Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tri pic

Sometimes the line between self-improvement and narcissism can blur a bit. I will admit that triathlon can be an exercise in vanity. My putting in all those miles, hours, laps, and races isn't curing disease, ending world hunger, or stopping global climate change. I'm doing it to stay fit, to stay sane: to challenge myself and see just what I'm capable of.

Purchasing overpriced professional pictures of yourself from race day just bolsters my point. But, hey, if you are going through all that pain and suffering in the name of challenging yourself, you may as well look good doing it:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lights Out

Wouldn't'cha know? A hurricane comes blowing into town and we lose power. Well, only for about an hour - things are back to normal for the moment. (UPDATE: we lost it half an hour later, and cooked dinner using a Peak 1 in the garage. We had it back by 3 am. Thank you, linemen!) But we discovered that, among our many headlamps and flashlights, one of the best sources of light is Brynna's lightsaber, recently repaired for last Friday's homecoming bonfire. Go Big Green!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oak Hill Firetower--Conquered!

Earlier this summer, we tried to climb up to the Oak Hill firetower on the border of Concord and Loudon. Brynna-bean couldn't quite make it, and we turned around about a quarter mile short of the summit.

About a month ago, though, we had a beautiful weekend day and Brynna proposed that we try again.

Silly faces at the trailhead:

Trek-trek-trekking along:

Jasper, as always incredibly happy to be outdoors with his pack:

Brynna's main interest in hiking, I think, is the consumption of trail mix. We had to carefully negotiate how often we were going to stop and snack, and carefully plotted our stops on the map. This is snack number one:

Snack number two. "We're going up, up, up!"

Mugging for the camera at snack stop #3:

Alex was off doing the grocery shopping while B and I made our (extremely slow) ascent, and Brynna was incredibly proud of making it to the top before Dada caught up to us. She and I made a quick ascent of the tower, during which I was acutely reminded that I get a little freaked out climbing up those things! Brynna was a champ, however, and didn't seem nervous at all.

We descended quickly, since Jasper was quite frantic waiting at the bottom for us. I had tied him to a tree, because otherwise he would certainly have followed us up, and with the incredibly steep stairs, I was afraid he wouldn't be able to get down safely, or that he would knock one of us down trying. He had chewed halfway through his leash by the time that we got back to him.

When Alex arrived, I stayed on the ground with Jasper while Alex took Brynna up again. Here they are peering over the edge of the platform:

A full view of the firetower (Alex and B just getting ready to start down the stairs):

Jasper and his funny bat ears, romping around at the base of the tower:

Alex-Brynna-Jasper on the trail home. Alex mostly entertained Brynna with the story of the tortoise and the hare in an attempt to encourage slow-and-steady progress down the hill.

We negotiated just one snack stop on the way home. Jasper was wondering if we brought goodies for him too:

Before dark, we made it back to the car without difficulty, and with everyone still in a good mood. Success! Brynna's first ascent under her own power. She was SO SO proud of herself, and we were very proud of her too. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Hopkinton Fair

A few weeks ago, we took a family trip to the Hopkinton Fair. We got a taste of everything.

We checked out the animal barns, including cows, pigs, goats, alpacas, sheep, chickens, and rabbits.

Marveled at the singing puppet chickens:

We watched kids working with teams of oxen.

We saw some prize-winning fruits, veggies, and flowers, including this giant pumpkin:

We ate some fair food (would've been more fun if I hadn't had non-functional taste buds from a cold!).

And we hit up the midway, which (no surprise) was Brynna's favorite part:

And ended the day with face painting:

Not quite the same as the Minnesota State Fair, but good times nonetheless!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trip to the Moose Museum

On Friday, Brynna and I had a mom-daughter adventure day. At B's request, we went up to Norwich to the Montshire Museum (known by Brynna as the "Moose Museum" because of the large stuffed moose on the second floor). It was a gorgeous fall day, and we had a wonderful time exploring inside and out.

Here's Brynna examining the rings on a large tree (cut on the Dartmouth campus, apparently).

Experimenting with soap films...

Playing this very cool botanical detective game that focused on the differences between plants. There was also a very helpful poison-ivy identification game. Brynna turned out to be very observant!

This is B's favorite exhibit: rolling pennies into a big smooth funnel and watching them zoom around. The bonus at this museum is that the pennies fall out the bottom to use again!

This is one of the outdoor exhibits. Brynna is dropping gravel through a grid of nails of different lengths inside that big metal container, making lots of different sounds.

And, we went on a train ride! The "White River Flyer" comes right along the Museum grounds on the way up the Connecticut River to Thetford, and we jumped on board.

We lunched on local apples, cider, and Cabot extra-sharp cheddar cheese—must be autumn in New England!

The Dartmouth boathouse, from the train:

View of the Ledyard Bridge from the train:

And a variety of lovely Connecticut River valley photos:

The Dartmouth Organic Farm:

B had a great time, though was a little restless by the end.

So we went back to playing at the museum!

All in all, a wonderful day together!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Yes! We Are Still Here!

Everyone is fine here, and suddenly it is fall.

I have just finished what I am not-so-affectionately referring to as "Hell Week," during which I delivered a poster presentation, completed and edited two papers, took two finals, and gave a huge presentation at work. It all went very well and I start my next term of classes tomorrow.

Alex has been (as always) a rock throughout.

Brynna is busy busy busy. The lovely Miss A has had her baby, so B is now temporarily spending her days with Miss R, also wonderful. B is taking swim lessons (with friend C), dance lessons (with friend A), as well as Suzuki violin lessons.

We finished our triathlon season quite successfully.

Jasper is wonderful as always.

More details to come. Here are some upcoming posts:
-tri recaps
-B's birthday (yeah, it was two months ago. So what?)
-family hike
-trip to the Montshire Museum
-fall harvest festival
-Hopkinton Fair

In the meantime, since we know you mainly come here for pictures of Brynna, here you go: