Where Did May Go?

It’s been a busy month since my last post, without much time to myself. Work continued to be very busy for a while – thankfully it is mostly back to normal now.  Both the kiddos had lots of activities to end their school year. Molly just finished 5th grade (and elementary school!) and Megan finished 8th grade (and middle school!)  School is officially out for the summer!

The end of the elementary school years brings with it lots of “last time” activities that I know I will miss someday, so I tried to be there whenver I could. A field trip to Philadelphia, field day, end of the year class party, fifth grade celebration. I was there, camera in hand, trying to enjoy the time and capture some memories with Molly and her friends. So much changes when they go to middle school – I just wanted to be with them a bit longer while they’re “little”.

Middle school ended with less of a flourish.  There was a day time awards ceremony where the 8th graders were all recognized and got to walk across the stage. For Megan, the end of middle school was more about getting through finals. She had 4 this year and she studied hard for them.  We spent a good part of Memorial Day weekend reviewing study packets and making flashcards.

In addition to school stuff, my Girl Scout troop is working on their Bronze Award project.  We’re building a Buddy Bench for the girls’ Elementary School.  We’re working out the final details and are planning to build the bench soon. Watch for a future post about it – I’m so excited for this project and so are the girls!

Even though I’ll be working through the summer, I’m working on slowing down a bit, too. I have a stack of books I want to read this summer and hope to do some projects around the house. The in-laws are coming to visit for a week. We have minimal travel plans, but both girls are spending a week away at different camps. Summer camp weeks will give Uncle Grouchy and I a little bit of much-needed kid-free time.  I have some craft projects I want to work on.  Time to recharge a little bit. Time to slow down and spend time together. That’s what summer vacation is supposed to be all about, right?

More than just cookies

When I tell people I’m a Girl Scout leader, the first thing they ask is “Can I get some Thin Mints?” But Girl Scouting is SO much more than selling cookies.  The girls learn about all kinds of topics through badges – from cooking to camping, from government to jewelry.  They do community service projects, big and small.  Every few years our local Girl Scout Council chooses a big topic to focus on and offer programming about.  This year, it’s all about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  As you might have guessed, that is right up my alley.

They had Legos set up at each seat for the girls to play with while waiting for the day to begin.

Over the weekend my Girl Scout troop went to a STEM Day hosted at Harrisburg University. It was planned by a Senior Girl Scout as her Gold Award project. The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. I was so impressed with the quality of programming organized by a girl who’s still in high school! It was a full day of half-hour sessions about lots of different STEM fields including Physics, Chemistry, 3D printing, Forensics, Computer Programming and more. The sessions were led by students and teachers from the University whose majors were related to the session topics.

Top: The day’s schedule and a clay model of a hand the girls made when learning about 3D printing. Bottom: Watching a 3D printer do it’s thing. And directions for how to make a cake, to demonstrate how you have to plan before creating a computer program.

The girls had a blast. During the sessions they were engaged and asking great questions. At the end of each session, they wanted to know what was next. They wanted to know more about the topics and have access to the technology they saw and used during the sessions. But most importantly they heard over and over that they can and should consider further study of these fields and maybe someday working in them. And that they can thrive in these fields by bringing that special something that only they can bring to the table.

Top: Learning about Electricity with ballons and the Van Der Graph machine. Bottom: Doing a chemistry experiment with milk, food coloring and checking about the chemistry lab.

In addition to the great content in the workshops, the Harrisburg University facilities were impressive. The university occupies several upper floors in a building in downtown Harrisburg.  Everything was modern and new.  It was open and airy and there was great light.  There were inspirational quotes everywhere.  It *almost* made me want to go back to college to study something, anything, just to be able to spend more time in their awesome space.

Playing old school Pac Man, investigating a “crime scene”, and building robots.

These types of events are one of the reasons I continue to be involved in Girl Scouting. I know these girls have bright futures. Big dreams. Amazing ideas. And I want to make sure they have all the tools they need to accomplish those dreams and make those ideas happen.

My favorite quote we saw on the walls of Harrisburg University.

Saturday around the house

All week long, I’ve been anticipating this weekend. Two blessed days with nothing on the calendar, no where to take anyone and no errands to be done.  My Girl Scout troop sold all our remaining cookies with our cookie caravan on Thursday after school, so no need for a last minute booth sale.  We did our weekend Target run last night after my oldest daughter’s field hockey game. So two whole days of uninterrupted relaxation, right?

While I did lounge in my PJs till almost noon with coffee and the internet, the rest of the day has been full.  Not busy, just full.  And it was a great day.

Before lounge time began, we slept in.  I made cinnamon rolls and bacon and eggs for breakfast while Uncle Grouchy got ready for work. The working on Saturdays is one of the drawbacks of working at a bike shop…spring time means longer hours and more Saturdays in the shop. Makes for a lot of girls day Saturdays!

Bye bye Brownie and Junior stuff!

I spent the better part of the afternoon cleaning out my Girl Scout supplies. As we near the end of another year, I pretty much know what we’re going to use between now and then and what we can pass on. My troop will be bridging from Juniors to Cadettes soon, so I have lots of Junior supplies to pass on – as well as a bunch of Brownie stuff I never gave away!  I have 2 cookie boxes full of supplies, badges, pins and patches to take to our Community meeting next week.

While I was busy with my cleaning project, both girls invited friends over.  The older two baked a double batch of my banana bread recipe and made it into muffins. They gave some to the neighbors and snacked on some.  Then they went outside to make a fort in the backyard, complete with a handsewn flag. I love that at 14, they will still go play outside for the afternoon. The younger two also went outside and adventured around the yard – destroying a rotten stump and discovering all kids of creepy crawlers.

Then all 6 of us (can’t forget Poppy Cotton!) walked over to the school playground to hang out for a bit. Poppy had several long runs around the playground and is now napping contentedly on the ottoman.

After sending all the friends home, I made dinner for the family.  Since Uncle Grouchy worked all day it was the least I could do 🙂

I love that we got to enjoy some downtime today.  And that we spent some time outside in the fresh air.  And that I got some stuff done that’s been on my to-do list since last summer!  Here’s to another productive and full day tomorrow – it’s supposed to be rainy and cooler so maybe I can knock out a few more sorting projects!


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