Friday, October 30, 2009

Corn Maze

Took two different groups of girl scouts out to the corn maze. Each year this guy does a different maze, and this year it was 3 miles of space theme..... which we did in the dark. Sorry for the really bad pictures.

At the end of it they went down a big slide outside of the maze.......

A fun evening - just not a great photo op.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Hiking in the fall, in SC, is really the best time (early spring too). The weather is cool, the bugs are virtually gone, and other people are busy.

This time we went to the Congaree National Park. It's free (fits our budget at the moment) but we're always trying to get the girls out and doing something beyond suburbia. The Congaree swamp apparently is one of the last areas of the country that resembles the south (from Virginia on down) from the old days. These are some of the places Swamp Fox, and others, hid in during the Revolutionary War. We learned about all sorts of plants, and how muck filters pollution, and guts help flooding in the swamp. All of the girls now know about Cypress Knees, and saw the 2nd tallest loblolly pine in the nation (the tallest is somewhere else in the swamp).
We chose the easy boardwalk (2.25 miles) because we haven't been there before, and Blondie can't do certain kinds of hikes without me hovering. Both little girls were troopers and walked right along looking for labels for the self-guided tour. Blondie noticed the markers on the trees and announced those for quite awhile. They were both amazed at the pictures of the flooded swamp and how it covers the boardwalk we were on, and how the moss on the Tupelo trees indicates the water line at times.

We are definitely going back to check out the lake, and river, and try one of their canoe tours. Next time we may try the 4-6 mile hike and see how the little girls do (it isn't all on the boardwalk). Photos courtesy of Brian.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pretty perfect setup

Blondie goes to a physical therapist who started her own business. She really picked the best place to do it. She bought a townhouse (very high end, and 2200 sq. feet upstairs) with a storefront below (probably another 700 sq. feet). She owns the one on the far right where she treats the little kids and has a lot of toys (and she will live in it as soon as her tenent is out) and rents the storefront on the left where she has a Wii set up, her office, and a pilates machine (and other equipment).
This is the swimming pool that Kathy uses in the summers with the kids. Blondie loves her time exercising in there, almost as much as free time swimming at our club pool.

Out of the clinic and to the left is the playground. Blondie can work on balance (she can almost walk all around the perimeter), climb ladders, hold on to a swing with lefty, etc. This playground is right next to the pool.

If you walk out of the clinic there is the green right across a little street (above and below) where Blondie plays soccer with other kids who have appointments before or after her. She is actually running quite well, and we are still seeing progress 4.5 years out.

I'm trying to post a video over on the Rasmussen's site (button above) showing Blondie eating with a fork. She is definitely getting better at using her left hand to do that, even though it isn't necessary. Check back to see the video.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Scouting in Savannah

Two years ago I took Big Al's junior girl scout troop to Savannah, and this past weekend I did it again with T-Rex's group. This was a great group of girls to go take because they were so polite and well behaved.

We watched the ENTIRE process of salt water taffy being made, and peppered the two young men making it with a LOT of questions. They couldn't get over the fact that the guys could cut off the extra taffy on the machines and NOT eat it - they couldn't believe he would just toss it in the garbage. They also asked one guy the favorite part of his job and he replied, "Girl Scouts."

We ate lunch at the Pirate House. This is where Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired to write Treasure Island. They said he stayed there and wrote it upstairs, but I'm not sure on that one..... there was a whole lot of storytelling going on in Savannah this weekend. We also learned about the pirate tunnels used to drag drug patrons down to the docks under the tavern and out to the waiting boats.

We visited the headquarters and met another girl scout troop.

Then we toured the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low - BEAUTIFUL house, and wished we could slide down the bannisters like her "dying" grandmother did.

We ended the day with a tour by carriage. Robert and his trusty horse Robin took us around the city and told us a mix of history and "tame" ghost stories. - it was cold! Robert told us many stories about Savannah, and inspired us with the Tom-a-chee chee tradition for Sunday (don't know if it is an actual tradition, but the girls wanted to try it - see below).

Today we ran around the city one more time doing the Savannah Safari badge. We found all sorts of animal architectural elements,

and thought we concluded the day with a pining ceremony in the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace garden.... but the girls wanted to try the Tom-a-chee-chee tradition. One of Low's ancestors ran the railroad, and a monument was erected for him in one of the squares. Unfortunately the people of Savannah had forgotten that Tomacheechee was buried there. He was a Native American who helped Oglethorpe with Native relations when starting the colony of Georgia. He was buried in the square, and when they rediscovered the burial place they reburied him. Ms. Low's mother or grandmother had this huge rock moved in to commemorate his burial. The carriage driver told the girls it was a girl scout tradition to knock 3 times on the rock, run around it 3 times, and then say Tomacheechee 3 times. Then you ask, "What are you doing?" Do you know what you hear? Nothing. HAHAHAHAHAHA...... the girls didn't get the joke, so they wanted to actually do it. I just stood back and took pictures.

T-Rex had a great weekend, and the girls this year are really building some great friendships.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Es Regnet

Es Regnet was the first german phrase I ever learned before we moved to Germany when I was 9. Mom borrowed some german picture books from the library to get us thinking about our new adventure, and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Today was a day off of school for the kids (not me, but I had a great work day - good classes, and time to work on pojects). Unfortunately it was not a day to go outside because of the steady rain. So I ran around taking snapshots of everyone occupying their time.
Blondie and Cheesie were playing with the playmobil people. Cheesie had a classroom setup, and then Blondie would come over the "announcements" and ask for a kid to leave the class and she would take the kid to the hospital setup on the fireplace.
Big Al and her friend "K" were in the tween bedroom with the door closed - not sure what they were doing --- not sure I'm supposed to know.
T-Rex was sitting on my bed working on a crosstitch ornament for someone for Christmas -- don't know who will get it, but she is doing a bang up job.

Brian was on the laptop - after taking this picture I was warned that since I'm posting a pic of him, I should expect to show up on his photoblog..... this is totally prohibited since he always catches me making some weird face... or sleeping... or something.

Just a lazy day stuck in the house.... nothing exciting.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Big Al's team is playing a TON of games this month, most of her season in fact. This weekend her team played in the club tournament - 170 teams registered for boys and girls games U-9 through U-18. On Friday she and I went to a hotel and helped register teams, and she and several teammates helped by pumping up endless soccer balls.

Saturday they played two games and shut out both teams.

Sunday they played the year younger elite team, and beat them too (4-1) - which was nice because they scrimmage against us a lot and it would have been a bit embarassing to lose to them.

Tonight in the final, we played the first team on Saturday, and won 2-0. The girls played well, and have a few things to learn still, but overall very enjoyable. Big Al loves to play, and it is a fantastic group of girls and families. My neice also won her tournament so a very successful weekend for the Brown grandchildren.

That's 4 games won this weekend - WAY TO GO!