Thursday, December 26, 2013

This Weekend (12/27)

Not a ton going on this weekend.  The boys are staying with their grandparents over the weekend so Mike and I will be doing a lot of laundry.  Adulthood is so exciting.

Brendan does have two soccer games this weekend, though, so if you're free, we'll see you there!

Friday, December 27 - 8:00 p.m. vs. Lake White

Sunday, December 29 - 3:00 p.m. vs. Strikers

We've already played both of the Lake teams once.  We won one and lost one.  I'm not sure if this is the team that we beat earlier in the season or the team that squeaked out a narrow victory over us last week.  Either way, I'm sure the boys are hungry for a rematch.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

This Weekend (12/20)

No soccer game on Friday, which is good, because both boys have a late-night lock-in for Scouts.  Brendan is a Den Chief for the Tiger Cubs, which is sort of like a junior assistant leader position, so he needs to go and help wrangle first graders.  He's certainly learning to appreciate just how difficult it is to herd the little ones!  Each den made a boat from cardboard and duct tape and they're going to race them in the indoor pool, which should be amazingly hilarious.  Nathan has been nominated to paddle his den's boat (with one other kid) because he weighs the least of all of the kids in his age group, lol!

There is, however, a game on Sunday:

Sunday, December 22 - 1:00 p.m. vs. Lake Blue

Come if you can.

In other news, Brendan was also recently elected Patrol Leader of his patrol in Scouts, which means that in addition to chasing itty bitties, he's also got to get kids his own age (and older) to listen to him.  He needs a certain number of months in leadership positions in order to earn his next rank, and between the two, he'll have plenty :)  They're planning a super cool campout in January where they'll get to paddle in an underground river and sleep in a cave.

Monday, December 16, 2013

They won!

For everyone not able to make it to yesterday afternoon's game against Stark Fusion, the boys ended up winning a hard-fought victory, 1-0!

Alex got the lone goal.  Brendan came so close to getting one himself, but the other team's keeper batted it away at the last second.  He played hard, and very well, and we're quite proud of him.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Winter I Amended Amended Schedule :)

We'll probably be monkeying with this schedule until the last game of the season.  Here's the remainder of the schedule, as it exists right now:

Sunday, December 15 - 1:00 p.m. vs. Stark Fusion FC

Sunday, December 22 - 1:00 p.m. vs. Lake Blue

Friday, December 27 - 8:00 p.m. vs. Lake White

Sunday, December 29 - 3:00 p.m. vs. Strikers

Friday, January 3 - 7:00 p.m. vs. Lake Blue

Monday, December 9, 2013

Time Clarifiation - Brendan's Christmas Concert

will be tomorrow (Tuesday), at 6:30 pm at the high school.  We'll try to be there on the early side to save some seats.  We'll probably need an entire row for everyone!

It should be (relatively) short and sweet.  The next show begins at 7:30, so I expect to be done no later than 7:15.  Get there late and you'll miss the whole darn thing :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This Weekend (11/145)

It's going to be a busy one!

Brendan is camping with the Scouts.  Should probably have him get started packing for that, huh?  Saturday evening is the annual Scout Thanksgiving in the Woods celebration, and Brendan will be receiving his First Class rank at the Court of Honor.

Also Saturday Grandpa Gillette will be celebrating 65 years as a member of the Masons, which is pretty amazing.  Unfortunately we cannot be in two places at once, so Mike is going to go to that and I'm going to the Boy Scout event.

Sunday afternoon Brendan has a soccer game at 2pm at the Dome, vs. the Strikers.  Fingers crossed for a win!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Winter I Amended Schedule

Well, we had a couple of changes to the schedule.  And  unfortunately I anticipate even more.  But this is the current schedule as it stands for now:

Friday, November 8 - 7:00 p.m. vs. Canton United Boys 14

Sunday, November 17 - 2:00 p.m. vs. Strikers 13

Friday, November 29 - 6:00 p.m. vs. Perry United

Friday, December 6 - 7:00 p.m. vs. Lake White

Sunday, December 8 - 1:00 p.m. vs. Eagle Select

Friday, December 13 - 8:00 p.m. vs. Canton United Boys 12

Sunday, December 15 - 1:00 p.m. vs. Stark Fusion FC

Friday, December 27 - 8:00 p.m. vs. Lake White

Sunday, December 29 - 3:00 p.m. vs. Strikers

Friday, January 10 - 6:00 p.m. vs. Eagle Select

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Brendan's Christmas Choir Concert

will be Tuesday, December 10, 2013, sometime between 6pm and 9pm.  They are divided into groups, one goes at 6:00, the other starts at 7:30.  I don't know which one he is in but I suspect it is the latter.  Mark your calendars.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Winter 1 Soccer Schedule

I am so excited to tell everyone that Brendan will be playing the first indoor Winter session at the SportDome in Jackson Township!!!  Whoohooo!  Not only will he be close enough for people to easily attend his games, but we will no longer have to leave at 6:45 am for an 8am game!  So, take advantage of it while you can.

