Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Camping Adventure, Day 1

161/365

Saturday morning, we woke up with a start, and started loading the car up to go camping at Lake Tipsaw in southern Indiana.  We estimated it would take about 3 hours to get there.  And our theory was that we'd meet up for lunch and caravan down.  I suggested Brozzini's, and told my Dad we'd be there in case he wanted to pop by.  He popped by all right, but we were tremendously late. We picked up Chris from his overnighter, and he'd had a great time.  Then I took him to his makeup Karate class.  We expected the car to be practically ready to go...only it wasn't.  And with all three yahoos running around, it took us a long time to get cooking.  It turned out my Dad was waiting on us all for lunch, and we were late.
Still, he was wonderful, and kept waiting for an hour until we got there.  So we started off our trip with a fabulous lunch with friends and family.  And it was good.


The kids were so excited to see each other.  
I don't think Chris and Emily realized until Thursday that we were going camping with both families together.  When I mentioned that Emily was done with school for the summer, he lost his mind, but we Have to see her, Tonight!  We will.  We will see them plenty.  Still, you'd think these kids hadn't seen each other in years the way they were running around being so nutsy in the restaurant.  


video

Still, my favorite part, was when we went to say Goodbye to my Dad.  He had brought me near tears after the wild and crazy, stressful morning, and making him wait, he bought our lunch.  When it was time to say Goodbye, the kids bowled Daddy and MB over with their loving.  It was kind of appropriate.  I would have, but they did it for me.  Then we hit the road....or at least we planned to. 

It took us another hour to leave Greenwood.  Mike needed more supplies from Wal-mart....on a Saturday afternoon, quite possibly the worst time to shop.   And then as soon as started moving again, the tarp on the roof of the car started flapping.  We stopped to tuck it into the doors, but it didn't work.  Every time we got above 60 miles an hour the flapping would cause problems.  An o-ring banging on the window.  We lost a sleeve of paper cups.  Finally, we pulled over again, deciding to take S.R. 37 down instead of I-65, we figured we'd have a better chance at staying under 60.  With lunch, shopping, and stops, it took us 4 hours to leave Johnson County.  



The big boys were stuffed and surrounded with stuff. When Daddy rearranged the top, the toilet went in by the boys.  They didn't care....as long as the ipad was working.  They watched Frozen and didn't mind that we were stopping every few minutes.  


One of our roadside stops.  I know they'll kill me for posting this. But we're stopped at the highway, trying to fix the roof, and the kids start griping how they have to pee.  So we went old school.  I must admit, I wish, as a girl, it was as easy for me to pee on the side of the road.  



We got into Southern Indiana, and started getting beautiful hills, and some delicious looking limestone rock. 

It took us almost 4 hours to take the alternate route.  We pulled into Hoosier Nat'l Forest, at Lake Tipsaw at 7:45 pm.  Eric had wanted to get an early start so that he wouldn't be putting up tents in the dark. 


But with all the drama, guess what happened? We put up tents in the dark.  


The kids brought their scooters, and we had a great concrete pad that they could skate around on.  


Jake was so happy to be out of the car, he didn't even mind letting Kathleen hold him while we did some unloading.  Well, not much.  See?!  It's almost a smirk. ;) 


Because Eric and Mike were putting up tents pretty late, it fell to Kathleen and I to start the fire and get dinner going.  Yeah.  That was about it. So we got pretty goofy.  I was amazed I didn't get so hungry and eat people.  Helps that we had plenty of snacks, and stopped for milkshakes, I guess.  Eric had picked up these great fire gloves for moving logs around.  And Kathleen and I got a little punchy with them.  

Just call me Dahling.

We didn't eat dinner until 10:30, the kids went down at 11.  And we were going to go to bed too, but we were so blithering we just sat and stared at the fire.  And the stars.  Oh the stars.  Way out there, in the middle of nowhere, the stars were breathtaking.  The sky was clear, it looked like we were smack dab in the middle of the Milky Way.  Traditionally, I say Leave the computers at home when you go camping.  But Kathleen had gotten a fancy app that finds constellations, and after the yahoos were all down, we were out in the street, surrounded by darkness, staring up, finding the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and giggling about Bootes.  I forget how much I like Astronomy until I get surrounded by the stars in nature.  It was really beautiful.  And the perfect note to end the night on.  




