Sea Perch 2015

Seton has a Sea Perch club run by Mr. Dan Maher and Mr. Mark Hoffman (who also runs the VEX Robotic club too for the high school). John Paul joined a team with his friend Drew and they asked a fellow Holy Trinity homeschooler, Alex, if he wanted to join them. Their club started in October building their ROV (remote operational vehicle) and held a competition in January for the junior high school.

Registering for Sea Perch

Waiting to register at UMASS-Dartmouth

At the competition, they make a poster presentation, do an obstacle course, and a finesse course; all of which are scored to determine the winner. Two Seton junior high teams won for the regional competition and qualified for Nationals: The Sea Chickens (John Paul’s team) and Contrivance (Anna and Mary’s team).

Later in the year, the high school teams had their competition in which 6 Seton teams out of 8 qualified for Nationals! My nephew Tommy’s team was one of them. Due to schedule conflicts, only three teams went on to UMASS-Dartmouth for the National competition.

Grimbergs registering

We happened to arrive at UMASS-Dartmouth at the same time as Tommy’s team. Here’s their chaperone and his son registering.

The JHS/HS awards were held the night before, so John Paul and I went by ourselves while Dan packed up the car. We left with the whole family at 5:40 AM. Our plan was to stop for Mass at Holy Spirit in Delaware and then drop the gang off with my Mom and then drop Dan and John Paul off at UMASS-Dartmouth (which without traffic is about 2 1/4 hours from my folks). We pulled into UMASS-Dartmouth at 3:40… at the same time as Tommy’s team!


Getting registration instructions for Sea Chickens and 3D.

The teams had to receive maps, instructions, and dorm assignments; have a photo taken of themselves and their ROV; have their ship pass compliance instructions and receive a form verifying compliance. Then they set up their poster and items at their assigned table.

Registration photo

Sea Chicken’s Registration photo

Here is their set-up! Their poster, a model of their first ship, their current ship, and a dynamometer with an explanation sheet.

Poster set-up

Table all set with poster and “props”

The Dynamometer

Drew packed the dynamometer in his suitcase. He and Alex are rebuilding it.

Tommy’s team is finished with their set-up too! (Brian, Paul, Tommy and Michael)

Team 3D

3D: Brian, Paul, Tommy and Michael

I wish I took pictures of the other Seton teams’ posters! But I was anxious to get back to CT, and help get the kids to sleep. The guys went to dinner and then practiced their presentation just in case their poster got selected. They had a movie at night, and Mr. Grimberg hosted the rosary at 10 am in their quad.

Sadly the next morning, I missed seeing the other junior high team compete. They had a 10 am time slot. I didn’t leave CT until just before 9 am. But I came in time to see The Sea Chickens compete at 11:20. They had just found out that their poster ranked FIRST in the junior high! The top 8 poster teams then have to do a poster presentation; their time slot was 12:40. Another Seton team (Gold Fish) had a poster ranked #6 in the high school.

Poster Announcement

Poster announcement for Middle School

Poster announcement (2)

Close-up of Sea Chickens at #1!!

Back in the pool, The Sea Chickens are ready for the obstacle. The spectators watch in the bleachers above deck and there are at least ten teams at each pool competing in either obstacle or finesse. Drew and Alex are getting ready for obstacle. Only 2 players from each team can be on deck.


Drew Alex Getting ready

The obstacle was a series of 22 inch diameter hoops angled in different directions. The driver had to maneuver through the hoops, emerge in the center area of the pool, and then go back through the obstacle exactly the way he went through so that he didn’t get his tether stuck. Each team got two tries. Attempt #1 was 1:30 because Drew’s tether got stuck. The second was 53 seconds. And then the judge let him do a third for fun and he got 46. It was a little bit of salt in the wound!!

Lane 2 Drew

Drew in Lane 2 maneuvering through the obstacle

Here’s Drew hitting the wall on the last try.

Lane 2 Hitting Wall

Drew (top right corner) watching his ship hit the wall.

