This past weekend was a weekend I wanted to keep really busy. February 13 is a day I am very superstitious about—a lot of things tend to go wrong for me on that day, not the least of which was my grandfather dying and I broke my leg! So I was excited when some friends suggested we go tubing on the 12th, and I made plans to do some volunteer work on the morning of the 13th and choir practice started up again in the evening. Plus Penny was super excited about Valentine’s Day, so I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what to do, since we don’t really do anything!
We met up with our friends Andy and Melissa at 10:30 on Saturday morning and headed out to Ski Liberty, a resort just across the Maryland border in Pennsylvania, near Gettysburg. We had a good trip with a quick stop for lunch, but unfortunately there was quite a delay once we got to the resort so we had to sit around for 3 hours and wait. We played games on various iPods and iPhones to pass the time until our lift tickets were good at 5pm.
Penny was absolutely terrified when we took her tubing at my father’s house, so I made darn sure she was going to go tubing when we got up to Liberty, but she swore she would, so she bundled up and we rented some boots for her and we headed up the mountain.
There were a TON of tubers that day (sounds like we were potatoes, doesn’t it?!) so there was a bit of a wait, and when it was finally Penny’s turn to go, she attempted to talk me into going first, but I wanted to catch video of her first run. She carefully grilled the employees about what to do, and finally sat in the tube. She demanded the “pusher” “WAIT!!!!” twice and finally just said “Bye!” to all of us and off she went. She screamed the entire way down to run. It was hilarious. She waited for me down the bottom, as I was having a few second thoughts of my own. It doesn’t appear that way, but it’s actually a VERY big hill, and a steep one, so you get going pretty fast! I felt confident when I saw Penny stop well short of the end, but when I went, I somehow got going so fast that I hit the wall at the end and bounced into the next lane and headed back up. The guys were chasing me, I was attempting to flip myself out of the tube, wound up scraping both my knees and jamming the right one, but there was someone coming down as I was going up, so it was critical I get out of there!
Penny agreed to go again, this time because she wanted to videotape herself screaming her way down the hill, which she did and then watched over and over, laughing hysterically. After the third run, she gave up on waiting for me to get to the top and just started meeting me back up at the top of the mountain. (There was an escalator to ride back to the top after you hit bottom.) She forced me to go first on our last run, at which point the slopes were turning to pure ice and despite all of us dragging our feet, we were shooting down like crazy. I was knocking the employees down like bowling pins as well as hitting the walls, so I wasn’t too upset that it was time to be done, although we are considering going back before they close since it was so much fun! Even Penny wants to go back, so that’s a good sign that she and snow have now made peace with each other! (After our New York trip, she announced, “I am done with winter.”)
On Sunday, I was so tired and sore from our day on the mountain that I skipped my volunteer work and helped Penny make Valentine treats for some of her friends at the school. She made Chex Mix Muddy Buddies (her absolute favorite thing we have made together so far!) and we made chocolate covered strawberries. She got cute little gift boxes for her friends and we got sweet little cupcake papers and she filled one with Muddy Buddies and one with a strawberry and sealed them up. It was a fun project, and a messy one, but she was pleased with the results!
Penny came to choir practice with me on Sunday and joined the choir I sing with. (Stafford Regional Choral Society) I think it’ll be a pretty cool thing that we sing together for a few months. We will be performing in a concert in April together, so that’s awesome. When we got home, she went up to bed after we had a marathon chat, and I decided to take some of the construction paper I had around for Leah, cut out hearts, write messages of the things we love about her on them, and place them all over the house. It took about an hour to do 3 dozen hearts, and during that time, my legs fell asleep and I didn’t realize it until I stood up and promptly tipped over! :-D
So, I started in the bathroom and taped a little poem to the bathroom mirror for her. I figured she would surely see that one first thing, and I was right.
In case you can’t read it, it says “Roses are red! Carnations are pink! You are awesome! Is what we think! Happy Valentine’s Day, Penny! We love you! The Chief, Cookies, & Leah”. Yeah, I’m a master of originality!
I scattered other hearts around. On our picture of her and Leah:
On the dishwasher, I stuck one that said, “you are a great helper”, on the mirror one that said “You are beautiful inside and out”, on the door she leaves through to go to school one that said “You are a well-respected and great student”, that kind of thing.
Now, little did I know that Penny was listening to my tape dispenser from her bed, and she thought I was up to something entirely different… She vowed to stay in bed till morning, but when I woke up the next morning, every last heart was gone. She did not miss a one on any of the floors of the house. When she came home, she thanked me for putting the hearts up and said she loved them and had stuck them all to the door of her closet. But she confided, “I thought one of them would say I didn’t have to go to school today!” which is why she was so determined to find every last heart. She was so disappointed that she had to go to school on Valentine’s Day, poor thing!!! But let’s face it, she’s had a ton of snow days!
Anyway, after we had a laugh about that, we went to Walmart to do some Valentine’s shopping. Leah had already made Penny a card from a paper heart that she colored and put stickers on, but I decided to do a dinner time card exchange, so we got cards to and from each person. Penny showed me the one she bought for us before she bought it, as well as the candy she bought us, but who cares about the surprise!!! hehe We also took the opportunity to try an ATM so Penny could get some money. She has been pretty frugal with her money that she came with and hadn’t needed to use an ATM since she got here, so we were quite proud, but now things are getting a bit more expensive—she is taking the TOEFL and needed to reimburse us for the registration fee, she is taking an SAT prep class, there was a fee to join the choir, that kind of thing. Her mom had made some money available to her, but she hadn’t had the time to go to an ATM in the past couple of weeks. Happily the ATM at Walmart worked, so we were able to get her some money! (we had heard at our orientation that some students have needed to visit 3 or 4 different ATMS before finding one to work, so I was happy that the first one we tried took her card!)
When we got home, we put a heart covered table cloth on the table and made a little centerpiece out of heart garland I got on sale. She and Leah shared some strawberries and then I taught Penny how to make shrimp ceviche, which we had for dinner along with quesadillas. When The Chief got home, we all sat around the table and shared our cards, reading them aloud and there was lots of “Awwwww!” moments. We ate dinner and played Yahtzee and then Penny went upstairs to study. It really was a lovely day, compared to Mike’s and my usual “go out to dinner” and send flowers and a card kind of day. It’s interesting that trying to make the day somewhat special for Penny made it more meaningful for all of us.
So that brings the blog pretty much up to date for now. We are working on squeezing in some extra trips, albeit short ones, to Savannah, Myrtle Beach, and NYC. Penny desperately wants to go to NYC, she says it is everyone’s dream of America. She has a day off on April 8th, so I was thinking it would be a good time to go until reality smacked me in the face and reminded me that it’s Leah’s 2nd birthday and we have lots of plans! Fortunately I hadn’t booked anything!
(We did put the videos of Penny tubing on Facebook but she refuses to let me post the video to YouTube. If you’d like to see the video, send me a friend request!)