The Hall Family


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Blog #66




   Be sure to check out our movie page.  Annika wandered into the garden yesterday and picked a tomato.  I grabbed the camera and followed her around for a few minutes.  Don't expect anything profound; the clip is just a glimpse into her personality and development at this time.


   Papa and I had a great garage sailing morning.  I finally found a snow blower.  I bought an 8 hp blower with electric start for only $60.  I also bought a new in the package light duty pulley system.  I had been looking for something to make hoisting the red kayak to the garage ceiling a bit easier.  My arms are usually tired after I paddle and the old direction changing ceiling pulleys added a lot of friction to the load.  Now I've got a four to one ratio to make the job a bit more manageable.  I looks a bit crazy with 100 feet of rope moving through a total of nine pulleys.  The best deal of the day, however, was three bags of very nice, mostly new, name brand Joan sized clothes for only $20. 


   Last weekend I performed my first water rescue by kayak, sort of.  A Kent State college kid capsized the smallest sailboat I've ever seen.  He had a life jacket on and wasn't in any real danger, but the wind was blowing him across the lake and he had no idea how to right his boat or get in.  Twenty years ago or so, my friend David Woods and I tipped his sailboat and we had to right it and re-board it in the water.  Remembering this experience I talked the kid through righting it, but he couldn't manage to get back on the boat.  There wasn't much inside the boat for him to grab hold of.  I ended up towing him and the boat to shore.


   Svea started school on Thursday and is thrilled to be in the first grade and loves her teacher, Mrs. Musser.  On the way to school she was singing about how much she loves school.  I'm still recovering from the shock that my new principal has cut my instruction time to less than two thirds of what it has been in past years. 


   Last Saturday Joan took three pictures of Annika and Svea.  All I could say was WOW!  Great pictures Joan.





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Blog #65

David & Joan





   Last Saturday we drove to Idlewild Amusement Park in Pennsylvania.  I hadn't heard of the park but it is ranked the second best kids' park in the world.  The trip was arranged by parents of kids in Kindergruppe (Svea's and Brigitta's German dance group).  We caravanned with our neighbors the Grimms and spent the day with them.  Svea and Brigitta play with Jasmine and Grace for hours every day and Joan and I have gotten to know Jennifer and Dan.  The park includes a water park (Soak Zone) so we were able to cool down in the pools fountains and rides.  Brigitta was brave enough to ride a giant waterslide with me, but seriously questioned her own judgment before we were finished.  In nine hours we were able to see most, but not all of the park.  We spent the night in a hotel and were able to make it home by lunchtime on Sunday. 



One of our favorite "rides" was the ball room/pit. 

This was one of the few things that Annika could do.


Self portrait


Annika just adores Svea


I had fun too


The Jumping Jungle section had hands on playground style activities.  Here the girls are "crossing a river" on a tethered raft.  This area also had a giant rope/net climb and a cable pulley swing.


"Story Book Forest" had life-sized houses with some live characters, live animals and colorful statues that represented some of the most popular children's stories and nursery rhymes.  In this picture Brigitta and Svea are visiting Goldilocks in her house.


Just a random snapshot, but we love this picture of Jasmine, Svea, Grace and Brigitta.  This is the "Raccoon Lagoon" section of the park where all the rides were just their size.


Annika sat out most of the rides in "Raccoon Lagoon" but she was big enough to ride in this car with Svea.


Grace and Brigitta "driving" an old time car.


Grace and Brigitta riding on a dragon.


Svea and Jasmine riding on a dragon.


Brigitta cranking a handcar.


We shut the park down at 9:00 P.M.  The bumper cars was the girl's last ride.


   This was my very first kayak.  I've been toting it around for years but have never had a reason to use it.  Last week I was eying it and had a brilliant idea.  It looked like there was just enough room for one daughter in the front and one in the back.  It needs a lot of work and another layer of fiberglass nearly everywhere.  I decided that I should test it out before spending too much time on it so Svea, Brigitta and I took it for a little spin at Mogador Reservoir.  It still floats and didn't sit too terribly low in the water.  Being a classic white water kayak it has no keel or rudder, just a round smooth hull.  I've become spoiled over the years paddling boats that track a much truer line.  This old boat wants to spin on a dime at any moment.  A kayaker can paddle a continuous right hand turn while paddling on the right side only and still end up spinning to the right.  It came back to me a bit but I've got to relearn paddling such a boat.  Maybe I'll just add a keel and rudder while I'm reglassing it, however.


   I presented a lesson to teachers at a diocesan technology conference yesterday.  Today is my first official day of work.  My summer is over.  ~  David


   Annika continues to amaze us. She is adding a new word to her vocabulary almost daily. At this time, most of her new words have to do with food – her favorite subject and pastime. She now can say: “up” meaning “lift me up into my highchair so I may eat”. “down”, meaning “I am finished eating for the moment” or “I need to get down to find someone holding a cookie”. “kee, kee”, meaning “I have spied that cookie you are about to share with me”. “Kicken”, meaning “Pass me another drumstick before I crawl on the table and get it myself”. “Cor”, meaning “Please hand over another cob dripping with butter – I don’t care if it hasn’t been cooked yet”. She is rapidly heading for the independent age of two. Her “requests” are becoming more frequent and insistent in tone. Waiting for things does not seem to be an especially enjoyable experience for her. But she is funny – so very funny, so we let her slide on some of the other issues.  ~  Joan


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Blog #64



Happy Birthday Svea!