Friday, May 30, 2014

A Big Day for my Biggest

160/365

Some brother was very happy to see his little brothers when the boys and I showed up at Field Day. 
I love going to cheer for Chris and his classmates on Field Day.  
Last year, Eric came with me since I was still a little under the weather after having Jacob, so he drove and we didn't stay long.  But this year, I packed Jake on my back, and Sam and I hiked that field to find Chris and his class lost among all the cuteness of the elementary school.  Chris was so thrilled when he found us, and vice versa. 


Jacob thought the whole process was interesting.  


He was rather enchanting.  Lots of kids thought he was so sweet.  He was mad I put a hat on him.  We had water to drink, and we yelled really loud.  It was in the 80s so nice and warm for a day outside, and sunny.  But not too hot.  

We watched Chris throw tennis balls and mark his spot with a flag, and we cheered for him and his classmates.  Then the cross country event began.  Then Jacob started to scream his head off.  Chris did great, he was in the lead pack for the first half of the loop.  But then he reached his limit, and slowed way way down.  Jacob screamed his head off for the whole race.

I videotaped it, but it's a little long and wonky, so HERE if you want to see Chris in his race.  I think we're going to be doing some training together this summer.  He and I both could stand for some improvement, and he's got a great sprint, he could Run like his Daddy I bet.


After his race he was pretty pooped out. 

We headed back home, I thought he'd be Exhausted by the end of the day. 
But he wasn't.  He had schemy ideas.  He wants to be a Cub Scout.  Last week we attended an information meeting about Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. And it just so happened they were having their annual campout this Friday evening.  Hmm.  Chris wanted  to go so bad.  Only we're leaving town to go camping this weekend.  As a compromise I told him we'd attend.  It was supposed to be a weinie roast, and bonfire. 
So after Eric got home from work, we went.  


Chris went crazy, he wanted to run through the field of tall grass. His legs were breaking out when we left.  He and Sam got eaten alive by mosquitoes, and didn't care a bit.   When I finally did hit them with bug bomb it was too late.  And we were there for 2 hours before they even started the fire for dinner.  Eric and I were starving.  Sam had drunk his weight in lemonade, so he didn't care that dinner was late.  But I did.  Jake was done too.  Chris thought watching the big kids start the fire was great.  


Little did Chris know that Miss Marcy had a huge tent and extended an open invitation for anyone who didn't have a tent (or want to put one up) could just bring a sleeping bag and crash on their floor.  So I had packed one in the trunk.  I told Chris I was packing for the camping trip, not entirely untrue.  So when we were ready to go, and Chris had been behaving well, I unloaded a sleeping bag, and gave him to Miss Marcy.  I gave my child to a woman I barely knew for an overnight.  It was very strange, an exercise in trust.  But we did it.  And I have no doubt Chris has had an Amazing time!

Brokey Toe

159/365

Yup - I broke my toe.  Monday morning, I was dashing across the house, after the baby, and I dinged my pinkie toe on a box at the top of the stairs.  It hurt like the dickens.  I could feel it up into my ankle, and I couldn't bare any weight on it.  I was pretty sure it was broken.  I broke one a few years back, and the inability to walk was similar.  It also swelled up and began turning colors.  I iced it down, made sure it was straight (ish) and taped it to the toe next door.   Well, the bandaid came off today, and the colors don't look so bad, a little red/purple.  Not bad.  And it looks like it's at a funny angle, but no really, it was crooked before too. ;)


We're getting ready to go on a camping trip.  I'm not sure how I'm going to do it with a broken toe. 
But my first step was to clean out the car so we can load it up.  I set the boys outside to play, in the shade while I cleaned it out.  Jacob thought watching his brother play was pretty cool, much cooler than watching me gimp around the garage trying to put things away.  They are going to have  a lot of fun this summer. 

Something Old and New

158/365

A couple years ago, my MOPS group disbanded. I'm not saying it's entirely my fault they disbanded.  There were a lot of circumstances.  Our leaders kids were aging out, that left pretty much me to be the only one who could rule the group.  I said No.  I don't regret that decision, well, not entirely, but I miss seeing my gals regularly.  I keep busy though. I still have a wonderful network of moms to help me through the tough times.  And we have had plenty of those tough times in the last two years since we ended the group.  Unfortunately, we thought we'd get together a lot more often than we have. Even though we still have a great network, it's not the same.   I miss the old crew, the old Friday mornings, and some of the best breakfast foods I'd ever eaten.