The boys are playing "up" one age group, in the U-14 division, because the level of play at the Dome is a little less competitive, so they want the kids to keep being challenged (and not get lazy).  So, the games should be pretty exciting to watch.  I just hope some of our smaller kids don't get trampled by 14 year-old giants.  Not that I expect that to be a problem for the beanpole living in my house.  Anyway, here is the schedule:

Friday, November 8 - 7:00 p.m. vs. Canton United Boys 14

Friday, November 15 - 7:00 p.m. vs. NCYS

Sunday, November 17 - 3:00 p.m. vs. Strikers

Friday, November 29 - 6:00 p.m. vs. Perry United

Friday, December 6 - 7:00 p.m. vs. Lake White [Brendan also has a school dance - the Jingle Bell Ball - this night.  Aaaaaugh!  I'm not ready to have a teenager living in my house!]

Friday, December 13 - 8:00 p.m. vs. Canton United Boys 12

Sunday, December 15 - 1:00 p.m. vs. Stark Fusion FC

Sunday, December 22 - 2:00 p.m. vs. Wizard Hogs

Sunday, December 29 - 3:00 p.m. vs. Strikers

Friday, January 10 - 6:00 p.m. vs. Eagle Select

As you can see, they play ten games, so that should give everyone lots of chances to come.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Travel: Hocking Hills

This weekend we went for a little getaway to Hocking Hills. It was outstanding! We stayed at the Appalachian Quilt Cottage in Fiddlestix Village ( It's a collection of little buildings (and a train caboose!) about five minutes from Ash Cave.

The cabin is actually an old farmhouse that was built in the 20s. As Mike pointed out, at one time it probably held a family of 14 but now they're like, "sleeps four!" It was absolutely perfect for our little family. It had a full kitchen, with dishes and pots and pans, and the fridge was stocked with bread, eggs, milk, orange juice, butter, granola, peanut butter, and jelly. The only teeny complaint I have is that even though it was a pet-free place, there must have been a cat in our bedroom, or near the linens at some point, because the first night there I had a terribly asthma attack and genuinely thought I was going to die. The second night I had to sleep on the couch because I still couldn't breathe. But otherwise it was lovely :)

We hiked.

We climbed rocks.

We walked across streams on logs.

Some of us fell in.

Annnnnnnnd, we cuddled adorably with our brothers.

Saturday afternoon it was cold and rainy and gross, so we hung out at the cabin, playing chess, reading books, putting together puzzles, and shaming Brendan into playing Monopoly with Natey.

Sunday we did some more hiking, and saw all sorts of awesome stuff. We tried to go horseback riding, but they were booked up for the entire day. We had a little picnic lunch, and headed for home. It was so lovely! Those kids are the best.

Now we're home and have leaves to rake. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

CASA Soccer Tournament this weekend!

Soccer Tournament 10/26-10/27

This weekend is the end-of-season tournament! They’re currently scheduled for three games. If they do well, there might be more added. I’m not really sure how it works exactly. So, the three games we know about right now:

10:15 AM vs. Cleveland United – Field 15 2:00 PM vs Ft. Wayne United – Field 13

Sunday: 9:00 AM vs. Cleveland Galaxy – Field 12
PLEASE NOTE that the fields are numbered differently than usual for the tournament. I have a PDF map that I’m going to try to attach here for everyone. But, generally speaking, Fields 12 and 13 are right next to the indoor facility, and 15 is the first field on the corner of the back lot section.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Soccer, yay!

This past weekend was a double-header, and was also something of a Grandparentpalooza! Nana and Papa both came to the first game, and Grandma and Grandpa Bickis came to the second! It was so nice to have such a big cheering section!

The first game was against the Whitecaps, and THEY WON!!!! It was a total nail-biter. Alex got two goals, one on a PK, and Blake got the third to bring them above the Whitecaps’ two. Our regular goalie was late to the game because he was competing in a triathlon, so Hunter stepped up to the plate and was AWESOME!

The boys had a couple of hours to kill until their next game, so we took them all to BW3. They played Trivia while they waited and had a great time. In the meantime, Mike and I were entertained by their Coach, who has officially dubbed Brendan “Goofball.” I’m not sure if that’s an improvement over “Skinnyribs,” but I doubt we have any say in the matter.

