Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Almost over the hump...

We are in a dry and boring slump in the usually comedy filled arena known as our home. Fall break was not relaxing really, what with the puke virus making its way around the fold and torrential rains making it impossible to get out and exhaust people...who weren't throwing up. The kids are just exhausted. While they can do funny things when they are in this state, they do not respond well to our amusement at their condition. Kind of like the equivalent of poking an already grumpy bear who went to bed super angry and then expecting it to wake up amused. I'd rather stick a poker in a hornets' nest.

It is bedtime here at the ranch. I am trying to stick it out to watch a full episode of "American Horror Story: Freak Show", but I saw the terrifying clown and I think it is time to watch some super happy fun stuff. I will say that Kathy Bates is amazing as the bearded woman and her accent is incredibly similar to several of my relatives up north. Oh well...bedtime is here and I have a date with Sheldon, Leonard and the gang. Night all.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I know you are sick of it...

This is going to be short. I am tired and I have little brain power left. I have, since 5:30, been at the high school for the county marching band exhibition. All the high schools in the county played their shows for all the parents with kids in marching bands in the county. Thirteen bands were there, chilly and ready to play. We saw all sizes, shapes and decibel levels this evening. While I enjoyed them all, I loved AE High School the best. The whole band could have fit in our living room, but they danced and danced and played their ten instruments to death. I never get tired of hearing our band play. They have improved every week and it is a joy to watch them. S has been a guest with them this season, but she has had an absolute ball...she has found her place of comfort. It is so nice to see.

My face is windburnt and my toes are still frozen. Time to hunker down under some covers and get warm and sleepy.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

It's a Monday for sure...

Today is a Monday for sure. Nothing bad happened. Just had no desire to get up out of the warm bed. Nor did the children. The dog had no problem with getting up and wanting everyone else to be as excited as she was about being up. I found one child laying in the floor, fully clothed, pep talking under their breath to "Wake up wake up wake up!!". One child asked if she could just sleep through breakfast. The other kept wondering if the dog could come to school to keep them awake. I would have liked to let them all stay home and have a lazy day, but I don't want to ever get sideways of the truant officer. The kids got off to school and I hit the grocery store and started baking goodies. Band parents were asked to help provide baked goods for the concession stand at the competition tomorrow. So I made a few:

Nothing complicated, but tasty just the same. Hopefully it will bring in a tiny bit of cash.

Hope everybody has a lovely evening. I am going to build some bears this evening. Hopefully my fingers won't be raw from my slips of the needle. Who knows...
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

I am tired...but then who isn't?

Many thanks to the hub who filled in while I was in a sleepy TN town freezing my rear end off watching a band competition for several hours. I had not planned to attend this one, but parental guilt overtook me and I showed up. The hub was in soccerland with the youngers, so I just decided why not. I am a band geek from many years back and have been to more than a lot of competitions. We were out on the field at attention, ready to perform, when some nice person turned the huge stadium lights off. Nice. We had to stand there for what seemed like an eternity until the things came back on so the judges could see us play. I love all the excitement and the theatrics and the different ways the schools cheer for their bands...or how the band student reps conduct themselves and respond when scores and awards are announced. I was sitting, nestled very uncomfortably between two groups of fans from two different schools. One school was the "we can't sit still and are going to put our feet on the metal bleachers and make them shake annoyingly because we have the jimmy legs and can't stop shaking them...all while elbowing innocent people(me)in the knees and spill our shakes from Sonic all over peoples' shoes and laugh and laugh and pull our sweatshirt up and make our friends smell our sweaty armpiits.". The other school was the "I don't care if we are supposed to be quiet during the shows, I am going to show that I have a stadium volume whisper and comment on everyone's appearance and express shock at their abiliities to carry their horn because of their gender while my husband and grandfather continuously clear their throats and what sound like their lungs and entire sinus cavities every five minutes while making the rest of the people around immediately think 'ebola'". It is hard to enjoy band tributes to the Stones or Zeppelin or Fiddler on the Roof when your seat is shaking uncontrollably and you are ducking in fear of flying phlegm. Our drum major's grandma was sitting behind me...not sure how annoyed she was. The man right next to me did say, "How tacky!" a few times.

The band emerged victorious and got very good scores and lots of trophys. It took me the drive back to unthaw my extremities. It was worth it. Their happy faces made the strange bleachermates not so bad. Still a good story...but not so bad.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wesley Woods Recap

Note: The bloggess is out supporting the Marching Band at a Band Competition. The guest blogger is her husband tonight.

I had the honor to chaperone Grace's 5th Grade trip to Wesley Woods. Some might call this a chore; I call it an investment in my daughter. I took the same trip 3 years ago with Sarah.

I am a big proponent of Outdoor Education for several reasons:
-Where else can you talk about ecosystem, learn about invasive bugs that are killing the Hemlocks in the Smokies, and catch a Crawfish during stream ecology?
-Where else can you learn to work as a team to solve problems on a challenge course?
-Where else can you teach kids its okay to spend the night in the woods and eat camp food and be away from home?

