Molly

Six Flags America

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on August 23rd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Leah participated in a reading program at school this past year that awarded her a free ticket to Six Flags America. It’s been a very busy summer, but we finally found time to go. And not only did we go, but we got to go with a bunch of friends from playgroup. Simon and Matilda, Keira, and Jake all joined in the fun (as did some of their parents). In fact, Molly’s first trip ever to an amusement park included Keira and Jake. Simon and Matilda were sadly not there (Matilda would have been 3 months old, so she probably wouldn’t have remembered it if she had gone). Leah was sort of there, as Jen was pregnant with her at the time. Here they are all those many years ago:

Holding hands

We got to Six Flags at 10:30 when the park opened. This was our first trip to Six Flags, but the others were experienced (most had season passes). All the older kids were tall enough now to ride all the rides (something new for Molly), but Leah and Matilda couldn’t ride the largest of them. That said, Molly was still scared of any roller coaster that went upside down or was too extreme. We tried to convince her to try one, but she was quite resistant. So, we started with some tamer rides that everyone could ride. First, the Flying Carousel:

Flying Carousel

Flying Carousel

Then the Tea Cups

Tea Cups

Our first roller coaster was the Ragin Cajun, a spinny mouse coaster that everyone could ride. And, surprisingly, everyone did ride it including Jen. She took a couple Dramamine before arriving so she could try some coasters, but I was still surprised to see her on it. I think Stacie deserves the credit for pushing Jen to ride this ride (and many other rides). The girls rode together, so Jen and I got to ride in a car by ourselves.

Then another smaller ride: French Quarter Flyers

French Quarter Flyers

French Quarter Flyers

We then went on Wild One, a wooden roller coaster originally built in 1917 at a different park and moved here in the 80s. Again, everyone could ride this. Both our girls said afterward they didn’t like the big drop at the beginning, yet both of them wanted to ride it again. So, most of us rode it a second time.

One of the reasons we rode it again was that there was no line. We apparently found a great day to visit the park, because there were almost no lines all day long. It was awesome.

We took a lunch break, then some of the kids really wanted to do Shipwreck Falls. It’s a big boat that crashes down into water (like Splash Mountain, but a lot wetter). Molly tried to get out of it when she saw how wet the boat was, but Jen said, “If I’m riding it, then so are you! Sit back down!”

Shipwreck Falls

We all ended up completely drenched. Even with the sun, it took hours to dry off.

Drenched

Since we were already drenched, we went ahead and rode Renegade Rapids. And then we headed to our first coaster that the smallest girls were not big enough to ride - the Mind Eraser. Molly did not want to try it (you go upside down), and Jen was happy to sit out. I rode it though. It’s fun.

Our next stop was Coyote Creek Crazy Cars (bumper cars), where all the kids (and Zach) joined in. Leah thought Matilda needed some directions on who to bump into.

Coyote Creek Crazy Cars

Molly does not have a lot of experience driving a car, and so had a little trouble getting the hang of using the pedals and steering wheel simultaneously. This gave the smaller girls ample opportunity to ram into her and Keira.

How does this work?

Now you’re getting it, Molly.

Now you've got it

It’s fun to crash into Jake.

Crash

We then went to the other wooden coaster - Roar. Everyone could (and did) ride it. It’s a bit shakier than Wild One, but still lots of fun. After riding it once (and cleaning up the drink I spilled in my backpack), some of the bigger kids wanted to ride Apocalypse. Molly did not, and the little girls couldn’t. So, I joined the three of them and we rode Roar again while the others rode Apocalypse. There was still no line when we finished, so we rode it a third time. Then we stopped riding it, both because the others had returned and because we had fully shaken our brains after riding the wooden coaster three times in a row.

The kids and Zach then hopped on High Seas (not my kind of ride).

High Seas

After that, it was time for sweet treat. We headed to Rita’s and had to stand in line for a while before finding out their custard machine was broken. We still got some ice, but we also got some Dippin’ Dots to make up for the missing custard.

After our treat, we headed to Gotham City, home of most of the really serious rides. Our first stop was The Joker’s Jinx, a seriously twisty coaster. The little girls couldn’t ride it, and Molly didn’t want to, so the three of them went with Jen and I to Riddle Me This (like an open air Gravitron that tips up on end). The girls got to ride it a couple times before the others finished on The Joker’s Jinx, and they loved it. I mentioned to Molly that she was going upside down on this ride, and if she could handle that she could handle it on a coaster. To my surprise, she thought that made sense, and asked if she could now go on The Joker’s Jinx. So, we went back to The Joker’s Jinx along with the other older kids.

