Saturday, August 27, 2011

last week of camp; prep for big storm

One last post before we lose power! Hurricane Irene is bearing down on us, I don't expect to have power for a few days to a week after this. Kids are having a blast learning all about hurricanes, watching the coverage, and referring to the Farmer's Almanac guide to wind types to note the increasing wind speeds throughout the day. They're also looking forward to spending the night in their sleeping bags in our windowless hallway tonight as the stronger winds come in. The things that entertain kids....

This past week Zoo Boy was in Karate Camp for half days. He would have loved to be there for full days, but couldn't come up with something packable that he was willing to eat for lunch, so decided that a half day made more sense. He absolutely loved it!

J and I found other things to do while The Boy was karate-ing. Since we were an hour from home, we explored some of the local trails (and walked atop a water control dam, which was pretty cool), did some observations on a large hatch of grasshoppers, did some bird watching and identification, did some storm shopping, and ate snack each day at various coffee house type places. We also spent an hour each day sitting in the shade reading. I finally read through the epic I'll be reading to the kids this fall, and am now totally psyched to get going with our semester! Although in reality we will take the next few weeks to really enjoy the end of our summer with friends and fun trips. All the driving around this summer has really gotten to me -- worth it because the kids have really enjoyed all of their summer activities, but I'm ready to sleep in for a few days in a row.

These photos were taken at a local park this past week. We did some fun stuff in the afternoons after Karate Camp -- the park with friends, a play date with some of the same friends, a visit to the children's museum, and bowling.

Today is The Map Man and my 23rd wedding anniversary. He got me a Hurricane. How thoughtful....

"See" you all when our power returns! Hopefully I won't have any dramatic damage photos to share. I hope all of our friends and family on the Eastern Seaboard stay safe and escape unscathed!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

ballet intensive, etc

I know I haven't been keeping up well. Sorry. School will start back up in a few weeks and hopefully I'll get back into the blogging swing a little better once our daily and weekly rhythms all even out again. For now we're in the middle of fun summer chaos.

J spent 2 weeks at an Intermediate Ballet Intensive that was held at his ballet school. He loved spending the entire day for 2 weeks dancing, and wishes that Ballet Intensive could go on all year. Not to worry, he's dancing PLENTY of ballet this coming fall, and life is not comprised of dance alone (despite what J likes to think).

In addition to gobs and gobs of ballet technique and ballet variations with various instructors, they also had sessions of Modern, Jazz, Choreography, and Hip Hop. Then they put on a little studio performance for us parents at the end of each week. I really wish I had gotten some good photos (video would have been even better!) of the first week's performance, because Jacob had his own Variation (solo) from Don Quixote which totally blew me away (and had everyone in the room crying, making me feel less like a hormonal mess for bursting into tears). But the performance took me by surprise and I wasn't prepared with the right cameras.

I was prepared the 2nd week, but they didn't show us their variations that week, focusing instead on their choreography and a really great hip-hop number (photo on the left).

They also had a talk on nutrition (with a really fabulous nutritionist who I know from the homeschooling world, as she homeschools her own kids), workshops on stretching and strength conditioning, and watched a few dance videos. Oh yeah, and a workshop on making the perfect bun (hair bun for ballet). Which I was told J was absolutely hilarious in, taking on the role of supervisor while the girls worked on each other's hair. Which may just come in handy for us. (hint, hint....)

Zoo Boy spent the first week of the intensive at a half-day Mad Science camp with a Crime Scene Investigations theme. He loved it. I was entirely unimpressed. The materials were all pre-packaged, the structure of the class a bit chaotic, and the instructor seemed less than dynamic (and even less in control of the behavior of the class). I just expect more when I pay $175 for a program.

In addition, Zoo Boy was paired with a boy who was less than kind to him. ZB insisted that he still like this kid, but I was pretty happy when the week was over. We spent the 2nd week of the intensive going to various area museums with a variety of friends, and it was a much better week for both of us.

What's a dancing boy to do once his 2 week dance intensive is over? Obsess over football, of course! Pre-season games have begun and J (and the Map Man and I) are busy studying the new and young players on our beloved Patriots, and enjoying watching them clean house against their opponents. It's already shaping up to be a GREAT football season!

Dance is done for a few weeks (the semester begins on Sept 12, and I'm giving J's body a full 4 week break from dancing). When he starts up again, he'll be taking 2 regular ballet classes a week, plus a pre-professional trainees class and private lessons to work specifically on "boy stuff". Plus his Modern class which he loves almost as much (but not quite, he says) as his classical Ballet classes.

Meanwhile, we spent a bunch of time at the lake this past week (it was the last week of the season for our beloved local beach, whah.....) with lots of friends, and a bunch of time doing karate-related stuff for Zoo Boy. Next week is Karate Camp for The Boy, plus a bunch of planned play dates and outings. And for the final few weeks of summer, lots of exciting trips and plans.

And at some point I need to get this house in order and prepare for the coming school year. Hmmm.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

yellow belt

Zoo Boy had his first belt test in Karate on Friday. Above, he is in the center, demonstrating some type of punch. Below, he receives his new yellow belt from Master Ken.

Master Ken helps Zoo Boy tie on his new belt (above). Below, the class bows to their families to acknowledge their thanks for their support. The look of pride on Zoo Boy's face absolutely blew me away.

Above, the entire testing class mugs for a fun formal photo. Can you pick Zoo Boy out? (Dead middle of the group, middle kid in the middle row.)

Afterwards, J ran up and gave The Boy a huge hug, and said "I'm SO proud of you!" Big fat pregnancy tears fell from my hormonally driven eyes....

Am considering a post entitled "101 Reasons Why I Love Karate". I truly can't say enough good things about this program or what it's done for Zoo Boy's maturity, confidence, and self image.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


The Map Man took the boys camping last weekend, with some of their aunts, uncles and cousins. I stayed home and puked. (It's so much fun being pregnant! NOT!) Above is their campsite.

Exploring stuff along the trails (above) and building fairy houses (below). In the morning, they discovered that efts (little red salamanders) had moved into their house.

There also was a really nice beach on the reservoir where the kids swam, built sand-castles, and enjoyed the sunset. They all had a great time!