Monday, June 27, 2011

7 Days and 6 Nights

The Good:
Fireflies lighting up our glen like fairy lights every night. Just beautiful.
Low Ropes Course
Sewing silly monsters
Reverse tie-dye
Night hike and banana boats
Sand volleyball
Candle making
Swimming every day
High Ropes
Sleeping under the stars
Parachute games
The sleep walker DID NOT walk!
A trip home mid week for a shower when a parent came out to spell me!

The Bad:
One camper in tears before we even reached the camp.
One camper up all but 2 hours on the first night. Yawn.
Homesick campers
Rainstorms - with two trips to the lodge due to dangerous storms
Climbing heart attack hill to reach the dinning hall a minimum for 3x daily.

The Ugly:
Spiders bigger than my hand in all the tents.....every night....and a camp full of girl afraid of them.
Passing out more meds than a nursing home on a daily basis.
One camper who refused to use the latrines and screamed and cried about it.
Lots of fights between lots of girls.
One camper whose nickname should be "cry baby"

But all was trumped by Pepe Le Pew.  Yes. Yes. We had a STINKY camper.  So bad we changed tents half way through the week to give tent mates a break. And we ended up drawing straws to see who had to put her in their car on the way home.  You know I lost right?????

Oh. My. Word.  And we never could exactly figure out WHAT the smell was. What was it like you ask? Well, it was like a combo of dirty butt, sweaty feet, mildew and a "soiled" sleeping bag.  Not that it was any of those things....but thats what it smelled like.  I thought I would barf on the way home.  (I suspect that it was coming out of her pores...she takes meds every day.)

I did crash and burn half way through the week. I have a foot with numb toes and I was in serious pain by Wednesday. I even skipped dinner to avoid climbing the hill again.  I'm being sent to a neurologist -- but government health care means that it will be July before I am seen. I didn't expect the pain for all the camping since the foot is numb.

But I survived.

And Wed-Friday this week I do it all over again with the little girls.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

So Was It Worth It?

A week of prep.
An extra run for more supplies when a girl was added AFTER supplies bought.
Hauling 4 girls out to camp and back and delivering home for 5 days.
13 active campers.
One 8 1/2 month pregnant assistant leader.
Swimming all week.
Tye-Dyed shirts...with a couple of girls not listening...which resulted in all shirts turning purple.
One hour drive out to the farm.
One hour of horse back riding.
One hour drive back.
One child sick and taken to Urgent Care....DX strep (groan)
One long hike on a very hot day.
One overnight with 2 homesick campers.
One overly friendly skunk chasing us around. (Hysterical!!!)
One other troop out to prank us....thank goodness they fell asleep first....snicker....
One day with archery which was just not long enough...
One parent day with all kids doing skits.
Awards given to each camper.

Mighty Mouse's Award:

Oh yes.

It was worth it.

Who would have ever guessed my daughter would be awarded a Social Butterfly award?

Not me.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Explodes

I LOVE summer. I love the hot weather. I love air conditioned days indoors. I love camping outdoors. I love no schedule. I love all the festivals. I love all the time with my kids.  It has always been my favorite part of the year.

I am not the mom that dreads 3 months with the kids. I'm the mom that teaches my kids the value of lazy summer days.

So what the heck was I thinking?

Our school year was extended by a week due to snow days. Bummer.  That means Songbird went immediately into summer school the day after school got out. And she has to be there at 8 am. That's just not right.  (Songbird is ambitious. She is taking her required government course in summer school to start next year as a Senior.  Yes, my daughter is skipping over Junior year all together and will be graduating next school year. Considering she just turned 16 this is a little unsettling. But with a possible move next summer she did not like the thought of moving her Senior year.)

Tomorrow starts Girl Scout Day Camp. Its a week long "camp" for Girl Scouts to go play from 9:30-3:00. The older girls have a campout on Wednesday -- but Mighty Mouse is not in that age bracket so I didn't have to worry about that.  Except. The camp ran into a problem finding the one more Junior leader they needed. One with first aid and camp training.  So who agreed to help?  Right.  What's so bad about showing up and being a warm body and helping out the experienced people, right?

