July 2010


Ever feel pulled in a million directions by the demands requests of your children?  Read on…and learn!

Hoob:  “Mom, can we go driving?”

Yawlin:  “No, she has to help me with scouting stuff!”

Hoob:  “No, driving is more important!”

Yawlin:  “No, scouting is more important!”

I continue to write my to-do list for the next day, seeming to ignore the “noise” around me.

Hoob:  “Mom!” 

Silence.

Hoob:  “Can we go driving?  Can we?”

Yawlin:  “Can we finish my scouting stuff?”

Hoob:  “Driving!  Driving!  Driving!”

Yawlin:  “Scouting!  Scouting!  Scouting!”

I calmly add call Cynthia and go to library to my to-do list.

Hoob:  “Mom, pleeeeeaaaase!”

Yawlin:  “My scouting stuff needs to be done.  I have to get it done before I turn eleven.”

Hoob:  “I need to learn how to drive.”

Yawlin:  “Scouting!”

Hoob:  “Driving!”

I start to draw curlicues and smiley faces on my to-do list.

Hoob:  “If you take me driving I will give you a back rub.”

Yawlin:  “If you help me with my scouting stuff I will give you a back rub.”

I look up.

There is silence.  Blessed silence.

I smile, look at Hoob but point to Yawlin, and say, “How ’bout I help him finish his scouting stuff real quick because we were half way through it before we had to stop,”  Yawlin whoops and I continue, “and then I will take you driving.  Does that work for the two of you?”

Hoob:  “Fine.”

Yawlin:  “Yessss!”

Me:  “And I expect to get my back rubs when I get back.”

The scouting stuff was completed.  Hoob got to practice lane changes.  And I got two back rubs.

Yeah, I am the KWEEN!

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First there was youth conference, then there was our anniversary trip to St. Maarten, then a quick trip to the cabin, then there was Girls Camp.  NOW we head to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho for a family trip with my extended family.  It has been quite a summer!  I will need a vacation to recover from this summer vacation!  45 individuals will take Idaho by storm on Wednesday.  I am taking my laptop and hope to post at least once, but no promises!

I now attempt to highlight our Girls Camp experience last week by showing pics that still allow for anonymity.  Not an easy task, I tell you.  I came home with over 700 pictures–GREAT pictures that show teen girls posing, crafting, goofing off, working, hiking, reading, dancing, singing, and hugging–and am limited to a handful that don’t show faces.  

I make the attempt, though, because I got to spend the week at camp with two of my daughters.  The experience brought me closer to them, and to their friends.  Hangin’ with teen girls makes me feel young.  And, wonder of it all, they don’t consider me an old fogey, or old-fashioned, or a nerd (or so they say). 

Camp highlights: 

Some of the banners that greet visitors to Heber Valley Camp

 

*We chose to be pirates as part of our theme for the week.  We decorated our camp accordingly. 

 

 

*Each ward had to decorate a banner to display in their camp and in the amphitheater during group Stake time.  Blame the misspelling on Hub! 

  

*On the first day of camp our ward was the only ward not scheduled to go to the challenge course or the lake.  So, being the pirates that we were, we raided the other camps and left our mini flags everywhere.  The girls got quite creative, leaving the flags in the bathrooms, the fire pits, in trees, stuck in the ground, and, in the camps that had flag poles, they hoisted our mini to the top. 

 

*The wildlife showed no fear of humans. 

 

 

Sharing a pancake.

 

*We spent one morning hiking. 

 

 

*At one point girls were given the choice to continue on up to the “top” or to return to camp.  Those of us who chose to go to the top were treated to a view of Legacy Lake. 

 

*One afternoon we spent at the challenge course.  Girls participated in “Object Retrieval” and “Blind Tag.”  They worked at team building and balancing and trust.  The favorite of all of the girls was the giant swing.  And they really cheered when, after chanting my name over and over and over…and over, they talked me into trying it as well.  And once it worked for me, they tried it on their other leaders with success too. 

Someone on the giant swing.

 

 *One morning leaders were given a cd picked out randomly with a song on it that we were told to make a skit out of by evening.  The song we were given was “Lollipop.”  We had to use whatever we had in camp to make props.  Hula Hoops, beach towels, and duct tape did the trick. 

A giant lollipop.

 

*The girls were creative, as usual, and came up with a darling skit that required some girls to be the legs of other girls, while they danced and sang “Lollipop.”  Sorry, no pics here–too many faces shown–but, trust me, the skit was a hit! 

