Monday, October 31

The End of October

(Had some technical difficulties with the pictures. I think they're fixed, now.) Jacob broke out the Lincoln Logs one chilly morning. I love how their play mirrors their lives. See the awesome wood pile for the fireplace? (He took the chimney off for me, so I could see the interior layout, too. But a full wood pile, even in Playland, makes me smile.)
Em has a pair of shoes that she has loved to death. Actually, she hasn't worn them out yet, but she's dirtied them up pretty heartily. I hate to throw out anything that's still usable, and these still were. But oh, their once white, shiny ribbon trim was looking mighty gross, and we could not get it clean without doing some real damage to the shoes. So, we took a different route to the spiffing of the shoes. They cleaned up well, and the blacking on the ribbon gave new life to shoes that had been relegated  previously to the grunge pile.

Thursday, James had a follow-up appointment with the Ortho Surgeon for his arm. We expected a routine x-ray and a reminder not to overdo it on the physical activity. The way his bones had broken, and the trouble the surgeon had setting them, prompted all the people involved to warn us that while they *say* 6-8 weeks in the long cast, we really need to expect a full eight. And while they *say* 2-4 weeks in the short cast, we really need to be prepared for four weeks. So imagine our surprise when, after only five weeks in the long cast, the surgeon pronounced James' arm fully healed, and not in need of a cast at all! He's got a brace to wear when he's biking or hiking, and instructions to work on getting full range of motion back over the next week or so. He's one very happy camper, and I'm one very happy Mama.
The kids made their own costumes this year, for Halloween. We're following Dave Ramsey's plan for budgeting and finances, and it just doesn't make sense to blow $20 a piece on costumes they'll wear once or twice (well, the smalls will wear them well past Easter, but it's the principle of the thing). Plus, it's never hurt anyone to get creative. Being the team players they are, they got creative. And had a blast. These were two of their outfits: PacMan Ghost (used an old tarp and sign board - $3 total outlay, there), and Cinderella (she inherited the dress from a friend's little girl and although most of the sparkles have been loved off of it since we got it - she *really* loves this dress - all we needed was a blue headband a little glitter hairspray left over from previous projects - total outlay, there, about $1.50) Then we spent our holiday envelope money on a brisket and a great evening with friends, instead! Everyone agreed that's a better use of Blow Money, all around. :-)

Kiss those babies! ~Dy 

Monday, October 24

Weekend Camporee

I spent the weekend at the Camporee with the Boy Scout Troop. This was James and John's first time as grubmasters, and they absolutely rocked it. We may not be athletic, up on pop culture, or interested in fashion, but we know how to eat! I think the biggest hit this weekend was the boys' favorite winter-time soup: Loaded Potato Soup. It modifies beautifully for the camp (the pig pot didn't hurt - I don't think we have any dutch ovens large enough to serve 21 hungry Scouts!), is easy to make, and clean up is a snap (it helps that there was very little soup left over).
The days were gorgeous, but those mornings? Whooo - chilly! It got down to 29 degrees the first night, and the second was a warmish 34 degrees. The kids are tough, but I think they're agreed that they're going to need better sleeping bags if we're going to do this gig properly.
Zorak brought the Smalls out for a bit. They got to run in the woods (TICK CHECK! Always, always take your garlic, and check for ticks. *shudder*), watch the catapult launches, and enjoy a dinner with the Scouts. EmBaby found so many beautiful things tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the meadows and woods. She'd make a great naturalist, if she'll learn to take the camera to the plant and not the other way around.
All in all, though, it was another great outing. And I've finished out my Christmas list for Santa: good tents for the boys, a camera for Em, and some Ben-Gay and Epsom salts for me! There we go. That should just about cover it, yes?

