Baltimore Mission Camp

Posted in Church, Molly on August 21st, 2019 by c-had – 1 Comment

Our church does lots of mission trips, but a couple years ago started a new thing that’s kind of like a mission trip without the trip part. We spend a week working in Baltimore and sleeping in our own beds. This year, Molly was finally old enough to do it (must be entering 7th grade), so she and I signed up.

We had about 50 people split into 5 crews. Our crew consisted of 3 adults and 6 middle schoolers. Each day we’d spend the morning in one place, then the afternoon in another. Most of the time, we were volunteering with organizations throughout Baltimore.

Our crew’s first activity actually wasn’t even in Baltimore. Through the week, we come across lots of needy people throughout Baltimore. So, our first task was to buy some supplies and make 40 bag lunches. Each crew would take a couple lunches every day to hand out to those in need.

Fixing lunches

Monday afternoon was spent familiarizing ourselves with the city of Baltimore. Our crew did a prayer walk through Hampden, performed random acts of kindness, and we may have gotten some ice cream as well.

Exploring Hampden

Molly learned what a Hon was too.

Hon

A couple of days, we worked at Paul’s Place, which helps with feeding, clothing, caring for, and training the needy in Baltimore. Our first time there, we organized a couple of their storage units.

Storage organization

On our other visit, we served hot lunch to hundreds of needy people. These kids are ready for the doors to open.

Serving lunch

We spent several days helping out at Little Flowers, a charity day care.

Little Flowers

We changed things up Thursday afternoon and worked at Art with a Heart. They help the city through art projects. These pop art squares are put on trash cans to beautify the city.

Art with a Heart

Art with a Heart

We also spent an afternoon making things for Operation Christmas Child, but I failed to take a picture of that.

We took one afternoon off for some duckpin bowling fun. Very few of the kids had ever been duckpin bowling (it was Molly’s first time), so it was both a Baltimore experience and a chance for some fun.

Duckpin bowling

When we had an hour to kill, we toured Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, the "Mother Church of American Methodism." This congregation held the 1784 “Christmas Conference", at which the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States was founded and Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke were ordained as its first bishops.

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

The ceiling in Lovely Lane United Methodist Church was created by a professor of astronomy at Johns Hopkins University.

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

It was a fantastic week, and we definitely plan to do it again next year. It was awesome to be able to do this with Molly, and also great to be able to serve the city so near to us. Many of the places we went were very close to my office, and I have a whole new appreciation for the area I commute to a couple days a week.

My Manidokan Week

Posted in Leah on August 19th, 2019 by leah – Be the first to comment

by Leah Sellers

This year I had a really fun year at Manidokan and I want to tell you all about it!

Elementary campers

On Sunday all we really did was go to chapel. If you don’t know what chapel is, it is where the whole camp goes up to campfire hill and we learn about something, but with a theme! This year’s theme was The Magic School Bus.

Opening campfire

On Monday we figured out that we had to wake up at 7:00 in the morning, and all of us don’t like waking up early. Boo! After we had breakfast we went to the flying squirrel! If you don’t know what the flying squirrel is, it is when people pull you up into the air like a human swing and slowly bring you down.

Then we had lunch and next we went to a place called Sawmill. First we saw the old pool that Manidokan used to have.

Original pool

Then we saw the creek and caught crayfish.

Catching crayfish

Finally, we got to the water hole and got to jump off the rock there (you had to wear a life jacket)! Then it was pool and store time. Next we had dinner. Finally we went back to our lodge and went to bed.

On Tuesday we had breakfast and then went rafting! First we got placed in groups to go on rafts. We had to push the rafts down to the river and then set sail! Halfway through we got to get out of the rafts so we could swim around for a little bit. Then we got back on the rafts and played a game called bumper boats! I think you can guess what that is, but if you haven’t guessed it is basically bumper cars with boats! Then we got to a lunch spot and ate. Finally we had to go back to camp. We had to go through some small rapids and then paddle the rest of the way back to camp. Then it was pool time and then store time. Finally it was dinner time. After dinner we found out about this year’s Mission Manidokan. Mission Manidokan is when Manidokan uses the extra money from store time at the end of the week and donates it to a place that needs help. This year Manidokan donated to an orphanage that didn’t have enough shoes, and if they got shoes, the kids would out grow them! So Manidokan is going to use the money to get these shoes that grow 5 sizes! Then we did activities so we could know and feel what it is like without shoes. Finally we went back to our lodge and went to bed.

