Archive for August, 2015


Posted in Celebrations, Leah, Molly, Trip on August 10th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On the last day of camp there were some award ceremonies. In the morning, we adults attended the awards for the little kids. Leah, Emmie, and JJ were kind enough to sit in together, making it easy to get them all in the shot.

Award ceremony

They sang a bunch of songs for us, though JJ decided not to participate.


This song was especially cute.

Emmie won the Miss Creative award, which apparently happens all the time for her. She’s got some serious arts and crafts skills (I wonder where that comes from). She seems pleased.

Budding artist

Leah won the Sweetheart award, which was well deserved in my unbiased opinion.

JJ won the Helper award. Here are all three of them with their awards.

Award winners

At the end of the camp day, Molly’s group had an awards ceremony as well.

Molly won the Best Smile award.

Best smile

Molly made a friend at camp. She befriended Daphne on the first day, and they stuck together all week.

Camp friend

The kids weren’t the only ones to get awards. I won the round robin tennis tournament at the end of the week. I didn’t tell the girls about it, so they didn’t find out until my name was announced at the circus. To say they were excited would be an understatement.

Tennis champion

My prize for winning the tennis tournament was this lovely t-shirt.


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Act Out

Posted in Family visits, Leah, Molly, Trip on August 10th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Throughout the week, the kids learned a bit of acting. On Thursday night, they put on a show for us. The drama counselors opened things up with a performance of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Then, the kids had their turn to entertain us.

The little ones went first. Leah stole the spotlight in the performance of Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.

After the little ones, it was time for Molly’s group. Molly was in two of their skits. First was The Invisible Bench.

And lastly, Molly was in Telling Time.

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Fun at the villa

Posted in Family visits, Trip on August 9th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We were extremely busy with fun at Callaway, but we did have some down time back at the villa. It was a great place to stay for all of us, with plenty of space for 10. We played games, watched movies, and hung out together there.

Emmie showed us all how much she’s learned from her violin lessons.

Violin lessons

Then Emmie showed Leah how to hold the violin. I love that she almost looks like she knows what she’s doing.

Leah on violin

G’Mom even found time to bake cookies with her grandchildren. That said, all but one of her grandchildren were too busy or tired to help. Thank goodness Leah was up for it.

Baking cookies

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Challenges on the water

Posted in Family visits, Trip on August 9th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Out a good way from the beach is a floating inflatable obstacle course called Aqua Island. All three of the girls got to go with their groups to it on Friday. It was tough for them to see it everyday but have to wait all week to go to it. Once Friday came, they were ready for fun.

Aqua Island

Here Leah, Molly, and Emmie are making their way off the trampoline and back to the beginning of the obstacle course.

Playing together

Molly is making her way across the monkey bars. Swinging on an inflatable may be tough, but at least you get some shade.

Monkey bars

All the girls were on Aqua Island together, but the older kids stayed for longer. So, Leah and Emmie made their way back, leaving Molly with her peers.

The little ones return

After a while, it seemed all Molly wanted to do was bounce on the trampoline. And make silly faces, apparently.


The girls weren’t the only ones to try out Aqua Island. Jen was especially excited to try it out on Tuesday. I was playing tennis, but she managed to drag her parents along with her to the floating obstacle course. Afterwards, she said it was like American Ninja Warrior in the water.

Aqua Island was not the only thing Jen dragged her parents to. As I’ve already written, she dragged them to kayaking and TreeTop. She even dragged them to Zumba with her Wednesday morning in the ski pavilion, though they didn’t stick around to ski with us (Grampa said he would have if they had not had a massage appointment then).


They were some seriously active grandparents. I hope I am that active when I get to their age.

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TreeTop for kids

Posted in Family visits, Trip on August 8th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The adults weren’t the only ones to enjoy TreeTop. In fact, Molly was actually the first of us to enjoy it. Monday, while on our kayaking outing, we paddled over to TreeTop’s location. There we found Molly and her group on the ropes course. She was a bit surprised to see us, but didn’t let that distract her from her climbing.

Molly in the trees

The little girls, however, did not get to go to TreeTop with their group. So, we decided to take them after camp on Friday. Molly was happy to get the chance to do it again as well.

Treetop for kids

Leah figured out she could make a heart with her safety ropes and carabiners.

I love Treetop

You’re supposed to grab the black hand holds above, but Leah isn’t quite tall enough to reach them.

Hard to reach

Molly was a pro, having done the course before.


Leah is so comfortable on the tightwire she doesn’t even need to look at it as she walks.


Leah loved sliding on this seat, as you can see.

Fun ride

Emmie didn’t have quite the expression of joy that Leah did, but she enjoyed the ride too.

Emmie too

Molly got so comfortable on the course, she started showing off.


And don’t think that just because it’s a low ropes course, it doesn’t have ziplines. Here are Molly and Leah on the zipline at the end of the course.

Like the adults, the kids had a great time on TreeTop.

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Posted in Family visits, Trip on August 8th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On Thursday while the kids were in camp, the adults all headed to TreeTop, a high ropes and zipline course at Callaway. Jen and I have done stuff like this before, so we knew we’d enjoy it. It was a bit more novel to some of the others in our group, but everyone had a lot of fun.

Jen and I are ready to go.

The two of us

And here’s the whole group.


Here’s Jen on the ropes course toward the beginning looking very comfortable.


G’Mom, on the other hand, was a bit less familiar with high ropes courses and consequently a lot less comfortable.

New adventure

Here she is on the first real zipline (they had a short training one at the beginning of the course to learn how to do it). I believe this may have also been her first ever time on a zipline.

Uncle J and Aunt ‘Chelle are making there way through.

Here we go

This obstacle is a bit wobbly.