Molly was pretty scared as we got strapped in. It’s also a ride with a fast launch (0-60mph in 3 seconds), which freaked her out. As soon as the launch was over, we emerged into a twist followed by a loop. As we finish the loop, I hear her screaming with joy “I like going upside down!”. She loved the ride, and was suddenly emboldened to ride all the most extreme rides. Here she is after conquering her fears.

Joker's Jinx

All the kids, Zach, and Jason then went on The Penguin's Blizzard River, a water ride that doesn’t really get you wet.

The Penguin's Blizzard River

The newest ride at the park is Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth, an extremely tall swing ride. To our surprise, all the kids ended up riding this daunting ride. Neither Jen nor I did. It was really high.

Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth

High flying

We then went to Superman, the biggest, steepest, fastest roller coaster of the park. It starts with a huge climb followed by a 200 foot drop reaching speeds of 73 mph. The little girls couldn’t ride it, but everyone else could and did (even Jen). Molly said she wasn’t even scared to ride it (her attitude was really transformed by her success at The Joker’s Jinx). Superman was a favorite of many of us.

As if that wasn’t crazy enough, we then went on to Batwing, a coaster that lies you on your back at the start, then flips you over so your flying (held up by the shoulder straps) and zooming around. Again, the little girls couldn’t do it, but everyone else (even Jen and Molly) did it. However, Molly, Jen, and I were not a fan. It was just too much for us. Rather than screaming about how great the ride was, Molly was screaming “I don’t like this” over and over throughout the ride. I don’t think we’ll be riding this on future visits.

We then made our way back. Several of the kids rode Wonder Woman again as we went by it, though Molly did not as her head was hurting from Batwing.

We then stopped for dinner. Jason and Keira left to head home, but the rest of us enjoyed park food for our second meal of the day. We got a picture of us all beforehand.

Our crew

After dinner, Jen and I would have been happy to head home, but the others weren’t done yet. The kids hit the Flying Carousel again. Then they wanted bigger rides.

The boys wanted to go back to Superman, so they set out on their trek. The girls decided to ride Ragin Cajun again. The girls were going to ride by themselves, but were told they needed one tall person for every short one (Molly counted as a tall one). So, I ran to the front of the line to accompany them on this spinny mouse coaster.

Ragin Cajun

Since the boys weren’t back yet, the 3 girls and I then rode Wild One again (meaning we had ridden each of the wooden coasters 3 times). Then the girls rode the Zydeco Zinger a couple of times.

After their second ride on the Zydeco Zinger, they were confused as to why the ride was not allowing others onto it. We had to explain that it was after 8:00 and the park closed at 8:00. Yes, we arrived when the park opened and stayed till it closed.

We then headed toward our car (stopping at the gift shop to pick up Wonder Woman souvenirs) and completed a long day of fun.

Thanks so much to everyone else for bringing us along. It was so much more fun having friends there, especially friends that we’ve had for so long.

My Manidokan Trip

Posted in Church, Molly, Trip on August 3rd, 2017 by molly – Be the first to comment

Hi, it’s Molly. I had a great time at camp. On Sunday, first I got there. Then I unpacked. I was sharing a room with my friends Riley and Keira at the time.

Old friends

I also had some more friends named Sarah, Emma, Jordan, Haley, Grace, Lilly, and Camille with me.

Friends

Riley, Keira, Molly (me), Lilly, Camille

Church friends

Sarah, Molly (me), Emma, Sarah (Emma’s older sister)

School friends

Jordan, Grace, Molly (me), Haley

Last year I only had one friend, this year I had nine friends.

After unpacking I changed into my bathing suit to take the swim test with Riley and Keira. After the swim test I had to say goodbye to my family. When they left I hung out in my lodge until dinner. After dinner I went to the campfire with my group. We sang some songs, saw pirates, and then some of my counselors came back from somewhere else claiming they had not seen the pirates like we did. We did not have s’mores that night though. After everything we went back to the lodge and had snack. Then I went to bed.

On Monday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After breakfast I did Bible study. The 5-6 kids (me) had two groups of kids to do some things like rafting and pool games because we had 30 kids. I did the rock wall with group B. Group A did rafting. Here is me on the rock wall.

Climbing wall

After the rock wall Group B had lunch. Group A had lunch at land near the river they were rafting on. After lunch Group B had pool games. We didn’t have pool time though because they heard thunder. So I hung out at the lodge. Then after an hour of waiting we had store time. Store time is when you can buy stuff from the camp store. After store time we went back to our lodge and had free time until dinner. After dinner we had the evening activity. After the evening activity we went back to the lodge and had snack. Then I went to bed.

On Tuesday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After breakfast I did Bible study. After Bible study I went on the Sawmill Creek Hike. I did not jump off the rock this time because the water was freezing. Anyone that jumped off the rock was shivering when their head was above water. It was hard to get used to the water. After Sawmill I had lunch. After lunch we did zip lining. Here’s a video of me on the zip line (I’m videoing on the zip line).