I was able to see Grace experience Camp, challenge herself, and learn about nature. I was able to see positive relationships she has built with her peers and her teachers. Grace does extremely well in these situations. Since she has been to camp for several years, she appeared as the expert about all things Welsey Woods. She could help friends understand the dining hall processes and the whereabouts of all things at camp. I am a proud father of Grace. She is growing into a wonderful young lady right before my eyes. This trip will be a snapshot of great times with my daughter.

One of my favorite activities at camp this year was hiking the Blueberry Trail at camp with Bob. Bob looked familiar from dropping our children off at camp during the summer when its focus is a church camp. Rev. Bob Hayes serves as a Minister-In-Residence during camp over the last 25 years. He immediately began telling stories and bonding with the 10 year olds. My initial goal was to "survive the hike" with my newly reconstructed back; I didn't care if I got anything else out of it... I just wanted the afternoon hike done! We started out the hike, Bob stopped and told stories, taught ecology, and instructed how to traverse difficult part of the hike as we walked up a stream bed. I was the caboose. My goal was keep the children between the Bob and I. At 80 years old, Bob could hiked the trails like a 25 year old. He plowed up the stream and switchbacks. I was so glad the 5th graders were huffing and puffing in front of me... I was not the slowest guy on the trail and my back was holding up. I climbed up and over rocks, downed trees, and through the muck of the stream.

Towards the end of the hike, while the children were resting on a log, Bob told a story of a refugee, An (aka Andy), that he and his wife sponsored from Vietnam 35 years ago. Andy came to America without knowing any English when he was in the 10th grade. Andy lived with Bob and his wife for 5 years. Bob talked about taking Andy hiking in the woods and leaves were falling off the trees. Andy became very concerned about the trees dying. In Vietnam, Andy stated that when trees lose their leaves, then they are dead. There are no deciduous in Vietnam. Bob also mentioned that Andy had never seen ice on a frozen stream. It was a wonderful moment of learning about ecology and recounting of Andy's experience in the woods as a way of teaching about ecology. One of the students, Max, asked the "Paul Harvey" question: "What's the rest of the story?" Andy graduated college, moved to Chicago, married and has 3 children. He teaches Art Education. Bob paused. His eyes got tears in them. He proceeded slowly and explained that about 3 weeks ago Andy was hanging up art work at school and fell off the ladder that he was on. Andy has been in ICU with an unknown fate ever sense. Max had that awkward moment of "Why did I ask that question?" Bob, in his pastoral wisdom, comforted Max briefly. Bob was off down the trail. I went from "survive the hike" dread mode to wishing we could hike with Bob for a few more hours to hear more about ecology and his life stories.

Tonight, I ask for prayers for Andy. I am thankful to God for placing Bob into my path this week.

Additionally, I was very nervous about going to Wesley Woods this week. I had concerns over whether my back would tolerate the physical activity or fail during this endeavor. I am so pleased that I went to camp with Grace and my back held up as well as it did. Yes, I am tired... but it is a good kind of tired!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

A quick note

The hub and G returned each in one piece from the 'Woods. They were dirty and exhausted and G is covered with massive mosquito bites. I took a trip to our favorite Fruit and Berry Patch with the little guys and gals at our church. Dennis Fox gave them his annual speech about not eating pokeweed or any other berries that present themselves on their journey around the farm:

S had another home football game and got to see one of her best buddies from the opposing school. Her joy was short lived as the pain of braces put a damper on everything. Currently we are trying to figure out if G is falling prey to the stomach crud that hit some of her friends at camp or if the massive mosquito invasion on her body is having an adverse reaction that is worse than normal. Here's hoping that the Benadryl will kick in soon and she will be able to sleep this off.

Here's hoping...

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Braced for the reaction

We hit yet another milestone in our family today. We made a visit to our orthodontist, Dr. Pickering, and got some braces today. Many years ago I went to see Dr. White and had the same thing done. I was shocked at the difference in application time. I was in his office for hours and went home to drug up and drink milshakes. S went in and got the braces on in less than 10 minutes. Then she received her instructions and asked to go back to school for science review. She even got to wear fancy glasses while being worked on:

No trying to play the mine's bigger than yours game, but we had our own earphones at Dr. White's office that played soft rock hits of the 60's, 70's and 80's. Just sayin'. She is currently experiencing some aching in her mouth which is not shocking. Hopefully she will be able to sleep tonight.

A lot happened after I posted last night. The hub and G had an adventure whilst away at school camp. It the throes of one of her favorite summer camp games, Gagaball, G jammed the fire out of her thumb to the point that ibuprofen and ice did not help. They took a trip to urgent care to get xrays and make sure the thumb wasn't broken. As far as they could tell, just a severe sprain. Waiting for the radiologist to make the final call. She is splinted up and fine. They will return tomorrow and I look forward to their return. A whole bunch.

The boy stayed home today. He really could have gone to school, but he had a thought in his mind that he would get in trouble if he went back to school the next day. He is mortified by the thought of getting in trouble. That boy.

I am going to finish up here and finish sewing the ears on a bear while watching Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. Riveting evening.

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