Saturday, November 10, 2007

Harvest Festival and Michael's New Clothes

A couple of weeks ago, we packed up the kids, some friends from church and a picnic and headed back to Gulf Breeze for the annual Calvary Chapel harvest festival. Gregory and Gabrielle had one purpose in mind.

To conquer the climbing wall.

Gabrielle went first. Gregory watched her closely. Neither of them got to the top last year. When Gabrielle got within a couple of steps of the top, she faltered.

She started looking down and that scared her. We cheered her on. We told her to look up. Just look up! The whole scene reminded me of Peter walking on the water. So long as his eyes were on Jesus, he could walk on water. As soon as his eyes went down to the sea and his circumstances, he faltered. Oh that I had someone cheering for me to just look up. Daily.

When Gabrielle looked up again she realized she was almost to her goal. She climbed a couple more steps and rang the bell.

Once his sister made the climb, there was no way Gregory wasn't going to succeed. You could see it in his face.

Gregory never looked down. He focused on his goal. Looking a lot like Spiderman, he quickly scampered up the side of the wall.

I could barely take pictures as fast as he climbed.

At the top he practically leaped for the bell.

Being the eldest, Gregory naturally had to "one up" his sister. So he headed for the intermediate level climbing wall.

With a bit more care, but hardly less speed, he climbed up this wall too.

This time he repeatedly rang the bell in victory.

While the kids enjoyed jousting, sliding, praise music and other activities, I took Michael to the area for the little kids. But he wouldn't jump in the moonwalk or play any of the other activities. All he wanted to do was play with a ball.

He ripped this one off from the basket ball throwing thingy and the person running the event kindly allowed him to keep it for awhile.

Our church friends had fun with the climbing wall as well. John Mark conquered the intermediate wall right away.

As did Megan.

Of course, Kurt and Mark decided to start with the expert wall.

Mark (that would be our pastor) even managed to pose for this picture before losing his footing. I think he is blaming me and this picture for losing his focus on the wall.

Kurt carefully watched Mark through out the process.

Here Kurt explains that if Mark fails to make it to the top of the expert wall, then he might just start with the intermediate wall.

Nevertheless, Kurt attempted the expert wall after Mark fell.

However, he decided he would use the "cheat" step from the intermediate wall unlike Mark who thought that would be cheating. Kurt said the only ones making it to the top were using that step.

He started out quite well though he told us it was much harder than it looked.

As Kurt climbed the expert wall, he did so on the edge close to the intermediate wall so he could use the cheat step. Meanwhile, Megan put on the gear to go up the intermediate wall again. For whatever reason she did so sort of under the shadow of the expert wall.

I didn't actually get the picture of Kurt falling because I was too busy laughing. As you probably guessed, Kurt missed his footing, slid down the wall and landed on Megan's head. Thankfully Kurt's safety gear kept him from hurting Megan, but her safety gear kept her from being able to escape. It really was quite funny.

Because Michael kept trying to join the basketball game on the basket ball court, I had to confine him to his stroller. He only consented when I allowed him to kick back in comfort.

My main project focus lately has been to make Michael some winter clothes. The cold weather sort of snuck up on us.

He got a new pair of pajamas.

I made these from some flannel I bought when Gregory was a baby and never used. Fortunately I did rescue some of my fabric from the hurricane.

I also made him some robot sweats, embellishing the front with fabric scraps Melissa sent me awhile back.

Gregory loves robots so I need to figure out a way to use some of this fabric in something for him. Perhaps on a pair of pjs.

I had a little bit of fabric remaining from the dragon shirt I made Gregory last year. I used that to make some pants for Michael.

I found a great dragon embroidery on the Internet and was able to make it match the design on the pants. I put this on the front of the red sweatshirt I made for him.

I also made Michael a long sleeve shirt from some camouflage fabric I had in my stash.

This is a great shirt for days where it warms up in the afternoon.

Between these clothes and the car sweater I made Michael last year, which still fits, he has enough clothes so long as I wash his laundry twice a week. Since I am not that organized, I've already cut out a few more outfits and will need to sew them up soon. Otherwise, I am slowly plugging away on some Christmas knitting. I finished a hat for Gregory and Gabrielle's poncho. In between, I finished the back piece of my Mom's sweater and started on the front. That sweater is more of a tunic and is taking a long time. I'll try to post pictures of it soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Munson Heritage Festival

This last weekend, our family visited the Munson Heritage Festival. On Saturday, we arrived late and parked in a distant parking lot. The kids loved it because the festival offered hay rides between the parking lot and the festivities.

We saw so many cool things at the festival. Gregory and Gabrielle liked the sugar cane and stripping feed corn from the cob best on Saturday.

The had a hand cranked corn machine and also machine powered.

So many children were absolutely fascinated with the processes for stripping corn from the cob.

I thought it a very clever way to gain access to a free work force.

The kids grabbed corn by handfuls.

I had to drag them away to see the rest of the festival.

Of course I was looking for the spinners and knitters. I could have happily joined this merry group. Perhaps when the children are a bit older I will!

The children wore themselves out pretty early with all of the walking we did on Saturday.

They need more exercise I suppose. But the idea of checking out the old mill intrigued Gabrielle enough to keep going.

I think she liked the idea of the mysterious path in the woods more than anything.

Gregory enjoyed watching the basket weaver strip a white oak tree for material for his weaving.

The idea of drawing a blade towards his chest terrified his vivid imagination.

Gregory discovered a new love however.

Gregory just LOVED the blacksmith. He very much wants to learn blacksmithing. In fact, he spent the 3 days following the heritage festival cleaning out the junky workshop so he would have space to work. Now he wants a book about learning blacksmithing and he wants to start looking for a forge. We really liked watching the smith take an old spring and turn it into a barbecue fork.

Kurt worked on Saturday so I had the kids by myself.

Thus, I kept Michael safely secured in the stroller. He got a little nutty being cooped up the whole time.

However on Sunday afternoon, we returned with Kurt. Since there were two of us, I allowed Michael to explore a bit too.

Sunday we arrived a bit earlier and saw some demonstrations we missed on Saturday.

We were fascinated with the process for making roof shingles. Using a funny looking blade, the kids clubbed shingles of wood from a large section of tree.

The kids loved the hands on aspect of it. After removing the shingles, someone else shaved them.

After shingle making, the children got to try lumber jacking.

Gabrielle and her partner eventually needed help.

However, Gregory and his partner managed to saw their wood without assistance.

The kids also got to bring home their circles and shingles. Oh joy.

Right before leaving on Sunday, Kurt and Gregory discovered the art of cracking a whip. Kurt thought it looked fun.

He found it was harder than it looked.

He snapped himself instead of the whip several times and found himself a tangled mess.

But Kurt can be persistent.

It was pretty funny to watch, but Kurt did manage a couple of respectable snaps before walking off the field. Naturally Gregory had to try too.

Gregory picked up the technique pretty quickly.

It only took a couple of tries and he was able to crack the whip pretty consistently. Of course it wasn't as loud as the whip maker, but he did quite well.

Kurt, who had been ready to leave moments before, decided he would not be outdone by his son.

You gotta love testosterone.

But he really did improve after he watched Gregory. It is amazing what a little competition will do.

He looked quite a bit more confident in the end. I think he may have stood a bit taller as he walked away too.