What I didn't realize was that I also missed the group.  The discussions. The attempt at being a better mom.

I saw my mother in law yesterday, she was watching the littles so I could go and help out at Chris's school and have lunch with him one more time. Afterwards, we were discussing the week's plans.  She was heading out Wednesday afternoon to go see Aunt Teri and play in Florida for a month.  She had a MOPS meeting in the morning.  She's been helping to start a new MOPS group at St. Andrews.  Once again, she asked me to go.  I had no reasons not to.  Sam is off school.  I had done my shopping last week, so there was no need to do a Costco run, of course, I'd be completely disinclined to do so because shopping with 2 littles is not my joy.  If I had my way,  I'd just go in the middle of the night, or only for 5 items at a time, until August, or send Eric.  Anyway, I digress.  I didn't have a reason to say no.  Mom mentioned there had been some meetings that no moms had come to.  She and another friend were in charge, sort of.  I told her she needs to tell the Moms.  She's got the child care arranged, but no moms.  But they aren't advertising, or spreading the word much to the area.  She had an Area Coordinator coming to speak the next day and she was so worried no one would show up.

So I did.

And the meeting was me, my sister in law, and Mom....and the area coordinator.

And it was Great.

I swore going in, that just by attending, that does Not mean I'm signing up for Mops again.  But I had good ideas, things that had worked so well for our old group, and I was able to share them.  Where I once was an inexperienced, traumatized, fairly new mom, now I'm on my third toddler, and so much less stressed about milestones, and only stressing about trying to get this child to this place.  However, in spite of digging myself into quite a deep hole of busy-ness, I haven't really been working to better myself, or focusing on how to destress, or to be better mom.  And I'd forgotten that element of Mops.  And it was nice.  Even though I see Mom and Amy fairly regularly, it had been a Long Time since we'd talked so much, so uninterrupted.  I missed it.  The thing that got me was that Mom thought she was part of a team doing the leading, the startup of the group, but after attending, I realized She was leading it, and she didn't know she was, and she didn't know what to do.  She needed help.  She needed a committed team.

And it's not going to be me.

But it might be me, that goes back in the fall.  I liked my Mom2Mom group and my old Mops group, but I'm just barely coming out of a deep dark place, where I can finally begin to give again instead of take.  I was hurt by those who promised to help, when I needed it, and who didn't.  I still harbor a lot of anger and bitterness to those.  Another of my issues with resuming all my old ways was how hurt and angry I was that when I needed help, I didn't get it.  I could count on my hand the people that helped out when I was sick, and it saddens me.  But the whole process showed me who my true friends are.  I don't want to overextend myself giving in groups that didn't help me when I needed it.  It's hypocritical. That didn't sound right. I know these Christian organizations shouldn't be all about me, but what God wants us to do for others.  But if they aren't doing for all but a few, then that isn't what I signed up for.  It's one of the things I've been dealing with this past year. I sit there and stew in my anger and frustration.  And I haven't known what to say, or how to deal with it.  I had to shut down my circles when I was sick, and only spend my energy on a few priorities.  Now I'm getting better, I have more energy and health, I want to open my life back up again.  But I need to choose wisely.  My time is precious, even if no one sees that a stay at home mom has valuable time, it is precious to me.  And if I choose to spend it with someone, or with a group of people that don't feel that spending their time with me is precious, like if they say one thing and do another, or spend the whole time on their cell phones, I don't want to waste my precious time with them.

But this group, even if it is just Mom and Amy, well, they aren't like that.  And goodness knows, my old Mops group dug me out of some tough times, so I know the Mops organization isn't like that.  I remember how flummoxed I was as a new parent, and the parent of a special needs child.  I was met with love and understanding, and none of that group held it against us that Chris was poopy all the time in child care, or that I was a hot mess, and often unreliable.  Now I'm on the other end.  And even though I don't desire leadership, maybe I can open my heart and mind a bit, just to participate again.  But Maybe I can help some other new Mom, another Mom that was in such a mess like I was.  That idea makes me want to get involved again.  And I worry I'm just asking for trouble.

