Saturday, August 19, 2017

He's 16!

Clopfers at the Apfelwein Fest

Dinner at Jamy's Burgers

Spaghetti eis dessert

A Working Summer

Becca had a busy summer.  She was full-time in the summer hire program at the Consulate.  She had dog-sitting jobs. And she took a 10-week summer 3D art class.

The last project for the summer was a clay piece with the goal of creating an anthropomorphic animal/insect/non-living items as a toy/logo for a children's store

Ideas were tossed around and the two final contenders were a ballerina mosquito and a corgi Queen.

The piece that resulted is quite remarkable IMO.  From the beginning when it was a drawing then a wire skeleton, to when it started taking corgi shape in clay, and finally the finishing painted details, it was amazing to watch. I've said several times that if we saw this in a store in a London, I'd buy it for Rebecca because she's all about the corgis, and this is a fabulous piece.

A royal shelf wave.

Working up to this piece, she started with a wire seahorse for an imaginary aquarium. This one she brought with her to work on while we visited Dublin.  Jeffrey was her carry-on:

It's about 18 inches, not the mammoth it appears.

A foam core "Bat Shramp" (not sure what location this was for). The task was to combine a macro-creature with a micro-creature:

Just missing whiskers.

And a tea light tree sculpture for the head office of an imaginary organic food company. The task was to pick any single item and build it up. This was her least favorite result, but I think it still has a certain charm:

And now she's back to Savannah, a couple weeks early to get her RA training before the rest of the kids arrive to school. She has a long 12 weeks ahead of her and we already miss her.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Muddy Angel 2017

Today was another check mark on the list of "do things that make you uncomfortable." The Muddy Angel follows the pattern of a Tough Mudder, but much (MUCH) tamer.  There's very little upper body strength needed and the 5K is broken up by low key obstacles.  The idea is fun (and fundraising), not overcoming fears and pushing yourself like the Tough Mudders and Spartans do.

We didn't even have a team name, much less a uniform!

Katherine went for eye makeup but there was no time
for the rest of us.

That yellow blob in the back is me. 

The muddiest part of the mudrun.

So happy the girls did this with me!
I was, by far, the slowest member of our team as I have no cardio endurance at all and a 5K is FAR for me, but I finished and even jogged some parts of it.

Thanks to my girls, Brandi, Alaina, and Jonette for saying Yes to doing this too!

Saturday, August 5, 2017


Last night Becca and I hit the Main River on stand up paddle boards.  A friend sent out an invite to a group of folks, 26 said yes, and off we went.

The Main River goes through the center of Frankfurt, and we paddled our way through part of it, and we paddled through sunset.  It was a beautiful evening.

And I only fell in once.

I don't think SUP is something I'll do again unless it's through a nature reserve of some sort, for while the city was lovely the big working ships passing by were a little less so.  And the folks sitting on the banks whistling. And it's hard.  Sleeping was a little tough as all those arm and leg muscles did their spasm dances from over exertion.

But yeah, it was fun and I'm really glad I went.  Another thing off the ever-growing bucket list.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Quick trip to Dublin

Katherine is nearly finished with her internship in Dublin, but about half way through we took a quick weekend to visit her.

Our apartment was a little smaller than I remembered booking. Probably because I wasn't sure if all of us were going, and I thought the couch looked a lot bigger in the pictures and could work in a pinch for one of the kids.  Well, turns out not so much.  My comments to the landlord included suggestions for a pull-out couch and some food in the pantry.  One box of oatmeal, a half stick of butter, and some freezer-burned ice cream aren't really satisfying when arriving 90 minutes late (delayed flight) at midnight. Nicholas and Rebecca shared a room. Really shared. Jonathon got the way too small couch. It was only for 3 nights.

Dublin is a very walkable city. Our first day we poked around the Temple Bar area, saw where Katherine is doing her internship, and went to the Leprechaun Museum. Leprechauns aren't real (shhh) so there's nothing in the way of what you'd see in a regular museum, but stories about leprechauns and fairies have been around for centuries, and that's what this little museum is all about.

Three big guys on a tiny couch - manspreading

This bust didn't have a name. No Name Bust.
The next day we visited Trinity College, saw the famous library, and accidentally took photos of the Book of Kells (actually Katherine did, she was properly tut-tutted.) I'll tell you a secret though, I think the Book of Armagh is better. We visitied the Little Museum with the best tour guide (If you're lucky, you'll have Ronan) where one of Katherine's roommates worked. The Little Museum is a 30-45 minute run-through about the history of Dublin and well worth a visit.  We walked through part of  St Stephen's Green, a beautiful park. Saturday evening we did an Escape Room (see my Escape Room blog entry) and were flying through but for one puzzle that we all stared at each other for 10+ minutes.  That was embarrassing.

Lunch at TripAdvisor recommended Sheehan's Pub.

A little birthday shopping!

A little birthday dessert!

Sunday we had some time before our flight so we walked past Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick Cathedral (no visiting... it was church time and the entrances were all guarded to allow church-goers only!), and tried to book a Viking duck tour but they were booked. So we did a second escape room we happened to walk past and they had a head-to-head room open right then.  Lucky. Boys vs Girls, and the Boys won by a few seconds (I'm pretty sure they got more clues than we did). We'll get them next time.

Once again, we're in love with Ireland. I think we're building our case for moving there permanently one day.

And Katherine comes home in a week :)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Nicholas survived his week at JCLC

The Army JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC) was an intense week of physical challenge. There's a website with photos, but I pulled the ones I found with Nicholas in them.

His nose is burnt raw, his feet are blistered, but he made it through and earned recognition as the runner up for Honor Cadet of his platoon (there were 4 platoons with 35 kids in each). Super proud of him!