Saturday, October 24, 2015

fall bike ride

Last week was a very busy one for us. Terry was teaching at a camp here in town for the weekend and so he had that preparation in addition too his other normal responsibilities. It was a very busy week. We were very glad when Sunday rolled around and he was all done. He decided to push nap time back and go on a bike ride in town. 

We rode down to Culvers for lunch as a special treat. It was so beautiful out that we ate outside, which is actually the best place for four noisy kids to be. Noah wrapped his arm around Ezra and daddy and Samuel thought he should do that to Evie. Evie, however, was not so sure...

Nope. She definitely did not want his arm around her. "Get off!"

"Come one Evie, it's not that big a deal. Let him put his arm around you. He loves you!" 

Laughter at her reaction only further bothered her. She's seven going on 17. 

We haven't been able to do any hiking like we did last year but at least we got on the bike path

It was beautiful out. 80 degrees! It felt extra nice after all my belly aching about the frost killing my plants.  Plus it was fun riding through all the crunchy leaves.

We rode about five mile down the bike path to Roosevelt Park and stopped there to adjust my seat since it was tipping back. Not a comfortable way to ride.

I know I said I wouldn't make a habit of taking selfies so I must have lied. I took another one because I wanted all of us in the picture (and I didn't want to ask the inebriated men lying nearby to take our picture).  

From that point we turned around and rode back home. It's always amazing going down the bike path with the creek because you're going downhill and don't have to hardly peddle. It's a little more work when we had to go uphill. And poor little Evie. She has no gears so her legs were pumping the entire time. She said she was so ready to get off her bike. 

When we got to M Hill we took the little creekside path that skirts the bottom of the hill. First we had to power up the hill. Go Terry! He was pulling two little boys! 

And off go the boys. Evie wiped out on this path once last year apparently so she wanted to stay in the back and go slow. 

I yelled out, thinking of my friend Denise, "It's so beautiful!" because she always says that while biking. Plus, it was true.

 The boys waited for us. Pretty trees.

Just passed McDonald's. Nearly there, nearly there... 

At first the littles thought sitting together was great fun. After we turned around, they turned on each other. I was yelling at them a lot. "Samuel stop that!" "Ezra stop hitting him!" "Stop pouring out your water!" Boys.  

We had a great time. We rode TWELVE MILES! Yeah, I definitely felt bad for Evie after I figured out how far we went.


We have this old book someone from Nebraska gave us. It has only one word: HUG. A little monkey is wandering around the jungle and sees all his monkey friends hugging their parents. He realizes his mommy is missing and he doesn't have a hug. His friends help him find his mommy and his hug, then there's a giant hug fest at the end. The kids love it and I'm not sure why. Perhaps they like their mommy's hugs? Their mommy definitely likes hugs - I like to squeeze my kids. 

Terry was reading it to the littles last week and Ezra started doing this to the book. He's hugging it!

And of course Samuel had to do it too. I just thought it was cute. Need to remember these sweet little things. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

first science experiment

I am not so great at creative crafty things and unfortunately science experiments fall into that category. Or maybe I'm just somewhat lazy. Both are true probably. We only do science experiments when I feel particularly motivated or they're really easy. Last week (6 weeks into the school year) the stars must have aligned because both of those things happened and we finally got one done.

I bought this new 2015 Usborne Science Encyclopedia for Noah for the next few years - it's above Evie though. But I'm sure she gets something out of the readings...I hope. We like it very much, after adjusting to the increased difficulty of the content, and especially that we can use my new iphone to scan the QR codes in each lesson for additional follow-up information. 

This lesson was about how molecules (water in particular) want to stay together due to their mutual attraction to each other. Because water molecules are more attracted to each other than air molecules,  they form this surface tension between the water and the air sort of like a skin. It's this surface tension that allows water bugs to skate across water, or in our case, allows needles to float.

We were supposed to use tissue paper but since I didn't have any, toilet paper stood in just fine. Though it's hard to tell, the toilet paper absorbed the water and fell to the bottom of the bowl, leaving the needle to float on top of the surface. The kids thought it was cool.

Maybe easier to see? We watched a video on my phone where a dude floated a bunch of aluminum coins together and they formed a natural group, being attracted to each other. But then he (and we) added a drop of dishwashing liquid into the water and it was enough to disrupt the water molecules attraction (and their surface tension) and the needle sunk. 

a golden Friday

Two weeks ago we had rather a beautiful, golden Friday. It was Terry's day off and we didn't have much going on; just hanging around the house together. I was making pizza and looking out on the backyard in appreciation of the sight I was seeing. 

A pretty pink Cosmos had just bloomed, just before the frost came...

Samuel had finally learned how to pump himself on the swing (this is the second time that swing had broken - cheap Menards swing! but instead of waiting for daddy to fix it, they rigged up their own system, which i admire)...

And daddy was playing with the littles in the sandbox while Noah and Evie played on the trampoline. Such a nice night. 

awana hats II

I am so not creative. If my kids went to an actual school, I'd be the mom always behind on stuff.

Every year Awana has a crazy hat night. I made a fairly decent attempt two years ago with hats made out of paper plates (hey, they even colored them themselves), but this year (and last apparently) I had no ideas. Except one for Evie - the boys wore baseball hats. 

Sorry Evie. Yes your "hat" was indeed crazy, however, you looked like Professor Quirrell. I take full responsibility since it was my idea. Perhaps this means we need to watch Sorcerer's Stone again...

I'm sure the garlic you put in your turbin didn't help with the whole resemblance thing.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Evie's hide out

At the beginning of this month I was just finishing up school with Noah when I heard Evie and Samuel downstairs playing quietly. Usually an unnatural quiet means something fishy is going on, but that day it was the opposite. Something very sweet was happening. Evie had made this hide-out for her and Samuel...

