Saturday, June 29, 2013

10 Things of Thankful, Week 4

Let's get this link-up party started...

1.  I am thankful for the Backyard Chicken Lady, I swear, if my chickens knew how her chickens lived, they'd be out on the road with a wing in the air, hoping for someone to take pity on them and give them a ride down to her air-conditioned coop faster than you can say Cock-a-doodle. She does all sorts of research and testing, then tells me (and her other readers) about it.  Recently, she gave me a marvelous idea of what to do with the ridiculous number of mulberries I have ripening around our property, as well as the leftover bits of fruit and veggies I would normally throw into the compost.  Following her directions, I have made iced fruit snacks for the chicks, which I will save in the freezer until they get a bit older.  Basically, put all the fruit and veggies in a cake/cupcake/loaf/whatever pan, cover with water, then freeze.  Pop them out of the pans, and keep them in a sealed freezer bag until ready to give to the chickens.  I've made 5 cake pans already, and have plenty more mulberries and such to make some more. 

This was my first attempt.  The next batch was almost all blue, containing mulberries, black raspberries, and some blueberries. 

2.  I am thankful for public pools.  On hot, humid days, I am so grateful to be able to jump in the car and be at a huge, fun pool in the matter of a few minutes.  We haven't had too many days that were pool worthy, but Friday we did.  We took full advantage.

3.  I am thankful for a good sense of humor.  A certain young woman at the pool should be, too.  (Gotta say, I'd be a lot more thankful for the public pool if there were a lot less of the "public".)  My sense of humor allowed me to laugh instead of punch her when she looked at Cuckoo, jumping in to me over and over again, then looked at me and asked, "Are you the mom or the grandma?"   Aaaand she was serious.  Ha.  Ha.  Son of a Ha.

4. I am thankful for free anniversary date nights with C.O.W. (previously known as BBQ (previously known as Hubby))  For the big 19th, we were able to go out to one of our favorite local Italian restaurants for all of $12.  Thanks to our children getting older, we no longer have to pay for a sitter.  Thanks to generous friends, we had a gift card to the restaurant.  Win-win all over the place.

 5.  I am thankful for adults who like to camp.  Phoenix and Star are coming home from a week of Boy Scout camp today.  They LOVE camping, but would never get the real experience if it were left to me.  I'm not a fan of sleeping/living in a tent, so I am beyond grateful for adults who do and are willing to take my boys with them.

6.  I am thankful for nearly free t-shirts.    The brilliant Clark from the Wakefield Doctrine, who... has a theory?... talks about behavior?...I can't even explain it.  You just have to go and figure it out.  As the T-shirt he sent me says, I'm a scott.  We're doers, not figure-outers. :) 

A little note before you see the photo:  This bit of the "nearly free" has completely shown me that I will never, ever participate in the "What I Wore Sunday" hop I've seen on various blogs.  Taking this photo was torture.  C.O.W. is not a photographer.  And I clearly don't know how to pose myself.  Sorry, Clark.  I'll try again in the daylight when one of my kids can take it.  Outside.  While I'm doing something productive and not awkward, like just standing there to get a photo of my shirt.

See, the sleeve says "scott".  Because I am one.

7.  I am thankful for hair products.   My curly hair turns into a frizzy disaster in all of this humidity.  Fortunately, Frizz-ease is sold at a store near me, for a very reasonable price, so I can actually go out in public without people asking me things like, "Are you the mom or the grandma?"  (Wow, guess I'm a wee bit bitter.  Must be thankful.  Must be thankful.)

8.  I am thankful for my camera.  Many moons ago, I had a small photography business.  The business required my ownership of a fancy camera.  The business may be gone, but the camera remains.  I am able to get all sorts of good photos with it, but today I am especially grateful for the big zoom lens on it.  On Thursday, a few of us were in the kitchen when Buttercup yelled, "What is that in our yard?"  It was halfway down our driveway, so we couldn't tell.  It was a bird, and almost looked like a vulture.  I got my camera out as quickly as I could and got one photo of it before it disappeared into the treeline.  I walked down and tried to find it, but to no avail.  Here's the photo.  I'd be extra grateful if you could tell us what it is.  It very much is NOT a vulture.  Turkey?  Peahen?

