On Burger Hill

On Burger Hill, where we were geo-caching

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The weather has been gorgeous recently, and we’ve been making the most of it. On Sunday we decided to try geo-caching, which is similar to letterboxing in that the objective is to find a hidden item. geo-caching, you try to locate the treasure using GPS coordinates, whereas with letterboxing you follow a set of clues. So we loaded the kids, and Orla’s golden retriever Angel, and set out to climb up Burger Hill, the highest point in the locality. When we reached the top we realized that relying on my iPhone to lead us to the secret stash just wasn’t going to cut it. Better luck next time – it occurred to me later that the iPhone reported minutes and seconds, whereas the geo-cache instructions may have been in decimal. We’ll have to go back and check. Still, we did enjoy the beautiful views. And we found a letterbox cache by accident !

A few days later we headed down with Justin and Carol to our local park, Mills Mansion, which is on the bank of the Hudson River. At the water’s edge there’s a sandy beach where the kids and dogs love to run. We took Angel with us to see if she really was a retriever. She certainly proved it, jumping and splashing in the water with abandon. The kids had a great time, too, convincing us that the timbers they discovered were from the wreck of a pirate ship.

We’re so lucky having three different parks right across the street from us, and it’s great for the kids all year around. In the winter they can go sledding, and in the other seasons walking, running, collecting butterflies and frogs and generally exploring nature. There’s even a New York State-run environmental center there that provides classes, including some just for home-schoolers, where the kids learn about the local flora and fauna.

On Friday, Jenn’s Mom called to let us know that she had a spare hotel room in Boston for the weekend, so Jenn and the kids loaded into the car and travelled with her. They adore going to Boston, and the Marriott which is in an ideal location beside Fanuiel Hall and the North End. They love going to the aquarium and the Children’s Museum, and of course the seafood. According to Orla, Legal Seafood’s clam chowder is the best you can find !
They didn’t worry too much about leaving Dad at home to do some work. When I texted Jenn to let her know I had a sandwich for lunch, Orla responded “Well, I guess he figured out how to feed himself…” – I wouldn’t want to be relying on her for my survival ! Meanwhile, the trip is going well, although the hotel security staff did call to the hotel room at midnight last night in response to another guest reporting a disturbance. It seems that Conall was being a bit too loud…He better be quiet tonight; we don’t want to have them evicted from the hotel !



April update

April 14, 2010 | Leave a Comment

It was an action packed Spring. Unfortunately we’ve been more diligent about updating our Facebook pages than this site, but shall be better in future !

We had two birthdays, Eoghan’s in January, followed by Conall’s in March. We had both of their parties at Grandma’s house, where they love her conservatory. In fact, one of the first things Conall does in the morning is ask “When are we going to Grandma’s house ?

I had a quick trip to Ireland at St. Valentine’s Day to meet up with Darach and family who were home from Hong Kong for a short holiday. We had a nice time catching up with the girls, Aisling and Siobhan, who are getting very tall. We celebrated Chinese New Year with lunch (Chinese, of course !) and were joined by our cousins Carmel and Marthena, who had lived in Hong Kong, so it was a merry gathering.

Back home, the kids are happy the cherry blossom trees are blooming and Spring is here!  The year has flown by, it’s hard to believe summer is around the corner.  Over the Winter the kids tried out some new classes including Kids Yoga and gymnastics, anything to help burn off the extra energy from early nights and cold days.  Eoghan really took a liking to Yoga, since it involved head stands – it turns out he loves being upside down !

Gymnastics was a lot of fun too, so much so that Conall decided that he wanted to join up too while he watched the big guys through the class window.  He’s still too young, but you would never know from looking at him.  He wears size 5 comfortably and, although he’s thinning out a bit, he is still a giant among 3 year olds.  He is reaching that stage where he wants to do everything his older siblings do, and has become much more verbal.  He trails along behind the big ones on the way into the kitchen, calling out to Jenn, “Where’s my video game ?!” At the moment he is satisfied with the Leapster video game, but he’s eyeing a Mac of his own!

When the kids have had enough of the “baby” following them around, they sometimes go into their rooms and shut him out.  The poor guy follows them up the stairs and knocks on the door politely. “Orla, could you open the door, I need you !“,  he shouts to the closed door. Meanwhile, this morning it was “Excuse me, turn on the TV please“.

Orla gave up horse riding over the winter for the cold months and concentrated on training her new puppy, Angel (a golden retriever).   She is a smart dog, and Orla has taught her most of the obedience commands. Puff – Eoghan’s dog – on the other hand is still just spoiled.  He lies around on the couch or in bed with Eoghan all day and night.  And Henri, the bulldog, is still going strong at 8 years old.  The one complaint we all have is that her enormously loud snoring keeps us all awake some nights!  I keep telling Jenn no more animals, but somehow 2 hamsters have managed to sneak their way into the house in the kids rooms. My requests fall on deaf ears, but the kids seem happy having to share their space with rodents.

There wasn’t too much illness over the winter, although Jenn, Orla and Conall came down with a very nasty bug that took about four days to clear up. That cast a little bit of a damper on Easter, but the kids still managed to get out and enjoy their Easter egg hunts.

All in all, it was a quiet winter and we’re happy that Spring is here.  The kids have lots of field trips planned with their homeschooling friends, and play dates at the weekends.  Meanwhile, Orla in particular is developing a very dry sense of humor, so our dinner conversations are often quite jovial, and it’s great fun taking them to the movies and hearing their commentaries afterwards.

They are all growing up fast now it’s scary, and Orla is even starting to get calls from her friends during the day now.  I had just canceled our extra line, so I hope I won’t be regretting that…