On Wednesday we had breakfast and then packed our lunches and went to Harper’s Ferry! It was a long walk there, but we made it eventually. We also saw a river and an advertisement on the mountain we passed by!

Potomac River

Advertisement on the mountain

Then we got to spend five dollars there on whatever we wanted! Finally, when everybody was done spending money, we walked back and my friends and I were shouting “A/C!” Even though it was a long walk there, it was still really fun to go there. When we got back we had pool and store time and then dinner. After dinner we had a lot more time to play Gaga ball, nine square, and carpet ball. Then we went back to our lodge and went to bed.

On Thursday we ate breakfast and there was also a sign up sheet for the talent show. Then we went to the zip line. It was my first time there! It was a pretty long walk to get there, but not as long as Harpers Ferry. My friends and I had to wait about 15 minutes before we got to go on the zip line.

After we walked back, it was lunch time. Then we went back to our lodge and got some time to pack our stuff because there was only one more day until we had to leave! Then it was dinner time. After dinner was the talent show! There were lots of people participating including Abby and Molly! Abby was doing card magic and Molly was singing My Lighthouse!

After the talent show we went back to the lodge and went to bed.

On Friday we ate breakfast, and then had Bible study. Then we went to archery! It wasn’t a long walk there, and when we got there we went over rules. Then half of our group did archery and the other half sat in the shade and waited until their turn to do archery. I was in the sit in the shade group. When it was finally my group’s turn, we were told how to shoot an arrow and then the helpers helped us shoot our first arrow. Then we could shoot three more! Next we got to sit in the hammocks while the people who wanted second turns got to go. When we got back it was lunch time! After lunch half the kids in our group went to arts and crafts while the others did the climbing wall! I did arts and crafts where you got to basically make anything you wanted with the materials they had there. I made some bracelets with braids. When the rock climbing people came back we had a little more time to pack and then we did pool and store time. Next, we had dinner and finally it was time to leave.

4th graders

THE END!!!

Leah has braces

Posted in Leah on August 19th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Today is the day Leah’s been dreading all summer. It’s the day she gets braces and a palate expander. Before heading to the orthodontist, I got a before picture of Leah’s smile.

Leah before braces

And here she is with her braces! She’ll likely end up with some braces on the bottom as well, but first the braces and palate expander need to make some room on the top.

Leah with braces

Molly’s Manidokan Adventure

Posted in Molly on August 18th, 2019 by molly – Be the first to comment

Sunday-

Manidokan was awesome! It’s about a 1 hour drive to Camp Manidokan, so on the way, we got ice cream! We went to The Little Red Barn. When we got to Manidokan, we waited in line for what felt like hours, and then Jordan and Haley got there. Thankfully, their parents offered for us to “camp out” in their car while we waited for the line to start moving!

After we got all signed in, I went to my lodge. I was very thankful for being in a lodge, because last year, the 7th-8th grade group was in cabins with no air conditioning. I think I was in a lodge because they added 6th graders to my age group, and 5th graders to the 3rd-4th grade group, so there was no more 5th-6th grade group. At the lodge, I got my stuff all ready, and put on a bathing suit to go do the swim test. However, we could not take the swim test on the first day AGAIN because there was too much chlorine in the pool (last year there was a storm, so we couldn’t do it). So I put clothes over my bathing suit (just in case the chlorine problem was solved), and waited for my last roommate Emma to come. When she did, we took a picture of all of my roommates. Here it is!

Middle school campers

After we took the picture, my parents talked to Emma’s parents, and then left. After all the parents left, we just chilled until dinner. After dinner, we went and played some name games, and then went to camp fire hill. At camp fire hill, there was a Magic School Bus act about the rules at Manidokan. After the fire hill stuff, we had snack, and then went to bed.

Opening campfire

Monday-

On Monday, I woke up, got ready and went to breakfast. Right after that, I got in the van and went to a trail to get on the Maryland Heights trail. Maryland Heights was fun, but VERY tiring. The trail we went on is a 4.5 mile round trip. Clearly someone read the information wrong, because the counselors told us it was about 5 miles up, about 5 miles back, and 9-10 miles in total. After Maryland Heights, we were supposed to go to Harpers Ferry, but we didn’t. Instead we had canoe training.