After finishing the obstacle, the Sea Chickens found out their poster presentation time and hustled off to lunch with the other junior high team Contrivance. They both were on the clock for their next activity was at 12:40. (Again, I missed seeing Contrivance! The only team that I didn’t get to watch. Sniff).

They had to go to a different building for the presentation in front of a panel of 5 judges. Here they are practicing:

Practicing  presentation

Practicing for their presentation

Presentation waiting

Dan and Andy waiting too.

We then went back to the pool to watch some of the other Seton teams do their races. Brian and Michael are doing finesse for 3D in the next two pictures. (The rules for all the competitions are here). Finesse involves three challenges. Moving several gray pieces on 5 rung ladder to the opposite side. The Pipes involved picking up pipes by the loop top and putting them in either a small, medium, or large hole. The smallest holes were worth the most points. The final was The Targets. They had to poke the tip of the ship into holes so that a flag popped up. Finesse was very hard.

Brian and Michael finesse

Brian and Michael starting finesse

Brian and Michael finesse (3)

Brian doing The Pipes

Then Jessie and Bryanna’s team was up. Here’s a snap shot of the fans:

Seton fans in bleachers

Getting ready to watch Jessie and Bryanna on Team Gold Fish

Seton fans in bleachers (2)

John Paul did not want to get a close up. The Contrivance girls are all done with their competitions! Jeff chaperoned two teams!

Jessie and Bryanna switched in the middle of finesse. Jessie drove for the Ladder and the Pipes…

Jessie and Bryanna finesse

Jessie and Bryanna getting ready for finesse

And Bryanna drove for Targets.

Jessie and Bryanna finesse (3)

Jessie drove for Ladder and Pipes. Bryanna drove for Targets.

Here’s a shot of one side of the gym.

The posters

Most of the posters on display. Contrivance and Gold Fish down below left.

Another shot of more posters… you can see Team Trident leaving for their next event.

The posters

More posters and Team Trident exiting the gym.

Trident team members and fans in the bleacher section…

Tridents in stands

Team Trident fans in the stands!

while Siena and Andrew got ready below for the Obstacle.

Andrew and Siena obstacle

Andrew and Siena setting up for obstacle.

Next up were Tommy and Paul for 3D’s Obstacle competition.

Paul and Tommy obstacle (2)

Tommy and Paul are ready to do the obstacle competition for 3D.

Then we hustled back over to finesse for John Paul and Drew’s last event.

Drew and John Paul finesse

Drew and John Paul ready for finesse

Drew tackled ladder first…

Drew and John Paul finesse (2)

Drew tackling the Ladder

Then he went all the way to Targets..

Drew and John Paul finesse

Then Drew tackled Targets

He was VERY focused.

Drew and John Paul finesse (3)

Drew is really focused

Then he saved Pipes for last and killed it!!!

Drew and John Paul finesse (4)

Drew finishing it up on Pipes. He smoked it!!

They found out that they got all 25 points and a time of 5:30.19 They are excited!!

Drew and John Paul finesse (5)

Finding out their points and time! They are excited.

There is no listing anywhere of what times and scores people have already done, but Mr. Hoffman is confident that this is a pretty good score compared to what he has seen!

Drew and John Paul finesse (6)

Humoring us for a photo op

The last Seton team event was Gold Fish doing the obstacle. This time it is Jessie and Maria tackling the event.

Jessie and Maria obstacle

Jessie and Maria on obstacle for Gold Fish

Some teams then departed for vigil Masses, and some of us just took a quick nap before the awards started at 6 pm. We took advantage of getting a photo op with the team. :)

Sea Chickens posing

The awards began with two speakers and some acknowledgements. There were over 24 trophies on the table for the High School, Middle School and Open Class divisions, but they started with four awards that the judges made to acknowledge some unique features in the teams. I can’t remember all of the awards – two had to do with creativity, one had to do with surviving hardships, and… the fourth??

Anyway, the announcer started announcing the first award for creativity. As she described the actions that this particular team, John Paul recognized that she was describing their team, but I was clueless and very surprised when they got called down for the first award.