Those arrows are pointing to two spots we assume are baby birds.  They were hopping around behind the mama bird.
9.  I am thankful for re-runs.  I have discovered that staying up a bit later than I used to helps me sleep better.  Go to bed at 10:00, I wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep, usually more than once.  Go to bed between 11 and 11:30, I sleep soundly all night long.  So, I go to bed later, which means I get to watch all my old favorite shows again, without C.O.W. trying to turn it to some random sport.  "Malcolm in the Middle" anyone?

10.  I am thankful for this blog.  I have fun writing it, but it is so much more than that.  I have met so many good, fun people.  It makes my mom and dad happy.  It compels people whom I haven't heard from in a long time (and miss terribly), to contact me and make me cry.  And now, every Saturday (and Sunday if you're too busy Saturday) I get to read a whole bunch of things that make people happy.  What's not to love about a blog?   (Don't ask my family that question.)

Git to gittin' and tell me what your thankin' (for).  (Sorry.  That was bad.  But I'm keeping it, 'cause I'm 3 minutes late in posting this.)

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Friday, June 28, 2013

7+ Quick Takes, Family Edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 222)

Why do I ride the coattails of Jen at Conversion Diary each week?

Um, it's a list of quick recaps from the week.  I love lists.  I love recaps.

Match made in heaven.
************** 1 *************

I have never liked calling my husband "Hubby".  Hate it, actually.  I have never used that word in real life, so why would I use it here?  I'm working on a name.  As I did with the kids, I gave him the chicken catalogue and told him to choose one.  He poo-pooed the idea.  (Actually, he said, "Cock of the Walk", but we're going to pretend he didn't.)  Guess that means I get to choose one.  For now, we shall try out BBQ Special.  It's not actually a breed, but a mix of surplus meat chickens.  (I think you can all come up with your own jokes on this one. ;) extra bit so my parenthesis doesn't look dumb with a ;)) but a normal)

****************** 2 ****************

Lying in bed, so close to falling asleep, BBQ says, "Should we switch sides?"

Me:  Why would we do that?

Him:  We've slept on the same side for 19 years.  Maybe we should shake things up a bit.

In the end, we realized we aren't "switching sides" kind of people.  Plus, we'd have to move my nightstand to the other side of the bed.  We aren't "unnecessary effort" kind of people either.

********************** 3 *******************

Every once in a while, one of the kids will show how wise he really is and put my ideas in perspective.  To illustrate:

Turken (while holding a chick):  I wish we could keep them little like this.

Me:  Funny, I say that about you all the time.

Giant:  But if we did stay little, you'd have to take care of us for the rest of your life.

Me:  Tou to the che. 

******************* 4 *************

Cuckoo (walking past me to hang up a sopping wet towel while holding an open bottle of bubbles):  I spilled it, but I cleaned it up without you asking me to.

Me:  Thank you, but didn't I ask you NOT to get the bubbles out?

Cuckoo:  It was an "assident".

*************** 5 *************

Remember the bouquet Cuckoo made for BBQ last week?

The conversation at dinner the other day:

Me:  I hate to say it, but it's time to get rid of the bouquet you made for Daddy.

Cuckoo:  Why?

Me:  Well, the flowers are dead and the water is getting really yucky.

Phoenix (walking in from the kitchen with a potted plant in his hands):  Says the person who has this on the counter in her kitchen.

Once again, tou.che.

**************** 6 ***************

Question:  What's it like living with a houseful of boys?

Answer:  "Look, they're open on Turd Day!"

Any more questions?

**************** 7 ***************

Proof that my baby is brighter than the brightest bulb in the light factory:

Cuckoo:  What does becycling start with?

Me:  RE-cycling starts with an r.


Me:  BI-cycling starts with a b.


Me:  What is BE-cycling?


Cuckoo:  Oh.  Becycling.


Me:  What is that?


Cuckoo:  Oh.  Nothing.


Cuckoo:  But it starts with a B.

************* Random photos *************

"I'm racing!"