...and was reading to him inside it. Curious George.

How sweet is that? How cute is he? That little face. One of the more gratifying things about homeschooling is seeing something like this. I was the one who taught Evie to read and she is doing so well with it, not to mention reading to her brothers every now and then. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Crazy Horse marathon relay

On Sunday October 4, 2015, I ran my first competitive race since I was in the 8th grade - the Crazy Horse Marathon Relay. I participated with four friends from church (my team is the first five on the left) and another team of friends ran too; Martha, Amy, Suzie, Jackie, Amanda (who didn't come until later), and Denise, who drove them around.

And here we are - me, Amanda, Kate, Sherre and Faith. I'm the only one who's all bundled up since I was first up to run. We were all very tired since none of us had slept well - nerves.

Terry also ran on a team from church. In fact, two of our church staff were missing that Sunday since Russ, the worship pastor, was also racing. Left to right is David, Russ, Chris, Terry and silly Danny.

All smiles. 

At some point in August, Terry and a few others drove up to Crazy Horse to get a feel for their leg of the race and run it. I couldn't go. After they returned my teammate, Sherre, suggested I start training for hills since that's was what my leg of the race entailed. I had heard the first leg was hilly but, since I didn't go along with them and actually wouldn't have been allowed to practice my leg since it was in the park, I had no idea exactly how hilly it was. I found this elevation chart on the website and realized that it was indeed very hilly. It was at this point that I stepped up my training. 
My leg was the first 4.9 miles.

I had bought my first smartphone the week before the race and this was the first screenshot I took. I was so proud of all my training miles. But I think the only reason I wasn't further down the leader-board was because nearly everyone was injured or had been sick! During training I ran the farthest I ever had; six miles.

THE day dawned foggy, wet and cold. Actually, we didn't see any dawn, but a drear cloudy unknown landscape. We arrived at the monument at 715am, took pictures and stood around (I froze - it was so cold out!). Finally David and I got in line, beginning in the front of the line with the 7 minute mile runners so we wouldn't have to pass people. This was more for David's benefit since I run more like a 10 minute mile or a little less. Therefore, a lot of people ended up passing me. I began to think I was the very last person. While we were waiting to start at 8am, I turned around and  snapped a quick picture just before it was time to start.

 I hadn't been to Crazy Horse since the 6th grade but I didn't see it that day. Here is what it should have looked like. And if it hadn't been foggy, our team pictures would have had the monument behind us. The race began at the parking lot (at the top of the photo in the trees) and then we ran down that hill and back up again. At the top where this shot is taken we took a right (to the left in the photo) and ran back towards the parking lot. Once we crossed the parking lot we ran up a long hill, past the monument - the horse. I could at least see the outline of the horse, even if I couldn't see the face. Once at the top of that hill (when I thought I was going to die, surrounded by a huge stomping, huffing, puffing crowd) we turned around (and I was glad to see I was no where near last - in fact I was towards the front of the pack!) and ran back down, back across the parking lot and down and up this pictured hill. Once again at the top we turned left (right in the picture) and ran down the Mickelson Trail another mile before our partners took over.

There were photographers all over the place for the first and last legs. Every time I saw one I quit grimacing and tried to smile. They took a lot of pictures of me! 

Heading across the parking lot a second time. After a mile I was so hot! I took off my gloves, neck warmer and hat. Guess I didn't need all of that stuff.

I think this is at the top of the hill where I was headed towards the Mick. Four miles done made me smile.

David was pulling ahead of me from the beginning. When we began going up the first hill I patted him on the back and said Goodbye. Ha ha. So of course, he finished way before me. Well, not that far ahead, but probably five minutes or so. Here he is tagging Russ.

And here I am, about to finish! As I was running along the Mick, I was feeling tired, but not exhausted, and was marveling how I was almost done but most people had eight or 21 miles still to go! I was feeling like there was no way I could run another eight miles. Finally I came around a corner to see this mass of people watching the relay runners. 

I couldn't see any of my team. I sped up so I could finish strong and even though I still couldn't see Faith anywhere, I figured she must be waiting at the end of the line of people. I was sprinting and was halfway past all the people when Faith jumped out of the mass, yelled "Eva!" and I grabbed her. I was so startled! And abruptly, I was finished with my leg. 4.86 miles in 45:57 minutes averaging a 9:26 pace. Not bad! During training the lowest I had ran was 9:51 so this was great. 

Next we loaded up in two vehicles and drove a few miles downhill to Custer where the next hand off was to be. We didn't have to wait long for Russ. Next Chris has to run uphill. I didn't take any pictures so I have no more of my team but this is where Faith handed off to Sherre. 

 Chris and Sherre had to run a complete uphill leg and they did fantastic. At the top of the hill, where I had stopped, Terry took over after Chris and Amanda went after Sherre. My team was far enough behind the speedy guys that I didn't see any part of his race except when he started off sprinting. He did very very well with a 7:04 minute per mile pace! And lastly, he handed off to Danny who finished the last six miles under 7 minutes per mile - something like 6:30!

The men did very well, coming in second out of 33. Terry likes to say that since there was only two all men teams they came in last. :) 

Silly Terry!

Amanda passed off to Kate who finished for our team.

Once she came into Hill City we all ran the last bit with her. We came in 25th out of 33.

Getting our medals. 

It felt good to be done. But more than that, I was just looking forward to taking a hot bath. I was beyond freezing. 

And here is the other ladies Parkview team!

Since I had a smartphone, I decided to take a celebratory selfie with Terry, even though I don't like them. I won't make a habit of it :P

He insisted we take a silly one.

And one more before we head home. Go us!