Anyway, all kinds of thoughts started swirling after that meeting.  It was good, and it got me thinking.  And honestly, I haven't done a lot of thinking lately. I was underwater for so long, it's been refreshing just to keep my head above water.  I hadn't thought much about What I wanted to do once I was Out of the water.  (I know, so many metaphors, so little time.)

So I went to lunch with Mom.  We went across the street to the bagel place. We used to go almost weekly when Chris was in preschool at St. Andrews.  I loved it there.  They used to know us by sight.  Not so much now.  It had been ages since I'd been.  In fact, I didn't even know what Sam would like.  Chris always liked the pink bagel with pink cream cheese.  But Sam can't have pink.  And he's not really a bagel fan.  I got him an egg sandwich on a bagel thin.  And he liked it ok.

I think I liked best that I had these sweetboys as my lunch date as well as Mom.  She had to skip out pretty quick, while Sam still puttered around, he's been attending the Prissy School of Eating lately.  But even slow, he was still sweet.  He asks the craziest questions now.  His mind is really taking off.


I am Blessed to have these sweetie pies as my lunch buddies.  


All in all, I'm pretty darn Blessed all around, as a Mom.  Maybe I am ready to Share the Joy.




Something Old and New

158/365

A couple years ago, my MOPS group disbanded. I'm not saying it's entirely my fault they disbanded.  There were a lot of circumstances.  Our leaders kids were aging out, that left pretty much me to be the only one who could rule the group.  I said No.  I don't regret that decision, well, not entirely, but I miss seeing my gals regularly.  I keep busy though. I still have a wonderful network of moms to help me through the tough times.  And we have had plenty of those tough times in the last two years since we ended the group.  Unfortunately, we thought we'd get together a lot more often than we have. Even though we still have a great network, it's not the same.   I miss the old crew, the old Friday mornings, and some of the best breakfast foods I'd ever eaten.

What I didn't realize was that I also missed the group.  The discussions. The attempt at being a better mom.

I saw my mother in law yesterday, she was watching the littles so I could go and help out at Chris's school and have lunch with him one more time. Afterwards, we were discussing the week's plans.  She was heading out Wednesday afternoon to go see Aunt Teri and play in Florida for a month.  She had a MOPS meeting in the morning.  She's been helping to start a new MOPS group at St. Andrews.  Once again, she asked me to go.  I had no reasons not to.  Sam is off school.  I had done my shopping last week, so there was no need to do a Costco run, of course, I'd be completely disinclined to do so because shopping with 2 littles is not my joy.  If I had my way,  I'd just go in the middle of the night, or only for 5 items at a time, until August, or send Eric.  Anyway, I digress.  I didn't have a reason to say no.  Mom mentioned there had been some meetings that no moms had come to.  She and another friend were in charge, sort of.  I told her she needs to tell the Moms.  She's got the child care arranged, but no moms.  But they aren't advertising, or spreading the word much to the area.  She had an Area Coordinator coming to speak the next day and she was so worried no one would show up.

So I did.

And the meeting was me, my sister in law, and Mom....and the area coordinator.

And it was Great.

I swore going in, that just by attending, that does Not mean I'm signing up for Mops again.  But I had good ideas, things that had worked so well for our old group, and I was able to share them.  Where I once was an inexperienced, traumatized, fairly new mom, now I'm on my third toddler, and so much less stressed about milestones, and only stressing about trying to get this child to this place.  However, in spite of digging myself into quite a deep hole of busy-ness, I haven't really been working to better myself, or focusing on how to destress, or to be better mom.  And I'd forgotten that element of Mops.  And it was nice.  Even though I see Mom and Amy fairly regularly, it had been a Long Time since we'd talked so much, so uninterrupted.  I missed it.  The thing that got me was that Mom thought she was part of a team doing the leading, the startup of the group, but after attending, I realized She was leading it, and she didn't know she was, and she didn't know what to do.  She needed help.  She needed a committed team.

And it's not going to be me.

