Let there be light!

at-least-it-is-sunny

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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What is it? Wednesday — the race course

I almost forgot to post tonight, so I’m getting this in just “under the wire”… or under the flags…

wiiwLast Wednesday I posted this picture. Carolyn had a good guess with a farmers’ market marker, but it takes a cross-country parent to recognize those flags! Melissa knew it was part of a course, although it wasn’t the finish line — just a marked section on a hillside. Here is the full photograph:

what-is-it-wednesday-cross-country-course

The Scout ran his first meet of the season last Wednesday. He’s had a late start due to his fall on July 3rd and subsequent concussion. His head started hurting 2/3 of the way through the 5k last Wednesday, although he did well on Saturday at his second meet. Unfortunately, he had to come home early from school today with a headache that got worse as the morning went on, so he did not race in today’s meet. After taking a 3-hour nap, he and SuperDad went down to watch and cheer on the team, however, because that’s what they do.

My understanding is that there really isn’t anything you can do to hurry up the healing from a concussion, but he’s got an appointment with the doctor in 2 weeks to discuss his progress and setbacks.

In which The Scout turns 17 without a cake

Age three, SM wanted a dinosaur cake. His parents made one with Cheetos... His first (but not last!) Cheesy-Puffasaurus birthday cake

Age three, The Scout wanted a dinosaur cake. His parents made one decorated with Cheetos…
His first (but not last!) Cheesy-Puffasaurus birthday cake. And although he doesn’t show it in this photo, he was actually very pleased with his cake. 

At 17, The Scout does not want a birthday cake or even a birthday pie! This is because he decided back in January to kick excess sugar out of his diet.** He is leaving in a few hours for a week of Boy Scout camp, so this morning I made him an omelet with sauteed fresh vegetables for his birthday breakfast.

An older picture of The Scout and his grandparents. He's at least 3 inches taller now.

An older picture of The Scout and his grandparents. He’s at least 3 inches taller now.

Last weekend at his grandparents’ house, where we were celebrating his grandfather’s 80th birthday, The Scout and his brothers H-J and The Barefooter each made their own veggie omelets for breakfast. They are no strangers to presentation value, garnishing with an artistic squiggle of ketchup and sides of sliced melon. Extended family was impressed.

My four boys, summer 2000. Note the very dark tan hand around the baby's middle.

My four boys, summer 2000. Last Saturday was the first time the four of them had been together since the week of Christmas. Today that sweet one-year-old baby turns 17 years old.

A week of scout camp may be a challenge for him as he continues to have headaches, but he tells me that it has improved and no longer feels like someone is pressing a hot iron into his scalp! My resident teenager doesn’t complain — just quietly goes about doing what must be done. I’d worry about him going but SuperDad is his Scoutmaster and, as you may recall, is a retired nurse.
Our house is generally pretty quiet; this week it will be too quiet.

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** That’s right, my teenager does not eat candy or cookies or other sweet treats. He eats fresh fruit when he wants something sweet. This is totally his choice, and it fits with his generally healthy lifestyle. If given a choice between whole grain crackers and potato chips of any flavor, he’d choose the crackers. We haven’t had ice cream in the house for more than a month (and even then he wasn’t eating it). I’m proud of him for choosing healthy fuel for his body; at the same time, I’m pretty sure he’s not a normal teenager.

 

Family Five

  1. Pokemon GO has invaded my world — or rather, my husband’s world. He took a walk before turning in for the night to drop off one of his Pokemon at the nearest “gym.” He’s having such a fun time. I’m trying to listen and smile.
  2. Back on July 3rd, The Scout fell out of a tree. He’d been climbing and a branch broke, plummeting him 23 feet to the ground below. He landed on his back.  It hurt — a lot. He managed to walk home (collapsing from pain at least once) that evening and miraculously exhibited no damage on the CT scan.
  3. The obvious signs of a concussion began showing up 24-36 hours later, despite not actually hitting his head.  He spent the remainder of that week lying in a dark room and doing a lot of sleeping. The urgent care/ER doctor told him “activities as tolerated” so he began trying to do a few things. One step forward, half-step back…
  4. It’s been  12 days since he fell and he’s still dealing with headaches, backache (obviously) and inability to do most activities. He has an appointment with a doctor this morning. I’m a bit worried about the upcoming week (end of the month) at Boy Scout camp with its faster-paced activity level and noise level.
  5. After 5 Fridays in a row at the farmers’ market, I’m taking a “family day” break.

 

What’s happening these days in your household?

The mind of a teenage boy

Below is the resident teenager’s Christmas wish list from 2015. In the heading, he noted that it was “mostly sub twenty” — meaning less than $20 per item.

