Fall fun at the farm

DSC_9746 DSC_9742 DSC_9741 DSC_9732 DSC_9731 DSC_9719 DSC_9714 DSC_9689 DSC_9683 DSC_9679 DSC_9670 DSC_9665 DSC_9656 DSC_9650 DSC_9619 DSC_9586 DSC_9579 DSC_9576 DSC_9569 DSC_9568 DSC_9556 DSC_9554 DSC_9552 DSC_9551 DSC_9542 DSC_9532 DSC_9526 DSC_9523 DSC_9521 DSC_9520 DSC_9513 DSC_9505 DSC_9504 DSC_9501 DSC_9499 DSC_9498 DSC_9497 DSC_9495 DSC_9486 DSC_9481 DSC_9480 DSC_9479 DSC_9477 DSC_9475 DSC_9472 DSC_9471 DSC_9470 DSC_9468 DSC_9466 DSC_9464 DSC_9463 DSC_9462 DSC_9459 DSC_9458 DSC_9457 DSC_9456 DSC_9455 DSC_9453 DSC_9451 DSC_9448 DSC_9445 DSC_9444 DSC_9441 DSC_9440 DSC_9439 DSC_9438 DSC_9436 DSC_9429 DSC_9416 DSC_9412 DSC_9404 DSC_9398 DSC_9385 DSC_9374 DSC_9364We got to spend an amazing fall afternoon at our traditional pumpkin patch and corn maze spot, Cagle’s Dairy Farm.  It’s a lot bigger (and a lot more crowded!) than when we first started going there 8 or 10 years ago, but no less fun.  The main attraction for the kids, and sometimes the adults, are the jumpy pillows.  They are like huge, permanent trampolines, and they are free.  A complete blast!  They also have a corn maze, a hayride down to the lake with multiple bonfires for s’mores, and a haunted barn (which we skip because several of the Olssons who shall remain nameless are complete weenies about stuff like that.  Ahem.).  This year, Grammie and the Roswell Andersons got to with us and we had such a fun time.  Enjoy the photos!

 

Welcoming Meredith to an Atlanta tradition

Every July 4th, the AJC hosts the Peachtree Road Race.  From it’s humble beginnings in 1970 when 110 runners did the course on sidewalks, it has grown into the largest 10K in the world with 60,000 people braving the heat and humidity to run, jog and walk the scenic route from Buckhead to Midtown.  There are elite runners from all over the world who start the race in seeded positions with a goal of the prize purse ($100,000 this year), but the vast majority of participants are running for The Shirt.

The official race t-shirt is perhaps the most popular aspect of the Peachtree Road Race, perhaps due to the limited numbers of t-shirts available in the early race years. Each year a different design is chosen through a contest sponsored by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and a limited number of shirts are made. T-shirts are only available to runners who finish the race, and thus have become a status-symbol among Atlanta culture.

No one know which design has won until the first runners collect their shirts.  The winning choice is very hotly debated, but regardless of your opinion of the shirt, you wear it with pride for the rest of your Independence Day celebrations.  In fact, I have mine on right now and it looks like this.

For this first time this year, Meredith and I got do the race together, along with Todd, Heather and Todd’s BFF Jeff.  It was something I’ve done a few times before and I was just thrilled to get to share it with her.  We were lucky enough for an outstanding day, weather wise.  Just before we got to the starting line it was 69 degrees with relatively low humidity.  Absolutely perfect.

The start is set up in waves of several thousand runners in order to handle crowd control.  Our group was assigned wave Y.  We tried to sneak in with group R and got totally busted by the PRR security and were escorted outside a fence to wait for our wave.

I’ve uploaded a bunch of pictures, with captions that I hope will give you a glimpse into what a fun tradition this race is….one I can’t wait to do again next year!

 

Meredith loves riding

I got a new snazzy lens for my camera today, so I stuck around for Meredith’s riding lesson and took some shots. I haven’t actually watched her ride in a while and I was impressed with her progress. She’s really getting good. Enjoy!

 

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Scout Camp!

Jack was very nervous about his first week of sleep away camp, but I was really happy to see his anxiety tempered with a lot of excitement this morning! I hope he has a fantastic time!

Ready for camp 1

Ready for camp 1

Read for camp 2

Read for camp 2

Packing the trunks

Packing the trunks

Jack, James and Sean

Jack, James and Sean

Herding cats

Herding cats

HERE!

HERE!

