Arches!

By Liam

A few days ago we arrived in Arches National Park in Utah. And I don’t know whether I was entirely ready for the dazzling hiking we were about to do. Our first hike was called the Devil’s Garden and I loved running and jumping and climbing around the rocks. Arches also has the softest sand I’ve ever touched. It was so lovely to sift through my fingers. Apparently since the sandstone is subjected to so much wind and rain and is already, well, sandstone it creates some of the finest sand ever.

Our next hike was called the Fiery Furnace and it was AMAZING!!! We got to forge our own trail through the canyons, arches, caves, and crevices,
and shimmy through cracks, and scramble up rocks, all in pursuit of the skull arch. Boy, there were a lot of opportunities to lose your footing, get lost, turned around, and even out of the Furnace, Which we may have done at least once. anyhow, we had a great time running, jumping, and exploring the seemingly impossible, alien landscape that is Arches National Park.

Adventure in Arches National Park

By Reid

The second day at the park was the best day of my life!
We got a permit to make our own trail on Fiery Furnace.
We drived to the trail entrance.Dad wanted to get lost,
but I on the other hand didn’t.

We started out and almost got lost right when we got on the trail.
We searched and searched and finally got back on the trail.
Me and liam(my brother) found some amazing caves,and sometimes got stuck.
We kept going and finally found the Skull Arch.Me and dad found some cool
ledges to climb on;they had amazing views!

after that we started meandering back.It took a little while but then dad
saw the fence.I started sprinting to the fence but then i noticed there was
a rock wall leading up to the fence and that wasn’t where the trail led
but i didn’t care.I started sprinting/climbing up the rock wall.
There where two people at the top and they saw my hand trying to reach the fence.
They immediately walked away i ran to the car and finally got water.
I knew i would probably never see this place again so i walked back to find Mom and Dad.

Liam sitting on a tree in Arches on the Primitive Trail.
Mom and Liam taking a selfie next to an arch.
Me running to get to the end first.

 

Mesa Verde, a hike to the past

By Liam

Yesterday we arrived in Mesa Verde national park in Colorado with our old friends from Orono, Andy, Anika, and Charlie. We camped in Morphield campground near the visitor center. Mom and Dad were reminding us who they were and, to be honest, I hadn’t the foggiest memory of them. But when we pulled up into their driveway I immediately remembered their faces.

Mesa Verde was the most astounding place I’ve ever laid eyes on. We had the privilege of taking a guided tour through a cliff dwelling. Our guide’s name was Ben and clearly he was just a very upbeat person. He was always thanking us after he gave a talk (I don’t know why) and he was all smiles and was always very happy to answer a question.

We also learned about the ancestral Pueblo tribes and their lifestyle on the mesa. Something I found interesting was the way they used dendrochronology (looking at tree rings)to try and find out why the ancestral Puebloans left the mesa.

Me looking off over the edge of the mesa.

Our group gathered around a kiva.

Reid standing by a ladder at Balcony House.

Liam is 12!

Our lovely Liam turns twelve today. A few memories and reflections from his year of being eleven:

Liam continues to be a kid of depth and revolving, near-obsessive interests. When he was four, he was all about airplanes. Piano and origami kicked in around five or six, and they often resurface. Costa Rica brought on Spanish and soccer.

This year’s passions have included all things Zelda, an action-adventure video game. Liam’s patient character is reflected in the fact that he has yet to actually play the most recent version of the game (parents and their odd principles sometimes get in the way). But he found other ways to dive in: dressing up like the character Link for Halloween, making drawings to go with the game, learning to play the ocarina and several of the theme songs on the piano (thank you, Anthony, for arrangements), and saving his money to buy an older Zelda game.

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His passion for soccer hasn’t let up–the kid has hung on to some nice Tico foot skills. For the second year in a row he and three buddies–Nick, Henry and Bergen–enjoyed a winter indoor soccer clinic with the tradition, thanks to Pankaj, of stopping for fast food on the way home.

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Liam would have loved to have played more hockey this year and was happy whenever we got out on the ice.

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He made it to the summit of Mount Katahdin last summer.

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And, though he prefers team to individual sports, my, can the kid skate ski.

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He’s lucky to have some wonderful friends–Bergen, Matty, Wes, and with the advent of gaming and D&D at the library, Maeve, Finn and Noah.

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And although he sometimes grows impatient with Reid, overall Liam is one heck of a good brother. The two of them sometimes feel like a married couple–they voluntarily share a room and a single bank account (in this case a box covered in penguins where they stash their cash). They, walk through the woods together every day, read books together, and clock hours of play.

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In much of life, Reid still relies on Liam as his spokesperson and general representative, whether at a rally or when communicating in Spanish. We don’t blame him, particularly on the Spanish front (the kid has a gift for las idiomas, which reveals itself every week when he chats with Jairo or Jaziel).

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Music is an ongoing passion for Liam. This year he’s really started to improvise on the piano and he loved playing the clarinet with the school band.

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He also took up teaching piano to his younger friend Alden, and judging by Alden’s progress, it’s been a huge success. Some of Liam’s earnings went toward buying a real bow and arrow.

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Hot sauce and good food remain passions for the boy. He has memorized the entire business history of Belizean hot sauce maker Marie Sharp, and he joined me in cooking the salmon and buckwheat below.

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Liam’s creativity pops up in all sorts of places: his hair (fortunately the slick-back trend passed), bits of folded paper that pop up around the house, his role as the fox in the school play, game and accessory design for stuffed animals, and most recently computer coding. If you need a new user logo for Scratch, look up Scarlet Fox 50 (Liam’s username) and he’ll  happily provide.

