The past few weeks have been fun-laden. So much so, in fact, it has been hard to find the time to even talk about all the stuff we have been doing. I think my last update had us returning from our Grand Canyon adventure and since then we've taken two more short trips and we've done a bunch of stuff right around the house.
Our first trip was to Johnson City Tennessee to visit some friends who used to live here in Huntington. Johnson City is about 4 hours drive to the south of us so we drove down there for the fourth of July weekend. We left here on Friday and then drove home on Sunday afternoon (the day Federer managed to pull of the huge Wimbledon win against Roddick). While we were down in Johnson City we visited a couple neighboring towns and, all-in-all, we really had a nice time. Lisa and Sarah went to a healthy food store and Lisa picked up a nice Rain Barrel at a pretty good price even after the exorbitant 9% sales tax.
We also managed to see two separate fireworks shows which the girls really enjoyed (plus a third on Sunday night after we got home). The first fireworks show was in a small neighboring town called Jonesborough Tenn. Jonesborough was really pretty cool for such a small little place. It was setup to be very friendly for people to walk around while at the same time they had really embraced their old architecture and have even become a bit of a tourist destination thanks to their Storytelling Festival each October. Main street Jonesborough was exactly what Disney is trying to capture with their "Main Street USA" but far more authentic. The whole town just had a really cool laid back vibe to it.
The second show was from the back yard of Sarah and Dean. They live pretty close to a school and the city puts on a big show from the schools football field so we could sit on the back deck and watch the fireworks go off. It was nice that the two shows we saw down there were scheduled for different nights so it was easy to see both of them. The kids had a great time not only watching fireworks but also playing with Sarah and Dean's two kids who are very similar in age to Shannon and Emily. Overall it was a really nice visit and, considering how close they are, I can't imagine it will be too long before we coordinate for another visit.
Our next trip was to Kings Island and we did that about 10 days ago. We drove up Friday night after work (to Cincinnati) and stayed in Blue Ash (near the park) and then spent all day Saturday at Kings Island. Shannon wasn't too willing to venture into any new rides but she had a blast on the rides she did go on. The one new ride we managed to get both girls to go on was the Scrambler which has always been one of my favorite rides. We were going to drive home Saturday night but we ended up staying at the park until 10+pm to watch fireworks again so we eneded up getting a room at the last minute at a Country Inns and Suites. Lisa and Shannon had a late nite dinner at the waffle house (which Shannon loved) while Emily and I hit the hay. The next morning before heading out Shannon and I used the hotels pool and whirlpool for a bit (which Shannon loved) and then we hit the road and made it back in time for our Kickball game.
Speaking of Kickball - my team is kicking ass right now. We finished the first half of the season at 2-2. We were beaten in one game and in the second loss we had to forfeit because not enough of our female players made it to the game that day (we have to have four present out of our 9). So far in the second half of the season we are 2-0 and we are in sole possession of first place. In that first game (after the Kings Island trip) we played pretty well and scored enough runs in the first inning to seal the victory (there are five innings in a game). This past weekend we had to play the other team that won in week 5; The Cabell Comprehensive Kickballers. They were considered by most to be the favorite going in even though we beat them in the first half of the season becuase they had been scoring so many runs. Well, we won again - this time 9-3. It was our best offensive performance of the season and we played fantastically. Joe kicked 2 homeruns, Ed booted in another, Mike had a triple, we had a few doubles - all in all it was great. I had a single and what should have been a triple but I was waved in on the triple and so I headed home. I had to dive to try and beat the throw but the guys throw was true and he got me in the stomach as I dove so I was thrown out at home. Fortunately, I at least drove in a run but had I scored we would have hit double digits which would have been cool. Only the Kickballers have scored double digits this season.
Along with kickball I've been mountain biking a bit and I've been doing pretty well; I think landing on my head has made me a better rider. While three weeks ago our entire ride kind of sucked (I was all out of sorts, Mike had 3 flats, and Sean had a flat) the past two weeks have been my best efforts yet. Two weeks ago Ed set a really stiff pace for us but I managed to keep up (sortof) and I didn't have to take any extra breaks to do so. Plus, my climbing and obstacle handling was much better than it had been in the past. Then, last week, while I started off a little shaky I picked it up a lot as the ride went by and I managed to navigate through some tricky parts I've not been able to ride before. Usually I end up hitting a root or a rock or something that causes me to stop and then i have to walk. Instead, this time, I managed to ride through it all. I was pretty stoked about it. Sadly, our friend Jason, who was on his first ride in quite a while, ended the ride off by crashing and hurting his ribs. Hopefully he heals up fairly quickly so he can get back out with us again.
I think, at this point, our busy summer is just about to finish and we can settle down and get some stuff done around the house. School starts pretty soon and Emily begins Kindergarten while Shannon enters third grade - it should be an exciting enough time without us going out any more. I know I have a ton of chores to take care of