The second game was awesome as well, although they didn’t win. Brendan played incredibly well (the whole team did), and nearly got a goal! He charged up there with the ball and shot, and then some kid came out of nowhere and deflected it away from the goal. Shucks. But we’re still super proud of him!

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's that time of year again!

The kids go back to school tomorrow, and soccer practice starts the same day! Nathan is doing Junior Academy with Canton United, so you can come see him practice/play on Tuesdays from 6-7pm. He’s also doing Y-league, but we don’t have a team assignment or schedule for that yet.

Below is Brendan’s (reasonably complete) schedule:

August 24th            9:00 AM – Field 1 vs. CSA
Sept 7th                  9:00am – Field 15 vs. Everest
                               1:30pm – Field TBA vs. TCSC
Sept 14th                10:30am – Field 28 vs. Whitecaps
                               3:00pm – Field 24 vs. Galaxy
Sept.21st                6:00pm – Field 24 vs. Ohio Stk.
Oct. 12th                3:00 pm – THIS GAME IS IN LOST NATION, WILLOUGHBY, OHIO vs. CSA
                               6:00 pm - THIS GAME IS IN LOST NATION, WILLOUGHBY, OHIO vs. ?????

Love the double-headers. It makes for a long day, but it frees up some of our other Saturdays during the fall, which are few and far between.

Edited to add:  Sorry for all the weird formatting before.  I have no idea what happened!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So . . .

I bet you thought I fell off the face of the earth, huh?

I've just been . . . busy.  Despite the fact that I got a new job (Oh, did I tell you that I got a new job?  It's awesome.) that involves way, WAY fewer hours, somehow I still don't have any free time.  It's like a time sponge has come and sucked it dry.  Every once in awhile I can sneak away for Yoga at the Y for a few hours, but mostly it's laundry and cleaning and trying not to have a nervous breakdown because one of my ill-behaved dogs just stole one more blessed thing from the countertop or table.  In fact, I'm hoarse right this very minute from unleashing a lengthy tirade on one totally deserving mutt.

The kids are awesome.  Brendan went to soccer camp at the University of Akron and had a great time.  He came home with a glowing evaluation, and is just really impressing me with his athleticism these days.  He's also impressing me with his ability to eat enough food to keep a small army's blood sugar in an ideal range.  He followed that up with a week at Boy Scout camp, where for the first time, his troop camped out in the rustic portion of camp known as "Outpost."*  They planned for and cooked every meal for seven days themselves, got filthy, and had a great time.  Mike was there over our anniversary and the cell phone reception is so bad that I didn't even get a phone call.  He's lucky I'm low maintenance :)  After that, he and Nate both did Kids College for a couple of weeks.  He did not so much enjoy the Classy Candy Holders class I signed him up for (in my defense, I thought it was Classy Candle Holders - doesn't that make all the difference?) but really liked the creepy crawly creatures class. 

Both kids are having a blast at another camp this summer:

You would think there would be a third picture
in this series, but apparently you'd be wrong.

Nathan also went and turned seven, completely without my permission. He's so tall and lanky all of a sudden, but still adorable. He had a party with his friends at sluggers and putters. The little boy gang spent most of the afternoon soaking teenage girls in bumper boats. They're going to regret that in a few years :)

Nate and Papa did cub scout day camp.  Natey brought home beads for scoring bulls-eyes in not only archery, but BB guns, as well!  I remmeber the first year B went to day camp and being mortified that they were putting BB guns in seven year-olds' hands.  With kid #2, I'm all "Meh.  He's got good aim."  And there, my friends, is my acceptance speech for the Mother of the Year award.  After that he spent a lovely weekend with the Bickis grandparents going to bible school. 

Now we have the CD of all the songs at home and are treated to a weekly dramatic interpretation of all of his favorites.  While the big boys were at boy scout camp, Natey and I went to West Virginia for a short little getaway with some people we don't get to see enough of.

We also had a chance to go see the US Men's National Soccer team play in Cleveland in May.  They lost, but the kids had a blast anyway.

We finally got the boat out on the lake for the season, and we've been making good use of it.  A couple of weeks ago, we had a totally disastrous boating outing, that was saved only by a surprise Murphy family sighting at the launch as we were leaving :)  Baby Luke is getting SO big I can hardly believe it!

Let's see, what else?  Oh.  Brendan is working on his Cycling badge for scouts this summer.  He has to do 2 10-mile, 2 15-mile, 2 20-mile, and 1 50-mile bike rides.  So far we've done the 10s and one 15.  We biked all the way from Barberton to downtown Akron.  It was pretty cool.  Part of the trail goes over a floating bridge on Summit Lake.  We saw all sorts of wildlife, incluing a blue heron rookery, complete with dozens of so-ugly-they're-cute babies.

