Monthly Archives: May 2011

Race to the Finish.

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when everything school-related ratchets up to warp speed and everyone is ready to be done with it. Last weekend was particularly interesting.

Thursday & Friday:

Laurel earned Grand Recognition status from Duke TiP for her ACT scores. Turns out the kid scored at the 90th percentile or above as compared to high school Juniors and Seniors taking the same exam. Attagirl! Give ‘em hell!

The awards ceremony was at Drury University in Springfield, and I thought it more efficient to travel there than to Duke University in North Carolina. So we did. The kids and I took off Thursday evening, spent the night at the hotel in Marshfield (which is a Very Big Deal for kids who never stay in hotels anymore), and attended the ceremony in the pouring rain on Friday.


There weren’t many students who received Grand Recognition, so we’re mighty proud.

After the ceremony we enjoyed a lovely impromptu lunch and visit with my aunt and uncle before leaving to try and beat the rain back home. We failed. We were in the rain until just east of Rolla. Could have been worse, though.


Lindbergh’s Spirit Festival took place on Saturday, and despite the dire forecasts it was sunny the entire time. So sunny, in fact, that I got a nice lobster-y sunburn. Laurel was scheduled to perform with the Fiddlers at 1:30 and I cannot turn down a good fair, so we had a good time. I especially enjoy junky fair food, and the kids love the rides, so everyone had a great time.



More Fiddlers! Yep, this time we had to drive to St. Charles for the Lewis & Clark Heritage Days so Laurel could perform with the Colonial Fiddlers in colonial dress. I have to say it was gorgeous weather and a lot of fun. While Laurel got tuned up, the remainder of the family went to enjoy a beer at Trailhead. Okay, well, the over-21 crew did. Ethan had root beer. Nothing to write home about, folks. On the other hand, maybe that’s why I had so much fun, considering it was hot and sunny and I was sweaty and at that particular time there wasn’t a whole lot going on at the festival.


The kids put on a stellar performance and then got to jam with the Peacocks, who are really great.

colonial fiddlersjamming with the Peacocks

In other news, Laurel had two (2!) field trips to Six Flags this week, and she’s skipping tomorrow so we can go out of town on Branson Adventure 2011. She has to return for a half-day on Tuesday (blah) but then we’ll have an 11-year-old part-time high schooler. Okay, she’ll be 12 by the time school starts again, but still.


So wish us luck as we collapse pell mell into a busy summer. I’m just hoping to catch my breath at some point.

Thumbs Up!

This morning I drove Ethan all the long way out to Wildwood for a Meet the Machines event at Kelpe Contracting.

It was awesome.

First of all, the Kelpes are very accommodating. They took time to explain what each machine was and how it was used, then allowed the kids to climb into each and every one. They were able to pull all the levers they liked, but were asked not to push buttons because in the past when the operators have gotten in after the kids and started up the machines there have been lights flashing, wipers going, whatever.

Imagine that.

Anyone familiar with my son knows he’s got a real monkey on his back when it comes to these things. He spent a lot of time in the cabs giving me thumbs-up for my photos. Oddly enough, he wanted to start with the plain-Jane tractor. Whatever, I guess he wanted to work his way up to the big machines. I think the only machine he missed was the roller, but it was too small for him I guess.

New HollandWheel LoaderHad a scraper on the backanother thumbs up

Big excavatorarticulated truckbig ol' wheelsLearning from Mrs. Kelpe, the expertclimbing aboard the finish dozerfinish dozer

All of that climbing around was certainly fantastic and great for burning energy, but the highlight of the event – by far – was this:

Ethan insists he didn’t have a favorite machine, he just loved them all. I think he particularly liked the backhoe and the articulated truck, though.

By the time we finished it was lunchtime and because I’m such a meticulous (read: obsessive) planner, I’d packed a picnic lunch for us to eat at Rockwoods Reservation.

As it happened – and as has been somewhat rare this spring – it was a gorgeous day.

running for the picnic tablewatching butterflies

Today was so pretty that this curmudgeonly mother decided we indeed had time for a walk along the trail near the picnic area. During the walk the hot topic of conversation was whether this or that particular hole would be good for lizards. At some point I remarked, “Yes, if I were a lizard that would probably be a good place for me.”

Ethan said, “But if you were a lizard we couldn’t do things like this. And Meet the Machines. And picnics.”

“Yes,” I said, “I suppose that’s true. I’ll try not to turn into a lizard.”

“And also I want you to try hard not to be hit by lightning, earthquakes, tsunamis, or tornadoes,” he informed me.

He’s sweet.

So I’ll try not to do that.

Just in case you think I was exaggerating today’s beauty, behold:

halfway upbeautiful dappled shadepost-lunch walk

So here is a thumbs-up to a rare, perfect, carefree day out with my son. Too bad it had to end so soon. We’ll just have to do this more often.

For a Good Cause.

This weekend my family will be running a 5K.

Well, I will be running. I think everyone else has elected to walk. I probably should too, but I’m just too hard-headed.

This will be the first 5K I have completed since the Infamous Hip Sprain of 2010. In addition, I only first decided I should start training about, oh, 3.5 weeks ago. Yeah, sure, I’ve been logging big mileage on the elliptical trainer, but that’s nothing like road miles. The first day I ran road miles I could barely haul myself into the truck.

The next day was worse, and that lasted about a week.

My hip wasn’t liking the strain I put her through and neither was the rest of me. But the hip was the worst.

I didn’t give up. Maybe I would have in other circumstances, but not these. This is an especially meaningful 5K because it benefits the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Multiple Myeloma killed Grandma Smith.

The other day I told Greg that no matter what pain it caused me, Grandma Smith had suffered far worse, and I was going to run this damn thing come hell or high water.

I will, that is, if I can get through the entire thing without breaking into tears. If I reminisce too much I’ll have a big lump in my throat making it hard to breathe, and running while that’s going on is not easy.

I know I’m going to be slow, much slower than my pace before the hip thing. That’s okay, I’m not running this to be competitive. Not this time.

So wish us luck, if you will. We’re doing this in memory of a lovely, classy lady – which is a very good cause in and of itself.