Thursday, November 20, 2014

Reading with Cat

It's been cold. When I settle on the couch to read (Hanawalt's The Middle Ages, in case you are curious. The odd looking image under my fingers is a bookmark, which I use to help myself focus. Focusing on Hanawalt while Katie chatters about what recipes she might prepare for her application to Master Chef Junior requires all my powers. And a bookmark.), Emma obligingly settles on my lap to keep me warm. Unfortunately, she insists on being on top of my arms. Both of them. And she is firmly convinced that she Must be pinning my arms down. This makes holding a book difficult. Emma is not concerned.

Katie kindly took this aerial view, just to fully illustrate the problem. And yes. That is a Lot of cat. (But she produces a vast amount of lovely warmth.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Website Creation Video

Travis thought he'd recorded his presentation at the NC Junior Classical League Fall Forum, but there was a technical glitch and he didn't. So, he recorded it again today, for you viewing pleasure! This version is only 13 minutes (we're down a few jokes), but it still gets the information across just fine!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fall Forum

Yesterday we went to the North Carolina Junior Classical League's Fall Forum! It was held at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and hosted by the Classics department, and we had a really nice time!

Travis and Katie were the only members of our local group to attend, but we met up with our group leader (now moved to Raleigh, sniff!), with two of her kids and one other member of her new Raleigh group. It was great to see them, and interesting to see how the Fall Forum went. It seems to be a sort of "warm up" for the Spring Convention -- smaller and rather less action-packed. Still, Travis did a great job with his workshop (his presentation was on "Designing Your Latin Club Website"), and Katie got a chance to compete with the Master's Academy Middle School certamen team (they had a reluctant team member, and Katie was looking for a spot) and they won their first round (competing against high schoolers) and came in second in the second. Travis would have liked to play too, but at least we got to see how it was done, so we will be ready to play at the Spring Convention!

I thought the campus was lovely. Not quite as nice as the Chapel Hill campus, but really nice. And, our registration fee included tickets for lunch in the cafeteria! The kids were absolutely dazzled, and, actually, so was I! It was rather like a Golden Corral, only with better lighting, and with a slender, youthful clientele. Definitely gave us the strength to go on to doing what needed to be done!

My pictures did not turn out well, sadly. Here we are at the opening ceremony...

Our fearless leader & crew!

The "spirit" part, involving a cheer competition. A bit raucous. This is not a competition in which we will ever excel.

 And you can't really see him, but Travis is second from the right on stage with the other officers.

And here he is setting up for his workshop. Unfortunately I had to go be an adult (with absolutely no role to play except be old and fill the requirement for "over 18 person") in the Creative Arts Workshop, so I missed it, but I was told he did an excellent job.

There was a drama...
 and oracles. And other stuff, but to be honest the weather was a bit cold for me to properly enjoy any of it. Still, it was a lovely day!

And here is Katie's second certamen match. She is sitting up front in a red shirt, holding her beeper button, all ready to go, even though they are still setting up. She can be a competitive little thing!

 And here they are at the end of the day, a bit embarrassed to have their mother taking their picture. The cool kids don't have mothers, you know. Or at least their mothers have the decency to stay out of sight. My poor lambies!

Then we went home and I spent a couple hours cooking and baking like a madwoman in order to host the Sunday Coffee Hour at church today. Which was lightly attended but the people who were there said very nice things about my cooking (and Katie's eclair cake!).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

They're Here!

My parents are here for the winter! So exciting. They came down earlier than last year, due to Maine being excessively cold, as I understand it. We had a couple cold days right off (and are due for a few more, I think), but the last couple days have been absolutely lovely here. We aim to please!

So far we've only gotten them over for one dinner and one game of Bananagrams (my dad and Travis won all the games -- next time they get all the "z's," "x's," and "q's," as a handicap), but now that they're here we are looking forward to some hikes and maybe some of Mom's cooking!

We are a bit behind schedule this week and trying to get back in the groove we lost after our trip to Florida and Travis's unexpected trip to the oral surgeon last Thursday. Actually, the visit to the oral surgeon was anticipated (dreaded, more like), but we were waiting for an opening and were caught by surprise when the office called last Wednesday night to say they had a spot on Thursday morning. Poor Travis. He is such a trooper -- never a complaint, but for a while there he looked absolutely dreadful. He's back to work now, though, busily preparing his presentation (on Developing a Website for Your Latin Club) for the NC Junior Classical League's Fall Forum this coming Saturday. We're all looking forward to the event, actually, as we'll be seeing friends again we haven't seen in a while. I hope the weather stays nice! 

