Archive for the ‘day to day’ Category

Baby got back

Molly got back from Brazil, that is. She came home to find all family members intact and more or less the same as she’d left us. I was about to say our family has now “leveled-up,” except I’m not really sure what that phrase means. Maybe I should say the kids no longer have a power-play.

Silas spent all week at Art Camp, which he loves. He’s been pinching a lot of clay pots, apparently. Tomorrow they’re all going out to see the eclipse together. He’ll be the only family member with proper eclipse-viewing glasses, since his parents failed to purchase any in advance. I’ll be hacking together a pinhole camera viewer after I post this blog.

A few days ago we spontaneously traveled to Jersey to buy peaches, since I read that Jersey is the king of peaches this year. Apparently southern states had a bad spring, late frost, all that. I’ve got a half bushel ripening downstairs, and I think starting tomorrow we need to eat about 20 a day or else they’ll go bad. There are worse problems.

Today we swam at the local public pool for perhaps the last time this year, though I may try to get the little kids out there again tomorrow- it will be the last day the pool’s open this summer. That brings the end of summer into focus. It feels odd to write that though, knowing that we could still have ninety degree days for about two months more. But I guess what I really mean is the kids returning to school- Philly public school kids don’t head back until the day after labor day, so the summer does seem very long (they get out of school in late-June, so it’s not actually very long.)



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All over the place


I almost skipped this week, it was so crazy. But then I felt guilty because I hadn’t taken the kids’ chair pictures in a few weeks.

Molly has been in Brazil since last week, working on a course development grant, visiting the cities of Salvador and Rio- by all accounts (hers) she’s having a lot of fun and meeting awesome people. It’s not like I’m here single parenting or anything though, since Babbee does some heavy lifting and Tanya was so kind to take the boys for a sleepover this weekend (the boys’ accounts were glowing.) A friend of ours invited me to be the photographer for an event called Run4allwomen PA… The original Run4allwomen was born shortly after the election- a pair of women from New York decided to run from NY to DC for the women’s march, and it became a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. They’re organizing regional groups now to do the same thing locally. A few women in our neighborhood took the reigns and this weekend they (about 20 participants in all) ran from Philadelphia to the Harrisburg capitol building, raising about $13,000. Runners went in shifts, of course, but some individuals went over 40 miles themselves during the 27 hours. I drove myself in the minivan, and flitted here and there in the car, on my folding bike, or walking when necessary to take some interesting pictures and illustrate the breadth of those women’s experience on this epic trip. It was really successful, all the participants were moved, I took some nice pictures, and nobody died. But everybody was drop-dead tired.

I’m still tired, and I didn’t even run (though I did some fast biking laden down with camera crap.)  My only regret is 1) not having a better way to carry my cameras while biking, and 2) not making it back to Miller’s Smorgasbord  in Lancaster before they closed, thus failing to score a pile of shoo fly pies.


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Tamarack 2017

Last weekend we were driving up the mountains when I realized I wasn’t going to make the blog post on Sunday, since there isn’t any internet or cell reception up at the cabin… and I was totally fine with that. Our yearly retreat up north was as meaningful as ever, despite the notable absence of some of our friends whose lives conspired against them this year.  We fished, creek-splashed, caught newts, hiked, and swam, as well as doing a lot of jogging and shooting some arrows- Chris got bows for his kids and I got a new bow a few weeks back. The weather was gorgeous, sunny but with just enough passing showers to make us thankful for the sun. Eliza was spirited, as was Simon, who was born a scant day before she was. Their growth and speech development have been really similar, so they’re adorable (and funny, and maddening.) Molly and I stayed a day later than everybody else this year, which turned out to be a great decision, doing most of the same activities but more focused… we caught a lot more rain in that last 24 hours than during the whole week, but it was refreshing. We relaxed more this year, largely due to the development of the kids, and the fact that the dudes didn’t erect a huge treehouse. The most work I did on the cabin this year was throwing a few screws into some loose steps outside. This year more than last it paid off to be disconnected from the news cycle. I did check my phone one day when we ran to town for groceries. I saw that Scaramucci had been fired as White House Communications Director after only ten days… I laughed heartily and then shut down my phone before I could see anything actually disturbing. We have an extremely big week coming up, so I’m clinging desperately to the sense of calm I found last week. I’m thinking meditation and beer might be my ticket.

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Silas spent the whole week at a writing workshop themed Spies Like Us. I think that’s what it’s called- maybe I’m just remembering movies of my childhood. I don’t think the kids did a lot of writing, more dramatic play, but Silas loved it so that’s cool. Good thing he loved it, because it was in Fishtown, which is three miles from here, but takes three hours to get to. Since dropping him off at 9 and picking up at noon would involve nothing but driving, we visited Playarts, which is a children’s playspace owned and operated by some of my fellow Goshen College grads. We signed up for a month membership, figuring we’d kill and hour or two there every morning. It’s a wonderful hangout, bright, clean, with enough to keep the kids busy for an hour or two easily. And there is a lofted mezzanine area for adults to have a coffee and judge everybody else’s kids. This coming week Silas is attending another camp in the neighborhood, so we’ll be visiting Playarts again a few times at least.

Friday evening we rolled down to Cedar Park for the summer jazz series, we hadn’t attended one yet this year and were feeling guilty. I didn’t catch the band’s name, but they were really fun. The kids romped on the playground, we all got some water ice, and made it home before the kids melted down, so we won.

Next weekend we have a new international student coming to stay with us, so we’re frantically getting her room ready. We spent the entire day yesterday cleaning and arranging. Well, Molly did that… I was mostly scraping, repairing, and painting our second floor front bay windows. I had only intended to bend and repaint a piece of flashing.  The theme of this weekend was project creep, but we’re feeling good about our work

And now we’re feeling like it’s time to watch the new Game of Thrones.


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Silas asked Asher earlier this week, “If you could be a king, what kind of king would you be?” Asher answered “King Bob.” I couldn’t be more arbitrary if you paid me a hundred bucks. Silas posed this question during our walk to basketball camp one morning. Basketball camp is a hundred yards from our house, but when I’m dragging Asher and Eliza along it is the longest hundred yards you can imagine. I no doubt wake the neighbors yelling “Don’t trip!” every few seconds as we walk down the block.  They’re either standing there playing with a stick, or they’re running, and if they’re running on a West Philly sidewalk there’s a good chance somebody is going to bite it.

I do not have much time to write this post… as some of you know, for several months a year my blog writing deteriorates markedly once each season of Game of Thrones begins… and tonight the new season begins.

Molly and I are trying a food experiment… we have really busy schedules over the next month, so we bought this e-book about making 20 slow-cooker meals for $165, everything purchased from Aldi. The $165 number is nonsense, but whatever. We spent about five hours yesterday preparing and bagging all the food up for freezing. There is no telling how long it would have taken if the kids weren’t under foot, but we finished it. I don’t know if we’re going to like everything… it is really heavy on the meat, corn syrup and salt, but we’ll try to keep an open mind. If anything is really delicious or really awful I’ll mention it on the blog, but I suspect they’re all going to fall in the middle.

I think I mentioned I’m training for a half-marathon in September. The logic was that signing up would motivate me to exercise because of the terror. I’m not feeling terror, but I am feeling pressure and nervousness because I think I’m behind on my training. I have less than two months remaining, and recently the weather has been horrifically hot and humid, so after every run I’m full of self-doubt due to feeling like I’m going to die. My run tonight was nice though, it was still above 80 but it wasn’t so humid. I ran past a doe several times at the cemetery… maybe 10 feet away and it barely looked nervous.

I shot photos for a few hours this morning for an event called Run4allwomen… https://www.run4allwomen.com/#about

The Pennsylvania chapter is running from Philadelphia to Harrisburg (the capitol) on August 12-13… straight through the night… to raise awareness of women’s issues-rights and as a fundraiser for the local Planned Parenthood chapter. I’ll be shooting photos during the event (wish me luck) and today was an organizational meeting with social run and photo ops. Cool people- you’ll hear more from me about it.

Silas starts up a writing camp tomorrow, just in the mornings, which means I’ll spend my morning dropping him off, driving home, picking him up, and driving home. It’s on the other side of town- what am I thinking. I’m thinking he needs some more encouragement in his writing, because he struggles with it. I hope this doesn’t backfire in my face. He’s a serious trooper in basketball camp, despite being young and inexperienced, so we’re hoping this is similar. ‘






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We just arrived back from our bi-annual Metzler family reunion at Laurelville Mennonite Camp… I think it’s the 18th reunion, which is a lot, particularly when it’s bi-annual. We’ve now got the great great grandchildren of Laura and Isaac Metzler showing up at this thing. They’re starting to form gangs and disappear down to the mini-golf course or wherever, and we parents all assure each other that it’s a good thing Laurelville is so safe (like there aren’t giant boulders everywhere that kids try their best to bust their heads on.)  I say it every time we have a reunion… two days just isn’t enough.

Silas was obsessed with mini-golf- I was too at his age. The weather cleared up long enough for the kids to rock the pool, and as far as I know, nobody got hurt (including during the campfire and s’mores-making, which is always remarkable.)

Anyway, we have an amazing extended family- so lucky. 2019 here we come.

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Swimmy Dippin

The public pools and spray parks opened up this week, so there is now a 50/50 chance you’ll find us at one of them on any given day. Today we hit the pool, after we hit Fred’s water ice, after we hit Tinicum for a jog around the lake. It was hot as Hades, and we were dripping wet with heat exhaustion by the end of the day. Molly is already in bed and I’m heading there soon. Tomorrow better be cool and low-key.

We were lucky enough to host our friends Jen and Toby this weekend. They’ve managed to make it a habit of staying with us every summer, and we couldn’t be happier. We brought in Beieler’s Donuts Saturday in their honor. We’re always looking for an excuse.

We’re also very happy to have a new international student staying with us for the next 7 weeks. Her name is Gao and she hails from China. She’s happy to participate in all our family silliness so I’m sure we’re going to have fun. The kids have latched onto her after only a few days.

Babbee has headed down to Tampa for a few weeks, taking a vacation from our madhouse and catching up with the other half of her brood. She barely caught her flight this morning, but all is now well, I’m told, and my mission for the next few weeks is simply to keep the plants alive. And the kids too, I guess.

The other kids are just stuck with me this week, but Silas started a basketball camp at the church around the corner. So far it’s awesome. He’s gutting it out and keeping a positive attitude despite me not having prepared him at all over the past few years. I did buy him a ball this week, so that’s parenting at its finest. What more can a kid ask for.

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