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Hiking amongst the aspens

By Reid

Our first day of camping in the San Juan mountains!!!!!!!

we got the top recommended camp site on the amphitheater camp ground!

(It had the best view ever). Ouray Colorado was surrounded by snow capped Mountains.

We went on a hike called the Perimeter trail! it circled the valley that surrounded the city! we started at a waterfall about 150 feet,then we went up a steep slope that after a while flattened out. we went to a old garden that the miners planted potatoes to eat, then we came to a river we crossed the bridge then came up to a small tunnel we meandered through the tunnel and came up to a raod that came back down to the city.We walked back to the water fall picked up the car and started driving!!

Daddy cooking at our campsite.

Me hiking through the tunnel.

Liam on an evening hike.

Visiting friends in Boulder Colorado

By Liam

Two days ago we visited Boulder Colorado, the home of one of my mom’s best friends since middle school! We also saw their kids Andrew, Ada, and Peter. We had a great time running, exploring, laughing, and jumping around in the rain at night.

We also accompanied them to a live-action role playing camp called Sword Camp. I loved finally being able to run around and whack people with foam swords I also really liked the actual questing as it reminded me of D&D (Dungeons & Dragons), a role playing game I play back in Orono with friends.

Here’s Reid walking their adorable dog named Remi.

This was the setting of our sword camp.

Peter and Reid playing “Kill Your Killer”

All of us (except Ada who was at a concert) in downtown Boulder.

Haverford Magic

By Reid

Our first full day at Haverford college!today we went to a magic show! The magician needed a helper and he picked me!i walked over to the table and he put the “magic hat”on me and I got to whisper in his ear what magic trick he should do I whspered “I don’t have a favorite” “ah great idea– the rope trick!”he said to the crowd he gave me a pare of scissors to cut the rope in half I tried but they jammed he said to the crowd “ok Reid is going to cut this rope in half” and he noticed I couldn’t so he gave me his special “Caesars” and he gave them to me and they broke and then he just made me hold the rope In my hand so now no one could see (not even him) I opened my hand and half of the rope was burnt of then my turn being his helper was over.

me and the magicain performing his tricks.

First stop on road trip: Haverford college

by Liam

The day before yesterday we woke up to a very special morning, the first day of our epic road trip! Our first stop was mom and dad’s college in Pennsylvania, Haverford. We’d been to Haverford briefly when I was much younger. This time we met up with dad’s college buddies: Eric, Cedar, and Ben. We had a great time running around, playing disc golf, and meeting mom and dad’s classmates.

I also had my first impression of college dormitory and was not very impressed, but maybe because I was the one who was forced to sleep crammed in a corner on an uncomfortable air mattress. Otherwise I really, really enjoyed the Haverford alumni weekend. The activities were fun, I got to stay up late and the food was to die for.


Here is me walking up to the car ready for a ten hour drive.
Here’s Eric (left), Ben (middle), and Cedar (right) walking back to the dorms after an exciting game of frisbee golf.

Reid turns nine

Reid turned nine last month and we’re still celebrating. A few thoughts on what we loved about eight-year-old Reid and watching him develop over the last year:

This year Reid has explored a number of interests and hobbies–reading any graphic novels he can get his hands on, playing soccer and baseball, chatting in Spanish with Brenda and Jaziel, and jamming on the piano (Believer, Thunder and Heal the World were some of the hits this year, thanks to Anthony’s generous arranging).

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But most of all, Reid is a man of action, a guy who likes to move, preferably fast. From the time he was little, Reid has nudged us all along with the phrase, “Guys, can we go?” This year that meant loving summer track, biking around town on his own, doing his first 5k (the Color Run and Leonard’s Mills Alewives Run), and growing into a fabulous nordic skate skiier.

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P1120729.jpgReid has top-notch friends–Leo, Jack, Malath and others–who are creative, zany spirits. Recently he told me that Team DOKH (the last letters of their first names) sat next to a snow bank at recess and pulled their hats down over their eyes as blinders so they could only see the white below them. “We were boring ourselves. We wanted to make recess feel longer. More fresh air.”

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Reid’s closest friend, far and away, is his “Lemur.” Sure, Liam is occasionally prone to disappearing into a novel or a coding project for a few days, but Reid’s willing to wait. The two of them walk home through the woods together every day after school. If their return walk is anything like their morning commute with one of us parents, then Reid takes the all-terrain approach, scrambling up snow banks, playing on the ice, jumping on downed trees. I love watching the two siblings approach the house on their walk home. They’re often chatting as they wander, and then when they spot one of us inside at our desks, they wave with delight.

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Reid continues to be a great creator: of block worlds for stuffed animals, tasty treats, protest signs, a comic series (Bob and Bob, which he and his buddy, Jack, published and distributed throughout Asa), and recently of coded games.

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This year Reid has also blossomed into a real contributor, helping to haul wood, mow the lawn (every week, all summer), volunteer for the first time at the Common Ground Fair, clean bathrooms, and generally chip in.

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Finally, Reid has done a lot of adventuring over the last year. In particular, he turned into a great hiker, summiting Katahdin for the first time (not to mention, at break neck speed), climbing up to Avalanche Lake in Glacier, as well as North Traveler Peak in Baxter. RQ Mom hike.JPGRQ Dad.JPGBeehive.JPGGlacier.JPG

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We’ve felt so lucky to share adventures with him. Well, maybe not in the picture below–little did we know at the time that the food I was carrying would have three of the four of  us up with food poisoning that night. Reid somehow escaped!

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