Molly

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.

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…

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

Six Flags

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on June 30th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

This year, we decided to get season tickets to Six Flags when they were on a super sale. So, now we’re enjoying taking advantage of it. We’ve already been twice this year.

The first time we went was in April, as a celebration of great grades for the girls. What we didn’t tell them ahead of time was that we’d coordinated with their best friends’ parents, and they were going to be there as well. So, after we got into the park they were shocked to find their friends there. Suddenly a good time was turned into an even better time.

ROAR

We rode a bunch of rides, ate some food, and had lots of fun together.

Riddle Me This

And it wasn’t all rides (well, it was almost all rides). In the New Orleans section of Six Flags, Leah danced with an alligator to some jazz music.

Six Flags dancing

On Memorial Day, we went back to Six Flags with old friends. Simon and Jake (on the left) have known Molly since they were very little.

Six Flags

We rode even more rides including the new Firebird coaster that opened that weekend. One of our favorite rides is The Joker’s Jinx, which Molly and I rode together. It was great, but the ride broke down as the next group (with some of our people) was about to go. So, we got stuck at the end of the ride, unable to disembark for 10 or 15 minutes.

Stuck

We look forward to more time at Six Flags this year (including a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, we hope).

Black belt in the family

Posted in Molly, Sports on June 28th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Black belt and Sensei

Molly is now a black belt in karate! We are so proud of Molly for all her hard work over the past five years. She’s just awesome. I want to tell you all about her black belt test, but first I just want to let her awesomeness sink in for a bit...

OK, on to the test. Molly tested for her black belt last night. This was an advanced belt test at her dojo, so it was just the brown belts working toward their next degree and black belt candidates. There were actually 4 black belt candidates, including Molly.

The test began with a written test, which she’s been studying for for years. Questions include things like who created the Kyokushin style of karate, where, and in what year.

Test questions

There are lots of exercises throughout the test, including jumping jacks, sit ups, burpees (lots of burpees), mountain climbers, and more.

Jumping jacks

Molly had to perform 17 katas throughout the test. Here’s one of the more basic ones - the 12 step kata.

12 step kata

As a black belt candidate, Molly gave a speech about her journey through karate.

Other students often help with the test, and there was no way Molly’s long-time friend Sarah (who got her black belt 2 months ago) was going to miss it. As soon as Sensei asked students to help with punches and kicks, Sarah ran straight for Molly. In fact, later this happened again, and Sensei immediately amended her request with “not Molly” to avoid having Molly continually evaluated by her friend.

Kicking

A couple of Molly’s katas involve the bo staff, including Dragon, seen here.

Dragon kata

The test also includes getting beat up a bit. Knowing how to punch and kick is important, but so is knowing how to take a hit. Here, Sensei is hitting Molly in the stomach to make sure she can take a hit.

Hit in the stomach

In addition to taking a hit, she has to take a kick. She’s done this before, but this was the first time she was kicked in the stomach from both sides. She says she’s still sore the morning after.

Kick in the stomach

After getting hit and kicked, she got stepped on too.

Stepped on

Here are photos from a few more katas, including Shadow, Heaven and Earth, and Tiger.

Shadow kata

Heaven and Earth kata

Tiger kata

Molly had been tested on every kata up to this point as part of previous belt tests, but there was one new kata for black belt - Gangasho.

Gangasho kata

As part of her black belt test, Molly had to break 3 boards. She could choose how to break them. She chose to break 2 boards at one time with a hammer fist, then the final board with a kick.

Part of the self-defense training of karate is knowing how to fight two-on-one. So, all the black belt candidates have to fight against two people at the same time.

Two on one

Molly sparred a bunch of people during the test, but I’m sure her favorite was getting to spar her old friend Sarah.

Sparring Sarah

The test was long and grueling. As it approached 3 hours long, Molly was exhausted. Then she took a hard kick during sparring from a bigger girl, and started to cry. But she didn’t let it stop her. She pushed through, kept fighting, and proved how tough she was. A hug from a good friend was also a big help when fighting through tears.

Hug from a friend

Each black belt candidate had to spar against Sensei. They don’t have to win, but they have to stand their ground and fight. It’s the first to 3 points. Molly did great, and even scored a point as you can see here!

Point against Sensei

After all that, the test kept going. They took off their sparring gear and Sensei sat on them as they held a push-up position. They also had to do a bunch more mountain climbers (not pictured).

Sat on

Molly did it! She got her black belt! She’s still a bit weepy at this point, but trying to turn it into a smile having accomplished her goal.

Black belt

The dojo acknowledges that all these girls have a family behind them, so we got to present Molly with her black belt certificate.

