Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tornado Cleanup - Trail Life Troop Service

A few days ago, a tornado ripped a path of destruction starting near downtown Greensboro and running north for about 30 miles. The area hit hardest is one of the poorest area of town and the boys' Trail Life Troop stepped up to help with the cleanup and recover efforts. 
 Just getting into the area was the most difficult part. Because of the number of trees down and utilities disrupted, the police were only allowing work crews and residents into the area.
 After driving around for a while, we managed to find a place where we could park and walk a couple of blocks into the affected area and start working.
The boys helped haul out branches and chunks of wood that the volunteers, firefighters and utility crews cut for them.  
 They pulled, carried and dragged the debris out and piled it up neatly for the crews to chip and haul away.
 We left anything that was on or near downed lines for the experienced crews to handle.
 Even Ezra, with his broken collarbone, got in and helped out a lot. 
 We worked for about 6 hours that day at 3 different homes for incredibly grateful residents. 
It was really the least we could do for people who were in such desperate need.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Olivia's Bat Mitzvah

Olivia reached a HUGE milestone this week: She has become a Daughter of the Commandment. That's what Bat Mitzvah means. What it also means, from a practical standpoint, is that she is now responsible for her relationship and walk with God. She worked hard over the last year, taking a weekly class at our church on all things Biblical. She also had to learn some church history, the hierarchy of our community and issues that she will likely have to face as she walks her walk with Messiah.

It was quite the event! Our little community center seats about 90 if we really pack in the chairs and we usually have about 70-75 people each week. For her Bat Mitzvah, we invited all of our family and friends, which resulted in about 40 extra people coming! Fortunately, one of our members had a couple of tents and we set them up outside for lunch so we had extra room inside the building for more seats. 

Our service starts with some opening prayers and liturgy, followed by worship and this day was no exception. The first difference came when Olivia paraded the Torah around the room. 
We have a much bigger, Kosher Torah scroll, but it's quite heavy and very valuable, so we let the kids who are doing their Bar/Bat Mitzvah carry the much-more-manageable practice scroll. 
After worship, Olivia played a duet with our guitarist, Brett. It was beautiful and it was all I could do not to cry from pride. She then had to read the first 3 verses of her assigned portion in Hebrew! 
I had helped her by printing out the section she needed to read about a month before so she could practice.  After reading in Hebrew, she read the first reading, in English this time.
Then it was time for her teaching. she spent weeks preparing a 15-minute teaching related to her Torah portion and she really knocked it out of the park. 
Her teaching was followed by blessings. Traditionally, there are 12 blessings given by different people whom the Bat Mitzvah candidate chooses. 
These blessings were filled with fond memories and sincere hopes and prayers for her future.
It was a blessing for us to have both sets of grandparents there to bless her and share in this wonderful day. 
 We were so excited to have Nana and Pop-Pop drive all the way up from Florida!
 After the blessings, Pastor Richard declared her to be Bat Miztvah and Grandpa and I carried Olivia around the room on a chair. She was NOT fond of that part. Fortunately, we managed not to drop her like she was so afraid was going to happen. :)
Finally, it was done and time for the gifts and food! One additional thing we did for her was to have a canvas for people to write little personal messages for Olivia to remember the joy of her big day!
We did record the entire service, so if you're interested, you can watch it!

I cannot express the pride and happiness I felt at seeing our little girl take such a big step in her life. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Olivia's New Sport

Olivia started a new sport this spring: Cross Country Running.

We put the boys in a homeschool running club back in the fall and it turns out that the same women who run that club also coach a Cross Country team for homeschoolers. This seemed like a great thing for Olivia to try. They do a 10-week spring training session where kids 12 and over run twice a week at different parks and trails around Greensboro. They run anywhere from 2 to 6 miles, getting themselves in shape for a late-summer season starting at the end of July. 

