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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Looking for a new sport

I don’t have competitive kids and for that I am really grateful. I’m really not interested in dedicating a huge portion of our weekends and evening to a sport. But I do like for the kids to participate in something that gets them out of the house occasionally and maybe even gets them some exercise. Homeschooling adds a little bit of a challenge to that especially as the kids get older. Thomas has played soccer since he was very young but he is now too old for the rec center league he played on, so it’s time to find something new.

We thought about going back to our old stand-by, ice hockey but Thomas just wasn’t that into it and considering how inconvenient the rinks and the times are I wasn’t into forcing the point.

Next he thought he would like to try boxing, he’s actually been wanting to try it for about a year. So when a “Groupon” deal popped up for a boxing ring that was right down the street from our house (that I didn’t even know existed) I couldn’t resist.

Our first time there was completely intimidating! This was a real gym with lots of big guys hitting the heavy bags and boxing in the ring. I thought I had walked into a Rocky movie. One guy came out of the ring with blood running down his face.

Thomas was supposed to start his warm up by jumping rope…If you ever watch a group of homeschoolers try to do jumping jacks you’ll get a good laugh. Some of those things that are so normal for school kids to learn during PE, homeschool kids just don’t do. Turns out jumping rope may be another one of those things. Poor Thomas had no idea how to jump rope. But he kept trying no matter how embarrassing it was.

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Finally it was his turn in the ring (not “rink” like I called it on twitter) to practice some boxing skills. He really liked this part, he actually liked everything about it (besides the jumping rope.) On our way home we talked about signing up for a monthly membership where he could come and work out several times a week.

I did talk to the owner of the gym about my concerns of brain damage and the like but he assured me repeatedly that football was much more dangerous. Eventually I had a chance to to tell him that I actually never let my kids play football so that wasn’t really an issue.

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We went back for Thomas’ second session, (the deal was for 4 sessions) Thomas started back with the jump roping doing much better this time, then moved through all the stations. On the way home this time he shared that boxing was not for him. He did not want to join the gym after all. But not for any of the reasons you would guess (like being punched) it was because when you  take a boxing stance you hold your fists right under your nose while your hands are wrapped in cloth or these strap like things. Turns out they smell really bad and Thomas just couldn’t stand the smell of them. So no more boxing for him.

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He did however go buy a jump rope and he has been doing that daily in the yard.

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Next thing he wanted to try is rock climbing. Again its not terribly convenient but it’s very affordable and something he could continue doing as an adult. He has done it in the past so we know he likes it but this time he seemed ambivalent. He enjoyed a bit of the climbing but didn’t even want to stay through the whole session. If he decided to join the club he’ll go 2 days a week for about 1.5 hours each time. I think it’s still on the table but I need to talk to him some more to get his thoughts.

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We still have one other sport in the works. He just started Karate at the Tues co-op and so far (its only been 1 week) he really likes it. Maybe we’ll be adding in some more martial arts to his schedule. Or maybe that 1 class for 45 min a week is enough for him.

Impromptu park visit

Sometimes its the unplanned evens that are the best. Yesterday I planned on taking the kids to COSI (Columbus’ science center) so we packed a lunch and met some friends there. As we pulled up we saw the line of school buses which was our first indication that we had picked a bad day. Too many field trips does not make for a good museum experience. Then as we were getting our tickets we noticed that the kids favorite spot, the outdoor play area was closed for the day. Oh well, we headed upstairs to their second favorite spot, Gadgets Cafe to sign up for a session where you can take apart electronics or build your own creation, only to find that was also closed for the day. We wandered around a bit waiting for our friends, who were also disappointed because the traveling exhibit, Titanic was too expensive for them to see and Grossology their favorite exhibit had already left COSI. Man talk about a dud! But my friend and I still left the 6 kids to find something to entertain themselves while we walked along the river for a little bit.

While we were out walking another friend texted us and suggested we should leave COSI and meet then a couple mile south of it at the new Scioto Audubon Metro Park. We were game so we headed back towards COSI texting the kids that if they wanted to leave we would be back soon and we could go check out a new park. They were also agreeable so off we went.

And boy were we all glad we did. It was AWESOME!!!

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We only spent a few minutes exploring the inside of the building, what was really calling to the kids was the playground and the climbing mountains. These were not playground type climbing walls. They were the real thing that you bring your own gear to climb. Of course, we didn’t actually have our own gear but luckily there were two climbers there that had already put up their ropes and offered to help the kids climb the mountain and belay for them.

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They thought Beth would be the best one to go first because of her height. I on the other hand thought they were crazy! She was supposed to go up the one side scale across the bridge then continue onto the other side. Yikes!

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She was really high up, have I mentioned that I’m scared of heights!

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And this is when she fell off the mountain too many gasps from us on the ground. Good thing she had her safety ropes on!

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She recovered a bit but not quite enough to continue on the climb. She was ready to come down at this point.

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BJ also climbed the mountain but he did a straight up route and avoided the tricky bridge.

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This is Olivia and BJ close to the top.

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Olivia is traversing the bridge like a pro. She had joined a rock climbing group in college and has been practicing weekly. A little bit of training really helps!

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BJ at the top of his climb.

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Olivia on the other side of the bridge about to make it to the top of her route.

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This was a fabulous park and we can’t wait to go back! Thomas didn’t even get a chance to play on the playground since he was too busy scaling the smaller mountains. So we’ll be back soon!

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