Despite the wobbly obstacle, Jen doesn’t need to hold on to anything.

No hands

These swinging logs are an early challenge.

Swinging logs

Jen found a nice spot to wait on the rest of us.

Waiting spot

Go Grampa!

Go Grampa

Here I am in my bright yellow shirt. Note I am actually wearing tennis attire as I hoped to go play tennis after this. I was not able to do so, though, as this took much longer than I anticipated.


The ropes course was right next to (and occasionally over) the lake. Here are Jen and I by the lake.

Us and a lake

And here we each are on the zipline (not at the same time, of course).

G’Mom can walk the tight wire with the best of them.

High wire

Uncle J and Aunt ‘Chelle found a nice spot for a short date.

Nice date location

Stretch, Grampa.


It took a bit more than an hour and a half to finish the course, but that wasn’t the end. There was then another course - the lake course. This was a much shorter ropes course with some much longer zip lines.

Still going

Soon, we had to climb this giant ladder to get extremely high before the long ziplines.

Giant ladder

After the giant ladder, it was time to zipline across part of the lake.

Lake zipline

Here’s a video of Aunt ‘Chelle as she rides the zipline across the lake.

After taking the zipline across the lake, the very next thing to do was to turn around and take another zipline back.

Zipline back

G’Mom made it through the whole course, including the long ziplines at the end. She earned her “I survived TreeTop” T-shirt. Here she is on the zipline back across the lake.

After the ziplines across the lake, there were just a couple more short ziplines to finish out the course.

The end

TreeTop was a lot of fun, and everyone completed the entire thing. If you’re ever there, definitely do not skip the lake course, as it was the best part (if you like long zippiness).

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Water skiing

Posted in Sports, Trip on August 7th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Despite my knee problems, I was determined to ski for the first time in 12 years. I managed to remember how to do it pretty well, though my muscles were not a fan. In the end, my knee may have preferred if I’d stuck to two skis, but a single slalom ski is so much more fun.

Water skiing

Jen also remembered how to ski.

Jen on skis

It’s much faster out wide around the turns.

Out wide

Jen finished her run, then nonchalantly discarded the rope as she glided toward the dock.

All done

Skiing was a lot of fun. I had hoped to ski and then head over to the courts for some tennis. Unfortunately, the wait for skiing was too long, and I didn’t have time to hit the courts. That said, I was so sore after a few minutes of skiing that it was probably good to get a little rest.

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Family fun

Posted in Family visits, Trip on August 7th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Tuesday after camp there was plenty of fun for the whole family. First, we all went for a scavenger hunt through the Sibley Horticultural Center at Callaway. Leah volunteered to be our scribe as we looked for plants based on the clues we were given.

Scavenger hunt

We had to write down the names of the plants and a secret letter on their signs, which we later used to decode a secret message.

Banana tree

It was tough, but we eventually found all the plants, got all the clues, and solved for the secret message. Then the kids got stickers for prizes.

After the scavenger hunt and dinner, it was time for more fun - Bingo night. So, we headed back over to the lake, got our Bingo cards, and found a table. These kids are ready to play.


JJ was the first winner at Bingo, though I’m not sure how happy he was about it.


He got to pick his prize. No surprise that he picked a green bucket - green is his favorite color.

Green bucket

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Oh my stars

Posted in Family visits, Trip on August 6th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

When I saw the schedule of activities at Callaway Gardens, I quickly found one that could be awesome or a big problem. Monday night they had an “Oh, My Stars!” astronomy program scheduled at 9pm. I knew my girls would love this, especially Leah. Leah is so enamored with space that she’s having a space-themed birthday party when she turns 6. But, at the same time, I knew we wouldn’t be getting to bed until 11pm after a very busy day of camp. And there would be no sleeping in the next morning. Molly could probably handle this, but it would probably be too much for Leah.

So, I gave Leah a choice. I told her if she wanted to go, she’d have to take a nap after tennis. Despite this being a terrible thing to her, she agreed quickly and fell asleep quickly when the time came. So, that night most of the adults and all three of the little girls headed out to a field for some astronomical fun.


Callaway brought out folks from the Coca-Cola Space Science Center nearby to give a bit of a talk on astronomy, then guide us through the sky. They brought four big telescopes (10” reflector telescopes, if memory serves) that looked a lot like Molly’s telescope only bigger. They pointed these at various items, but most popular by far was Saturn (Leah’s favorite planet).

We spent most of the time just looking at the sky without telescopes. Like many people, where we live in Maryland is surrounded by light pollution. Pine Mountain, Georgia, however, has no such problems. This picture is just a small taste of what we could see in the sky.

Real darkness

We also saw lots of man-made satellites. Whenever someone saw one, they would shout out “Satellite” and one of the volunteers would point it out with a high-power green laser pointer.

In the end, we had a great time. The girls said it was definitely one of the highlights of the week.

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Arts and crafts

Posted in Family visits, Trip on August 6th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Michelle and Jen spent several days at Callaway bonding in the Arts & Crafts center. Creating a chevron zig zag on a seahorse door hanger takes a lot of math!

Arts & Crafts

Jen went for the zig zag and polka dot theme on her flip flop door hanger.

Door hanger

The sisters and their finished door hangers.

Finished crafts

The kids all did arts and crafts of different sorts as well, but I have no pictures to show you of that. They even made tie-dyed t-shirts (a highlight), though Molly almost didn’t. She was supposed to make hers Thursday afternoon outdoors, but it started raining and they had to cancel. Molly was quite upset that she wouldn’t get to make a shirt, which the counselors were shocked at since she’s always smiling. So, the counselors put their heads together and decided they could steal some time from circus skills and capture the flag to squeeze in tie-dying. Molly was thrilled.

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