Mountain Biking at Algonkian Park - 12/30/18

The boys were back on the mountain bikes when a beautiful Sunday afternoon presented itself in late December.  It was sunny and in the low 50s, a perfect day for burning calories, taking in the sights, and sloshing through some mud!  Ron and Jonathan were joined by Mike, Michael and Marshall for a 2 hour, 3+ mile ride.  All had a great time despite some bumps and bruises.  The boys did a great job of making it through the mud runs and up and down the hills.  Mike and Ron were happy to make it out with no injuries.

We installed the Go Pro on Jonathan's bike, which he was super excited about.  The improvised handle bar mount worked just fine but we're looking for a head mount to further reduce the bumpiness of the video.  Enjoy (and don't get sick)!


Goose Creek Kayaking (w/ Go Pro) - 12/29/18

Quick blog to capture my recent outing on the kayak with our new Go Pro camera.  I visited a new part of Goose Creek so I wasn't sure what to expect.  It was a great hour trip with about 45 minutes paddling upstream and 10-15 minutes to get back.  I got a little wet at the end (totally worth it, best part of the trip!) but luckily I was a few minutes away from getting out.  Temps were in the high 40s and I was surprised the water wasn't colder.  After watching the videos, Jonathan is excited to head out with me next time.  Enjoy.


Mountain Biking at Beaver Dam Reservoir

This is to document the first three mountain bike trips Jonathan and I took on the trails at Beaver Dam Reservoir.

Saturday, 15 September

After Jonathan asked about riding his mountain bike on trails, we decided to (finally) ride the trails at Beaver Dam Reservoir.  It was awesome and we'll definitely be back for future rides throughout the year.  First trip we started at the southern part of the reservoir and parked at the National Parks & Recreation Center.  We decided to bike up to the Hope Baptist Church where we planned to take a break before heading back (approximately 2.5 miles).  First stop was the big rock as you hit the trails heading down towards the water.

I sold my mountain bike a few years ago when I bought a road bike (for riding to work on once in a while) so now I use Michelle's bike.  It's a bit small for me but gets the job done considering I hardly every use it.

The dam at the reservoir is currently under construction so the water level is lower than normal.  The rock Jonathan is on would normally be about 7 - 10 feet under water.

Nature's couch :)

Made it to the parking lot at Hope Baptist Church.  Time for some water, snacks and a breather before turning around.

Sunday 11 November

Our next trip started at Hope Baptist Church and we planned to head north to the dam on a new set of trails (approximately 2.7 miles).  This leg was more challenging with water crossings and plenty of mud along the way.  Super fun, my only regret is not having a better battery on my phone to take additional pics or video.  We had clean bikes to get started.  It was a beautiful day but in the high 30s and low 40s.

Our first water crossing.  We had to walk the bikes across since there were too many large rocks to get past.

We rode behind Edgar Tillett park and Jonathan wanted a picture of the ball fields behind us.

Little guy tried to ride over the downed tree and got the front wheel over just fine....  lol

We had to lift our bikes over several downed trees and he did a good job of managing his bike.  He was acting a little silly when his bike fell over this tree.

We couldn't go over this downed tree, we had to find an alternate path around it.  Nonetheless, it was a great photo opportunity that he was interested in.

Alas....we reached our destination with the dam in the background.  Only problem is, the water, snacks and chocolate are in my backpack back at the car.  :/

We got a little muddy but it was great fun.  We also learned a lesson....wear boots next time!

I guess the bikes looked dirtier in person.  This was supposed to be evidence of our offroad mudding.

Sunday, 23 December 2018 with Michael & Mike Dwyer

My buddy Mike recently bought a mountain bike so it was time to take him and his son, Michael, on a ride to Beaver Dam with us.  We did the southern portion of the reservoir so some of these pics are at the same locations.  One thing we didn't get a picture of was the "unicorn poop".  Not sure what it was but it looked like colored chalk that was dropped in a puddle along the way.  It actually looked like brightly colored poop (red, yellow, blue, pink) so I matter of factly told the boys it was unicorn poop.  Pretty sure they bought it.

On the way back, Jonathan was peddling through a longer stretch of mud and lost the front end.  Kinda hard to tell from this pic but he had mud on his hands, forearms and face. Took it like a champ.  We walked to the stream nearby to rinse off and clean up before hoping back on the bikes and peddling on.

Back at the big rock on our way out.

A group picture on the big rock before calling it quits.  I setup Mike's phone on a tree branch with the timer set and it worked pretty well.  A little out of focus but the only way to get all 4 of us in the same pic.

The boys at the end of our trip.  They had a great time and will be ready to attack the northern portion of the trail together in the near future.

