Arianna Flipping Out in Gymnastics

   Near the beginning of the school year, we asked the kids what kind of activity they wanted to start. After going to a birthday party at Splitz, Arianna chose gymnastics. She’s enjoyed every visit, and we’ve been going every Saturday for several weeks. Cyndi usually takes her, but while Cyndi’s in Mexico, I got the chance to see what it’s like. They seem very organized, with all kinds of age divisions named Tiny Monkeys, Swinging Monkeys, and Mini Monkeys. Arianna’s  group is called Mega Monkeys. Clearly, for those of you who know Arianna and her love of climbing and hanging on playground equipment, monkeys is a fitting name. One of her favorite parts is getting thrown into the bricks near the end of the session. There is a large pit filled with foam bricks that the kids either jump into from a trampoline or get thrown into by the instructor. Arianna prefers to be hurled.
   Here are some pictures of Arianna in her new leotard, and doing some flips or somersaults on the balance beam.
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Eddie visits friends in Virginia

   This past weekend, I took a trip to visit my friend Patty and her family, who live in Burke, VA, just outside Washington, D.C. This spring, they suffered a real tragedy when the house they were renting burnt down. No one got hurt, but they lost quite a bit of their belongings. They now live in a townhouse that they’ve managed to furnish nicely, in part thanks to donations from friends and coworkers, and in part due to some savvy internet shopping and trading on sites such as craigslist and Freecycle.
   Saturday night, we went out to Alexandria for some souvenir shopping, a visit to the wharf and a nice relaxing dinner with some live jazz music. Later, we found an interesting Tapas restaurant with musicians playing an unusual Spanish/African/Middle Eastern beat, with clientele to match.
   Sunday, we drove out west a bit to the eastern side of the Blue Ridge mountains to Sky Meadows State Park. We walked a hiking trail that climbed up a hill before diving into the forest. From the side of the hill we had a great view of the valley and the changing foliage. Here’s a picture of her family: husband Dave, 7 year old son Ian and, laying on the ground feigning fatigue, 5 year old son Kieran. In the forest, we played hide and seek. During the descent, the kids just about ran all the day back down. After the park, we visited a couple of apple orchards looking for apple pie, but without any luck. Instead, we bought apples for baking a pie. We then visited a vineyard, sampled some wines, and bought a few bottles. The sun came out then, so I took a picture of the vineyard. That night, we watched the Cowboys plaster the Eagles(well, I watched it anyway) while Dave made Irish stew that we ate during halftime. When the game was over, we got the urge to bake that pie, so we stayed up late peeling apples, listening to music and baking. We had some for breakfast the next day before I drove back home to Michigan.

   It was nice to have that break in the routine, and I’m grateful to Cyndi for letting me out two weekends in a row  to relax and recharge. Tuesday, she left for a 10-day business trip to Mexico, so it’s my turn to manage the family alone.
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Random postings from our family life