Definition of "living on the edge":  Holding a helium balloon outside while standing mere feet from a moving train.
Don't forget to come back tomorrow and link up with our 10 Things of Thankful!

Oh, and don't forget, I'm on facebook now.  (and I'm hoping that's the right link)

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Care and Keeping of Chicks

Step 1:

Get them home.

You'll get a call from the post office which says, "Your chicks are here."

Since they are a few days early, rush to the store to buy chick food and new waterers and a feeder, because you have no idea where the old ones are.

Pick up the chicks and bring them home.

33 chicks in one little box 
Step 2:

Settle everyone in.

Pick chicks up one at a time and dip each beak in the water.  After 2 days in a box, it is very important they get a drink right away.  As I've said before, chickens are not the brightest animals, so if we don't actually put their heads into the water, they wouldn't know where to go or perhaps even how to do it.

Count the chicks as you do this, because once they are loose, you'll never be able to get an accurate count again.  These babies are quick!

The water is yellow, because we added some vitamins to it.
Step 3:

Observe and figure out what you actually have.

1.  These chicks will grow to lay green/blue eggs.  We have 20 of them.  The others are random breeds, just for a little added fun. 

2.  This little guy was really sick when he arrived.  He could barely stand on his own.  Happy to say, he's getting stronger.  He's still a lot smaller than the others, and his little yellow head is still hysterical, but he seems to be getting better. 

We also have one chick whose neck is crooked.  He always looks like he's giving you the "I've got my eye on you" look.  Fortunately, I'm blog friends with Lana, who had this same issue with one of her chicks, so I know what it is and what to do.  Hopefully, the vitamins will work and he'll heal right up.

Step 4:

Teach kids how to pick up and hold the chicks.

This isn't Giant's first rodeo, so he knows what to do.

Turken was fine picking them up, just needed a bit of instruction on what to do after that.

Cuckoo had no clue how to pick them up.  I nabbed one and placed it in his hands.

Once he was comfortable and knew how to hold it, I let go.  Unfortunately, I didn't tell him what to do when he was done. (aka when the chick started to move and tickle his hands)

This is how Cuckoo now holds the chicks.

Step 5:

Continuously water, feed, and obsess over the chicks.  They won't be little and cute for long, so get your chick fix while you can.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Big Day

Each week, Josie chooses two words as writing prompts.  We are to write something original (not just link up a past post) with one of the two words as the theme.  I have never done one, seeing as how my brain just couldn't come up with anything before.  This week, though...  This week, I'm in!

Your choice of word prompts for Tuesday, June 25th are: 
 big  or  waiting
I hope you'll join us!
Nineteen years ago today, Hubby and I stood in front God and a church full of friends and family to receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.  It was a big day only in that it was the first day.  It was the first time we committed ourselves to sharing our life and love.  We have made this same promise every single day, whether it be out loud or in our actions.  To us, marriage is not simply "a piece of paper" but a sacred union.  It cannot be broken.  Most days, it is easy to make this promise.  On those days in which we are just plain annoyed with each other, it's harder, but it is even more important to do so.  Knowing that this is a sacred union, we are much more motivated to communicate better and clear up the disputes to bring us back around to the easy days. 
But today, as we humans are known to do, we will celebrate the first day.  The BIG day when we first committed ourselves to each other.
For me, the wedding day was not what one would consider a normal wedding day.  For much of it, I wasn't surrounded by throngs of people.  I went and had my hair done, headed to my grandma's to get a shower, then to my dad's to get dressed.  I dressed alone.  I waited for the photographer alone (except for the moments I had to talk my little sister into actually wearing her flower girl dress).  It was a peaceful morning of preparation and anticipation.

