Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hookah and Passion and Drunks, oh my.

Now that Rosie is a bit older and a smidgey bit more predictable, I've made some honest attempts to take the kids to check out different places around the city that are off of our beaten path.
Broaden our horizons...
stretch and grow,
 that sort of stuff.  
Not long ago I learned about a park in Cincinnati that was once an incline station and still has a fantastic overlook of the city as well as a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired bandstand shelter.
"We must go investigate this architecturally relevant park with a fabulous view"
I told my dears, and we set off on our adventure.
We found our park, were impressed by the view and the kids had a fun, wholesome time rolling down the hill... yippeee!
Afterwards, Lily found a nice spot to admire the city, but instead noticed something behind her...
What does she see?
Two grubby teenagers and a hookah pipe.
Seriously? A hookah?
Why anyone would take a two foot tall hookah to a park is beyond me, but there it was- and of course Lily had some questions.
To distract her and prevent my louder daughter Rosie, from asking those same questions, I took them over to the cool flying saucer looking bandstand- which is indeed impressive. 
But when I tried to get my kids to pose under them- we discovered and interrupted a very amorous R rated couple having some not so alone time and completely ignoring their  architecturally relevant surroundings.
"I didn't know that it was legal to kiss like that in public!" Henry was fairly horrified.
 but Rosie was very supportive of their romance."I think they just got married!"
  I sent the kids to the playground and took a quick photo from down the hill a bit...
(I tried to block them out so that it would be a G rated photo, but they are still just visible under the center pod)
The gang enjoyed the running around the playground and thankfully there were no hookah pipes or passionate love couples by the swingset- but wait, what does Henry see?
"Mom, is it against the law to put the F word on a t shirt?"
But before I could talk to Henry and also try to disract him so that we wouldn't offend and annoy the cool guy in the F***K shirt, I hear this behind me....
"Hey pretty lady, whats going on....?"
While I would have loved to be flattered by the compliment, it was coming from a fellow so inebriated he could barely stand and was not likely to have the best vision/judgement.
My new friend even had a little paper bag with a bottle sticking out of the top- the very caricature of a drunk.
"What's wrong with that grandpa?"
My kids aren't really used to strange men, no matter how loaded, giving me "compliments" on the playground so they had some questions about that also.

So ok...amazing view or not, it was really time to go.

And so concludes our fun and educational 40 mins in the park... consider our horizons broadened.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paddlefest 2012.

One Saturday morning a year the Ohio river is closed to big boats but is left wide open to the little guys.  Any boat that can be paddled is invited and welcomed to enjoy the big river without the fear of being mowed over by ginormous barges and speed boats.
Karl very much looks forward to this day and in fact, considers Paddlefest a dream of his.
So of course he merrily, merrily, merrily rowed his boat (and kids) gently down the stream.
(I couldn't resist that)

The put in for the 8.2 mile float is at Coney Island... I asked both of my dear daughters for a photo. Guess which kid was feeling some bitterness about not being invited in the red boat this time?
(The short one who refuses to look at me.)
Rosie and I waved a bon voyage the boat and big kids an then drove the boat and trailer up to Sawyer Point to take them out.
(Little Miss still refuses to look at me... the girl can hold a grudge.)
There they are...
Three fellows in a little red row boat... spotted!
Our friend Wendell paddled with the girls... he rented a canoe for the morning that just happened to be... PINK!
 Still mad.
As you can imagine, watching her big sister paddle a fabulously PINK canoe down the river did not make Rosie want to smile for the camera.
(to my safety patrol pals, Rosie is not frightfully close to waters edge, she is on the top step of a sloping stairway- I'd never let an annoyed daughter that close to the mighty Ohio... give me some credit here, ok? ) 
 Karl and the boys... it's obvious how helpful the boys were at paddling/rowing. I couldn't even get Henry to sit up and pretend to look sporty.
Both Jamie and Henry didn't feel like they got soggy enough in the boat, so they ran through the fountain a few times to ensure that they were drenched before going home.
Below is the thank you note from Ohio River Way to the good city of Cincinnati. O.R.W. is the non profit who has developed and sponsored Paddlefest for the past 11 years.

Thank you Cincinnati for making Paddlefest 2012 the best ever!!! We had over 2,000 paddlers make their way down the Ohio River, 5,200 kids attended the Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo (largest in the country), the best volunteer team we could ask for and the most generous sponsors.  Our oldest paddler was 92 and our youngest was just 3 years old.  Nineteen states were represented at this year’s event — including Alaska!

Thankfully Rosie wont be reading this... she would never forgive me if she knew that there was a three year old on the river while she grumpily, idly, watched from the banks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pretend Danger.

"This is the most dangerous and coolest slide ever!"

My boys were thrilled to discover a new (to them) giant slide of slick polished cement in Alms park.
They were completely thrilled by their discovery and spent a couple of hours performing pretend death defying moves and they all climbed up and slid down.   
Their new (to only them) is full of awesome because it is super steep and built into the hillside with big concrete steps instead of a ladder.
 There was a lot of joyful white knuckled hanging from the pretend edge of a cliff, aka top of the slide.
 Also some very fun upside down pretend emergencies.
 The big kids were counting on Rosie to save them from pretend doom...
Jamie declared himself king of the coolest slide in Cincinnati and so far remains unchallenged.
Check it out if you are feeling brave...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Reptile Roundup.