  1. A sharpening stone of some sort for pocket knives, oil requiring or no doesn’t matter.
  2. A watch with a sturdy long-lasting band (not plastic/rubber) that is water resistant to the point I could swim with it on.
  3. Fifty plus feet of para-cord.
  4. If you can find cheap waterproof or really water resistant winter gloves with a longer wrist to go under my sleeve that would be really good too.
  5. The usual cash, some sugary poison, preferably some kind of chocolate—I’ll take any, about 95% dark and under, Swedish fish, Nutella, Eggnog, or something like bit’o honey (Caramel/Cream bite size candies) No sour, fizzy, root beer flavored, ect. [sic]
  6. Beef jerky, also preferably no weird flavors, such as teriyaki or mesquite.
  7. Random items that you think I might like appreciate.
  8. And, if you really want to invest, by any means feel free to get me something really nice, a good bike, a backyard pool, some nice outdoor stuff, a horse and somewhere to keep it, a trip to some exotic place, a working lightsaber, scuba gear, a hang gliding trip, etcetera. Use your imagination, besides, look on the bright side, if you do this, the next few [years of getting me] birthday and Christmas presents might get called off for you, or I might get spoiled and demand more.

 

DSCN7126  My memory is as out-of-focus as this picture.

My memory is as fuzzy and out-of-focus as this picture of the Christmas tree.

 

You’d probably like to know what we ended up getting him for Christmas. I’m curious myself! On Christmas Day, I was one month out of surgery for my trimalleolar fracture and on some pretty strong pain medicine. I do know that we are not the proud owners of a horse and stable. 🙂

I was curious enough to look up previous orders on my Amazon account (the only way that any Christmas shopping got done). He received, in part, some new running gear. The fact I still have Amazon Prime is proof that those were some pretty strong pain meds; I forgot to turn off our free 30-day trial and ended up paying $99 for the entire year. Never mind that I was too busy to shop the special Prime Day sale on July 12th.

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What sort of  gifts have you (or your kids or someone else you know) wished for that would fit in category #8 above? 

 

And all the children are above average

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.**

Wait, no — that’s not right.

I’m not really sure what to call the past 2 weeks. At times it has been joyous, but it has also been challenging in an unpleasant way. But first, the good stuff:

DSCN9396  unplanned outfits, WEBSIZED

I’ve gotten to visit the next generation family twice over a 4-day window.  I visited on a Saturday nearly 2 weeks ago . While The Scout and SuperDad were off Riding the Hiawatha, I had the privilege of riding with my little buddy. It had been 6 weeks since my last visit and I felt about three weeks overdue for grandson snuggles.

DSCN9357 Big boy smiles, RESIZED

I cannot get enough of this sweet boy. SuperDad hadn’t seen him in person since Mother’s Day, so the two of us drove to their town again last Wednesday. I love seeing my husband being a grandpa.

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DSCN9478 Opa helps Little Foot listen to Daddy, WEBSIZED

Listening to Daddy’s voice coming out of the tube at the park…   It’s so fun to see Little Foot clearly working his brain to figure out his world.

DSCN9499  Mommy caught a duck! 4x6  WEBSIZED

DSCN9509  Drake, websized

We were chillin’ at the park (literally, we were keeping cool at the end of a hot day). The Author, who loves all birds and had at one time wanted to become a veterinarian specializing in bird care, enjoys feeding the ducks. And then she caught one!

 

Little Foot was curious at first but then became jealous of the creature in Mommy’s arms where he rightfully belonged. It was clearly bedtime for baby.

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Little Foot, standing!

 

Little Foot is 7 months old today.  Time is passing by so quickly and his babyhood is already slipping away. His mama sent me this picture just a few days ago — Standing! 

 

 

So now, let’s discuss the other young member of the family, our resident teenager, who has had a couple of painful lessons in life in the past month. As you might have read in yesterday’s post, he had his bicycle stolen  a few weeks ago. I have sympathy for his plight; at the same time, I had mentioned a time or three that leaving the bike overnight at the school was unwise because a single bike in a deserted area was an invitation for thieves. Granted, the bike was stolen in broad daylight, but the school grounds were empty which is the same premise.  So, bike gone, lesson learned. (I hope.)
Wait, did I use the word LESSON? Ah… this was the school year of taking an online Spanish course. The Scout struggled through this course, not really understanding much of anything. He’s our last kid and we are pretty hands-off at this point because he has been so responsible. What we didn’t know was that this was a “homegrown” course for the school district and by the end of the year, a majority of the students had dropped it, were failing it or in danger of failing it. We turned to a neighbor for help — he had taught high school Spanish before he retired — but even he couldn’t understand what the English directions were asking the students to do. With the neighbor’s help, The Scout took a “pass” on the course, scraping by with a D-.  Now he is trying to catch up with students who took Spanish 1 in the classroom by taking a 6-week remedial course online for summer school. Unfortunately, this course began one day before said teenager left for a week of scout camp and will end with another week of scout camp , leaving him 4 weeks to do the work. There’s a strong chance he may end up repeating the course in a classroom in September. So that’s painful lesson #2

The Scout went off to Rendezvous with minimal supplies. Many items were strictly forbidden due to the fact that they hadn’t yet been invented and/or in use during fur trapping 1830 North America. The boys waded to an island with their burlap sacks, built and slept in tepees, kept mosquitoes away with smoke, swam with beavers, and generally did things that mothers shouldn’t know about. It’s the sort of week where scout safety is quietly set aside for realism. I’m pretty sure the district office allows this to operate on a don’t ask/don’t tell policy. Our young man learned some useful skills and had a wonderful time. After picking him up on Saturday, we drove home with the windows open. 