Oh, the hat.  The one regret I had on that day.  My mom had picked it out and gushed over it.  I, being the nice daughter, agreed to wear it.
Once everyone started arriving, things got hopping.  We had a few photos taken at the house, then on to the church.  We were married in a beautiful, old church where Hubby had gone to elementary school.  He grew up in a town that, years and years before, had been part of my family's farm.  Many of the streets have my family's names, and I'm related to half the people there.  We thought it was a wonderful place to wed.
It was a beautiful Mass, and we smiled the entire way through.  We were completely relaxed and simply enjoyed ourselves.  I asked my mom to accompany my dad and me down the aisle, seeing as how they had been divorced a good long time, and he wasn't really representing the both of them.  She was hesitant at first, but finally agreed.  We're both glad she did. My brothers and his sister did the readings, cousins were the servers, aunts were the Eucharistic Ministers.  His grandparents brought up the gifts. (My grandparents were there, but my grandpa wasn't able to do it.)

We all had a good laugh when, during the vows, Hubby flubbed my name.  He has some explanation, which he thinks is reasonable, but as far as I'm concerned, after 7 years of dating, he really should have had that part down pat.

Before the ceremony my youngest sister (about 7 at the time, and quite a corker) issued me a dare.  At the moment the priest said, "You may kiss the bride," she wanted me to look at Hubby and say, "I'd rather kiss a goat".  When the moment came, I could feel the giggle waiting, knew she was anxiously waiting for me to speak.  Hubby and I both smiled, knowing I wanted to say it out loud, but I couldn't do it.  We simply kissed, and everyone cheered.  Both Hubby and I have said it plenty of times since then, though, and each time it reminds us of that wonderful day.
The reception was in a converted barn at a local golf course.  Nothing fancy, to say the least.  It didn't matter.  We had a blast, dancing and visiting and laughing all night long. 

There was the usual cutting of the cake,

(yes, he did smash it in my face, but I got him better than he got me)

 and the first dance (to this):


Again, nothing fancy.  Basically just swaying.  My guy has lots of talents, but keeping a beat just ain't one of them.
 After the reception was over (we were close to the last to leave) we headed to our hotel.  All of the out-of-town guests were already in their rooms by the time we got there.  We made it to the front desk to check in, but were told they gave our room away.  Since we hadn't checked in before 6:00, they thought we weren't going to need it. 

Yes, there we were, bride and groom, with no room at the inn.  They apologized profusely, and immediately started calling around town to find a room for us.  Unfortunately, there was some convention or something going on, and no hotel rooms were to be found.  Finally, they found a room (notice I didn't say "hotel") for us at no charge.  We were directed about 5 minutes down the road to...


Kid you not.  That is where we spent our first night as husband and wife.  We had to walk through a dark, dingy bar sparsely filled with old, lonely men (silent at 1:30am on a Saturday night) to get to our room on the second floor.

Can you think of anything more romantic?

We had a flight to Miami at 8:00 or so the next morning, and without cell phones, we had no way to wake up in the morning.  (Surprisingly, Don Poncho's didn't have wake-up calls.)  We had one of our parents call us at 5:30 to wake us.

The next morning we made it to his mom's house, packed up our luggage, and headed to the airport.  It wasn't until we were checking in at the airline that I realized I had left my purse back at my mother-in-law's house.  I had no ID, and half our money was in it.  (Remember those promises we made?  We got to practice living them right away!) 

Fortunately, this occurred back in the day when people simply trusted each other.  I managed to fly to Florida, drive a rental car, go to places for folks 21 or over, and fly home without an ID.  No one batted an eye when I said I forgot it.

Nineteen years ago, on that big day, we never, ever could have imagined all that we'd do and go through.  No married couples can.  That's why marriage is so hard, and the promises so important.  Without having any idea what is going to be thrown at us, we have promised to do it together.   It is overwhelmingly reassuring to know that we both believe this with our entire beings. 

For better (Bermuda) or worse (law school) in sickness (his, kids', mine, or swine) and health (six kids!) for richer (Bermuda) for poorer (once again, law school), we're doing it together.

Now, go on over to Josie's Two Shoes to read some other takes on the theme or to link up your own!

Have a lovely day!


Friday, June 21, 2013

10 Things of Thankful, Week 3

By Friday night, one of those low-grade headaches had started to form.  The onslaught of this week has done me in.  Taken me out.  Laid me flat.  Shut me down.  Basically, I'm just downright tuckered, ya'll.   I'm so glad I have this required list of thankful to get together every week.  Otherwise, I'd wallow in my vat of self-pity until my husband got home from work, and then the wallowing would turn into one of those rare, full-on "I can't do everything by myself I need you to step up and do something around here before I lose it completely" tantrums that we all know and hate. 

