Monday, July 27, 2009

West Sand Lake, New York

We arrived at Albany late at night and immediately went to sleep after some VERY short greetings to our cousins, aunt and uncle. The next morning we got up around 7:30 and went inside to see Tucker. We didn’t get to talk with him for long because he left for a week-long summer camp called Sky-High Adventure Program Experience, or S.H.A.P.E.. Then at 5:00 he would come home and play with us for the rest of the day.

In the meantime it was not all play and no work, quite the opposite actually. We would paint, mend, and untangle fences, clean stables that have been horseless for almost 5 years, and other odd jobs. Ben and Sam were let off easy of course, but after all they’re just lazy, overly childish boys who get on the brim of tears when it’s their turn to wash the dishes. This went on for 2 more days until the camp was over for the week.

We were told on Saturday to participate in an off-road triathlon that Tucker had been preparing for all week. We checked in and lined up and raced off, swimming, biking, and running. For my first triathlon ever, I thought I did a pretty good job. For a while in the swimming stage I was in first place, then fell behind a little. During transition my number ripped off my shirt and I fell behind the leaders by a whole 20 seconds at least. On the biking stage I had a problem with the chain on my bike and that cost me more time, but I caught up with Tucker on the running stage and beat him by half of a second! I was pretty proud of myself but it was hard to feel proud when your head feels like its splitting down the middle!

Then we were told that Tucker would be doing another week of SHAPE and so would we. On Sunday we went to a local church and didn’t like it too much. On Monday we drove to the SHAPE premises and got introduced to a lot of friends I would soon make. The first day we played get-to-know-each-other games but after lunch we swam and played a game very similar to “capture the flag.” It was a lot of fun. The second day we swam some more, biked some, and completed a half mile run. The third day was almost exactly like the second and the fourth was a 30-mile off-road bike ride. I think I did well, and when I finished I swam half a mile in a pool bigger than a football field. It was a very tiring day.

That night at about 2:00 in the morning, Uncle Eric and his children pulled in at Nana and Poppa’s house, right down the road, and they brought a present! Friday morning we went out to bring in chicken eggs, and in the stall that we were told to clear out were two beautiful horses! They brought them from Maryland and put them in the stables before they crashed. We rode them after the last day at SHAPE where we went river rafting down some river with a long name and an attitude. Our guide was really funny and we shot streams of water at each of the other rafts. It was a lot of fun and Erin came with us.

That Saturday we did more chores and Sunday we did more as well, after going to church that is. We liked this church more and on that day we finally decided where we were going to live permanently, Albany, New York! It is official and we are moving into my Uncle Fred’s house! We were so excited and my Mom and Dad have been on the phone and on the computer for hours looking for houses and jobs and stuff like that.

It’s been real, and it’s been fun, and this trip has been REAL FUN! I’ve learned so much, seen so many places, and probably met four thousand faces! I’ve loved this past year dearly and maybe when I’m an adult I may bring my wife and kids on a trip like this one. I’d just have to get a cooler R.V., just kidding. But I really have made memories that will last with me for the rest of my life. I still think back to how lucky I am, probably always will. But life goes on and now we’ll finally start to have a stable, boring, life with schedules and piano practice, and real Boy Scout meetings with qualified Scoutmasters! It’s been a great year and two months and I’d like to thank my parents, Calvert teachers, and all the readers, and viewers that made comments and checked up on how we were doing. Good-Bye!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New York, Indiana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado

7/15/09 – Indiana, New York,

We arrived at Nappanee, Indiana about two hours after we were supposed to. We had dinner with Mr. Larry, Mrs. Marlene, Michael, and Kari. We enjoyed our time and made plans for just the 4 of us kids to come over tomorrow and work on the farm. So we did! We cleaned stables, weeded weeds, picked green beans, and some other stuff but none of it was really hard. I told Michael that if he wanted to wear us out he was going to have to give us a lot more work! We saw our waitress Amanda at the Corner Café and even met up with Mrs. Sara again.