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, October 18

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

The boys chose to complete their Hiking Merit Badge this year. This means we need to complete five 10-mile hikes, and one 20-mile hike. I've been... um, not hiking for the last 15 years. So, in order to ease me into this plan slowly, and to get a grip on what we need to gear up with (not to mention to ease me into this...) we decided to do a few trial hikes (of significantly fewer miles) to start.
 Zorak had Jake and Em at Cub Haunted this weekend, so the rest of us did a quick two-miler. The boys carried their 10 essentials and water for everyone. Jase got into the action, too -- he packed his bag with a ball, a truck, Gary the snail, and some pork rinds. I carried Jase part of the way in the Kelty carrier - but he was eager to put some miles on his wee feet, too. Also, we learned he does not need to be eased into this! (He did ask that we stop for a little playtime and a snack, though. Who are we to deny such a cheerful request? It was nice to sit in the beautiful weather and just be, visit, watch. Good stuff.)
We hiked along the river, and enjoyed the cool air, the dappled trail, the amazing birds. It was pretty great. Our pace? Deplorable. Or attitudes? Not bad. If we can get out the door a little faster, and with fewer reminders, I think we could get the hang of this and enjoy many miles along the Alabama trails.
Over the years, I've jokingly told the children that at least one of them needs to develop a love of backpacking, so I'll have a buddy to hike the Appalachian Trail with me one day. Wouldn't it be great if I had several? Yeah, I thought so, too.

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, October 13

Weekly, ah, roundup?

Once a week blogging? It has guilt, but it seems to be about all I'm capable of, lately.

Sooo... this week in review...

Thor. Yeah, that was fun! I have no pictures, but it was fun. For the rest of the week, we finished a few projects for winter...

A rack for holding the firewood (salvaged t-posts and scrap metal - we do love our recycling program). This turned out nicely, and Zorak hopes to make two more to go with it, so we can sort the wood a little more efficiently. This latest set up is a far cry from the stray pile in the driveway we had our first winter here! Each new iteration shows some improvements (pallets, railroad ties, now this). Someday we'll have a pretty swanky plan!

The pantry looks like we've been battling (and losing) a raccoon invasion. I found a plan online for making a rotating can dispenser, and it looked too neat to pass up. So we made one. We pretty much half-assed it, but even with the few assembly-line errors, it's functional. I found some scrap Luan in the basement and got the green light to make the next one from that, instead of cardboard. If we can pull that off, the pantry just might end up raccoon-proofed. (It's not really raccoons, unless raccoons have taken to wearing boots and jeans. But we'll just say "raccoons" and you all know I mean "children", right? OK, cool.)
And we enjoyed an Autumnal evening with friends and a campfire. They bought a new tent and wanted to try it out, so we made a party out of it. Yes, that's ash in the air. Leaves will do that. Nobody caught on fire, set anything on fire (outside the fire ring), or broke a bone. We called the evening a success and headed home to let them take on the camping test. (Heard from my friend, K, the next day. She said the kids did beautifully all night. And, she's looking for an air mattress, for herself. These are the things you need to hammer out before you get too far from a Dick's, right?)

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, October 6

A check up, a follow up, and a plan.

We had our Troop's planning meeting at our place this week. It was a blast, and the boys came up with some fantastic ideas for the coming year. They were enthusiastic and engaged, which is always a good thing. (It helps if you give them food, first. And fire. Fire is always good.)

I had my follow up with the dentist this week. All is well, and I got asked to the prom. I love his sweet, silly staff! My also-sweet-but-proper dentist... well, he'll get used to us, eventually.

James had a check up with the surgeon this morning. I about passed. out. upon seeing the x-rays (honestly, I was expecting things to look like they are trying to knit back together, at least a little bit maybe, at this point - yeah, they don't, at all), but the surgeon is quite pleased with the healing process and wants to see him again in two weeks. He seemed to be able to see the gaping holes, but since everything is straight, he's not worried. M'kay, then, we won't worry (much), either.

The weather is gorgeous, and I am chomping at the bit to get out and do some hiking before things get cold and damp and windy and wintery. In honor of my latest fixation, the boys have kept busy picking out places to go. (Actually, I think they're picking out places so that they can have some control over the terrain and access to food, shelter, and emergency medical services. They're quick studies.)

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, October 1

It's the First of October!

October! Wow! We really need to get our outdoor projects wrapped up, and get some firewood stacked for the winter. Today, however, we're airing out the tent...

And heading into the woods with friends...

And generally having a grand old time.

Kiss those babies~