It wasn’t all mud and beaver dams and mosquitoes; they also did sewing and bead work, shot with black powder, and learned a lot of history.

Painful lesson #3: It hurts when you fall out of a tree. Sunday afternoon he took a walk through the park — and because he is a teenage boy, he saw a tree and decided to climb it. He was 23 feet in the air when the branch broke. He landed on his back, blacked out briefly from the pain, got up and walked home. Ice and pain pills got him through the evening. Amazingly, he did not hit his head or break anything. Or die. The CT scan was “normal.”

**
“Where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” – Garrison Keillor

I have discovered something about myself over the past 30 years, that when the truly frightening events occur — when the kid falls 2+ stories and lands on his back, when that same kid chokes and has to be thoroughly suctioned when he’s 6 hours old, when another kid totals the car, or I hit a deer at 50 mph –all those times and more, I enter a state of calm that is almost frightening in itself. It may appear that I am lackadaisical or don’t have a true understanding of the situation. It’s quite the opposite; I understand all too well.

The missing bike (and more Wii?W)

Last week on “What is it? Wednesday” I shared this photo:

DSCN2506  What is it Wednesday

For those that guessed a cut cable, you are correct.

Our resident teenager rode his bike 2 miles to the school on graduation Saturday, locked it up and walked the next mile to the event center where the band was playing for graduation. For some reason he didn’t think there were any places to lock up a bike at the opera house (there are — in the parking garage, where he didn’t think to look). Three hours later, he returned to a cut cable, no helmet, no bike.
He walked the three miles home and silently showed us the remains of his transportation.
DSCN2506  The remains of the locked up bike  WEBSIZED

It wasn’t a new bike — I had purchased it in 1989 and it had a busy life for the past 27 years — but it was solid, reliable transportation.

K on bike at Burnt Ridge farm

That’s me in the photo above, circa 1989, riding on the farm; in the photo below, I’m preparing to haul 100 pounds worth of offspring in Germany, circa 1997.  I miss that younger, stronger version of me and the fun of living on the outskirts of Heidelberg.

K with bike in HD-Wieblingen

It is frustrating be minus a bike, especially for a 16-year-old who merely wanted to save gas money and parking fees, which is why he didn’t drive his truck that day. Driving would have been easier — have you ever biked with a trumpet?  But we raised out kids in a frugal lifestyle and it has successfully passed down to the next generation. Of course, we reported it stolen, but in a city with a population of 200,000 people, we don’t expect to see it again.

Our kind next door neighbor has gifted us one of their bicycles: 10 years old, ridden once. It’s a little short for The Scout but it’s a thoughtful gift and the price was right.
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Here is this week’s photo clue:

DSCN9561 4x6 What is it Wednesday, cropped

What is it? 

Please leave your best detailed guess in the comments below.

 

 

When little boys grow up

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This sweet little guy, whose photo I took on Valentine’s Day in February of 2000, is now 16 years old and has been down on the couch with a virus this week.

Hopefully he’s back in action soon.

 

Archive Pictures, August -December 2005 043, Alex, Oct. 2005

The Scout, before he was a Scout or a SnakeMaster, was a Kindergartner trying on SuperDad’s Kevlar helmet and bulletproof vest prior to deployment.       Photo taken October 2005.

 

 

 

Insert pithy title here

DSCN7638  Moses, March 2016

The Scout built a dog barn when Moses came to live with us — a dog house big enough for both boy and beast — but when the weather turned cold, our teen found himself sleeping out there alone; the dog preferred to sleep indoors in front of the pellet stove where it was warm. This was not a surprise to me since at his previous home Moses had also eschewed a dog house.

As our winter turns to spring, warm breezes call me outside and I hobble in answer to their call. However delightful the wind and weather may be (and it is, at least to me), I cannot abide a trashy backyard — which brings us back to the abandoned dog barn, a shelter without a roof since November’s big storm.

DSCN7598 Sign that childhood might be over

This afternoon, The Scout dismantled the remaining walls, threw away the torn and mildewed padding, and piled up the boards.

DSCN2389  Putting away childish things, 1 Cor.13,11

Childhood: over.

DSCN2394  Childhood, over - dismantled dog barn

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.     – 1 Corinthians 13:11  New Living Translation (NLT)