Now, I'll simply give him a peck when he arrives and ask him how his day went.  And then sit on my rear while he washes the dishes.

1.  I am thankful to have Hubby and Phoenix back from their trip.   And not just because I am excited to have people with whom I can share the big chores.

2.  I am thankful for our church/school community.  Our closest relative lives two hours away from us, so over the last 14 years we have formed a local "family" for whom I am very grateful.   Tonight was the end-of-camp cook-out, and while there it made me smile to look around and recognize so many people I consider part of that group.  So many arms to hold babies when a mama just wants to eat in peace.  So many eyes watching out for kids playing on the playground while they catch up with each other.   So many kids I adore waving or smiling or running up to say hi and give me a hug.  Yep, family.

3.  I am thankful for the kindergarten kids I got to lead around camp this week.  They were a sweet bunch and gave me no trouble at all.  I get all teary eyed when I think on the fact that these are the boys who will be Turken's classmates for the next 9 years.   They will play a part in the kind of young man Turken will become.  Their parents will be my new friends.  (Seeing as how I'm now the old lady, and all my current friends are at the end of the elementary school years, while I'm just getting started all over again.  I'll need new friends who will someday become old friends.) These kids will join the ranks of the many, many kids who know me as "(fill in the kid)'s mom".  They'll become part of our school/church family. 

4.  I am thankful for time with my friend who moved to Japan.   She is back in town for an entire month!  This week I got to have a nice, 3-hour long dinner with her at the restaurant which has become our tradition.  I look forward to many get-togethers with her over the next few weeks.

5.  I am thankful for Buttercup.  Between Hubby and Phoenix being gone, VBC, and the other boys' soccer camp, there is too much for one person to do.  Buttercup has stepped up and been a huge help this week, even getting the little boys up and ready to go on the one morning it was my turn to drive the big boys to camp. 

6.  I am thankful for carpools.  I only had to drive all the way to Butler for the soccer camp (an hour away) twice.  Four out of the five mornings, I only had to drive 4 minutes to a local gas station to make a drop-off.  Without the carpool, either soccer or VBC would have had to go.

7.  I am thankful for Hubby's job.  He is able to work flexible hours, I am able to stay home with the kids, and we are able to do so many things with them.  For sure and for certain, there never would have been a trip to Puerto Rico if Hubby had a different job.

8.  I am thankful for the big van.  The five extra seats we have is the reason we can participate in carpools.  I can help friends when they need to leave their kids for a few days.  I can have my nieces and nephews up for long visits over the summer.  My kids can simply invite their friends over if we run into them out and about town.  It's a monster that won't fit in most parking garages, but it serves us well in plenty of other ways.

9.  I am thankful for fans.  Despite the fact we got a new furnace last year, our old house just isn't conducive to proper heating and cooling.  The kids in the front of the house would roast at night (and I'd be rather uncomfortable) without fans. 

10.  I am thankful for our newish kitchen.  It's been five months since our kitchen/mudroom remodel was completed, and I'm still in love with it.  The mudroom has completely changed my life.  I simply look at everything in that huge room and think, "I used to have to trip over that junk all over the house."  And the island in the kitchen?  Makes me happy.  You know how in family sitcoms, the kids always plop themselves in the stools to talk to mom while they have a snack?  It's real.  Islands are magical. 

This things of thankful exercise is so good for getting out of a funk.  I feel so much better.

Won't you join us?

Even if you don't have a blog or simply don't want to write an entire post, let us know some of your own things of thankful.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

7 Cranky Quick Takes

I will apologize now for my bit of an attitude today.  Since last Friday, my life has been in constant motion.  It's one of those weeks where it's all about the kids, and it has left me wiped out, surrounded by a disaster of a house I don't have the energy to touch.  As I told Hubby, "I'm so exhausted, I can't even make the kids work."  Such weeks leave me feeling ornery.