But it might be me, that goes back in the fall.  I liked my Mom2Mom group and my old Mops group, but I'm just barely coming out of a deep dark place, where I can finally begin to give again instead of take.  I was hurt by those who promised to help, when I needed it, and who didn't.  I still harbor a lot of anger and bitterness to those.  Another of my issues with resuming all my old ways was how hurt and angry I was that when I needed help, I didn't get it.  I could count on my hand the people that helped out when I was sick, and it saddens me.  But the whole process showed me who my true friends are.  I don't want to overextend myself giving in groups that didn't help me when I needed it.  It's hypocritical. That didn't sound right. I know these Christian organizations shouldn't be all about me, but what God wants us to do for others.  But if they aren't doing for all but a few, then that isn't what I signed up for.  It's one of the things I've been dealing with this past year. I sit there and stew in my anger and frustration.  And I haven't known what to say, or how to deal with it.  I had to shut down my circles when I was sick, and only spend my energy on a few priorities.  Now I'm getting better, I have more energy and health, I want to open my life back up again.  But I need to choose wisely.  My time is precious, even if no one sees that a stay at home mom has valuable time, it is precious to me.  And if I choose to spend it with someone, or with a group of people that don't feel that spending their time with me is precious, like if they say one thing and do another, or spend the whole time on their cell phones, I don't want to waste my precious time with them.

But this group, even if it is just Mom and Amy, well, they aren't like that.  And goodness knows, my old Mops group dug me out of some tough times, so I know the Mops organization isn't like that.  I remember how flummoxed I was as a new parent, and the parent of a special needs child.  I was met with love and understanding, and none of that group held it against us that Chris was poopy all the time in child care, or that I was a hot mess, and often unreliable.  Now I'm on the other end.  And even though I don't desire leadership, maybe I can open my heart and mind a bit, just to participate again.  But Maybe I can help some other new Mom, another Mom that was in such a mess like I was.  That idea makes me want to get involved again.  And I worry I'm just asking for trouble.

Anyway, all kinds of thoughts started swirling after that meeting.  It was good, and it got me thinking.  And honestly, I haven't done a lot of thinking lately. I was underwater for so long, it's been refreshing just to keep my head above water.  I hadn't thought much about What I wanted to do once I was Out of the water.  (I know, so many metaphors, so little time.)

So I went to lunch with Mom.  We went across the street to the bagel place. We used to go almost weekly when Chris was in preschool at St. Andrews.  I loved it there.  They used to know us by sight.  Not so much now.  It had been ages since I'd been.  In fact, I didn't even know what Sam would like.  Chris always liked the pink bagel with pink cream cheese.  But Sam can't have pink.  And he's not really a bagel fan.  I got him an egg sandwich on a bagel thin.  And he liked it ok.

I think I liked best that I had these sweetboys as my lunch date as well as Mom.  She had to skip out pretty quick, while Sam still puttered around, he's been attending the Prissy School of Eating lately.  But even slow, he was still sweet.  He asks the craziest questions now.  His mind is really taking off.


I am Blessed to have these sweetie pies as my lunch buddies.  


All in all, I'm pretty darn Blessed all around, as a Mom.  Maybe I am ready to Share the Joy.




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Time to water the flowers

157/365

They've been threatening rain for the last 2 1/2 days.  We planted the raspberry plants, that my friend brought this weekend, because we thought it would rain.  We planted the end of school marigold Sam gave me on his last day, and the petunia Jake received on his last day of kindermusik class.  We really thought it was going to rain.  Only, it didn't.  It was supposed to rain all week, and be sunny all weekend.  It will now rain of course, because we caved this evening, and watered the flowers.

After the watering was done, the water droplets sparkled on the flowers, so I grabbed the camera and went out to practice some shots.


My kousa dogwood is blooming.  It's beautiful.  


The lighting was kind of fuzzy as the sun was setting, but it turned out just perfect. 


This one almost looks like a cross to me.  So cool. 


Water droplets on the begonia that Daddy got me for my birthday that we planted in the hanging basket. 


The begonia center.


Last year, Eric got me a pink knockout rose. This thing really does Knock Out these blooms.  It has the prettiest pink blooms.   I don't even need to doctor these.  Or any of these pictures really, the colors just pop!


Lo, a rose ere blooomin'!


I love these pretty little blooms.  


Lastly, a few shots of the carnation that Chris picked out when we went shopping on Saturday morning. 
For 1$, he picked out a pretty red, white, and blue carnation.  
He has pretty good taste. ;) 


I know how they made it.  They took a white carnation, put in water with blue dye for a while, then switched to red before selling it to us.  But it really is beautiful.  And perfectly patriotic for this Memorial Day weekend.


