Two thousand and nineteen… what a year. I’m almost not sure I want to re-live it to write about it, but lets see if we can pull together some of the good things that happened during the previous twelve months.
We are a snow-loving family (well, most of us). The first meaningful snowfall occurred on the fourteenth of January when five and a half inches of snow fell overnight. Another inch fell over the next day, and the kids had a lot of fun sledding and building things. We recently acquired a snow mold that makes penguins, and I had plans to leave the little guys on our neighbors’ front porches, but after being caught by one neighbor while crouching near his porch and finding out that another was in Florida for the season, my antics were short-lived. After the first day it warmed up just enough to melt just the top layer of snow on the sled run we cleared in the woods behind our house. Of course it refroze and made the hill very slick. Elise volunteered to sled down the hill first on day two and down she went. Fast. Really fast. Not to worry, though, as Amanda had piled some snow at the bottom of the hill to stop any wayward sleds… Elise hit that pile of snow, went airborne, narrowly missed a tree, and stopped just short of a large fallen tree. Expecting the worst, I started down the hill only to be met with a smiling, laughing little girl ready to go again.
In our continuing efforts to go green, we purchased an electric car in January, and have enjoyed being able to preheat the car in the garage on cold days, the quiet rides, and essentially using our home solar power generation to charge the car.
The weather was warming up and with that Harlan wanted to join me on my search and rescue training. March saw him both hiding from a tracking dog and flanking an air-scent dog while searching for a “missing” subject.
Harlan also enjoyed participating in a Destination Imagination team at his school (in the kindergarten to 2nd grade noncompetitive division).
Boy was April a busy month for us! First, we went over to Chincoteague to watch NASA launch an Antares rocket! We spent a few days down there and visited the refuge. Renting bicycles seemed to be the best way to roam around the area, and so with Harlan and Eric on a tandem and Elise being pulled by Amanda, we visited a lighthouse, and rode all the way to the end of the peninsula where the public programs were being held. We camped the first couple of nights and then moved over to an inn, just in time for the rain to come.
At the end of the month, my sister Amy got married and we all went down to celebrate. Personally, I think it was all an excuse to get me dressed up.
Harlan had been complaining for awhile that he hadn’t lost any teeth, insisting he might be the last first grader in his entire school not to have lost a tooth. Finally, around the middle of the month he had a loose top tooth, which he yanked out on his own without any hesitation, leaving a nice gap in his smile.
We also ventured up to Ohio for the Memorial Day weekend. The kids had a ball at the various museums we visited and, of course, playing with their friend Jessie.
Elise finally figured out that while I may be “Daddy” I’m not really a parent. I’m amazed it took her this long to realize.
We also took a trip to visit Grandma in June. The kids had a lot of fun picking blueberries and generally goofing around.
July started by the kids participating in the neighborhood Fourth of July parade. This has become an annual event with the kids decorating their bikes and carts and doing a few laps behind the fire truck. Despite lots of pedaling experience, Elise had an issue with her (lack of) use of the brakes, opting instead for using a bush as a stopping mechanism. While she, as usual, was nonplussed, Amanda (who was close enough to see, but not to stop it) will never be the same.
We also went camping atop Apple Orchard Mountain. The trip was actually part of the APRS Golden Packet event, an amateur radio exercise to link up stations along the Appalachian Trail. That trip was really awesome, though, as the summit is the highest for several hundred miles around and our camping site was pretty much in the middle of a wildflower meadow.
Speaking of camping, we started started our New England Road Trip this month!
August was pretty much limited to our New England Road Trip. We made it up to Maine and spent as much time hiking around as possible. Elise did very well with her hiking and Harlan did well with his navigation. They both ate a lot of wild blueberries and enjoyed two weeks of camping.
School started back just after Labor Day here in Maryland. Harlan started Second Grade while Elise moved up to The Jungle class in preschool. After our busy summer, September was just left for recovery and getting back into a routine.
Everyone needs a break in the middle of October, right? Team E (Eric and Elise) took a week and went to Grandma’s house to visit and do some exploring while Harlan and Amanda did some playing of their own. We met up at the end of our respective breaks to attend the North Carolina State Fair.
With the Fall colors popping, we ventured out to Shenandoah National Park to see the show for ourselves.
And then there was the hiking, the learning activities, the beach, the chickens, and whatever other kinds of trouble we could get into. Finally stringing up the 150-foot zip line Amanda purchased for our backyard was also a highlight of the month.
The end of November and beginning of December is birthday season for our household. Elise turned four while Harlan turned eight. They each had parties with their friends and had a good time.
Elise also had her preschool holiday program where she sang her heart out to “Crabs for Christmas”.
And for the first time in years, we stayed home for Christmas. No traveling or schedules. Just relaxing at home.
Just after Christmas we had friends come to visit for a few days. It’s always fun to catch up with those that we haven’t seen in a while and let the kids play together. We ended up the Smithsonian’s National Zoo where, in the chilly rain, we made a pretty good tour of the animals (admittedly with a focus on the indoor ones)