Hah. Except there was no experienced person paired with me. And the person listed as the leader wasn't at training. And the training? Well, I'm not going to say anything more on that because I'm afraid I'd get volunteered to do something about it. Needless to say I walked away from training having filled out a schedule I was not prepared for, shown a very primitive site we would be camping at, and handed a large check so I could plan activities and go buy supplies...including all the food for the campover days.

Shell shocked.  That's a good word.  And did I mention I don't have time for this? I'm in the middle of two something elses?  And they added a girl AFTER I bought all the supplies so now I have to go do it all over again...with gas the price it is AND not having the time for this?

Yes. I've proven it again. I am an idiot.

But it doesn't stop there. Oh no.

The following week I am going to 6 day REAL camp with my Junior Scouts.  6 days...5 nights. No showers. Rain or shine (and last year was 100% rain I'm told).

Oh...and then the following week....Wed-Sat.....yes, that is the week I go to GS camp with Mighty Mouse because she wants to go...but not without me.  And I'm one of the few with all the training. Again.

June is gone.

Thankfully I have a small break in July....until our son comes up for a vacation. Then we will drive him back to Texas with stops at the various grandparents in various states along the way so they can all see him.

July is gone.

And then its time to gear up for school. And go on our favorite GS camp with our troop out to the mountains. And then I fly to Texas for a week to go play with my girl friends at the lake house. And I return to put my girls in school.

August is gone.

And I did it all to myself.

Maybe its a midlife crisis gone wrong?

No idea.

But I won't be posting much.  That's for sure. Unless I take the ipad...which is very possible.

But someone might want to check on me in August....just to make sure I made it.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake....Or...I Love To Barter

I think with the way things in the economy are going we need to use the barter system more. Have a talent or skill? I might have one to that we can swap.  I don't think our world is going to get better with the debt we have now run up. I can't imagine how we could possibly fix it because some of the things we need to do is cut the politicians and reps to the bone. Take away retirement unless it exactly mirrors the military. Only provide them with the medical care the military receives. Limit terms. Etc, etc.  Not going to happen. They have the power to give themselves whatever they want while taking from the little guy and they are NOT going to take away any of their own benefits.  And its amazing how free people will be with someone else's money....hence our insane debt as a country.

Getting way off track here.


I don't have many skills or talents to trade off but I have time.  I have one friend that needed 1/2 hours worth of babysitting a few days when the kids got off the bus while she finished up school. No problem. You see she was finishing her hair dressers license.  So I traded for haircuts....something that we need regularly. Perfect trade in my opinion.

I have another friend that does custom Birthday Cakes.  I personally don't enjoy doing fancy cakes. I like to eat me some cake...but I'm not the decorating kind of girl.  But my friend is.  So I bartered a scrap, couch sized quilts for various custom birthday cakes.  Sweet.
(Very sad after daughter destroyed the top - but hey, its her cake and it tasted the same! LOL)

My barter quilt is named Let Them Eat Cake...and took about 2 1/2 days to complete.

Made from leftovers in my scrap bin.  The backing was a large roll of material I picked up at a thrift store for like $3 ... and I still have more even.

Quilt has now been delivered.  All parties are happy and we both ended up with something of value.

So how about you? Do you barter with friends and neighbors?

It might be worth thinking about.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


How far is it?

How far have you come?

The thing I like about the word "distance" is it can mean going forward or moving back. Either way, its and action word. It implies space and time.

I don't think very much in terms of the distant future.  I never know what is coming next. I don't mean that in a small sense...but a rather large one.

Will orders drop and send us off across the states or the world again?

Is it time to call it quits and leave the military behind?

If so, where do we go?  Where do we look for jobs? Everywhere? Anywhere? Somewhere specific? (This is a hard question as we don't really have a place we MUST go back to.)

Will we like the next place....or the next 5 places?  Will the kids adapt well or will it be hard on them?

See - I could spend hours on these kind of questions and focus way too much of my mind and energy on them.  And it would all be for naught.  Because what comes -- well comes.  And we always roll with it just fine. There are always snags and complications -- which we work through and move on.

So worrying about how far we will go...... its not really my thing.  Plus the Bible backs me up on that one. It's a time waster. I've got life to live.