Sorry, Jen, for unloading during your quick takes.  (Feel free to skip to #5 to get to less cranky bits.)
*************** 1 **************

It's the first official day of summer, which most of you are probably cheering about.  In my present mood, I see it more as the longest day of the year.  After today, it's all downhill until the end of December. 

I told you I was cranky.

*************** 2 *************

Vacation Bible Camp is this week, and it has confirmed that I am a full-fledged, should be card-carrying control freak.

For a few reasons, I decided to be a crew leader this year instead of the Bible Exploration leader I've done for 7 or 8 years.  Crew leader is an easy job, as there is no planning to do for it.  I didn't take into account, though, that I would then be mingling with the 180 campers, 30 teens and 20 adults also working the camp.  The experience reaffirmed a couple of things:

a.  I love, love, love working with kids. 

b.  I do not enjoy watching a bunch of people who don't know how to work with kids. 

I know, they're volunteers, they are doing their best, blah, blah, blah.  I know.  I'm not judging them.  It just pains me to see people struggling with a job and not being able to jump in and help.

It's much better that I be in my own room, doing my own thing, being completely in charge of what happens in that room.

Still with me?  Raise your hand if you're a cranky control freak, too!   Anyone?

**************** 3 **************

Hubby and Phoenix made it home from Puerto Rico on Tuesday.  (It was Phoenix's year for an individual trip, and Hubby got smart.  He decided where he wanted to go, then talked it up so Phoenix would choose it.)  As the kids get older, Hubby has been taking the trips with the boys.  They always want to do physical activities, and I can't guarantee that my Lupus will let me do everything.  I have never been jealous about their trips before, because they have always done things I have done in the past.  I've been white-water rafting, hiking, deep-sea fishing, and everything else they've done.

This time, though, the green-eyed monster peeked out.  They went hiking in a rain forest.  They went kayaking at dusk and got to see/get in the middle of the luminescence.  They ate at a restaurant with real, live flamenco dancers.  I've never done any of that, and it kind of annoys me.

To recap, a cranky, jealous control freak.

**************** 4 ****************

I need my morning quiet time.  I don't drink coffee, so I don't get a jolt of caffeine to start my day.  I like to ease into it.  To eat my breakfast in peace.  To catch up on some blog reading.  Perhaps go for a run. (I used to be a runner, you know.  Two weeks ago, in fact.)  But this soccer camp carpool at 7:40 and this VBC departure at 8:15 is cramping my style. 

I just want an hour of peace and quiet, for Pete's sake!

Ugh, I can hardly stand myself.  Time to turn this cranky train around.

**************** 5 ************

I got a call on Monday from a friend.  I can't say we're super close friends, since I usually only see her at Boy Scout functions.  I enjoy her to pieces, and wish we could have more time together, but she homeschools 8 kids.  Our schedules just don't match up well.

To illustrate why I love her:  When she was pregnant with baby #6, they needed to get a bigger car.   They hopped on Craig's List to find a reasonably priced vehicle big enough to fit their family.  They ended up buying a limo.  With flames on the side.  Puts my airport shuttle-mobile to shame. 

Anyway, this friend called me and said, "I am going to ask you to do a big favor for me." 

To summarize, from Thursday to Sunday, I have not six children, but nine.  In addition to my kids, I have her 4, 5, and 13 year olds while she and her husband go to DC to speak at a homeschool conference.

To give you another idea of how laid back she is (and how easy her kids are to take care of) the only requirement I gave her was, "Make sure they have shoes on."  (They rarely do in the summer.)  When she dropped them off with me, she said, "Look, they have shoes!  I don't know if they have clothes in their bags, but they have shoes.  They may be wearing the same clothes all four days.  I don't care."

She will be happy to know that they each have at least two changes of clothes.  And a pair of pajamas.