After zip lining I had pool time. Then I had store time. After I got my stuff from the store I went back to the lodge and had free time. After my free time I had dinner. Then I did the evening activity. After that I went back to the lodge and had snack. Then I went to bed.

On Wednesday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After breakfast I did Bible study. Then I went to get ready for rafting with group B. After getting ready for rafting I got in a van and the driver drove us to the destination that we started rafting at. First we rafted to our lunch spot. Then when we got to our lunch destination and we ate lunch. After having lunch at the lunch destination we got to go swimming. Where we swam there was a jumping rock. The jumping rock was a long rock that was just above shore, but where you jumped in the water got a lot deeper. Here’s me and some of my friends when we jumped off.

Ready to jump

Jumping in the river

After swimming for 30-45 minutes we started rafting again. After 50 minutes to an hour we got to the rapids. After everyone went through the rapids we got to swim in the water. During that time we played king of the raft. But sadly, Jordan couldn’t play due to her swimmer’s ear. Just swimming the current took us far. After all our fun we got in the rafts and paddled to our end destination. But the kids in my raft were the lucky few. When we were almost there the kids in my raft were very tired of paddling so the adult in our raft let us get out and swim the rest of the way. When I got to shore I went to tell the other kids from other rafts that we got to swim some of the way back. Some of them were jealous.

After some waiting I got in a van and the driver drove us back to our lodge. When we got to our lodge we relaxed and some of us got ready for the pool. I was one of the kids that got ready for the pool. When it was pool time I went down to the pool. After pool time it was store time. After store time I went back to the lodge and had free time. After free time we had dinner. Then we had Mission Night. Mission Night is a night that explains what foundation you can give the rest of your store money to at the end of the week. This year it was the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Also we played water games to learn about the foundation. After that we had our evening snack. Then we went to bed.

On Thursday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After breakfast I did Bible study. After Bible study we got ready to go to Harper’s Ferry. After that we got in a van to drive us to the path that we walked on to Harper’s Ferry. The walk to Harper’s Ferry was long but felt short. After what felt like 10-30 minutes of walking and talking we got to the walking bridge. Then we stopped and got told a story. The story was about a man painting an ad for a powder company on a mountain. One day the man’s wife found out that the man cheated his wife and used his wife’s money! So one day when the man was painting the ad his wife cut the rope of the man’s paint bucket and the man’s rope. So the man fell to his death. On the mountain there was a splash of paint under the ad, that was from the man’s paint bucket from when the bucket fell. So we learned our lesson - don't cheat people, you could die. After hearing the story we walked across the walking bridge. Here is a picture of the train bridge right next to it.

Harpers Ferry hike

After we walked across the bridge we went to our lunch spot. After lunch we split up into four groups. First, my group went to the book store. Then we went to a historical candy shop. I got cotton candy there. It was homemade! Here is a picture of me with it.

Harper's Ferry treat

After that we went to an ice cream shop. Then we went back to the candy shop. After that I got some candy mint things. They were not homemade though. After shopping we went back to the lunch spot to meet the other groups before our journey back to where we started. When every group was there we started our journey back. Again it felt very short. But this time there was a lot of walking, talking, and singing. After some waiting I got in a van and the driver drove us back to our lodge. When we got back we relaxed in our lodge and then some of us went to the pool. After the pool we went to the store. After store time we had free time. Then we had dinner. After dinner we went up to the hill and played games and roasted marshmallows. After that some kids stayed at the hill to sleep there, and the rest of the kids went back to our lodge to sleep.

On Friday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After that we had Bible study. After Bible study we did field games for 15-30 minutes. Then we had pool time for the rest of our two hours. After our field games/pool time we had lunch. After lunch we packed up our stuff. After everyone had packed we had snack while we watched the new version of Beauty and the Beast. In the beginning of the movie very few kids (including me) went to the pool. Then we had store time. After store time we had free time until dinner. After dinner my family came and every group there talked about their week at camp. All my friends were sad to go but had a fun time. Here is one of our final pictures.

Camp girls

I had a fun time at camp. It was even better than last year. Bye!

Hibachi

Posted in Celebrations, Leah, Molly on July 22nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For some time, Molly’s been asking to try out Hibachi. So, the week after school ended, we took the girls as a celebration of a great year of school. We went to Koto Sake, and the girls loved it. They were immediately planning to have future birthday dinners there.

Hibachi

Molly has no braces!

Posted in Molly on June 29th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Yesterday was the big day - the end of braces for Molly. Just before heading to the orthodontist, I got one last picture of Molly with braces.

