Let there be light!

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The groundhog saw his shadow today. Frankly, I didn’t need Punxsutawney Phil to tell me anything — the flamingos have been doing a pretty good job of letting us know what’s up around here, and it isn’t the temperature!

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The Scout had his MRI last week and we’re still waiting for the results. (SuperDad has put a call in to the doctor.)  Honestly, I’ll be surprised if it tells us anything at all. I have to keep reminding myself that he had a really horrid fall and it’s going to take more time to recover. It was encouraging last week to hear his teachers tell of seeing “more of him” lately, that more often now when he is in class he is managing to have that light on behind his eyes instead of a glazed-over look.

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After a weekend of low stress and winter camping — where he felt relatively good and hardly needed extra rest time at all — he figured out that the anxiety over trying to accomplish all of his schoolwork is stressing his system. So on Monday when he went to school, The Scout met with his guidance counselor (the same one who helped us get the 504 Accommodation Plan set in place) and requested that he be allowed to drop two of his classes — Spanish 2 and Calculus. Bless her, she worked to make that happen. He has been able to attend school every day this week because he has some built-in “down time” where he can catch up on assignments or take a break in a quiet alcove or even take a nap in the nurse’s office.

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Having my teenager engage in conversation with us is a blessing that I cannot take for granted. When the pain in his head (which he describes as “a hot iron pressing against my skull”) subsides enough to let him be his normal cheerful self, with a sense of humor and light in his eyes, I know how lucky we are.

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Syringa, Part Three: Canadian Camping Adventures

I’ve met some really fun friends while scrapbooking.

4 Js and a K

4 Js and a K

Twice a year, we get together and stay in what I’ve dubbed “the Cannuck Party Trailer” at a weekend scrapbooking event that takes place approximately halfway between my town and theirs.  At the last crop, we discussed the possibility of me getting my family to join all of their families at a campground for a long weekend.  I started working on my family with this plan right away, and within a few months it was “all systems go!”

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The other gals all have RVs, but this was home-sweet-home for the weekend for my family.  (Not pictured: SnakeMaster’s backpacking hammock where he slept.)

I really enjoy having older kids who no longer need nor want to share a tent with their parents. That big tent was designed to sleep 6 people, which is exactly how we used it for many years; now it is the master bedroom.  I am, however, beginning the chant of “glamping” because I really don’t enjoy having to fully wake up, crawl out of bed AND out of a tent just to walk a quarter-mile to use a bathroom!  Sure, on a starry night it is a lovely walk… but it can be difficult to go back to sleep upon return to bed.

DSCN0914 Thumbs up for Syringa!

Thumbs up for Syringa!

Camping with other people has additional benefits beyond me , the lone female amongst males, having other women around for conversation.  We share “camping hacks” (ideas that make camping easier, such as hanging your roll of paper towels from a bungee cord “rod” on the canopy over the picnic table — truly brilliant and I can’t believe we never thought of something so simple before), beverages, activities for the kid in all of us, and games.

DSCN3770  Black rock with cobalt designsDSCN3769  Turquoise ladybug rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids and moms painted rocks with acrylic paint. These two beauties above were crafted by Humorous-Juniorous, my 18yo son. He’s got some artistic talent.   (What you do not see here is my attempt at sprigs of lilacs. Someone commented on it later on being a really nice purple tree… so at least there’s that amount of recognition.)  One of my friends there is also a blogger, so I expect at some point she will post pictures of other rocks on her blog. She is also the one who made a jaunt into town for this box of supplies…

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Now can you think of a project to do with a box of these edibles?

These ladies have a plan

These ladies have a plan

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Ready… set…

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…Go!

It's better to bite than lick if you want to win

It’s better to bite than lick if you want to win

DSCN0937  donut boys

DSCN0939 donut girls

 This is one game where everyone who plays is a winner. 

I recommend the sour cream old fashioneds.  I had one bite and it was worth every calorie. 🙂

Rock painted by SnakeMaster

Rock painted by SnakeMaster

 

If you haven’t seen them yet, click  over to Part One and Part Two.

 

Syringa, part one

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Fields of purple and yellow wildflowers
Tall pine trees, cold water

Walking on an undulating trail
the smell of warm grasses and bursts of sweet floral-scented air
the hot kiss of sunshine, the cool embrace of shade
Dappled light in green and ochre

splashes and shouts, yells and barks
soft voices and raucous laughter

slithering of mud-brown snakes
ascending trill of unseen songbirds

crackling fire and Texas S’mores —
marshmallows, chocolate, tortillas

Sudden storms, sideways rain
And stars that wink while we sleep.

Ten on Tuesday: the Back to School Edition

  1. My younger kids head off to school this morning. 
  2. SnakeMaster is transitioning into junior high school, which is one more twist of the “He’s not a baby anymore” dagger into my mommy heart.  ♥
  3. Please don’t think I want him to stay a little boy forever (although somewhere deep in my heart, he probably will remain a little boy forever).
  4. I actually enjoy watching my kids grow and learn and spread their wings!
  5. We spent 3 nights camping last week.  Sunshiny days and moonlit nights = 3. Rainy days and nights = 0.  That weather outcome is a miracle for us!
  6. Camping near the beach was rewarded with a blue moon walk on the beach. So. Very. Bright!
  7. Three days of walking barefoot on the beach did my feet a world of good. Hooray for the “sand cure” working yet again!   🙂
  8. Labor Day was spent doing multiple loads of laundry in a futile attempt to be caught up on that particular chore prior to the first day of school.
  9. With the start of the school year comes the increased discipline in my own schedule here at home. It’s time to adhere to the calendar and the clock!
  10. I am once again so very far behind in reading blogs that I may never catch up on what the rest of you have been doing lately.  Please feel free to fill me in on any important details below.

My Town Monday: Camping

Any time one Inland Northwesterner — in a moment of guilt and shame — turns to another and admits, “I’ve never been camping,” a baby angel dies. Literally drops dead.

Not camping when God himself has slapped this much good camping land in our backyards is like a slap in His big anthropomorphic face. It’s smite-worthy.

People have a lot of excuses for never having gone camping, and they’re all lame. “Oh, I’m scared of bears.” “I’m agoraphobic.” “I’m worried my knickers will get huckleberry stains.” “My grandpappy was in the Donner party.” That all rings hollow, friend.

Probably the most reasonable excuse is the argument from ignorance. “I ain’t never did no campin’ on account of havin’ never did no campin’ afore.” 

written by Luke Baumgarten,
staff writer for the Inlander weekly magazine
as seen in the June 14th Summer Guide 

Well, then!

I’m proud to say that I’ve been camping since I was a baby. Not constantly, of course, but I feel kind of hollow inside if I don’t go camping on a regular basis. Something is missing in my life, I am left unsatisfied. I start itching to go sit in the woods and smell like a campfire. I forget how beloved and desirable I am to the entire mosquito population. I even forget how much I like a daily shower and a clean bed! Which is why I am heading out this afternoon with the rest of the family, six of us and all our gear crammed into the minivan, for a 5-day, 4-night adventure beyond the confines of my town.

I’ll probably smell more of bug repellent than wood smoke. It will probably rain at least a little bit. I will wonder why we thought this trip was a good idea, especially when I face the reality of no internet access. And when the welts from my mosquito bites fade and I catch up on the extra laundry, I’ll probably want to go camping again.