Her coaches say that she has the perfect build for it and has the potential to be really good at it if she wants to be, so we are encouraging her every way possible. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

AHG Glam Night

The girls' American Heritage Girls troop does a themed evening every month or so called a Glam Night. These are nights that they have all the various age levels together learning about something specific. This particular one was about Pet Care. The girls were asked to bring a stuffed animal and a box with them for the event, along with an item to donate to the local animal shelter, like food, pet shampoo, pet toys, etc. 
At the event, two stations were set up. The first was an animal hospital where they learned to splint and bandage their pet's wounds.

 The second was a place to decorate their boxes as houses for their pets. 
 It was chaotic and crazy, but a lot of fun for them. They had a great time.
What's probably most impressive is that the whole event was planned and organized by a single girl as a requirement for her advancement to the next level in AHG. It's really amazing to think that these young girls are learning to do things like this and succeeding in such spectacular fashion. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A Trip to the Zoo

It had been forever since we all went to the zoo, so when some of our friends organized a trip, we went along. Funny part was that it was actually cheaper for our whole family to become Zoo Members than it was to just pay for a single day. With the membership, we can go as many times as we want all year and not have to pay again!

 We were there a little earlier than most of the group, so we went to the kids' play area for a while. There was a "stream" that they could splash in, a rope bridge to climb and an outdoor "kitchen" to make mud pies, mud cakes, or any other mud-based recipes they wanted. Of course, this is where Irene wanted to be... :)
There was also a live falcon that one of the workers brought out for the kids to see. 
Once the rest of the group arrived, it was time to go see some animals! Ezra took a map and navigated for us, marking off the places we'd already been.
 Along the way, we saw the polar bear swimming laps,

 a herd of bison standing or sitting majestically, 

various apes and monkeys,
and otters being silly. 
We also saw zebras,
and these elephants, who were being fed while we were watching, so they came as close as the facility allowed in order to get the carrots and apples the workers were tossing out. 

 We had such a great time and we can't wait to go back soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spring Crafts!

The bakery where Olivia has been taking her baking classes, Savor the Moment, holds other fun little events for kids of various ages. One they just did was to make a bunch of Spring-related crafts to celebrate the changing season.

The kids made things like flower pots that they actually planted flowers and herbs in to grow at home, 
 pencils, chicks, rabbits and little canvases that they could create their own artwork with.
 They had so much fun and did suck a great job on making their crafts personal to themselves.
 Ezra actually brought his to EMMA classes and gave it to his geography teacher. It was SO SWEET!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Rebecca's Slip and Fall

The weather was a bit sketchy last week, so I thought it would be smart to drive Rebecca to work rather than risk an accident. The next morning, there was a touch of ice here and there, but noting major. I went and picked her up at work and brought her home. On the way, we laughed together at a story she told me about a doctor that wore funny boots rather than doing anything about the ice in his driveway. What happened next was certainly a prime example of irony...

While only 15 feet from the door and mere inches from the car, Rebecca stepped out onto an icy patch in the driveway (which I may or may not have inadvertently parked her on since I was driving, but you weren't there and you can't prove a thing!) and promptly slipped and fell, hitting her arm on the way down. 

I was getting out on the driver's side of the car and turned around and she was just GONE! Then I heard a whimper. When I went around, she was sitting on the ground cradling her left arm in obvious agony. I helped her inside and got her upstairs and into bed. I thought almost immediately that we needed to go get the wrist x-rayed, but she thought just icing it would help, so that's what we did. 
It wasn't much more than an hour before we realized that I was right to begin with and she need to go to an urgent care to be checked out. Sure enough...
She had broken the head of her radius.
 The folks at the urgent care mummied her up and referred us to an orthopedist who looked at it the next day. Dr. Gramig at Greensboro Orthopaedics took a look at the x-rays and said she really needed to have surgery to ensure proper healing. Rebecca's hands are critical to her job, so we agreed that she should have the surgery the very next day. 
 When she was done, this is what it looked like inside. 
 A bit Terminator-ish... a permanent titanium plate and screws holding it all together. Life will be interesting for the next 12 weeks... for the time being, she can't do much of anything. I have to help her tie her shoes, shower, dress... 
Oh, and if you are ever in need of a Hulk-sized arm shower protector, CVS has you covered. they label it as "Adult", but I don't know that they can really say that "one size fits all"....