************** 6 ***********

As Monday's post showed, I have random twittery-type thoughts.  They come to me as I drive around town or as I stand in the shower.  None of them are long enough for a regular blog post, yet I feel I need to tell them to someone.  My mom has managed to get herself a busy life during retirement, so I can't count on her to always be available when I find myself to be hopelessly amusing.  So, at the urging of a certain thankful bloghop initiator friend, I got a Facebook page, though I have no idea what I'm doing.  I know I don't have "friends" on it.  It seems "liking" means the same thing.  It appears to "link up" with my "personal page", but I don't think people can get to it from my "fan page".   Also, if I "like" someone else's, does it do it as me or as my Chicken Coop persona?  For some reason, I have to go to my personal page to get to my Chicken Coop page.  Too. much. learning.

I have written one "update".  For some reason, the moment I have a place to put them, the hilarious random thoughts disappear. 

Let me know if you have any suggestions.  Or funny things I can steal and put on my page.

The "quotes" mean, "This is proper lingo, right?" 

************* 7 ***************

Tomorrow's 10 Things of Thankful Blog Hop will be just what I need to get out of this little funky funk I'm in.  You're welcome to come back and join in!! 

Please, go forth and read brighter posts.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Big Campout 2013

On Thursday, my kids finally got to celebrate the beginning of summer.  School had been over for a while, but soccer and dentist appointments and other commitments kept us from really relaxing.  They made up for it in spades.

Commence fort building. We have old barns galore, so finding a spot to set up was not difficult.  They grabbed things from the house, scavenged around the yard, and built their outdoor homes.  Water jugs, tablecloths, bricks and wood to make tables and shelves and walls, snacks, coloring books and crayons, flashlights, pocket knives.  They thought of everything.  And much to my surprise and pleasure, even hygiene.

Learning how to be a big kid.  I saw him maybe three times all day.
While I was working in the garden, I kept hearing a consistent pounding on wood and the little boys shouting, "Aye, aye, Captain!" (ala SpongeBob Squarepants theme song) over and over and over.  I later found out they were putting on a "trampoline" show.

They set up boards to bounce on and do some cool tricks.

They were choreographed and everything.

They even made stands for the audience.  (Turken was in the show.  He just sat down during my tour of the fort.)

FYI:  It is quite handy to have well-trained Boy Scouts when wanting to roast hot dogs for dinner.  Phoenix and Star had it going strong before I even got to the fire pit.

THIS.  This here is what summer is for.


While sitting near the fire, I was so overcome with the love my kids were showing for one another.  When people ask me why we have so many children, I just want to whip out photos like this.

Once the hot dogs were gone, the Scouts introduced the non-Scouts to a delicious little campfire treat.

Dad showed Buttercup how to core and fill apples with cinnamon sugar.
Wrap in foil and place on the edges of the fire.  Let cook for approximately 20 minutes.

Have a big, strong, he-man carefully take them out of the fire.

Ooohhh, what is it going to look like??

Once it cools a bit, dig in!
To end the day, the Scouts once again came to the rescue and set up the tents.  One for the big kids outside

and one for the little kids inside.

Miraculously, everyone actually slept the entire night in their tents, despite the fact that Giant is convinced a coyote was howling right outside their tent at 2:00am.

Over the days after the campout, I asked the kids some questions for you, in case your kids ever wanted to try their own campout.

First, the little boys. 

"Boys, what was your favorite part of the camp day?"

I think we all could have predicted that.

I asked the big kids what they would do differently next time, and they all agreed to plan activities for the day before the campout begins.  They spent plenty of time planning a menu for the day (even attempting to balance the junk with the healthy), but it seems they were too lax about deciding what to do all day.   (See?  A list, People!  Always prepare with a list!!!)
Back when I was young, we lived in a new neighborhood with only four houses on our street.  There were open fields, a creek behind our house, a bike path throughout the neighborhood, and woods very nearby.  We were loose all the live-long day, coming home only for meals.
It saddens me a bit that we don't live in the same kind of world anymore.  Kids who are left to roam free all day, every day are seen as having neglectful parents.  I'm so grateful to be able to live on a property out in the middle of 200 acres of corn, far from the road, where my kids can still be the kind of kids who get filthy dirty, scratch their knees all to pieces, get a few ticks, and avoid their mother all day long.  They can't do it every day, but they can do it.  
I love summer.
Have a lovely day!