In canoe training, 4 people got in 2 canoes which were in the pool (2 in each), and 1 canoe got flipped, and the other had to rescue them. Thankfully, my canoe got flipped, because it was hot outside, and I didn’t really want to rescue another canoe. When our canoe was flipped, it was funny, because our canoe didn’t actually flip over when they tried to flip it, so they had to flip it over a second time. I also got trapped by the other canoe. There were 2 walls, a canoe acting as a 3rd wall, a Molly with a life jacket, and water that I could not swim under to get under the canoe. Soon after, the canoe moved away from the wall enough so that I could get out, and I was saved! After canoe training, we had our swim tests (I passed), and then we had pool time. So much pool!

After pool time, we had store time, and then we went back to the lodge to change and get ready for dinner. We had dinner, and then chapel. After chapel we had night swim, which was very fun, and I had it with Leah! After night swim, we had snack, and then went to bed.

Tuesday-

On Tuesday, we started off with a good breakfast. Then we did low ropes, which is a bunch of teamwork-related obstacles close to the ground. Some had ropes, some didn’t. Not the type of low ropes you would expect, right? At low ropes, we did a partner balance thing where there were 2 partners and 2 ropes. We had to place our hands on each other’s shoulders, or “hold hands”. Then we had to balance each other out and “walk” as far as we could to the end of the ropes. My partner and I made it pretty far, but not all the way.

After that we did 2 tire swing activities with a tire swing line. In the first activity, 5 kids sat on top of the 5 tire swings, and we had to pass a stick through the tire swing hole to the next person. The next activity is when 1 person would have to swing from tire to tire. The last obstacle we did is was the wall, which is a wall that you had to climb up using your teammates to help you get up. Basically, you would step on your teammates hands, and they would lift you up with their hands. Then someone at the top of the wall would help pull you up over the wall onto the platform behind the wall, and then you would make it over the wall.

After that we left for lunch. After lunch, we went on the Sawmill hike, to Sawmill! We went the back way though. This is because it would take too long if we wanted to have some pool time. So we went the back way to Sawmill, and got in the water - some slowly, some quickly. The water was freezing! After we hiked back from Sawmill, we went to the pool, and then we had snack. After we had snack, we went back to the lodge, and then we had dinner. After dinner, we had mission night.

At mission night, we learned about Mission Manidokan. This year’s Mission Manidokan is to raise money to buy 50 five size growing shoes. To learn more, click here! (P.S., that click here is not an ad.) During mission night, we played games about shoes, learning about the growing shoes on the way. Here's a picture of me at mission night!

Mission Manidokan

After mission night, we played fortress, and some of my group slept out. I didn’t, because I don’t like sleeping outside.

Wednesday-

On Wednesday, we went rafting and canoeing! I went rafting, because I didn’t want to canoe (too easily tipped over), and because I like rafting more than being in a canoe. When we first got to our rafting/canoeing destination, it was sort of a struggle. We had to get 10 canoes down to the water, as well as 2 rafts. When we started out, many canoes were leading, while others were behind with the rafts. This wasn’t a great start, because the leading canoes had no idea where they were going! Thankfully the adult canoes caught up to the leading canoes, and showed them the way. Once we got to our lunch spot, we had lunch, and then got to jump off the jumping rock, and swim around! Here’s a picture of me jumping off!

Water fun

After we swam around, and had fun, we had to get back on the water. Everyone got in their boats, and we set off to the rapids. Another reason why I did not canoe is I didn’t want to canoe in the rapids. So everyone got through the rapids safely, and we decided to play king of the raft. King of the raft is a very fun game. Basically, you flip the raft over, and someone starts as the king (at Manidokan, a counselor), then everyone has to try to get the king off and become the new king. Sadly, it’s a roughish game, and when you get “thrown” down by the counselors, it’s kind-of scary, in a good way though.

After we played king of the raft, we got back in our boats, and set sail to our final destination, the pick up area… When we got to the pick up area…, we got all of the canoes onto the trailer, and then we did the rafts. Once we got back, we had a bit of pool time, and then snack. Luckily, I was the first one in my group to get snack, because we had to go inside to shelter because there was a storm. So we went inside and bought snack from inside, but then the store closed and we had to go back to the lodge. Thankfully, everyone got popsicles at the lodge. After the storm, we had dinner. After dinner, we had chapel, and then it was bed time.

Thursday-

On Thursday, we started off our day with a delicious breakfast. Then we had Bible study. After Bible study, we went to the aerial park, or the high ropes course, for people who don’t know what that means. The aerial park was very fun, there were many obstacles that we went on, and there were 2 ways to end it. You could just go back to the start, or you could go down the quick jump. I did the quick jump, and it was awesome! The quick jump was a harness that you strapped into, and then you would jump off the platform you were on. After you jumped off, you would free fall for a few seconds, and then the quick jump would catch you, slowly bringing you down to the floor. Sadly, we didn’t really have anything to break our fall (besides the ground), so most kids ended up lying down on the ground when they finished.

After the aerial park, we went to a camp fire, where they had pie pans, and we made our own pie pizza sandwiches. After everyone had 1 pie pizza, you could get seconds, or you could make actual pie for dessert. I chose the pie, of course! Sadly, they did not have pumpkin pie filling, so I went for cherry instead. After lunch, we went to the zip line. The zip line was very fun, as it always is. This year was my third year doing it! Here’s a video of me on the zip line.

After the zip line. We went back for pool time, and then store time. After store time we went back to the lodge to rest up, and then we had dinner. After dinner, we had chapel, and then we had the talent show! This year, I finally stepped up and did something. I sang My Lighthouse! This took a lot of preparation before camp, because Leah and Daddy made a recording for me to sing to before camp, with Leah on cello, and Daddy on guitar. Then Daddy sent me with a thumb drive with the background music on it, and some links, just in case. Here’s a video of my singing at the talent show, for my first time!

After the talent show we went back to the lodge, had snack, and then went to sleep.

Friday-

Friday was my very last day (for this year) at Manidokan. We started the day with breakfast, and then we went straight to archery. At archery, we shot actual arrows, using actual bows, and targets. Then once we were done shooting, we sat in the hammocks until everyone was done. After archery, we had Bible study. Then we packed as much of our stuff as we could, and then we had lunch.

After lunch we had pool games/water games. Pool games was basically pool time in the before normal pool time, but that’s all I did, because it’s pool time! After pool games/water games, we had actual pool time. After pool time, we had store time, where I got a women’s fit Manidokan shirt that I like very much. I’m wearing it in the final picture with Leah, Jordan, Haley, and Madison. Then after store time, we went back to the lodge, made sure everything was packed, and then watched a movie. Sadly, when we were in the middle of the movie, it was time for dinner. After dinner, the parents came, and we shared what we learned. Of course, before we left Daddy HAD to take pictures, and he took some of Leah and me with our best friends/neighbors. Here’s one!

Neighbors

The End

Or is it…

Sellers family band

Posted in Church, Music on August 11th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For the first time ever, our 4-person family formed a band for worship at church. August is family worship month at Glen Mar, and we were asked to do the Anthem and the Offertory at the 8:00 and 9:30 service. We were happy to do it, and can't wait to do it again!



Awesome, wow

Posted in Family outings on July 16th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We saw Hamilton! I know many of you may have been on the Hamilton train for the past couple years, but we did not get on it until this year. Back in May, we bought tickets for the whole family to see it at the Hippodrome in Baltimore. Since we got the tickets, we’ve been non-stop Hamilton obsessed in our house. We listen to the soundtrack constantly, all of us read books about Alexander Hamilton (Jen and the girls read several, I just read the really long one), and we’ve been studying the history of the origins of our nation. Our favorite car-ride pastime is belting out lyrics to the song in a way that our children are both embarrassed by and happy to take part in.

Last week, we finally got to be in the room where it happens. The show was fantastic! Molly and Leah were so into it (especially Molly) that I could just watch them reacting, singing along, smiling, and cheering. We even got comments from the folks behind us that they loved how into it Molly was. Molly had to sit on the edge of her seat to see over the bar in front of us. She told us she didn't mind, because "the show is so good, you want to be on the edge of your seat.”

Hamilton

Angelica

The one drawback for the show was our seats. Our tickets were the first row in the upper balcony, which we thought would mean we had a railing right in front of us (like at our knees). Instead, it meant there was an aisle in front of us (so lots of leg room) and then a railing. For me, this was perfect, as you can see from my view:

My seat

However, the others in our family don’t have my height. So, Jen’s view was more like this:

Jen's seat

Jen and Molly solves this by sitting forward on the edge of their seat. As mentioned above, this didn’t bother Molly one bit. Jen, however, would have preferred to sit elsewhere. Leah is so short she solved the problem by slouching a bit and watching the whole show under the railing.

