Molly

Singing together

Posted in Church, Leah, Molly, Music on December 6th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Most of the time, the girls are in two different choirs at church due to their age difference. But there’s an occasional year where they overlap, and this year is one of those years. Leah is now old enough to join Joyful Noise, and Molly won’t move up to middle school till next year. So, they get to sing together. Here’s there first performance in October.

In November, they sang again. I even got to accompany them on the second song.

Safety monitor

Posted in Molly, School on November 2nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s school selected some of the more responsible 5th graders to be safety monitors, and she was happy to get the job. So, now we have to get to school early every morning so she can stand at her post (outside Kindergarten) and make sure kids are being safe. She takes her job seriously.

Safety monitor

Safety monitor

Even on Halloween, all dressed up, Molly was ready to be a responsible safety monitor. She wasn’t even thrown by Leah’s photobomb.

Halloween safety monitor

Harry Potter Halloween

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Leah, Molly on October 31st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Harry Potter Halloween

For Halloween this year, we all went with Harry Potter costumes (which I am very excited about). I am Remus Lupin (possibly my favorite character), Molly is Luna Lovegood, Leah is Hermione Granger, and Jen is a Quidditch fan.

Harry Potter costumes

Harry Potter costumes

The girls really got into character. They even had a wizard duel.

Wizard duel

And they cast their spells. I don’t think they’re trying to hurt each other, given the smiles on their faces.

Cast your spells

On Halloween day, the girls had a Halloween parade at school as usual.

Halloween parade

Halloween parade

Then they had their class parties. And perhaps even took some time to learn something afterward.

As evening approached, it was time for some serious trick-or-treating. This year, Molly’s friend Grace joined our crew of trick-or-treaters.

Trick-or-treating crew

We trick-or-treated for about an hour.

Trick-or-treating

Jen handed out candy this year while I walked around with the girls. We didn’t have very many trick-or-treaters visit us early on, so we thought it might be a light Halloween. But eventually they showed up, totaling 139 trick-or-treaters this year.

Trick-or-treating

After returning home, Grace really wanted to keep going. Leah was done, but Molly agreed to go back out after thirty minutes of warming up and eating candy. So, Grace, Molly, and I headed back out to a street further than we've been before. This was later than we’ve trick-or-treated before, and Molly learned that late-night trick-or-treating can be awesome as folks are trying to unload candy. Every time someone said “just take a couple handfuls” she was very happy. She ended up filling up her pumpkin twice by the end of the night.

Pumpkin carving

Posted in Leah, Molly on October 31st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We’ve been really busy of late, and failed to get to carving pumpkins until our last chance. So, Monday night (October 30), after homework was finished, we finally tackled them.

The girls started the pumpkin carving off by cutting open the tops.

Pumpkin carving

After scooping the guts out, the girls both applied their designs. Leah opted for a unicorn printout which she transferred to the pumpkin by poking holes through it with an awl. Molly had a Harry Potter pumpkin photo she found that she free-hand drew on her pumpkin.

Designs

Poking

Drawing

Molly had to be really careful with the Harry Potter glasses, as they have large pieces that are only attached by a small bit.

Cutting

Leah had lots of zig-zags in her unicorn’s mane.

Cutting

Cutting

Cutting

And here are their finished products - Molly’s Harry Potter pumpkin and Leah’s unicorn pumpkin.

Finished product

Pumpkins

Six Flags again

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on October 30th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

It may have taken us a long time for finally go to our local Six Flags, but it didn’t take long before we headed back again. Six Flags had a Bring a Friend Free day, and Zach and Stacie were kind enough to offer to bring us. So, after church we headed there for fun again. After lunch, our first stop was the Ragin Cajun.

Six Flags again

The dads got to ride as well, though we were relegated to the car after the kids.

Dads too

The ride Leah most wanted to ride again was Wonder Woman. Jen and I were again happy to stand by and not ride this high spinner.

Wonder Woman

We rode lots of other rides, but I didn’t get pictures of them as most of them were the same ones we rode before. Molly continued loving roller coasters, and even added one beyond what she’d rode before. She was worried about riding Apocalypse (it’s a standing coaster), and said she didn’t want to ride it. Then Stacie bet her a dollar to ride it, and she of course did. She ended up saying it was her favorite ride of the day, and we ended up riding it a second time on the way out.

We left the park right as Fright Fest was starting, and our girls were ready to get out of the park then. Lots of zombies and other scary folks start wandering the park terrorizing guests, which was not their idea of fun. Next time we may have to leave a couple minutes earlier to avoid them entirely.

