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June, 2012:

Green Thumb

Proof! I finally have proof that my inability to keep flowers alive is not really MY INABILITY! It’s THIS guy’s fault! I walked up the stairs from my basement, glanced out the window of the front door, and was totally startled by this terribly scary guy in my front yard staring RIGHT AT ME!

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Since he’d already eaten all the good flowers from the red plant, he decided to move on to the white flowers.

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He got a tiny bit spooked and took a break when Duma barked from inside the house.

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But he went back to work, finished the white flowers, and moved on to dessert. He did not care ONE BIT when I opened the door, walked outside, and stood about 6 feet from him.

“You lookin’ at ME? YOU lookin’ at ME?”

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Back to dessert!

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He didn’t finish all of the purple flowers. I accidentally kicked a pine cone, which startled him a little bit, so he turned and stared at me. It was HILARIOUS! He had long leaves with purple flowers hanging out of his mouth – like a kid caught eating a piece of grandma’s birthday cake before the party starts :-) I would’ve loved a photo of it, but I laughed too hard, and he ran away.

In response to my Mom’s question “Who will you have come water the flowers while you’re on vacation?” – I say “Nobody. I don’t HAVE any flowers!”

Start Packing

The large forest fire burning in the foothills on the west side of Colorado Springs took a devastating turn today when 65 mph winds blew it right over the 1st and 2nd stop lines into town. A neighborhood is now on fire. Devastating. So hard to watch on TV. I live on the East side of I-25, so we are relatively safe; however, it never hurts to be prepared for an evacuation when a large out of control fire is burning just miles from your home, the smoke from it is so thick that you can’t see your neighbor’s house, and you’ve seen ash fall on your deck.

So I decided to use some empty rubbermaid bins to pack up things I absolutely want to take with me in the event of an evacuation.

The 15 minute process was VERY eye opening. From mine and Hubby’s offices, I grabbed 5 plastic hanging file folder bins with all of our personal, business, and tax information in them along with the fire proof box o’ stuff.

From the rest of the house? I didn’t even fill one entire bin. Not one.

Is there a lot of stuff in the house I COULD take with me? Yes.

But it was very eye opening to see how LITTLE I felt the need to save.

The rest is just stuff.

Thoughts and prayers for all of those who have been forced to leave their homes, some of them watching them burn on TV.

Deep Thoughts with Jodie Boedie – June 25, 2012

OK – maybe my thoughts won’t be “deep” – but they ARE thoughts :-)

FIRES – our entire state seems to be on fire again. The High Park fire up by the Girl Scout Camp I took Princess to a few weeks ago (Dude, his Buddy, and I camped up there) is still ragin. It’s swallowed over 90,000 acres and 250 homes. It was 69% contained last Friday, but is now only 40% contained. We need the WIND to stop, the CLOUDS to come, and the RAIN to fall. What really sucks is that they took 2 air tankers FROM that fire and sent them down here to fight the fire burning in our foothills.

The Waldo Canyon Fire that started Saturday around lunch time is 0% contained and now up to 5,000 acres. They’ve had to close Hwy 24, the only way from Colorado Springs up to Woodland Park. 13,000 people have been evacuated, more are on pre-evacuation status, and the fire just keeps going. Thankfully the fire has NOT burned any structures yet. But when we can see the flames from where I live, and the smoke is so heavy it smells like a campfire in my backyard and the health service is recommending people stay inside – that’s not a good thing. Because the fire is so close to such highly populated areas, they’re throwing every resource they can at it . . . which included taking resources from other fires and also putting two C130 air tankers in the air this morning.

The Springer Fire that was burning up by Dude’s Boy Scout Camp is 100% contained and under control. Thankfully, it did not reach the evacuated historic Boy Scout Camp. The Camp and surrounding canyon are still under mandatory evacuation, but they plan to lift those today. Then we can get in there and work on any cleanup and help get camp up and running for next week. The camp was close the first day of the first session of summer camp this year. We were so lucky all those boys who were to attend camp hadn’t had time to settle in – they were all still in the parking lot getting ready to check in when the evacuation order came. Many of them were from out of state. Boy Scouts worked really hard to get all of those boys settled at other Boy Scout Camps in the area for the week. Hoping Dude’s troop will be able to go to camp in a few weeks.

