Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stuff we've done together --or-- We're building a fort, part five

After weeks of dormancy, building a fort kicked into high gear last weekend. 
Ever since the big run-in with poison ivy, the last of the yard debris sat idle, with only the occasional thought or effort being directed toward it. As spring gave way to summer new poisonous vines found their way up through the soil we'd tried so valiantly to purge. We decided to let them grow for a little while, just long enough to get adequate leafage to absorb the good hefty dose of round-up we administered.  Once our enemies were withered and dead, Scott's enthusiasm was renewed. He found a free Saturday and dedicated it to rototilling and leveling the dirt. He spread grass seed and hay (leaving a barren spot where the fort would stand) then we waited and watered. We were blessed once more with an unclaimed Saturday then exponentially blessed with a smattering of cousins and grandpas who arrived with willing helping hands.

It's not done yet, but we got quite a bit done in the one day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Stuff we did without the kids

While Emma and Ben were blazing a trail around Ohio and New York (and Josh was at the Langfords--thanks!, and Lydia and Afton were at the Fake Cruzes--thanks!), we were trekking it old school. Scott and I were a Ma and Pa for this summer's youth conference--a pioneer handcart trek. We pulled our carts in about six miles to our camp site, spent a day playing pioneer games and sleeping in tents and using port-a-pottys (day one: not as bad as I thought they'd be, day three: hold your breath and close your eyes and focus on suppressing your gag reflex and you'll be fine), then trekked back out. We had a great time. Couldn't have asked for better kids in our family, good attitudes abounded, and we gained valuable practice with teenagers.

Pa, Tyler, Thomas, Seth, Noah, Jared
McKayla, Ma, Courtney, McKayla (another one), Savannah

Then, a week after our return, we celebrated our anniversary early with a getaway just for us. (Emma, Ben, Josh at Sextons--thanks!, Lydia and Afton at Fake Cruzes again--thanks again!) Guess where we went? The Virginia Creeper. Of course. We stayed in a little apartment for two nights and mostly relaxed and biked the time away. It was so great. I had grand aspirations to do the whole 68 miles both ways, but it turns out I'm just not ready for that. We biked 17 miles from Damascus to Abingdon, then 17 miles back. Our route was almost completely flat, and I guessed it would be pretty easy. But about halfway back to Damascus I thought I was going to die my back and knees and bum were aching so bad. Scott could've rode circles around me at that point, but he politely kept to my snail's pace and lovingly reflected on how hard we'd been riding and how we hadn't taken any real breaks and no wonder I was worn out. That's why I married him. The next day we slept in late then went up the mountain toward Whitetop for a few miles (only 3 or 4) before stopping to wade in the river a bit then coast back down (when we go with the kids we just go from Whitetop to Damascus...all downhill). We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Abingdon's beautiful historic downtown before catching 39 Steps at the Barter Theater.
It was a good anniverary.
And it's not even our anniversary yet.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stuff the kids did without us

Do you ever get so behind on documenting the events of the summer you fear you'll never catch up?
It's a good sign, I suppose. This summer has been so full, that time to sit down at the computer and share it all has been hard to come by. Full of good, good stuff. Stuff that deserves longer, more witty and thoughtful write-ups, but I just don't have it in me. We're just going to have to hit the highlights here, folks.

Right after school got out, Emma spent a few days in our nation's capital with her fellow safety patrol members. She loved it. She followed in her mother's footsteps and spent 80% of her memory card (we called them "film" back in my day) on photos of the zoo, not forgetting the squirrels and pigeons. They crammed as many historic monuments and museums as they could into those days as well.

front row, forth from left

Then, a mere two days after returning home, Emma joined with Ben and a host of cousins to go on Grammy and Grandpa's highly acclaimed church history tour (click through for a thorough retelling of the events).
How do you thank two people for driving up and down the eastern US with seven grandkids and sharing some of the most important church history sites with them? I don't think you can, really...but a blog-thanks is a good start. THANKS!

Jonah, Sydney, Tanner, Emma, Connor, Silas, Ben

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A hunt

Lydia: When I grow up I want to be a hunt and a ballet.
Me: What's a hunt?
Lydia: I want to hunt all kinds of different animals....
Me [in brain]: Whaaa? Four-year-old girl has never before mentioned wanting to shoot animals. Doesn't add up.
Lydia: if like they're lost or something I can find them and take them to their owners so they won't have to look for them.
Me: Oh! You want to find and save lost animals?
Lydia: Yeah, all kinds of animals.
Me: Great idea. [in brain: not to kill them]