Despite the seat problems, we loved the show and would love to go back (we’ve been entering the lottery to try to win tickets to go back this week, but I don’t have my hopes up). We are also talking about seeing it at the Kennedy Center in D.C. next year. We just can’t get enough Hamilton!

In the room where it happens

Savannah trip

Posted in Family visits, Trip on July 15th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

During the week of the 4th of July, we went to Savannah for the first time in years. This included us in our car, Grams and Aunt Caroline in another car (Uncle Charles was hiking in the Alaskan tundra at the time with his family), and Aunt EA, Uncle Scott, Charlie, and Max flying in from Texas. This was our first long road trip since Molly got her Nintendo Switch, and we created a very fancy system of holding up the Switch for the girls to see the screen involving the case she keeps it in, kitchen twine, and chip clips.

Car Nintendo

The cars decided to split the drive down into 2 days expecting traffic and delays (though it ended up being not too bad). We did most of the drive on the first day, and stayed in Florence, SC. We were very happy to find a Mellow Mushroom and a Bruster’s right across the street from our hotel.

Pit stop

The big reason for our trip to Savannah was to attend the revival of my extended family’s reunion gathering. My grandparents held this every year for decades. My aunt and uncle, who now live in the same house, revived the tradition this year. Of course, we had to get a picture on the dock right away. And, as you can possibly guess, Jen made all the clothes here except mine.

Happy Fourth read more »

Building shelves

Posted in Leah, Woodworking on July 3rd, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

I’ve been getting more and more into woodworking over the past couple years (as you may have seen when I made wands for Molly’s Harry Potter party). So, when Leah planned to move into her new room last summer, she asked me to build her some shelves. We planned them out together. She helped a bit with building in the early days, but it eventually just became my project to build.

It took way longer that I ever thought it would have thought. In all, it was about a year. Of course, there was lots of stopping and starting along the way as I got busy with other things. Also, there was a lot of learning how to do things and trial and error. And of course there are lots of tools, jigs, and other helpful things to buy and make to help out along the way. But as things warmed up this Spring I was determined to finally finish them.

Here are the completed shelves (well, mostly) in Leah’s room, loaded up with stuff.

Leah's loaded shelves

I said mostly completed. Immediately after loading up her shelves, it became apparent that the bin at the bottom needed a latch. The idea of the bin was to load it up with stuffed animals, but when they were stuffed in there, they would push the door open. So, I made a little latch to hold the door shut. I think I can now finally call the shelves done.

Shelves with latch

I’ll also show you one in-progress picture toward the end. This is the first time I’ve finished with an HVLP sprayer instead of a brush. I’m glad I did - it’s a much smoother finish and brushing on these giant shelves would have taken forever.

Shelves

10 months after she moved in, Leah finally has her room set up. All the stuff that’s been on the floor waiting for shelves to store it is put away. All the things waiting to be hung on the wall are finally hung. I think it’s a pretty nice room.

Leah's room

Leah's room

And one more picture of just the shelves. Thanks to Lumberjocks user grimejr for the idea of putting a bin at the bottom.

Leah's shelves

Celebrations

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Molly on July 2nd, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s black belt test ended late, so we did not go out to celebrate that night. Fortunately, the next day was Grams’s birthday, so we went out to BJ’s Brewhouse to celebrate both Molly’s black belt and Grams’s birthday. After some delicious dinner, we of course ordered pizookies (which were also delicious). While waiting for these desserts, we gave Molly a present.

Earning her black belt was a really big deal, and we wanted to give Molly a big gift to commemorate it. We joined together with G’Mom, Grampa, and Grams to give Molly a trip to New York to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. She and I will go up and see it in August. Molly was shocked.

Broadway gift

Molly was so excited. She’s talked about wanting to see this play so many times, but didn’t see this coming at all.

Excited

When our pizookies arrived, Grams got a special birthday one. We’ll celebrate her again in a couple days when we’re together with my siblings, but it was nice to get to celebrate on the day as well. Happy birthday, Grams!

Happy Birthday Grams

Tennis family

Posted in Leah, Sports on July 1st, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We are a tennis-loving family. Well, at least half of the family is. Leah and I both play regularly and really enjoy it. This Spring, they started a Junior Team Tennis league, and Leah was happy to join a team.

Junior Team Tennis

Junior Team Tennis

Between lessons on Friday, team tennis on Saturday, and match play on Sunday, Leah was playing a lot of tennis this Spring. I’ve been playing a lot too, but I have no pictures to share with you.