And finally, a cute picture of Nate At the Beach, just because:

Soccer's starting back up in mid/late August.  Nate is going to do fall soccer with the Y-league, so I'll post that when it happens.  Until then, just pore over the cuteness :)

*At Girl Scout camp, in contrast, Outpost is actually one of the nicest units in the whole place.  I find the juxtaposition amusing.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

This weekend (5/18)

We're going to celebrate my little Natey turning seven!  Seven!  Can you believe it?!

Also, in soccer news:

Nathan -  Saturday - 9:00 AM - North Canton

Brendan - Saturday - 9:00 AM - Lodi Field 8 (choose which grandchild you love more)
                                 11:30 AM - Lodi Field 8  (you don't even have to relocate!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Don't forget!!!

Wednesday:  6:30 PM - Brendan soccer game in Hudson.

Thursday: 6:30 PM - Brendan spring choir concernt at the High School.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

This Weekend (5/4)

Brendan is going camping.

Natey has a game at 9am.  He and I both have strep, so it depends on how he's feeling by then.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Simian the Whale

Last night on my way home I heard a Red Hot Chili Peppers song I've heard a million times, and I have absolutely no idea what the lyrics in the chorus are actually saying.  Here are my various interpretations:

a) Whipped up the shade, it's a lonely view?
b) Without the shed it's so lonely of you?
c) With love they'll share, it's so lonely of you?

None of those really make sense, so I'm pretty sure all of the above are wrong.  Don't correct me!  I'm okay with living with ambiguity.  Whenever I hear a song wrong, and then someone corrects me, I'm never able to hear the mistake again because my brain overpowers my ears.  It's a fun game to distract me on my ridiculously long drive home to try to guess the lyrics.  And for some reason the radio station I listen to has a serious crush on the Chili Peppers, so I hear it kind of a lot.

In my high school-ish years I was convinced that a song by Rusted Root was about "Simian the whale."  Turns out they were singing "send me on my way."  My version is so much cooler.

Some funny ones that actually aren't mine:

1.  Alannis Morissette: "You oughta know." 
- It's not fair to deny me, of the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me.

2.  The Clash: "Rock The Casbah"
- Sheri don't like it.  Rockin' the catbox!

3.  Elton John, "Tiny Dancer"
- Hold me closer, Tony Danza.

4.  And, for those of you who have bladder control problems in your old age, Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Bad Moon Rising"
- There's a bathroom on the right.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Brendan's Soccer Schedule

5/8      6:30pm     NC Hudson - Wednesday night game - super muddy fields.  I'd skip it if I were you.
5/11    10:15am   Cleveland United Fields - Not sure where exactly this is, but I'll find out.
5/18    9:00am     Lodi Field 8
5/18    11:30am   Lodi Field 8

Monday, April 29, 2013

Our neighbors

have been building a chicken coop for about a month now.  They just got the chickens yesterday.  Now Natey is giving me an Hourly Chicken Report.  It's like having a petting zoo in the neighbor's backyard.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Well THAT was educational.

Yesterday we got a little hands-on map reading and route planning education.  Next weekend the boy scouts are planning a big bike ride between Camp Tuscazoar and Fort Laurens.

Here's the totally deceptively
easy looking route on the map. 

Scott asked Mike to go scout out the route ahead of time.  Thank god we did.  Otherwise it would have been nothing short of a disaster.  First mistake:  tackling a ten-mile bike ride on the first ride of the season.  Some of us have been playing soccer all winter and were therefore in good enough shape to tackle that long of a ride.  Some of us, despite occasional yoga classes . . . weren't.

Second mistake:  undertaking a ten-mile bike ride with some water and our bikes and not much else.  We'd had a big lunch right before we left and though it would be an easy, flat ride and we'd be home long before dinner.  We were wrong on all counts.  We got to the camp not even sure that there was access to the trail we needed to be on.  You could tell from a satellite image that it butted right up against the back of the property, and that there were some buildings nearby.  The tree cover was way too dense to see if any trails or utility roads ran back there.  Lucky for us, when we got to the camp (which was PACKED by the way.  Apparently they were hosting a really cool engineering merit badge camping weekend in conjunction with Dam Days) we ran into the caretaker, who carefully quizzed us about our intentions.  He gave us what must have seemed to him really comprehensive directions, but to us, having never been there, sounded a lot like Charlie Brown's teacher, interspersed with words like "switchback" and "might be underwater."

