Saturday, July 31, 2010

Afternoon at the fair

We've moved on in our midwest journey to Illinois, where we're staying for a few days with Chris' parents before driving back to Charlotte. Chris flew up Friday, so he'll help me on the long drive home.

We all went to the county fair here today, which turned into a great day for Josh. He got to do two of his favorite things--jumping and shooting--in the extreme, as well as eat corn dogs, go on a Ferris wheel and look at livestock. Molly and Josh both burst out crying when they realized we were leaving.

Molly, Grandpa and Ethan on the Ferris wheel

Molly and Ethan have become fast friends this trip. It's very cute.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Epic Journey to Iowa

The kids and I left last Friday for a 19-hour drive to Iowa to spend a week with my college roommate Shelley and her kids. We took two days to make the trip, stopping frequently at rest areas to eat out of our ice chest and spent the night at a hotel in Louisville. We were in a daze when we pulled in on Saturday night.

Shelley and her family live on a campground, where Shelley's husband is the executive director. It's a great place for kids--there's a swimming pool, a dining hall (= no cooking meals for us) and lots of dirt roads for riding bikes. I went for a run one evening on the campground, and it felt like I was in a Disney movie, with a pink sunset and deer and rabbits leaping across my path.

The kids are enrolled in swim lessons every morning at the local country club, where they apparently have hired the Iowa bikini team as instructors.

Josh learning the backstroke

Molly is the smallest kid in swim lessons, and the first day she was a terror. She screamed, cried, and attached herself to the program director (pictured here) for 45 minutes. She made an excellent recovery, though, and now is a very enthusiastic participant.

Maggie, Molly, Alex and Josh after swim lessons today

We spent one afternoon at a local vineyard, listening to live bluegrass music and drinking wine while the kids played among the grapevines. It was pretty idyllic.

Alex, Molly and Josh in the vineyard

Molly has gone from being camera shy to now performing all sorts of weird dance moves when a camera is turned on her.

Josh and Alex playing fetch with Zoe at one of the camp's ponds

Josh and Shelley in the garden

Me, Shelley and a new friend, Laura, at the drive-in double feature last night in the middle of a bunch of cornfields. We got home at 2:15 a.m. and successfully cared for five children all day--including taking them to a parade--without growling, barking or other obvious expressions of sleep-deprived crankiness.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Josh and Muggsy

Josh just finished a week at Muggsy Bogue's basketball camp, which Muggsy runs at a nearby sports center. Muggsy is only 5'3", so as you can imagine it was pretty shocking to stand next to a former NBA star who is almost half a foot shorter than me!

Josh learned some basketball fundamentals this week, and I was very happy to see him shooting the ball properly today, as opposed to his usual underhand shot. Josh was one of the youngest kids there, so he was elimated early from today's final game of "knock-out" and apparently spent his free time in the autograph line. He came home today with Muggsy's name on two t-shirts and one of his shoes.

Here are some photos of Josh and Molly as we were leaving camp today. Molly is giving me "the eye" in the last one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Our first family triathlete is. . .


A complicated string of events in late May led me to sign Josh up for a kids' triathlon, even though at that point he could not ride a bike or swim very well. We've been a bit quiet about his training just in case tonight's race was a total trainwreck that we would have preferred to forget!

However, Josh pulled through. He learned to ride his bike about a month ago. We've been going out to the track at his school at night, where he runs and rides his bike. Chris worked on the swimming with him until he could do the required 50 yards.

We could not be happier with Josh's performance in the triathlon tonight. He kept his composure and tried hard the whole time, even in the half mile run in the end. He is very proud of himself, and we are very proud parents!

Here's Josh before the race with his transition set up from swim to bike. Completing the transition was an accomplishment in itself, as it involved several steps and a lot of focus. Josh did great!

All of the racers were marked with their age and their race number. Not sure why they did it in Sharpee, and this woman could not tell me how to get it off after the race. The Sharpee still looks great after Josh's shower tonight, so we're going to have to find a more powerful removal substance!

Monday, July 5, 2010


We drove 10 hours each way this weekend to spend the 4th of July weekend in the Florida panhandle with my extended family. On Saturday, we attended the annual Minchin reunion, and pictured above are all of us linked by my grandparents Bill and Lucy.

The kids had a wonderful time hanging out with their cousins, including Abbey and Elizabeth and Shade and Jessie Kate, who spent the weekend with us at my grandmother's farmhouse. We carried on the tradition of packing a bunch of people into a three-bedroom house, and enjoyed plenty of time to hang out and catch up.

Part of that included observing my brother's birthday with a cake made by a cousin who makes wedding cakes for a living. Not a bad way to celebrate!

Josh and Shade spent the weekend playing games on whoever's phone they could "borrow" and shooting Shade's air gun. The latter activity brought up some fun reminiscing about a time long ago when one person in attendance, now an adult, accidentally shot a cousin, also in attendance, in the face with a BB gun. Good times.

We observed the 4th with sparklers, which prompted yet another memory of my grandmother Lucy allowing us to do sparklers in her living room on Independence Day because it was raining, to my mother's horror. We chose the outdoors for this celebration.

Josh and Shade used their sparklers to try and set things on fire, like small branches and a pile of grass. Not a surprise.

My cousin Jessica's daughter, Jessie Kate, joined the girl brigade for the weekend.

We took Molly, Josh and Shade to see fireworks in Vernon, Fla., that night, and then Aunt Grace joined us for blueberry picking the next day. Molly went home with Mom and Dad for the week, and Josh is enjoying being an only child for the week. He's already laid claim to Molly's dinosaur place mat and is in boy heaven building an air rocket with Chris.