Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Fun than a Barrel of Monkeys

According to my blog we have apparently done nothing of note for about four days. In reality, we had such a busy weekend that I'm still digging out from the experience in order to share it with my lovely vacation readers. It is fun to have you along for the ride, but sometimes I get so caught up in the doing that it's hard to keep up with the telling. I'm sort of glad the Captain is working again today, because I don't think I could handle any more adventures without a rest day!

The highlight of our weekend was Saturday morning, when we had the chance to participate in the COOL project. Community Outreach of Love is a multi-church effort to clean up neighborhoods in downtown Canton. My longtime friend and mentor Cindy spearheaded the idea, and the effort is now in its second year. I was thrilled that our vacation happened to coincide with the date of the project.

This year volunteers from 30 churches worked in the Summit neighborhood, sprucing up about 150 homes with repairs, painting, and landscaping. My family worked all together with five other people to give our assigned home a new flowerbed, pick up trash, and mow the yard. We had wanted to powerwash the front of the house, but were unable to find a source for water.

The project was the perfect size for our group, which was the only one I saw with kids in strollers. We wanted the kids to see what was happening and at the least set a "peg" for future reference when we do help projects with our kids. It was also special to build this memory with my mom, my brother and sister in law, and for our kids to share this experience together.

We were so pleased to see Boo get right into the dirt (right up her alley, actually) and help with pulling weeds, evenly spacing worms for maximum benefit, and even planting flowers. Rooster and his cousins also helped Boo with picking up trash and raking leaves. We decided afterward, as we were rewarding ourselves with junior frostys from Wendy's, that the kids had far exceeded our expectations, even experiencing it as fully as we had hoped.

Other adventures
The morning of the COOL project, we arose to find the creek had flooded overnight from all this rain we have been having. It wouldn't be a visit home unless the creek overran its banks at least once. I laughed at the thought of the saying, "Lord willing and the creek don't rise." My dad was actually too sick to attend the COOL project with us, having had a fever for much of the previous 24 hours. On the way out the door, I quipped to him, "Apparently the Lord was not willing for you to attend, since the creek did rise!" By the time we returned after lunch, he was remarkably improved and able to be part of the rest of our family events.

The rest of the weekend included a trip to the Children's Museum at the McKinley Presidential Library. Highlights of our visit this year were the pendulum clock in the lobby which knocks over a wood block every 8 minutes, the new teacup ride demonstrating the usefulness of Timken roller bearings, and Rooster's new name for the bird dinosaur, Pointybeakasaurus.

We had a chance to visit my brother's house, which led to a discussion of home renovations, which led to a Sunday afternoon work project involving three men, an unruly carpet, and the un-covery of some beautiful old hardwood flooring.

Sunday morning we attended church with the whole family, and I felt like an undercover celebrity, as this week's Sunday School curriculum included my very first published work. We had fun raiding a classroom and finding the study guide "in the wild" as the Captain put it.

Lulu and the Captain received their first trip to the Akron Zoo. Well, Lulu went last year but she doesn't remember it. This year, she just might remember forever. At least she had a new pair of shoes to walk in all day, since the one pair we brought have been giving her blisters.

Our vacation continues to be a success, possibly rating as the best one yet. It's hard to believe we have been here over a week already. We've got a few friends to connect with and a few more fun events on the schedule, but I have enjoyed this quiet day to help restore our vacation rhythm.

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