We headed off with gusto and hadn't gone a hundred yards before Mike, who was pulling Natey on the trail-a-bike, nearly wiped out going down a crazy steep hill* and had to get off and walk.  Then we became convinced we were going the wrong way.  Three of us stayed behind and Mike went down another trail to see if it was the right way.  After 30 minutes of that type of nonsense, we finally realized we had gone the right way the first time around.  We skidded down a small mountain (I've never been so jealous of Brendan's mountain bike) and finally hit what looked like it might be the trail we needed.  Yay!  We went another half mile or so and the trail split off in three directions, right at the Dover Dam, with no signage. 

It's not actually us. 
Just where we were standing, scratching our heads.

Well, two of us have advanced degrees, and all four of us are scouts of one flavor or another.  We can handle this, right?  One way dead-ended into the dam itself.  That one was easy enough to eliminate!  The second was headed vaguely west (based only on my estimate from the direction of the sun), which was kind of sort of the way we wanted to go.  The third headed off in precisely the opposite direction.  Mike left us there to go explore that one, because it looked like it could reasonably be described as either a "switchback" or a "lower train bed," or both.  While he was gone, I got out my smartphone and tried to apply 21st century solutions to a 19th century trail.  I discovered that we had maybe possibly gone the wrong direction when leaving the camp, but that if we followed the trail Mike was exploring, had a reasonably good chance of reaching the bridge we needed to cross to get over the river.  The other route was pretty much out of the question because, if I was reading the map right, it was completely the wrong way.  He came back and said he'd gone about a mile or so until he reached a tree across the trail, but saw no bridge.  We decided to give it a shot anyway, mostly because there was absolutely no way at that point that we were dragging our bikes back up the mountain to where our car was parked.

We reached the tree where Mike had turned back before (which Nate felt compelled to touch 40 times while climbing over, despite the fact that it was covered in poison ivy), and kept going, on a path made out of rocks the size of small boulders, interspersed with mud flats that could cause at least four species of dinosaurs to go extinct in an afternoon.  A little while later, noticing the sun starting to get low over the treetops, I started to get worried.  But another mile or so down the trail, peeking through the trees was the bridge!  I've never been so happy to see a hunk of ancient metal in my life.

We rested there for a few minutes, and then headed off on our way.  Just a half mile later, we had to negotiate a section of State Route 800, with nothing between my children's heads and traffic whizzing by at 60 miles per hour except some plastic bike helmets we picked up at Target.  Luckily, that was uneventful.

Just down the road, we got to yet another unmarked fork in the trail.  One way looked like it could reasonably be a hike/bike trail.  But, it could also have been someone's driveway for all we knew.  And since we were in Tuscarawas County, there were better than even odds that the person living at the end of that driveway would be armed and not happy about four idiots trespassing on his property.

The other one looked like a regular road, but we really weren't sure.  Mike checked out the second one, and decided the first one was the better bet.  It was actually paved!  And downhill!  Life was awesome!  Until . . . it wasn't.  100 yards down the trail were workers replacing a bridge that had washed out in a flood or a storm.  Although the trail was technically closed, they took pity on us and let us walk our bikes down an 18-inch wide dirt path that ran along the unfinished bridge.  From that point forward, the entire trail was made up of newly-placed limestone gravel only slightly larger than sand grains.  Because it wasn't yet packed down, it was like trying to ride our bikes on the beach.  There had also been horses on the path recently, and every hoofprint was like hitting a mogul on a ski slope.

I had forgotten my inhaler in the car, and quickly became winded with the exertion.  Poor Mike, who was pulling an extra 100lb of combined weight between Natey and the trail-a-bike had to have been dying, but he soldiered on.  We actually had to get off and walk our bikes for large portions of the trail, because there was just no pedaling through the quicksand.  Around that point, my darling eldest son, whose fat mountain bike tires made it easier to ride in that garbage, sprinted ahead of us and well out of sight.  After another few miles, not seeing any sign of him (and with the sun seriously starting to threaten sunset), I started to get anxious.  But we ran into a guy walking his dogs who had seen him not long before who said he was a little way up the trail near a group of girls.

About seven miles in, we passed those girls, and then reached a fork in the trail, and when Brendan wasn't there waiting for us, my fretting turned into outright frantic doomsday scenarios running through my head.  To make matters worse, I absolutely couldn't make it any further, so Mike left me and Nate at a parking lot nearby and raced ahead to try to find Brendan, get the car, and come back for us.  Luckily I didn't have to wait long; he called within a half hour to tell me that he'd caught up with Brendan, nearly at the end of the trail, and that he was safe and sound.  I wasn't sure whether to hug him to strangle him.  Mike came back for us, we loaded up the bikes, and headed back for civilization, something like 4.5 hours after we left and just barely ahead of sunset. 

All in all, Mike and Bren pedaled 10 miles, and Nate and I did about 7, give or take.  The blue route on the map above is the section we all did together (including the small detour from the camp (#3 on the map) to the dam, and back.  The red is the part that only Mike and Bren finished.  I may never walk again.

