Time to reflect on the past few months with a fall recap.
Raina and Lola went to Girl Scout sleep-away camp again this summer. Raina convinced two good friends to join her at camp, and she was super excited to show them all that she loves about the Camp Tuckaho experience. Unfortunately, the start of Raina's camp was delayed because of tremendous storms that knocked out power. Fortunately, due to that occurrence, we met another Girl Scout in our neighborhood who then joined our troop! Serendipity! (photo credit: GSEM)
Lola ventured to Camp Cedarledge so that she could ride horses and be a cowgirl. She had no hesitation about going to a camp where she knew no one -- she was confident that she'd fit in and make new friends. And, of course, she did. (photo credit: GSEM)
Here's the requisite first day of school photo for the Whompton women.
Note that Raina is full-fledged adult sized and also note that Raina is so tired of hearing people comment on her height. Not enough people comment on the fact that her brain is full-fledged adult sized too -- she much prefers participating in adult conversations because she's so mature. Raina has grown up and, as an almost teen-ager, is ready to take on the world. Even so, mature kids are still kids. Here's Raina having a great time playing in a friend's castle.
Raina, as a super introvert, prefers to curl up in her bed and read a book. She branched out from that a little bit this fall. She joined the all-girls First Tech Challenge (FTC) team, and her specialized focus is on coding. She's being mentored by a Senior girl and Raina has really enjoyed making connections with the older girls on the team while also working with her 7th grade friends. FTC is a fantastic addition -- wonderful team activity, wonderful team of people -- and she's thrilled to be matched up with fellow girl geeks.
Her second team activity this year was to join Cross Country. Raina did Daddy-Daughter runs on the weekends with Eric, trained at practice with the team, and steadily improved her pace and performance at each meet. We're so proud of her for trying something new and for pushing herself to improve.
Raina continued with Girl Scouts this year -- she's a Cadette and is currently doing service in pursuit of her Silver Award -- and joined the Middle School Meeting planners group. She emceed a Halloween costume skit within her first few weeks in the group; she confidently grabbed the microphone and, with great deadpan humor, delivered punchlines in front of the 450 person crowd. She's really coming into her own, and it's an amazing thing to witness.
Lola engaged with team endeavors too. She joined the Girl Scout troop at Ross, which has been a fantastic experience. I personally felt guilty about dissolving the MICDS troop -- I wasn't going to continue leading it if my kiddo wasn't there -- and I'm so grateful that her new troop leader is even more Girl Scout oriented that I was.
Eric continued to coach Lola's soccer team (because he's an awesome human being) and Lola had a great time playing soccer with her friends. Lola grew as a player; she developed a better awareness of how to interpret what was happening on the field and how to respond. She's also fast and has a lot of endurance, which translated into a lot of action (and consequently a lot of Gatorade) for Lola.
Eric is also coaching Lola's basketball team and he's most excited about this sport; the two of them have been preparing for the season by practicing on occasion at school. The frequency of practice increased dramatically when our elderly next-door neighbors replaced their decrepit basketball goal with a new one and purposefully started parking their cars on the other side of the driveway. The neighbors love having Eric and Lola playing on their goal, and Eric and Lola have a great time doing drills and developing skills. Eric's crossing fingers that Lola chooses basketball for the long-term.
Lola is, proportionally, the strongest Whompton by far. She'll drop down and do 40 push-ups without a problem, she climbs poles and ropes without stopping, and she runs long distances quickly and without complaint. She joined the Ross Running Club and logged over 10 miles in the space of a few Thursday half-hour sessions. Here's a picture of Lola demonstrating her upper body strength. (Not pictured is her climbing the rope to the top of her elementary school gym.)
Requisite Halloween photo. Raina adapted her costume from last year and Lola is wearing a costume sewn by Nabila Kearney.
Super cute photo of our neighbors + kid 2.
Just a typical Sunday at Ethical Society. Raina has moved into the Coming of Age class, which is a two-hour commitment each Sunday. She used to grumble a bit about going to SEEK but she grumbles not at all about Coming of Age. So far, it's a lot of conversation, a lot of service, and a lot of exploration of other religions.
The Whomptons traveled to Nebraska this fall to celebrate Tina and Frank's wedding. We explored the Arbor Day Foundation trails and even found Goldilocks and the Three Bears' chairs!
The highlight, of course, was reconnecting with good friends. I roomed with each one of these women during college, and it's amazing to see how much we've changed and how much we've stayed the same in these past 20 years.
We danced the whole night long. Favorite dance: Run the World by Beyonce. Lola was super bummed about having to go to bed before everyone else. The girl likes to party.
Whompton family photo. We dress up nicely.
And all of us together. Such a joyous trip.
I joined the Foundation board for NARAL Pro-Choice America and happily sponsored a table for their annual Gala. Friends from different parts of my life joined us, and it was cool to share across those lines. Dr. Shah, the lead doctor at Hope Clinic for Women the entire time I volunteered there, was recognized for his decades of commitment to women's health. It was wonderful to honor him in that way. The Gala was packed to bursting with people and was an incredibly successful fundraiser.
We ended the soccer season with a hail storm that stripped the trees of all their leaves, flooded the basement, and damaged my car and Eric's van. The roof inspectors are coming out soon; I suspect we'll need to replace it again. Oh, Saint Louis weather, your erratic changes can be so scary.
And we ended the fall running season by supporting Girls on the Run. The Whomptons worked the finish line again and it was so amazing to congratulate all these girls on completing a 5K race. Samantha and I danced in the streets in excitement. I love doing service as a family.