Saturday, November 01, 2014


What with just having come back from Florida and both kids succumbing to illness the moment we walked in the door, Halloween costumes were a bit of an afterthought. It was too cold for togas (not that what they Did go in was much warmer), and ghosts are apparently passe (can you tell I was focusing on the fact that we have two white sheets?), so the kids went as zombies. Universal was running its Fright Night thing while we were there (we did not go), and zombies were big in the promotional posters. Katie is a devil zombie, and Travis is a swag zombie (he made the shirt himself, and, though I'm not a zombie fan, I do think he did a really nice job on the lettering!). 

It was raining and cold, and Travis did not want to walk with me (he says it's okay for teenagers to trick or treat with their little sisters, but not with their mothers -- apparently the sister provides a justification, but the mother removes it), so I sat in the car and listened to War and Peace while the kids walked the downtown shops and Main Street. They had fun, but they were pretty numb with cold when they got back in the car. Ridiculous things. And Katie felt ill again today and spent the day on the couch (she said I could eat as much of her candy as I wanted, so I know she feels woozy, poor silly lamb). 

Anyway, here they are, in all their gruesomeness. Also, they used red food color all over their faces, and it Won't Wash Off! Travis is just pinkish, but Katie is bright red. I told her she had to go to church tomorrow anyway. She says she'll go, but she'll wear a bandanna, like a bandit (though, as she pointed out, this will make taking Communion rather awkward). 

They carved pumpkins, too. Travis's was a bit of a rush job, but I kind of like the way  it is drooling.

It was fine, but I do miss the days when they looked cute in their costumes, instead of hideous.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Back in North Carolina after a lovely and too brief trip to Florida!

Ed's dad has been ill, and we wanted to visit him before his upcoming surgery, and the kids have wanted to visit Harry Potterland since it was built, so we did both of these things. Late October is Perfect in Florida, and also, evidently, a very good time to visit Orlando theme parks -- not hot, and not very crowded (relatively speaking!). We had a nice visit with Ed's dad and brother down in Vero Beach, as well (though I'm stunned every time we go back at how fast it continues to grow). It was a great trip!

Here we are with Ed's dad and brother.

And here we are at Universal/Islands of Adventure!
 Inside Gringotts Bank. This was my favorite ride (one of the not-very-many that didn't make me queasy) and we rode it three times. Well, Ed rode it once. Pretty much all the rides were too much for him, poor guy.

Ed and Marilyn.

The kids and Homer.

The kids rode Everything.

Ed and the American Graffiti cars. I think.

Ed and the Mystery Machine

The hotel pool. The kids really enjoyed the pool.

The Hogwarts Express. The kids and I rode it three times. Very cool!

Platform 9 3/4, of course!

 Katie. She's been dreaming of going to Harry Potterland for So many years!

It really is Beautifully done. I wish I'd gotten a picture of the castle -- it's fantastic!


Outside Honeydukes.

Katie and her Butterbeer.

They loved Seussland...

and the Jurassic Park ride! I rode it once, but the drop at the end was.... well, it dropped, and I prefer Not dropping.

And here we are in Diagon Alley. So neat. I particularly got a kick out of Knockturn Alley.

Flourish & Blotts. Pretend bookstores are too much of a tease for me.

The dragon breathes fire!

Did I mention that the kids rode All the rides?

They did All the roller coasters. I was surprised when Travis wanted to ride them, but absolutely Stunned when Katie turned out to be a roller coaster junkie! None of them were too terrifying for them (and they have some Very terrifying roller coasters at Universal!). I tried not to watch.

They teamed up on the moles and won a Minion.

King's Cross Station. Did I mention how much we liked the train?

 Inside the Magical Menagerie.

Yup. they rode it.

They rode the Dragon Challenge three times.

 Honeydukes. Katie got her Chocolate Frog, complete with Wizard Card.

And the Pumpkin Juice.

Travis is too cool to be flustered by a rampaging Tyrannosaurus.


This one was particularly awful. They rode it twice (and Katie wanted to go again).

The hotel pool. It really was a nice one.

Ed liked the cars parked in front of the motel (display cars).

Breakfast. Katie is not a morning person.

Ed and Travis, working out directions to the car rental place.

Headed home.

It was great, and we came home to find the leaves in NC looking really glorious! Florida is great, but after a few days of heavy traffic it was nice to get home to our quiet corner of North Carolina.