* I'm really not exaggerating, for once.  I looked up a topographical map of the area and we descended almost 300 feet in maybe a quarter mile.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Soccer - Nathan

Brendan's schedule still isn't confirmed yet, so I'm going to go ahead and post Natey's.  All games at the YMCA soccer fields behind the old middle school.  Their team is in the red shirts, and they usually play on the field closest to the parking lot.

4/27 - 11:00 AM (also our week to bring snack, someone remind me :))
5/4 - 9:00 AM
5/11 - 9:00 AM (picture day.  We have to be there by 8am)
5/18 - 9:00 AM
5/25 - 10:00 AM
6/1 - 11:00 AM

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Poetry Celebration

Nathan's class is having a poetry celebration on May 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm, in his classroom.  Would love to see everyone there!  Hopefully Mike has a functioning camera by then!

Friday, April 5, 2013

This weekend (4/5)

Nothing of note.  Have fun without us :)

But remember, next week on Thursday is Natey's scout crossover ceremony, saturday is his first soccer game.  We found out yesterday that he has Coach Nixon, Brendan's favorite coach ever.  He's a genuinely great, patient guy with the kids. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Move over, Brendan!

Apparently it's time for Nate to get the lion's share of blog posts and upcoming activities, for once! :)

We just got an email that Nathan's Spring Soccer games will be starting the weekend of April 13.  Schedule to follow, but generally speaking they're saturday mornings between 8 and 11 at the fields behind the old middle school. 

In other news, the C key on my keyboard keeps sticking, which is annoying.  First World Problems.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mark your calendars!!

Our very own Nathan The Bug will be crossing over from a teeny tiny Tiger Cub to a very grown up Wolf Cub on Thursday, April 11, at 6:30 PM.  Bring cameras!   (because ours is broken and I want proof it happened).

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Turns out . . .

. . . my bird likes jelly beans.  Go figure. 

That creature wouldn't last one minute in the wild.  She prefers human food and will scream at the top of her little birdy lungs until she gets some of whatever you're eating.  I got an earful when I tried to enforce a one-potato-chip-to-a-parrot limit.  Go ahead, call PETA :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This weekend (3/21)

No soccer games or scout activities.  Birthday parties for my sister-in-law Sarah and Grandpa Gillette on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Completely last minute - Court of Honor

Tuesday night at the church they're having a Court of Honor ceremony for the scouts at 7pm.  I have no idea if B is getting any awards, but I would suspect so.  Come if you can.  If you can't, no big deal.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Brendan Spring Choir Concert

Brendan's spring choir concert will be Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM at the High School.

Thinking about buying him this outfit:

Not sure if we can afford the therapy bills.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More tournaments!

Don't forget!  This weekend is the CASA Cleveland Indoor Classic tournament.  Brendan's games are all Saturday, between 3pm and 8:30 pm at Krenzler Field, on the campus of CSU.  It should be exciting and interesting!  They've shaken things up a bit by shuffling players between the two twelve year-old teams.  Some of the kids Bren's never played with before, so we'll see how that all shakes out.  As an added bonus, according to Mike, Coach Joe will be coaching our team this weekend.  He's loud and hilarious.  I always know there's a 0% chance of practice being boring when it's run by Joe.  For instance, he doesn't know any of the kids' names.  One time, during a game, he yelled "Hey!  You, in the blue shorts!"  Look at this picture, and tell me what you think might be ambiguous about that statement:

Well, I guess he's not talking to Kevin!

Also, our team manager told us about two more tournaments coming up over the next few months.  So, for advance planning purposes, here's the info:

Northern Ohio Cup - April 20-21, Lodi (outdoors!).  Should be fun.  And cold.  And probably wet.  Plan ahead, because this is the one last year where there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 teams, all playing on the same 30 fields.  It's a traffic nightmare, but pretty exciting for the kids.

Hudson Spring Kickoff - April 27-28.  Back-to-back weekend tournaments!  At least they're both local.  I don't know where it'll be, but I sure hope it's not the Hudson fields we've played at before.  They're a muddy mess in the spring, and there's no parking to speak of. 

Sometimes I wonder which extraccurricular activity makes Brendan tougher:  Soccer or Boy Scouts?  It's kind of a toss-up.

Anyway, I think that we're pretty much done with regular season play until early/mid April.  I think all of our regular season indoor games are over.  Just this one last tournament, and then the two spring tournaments start!  And do you know what comes after Spring ends?  An entire month of no soccer in July.  It's going to be heavenly.