Sea Chickens creativity

Sea Chickens going to get their creativity award

John Paul was hoping that if they were going to get an award, he could watch what other teams did first. No such luck!

Sea Chickens creativity (2)

Shaking hands with all the naval personnel.

Sea Chickens Creativity (3)

More handshakes

Sea Chickens creativity (4)

Posing for the creativity award.

They announced various other awards, and the guys were nervous when they didn’t place in the Poster category after getting first in the poster itself. (The Poster award includes their presentation). As it turns out they placed fifth.

They ended up placing seventh in Obstacle (we didn’t find that out until we came home), but were very excited to go down and receive third place in Finesse!

Sea Chickens 3rd finesse

At the end, they announce the overall awards which compiles all the scores. We don’t know how they finished in the Obstacle or Presentation, so the boys were pretty psyched to hear their names called to win Second Overall. (Which oddly enough there is no trophy for… and Dan went down to take their pictures…but forgot to turn the camera on). So here’s the bleacher photo-op of the Second Place Middle School Team (and John Paul always adds)… in the Nation. ;)

Drew and John paul

Sea Chickens 2nd overall

The Sea Perch Middle School Second Place Team… in the Nation: The Sea Chickens!! Alex, Drew and John Paul

The boys are so grateful to Mr. Maher and Mr. Hoffman who helped them! They were great mentors. Mr. Maher was home with his newborn, but Mr. Hoffman was in the bleachers for all of the events and kept tabs on how other teams were doing to try to give the kids a sense of how it all was going.  We were able to get a picture of him with them and all their awards. :)

Sea Chickens mr hoffman

Then it was time to EAT! But we gathered the whole Seton group to get a picture. John Paul kept blocking Jessie, so I think I took ten shots before I finally got two that were close. :)

Seton Sea Perch (2)

Seton Sea Perch


The Sea Perch committee had food, DJ and various activities set up for the kids. We stayed until 9 pm and then drove back to CT.

Festivities (2)

FYI — John Paul said that the bouncy obstacle course pictured here below was really fun.

Festivities (3)

The crew by the river

Bluebells 2015: a story about a girl

I forgot to post this back in April! So retroactively doing it now in June and dating it for April!. ;)

Luke and Marion waiting

My poor blog. These days my life has become more like a series of bullet points rather than a colorful narration. Hmm… my conversations with my husband have taken the same form. We are so busy and are on different schedules that we just want to get the right information out in a timely fashion and not get caught up on all the details. The homeschooling, the yard, the cows, goats and chickens, extended family activities, the sports all make things pretty busy. This spring we added some medical issues and a flooded house to add to the chaos. I’m really feeling like I should pretend we are college students and call us done with schooling in the first week of May!

So going to see the bluebells became another thing to do when the kids noticed them along the creek as we drove by in the car.

It was a Friday and we had four errands to run and we’re trying to squueeeze in a little walk down the bluebell path in Braemar (a neighborhood near us) to see how much the bluebells blossomed. We brought along a cousin. Jimmy quickly declared that “Jackie” was his personal chauffeur. And Jack kindly obliged him.

down the path

Braemar path is the “cheating” way to see the bluebells. You can take a stroller and if you noticed from my first picture, there’s even benches on the paths!! Apparently these days I’m all about cheating?

The kids have a list of certain things that they like to do when we are on this path. One of which is pooh sticks..

Pooh Sticks

Poor Philip and Marion are having a hard time finding sticks? And good Mom that I am I’m just taking pictures…

Did they come out

In the middle of just getting the bluebells checked off, I start to notice my daughter.

None of the things that I notice are new. But it still is mysterious to me.

She does not mind the hustle and bustle of the boys, she just joins in. She doesn’t know that she’s supposed to cry when she falls, and if she does, I know there must be blood. And in the midst of these boys and bluebells, her whole personality is undaunted by either of them.

Well unless a dog comes along. A large dog does ruffle her and there was one on the path.