   To celebrate Svea's seventh birthday we threw a party for seventeen children, including Svea and Brigitta.  We have had birthday and Halloween parties for our kids before, but never on this scale.  Traditionally we have allowed our children to invite one child per year of their age to their birthday parties.  I talked us into expanding things a bit since Svea now has so many friends at school.  I was also a bit concerned that many of her friends would be away on vacation, committed to summer activities, out of contact, ill or who knows what.  I figured that the turn out could be as low as 50%.  As it turned out, however, only two out of the nineteen invited could not attend.  In hindsight its not that much more work to prepare an outdoor party for seventeen as it is for seven.  It appeared that all of the kids had a lot of fun, especially Svea so I'm glad that we invited so many.  The weather was ideal and pretty much everything went as planned. 



The kids liked the Merry-Go-Totter, but as expected the bubble machine was the real hit of the party.  Just the day before I found a huge, long hose at a garage sale; I was able to move the shop-vac/air pump to the front of the house to minimize noise in the backyard.  It still made a ton of bubbles, but did so silently.



Jeff Foxworthy could probably add a bit to his routine after seeing our "waterslide", but the kids didn't seem to mind.  Perhaps boys just like monkey bars, perhaps they just lined up to impress Svea.



Joan ordered a couple dozen wooden articulated snakes and gathered paint supplies for the party craft.  Not everyone tried the climbing wall, but those who did seemed to really enjoy it.



Svea with her friend's finished and drying snakes and blowing out the candles on her animal themed

cupcake cake.



With a loan of our neighbor's picnic table butted up against ours, there was plenty of room to seat everyone.  We figured the kids might get bored watching so many gifts being opened so we broke them into smaller more intimate groups.


Svea Hall strikes a pose.


Backyard Block Party


  Joan and our neighbor, Pam, planned a second annual backyard block party for this weekend as well.  Our section of Atwood Drive has six unfenced lots that back perpendicular against two unfenced lots of the cross streets.  Our homes are in the middle so we hosted the party under two shady apple trees that somewhat divide our lots and the backyards of the block.  We left the kid's stuff up from Saturday's party.  I put a new twist on the bubble machine by placing it in the screened tent.  The screens on the tent kept the bubbles from being blown away and at times the 12' by 12' based tent was full of bubbles, wall to wall and touching the ceiling.  It was a fun party.


The kids ate in the boat; Brigitta is the one still covered with bubbles. 


Svea, Brigitta and Grace emerge from the bubble tent.  Jasmine and Cassidy eventually found their way out as well.







Pam and Gary have a grandson, JD, who is a bit older than Annika.




Neighbor Brianna Harris, who in college studied oceanography and most specifically sharks.  This was her first encounter, however, with the elusive Ohio Lawn Shark.


Dish Pan Two Man Kayak


   Today (Tuesday) I tired an old Rubbermaid dishpan to the back of the Sprinter kayak.  The sit-on-top kayak is narrow and tipsy when properly crewed.  Add 42 pounds of seven-year-old girl on top and it becomes even less stable.  Nevertheless, we managed to paddle four and a half miles along the shores of Mogadore Reservoir today without a getting wet.  I had to stay pretty focused on balance and never fully relaxed.  It was a fun paddle though and we saw a record number of Great Blue Heron.  After explaining to Svea how we would handle a deep-water/far-from-shore capsize versus a shallow/near-shore capsize she entertained me with a running commentary as to where the good and bad places to tip over would be. 


   Last week I let her paddle solo for the first time.  She paddled the 56 pound 17 foot Sprinter while I paddled my old white boat alongside her.  She did alright but seemed to be in a perpetual state of overcorrecting and made continuous S turns.  The rudder peddles are adjustable but Svea is way too small for even the shortest setting.  Nevertheless, its best to learn to control a kayak without peddles.  Eventually she grew tired and I towed her around for awhile.  Our adventure ended with a dash to the shore and dock just as a very wet thunderstorm hit. 



Home Sweet Infirmary


   I'm the only one in the family who has not been to the doctor in the past week.  Joan has been especially sick lately.  Yesterday she slept about 20 hours and now is on medications that should knock out her bacterial infection.  She is also recovering from a cold that gave her lymph glands a pretty hard time.  On Friday I took Svea and Brigitta to their pediatrician to determine if it was safe to host Svea's birthday party.  He confirmed that they were not contagious but discovered that Brigitta had two ear infections (that didn't seem to bother her at all).  She had also been complaining of stomach pains and had thrown up a few times.  Joan and I have suspected a bacterial infection since my mother has been dealing with one since we left Alaska.  Nevertheless, she is on Amoxicillin for the ear infections and hasn't had stomach issues since.  Last week Svea and Brigitta were diagnosed with eye infections and have now finished a week of eye drops, much to everyone's relief.  Annika passed her ten day post illness check-up yesterday.  Papa has eye infections to accompany his cold and cough.  Nana is also suffering from congestion.  My cold started the night before our Homer camping trip; I'm still not completely over it.  I'd go to see a doctor, but rumor has it, there is no cure for the common cold.  I did manage to get through the day today with a mellow paddle in place of a major nap. 


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