God and man can sometimes make some really beautiful things when they work together.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

156/365

This morning, I was sitting having breakfast when I saw this visitor at the birdfeeder.  
That's right, it's my first hummingbird picture this year!  
I was able to dash and get my camera, and he hadn't left yet.  


I think I need to keep the zoom lens a little closer to the back door though, because he moves around pretty fast.  We had JUST cleaned out the hummingbird feeder on Saturday.  Ants had climbed into it and drowned, and no hummers were coming around.  This time Eric put some ant traps at the base of the pole so they won't be interfering with the hummers.  Looks like it worked! 


I'm hoping it will be the first of many.  

Meanwhile, we didn't have much planned today.  A nice quiet day.  Good thing, because I tripped on a box, and I'm pretty sure I broke my pinky toe.  Still, after some time I was able to get slowly moving around, if I don't stand on it too long, I can do things like step outside....or go down the stoop and pose like a goofball.  I broke out the tripod for pictures of all 5 of us in this year's flag shirts.   I love it when we all match, it's hard to lose us in a crowd, and I find we all get a lot of use out of flag shirts.  
Like just yesterday for example.  


My boys look pretty dreamy in red, white, and blue. 


I decided to play around with different lighting, and shooting in manual, changing my ISO in the backyard. 
I even broke out the tripod. 


Eric's comment is how the back scene doesn't change, but the looks on our faces do. 
Yes they do, we all look pretty goofy. 


Cute, but goofy.  
Happy Memorial Day. 
I hope you all had a good weekend too, and remember why we can do what we do.  

To be Free to have a cookout

155/365



We had the fam over for a cookout last night for Memorial Day weekend. 
Last weekend, I went to this photography class, and the teacher recommended a website, digital photography school.  My first assignment was Food.  I was to take a picture of something pretty foodwise.  Unfortunately, this week, we just didn't have the opportunity to eat pretty food.  
So, this weekend, I decided I'd get a little fancy.  I saw something like this done last year on pinterest.  Now, generally, I'm not fancy enough to make fancy food.  But I loved the idea of a flag made of fruit.  So I gave it a go, and it wasn't too hard.  Although I did learn, I don't have much in the way of flat display dishware.  
Still, this would have been my contribution to the Food assignment if I'd done it before the end of the week.  I didn't get it done on time.  Even still, not only did I prep the food, I took the picture in manual, and both turned out just as I wanted, I'm rather proud of myself.  Tasty too! 

Of course, I didn't prepare all the food. It was a pitch-in.  We had fruit, potato salad, and chicken marinating.  And Mom and Dad brought brats, burgers, and buns.  Eric did the grilling outside.  I saw this internet meme the other day, it said. Memorial Day, in case you thought it was National BBQ day.  I don't forget the reasons for the seasons.  Honestly, on this day we got the best reason of all to celebrate, my brother in law is back from Jordan.  Though he went directly to Texas, and Lisa went to visit my Grandma.  On Memorial day she used to go to Michigan to put flowers on the graves, now Li and my Mom join her.  So it is just perfect for us to spend the weekend with family, with those that will have us.  And we're free to have our cookout because of all that has been done before us.  And boy did we! 


We had quite a haul.  And it was yummy!  It was so nice to have the fam over.  We hadn't seen everyone since Jake's birthday weekend, when Cole got baptized.  And at that age, they grow so fast.  Cole and Jake were almost interacting, and Jacob and Jeremiah were practically playing together, almost ready to fight over toys.  These three sweetboys are going to be a lot of fun.  


Baby Cole was sporting his Batman onesie and big we got for him.  He looked pretty fabulous.  
When I broke out the camera, he hammed it up for me.  


After dinner, we girls were sitting around, full.  Mom said, you know this is why I like to go for a walk.  Honestly, it sounded like a great idea.  I hadn't moved my body much this week since hurting my back. Then I tweaked my foot on Friday too.  This was one time I actually felt like getting out.  So we all loaded up and took over our road, the whole fam going for a walk.  We were a funny crew.  3 strollers and a car full of crazy. 


Christopher wanted to drive his purple car for his drive/ride around the block.  

