Easter Treasure Hunt03.24.13

The Easter Bunny worked furiously through the night preparing and testing the treasure routes, hiding eggs all along the way.  I wonder if there was any confusion this year as there were in years past, hiding eggs but forgetting where the next downstream one was to go.  Probably!!!

After a quick breakfast to take up any precious room that might otherwise be used to store extra chocolate, or for the hideout of a recently digested Peep – they never do quite die and I am certain that one day there will be an uprising we will all regret – the treasure hunts began.  This year though it was to be a bit tougher for each of the explorers; Jacob was getting older, Isaac was up a good challenge, Violet could now read and Piper was becoming the princess of puzzles.

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National Museum of the U.S. Air Force11.21.12

While visiting in Indiana over the summer Carol and I took the kids on a super secret road trip to somewhere cool and exciting near Dayton, OH – or specifically the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  When looking up things to do this seemed like a good option.  It was reasonably close to Indy to accommodate a day trip, there was no entry fee, they had food onsite and best of all it was chalked full of anything and everything that could, did or might one day fly.

There is no pamphlet that could ever come close to doing this place justice – no way – no how.  This is the best museum I have ever been too related to aviation – ever.  I think it might even top or at minimum rival the Smithsonian in D.C. – hard to say though since my visit there was in eighth grade.  Regardless, the Air Force museum was top notch from the moment we entered when they opened until we were ushered out the doors when they closed.  A long day of walking, reading, sightseeing and generally staring in disbelief at the sites surrounding you in three massive hangers. (more…)

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Red Delivers Christmas Eve12.26.11

Christmas this year introduced a new member to our family named Red.  And NO to those of you thinking the unthinkable – the family head count remains at a solid seven, including the dog.  This little persons name, after much enthusiastically and somewhat fanatical debate among existing family members was determined to be “Red”.  Red the Christmas Elf.  He would only be around for a few weeks out of the year, didn’t eat much and pretty much remained stationary throughout the day – at some point during the day, when our eyes were cast elsewhere, he would just vanish until the next morning.  Red had some specific rules about being touched or bothered as well – certainly the kids were to strictly forbidden to touch him and to leave him alone lest he lose his observational and somewhat magical powers granted by the spirit that is Christmas.  Red’s job was to cast a watchful eye upon his family, take score of the good versus bad and report back to some higher power a recommendation as to which list each household member might befit.  Somehow during his strictly “observational” process he would always find a way to cause mischief and leave a mess.

Two nights before Christmas however, Red left something additional in each of the stockings of the Children of the Corn.  A gold dipped envelope containing a silver inked letter from The Man himself.  Now was the time of reckoning.  The time of knowing.  Was it the good list or the bad.  What did Santa think?  What did he know?  When we opened our weary eyes the next morning would they sparkle and shine from majestic reflection of silver and gold or be dim from broken hope and disappointment.

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Posted in Family, Holidays, Isaac, Jacob, Kids, Photos, Piper, Violetwith 1 Comment →

Leisurely Labor Day09.05.11

The kids are back in school, summer is at its height and the daily scheduled grind has taken hold.  Thank goodness for the break brought by Labor Day.  We had not ambitious plans and wanted nothing other than to spend some time with the kids and enjoy our time off.  There was plenty to do however that we talked about through the summer but just couldn’t fit in so we planned to take full advantage of our few days of free time and get in some activities with the CoTC.  Specifically we wanted to see the DragonCon Parade, Atlanta Aquarium and Stone Mountain Laser Show.

DragonCon was back in town and while I would have preferred to have purchased tickets and gone sightseeing at the actual show, it was cost prohibitive to take all the kids – even if the cost was right there was no way I was taking them to wait for tickets in the six hour line that literally wrapped around the block.  The parade was a good second and something I had never seen as well.  The kids loved it.  We found a nice spot to watch above the road and behind some glass that we were able to squeeze in to – certainly better than being at ground level with four munchkins that couldn’t see over a shrubbery.  The costumes were pretty awesome and all of us had our favorites.  Jacob took the only pictures with his camera and the rest of us just soaked it in.

Next up was a walk to the Atlanta Aquarium.  We had been planning to take the kids here all summer but just couldn’t find the time to do it.  Labor Day probably wasn’t the wisest choice in timing though as it was packed wall to wall with people.  Crazy.  Oh well, tickets had been purchased already online so at the very least we were able to bypass the ridiculously long entry line and head straight in.  Having been many times in the past we were hoping to see some of the new exhibits that had been added such as the dolphins but they were not open unless you purchased another ticket specifically to view them.  We instead took our time strolling from room to room and soaking up the sites.  Many times just sitting in front of a particular wall and watching everything swim around.  We managed to time our trip to the main viewing room of the large tank in time for the feeding of the massive whale sharks.  The biologist would drop buckets of krill onto the surface and the whales would basically inhale massive amounts of water and filter it through their gills each eating twenty pounds or so of these obviously delicious morsels per bite.

We did not end up going to Stone Mountain as it started raining early in the evening.  With the laser light show changing this year to something new and supposedly now in a type of 3-D where it looks like they are inside of the mountain we were bummed and will hopefully get to check it out before the season ends.

All in all a great weekend with the family.  Lots of time away from the house but also plenty of time at home to just take it easy and chill.

