Nana recently came for a visit, which was nice since Eric unexpectedly had to go down to NC. Luckily, Eric and I did manage to go see Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me at Wolftrap before he left. It was a wonderful experience and really interesting to see the whole show and then listen to what got cut out on the radio. James Comey was the guest for Not My Job, which got a good rise out of the crowd. Nana was also kind enough to babysit during what I will call “the day of many screams,” so I could go to a baby shower lunch for a friend. Other than that one day during which both kids were, from the time they woke up until the time they went to bed, complete, illogical, very vocal terrors (particularly my usually good-natured Elise) we had a fantastic visit. Nana and I even got a chance to go into D.C. (without the little terrors) to hit a few of the more off-the-beaten-path museum stops.
After being kept inside by torrential rain Saturday, we were happy to get out the house on Sunday and go down to the beach.
We’ve missed the last couple Appalachian Trail cleanup trips with our friends from Virginia, Jerry and Etta. We made it this time though, and had fun, and cleared our assigned trail section as well. Plus, we got to see (a little too close for Harlan’s comfort) a timber rattlesnake! That was the second day of cleanup. While Eric, Jerry, and Etta weedwhacked the first part of the trail, that Harlan and Elise and I took some clippers and headed down to the end of our section- the Maupin Field Shelter. The kids were amazing little hikers and we enjoyed a break at the creek (basically a trickle) when we reached the end, eating lunch, and chatting with a hiker attempting to filter some water. On the way back we noticed a middle-aged couple who had been hiking stopped in the trail ahead of us. We approached and asked what was going on and then when they pointed we saw the large snake just on one side of the trail. A young couple came up behind us next and in the spirit of youth the young man decided tossing rocks at the snake might encourage it to exit the trail. The snake basically ignored the brief barrage of stones. Then the fella decided to get a long stick and quickly push the snake off the trail. That worked… sorta. The snake was not at all pleased with that turn of events and once moved into the high grass on the other side of the trail continued to rattle angrily. Now we couldn’t see the snake but could hear that it remained quite close so we all decided to hike off the trail and give it a wide berth because walking through poison ivy seemed preferable given the situation. Harlan was a little freaked out though and in shorts at that point. I think he would have calmed down, but the lady hiker we first saw volunteered to carry Elise around so I could carry Harlan. We all made it out safely and he’s quite pleased to be able to tell the story now.
Before we left we enjoyed stopping along Skyline Drive to take in the views.
We recently went to visit my college friend, Katie, and her family in Ohio. As usual, it was a wonderful trip. Of course, we had to stop and play on the way there:
Our first day we visited the Great Lakes Science Center, which was fantastic. The kids got worn out before we were able to see it all. Harlan and the dads also toured the steamship William G. Mather (a restored 618-foot Great Lakes freighter built in 1925) while the girls played in the special exhibit- Tapescape. Tapescape is nearly 75 miles of packing tape that they wrapped (and wrapped and wrapped) around metal scaffolding. You could climb up and through and slide down. And it was strong enough to hold adults too- I tested it. Several times. 🙂 As you can also see in the photos, Harlan and Elise each have their own “Flat Stanley” they brought along with them. At the end of the summer they are each going to present to their summer camp class where they went with their flat person over the summer.
We also visited the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. We also didn’t have time to explore all of that because we wanted to see an animal show at the library that afternoon, but it was an enjoyable quick trip (although we didn’t have much luck spotting many animals in the outdoor enclosures- too hot I think).
We also spent a nice afternoon at a park along Lake Erie.
And of course we played outside and ate ice cream. There’s always lots of ice cream with Katie, Joe, and Jessie!
Harlan participated in the neighborhood Independence Day parade again this year- luckily via his own power. Last year, I pulled both kids in the wagon and declared never again on that! The “parade route” starts on a relatively flat block (slightly downhill even), makes a right down another relatively flat block, runs along the beach for another flat block, then makes a right hand turn for a decidedly uphill block. That’s the stretch that just about did me in pulling the wagon in the heat last year. This year wasn’t any cooler, but Harlan decorated and pedaled the new pedal car. (I jogged along behind and provided an extra push on the uphill part.) He was the only human-powered vehicle in the parade! Last year there were some kids on bikes, but this year it was all vehicles, golf carts, mopeds, motorcycles, and kids in battery-powered cars. He kept up just fine though. Eric and Elise joined the spectators along the beach, and then we all enjoyed the potluck picnic afterward.