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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

All three of the kids made it through to Nationals!

Emily was thrilled to place first. Her score was almost double the score of the girl who placed second. Sophie also climbed well, though probably not her personal best, and placed third in girls 11-and-under. For her, the competitions are mostly about hanging out with her friends, which is as it should be. And Steve climbed amazingly well, and placed third in his highly competitive category. So they all get to compete in Boston! We are so proud of them.

The horrible part is that two of their good friends didn't make it. Sophie's best friend from Miami, who normally climbs at least as well as Soph does, unexpectedly came off very early one of her routes, and so placed really low. And a similar thing happened to one of Em's friends from Melbourne. It seems so cruel, after they'd both worked so hard, and had such a good season ... It really cast a damper on the evening. Emily's friend had recovered by morning though; they were staying in our hotel (also Priceline; I felt rather smug when I found out that I'd got a slightly better price than they managed) and the kids had a great time swimming together before breakfast. But Sophie may not get to see her friend again, unless someone who made the cut drops out and a place opens up so that she can compete in Boston.

Some pictures from our weekend ...

First of all, our day in D.C.

Planes at the Air and Space Museum.
And rockets and clouds. I put up with hours of planes in exchange for the Planetarium show. We saw it a couple of years ago but I loved it so much that I wanted to see it again.
Family in the sculpture garden.
We liked this bronze-coloured sculpture against the purple flowers.
We give it a thumbs-up.
Postcardy Capitol shot

The competition ...

Kids playing outside after the climbing. The light blue blur in the far distance is Sophie, playing tag with some of her friends.
Emily at the awards ceremony. Note that, standing on her first place boulder (hey, it is a climbing competition), she's still not quite as tall as the girl who placed second.

On Sunday, we went to Great Falls with a friend and his ten year old son. This little boy has ADHD and, I suspect, has a few other issues as well. He is a good climber, but I do wonder whether rock climbing is the best possible hobby for him - distractability could potentially be rather lethal for a climber ... His dad does as good a job as is humanly possible with him, and is kind and respectful while enforcing boundaries, but I still found it all rather stressful. I am just not used to kids who don't listen in dangerous situations. I was worried that he would either drown himself (he was being silly on the boulders next to the extremely wide, deep, fast-flowing, rapid-filled river) or kill himself bouldering on the cliffs, or annoy the people who were climbing next to us so much that they would strangle him. As it turned out, he escaped drowning and strangulation, but he did indeed climb up too high without a rope and take a ten or twelve foot tumble. He got a nasty scrape, and it could have been a lot, lot worse.

Some pictures from the day -

The river. The cliffs here are all fairly small, and run along the banks of the river. The climbing is easy but it's very pretty and extremely accessible.
Setting up a top rope
There were a few little trees where we were climbing, which made the heat more bearable.
Isn't it beautiful?
It was very hot, so we had the kids tie in so that we could dunk them in the river.
We relocated when we saw this snake on our rock. I have no idea what kind it was.
Portrait of Sophie and the river
And one of Steve
People in kayaks. This looked fun but judging by the number people we saw spinning around out of control and tipping upside down, it is tricky. I have a feeling I'd be useless at it, since I can't even steer a canoe straight with any degree of reliablity.
Kids walking up a fallen tree - it's a bit of a scramble to get up and down from the base of the cliffs.

It was a lovely day. Tiring though : we only landed in Orlando at around 1am this morning.

The quotes of the weekend :

Emily, on looking at an information sign and map of the museums and so forth in DC - "Oooh, the National Mall? Where is it? I could really do with some more shoes."

And, in case I was tempted to try to pin this on Florida's public schools :

Stephen : Hey, did you see those Dutch kids playing soccer on the grass?
Sophie : How did you know they were Dutch? Were they wearing kilts?

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