Since I don't have roots, most of my contemplation on distance is about how far I've come. That could be physically or just growth as a person.  Either way you can look back and the the progress or lack thereof.  And I know I'm not done....there is so much distance still to travel.

But I've come so far.... a parent.  I believe we are far better parents now than we have ever been in the past.  You learn with each kid. Your priorities shift as you age and your focus is different.  Hopefully, all these years you are actively learning and adjusting your parenting skills. a Christian.  Its hard to start late in life and try to unlearn all you've ever been. Not that is a complete lobotomy....but it is a completely new way of thinking to add to or temper your personality.  I'd say I've had quite a bit of tempering. Sarcasm in no longer the first thing you notice about me.  I will speak to strangers. Hah -- I will speak to non-strangers!  And I LOVE helping others. a neighbor. For so long when we were young life was all about our family and friends. Now I take this a step farther and try to be a good neighbor.  Even if I don't care for or know someone, I can step forward to lend a helping hand without even thinking about it.  It's what you do for your neighbors. And we have seen alot of this on the tv in the places that have been hit by tornadoes and deadly storms.  Love your neighbors even if you don't have a relationship with them. Hey -- where have we heard that before??? a person.  I can see I am much calmer, patient and just more settled in the skin I'm in.  And this has been a very rocky road.   Although I tend to get over things fairly quickly, once you cross my "don't cross" line in the sand, you are done.  That can be really hard on people. (No, sorry, wasn't hard on me at all - I won't lie.) But as I travel the distance that is my life.....I find myself letting people back in that I normally wouldn't have.
(At least I hope that's growth...not some kind of idiotic old age disease!!)

You know, its really soul satisfying to look back and see the good distances we have traveled.  And the not so good ones are learning tools or stepping stones. They have their place and play their parts. I'll never be proud of them -- but I won't waste time fretting over them or punishing myself over the mistakes. We all make them. It's what you do from there that counts.  And sometimes, late is better than never.

So how about you?

Are your distances positive journeys......or a road of regret?  Is your journey forward a cause for fear and anxiety or do you live life today and take what comes as a challenge or a surprise just around the bend?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Being Prepared Part III OR ... This One's For You Anna!!

One way to help being prepared for a time without electricity or water is having camping gear at hand. Not everyone is going to have this, but I promise the campers are going to do better overall than the non campers....just because they have the extra gear.  I'm not trying to convince anyone that they need to become campers, but you could help yourself out a little by having some of those handy camping tools. Its worth considering on a small scale.

I have a friend in the area that is a non-camper.  She is now in a situation where her husband wants to take the kids camping....and she's not real enthusiastic about it.  At one point I told her I would give her a list of what we have in our gear to help her out. So Anna -- this post is just for you!  We don't actually have alot of camping gear as our family camping is very few and far between -- most of our camping revolves around  our kids and Scouts.

Our gear is stored in two plastic foot lockers.  They are lighter than the wood ones and hopefully better for wet conditions.  The only reason we have two is because as a Scout leader I don't need everything I take as a family camper...because the Big Boss has EVERYTHING.  I have total camping equipment envy of her. So not kidding.


When its just Scouts we have our own Dunk Bags.  Each bag has plate, bowl, cup and silverware. Mine also has a can opener, some tea and sugar and a sharp knife.  The point of the dunk bag is so you can hang them on a line to dry and walk away. And it keeps each persons stuff all together.  Not necessary for family camping unless you want each person to be responsible for their own dishes -- in which case it is key. Our kids are capable of maintaining their own dishes and we do not have to do it for them. This makes it easy for them.
  In the family locker we have dishes. Plenty of cups for hot and cold liquids.  The plates and bowls are mostly this hard plastic. This insulates from immediate heat transfer if the food is very hot.  All of our dishes except 2 of the enamel ware cups were picked up from the thrift store for almost nothing. The large cups have our names written on them for multiple use during the day.
At this point in time we do not have many camping cookware pieces. I have two largish pots. I also picked up a cast iron smaller pot with a lid at a Goodwill that has not been seasoned yet.  We need a few different sized cast iron skillets to round this out. We do have such in the house should they be needed for an emergency situation.