Jamie and Henry just finished up a camp at the Cincinnati Nature Center called Reptile Roundup, the mission of the camp was to capture as many different kinds of reptiles and amphibians as a kid possibly can in one week. The campers are then able to study their little hostages closely and then release them back into the wild on the last day of camp. 
 Jamie is checking out a dusky salamander, which while common in this area are quite difficult to catch. They are noted as being alert, slippery, and being very good jumpers. However even the swiftest salamander is no match for my son who always brings his A game to the creek.
On Friday morning, the kids offered a presentation of the creatures that they caught. 
Henry was very happy to be the kid that held the snake jar. To ensure that the kids find a ton of reptiles I learned that snake tins are set out the night before camp. I didn't even know that there was such a thing as a snake tin, but they are placed about the edges of the woods and provide a warm and cozy place for the snakes to relax before they start their day. Apparently quite a few snakes meet up to enjoy the warmth of the tin and checking on who dropped by became the highlight of the week for my boys. In fact they were so excited to see what they caught, that they had a hard time sleeping the night before.
 The boys are crazy about all creepy creatures, but hanging out up close and personal with our snake-y friends is just not for me, in fact its a bit of a personal nightmare. I am thrilled that the nature center offers a place where my boys can learn a great deal from brave and enthusiastic teachers who are excited about sharing their snake knowledge with eager to learn young campers. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wild and Wonderful West Virginia

Do these grounds look wild and wonderful?
 Wonderful, definitely... but not so wild. Karl and I took the gang to West Virgina for the weekend, and since their unofficial state motto is "Wild and Wonderful" and their official state motto is "Mountaineers Are Always Free," we were ready for anything.
But we didn't have to be because we went with friends who have very fancy pants friends who have a place in a the very fancy pants resort of The Greenbrier.
So I guess that made us fancy pants twice removed.  

Here are my hoity- toity society ladies posing in front of the side entrance of our weekend digs.  
Only the classiest young ladies wear big green rubber shoes.
Henry was horrified when he learned that The Greenbrier politely required their gentlemen guests to wear collared shirts during their stay.
It was a struggle for our H-Bomb, but he relented once he realized that if he compromised on this fashion front he would be able to do a lot of very cool stuff, like take a lesson in falconing.
This young young falcon named Jack is extremely cool and well worth wearing a collared shirt for a weekend.
Jamie was less offended by this wardrobe requirement and doesn't mind looking dapper at all. In fact he was very intrigued by the fact that you could rent a tuxedo at the hotel. 
I think the only think that would make this photo of Jamie and Jack the falcon better, would be if Jamie was wearing a tuxedo. 
Now, how Jamie Bond would that be?
 One morning, I was able to schedule a ride with the kids. 
Here is Lily getting ready to go with Nero- I think they make a fabulous pair. 
 This is Henry and a helper guide ahead of me going up and over the mountain on a horse fittingly named Hank.
I was on the lookout for bears... after all we were in wild and wonderful West Virginia- but alas, none were spotted.
Rosie got to take a ride too. No mountain climbing for her... she took a very genteel stroll around the hotel and enjoyed every step of the sweet pony she got to ride.
 And they're off!
For a very mild amble around the lawn... very wonderful, not so wild.
 This pool overlooked the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains... 
Guess how many times I sang the John Denver classic hit "Take Me Home Country Road?"
According to my loving family, far too many times.
(although this could have been once, or maybe twice.) 
Anyway, I sang enough terrible renditions that I could use my voice as an effective threat.

If you don't go to sleep right now I'm going to have to sing you my all time favorite John Denver song!
"Noooooooooooo-not Country Road" my darlings cried out in terror.
 Rosie was lucky enough to shoot hoops with Coach Bradley... she might be the tiniest opponent he has ever faced, but she was likely the biggest cheater.
She needed just a smidgey bit of help with her dunking skills but I think that she nailed it here.
We all had a fabulous weekend spending time with good friends...all of the 12  kids in our group had a great time playing together. It was a perfect weekend and we felt very fortunate to know people who know people who have fabulous digs that they don't mind sharing in wild and wonderful West Virginia. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In Jeep-ish Apology to Anna, My Firstborn.

Rosie takes her brother for a very happy wide eyed spin in her birthday jeep.

Dear Anna,

I am so sorry that I did not allow you to have the Barbie Jammin' Jeep that you so deeply coveted from the years 1993 to 1997 when you finally (hopefully!) outgrew your longing for the fabulous pink jeep. I can't remember all of the reasons why I didn't allow you to enter into Jammin' Jeep ownership, but I have a vague memory of believing that a pink jeep would spoil you rotten forever and render you unable to walk on your own two little feet.

How silly of me.

I now wish that I would have worried less about your moral character being damaged by the Barbie Jammin' Jeep and lightened up already. I regret not buying you that Barbie jeep when you were four.

Mom fail.

I only hope that now that you are pushing 21 you will be mature enough to not let jeepy jealousy get in the way and be happy for your littlest sister as she enjoys her birthday wheels. Remember also, that there are certain advantages in being the firstborn, they're just not as obvious and fun as being the sixth born.

Lots of Love,

Our Rose in the full throws of a barbie jeep induced giggle fit. 
Jamie, who so often rides shotgun,
 thought that she needed her own license, and so created an official one just for her.
Rosie is one of the few driving women who has a cute photo on her license.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stand in Swine.

Apparently, reconstructive cement surgery on a beloved but broken hog is not a quick and easy task. Like anything of importance, it takes time to fix those ears perfectly.
The thing is though, our corner needs a pig... a stand in swine until Big Pig is healed.
Meet Junior Piglet, who will be the interim Big Pig Little Free Librarian until the head hog comes home. 
Not yet sure when that will be, but I'm thinking that a welcome home corner party might be in order.
In the mean time... be kind to this little swine, he is young and still has a lot to learn.

(Junior Piglet is secured by an anti-pig theft he is not one bit worried about local meany-pants pignappers)