I was rather amazed the thing could bear the weight of Kaylee, Chris AND Sam.  Honestly, it was going pretty slow, so they kept switching drivers. (Why do we call them 'Chinese Fire Drills'? I started to tell the kids about that, when I realized how un - P.C that sounded)  Once there were only a couple kids in the car, it went a little faster.  


Sam got to drive for the very first time.  Chris shared.  That was pretty historic.  Chris had gotten out to run/walk the rest of the way.  By the time we were on the home stretch, Sam was driving all by himself.  I was very proud of Sam, for a new driver he did quite well.  He had to pull over for 2 cars, Chris and Kaylee didn't even have to deal with that.  

After we got home from our walk, somehow it was 8 o'clock, the evening had snuck away from us.  And it was time for our guests to go home.  But before we turned in for the night, I wanted to snap a few pics of the boys in their patriotic garb for the holiday weekend.  


Jacob is wearing the same outfit the boys wore when they were 1 on 4th of July, and the red t-shirts were from 2012.  They still look really great.  We had Grandma, Grandpa, and Daddy all being crazy behind me trying to get all three to smile. 


Yes, I think Jacob is teething, his molars seem to be coming in, he's always chewing on a finger. 


My silly sweetboys.

Little things

I have to start this with a bit of backtracking.   Friday night, after dinner, there was still a nice chunk of day light available, so Eric said he wanted to go out and work on the lawn.  Fine by us.  The boys were "cleaning" the basement, and Jake was taking a nap on me.    Suddenly, the boys came upstairs into the kitchen, and saw Daddy putting the tent together out back, and plum lost their minds with joy.   Eric was putting the tent up, he'd brought around the firepit and grill into the backyard.  Chris yelled, "We need our camping chairs!"


Yes they did.  
So within minutes (probably a half an hour, but it felt faster than that) we were all seated around the fire. 
The boys were excited to sleep outside, just as it should be on a mild weekend introducing us to summer.


Sam had come inside yelling, "Time to break out the marshmallows!"  
And we went looking, but Oh  No, we were out.  So to improvise, they split a smores flavored granola bar.
And we sat outside.  Chris asked Daddy to tell us a scary fiction story, and Daddy delivered.  
He got us all good, and we jumped sky high!  I won't tell it, just in case, he does it again.

It was Jake's first bonfire.  I don't think we had many last year.  I don't remember having him fireside.  Neither Eric or I had energy to get outside last year.  So, I'm claiming this as his first.  He was hypnotized by the fire.  I take it as a good sign, I think he might enjoy camping as much as his brothers. 



All this is what makes THIS picture the most important.  
This is why this one is my picture of the day.  
154/365

One of the reasons we broke out the tent, was to make sure it was still in good shape, to clean it out, because we're going camping this next weekend.  Honestly, I've been rather terrified to go camping since Chris has gotten his mace.  The idea of parking him for an hour in a camping bathroom scares me.  Then one of my support groups suggested a potty tent.  I researched them, and earlier this spring we bought this potty tent, and a little potty, and special 'double dootie' bags to capture...the evidence.  But Eric and I thought we might want to do a test run before we find ourselves in the wilderness unable to flush Chris.  He was thrilled at the possibility.  He couldn't wait to get his Flush Tent up and running.  


The only problem we had was that Eric didn't recognize there was a hook in the center that would bare the weight of the water bag, so he held it the first time.  But there is a hook, and it will work out just fine.  Chris did great.  He read a book while he was in there. Sam was so excited he pulled his camping chair around to the window so that he could hang out with Chris.  There are 2 windows, and no floor, and a D shaped door. And it didn't get too hot or stuffy in there, Chris thought it was great.  
This picture of him was the only one I took Saturday.  I was so happy the flush went well, it opens a whole new world for us.  If Chris can do flushes while camping, well, then he can Go Camping!  I can't wait to see how it goes this next weekend.  I Thank God for little gifts like this, that make his life just like any other kid's life.  You wouldn't think that a potty tent would bring me that much joy.  But it does.  It gives Chris another step towards freedom.  


Meanwhile, the kids had such a nice time reading stories outdoors, we found them after the flush reading again.  This made me laugh.  Eric took this picture.  Just like Ma and Pa, the boys discovered that it's nice to read a book out in the fresh air.