You will notice that I do not have a camp stove at this time. That will be rectified before the end of the month as I got myself in a Scout situation where I will be camping without the Big Boss and her super stuff. Oy.  We just got rid of the other two stoves we had...both Goodwill finds that used Coleman fuel. We are upgrading to a safer fuel source stove.

Next you need your stuff for doing dishes.  We have two plastic tubs and a plastic drainboard. We carry a small bottle of dish washing liquid, wash clothes, sponges/scrubbies and dish towels. Scouts actually use three tubs....soap, rinse, sterilize (cap full of bleach - in a much bigger tub - a capfull would be too much in this size). Since I am washing most of the dishes I don't bother with the bleach step on family I have a reaction to bleach so I can't get my hands in it...even diluted. In an emergency situation it would be a very good idea to have that third tub to sterilize. Last thing you need is to come down sick at that time. Same if you have children doing their own dishes.
We have a couple of makeshift type grates just in case we need them over the fire. This is our extra water container also. We fill in and keep it by the fire. Its not that good for other uses as it is soft sided and hard to handle for drinking purposes.

I keep a plastic container full of silverware, knives, can opener, tongs, etc. Do not forget fireproof, long handled cooking utensils for use over a camp fire. Also remember your hot pads for removing things from the stove...and a pair of heat resistant gloves for removing things from the fire. Welding gloves do well.  We also have a hard sided egg carrier as we always take eggs on family trips, and a camp coffee pot to keep hot water in. We also have a set of marshmellow/hot dog sticks for roasting over the fire.
I carry a coffee can full of dryer lint to help start the fire. It catches and burns pretty quick to get the kindling going.  Plus all the food covering stuff -- a box of larger ziplock bags can come in handy many different ways. Wax paper is good for covering a surface to make hamburger patties or whatever. Tinfoil is a must as it can be used in the fire for making things or used as a cover on pans on the fire.
I carry paper napkins, paper towels, TOILET PAPER, extra plastic bags for trash or wet clothing/shoes, a shower curtain in case there are showers but no curtain (yes it does happen) and two table clothes with the clips to keep them on the table.  If you get the plastic/vinyl ones you can also throw them down on the wet ground to use as a picnic surface without the wet soaking through.

This is my pile of fans.  And no, their most important purpose is not to cool me off.  Its to blow on my face and keep the bugs off of me while I sleep.  The sound of a mosquito buzzing in my ear while I'm trying to sleep drives me nuts -- in a very bad way! The canister in the middle not only runs the grey fan, it will also charge phones, etc.
Which brings me back to something I forgot to show you in the house.  The battery barn.  Right now it is rather depleted because I was just replacing all the batteries in the camping gear and 72 hour kit, indoor flashlights, etc. LOVE THESE.  I had to go online to Amazon to find it because I couldn't find them local and I knew just what a wanted.  This one has a battery tester on it also.

Lastly  I have lots of misc stuff.  Rain gear....don't leave home without it! Line/rope to string to hang the washcloth and dish towels if nothing else.  It is also a good visual barrier on one side of your camp site if you don't want people walking through.  I don't know what the heck people are thinking when you are camping and they all run through your site. Beyond bad form.

We also carry a small hatchet for firewood that needs to be shortened and a camp shovel in case you need to bury anything (think no bathroom) or to clean out the fire pit that someone left in a disgraceful way.

Handheld walkie talkies, multipurpose tool and survival whistles (with compass and slot to carry matches).

We also have lanterns, a tent, sleeping bags, sheets (so you can lay on the sleeping bag and not in it when its hot) and a blow up mattress and its pump.
Then practice your mad jigsaw puzzle skills.....and there you have it.

So Anna, I hope this helps. And before you go buy anything, go to MWR and see what the have available for check out/rent. They should have the expensive stuff for sure.  

Good luck on your first family camping trip!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

31 Days of Prayer For My Husband

Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom is one of my favorite bloggers -- like in the top ten. This month she is doing 31 Days of Prayer For My Husband.  I am not going to blog along with her but I am joining her in praying each day along side her for the most important human in my world.  Hop on over to her blog and join in if you'd like.