Thanks so much to Zach and Stacie for bringing us along.

Putt-putt fun

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Leah, Molly on October 28th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

In September we had visitors from a far away land. Emmie, JJ, Aunt ‘Chelle, and Uncle J flew up to spend a couple days with us. While they were here, we went for a fun outing of putt-putt. We split into two foursomes, with the girls requesting me to accompany them while JJ and the other adults made up the other foursome. There was some intense concentration.

Putt-putt

Jen putting

The girls had fun golfing, but also got a bit of time to relax while waiting on the other group to catch up.

Relaxing on the green

It was fun!

Golfers

Silly golfers

The putt-putt course is right next to Rita’s, so we had to stop in for a treat.

After golf treat

Brown stripe test

Posted in Molly, Sports on October 16th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Back at the end of August, Molly tested for her brown stripe. This is the precursor to testing for her brown belt (4 months later), which is a big milestone. As you can see, she’s serious.

Brown stripe test

She keeps getting better at sparring.

Sparring

Sparring

Sparring

Two and a half hours later (these tests are long), she got it!

Brown stripe

Hug

Congratulations to all the testers!

All the testers

That brown stripe is the last little step before going for her brown belt, which means a lot more responsibility (including being an assistant teacher in classes).

Happy with success

School finally arrives

Posted in Leah, Molly, School on September 5th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After an extra long summer with lots of trips (one of which I’ll post about soon), school finally started in Maryland today. Leah is now in second grade, and Molly is a fifth grader ready to begin her last year in elementary school. It’s hard to believe that this time next year she’ll be a middle schooler.

First day of school

We took our usual kids on the block picture before the first day of school. Several of the kids from previous years have moved on to middle school, but we’ve still got a good crowd.

Kids on the block

There was a lot of excitement at school, including the wildcat and a TV news crew. The girls (and their friends) got a picture with the wildcat.

Wildcat pic

We’re excited for a fun new school year!

The eclipse

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on August 24th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We saw the eclipse! Well, at least the 80% eclipse that Maryland got. We did not travel long and far to full totality like some of you. Instead we traveled 10 minutes to our local library branch. I even got a picture of the eclipse with this contraption.

Photographing the eclipse

I wasn’t sure if I could photograph the eclipse, but I ended up pulling it off. I didn’t have a proper solar filter, so I used eclipse glasses and some gaffer tape to hold it on. Picture taken with my Panasonic GX7 (Micro Four Thirds), a cheap old Canon FD 300mm lens on an old Canon FD 2x tele extender, attached with a cheap Micro Four Thirds to Canon FD adapter. With the 2x crop sensor, that’s a 1200mm full frame equivalent, so the sun filled much of the frame. Here it is at its peak.

Eclipse

OK, enough photography geekery. Stacie brought Simon and Matilda (and a friend) to join in the fun, so we got to hang out with them two days in a row.

Viewing

Looking up

Eclipse viewers

How did we end up at the library? Well, that’s a longer story similar to some of yours. We originally thought we’d just watch the eclipse at our house, but we didn’t think about getting solar glasses for the eclipse until a week beforehand, when they were impossible to find.

The Robinson Nature Center nearby said they were getting a shipment of glasses on Wednesday and would say when they arrived on their Facebook page. Jen watched it throughout the day and jumped in the car with the girls when the message went out that they had arrived. Sadly, they were sold out before she arrived. Apparently a bunch of people just hung out at the center waiting for them to arrive, and they were sold out within 10 minutes.

Our library handed them out at all branches the Saturday before at 11:00. Leah and I got there 30 minutes early, but the line was already giant (this is just a small portion of it). I’d guess over a thousand people. Only the first couple hundred got glasses, which did not include us.

Search for solar glasses

The library was also hosting an eclipse viewing party where they would have some more glasses for use, so we decided to make that our last ditch effort to see the eclipse. Given our previous experiences with getting glasses, we got there at 12:30 (party started at 2:00). We found there was already a pretty long line, and it just kept getting longer. Eventually, they gave out tickets for each pair of glasses they had, and we were fortunate to be far enough forward to get tickets. We ended up just taking half the glasses we were allotted, though, to help out with huge number of people who didn’t get tickets. Here’s a view of the party on the front lawn of the library.

Eclipse party

We all enjoyed experiencing the eclipse, and were glad we managed to do it. We even topped off the fun with a sweet treat. The library is just down the street from a Rita’s. Since we’d failed to get custard at the Rita’s in Six Flags, this was a good chance to make up for that failure. Yum.

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.