Also as general points of interest, Canton United has a new website:

Also, they just recently got a nice write-up in the Canton Repository:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Travel: Acadia National Park

We took the kids on a 10-day trip in July/August 2011 to Acadia National Park, near Bar Harbor, Maine.  We drove out over two days, stopping in Lexington, Mass., and two days back, stopping in Providence, RI.  It was fantastic, and I would love to go back.  We in the park for five full days, and saw maybe a third of the park.  I think you could spend an entire month there and not see everything.

Here's a recap of what we did/saw while we were there:

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State College, PA

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in State College on both our first and last days on the road. We thought it would be a good stopping point about halfway across PA. The hotel was very nice, the continental breakfast was excellent, but it was a whole lot farther off of 80 than it looked on the itty bitty map when we booked it. Oh well. Live and learn.

Lexington/Concord, Massachusetts

On the way there, we stopped for a day in Lexington, MA. We stayed at the Element hotel, which is a Starwood offshoot. I think it's supposed to be their 'green' line of properties. From the outside it was pretty unremarkable, but inside it was pretty freaking cool. Our room was like a studio apartment. It had a full kitchen, including a range, microwave, dishwasher, and full-sized fridge, along with regular pots and pans and cooking utensils. They had a nice pool, special parking spots reserved for hybrids, and even a charging station out front for electric cars!

While we were there we visited Minute Man National Park and rode our bikes on the Battle Road that stretches between Lexington and Concord.

It's the path that the British soldiers marched on the day of the first battle of the revolutionary war. There are a bunch of old houses along the path, with signs about their significance. Brendan and Nate loved it. They 'took' a hill where the british soldiers fired on the militiamen, and were absolutely convinced that they were going to find a bullet. We saw the site where Paul Revere was captured. Turns out the other two guys with him that night - including the one who actually made it to concord after Revere was captured by the British got historically screwed because nobody's ever heard of them. We were running short on time so we didn't make it to the Concord Museum, where the original revere lantern is apparently housed.

On the way to the park, we stopped at Len Libby's Chocolates, home of Lenny, the world's only life-size chocolate moose!
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Acadia National Park, ME

I don't even know where to start. This place was just absolutely magical.
We camped at the Acadia National Park, Blackwoods Campground. It was pretty rustic.  The bathrooms were clean, but there were no showers in the campground. There are some private pay showers outside the park, but we didn't try them. We brought a solar shower and it was unpleasant, but got the job done. The campground itself was reasonably nice. The terrain there is very rocky, so you essentially have to sleep on gravel, so I was very very grateful that we brought an air mattress. It was quiet, the plots were nice-sized, and there were very few bugs. The weather was really perfect. It was fairly cool - it only got above 80 one day, and most of the time we were there it was in the low 70s, but that was actually great for us because we were hiking, biking, and generally getting all hot and sweaty, so it was nice to not do that in 95 degrees with 90% humidity.

Hiking: We hiked some of the shorter trails. They were very challenging, but the kids kept up quite well, actually. We almost got ourselves in quite a bit of trouble one afternoon though. It gets dark there early, and even before it gets dark, the fog and mist roll in, making it difficult to see very clearly. We set out one afternoon on what we thought was going to be a very short trail. Well, it was pretty short, but it was straight up! We climbed something like 300 feet, following nothing but blue spray-paint dots on the ground every ten feet or so for most of the trail. About two hours later, we were only halfway done and it was starting to get dark. We were quite literally only feet away from cliffs that went straight down into the ocean and knew that if it actually got dark we would be in pretty serious trouble. We didn't realize how long it would take so we didn't have anything at all with us. I was seriously trying to figure out how we'd manage to spend the night out in the open and get back to the car at first light with no water, food, bug spray, or even sweatshirts. We picked up the pace, carried Nate for a bit, and managed to make it back just in the nick of time. We really wanted to hike Cadillac Mountain (, but we checked with the Rangers and they told us that the prior week a family similar to ours hiked it in five hours, and we knew Natey's little legs just couldn't handle that. Oh well. Next time.

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Biking: The park has a whole system of unpaved carriage roads that are closed to car traffic but that you can walk or ride bikes on. We bike a lot on the weekends, so we thought it would be great. Oh my god we were so wrong. We were not even remotely in good enough shape for biking in this place. It's all mountains. You're either going straight up, or straight down. We tried a couple of the trails and I honestly thought I was going to die. We finally sheepishly asked for a recommendation from the Rangers for 'trails that are good for kids.' On their recommendation, we biked around Jordan Pond, around Eagle Lake, and around Witch Hole Pond. Even some of those had a couple of nasty little hills, though.

