had the privilege of living almost his whole life in a construction zone and helping with the many never ending renovations we’ve tackled in our very old house.

So on to that new adventure…I am buying a house for us to renovate. While I really want to flip houses this first one is for the kids to rent. At first Daniel, Megan and Beth will live in the house. Then in 4-5 years when Thomas is ready to start at the Police Academy him and BJ plan on kicking the other kids out and moving in.

I think I need to clarify my previous statement that “I am buying a house for us to renovate.” I have been wanting to do this for years, recently I started looking at house online and stumbled across the house we are now very close to owning. I didn’t mention any of this to Dan until the night before I had set up a showing, it was just an idea I was throwing around and I wasn’t really sure where it was going to go. Dan couldn’t go see the house with me but Thomas and I fell in love. OK maybe I fell in love and Thomas was quietly stoic. Dan did go look at it the next day and agreed that this was an amazing deal and a house with great bones. Yes, it needs a ton of cosmetic work but structurally it is very sound. Without one word of complaint or objection Dan worked out the financial side of this endeavor and made it happen for me. I love that about him, instead of pointing out that our house is practically condemnable due to unfinished projects he just lets me go into something that is a little bit crazy.

I do have a big picture plan; Thomas and I will do all the work we can on this house (with a little help from Dan when his expertise is needed) and within 2 months it will be move in ready. Then I think we should move in so Thomas and I can gut our kitchen and bathroom and finally get our house finished. That idea is very dependent on our financial outlook at that point, but that’s what I’m hoping we can do. About the time we are done with all that the kids leases we be ending in their apartments and they should be ready to move into the house. And if all of this goes as planned then the next house I buy will be a flip and we can finally make some money from this new endeavor.

The Giving Tree

was one of Dan’s favorite books to read to the kids when they were little. We have our own Giving Tree growing in our front yard. We have been in the process of cutting down this tree for the past 2 years. It was giving the boys quite a bit of enjoyment to slowly cut down the branches. It’s quite an eye sore at this point but someday it will be all the way cut down and replaced with a  new tree.

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In the mean time our giving tree contributed to 2 projects this weekend that Daniel was working on. First he wanted to make a coffee table (actually a D and D gaming table) for his new apartment. He picked up a piece of 1/4 in plywood and 4 very thin table legs at the Habitat for Humanity store. His plan was to just screw the legs onto the plywood and be done.

Instead we searched around the garage and the yard and found a table top that I had trash picked and put aside. We then had the idea of building a double decker table using that as the lower level and his plywood as the upper part. The legs he bought were too small so instead he used tree branches from the giving tree and more branches as spacers between the table layers.

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The finished table… I think he did an awesome job! This table is so cool. I love how the legs have curves and forks in them. It is very sturdy and quite heavy.

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Back to the giving tree for some more branches. I don’t think this is the safest way to cut down a branch!

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Timber…

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Daniel also wanted to build a cat scratching post. It was another successful project. As a matter of fact I’m going to have Thomas build me a coat tree for the front porch using tree branches. It was so nice to see the boys busy building things and working together. Much better than sitting around inside the house watching TV!

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Daniel still has a little work to do then I’ll post a pic of the finished project.

Everyone loves water parks

After our fun at COSI we all walked across the bridge to the waterpark at the Scioto Mile. It has been a ridiculously hot spring, which is hard for these Seattleites to take considering it’s only 60 degrees out west.

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So contemplative

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and Zen-like

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Even the big kids got in on the fun. BJ said he didn’t plan on getting wet, but how can you resist?

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Thomas was running towards me being silly, this really nails his essence, I think.

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It’s even more fun when the BIG sprinklers come one…

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What a great day with friends and cousins.

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Even G-ma and G-pa came along, it’s like they’re homeschooling parents now that they’re taking care of my niece and nephew while my sister is working on getting her house sold.

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Just a little zap

My niece Isa has made the journey to Ohio so we now get to rediscover all the fun little kid things that my bigger kids have outgrown. We met some friends at COSI for a few hours of fun. Isa does not ever remember being at COSI so it was all new to her.

COSI is even more fun when you know the kids putting on the shows. Both Thomas and Louisa do the EG (electro-static generator) show at COSI but by the time we got there Thomas had already done his show for the day so we only got to see Louisa’s performance. The little girls loved getting shocked, so much that we sat through the show 2 times.

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Next they tried out the wind tunnel.

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Then they all worked together to lift the car.

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They did need a little help from Thomas.

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That car is really heavy.

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They also got to watch Thomas and Louisa do one of the carts. Thomas has learned so much being a volunteer at COSI.

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It was so much fun getting to watch Thomas and Louisa do there stuff and watching Isa and her new friends get to know each other. It was like they had always been friends, not that they had just met last week.

And the race is on…

One place that my boys liked to go, but is not much fun by yourself, is the BMX dirt bike track in south Columbus at Heer Park. Since Daniel went away to college it has not been much fun for Thomas. Until BJ got back into town. So last week on a free day I took the boys down to check it out. BJ was a bit hesitant, not knowing what to expect. He was worried that there would be lots of other kids at the park and he would embarrass himself. Luckily there were only 2 other kids and all 4 boys seemed to get along just fine.

After a few practice runs the boys were ready for a race. Thomas had just finished a race with the other 2 boys that were at the park. They beat him by quite a bit but we guessed they were from the neighborhood so they probably spend a lot more time at the track then poor Thomas. BJ may have thought this would be a good time to race Thomas since he was still a little winded from the last race.

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And they’re off….

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BJ took the lead right from the beginning

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and managed to stay in front through the whole race.

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And here he is going for his victory. Thomas really fell behind by the end of the race. I think BJ wanted to go out on a high note since he didn’t ride anymore after this race.

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Thomas’ favorite thing to do at the track is the jumps. He likes to see how much air he can get. I think it feels much more impressive than how it looks in the pictures.

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After a few successful jumps Thomas decided to go get his helmet (yes, that is a motorcycle helmet) so he could really go full force into the jumps.

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All was going well after the first jump and going through the first turn. Here he is gearing up for the next big jump…

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Then I got distracted by this adorable little girl that came running up to me. And I completely missed Thomas’ major wipe out. I didn’t realize he wrecked until I saw him picking his bike up off the track. He was pretty shaken up and little bloody so it was time to go home. I guess the motorcycle helmet was a good idea after all since he landed on his face. Luckily there were no head injuries just some scraped knees.

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On the way home BJ did let me know that this wasn’t really his thing, even after beating Thomas in the race. So we’ll probably not be returning unless some other friends want to go check it out also. Maybe BJ would prefer to check out some the skate parks that around the city.

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