It was fun, and then we left and drove for two days to Buffalo, New York and stayed in a Wal-Mart Parking lot. The next day (today) we were tourists and drove across the Canadian/American border to see the Niagara Falls. We saw them all right, all the millions of gallons of bluish-greenish water falling off the 13 ½ story cliff and just plummeting into the misty abyss below. It was really pretty.

Then we walked to a daredevil museum and read about the 15 people who jumped off the Niagara River Falls in contraptions, or parachutes, or birthday suits. It was just the most bizarre thing! We saw a video about a guy who did make it out alive while in a 1,500 rubber ball that was sealed inside two feet thick of solid steel. They were just crazy…jumping in with pets, wives, wills, and all sorts of other junk! A 63year-old lady (who claimed to be just 43) threw off her cat first to see if it survived and then jumped off in a barrel.

You’d have to see it to believe it. Then we ate lunch at a Canadian Subway and crossed back over the American border to start our 5-hour trek towards Albany, NY where we’ll see our cousins again! That’s all for now; bye!

7/11/09 – Golden, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska

We had a fabulous 4th of July and the Galvins visited us during that time. Ben was still in the hospital at the time, and we watched the fireworks from the Central Park in Golden, Colorado. The Galvins and Will, Sam, my mom and I walked around Clear Creek for a while and then watched the fairly short, yet well put together display of fireworks. We enjoyed it thoroughly and Will and Olivia even more so, because they both bought some silly string spray and ran around chasing us and incessantly spraying us.

We visited Ben again the next day at the hospital. The next four days were a blur of tennis, swimming, rock climbing, and river rafting. But on July 9th I was walking down a sidewalk picking up trash for an hour and a half for a requirement for Boy Scouts when I met a very nice lady pruning roses. I thought that if I came back later and helped her on the city’s flowers, then I could get some more credit.

Turns out her name was Ms. Jean and she was part of 3 gardening clubs that do volunteer work in the city. She came to the R.V. and we set up a time at 6:30 the next morning to prune a rose garden belonging to the city. I got up early the next day and we set out pruning, sheering, pulling weeds, and dumping buckets full of dead plant matter and weeds into enormous trash bags. Ms. Jean was very nice.

When I got home not only did I get the two hours of volunteer service work, but I also received an invitation to her house that night to play board games and watch movies and stuff. Ben got out of the hospital and we all went over. My parents left to go ballroom dancing while we went on a walk, had lots of angel food cake and ice cream, watched movies, and played dominos. We had a good time.

The next day we spent touring the Coor’s beer factory, geology museum, and the Galvin’s neighborhood in Evergreen. They REALLY want us to live there. Shelby and I had something between us that could have developed into a relationship, but with the R.V. trip we are limited on such things. Oh well, she’s probably better off without me.

We left the next day and where we camped out, there was a movie theater down the road. We watched the new Transformers; one word, AWESOME! Everything is fast paced, funny, with lots of things that blow up, new good guys with cool powers and also new bad guys that do happen to have a better sense of fighting skill than the old ones. It was definitely the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.

We also stopped at a really neat tourist ranch where we went horseback riding and fed pigs, sheep, alpacas, ostriches, peacocks, turkeys, chickens, cows, bulls, camels, and ponies. The next day (today) we drove almost 6 hours so far with about another 2 to go. Our goal is Nappanee, Indiana and we SHOULD arrive by tomorrow night, but nothing is for sure. Bye!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Golden, Colorado

We left the Air Force Academy and drove to a city called Golden. It’s a great place Golden, Colorado. Tomorrow is my third favorite day of the year. It’ll be the Fourth of July! I love it for being the day that we won our independence, and, yes the fireworks.

Not too much time has passed since Ben’s last orbital cellulitis episode and yet it is happening again. He has been in the hospital for three days now and he has gone through one surgery already. Hopefully this will be the last attack from this bug but if not, we’ll be prepared. He’s doing great because of the antibiotics.

We went to the Galvin’s and hiked for about 45 minutes in their woods. Shelby is a very enduring hiker and Cameron (who was also visiting) was fairly impressive. We sat in the hot tub telling stories at 8:00 at night and watched a movie about ghosts and spirits and paranormal activity. It wasn’t scary but we had a good time. That’s all we seem to have now, apart from Ben’s eye activity, good times.