Tide Pooling: Two hours prior to low tide is the best time. We went to a couple of different places. It was great. The kids were in heaven. And by the kids, I mean me.  We saw lots of snails, periwinkles, and some really grouchy crabs. I was a little disappointed because I had visions of starfish and urchins, but I got over it.

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Whale Watching: We went on the sunset whale-watching tour, offered by the Bar Harbor Whale Watching Co. ( It was absolutely indescribable. They drove about an hour out into the Gulf of Maine. On the way there we saw porpoises, a seal, and a bunch of different sea birds. As we got close to where the whales were feeding, way off in the distance you could sort of see puffs of water coming up from their blowholes and knew we were heading in the right direction. All of a sudden, on the left side of our boat, so close it seemed like you might be able to touch them, were a pair of whales swimming together. They were in perfect unison, like synchronized swimmers. They'd dive down together, flipping their tails up in the air at the same time, and come back up five minutes later on the other side of our boat. All together, they were able to identify five different humpbacks from their tail markings that day (Spoon, Notchy, Nuke, Gemini, and Flyer), and there were at least six more that they couldn't identify (the undersides of the whales' tails are like fingerprints. they're all unique. we couldn't get good enough looks at some of their tails to figure out who they were). They were completely surrounding our boat on three sides. Everywhere you looked there were tails slapping, dorsal fins poking out, blowholes spouting, and flippers flopping. It was beyond amazing. It was cold, though. They tell you to dress warm and they're not kidding. It's only around 50 degrees out there, and the boat is going really fast. Poor natey's nose froze. Luckily we had just bought the boys really cute (and waterproof!) fleece-lined jackets in a gift shop. They came in quite handy.
My little Gorton's fishermen:

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Shopping: We spent part of a day in downtown Bar Harbor. It's a quaint sort of little seaside tourist town. It reminded me a lot of Put in Bay, but more families and less drunken carousing. Lots of cute little shops, some nice restaurants, a lovely little park in the center of town, and an ice cream shop on every corner! Lots of nice B&Bs for people who aren't interested in camping :). I can't even remember all of the places we ate there, but they were all good.

Swimming (sort of): They have some really lovely beaches. Many are nothing more than a tiny cove with smooth, ocean-tumbled rocks, at least one is large, with soft sand, and a couple are something in-between. Most of the shells we found were scallops or oysters, with some really neat curly-probably-snail shells thrown in for good measure. The one uniform feature is the water. It's COLD. Really cold. No more than 50 degrees or so. I went wading up to my knees and had to get out fifteen minutes later because I could no longer feel my legs. But the kids? They don't care! We took a picnic to Sand Beach, fully clothed. The kids were going to just put their toes in the water. An hour later, they looked like this, and we had to make them come out because Nate's lips were turning blue. There are also apparently a couple of swimming beaches at the inland lakes that are a little warmer, but we never made it there.

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General sightseeing: You have to drive slowly in this place. Every time you come around a corner there is some sort of breathtaking view of something. I really can't do it justice.

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(I kept waiting for a sparkly vampire to appear)
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We went to Thunder Hole, which was disappointing. It's a rock formation that funnels high-tide and storm waves into a huge old-faithful type of upward water jet, accompanied by a loud boom. The sea was too calm when we were there, so we just saw some splashing.
Cadillac mountain is amazing. We drove up (see the earlier explanation about the five-hour hike!!) twice. At certain times of the year, the top of that mountain is the first place in the continental US to see the sunrise. We woke up one morning at 4am and drove up there. Unfortunately there was a really heavy fog. We sat there in the freezing, damp mist for an hour or so before Mike turned to me and said 'how are we supposed to know when the sun comes up?' We finally just gave up and went back down to camp for a huge breakfast.

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The next day we went back up during the day and took a bunch of photos.

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Providence, RI

On the way home, we stayed at the Westin Providence. We spent the next day sightseeing around there. We wandered out of our hotel and happened to find a street arts festival going on that was very family-oriented. There were vendors, facepainters, a paper airplane making contest, a little booth where the kids could make funny hats, and a truck giving out free ice cream and popsicles. The kids got to play gigantic yahtzee at a booth sponsored by southwest airlines, and won some airline miles (they were more impressed with the dice the size of their head, lol!), hang out by the Fuze and lemonade sampling booths, and stalk a couple of costumed mascots.

After we left there, sort of on a whim we decided to stop by a park where mike heard there was a really cool old carousel. Sure enough, in Roger Williams Park, honoring the founder of providence, we found it. The carousel didn't open until noon, so while we were waiting to buy our tickets, we checked out the beautiful gardens, drove by the zoo (didn't have time to go inside, unfortunately), and rented paddleboats shaped like swans!

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It was all very spontaneous and fun. I'm glad we stopped there. It really helped break up the (long, looooooooooooong) drive home.