*One day we got to hike to Legacy Lake and go canoeing. 

Pond on the way to Legacy Lake.

 

 

  

  

 

*We made crafts.  There were painted frames, bracelets, coloring projects, and flip-flops.  Since I had a brain fart the day we made the flip-flops and didn’t gather enough fabric in my colors of choice for two flip-flops, I ended up having two mismatched flip-flops and had to  endure the good-natured teasing of 22 teenage girls for the rest of the week.  I have informed them that I have started a trend.  You just watch…mismatched flip-flops will be the next hot item! 

*We built campfires at night and made s’mores.  We sang songs, both silly and spiritual.  We visited and joked around every day.  We heard a lecture from the camp naturalists about the local wildlife and plants and learned that a moose can weigh up to 1,300 pounds!  We looked at the stars.  We got chased by bees.  Every day the girls read scriptures and wrote in their journals, one day they each found a spot in the woods to read and journal alone.  

Friendships were strengthened.  Secrets were shared.  Embarrassing moments were created.  Unity was fostered.  It felt like God was close.  All of the goals of camp were met.  

  

Yes, camp was a success!

There will be the typical camp activities such as campfires, making s’mores, and hiking.  There will be a day that we spend on a ropes challenge course and a day that we spend canoeing on the lake.  Every morning and evening there will be a flag ceremony as well as daily prayer and scripture study.

Yes, it is time for Girls Camp.  As the Young Womens President of my ward (congregation) I get to accompany 24 girls ages 12 thru 18 and 7 other adult leaders as we attend our annual Stake girls camp for five days.  Our Stake consists of 9 wards altogether, all of which will be converging on Heber Valley Camp bright and early Monday morning.  This is quite an opportunity for our girls because there is a four or five year waiting list to attend Heber Valley Camp, a camp owned by our world-wide church.

Our ward has chosen a pirate theme and so plan on daily raids of the other wards as we “conquer” and look for mascots we can kidnap and hold for ransom.  We have many little pirate flags that we will leave behind to show that we have conquered.  Each girl is choosing a pirate name that we are heat-pressing on to their individual bandana (it helps that my husband and I own t-shirt making equipment). 

The girls have gotten quite creative in their pirate names.   At camp with me will be a pirate named Pit of the penguin and one named Dirty Cho Cho Watson, there will be Zoogy o’Shark and Long Blackbeard Jack.  And we mustn’t forget Scarlet Pale Face, Pinky Winky, and Captain Snickerdoodle.

My bedroom has been the storage area for pirate banners, snack foods, craft items, and a stuffed parrot that we plan on naming up at camp.  Finally, on Monday morning Hub will be able to reclaim our bedroom as a bedroom instead of a storage facility as I haul all of the stuff to camp.   Today and tomorrow I help finalize the purchasing of food and other camp related booty.  Sunday evening 24 girls will bring all of their sleeping bags and suitcases to my house to be loaded onto trucks and then at 7:15 a.m. Monday we will all meet to drive to camp.

I consider myself lucky to be attending camp with two of my daughters, Mack and Hoob.  Camp has been a topic of conversation for quite a while in our home.  It is well-loved by us and by the other girls in the ward.  Obviously there is no internet service at camp, so blogging will be put on hold until I return sun-burned and bug-bitten and most likely dead tired.

Until then…

 

Having recently noticed a running theme in Blogland about “living life to the fullest” and “seizing the moment” and “not missing opportunities” and “being grateful for life” I have decided to pay more attention and see if I am living this running “theme.”  Using our recent trip to my parents cabin over the 4th of July weekend, I am going to chronicle our seized opportunities.  

*The trip itself was a seized opportunity.  Hub took Juju to California for their one-on-one trip and Shroom is off working on a ranch for a little while, so it was going to just be me and my four kids at home for the weekend.  My parents were going to their cabin, so we decided to join them.  We were also joined by one of my brothers and his girlfriend, and a niece and nephew. 

*While at the cabin my daughters decided to seize an opportunity and do my hair by styling it with whatever items they could find in the junk drawer.  They were quite proud of my new ‘do. 

Maybe it will catch on!

*There was the opportunity for the kids to pet a stray horse that my dad saw wandering around. 

 

*My niece seized the opportunity to ride the horse back to the owner’s place when he came looking for his horse.  And some of us seized the opportunity to follow along. 