We went swimming yesterday and they have a waterslide and a Rock Climbing Wall. Our R.V. park is right next to a beautiful set of river rapids that’s just calling us to ride down them. Yep, we’re outside and active and almost the only time I’m on this computer now is to blog and learn Spanish using Rosetta Stone. The park next door is really nice, and the community center is a pretty fun place. School is over and I kind of miss it now that I have hours and hours that I never knew existed. Summer is……………. interesting and it will be exciting to see how it ends; hopefully in a new, big house with Dad having an environmentally friendly job that he enjoys. I’m going to leave now, since there are fireworks outside and we’re watching a really funny movie called Norbert.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Air Force Academy, Colorado

Wow that was fun! We just came back from horseback riding and loved it! I got a white horse named Voodoo and it was a good horse. Sam had a short little,dwarf mule donkey thing. It was fun and we rode for two hours.

But the really great thing is that my school is done! I am completely done with the school year! I finished yesterday! The first 5 days after I last blogged was strictly school and then we would either watch a movie at night or go swimming or bowling with the Bailey boys. I finished my really big nuclear proliferation project for history and it couldn’t be much better. We’re having fun now that school’s over.

Since yesterday I have gone horseback riding, swimming, and visited Barnes and Nobles, and the Royal Gorge. Yep, I have walked over the highest suspension in the WORLD! I saw one historical movie, 2 gunfights, and three of my brothers dropped from 1,200 ft up in the air to free fall 200 ft. To hear more, go to Will’s Blog. The number of breathtaking sights was infinite. It was a lot of fun!

We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and came back with 2 more cap guns to add to our collection of souvenirs. We watched wide-eyed as cowboys rode longhorns with saddles and as a tourist threw a tomahawk, badly. Oh yea, we also saw a rare white bison in a pen with other bison as well as rams, mules, big horned sheep, and elk. As I said earlier, we truly did enjoy ourselves and my mother will enjoy nothing more than to upload about half of the pictures she took onto this website. She took about a thousand. That’s all for now; dinner will be ready soon. Bye!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Air Force Academy, Colorado

I am out of cheesy openings so I’ll cut to the chase. Lately we have ventured out of the Academy and to a city-funded park that looked like a national park. It was called Garden of the Gods. This park has hundreds of natural sandstone mini-mountains that have gradually been eroded by rain. We could climb most of them but some of them had signs that said DO NOT CLIMB! ROCKS UNSTABLE! But nobody got hurt so we kept on riding our bikes that we brought with us and climbing stable mini-mountains. It was fun and peaceful and beautiful. I noticed while I was there that I really wouldn’t mind living in Colorado Springs. Anyway, we enjoyed our time at the Garden of the Gods and have been doing school for the last couple of days.

The greatest thing that we’ve done has been to go on a five mile camping trip with the Baileys. It was the very same hike that we went on last week to the Stanley Reservoir. I carried one of the heaviest rucksacks and set up two of the tents with Clayton before we went and played, unlike some of the other campers. We set up camp and started a nice blazing fire with enough firewood to keep it going all night. We explored and went on a moonlight walk, and Clayton and I talked about what’s happened since we saw each other last. We spied and shadowed Sam, Ben, and Spencer for hours and laughed silently at the hilarious stories they would tell. Will, Clayton and I had so much fun exploring and claiming parts of the forest for our Realms and Domains while the Rebels would do ridiculously unorganized hit-and run attacks. Let’s just say that the Shadow Empire (us) won.

We definitely had a good time, until Will sprained an ankle jumping from a height that I would never jump from. But I don’t think it was his fault entirely and he wasn’t badly hurt. The next day all of our aches and pains were felt again as we agonizingly hiked down the two and a half mile trail, but it was worth it. Anyway, that was yesterday and now we’re leaving to the library to do more school. Bye!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Colorado Springs, CO

Hello. I’m at the same library as the last time I blogged at the Air Force Academy. We’ve just been doing one day of school after another and taking two days off per week. One of the days when we were here, we went off base to visit my old friend from Alaska. His name is Clayton and we have already seen each other since we have arrived, but this time we went to his house and had a sleepover. We mainly talked and played at the park but we also stayed up watching STEALTH and THE DARK KNIGHT. We had a great time and it felt good to see my best friend again.
Four of the days we just did school and watched a movie when we went back to the R.V. The movies we saw were Speed Racer, Part of I am Legend, Amadeus, The Sting, and Get Smart. The 6th day we were here (yesterday) we went to visit another of our Alaskan friends who moved here after Fort Greely, the Kiraly’s. We played with their 10-year-old son Zack and his much younger brother Amman. We had an early Father’s Day celebration and ate Carrot Cake, my favorite! Anyway that’s about it and I have to go do more school. Bye!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Leavenworth, Kansas and Colorado Springs, Colorado

We went to Kansas and stayed for 4 days. One was a school day at the local library, and one was visiting the house that I first lived in when I was born. One day and one night were spent seeing our old neighbors the Galvins, and the last day was leaving Kansas. The first day isn’t worth mentioning but the second and third are! On the second day I went to the first house that I ever lived in, I never remembered it but my mom has lots of baby pictures of me in the house. It was very small but I didn’t have 3 brothers back then. I thought it was pretty cute. We even met our old neighbors that lived next to us then too. I don’t remember them but they sure remember me!

The third day we did a full school day and were driving over to our Texan friends, the Galvins, when we came to a train crossing just to see the locomotive pull in front of us. So we waited for this 2 mile long train to pass and right as we saw the third to last train car about to pass we heard this awful screeching. The train had put on its brakes and come to a complete stop right before it was about to pass the crossing! We were going to be sooooooo late and waited and waited for it to start moving again. After 20 minutes of waiting we gave up. We phoned the Galvins and went back to try again. This time the train was gone and we got the R.V. and drove back.
We visited our old friends and played with their kids, Olivia and Shelby. We took a tour of the local museum and took a walk to the maximum security prison. We left my birth town, Leavenworth, later the next day and drove to Colorado Springs, Colorado where my dad did more job searching and I did more school and we all did more visiting.

The first day we met our friends, the Bailey’s. We lived on the same Army base for 3 years and their oldest son Clayton and I were best friends. Spencer was three years younger and he played with Will, Ben, and Sam while Clayton and I caught up on the last year. He’s home schooled with Calvert too so we compared essays and lesson manuals and our teachers (parents).

We had a lot of fun, but I had a fall in a game of Cops and Robbers while in pursuit of a cold hard criminal (Ben) and had a large area of my elbow and knee skinned clean off leaving a bloody, dirty, and painful mess. Clayton, my trustee partner of justice caught up with the convict and caught him. He was the very last criminal except for Will who had found refuge about a mile away (way out of bounds) and laid low for about two hours. Anyway I had a lot of fun with the Baileys and will see them later this week.

We went to church at a place where my Dad’s old secretary’s husband preaches, so we went to church there after driving an hour. But they had cake so I’m not complaining. We stayed for the service and stayed a little while longer and visited in the back of the chapel. It was his last sermon so he went out with a bang, a long 2 hour bang (service about change). But we enjoyed it and it was almost as if it was directed directly at us because we are going through change and a time of transition as well. We enjoyed our time there.

Then we drove to a good friend of my dad’s ranch. He disappointingly didn’t have a whole bunch of work that needed to be done, but we did get to dig a flower bed, plant a hundred strawberry pants, bring an extra strawberry plant home (to my great enjoyment), walk horses, ride horses, feed horses, clean horses, and help eat an incredibly messy lunch that was literally poured on the table and eaten without plates or silverware but with our hands (to my brothers great enjoyment). But still I don’t think we got to help out enough.

The next day we did a full day of school and went to our old friends from Alaska, the Bowens. We visited for over 4 hours and played with their daughter, Carmen. We ate a delicious dinner, played monopoly, and wore out their greyhound in the backyard with much chasing, fetching, and unsuccessful racing. That dog is fast and broke over 40 miles an hour easily. We greatly enjoyed our time visiting and now are doing school at a local library on the great U.S. Air Force Academy Base where about 1,000 senior students graduate each year!