Buds 1

Buds 1

Buds 2

Buds 2

The gang

The gang

The gang 2

The gang 2

Looking forward to fun

Looking forward to fun

The Big Easy, Olsson Style

The last vacation we all took together was 2 years ago, spring break of 2012 when we went to visit DC and meet my then-newest niece, Ella.  So this year, we decided to head south to the coast to spend a few days in NOLA (New Orleans, LA).  It was an all around fantastic trip. Here are my thoughts, day by day, with some pictures to round out the post.

photo from New Orleans

Click to embiggen!

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First outdoor climb

For Jack’s birthday in December, we decided to spring for a guided outdoor climb. Pricey, but we figured worth it since all we had ever done was gym climbing. Unfortunately, the day of the climb turned out to be about 40 degrees and pouring rain. We FINALLY got the climb rescheduled for a day that looked like good weather….and oh, boy, did we luck out.

We hooked up with Alembic Outdoors to be our guides.  One of the owners, Josh Whitson, manages at our home gym, Stone Summit.  He’s an incredibly nice guy working hard to get his new venture off the ground.   I can’t say enough good about Josh and Michael, our second guide.  They were fun, encouraging, patient, enthusiastic and the kind of people I wish I could spend all my spare time with – true examples of why I love climbing so much.  I couldn’t hand pick better role models for my kids.

We invited a bunch of Jack’s friends from the gym, but only one, Zander, was able to make it since spring break is going on for much of Atlanta this week.  (Jack asked some of his school friends and while they were initially all intrigued with the idea, when he warned them it would be about 8 hours of climbing, they all politely declined! LOL).  Fortunately, my Auxilliary Back-Up Son, Drew, who lives across the street we able to join us and we set out for Sandrock Alabama, (population 509) about two hours away.

The weather was perfect, just about 68 degrees and partly sunny.  We brought the dog, the 4 kids, one of our gym moms, who is swiftly becoming a good friend, and lots of gatorade, food and a birthday cake.  The kids were generally top roping, which means climbing routes with a rope looped through anchors bolted into the rock at the top and having a belayer below.   Each climb took about 15-20 minutes and they ranged from about 45 feet to about 75 feet.  Meredith and I each did a climb as well (Lars opted out due to relatively recent rotator cuff injury).  Drew climbed several times and I can’t even guess how many routes Jack and Zander did.

The day could not have been better.  Jack climbed until his feet were swollen (climbing shoes are very, very tight) and the skin was literally peeling off his fingers.  He loved it and can’t wait to go again.

And to top off the night?  He and Zander went to the gym for a lock in, where they climbed until about 2:30 am.  Unbelievable.

Here are some choice photos from what can only be described as an epic day.

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我々は非常に誇りに思っています!

What the heck does that mean? I’ll get to that in a minute.

Meredith has always had an artistic, creative streak in her and she has also discovered something that she’s really into that is completely outside anything Lars and I know….Japanese pop culture, specifically manga and anime. She’s teaching herself how to draw these very stylized animation characters and does a good job with it.  Here’s an example of this type of art (although this isn’t Meredith’s work):

Figure_in_Manga_style

What has me really impressed though is that she and of a couple of her friends have taken the initiative to form a Japanese Club at school. They’ve recruited a teacher to be their sponsor, received approval from the administration, developed their goals and started working on programs for the club. This kid has got a ton of spark, and she’s going to go places!

So back to that title….what does it mean? It means “We are very proud!

Three cheers for our girl!!

So, some of you may recall the fiasco that was Junior National Young Leaders Conference a couple of years ago (brief recap:  Meredith was actually nominated by a teacher…who didn’t know what the deal really was.  In the course of researching it, I was able to register our dog, Hammie, up to the point of sending payment.  So much for elite, exclusive and “select”).  After such a disappointment, Lars and I were a little (more than a little) skeptical about another academic nomination that Meredith brought home a few weeks ago.  But this one has checked out!  Her science teacher nominated Meredith for the Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp. 

This Camp provides an indoor and outdoor classroom for energetic, inquisitive students to learn about forestry, wildlife, ecology, tree identification, fire protection, forest products and the people who manage these resources in Georgia’s vast forests. It was founded in 1988 by Billy Lancaster and is sponsored by the Georgia Division of the Society of American Foresters.

Most public schools in Georgia nominate just one student to attend – and for Crabapple Middle School….it was our girl!  And since we all know Meredith is really just a forest sprite disguised as a human child, she couldn’t be more excited about spending a few days in the woods.  AND they have horse back riding and lake activities.  Does it get any better than this?

You can read more about the program and the camp here.  We are so proud of her!!