 

*The owner was grateful that we’d found his horse and offered rides on “The Orbiter” that he has constructed for his grandkids. 

 

 

*The owner invited me to try The Orbiter with him.  In the spirit of adventure I decided to give it a try. 

 

He was used to making the thing go…and go…and go.  And he did it fast!  The kids got a kick out of my shrieks, and I’m sure my face looked funny too.  I was relieved when we finally stopped.  But then the owner said we had to “rewind” and he spun us in the opposite direction. 

 

Boy was I glad when he asked if I’d had enough and I could say scream “Yes!”  

I can say that I am glad that I took the opportunity to try The Orbiter.  The kids enjoyed seeing me give it a try.  But, I can also say wholeheartedly, “Been there, done that!”  No need to do it again!   I’m getting too old for such spinny things! 

*Some of the kids took the opportunity to try the swings on the horse owner’s property. 

 

*One morning Huh and her boyfriend, Plumber, suggested we go for a picnic at one of the numerous lakes in the area.  As we all discussed it, we decided that the lakes would be too crowded because of the holiday weekend.  So, instead, we decided to take an atv ride to the Bear River for a picnic.  

Max sitting in the side-by-side ready to go on a picnic!

Walking to our picnic spot.

We all got a good laugh when my mom discovered that her sandwich had no meat, just lettuce and cheese. 

Yum?

*Of course all of the kids seized the opportunity to wade in the river after eating. 

Huh and Mack in the river.

The more cautious kids stay near the bank.

We got another chance to laugh at Mack’s reaction when her flip-flop washed down the river.  Lost forever.  

 

 

*There were plenty of opportunities to take pics of thieving squirrels raiding the birdfeeders. 

 

 

Contemplating stealing birdseed.

*We took the opportunity to play games together and visit.  The kids explored the area.  We snacked.  And we relaxed. 

So, yes, I believe our weekend followed the blogland theme of seizing the moment and enjoying life and being grateful for the simple things. 

One of my favorite activities at the cabin?  Enjoying the sunset… 

I must admit, I had concerns.  Not just concerns…full-blown worries.  It’s that “mom” part of me.   But, I am happy to report that the kids all did fine while Hub and I went to St. Maarten for our 5th wedding anniversary.

*The house was still standing.  Nothing had been burned.  Nothing was broken.  I DID learn that Huh decided to take care of an ant problem on the patio by pouring gasoline on them and lighting them on fire.  WHAT THE ???!?!  She has resigned herself to the fact that I am tattling on her to her retired fire chief grandfather this weekend and she will get to hear his lecture about fire safety and NOT using gasoline to burn ANYTHING…EVER!  And Huh has learned that younger siblings will tattle. 

*The kids all did their chores–with the exception of Juju who chose to stay at her mother’s house so she wouldn’t have to do chores.  Such a teenage thing to do!

*Everybody got to where they needed to be (Webelos camps, work, birthday party, church).

*The kids didn’t starve, like they were sure they were going to do.  In fact, some of the food I got for them hadn’t even been touched when we got home:

“Hey, why didn’t you guys eat any of the bananas?”

“Oh sorry mom, we forgot they were here.”

“How can you forget they are here when they are sitting right there on the table?”

Silence.  And a sigh from me.

“We forgot about the limes for Brazilian Limeade too.  Oh, and the Cups O’ Noodles.”

Double sigh.

*My ex was in town for the weekend and took three of the kids swimming one afternoon.  Yawlin ended up getting sunburned and was quite miserable by the evening.  When I called home to check on the kids Mack was applying cold wash cloths to the burn while she waited for Huh to get back from the store with Aloe to put on the burn.  I was proud of my girls for taking care of their little brother.

*We had put the word out to neighbors that we were leaving the kids home under Huh’s care and boy did our neighbors step up and “keep watch.”  Some checked on the kids and made sure things were okay.  One even used Facebook to ask how things were going.  One couple brought the kids cookie dough to bake up and some other neighbors invited the kids to Sunday dinner.  And one “cool” neighbor took Hoob driving since she has recently received her Learner’s Permit.

*The dog got fed.  The garden got watered.  The laundry got done.

*No one died!

Yup, I guess our kids have shown us that they can survive while we are gone.  They appreciated the souvenirs we brought back for them.  And then this is what we heard:

“We missed you, but…we want you to go on another trip.  We had so much fun while you were gone!”

So there you have it folks, we have permission from our kids to take another trip! 

Here are a few lingering images from St. Maarten: