Sunday, June 22

So, we got ready for camp...

And *BAM* it's a month later!


I'm... relatively certain it didn't take us that long to get ready for camp. But there you have it. No clue where June went.

Anyway, the boys went to camp with their new Troop. It was a tremendous experience, and they came home a bit taller (which, frankly, is getting ridiculous at this point), randomly cracking up and spewing stories. The adult leaders have shared photos from the week, and almost every one spawned another round of stories and backstory. Clearly, they had a magnificent time.

My highlight, other than having them home, is that they came home and immediately got their smelly camp clothes in the wash! W00t! By mid-morning today, it was all done and put away, and the footlockers are back in their spots in the basement.

John did well enough on the rifle range to receive an invitation to a rifle competition later this year. He just beams with quiet pride when he talks about this. Such a wonderful experience. He rappelled from the high tower, and played his guitar in camp. Good stuff.

James took fishing. I have no idea why - he hates fishing. He handled it in his typical stoic fashion - the photos from that crack me up - and when I asked him about it, he said, "I don't know. I thought maybe there was something about it that made it fun and I was just missing it. So I thought I'd give it a try." It may not, in fact, have worked, but we remain convinced the theory was sound.

Jacob - this was his first year at camp. He was the youngest camper, but he did fine. He's a seasoned camper-in-general, and he's always up for some kind of adventure. He joined everyone in the mud run. He scampered about from class to class, laughing, smiling, and having a fantastic experience. He taught himself to swim in his free time. He did so many neat things, but his favorite? (His hands-down, no-kidding, this-is-the-coolest-thing-EVER... favorite!) Leeches. :gag: Yes, of all the fantastic opportunities in his path, getting a great big leech stuck to his foot was the highlight of the week. Other things merited a thumbs up or a, "Yeah, that was fun," but the leeches got a full-body leap in the air and the big eyes and the excited voice in the telling.

Meanwhile, the littles and I went to a crafting event, ate snow cones, went swimming, laid on the floor singing songs, read stories, and chased fireflies. When someone invents time travel, every new Mom should jump on the opportunity to fast forward a few years, get some experience under her belt, and then go back and just relax with her itty bitty ones. It's all good. It's really good.

And so, we're wrapping up June. Back to school in the morning (please, Lord, let them remember who King Henry I was...) and then we'll figure out what July holds. Hopefully it plans to move a bit more slowly than its predecessor...

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, June 8

Starting to Feel It...

The heat, that is. It's been a wet, wet Spring, and that means 85 degrees feels significantly less do-able than 70 did. Stepping outside feels like a sort of sauna-meets-obstacle-course. Which is fine if you have athletic ability and... gills. For mere mortals, however, it's a little tricky.

Not stopping us, though!

This weekend was the annual Howard Hill Southern Traditional Archery Tournament. (This is commonly shortened to the "Howard Hill Shoot", and for the purposes of this post will be, "the shoot".) This shoot has been a dream of Z's for years. Back when we lived in the desert Southwest, it was one of those Someday things - too far away to be plausible for two broke kids, but cool enough to merit a standing spot on the list anyway. But now? Now we're less than two hours away from it!

And we all have bows again! So, of course we had to go! Ward came, and some other friends came. It was hot. It was humid. The sun shone, and the atmosphere was fun. The boys shot,

and shot...

Em and Jase hung in there for the whole trail (thank you, hiking group!),

...and I have clearly not lost the ability to laugh at myself.

Z was in his happy spot. It was a good day in our little world.

Oh! We got to see Byron Ferguson in action! AND we got to meet G. Fred Asbell! (If you're into traditional archery at all, you know why this is cool. If you're not, it's the equivalent of Classical homeschoolers getting to watch Andrew Kern lead a socratic discussion *and* visit with Martin Cothran. Very cool.) And, just like every time I get to see Kern and Cothran, I walked off yesterday in a happy haze without getting any pictures. But it happened. And it was awesome. Everyone's got next year's shoot penciled in.

Because of the rain, we didn't go down Friday, and had a spare day on our hands. The Huntsville and Madison Anime Convention (HAMACON) opened, so I took those who like it enough to spend their own money on admission, and we spent a surprisingly fun day at the convention center. Parent Passes are free, too! That was a pleasant bonus.

There was some incredible art, neat activities, special panels and discussions. There were also regular showings of interesting (either new, or particularly noteworthy, or unique) anime. The gentleman running the projector took the time to give introductions, insights, and some Q&A for the audience. We had fun. Nerdy, nerdy fun.

And, we got a cat. His name is Homer, in honor of the Homer Ball. He came home with the boys after a hike on Z's birthday.  (Z has never wanted a cat. Hence, the name.)

I think he's comfortable here.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, June 1


I had to go through my pictures to see what we've been up to this week, but after I looked at the pictures it all made sense: my brain is waterlogged. This has been a week of water, water, milkshakes, and water. We were invited to share Memorial Day with some special friends. We sat on the deck and visited while the children roasted themselves to a gentle crisp in the pool.

Immediately after that, we had to get a few bodies squared away on camp physicals and vaccinations. Milkshakes all around! We had one visit a day, all week. It was a long, long week. The boys are all quite philosophical about getting a shot. Jase is... not. Well, he may be, but he has a very different philosophy than the rest of them. If my mother were here, this would be the part where she'd smirk and whisper, "One just. like. you." But, we survived! And on we went...

Swimming with our homeschool group. The weather threatened mightily, and it scared off many of the people who'd planned to come, but those who came had a BLAST. We had an hour of clear weather on either side of a slight squall. When the rain did come, the rule was that as long as there's no lightning, they could stay in the water. And they did. We had to lure them out with food and previous obligations ticking away on the clock or they might have stayed until dark. It was a fantastic outing!

And Saturday, we got to join some friends and the Friends of the Locust Fork for their annual hike to Cornelius Falls. It's a fairly challenging hike, but entirely do-able. (Although the Littles stayed home with Dad, and that was a good call.) The payoff at the end of the trail is magnificent! We swam and played in the falls for an hour or so before heading back up the banks to go home. It was hard to leave. This is a seriously gorgeous little spot.

We've got our bags re-packed, our on-the-go food prepped, and we're ready to go back for more! For the first time in a long time, I can actually say I'm looking forward to Summer - good friends, beautiful country, and a willingness to explore - what more could we ask for?

Kiss those babies!