Family

Molly had her parents, sister, and grandparents there to cheer her on.

Family support

Black belt Molly

Concert Orchestra Spring 2019

Posted in Molly, Music on June 20th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s in two different orchestras at school, so she wasn’t done after her Symphony concert. Five days after her Symphony Orchestra concert, she performed with the Concert Orchestra, a strings group made up of sixth graders.

The music is great, but the best part of the video is Molly’s reaction after the 5th song a bit after 12:55, so make sure you don’t miss that.

Concert Orchestra

Concert Orchestra

Also, if you’re trying to find Molly throughout the video and having trouble, it’s not your fault. In order to give the kids different perspectives, Mr. Denne had them switch seats around throughout the performance. Molly was happy to get to her final seat up front for the last two songs.

Changing seats

Symphony Orchestra Spring Concert

Posted in Molly, Music on June 20th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Four days after their performance in Hershey, the Symphony Orchestra performed their Spring concert.



Symphony Orchestra concert

Symphony Orchestra concert

Music in the Parks

Posted in Field trips, Molly, Music on June 19th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s middle school sent 8 busses worth of kids to Hershey, Pennsylvania for Music in the Parks. While the 6th grade groups did not make the trip, Molly got to go with Symphony Orchestra, which has kids from all grades and meets before school at 6:50 to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I chaperoned the trip. Molly and I had to be at her school at 4:30am to organize ourselves, our stuff, and load into the busses for the trip. We arrived in Hershey a little after 7 and split up to go to 3 different local schools where the different groups would perform. Then the kids performed all morning.

Music in the Parks

After performing in the morning, the kids changed clothes and headed to Hershey Park for some fun. Here’s our group of 6th grade girls.

Hershey Park

They played around in the water park, rode a couple coasters, ate some food, and had a great time. I think their favorite ride was Tidal Force.

Prepare for splash

Splash

A bit wet

After the fun at the park, we headed into the arena for the awards ceremony. Molly’s group took 1st place in their division, as did several other groups from her school.

1st place

We then boarded the busses and headed home. We got back to our house a bit before 9pm, exhausted and ready for bed.

Continued birthday

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Molly on April 3rd, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s birthday celebration kept going and going. After her slumber party, the girls woke up and headed home. Molly and Grace headed to karate and Leah headed to a birthday party (and brought a Squishmallow as a present, more on that later). Then Leah went to the Solo and Ensemble Festival. Then we had the Sellers side of the family over to keep celebrating Molly’s birthday. We also celebrated Uncle Charles’s birthday, so they were both blowing out candles. And yes, that is the same cake from the night before. It looks perfect, as if still whole…

Birthdays

Here’s a look at the other side of the cake (the side we ate from at Molly’s slumber party).

Cake back side

There were also presents to be opened.

Opening presents

Opening presents

Gather round for the multiple musical cards.

Musical card

In our house, we love Squishmallows. So, when Jen’s friend texted her from Costco saying they had them in stock (and selling out fast), we got the girls another one each (plus got an extra one to give to one of Leah’s friends for her birthday earlier in the day). Aunt Caroline brought her own Squishmallow to our celebration. Squishmallows are taking over the world.

Squishmallow party

Happy 12th Birthday Molly

Posted in Celebrations, Molly on April 1st, 2019 by c-had – 1 Comment

Molly turned 12 on Saturday! We celebrated with a slumber party Friday night. The Spring weather had finally arrived, so starting out the evening with laser tag outside was perfect!

Birthday Laser tag

Jen knew this would be the perfect cake for Molly. Molly requested a chocolate cake, accompanied by malted milk ice cream and peanut butter chocolate fudge ripple ice cream.

Unicorn cake

Jen saw a contestant on Kids Baking Championship make marshmallow fondant, so she tried out this new technique to create the unicorn horn and ears.

Cascading mane

So many flowers

Painting wood signs and canvases are all the rage right now, so Jen created personal designs for each of the 6 girls to paint. First, she had to review the technique for painting.

Painting instructions

All the girls enjoyed choosing how to personalize their artwork.

The secret is in the sponge

Many of the girls decided to mix their own colors.

Color mixing

The art table

The girls (and Jen!) were all so happy with how their paintings turned out.

The finished canvases

We then watched The House with a Clock in Its Walls and ate popcorn. Then it was finally time for bed. The girls were asleep by around midnight.

The next morning, I got up at 6:30 (not my usual pattern) to go to Krispy Kreme and pick up hot doughnuts for breakfast. I actually got back before everyone got up (though not by much). A little more playing (Mario Kart) and then it was time for everyone to head out. A good time was had by all.