I remember being in an opposite setting growing up. As the oldest of six girls and one brother who was the youngest, I found boys boisterous and somewhat like another species. I even remember in high school, I had to take my SATs surrounded by males. My desk was shoved back and forth several times because these males had a need to move things and themselves. And they made grunting noises as they worked through problems! So strange.

Marion doesn’t find anything about them strange. It’s part of her life. And I love that she chose to wear a skirt, flip-flops, her purse, but is not squeamish about the woods, the mud, or the water.


Even in the midst my bullet point mind, I start taking pictures of my little force to be reckoned with as she charges on with the boys…

She's off

And her pace catches up quickly to them… and as she runs she swings her hair that she doesn’t have. She’s not hampered by little details like that.

Hanging with the boys

Luke is our resident NO FEAR child. And Marion was right in the front lines with him dangling over the edge of the water. Huh. I don’t have *that* picture. I must have decided to put the camera down to tell them to STEP BACK!

Luke and Marion along the river

We also love skipping rocks along the river when we get to the clearing… or should we say lea in the woods? ;)

Skimming rocks

Did you see that

One girl

Bobby and Jack were our best rock skippers, but Marion whose rocks didn’t skip, but all sunk to the bottom is not caught up in the details and proud of her attempts!

At this point, the clock starting ticking on our errands and big storm clouds were looming, so we turned around. We had plans to come back on Monday with friends… although as it turned out the whole thing was FLOODED and we couldn’t go down the path!

down the path

Philip was very cute and wanted to pose and ask me to take his picture several times on the way back. This is a rare photo-op of he and Marion not picking fights with each other. It’s funny. They are the biggest gap in my kids and like to antagonize each other most?

Philip and Marion

But for the whole walk back they were very sweet to each other and became another “pause” moment in an otherwise bullet point day.


As we were leaving, we also saw this cute little yellow flower fighting for its life ON the path. Using this cool website, we figured out that it’s called Dimpled Trout Lily.


I kinda think the lily is kind of like Marion: a beautiful survivor, even growing amidst the foot traffic that might trample upon her!

Okay! One last photo-op by the river, and then we ran to the car. Jimmy is really grateful that I took this picture because he is used to being the star of the show and was wondering where the pictures of him were. (Phew! Glad it was in the camera and I’m off the hook!)

The crew by the river

Bobby wanted to go back with our notebooks to sketch them… but it never happened. :( I’m not off the hook for that one. But that’s another story about a boy… whose birthday is today. :)

Basketball season 2014-2015

The boys played a lot of basketball this winter! John Paul started school at Seton, so played on the junior high team there. He enjoyed his coach and all his teammates. They had a good season.


Dan coached Bobby and Jack in the GBA league near us. Bobby and Jack alternated playing point and won their championship game!! So now we have two championship GBA teams (JP’s team won last year).


Here’s a shot of Bobby bringing the ball up…


Timeout… Jack is in and Bobby is out. The GBA has strict rules about playing time for each player.

Bobby and Dad trophy

The award ceremony with Daddy and son…

Jack and Dan trophy!

And Uncle and nephew (the photo of Dan smiling has Jack with his eyes closed… so….)

Dan also coached Michael and Nick in the GBA as well. They had a good showing in the tournament and made it to the semifinals! This was Michael’s first year playing in an organized league and he was so much fun to watch. Just like when he was little, he was all about having the right outfit to go with the part, so he had a headband, an armband (which he wore on his leg… because his arm was too skinny!), etc.

Timeout (2)

Going up for a lay up…

Michael to the basket

Cousins. :)

Michael and Nick

Dan also coached the Seton varsity. One of his former players, Pat Stevens, came back to help him coach and Dan really appreciated his help. He also had various parents helping in different capacities assisting, doing the book, etc. This year my nephew Tommy was on the team! Sadly, I can’t find the roster photo, but I have a senior night photo. Dan’s going to miss this great group of seniors!

Senior Night photo

And I found a photo of Tommy shooting free throws. :)

Tommy freethrow

Now once March Madness is done we can shelve basketball for soccer….

Oh until basketball camps start up this summer. Details about his camp and registration forms are up on his website.