Kaitlyn's 1st Gymnastics Meet of the 2018 - 2019 season

Kaitlyn participated in her first gymnastics meet of the 2018 - 2019 season on Sunday, 16 December.  The event was named "Christmas on the Chesapeake" and took place at the Baltimore Convention Center.  It was a cold and rainy day so a perfect day to be inside watching the gymnasts perform.  This was Kaitlyn's first competition since her incredible performance at the State meet in May (1st all-around for her age group...State Champ!).  She was on the Excel Bronze team last season and moved up to Excel Silver this year.

Santa stopped by for the holiday event and took pictures with the teams before competition kicked off. 

Warm up.  Kaitlyn always cracks a smile when she sees us watching her :)

Excel Silver being introduced!  The team was split into two due to their size so this is only half of the Excel Silver team.  Kaitlyn is second from the left.

She started the season with her most challenging event...balance beam.  Her performance was excellent (no falls)!  The score was lower than expected and she later told us she forgot to complete one of her skills, which results in a nice point deduction.

She scored an 8.8 on beam.  Good start for the season with room to fine tune.  

Next up was floor, which she normally enjoys.  Her routine isn't too different from last year but she has a few new skills mixed in to make it more challenging.

Hard to read but she scored a 8.45 on floor.

Next up was vault, which she seems to naturally do excellent in.  Two separate clips for her two runs.

Good score on vault, she makes it look easy.

She scored above a 9.0 and received a candy cane to place on the "9" tree.  For every candy cane on the tree at the end of the event, $1 will be donated to a charitable organization such as Toys for Tots.

I thought this video was cute, you can see Kaitlyn's little smirk when she sees her excellent score!

Time for awards.  Kaitlyn's outstanding Bar score landed her 3rd overall.  Excellent start!

Her Vault score was good enough to land her 5th overall.

Kaitlyn finished 10th overall for her first competition at the Excel Silver level and was happy to return to competition.  We are super proud of her!  Her team finished 4th out of 7 teams.  Here's hoping for a healthy and fun competition season! 


Jingle Bell Jog - 2018

Michelle and I decided to sign up for the annual Jingle Bell Jog again this year, making it 3 years straight for us.  It's a fun event where most of the racers don the provided Santa outfits with "jingle bells" tied to their shoes, however, it's always cold for this run!  This morning it was a frosty 28 degrees when the race started so we were jumping around to stay warm.

Katie, our neighbor from across the street, joined us for the second year in a row while her husband, Chris, watched all the kids for a few hours.  Chris and the kids even made a trip out to cheer for us about half way through the run (from the comfort of their warm car).  It was good motivation to see them but they refused to give me a ride when I asked.

We all finished the race with good times and 10 fingers and 10 toes...although our toes did go numb at times.  Overall it was another fun event and the thought of cookies at the finish line made me run a little faster.  While I just barely beat out a 10 year old (not sure how that kid did it), I managed to finish 3rd in my age group.  Another good run and fun event for us!



2018 Cub Scouts Rain Gutter Regatta

A short entry to capture Jonathan's 2018 Rain Gutter Regatta with Cub Scouts.  The regatta is one of the first events of the school year for the boys and normally takes place the first weekend after school starts. 

We were late preparing for the regatta so we assembled his boat the day before the event and didn't have much time to decorate it.  I grabbed Michelle's colored permanent markers and Jonathan went to work.  His boat was unique in design and became known as the "Rainbow Cruiser" during the event.  I still think he was motivated by some awesome catamaran he saw in the Florida Keys at some point :)

I guess Jonathan has a good set of lungs on him, he did really good blowing his boat down the gutter. He had the fastest boat in his Den and came in second place overall for the Pack.  He was super excited and had a lot of fun.  The clear highlight for him was when kids were chanting "RAINBOW RAINBOW RAINBOW" as he continued to advance throughout the heats.  Of course, my phone died so I don't have videos of it.  The last two pics in the video were the final two races where he lost out to an older Scout.  He had a great time and ended up receiving a second place trophy at a future Pack meeting!


Last Day of School Fun 2018

We are just over three weeks into summer break, but before we dive into all of the fun we've been having, I wanted to share the last day of school festivities we participated in.

Both kids were lucky enough to get two of the best teachers at our school.  They really are such fun, caring and thoughtful people.  The kids had such great school years thanks to these two.

Our street has a big block party every year and it starts with the parents arming themselves with water balloons and water guns and ambushing the kids when they get off the bus.   I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked, but these capture the fun pretty well.  

We are also very lucky to have a volunteer firefighter at the end of our cul-de-sac.  He brings the firetruck and hoses down the kids.

(click above to see the video)

The water fun is followed by a potluck dinner in the street.  It's such a fun tradition and the perfect way to kick off summer!

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