End of braces

And a few hours later, she looked like this.

No braces

She still has the bottom bar, and now has a removable retainer for the top that she needs to wear when she’s home. She actually says having nothing on her teeth feels weird, and prefers to wear her retainer as much as possible since it feels more normal to her.

She had braces for exactly 15 months. For context, here’s what she looked like the night before she got her braces back then.

Before braces

It’s hard to see the difference in her overjet from a picture, but it’s huge. Nice smile, Molly.

First carpentry project

Posted in Leah, Molly on June 28th, 2017 by c-had – 1 Comment

The girls love their American Girl dolls. Since Leah’s birthday, they’ve been asking for a triple-decker doll bunk bed. After Christmas, I told them we could build one together. They got very excited about the idea, so we embarked on a long-term project to build one.

We started by getting some graph paper and drawing up some designs. From the designs, we created a materials list. Then we headed to Home Depot to buy wood, screws, and paint (thanks to a Home Depot gift card from G’Mom and Grampa). You’ll have to wait till the end to see what color they picked.

We worked on the project over several weekends. We started work in February, but it was very cold in the garage making it hard to motivate ourselves to make too much progress. We still managed to cut several of the pieces (I was the only one to operate the miter saw, but the girls were excellent helpers). They then sanded all the pieces smooth to get them ready to assemble. I used the router to create slots for the side rails.

In May, it warmed up so we managed to pick up the pace and make some significant progress. They also finally got to use some power tools. They used the drill press to drill holes (with counter-sink).

Carpentry project

Molly made sure to keep the screw straight up as she drove it in with the impact driver.

Driving

After a lot of work, we had 3 frames for the 3 beds.

Frames

Leah measured how long the slats needed to be so we could cut them.

Measure twice, cut once

And marked where I needed to cut.

Make your mark

And more sanding.

Sanding

The impact driver works much better if you scrunch up your nose.

Attaching

Nice job Molly (and nice photobomb, Leah).

Molly too

Once the beds were constructed, it was time to paint them.

Painting

Painting

We each painted a bed.

Painting each bed

Leah covered the bed well, and her face a little. We put two coats of paint on them (as well as a little touching up).

Face painting

The final step in construction was to drill hole in the top/bottom of the posts and cut dowels to connect them. Here we are with out finished project.

Put together

Jen used her sewing skills to make mattresses, and the dolls were ready to snooze.

Ready to use

Silly one

Another silly one

I loved working on this project, and the girls seemed to really enjoy it as well. I hope we can do it again soon.

Water guns

Posted in Leah, Molly on June 27th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

While Jen was out of town, the girls spent a day with their friend Matilda. They had a water gun fight, and were very excited about getting their own water guns when I picked them up. I of course loved this idea, so we went to 5 Below and picked up some Super Soakers.

Water guns

Schools out

Posted in Leah, Molly, School on June 27th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The girls finally got out of school on June 14. They love school, but were very excited for summer vacation.

Last day of school

Summertime

After school, the neighborhood kids again took a picture at the circle, as we’ve done every year.

Neighborhood kids

After the big picture, the 5th graders who are moving up to middle school took a picture on their own. Meanwhile, the other kids snuck off to gather water balloons. The 5th graders went from smiling to soaking in an instant.

Water attack

This, of course, led to an all out water fight.

Water fight

The girls then took a quick picture for me before running to a neighbor’s house for an ice cream party.

End of the school year

Let summer begin!

Strawberry picking

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on June 25th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Jen likes to take the girls strawberry picking each year. This year, it was a group effort.

Strawberry picking

Stacie and Zach were making grand plans for thier fresh strawberries, including a strawberry pie.

Parents pick too

The girls filled their buckets, then added the strawberries to Mom’s box. The picking was much slower without Dad, G’mom and Grampa this year. Thank goodness we had friends to help out.

Filling Mom's box

About 10 minutes after arriving, light rain started. Molly and Matilda found a unique way to cover up in the field.

Strawberries in the rain

Jen and the girls made a second stop at Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard. It is about 15 minutes from the strawberry field and the homemade ice cream was a perfect snack.

Snack after strawberries

Field Day

Posted in Leah, Molly, School on June 24th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The girls had their Field Day at school, and it was a beautiful day. I volunteered during the younger grades, and was assigned the ring toss station (new station from last year).

Field Day

Jen and I swapped out at lunch time, and Jen worked the bean bag tic-tac-toe for the older kids.

And the face painters this year really did a fantastic job, as you can tell from these happy girls.

Painted faces

Painted faces

Legos with Dad

Posted in Leah, Molly, School on June 24th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The girls and I again had fun at the Legos with Dad event at their school, as we have the past couple of years.

Legos with Dad

Legos with Dad

Legos with Dad