Wedding/Thanksgiving/Christmas 2014

Once again I have left blogging in the dust in favor of living life, doing laundry, and keeping children safe, so I’m retroactively posting and adding pictures that I don’t want to forget in this spare moment… in March. But I’m trying to date this for January, so when I search for what we did last Christmas… I can find it. Pathetic.

Anyway, quick recap of a few months!

Back in October, we attended my brother Tom’s wedding to my sister-in-law Nicole! Here’s a shot of Dan and I with Jimmy at the wedding.

Dan and I

On Thanksgiving, we hosted and all my siblings attended accept Robyn and Alison. They were missed! And sadly, I never took a shot of all of us! But here’s some shots of the kids and the play that the kids performed.

Thanksgiving 2014 007

Thanksgiving 2014 005

Thanksgiving 2014 016

Thanksgiving 2014 015

For Christmas, we hosted some of the local VWs at our house! Pat and Jill were here too! And… I didn’t take a picture. :( Too busy cooking. But here’s our picture from 7:00 Mass:

Christmas 2014

Then we went to CT for New Year’s for my Mom’s usual fun bash.

christmas 2014 033

christmas 2014 040

A quick trip to see the Bluebells

Bluebells 2014 001

Yesterday we made a 30 minute quick trip to see the Bluebells. Rain was coming and I was afraid they would be washed away before we even got a chance to see them!

Bluebells 2014 002

We took some cousins with us, but we were missing John Paul because he wanted to finish mowing the lawn before the rain.

Bluebells 2014 003

For our quick trip, we just went to the Braemar nature trail in Bristow which my friend Amy shared with us last year. We really like Bull Run first and then Merrimac Farm second… but, sadly, we didn’t have time for either of those hikes.  And the Braemar trail is stroller friendly and not very long, so it’s perfect when rain is looming.

Bluebells 2014 004

We could tell that some of the blooms were starting to fade, but they were just as beautiful.

Bluebells 2014 005

Fooling around by the river is always a must, but… funny… nobody fell in?? Elizabeth, it must be you.

Bluebells 2014 006

So… do you see the look on my little girl’s face in this picture below? This is a look that makes me afraid for my life in ten years? Working on training and charming that look away.

Bluebells 2014 007

Bobby, Mr. Wild Kratt ,himself found a turtle… a very, very tiny one. But it’s not a hike if Bobby doesn’t find something.

Bluebells 2014 008

And then the rain started. But Bobby decided we needed to play Poohsticks at the bridge. Here they are waiting for the results on the other side. The white spots in the water are the raindrops, so after this we started to run!

Bluebells 2014 009

Hopefully, we’ll be able to take a real hike some time this week, but if weather, laundry and chores do not permit at least we got a glimpse of these magical April flowers. :)

Happy Easter!

We made our whirlwind trip to CT for the Holy Triduum again. And… I pulled out my camera twice.

Easter morning right after we came back from Mass at St. Mary’s in New Haven:

Easter VWs 2014

Easter VWs

And here’s one with Flat Orla that Mom asked us to take for Orla:

Flat Orla

Just being silly — and Marion and I just watch:


We went to Holy Thursday Mass followed by visiting the three churches in town to watch for an hour with Our Lord. Then Good Friday service and Stations. Then the five boys and I went to the Easter Vigil with Grandma, Colleen and all the McCormack’s at St. Bridget’s where the two oldest McCormack’s served. Then Dan went to the 10 pm at the Legionnaires of Christ down the street… but we were late, so Grandpa had to babysit for a bit. The boys did very well for so long and so late! So we topped it off with sundaes.

And here’s a random time that I pulled out the camera — my Mom playing baseball with a kitchen utensil with Jimmy. His invention, but then he wanted her to hit and him to field the ball. It was so fast paced, but my camera couldn’t capture the action, so here’s the wind up shot.

Baseball with Kitchen utensils

In between being at St. Bridget’s, it was good to catch up with family. We traveled back Monday mid morning. It’s amazing how much laundry a short trip can make!

Hope you all had a Blessed Easter!