Posted in Activities, Family, Holidays, Kids, Photoswith 3 Comments →

Reading Rewarded Rightly Riding Roller Coasters08.14.11

The kids are challenged by their school to read, read, and read even more.  All in an effort to get them reading at or above the state mandated reading recommendations for their age group and class.  The program is called “Read to Succeed” and requires the kids to read six hours of material over two months.  We take the program a step farther and turn reading into a nightly bedtime requirement.  Thirty minutes before lights out the CoTC head up to their rooms, grab their latest chapter book, board book, Lego magazine, game manual, or whatever might float their fancy for the evening and partake in some serious forced leisure time.  More often than not they pass through several books during this time and certainly rack up more hours than required by the program.  The reward for this challenge is a free ticket to Six Flags Over Georgia.  That is quite a great deal for us as well since kids tickets run $45 and adult tickets are $54.  Lump that into a quick buy one get one free coupon for Carol and I and we end up getting a day of fun for something we would enforce regardless of the program requirements.

Our family outing to partake in combating Georgia heat exhaustion while getting our thrills happened to be this weekend.  Everyone was excited and pumped to go.  We spent the evening prior with the boys watching various rides on YouTube so that they knew what they were getting into if they decided to ride some “real” roller coasters.  Isaac thought there were all cool but wanted nothing to do with actually riding one.  Jacob adamantly wanted to ride the Mind Bender.  The girls had recently been to Kings Island in Ohio with Grandma and Grandpa and were psyched as well to see what Six Flags had to offer.  Weather checked, bag of snacks and water packed, sunscreen applied, we headed out toward adventure.

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Bulls Eye07.30.11

After about two months of talking about it, we finally got our day at the gun range.  Jacob has been very patient over the past few weeks as trips have been planned and rescheduled or rescheduled and cancelled.  Today though was the perfect day and instead of just Jacob and I going, we were all able to go and take our shots.  We headed to Bulls Eye Marksman Gun Club and Indoor Range.

Jacob was interested in shooting his first rifle and after a few months of talking about it and learning the various safety aspects of doing so, it was time.  They both hear me talking about going to the range and have been interested in joining me.  I thought that would be excellent as well and have been working to that end.  I certainly want them to understand and respect weapons as they grow, in particular if they have an interest – one of those instances where if they have an itch it sometimes helps to let them scratch it with you versus with someone else.  Regardless I want them to understand what is acceptable and what is not.  What rifles, shotguns and pistols are for, how to be safe around them and what to know and do when they might handle one.  This was our first hands on lesson.

The day had finally come.  We don’t have a small caliber rifle and I was wanting to start him out light with a 22 so both the noise and recoil didn’t give him a bad taste from the beginning.  The range had a nice bolt action Ruger 22/77 with a low power scope that we took out for a spin.  I was hoping for something with iron sites as a start but this was what they had and we made the best of it.  It was a bit heavy though and there was some awkwardness in holding it because of the weight but the boys made the best of it and shot quite well.

Jacob won the coin toss and got first shot.  He did remarkably well considering he had never shot before and we were in a very crowded and loud range with lots of noise offering easy distraction.  His first two shots found their mark near the center and he was excited to continue.  We let each of they boys run a clip through and took turns at the reload.  Isaac had some initial trouble with sighting through the scope and adjusting to the weight.  We propped it up on a towel that the range had for just this scenario and let him hold it a bit short and he was able to find his mark.  After a few errant shots he slowly worked his way into the black and orange and as the shooting continued he was able to keep his mark most of the time.

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Engagement Photos07.24.11

It has taken a lot to interfere with hardcore procrastination and extreme distractedness to finally get these photos uploaded.  As mentioned in a previous post last year, Carol and I had a photo session for our engagement and out of it came a slew of great pictures.  I figured now was a good as time as any to break the lazy streak and get them online.

Posted in Carol and Israel, Photos, Weddingwith 1 Comment →

Tree of Life07.21.11

March 21st marks a very special day for Carol and I, an anniversary of sorts.  The first spark of our relationship which flourished into what we have today.

On this special day I received a gift of life from Carol.  An Oak tree still in seed form that we could watch grow over the years.  Always a reminder of each other.  Excitedly I planted my new treasure in its pot, precisely following directions to help it burst out of shell and start to grow into a sapling.  Thirty days passed and roots started to form.  Sixty days passed and the seed had just started to split open.  Now was the time to take the tree home and expose it to some direct sunlight so that it could flourish.

A few days later I received a message from Carol indicating that the tree was gone.  Our Seed of Life had been cracked open and eaten by a hungry squirrel who selfishly left the pieces of the now destroyed shell littered all over the deck.  I did have a momentary temptation to go hunting.

Carol called and reported our recent loss to the provider and another tree arrived at home a few weeks later.  Now the process was to begin anew.  Special precautions would be taken until the seed properly sprouted into a sapling and we could plant it in a larger pot or the ground.  Since it takes an oak tree forever to grow the idea of allowing it to be mobile seems best until such a time as planting is required.

This time I decided to document the process with a few pictures.  Carol never ceases to amaze me with her love and thoughtfulness.  This Seed was and is, for a second time, the perfect gift.  Attached was a card from Carol:

Love, Two years ago today you asked me to dance.  That simple question has changed my life forever.  I have never been Loved or felt so much in Love as i do with You.  You are my Angel.  Today, Tomorrow & Always I am Yours Eternally.

So Behold!  Our Seed of Life.

May it continue to grow as a reminder of our Love.

Posted in Carol and Israel, Special Eventswith 1 Comment →

Anniversary Dinner Date07.06.11

Israel and I enjoyed a Fantastic dinner at Antica Posta. We had been looking for an authentic Italian restaurant ever since returning from Italy. The food was amazing and spot on Tuscan style. We even splurged with a bottle of  2005  Brunello from Montalcino – Perfetto!

Posted in Carol and Israel, Special Events, Weddingwith 3 Comments →

Wish Me Luck!06.27.11

Israel has convinced me to start posting our family pictures and activities on here for documenting and memory purposes rather then always using Facebook.  I am not a savvy writer like he is, but I will do my best  😉

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