Prayers for RAIN RAIN RAIN, or even CLOUDS at this point. The bummer is that with rain here, there is always lightning, which has started most of the fires. Please no more fires!!!

GRANDMA – My mom came to stay with us for a few days. We had a GREAT time. We played games, went to horseback riding lessons, tried out new restaurants, had Lego building contests, and just hung out and enjoyed her company. She had to leave yesterday to go back to MN :-( We miss her already!

CAMP – We dropped both of my kiddos off at Y Summer Camp yesterday. They’ll be there for a week. We had to take the LONG way around to get there because of the fire that closed Hwy 24. It was a fun drive – ended up on some glorified forest service roads with some great views. We’d never been that way before, so it was fun :-) Dude was telling us on the way how the girl cabins are way nicer than the boy cabins. You be the judge…

 

Dude in front of his cabin

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Princess on the porch of her cabin

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I kinda had to giggle 😉 Even though Princess’s cabin is much bigger, it’s really not much nicer. It’s still just a large room with bunk beds. There are two rooms with the bunk beds – girls in one room, boys in the other. Both of them couldn’t wait to get us out of there – apparently we were cramping their style! I know they’ll have a great time – I logged on to the camp web site today and saw pictures from yesterday :-) They are there for the entire week! Dude was excited he got to be in a cabin with his two buddies that also went to camp. Princess doesn’t have any buddies with her at camp, but she’s such a social butterfly it’ll take her about 2 minutes to know everyone’s name and phone number! Mom and I drove the really long way back because I had to go through Denver to drop her off at the airport. On our way out of camp territory, we spotted a small fire in the forest about 10 miles from camp. ACK! That made me quite nervous, BUT, when I got home the news said they had contained it to 25 acres and it was 100% contained. Whew! Still slept with my cell phone and the house phone right next to my bed and turned up loud!

CAST – So Dude still has his full cast on. I “get” to go pick him up at camp on Wednesday, drive him back to town to get it taken off, new X-rays, hopefully a half cast, then drive him back to camp. I had to make this wonderful plan because we’re leaving for vacation on Friday, and he’ll be gone for 3 weeks. So we had to do the cast before we leave. At the time I made the appointment, camp was 1 hours 15 minutes away; however, with the forest fire and the closure of the highway to camp, the drive is now 2 hours one way. Yay me! I get to drive 8 hours on Wednesday to get his cast changed out! Oh how I’m hoping with all the ground resources and air support they can make some headway on the fire today and tomorrow and get the highway open again. They had originally said they would NOT close the highway because it was such an important route, but they just had to with all the smoke and the fire being so close to it. If they don’t open it, I’ll look forward to my 8 hours of driving in the beautiful countryside on Wednesday – then I’ll drive right back up there Friday to pick them up from their week at camp :-)

VACATION – I am SO excited about vacation! Can’t even begin to tell you. We’ve got so much fun stuff planned that I can hardly contain myself :-) I have so much to get done before then here at home first – quarterly taxes for the business, course catalogs mailed out for the other business, pets set up and ready to be boarded, neighbors contacted to collect our mail/water plants/take garbage out, as much of the kids’ stuff packed as possible (they took some to camp obviously), last-minute details of flights/excursions/field trips confirmed. I can’t wait!!!

HOME – Hubby left to go to work yesterday, too. So I’m home alone until Wednesday night. The quiet house last night was really eery with the fire burning and just me and the pets here. Hoping to use today to get all work stuff done, tomorrow to do personal maintenance (haircut, highlight, etc.) in preparation for the trip, drive all over the countryside Wednesday with Dude and his cast, then do laundry and pack on Thursday. Yeeeeeeee!!!

For now – that’s all . . . off to actually do all that work I need to do :-)

On Fire

So that fire we were worried about being too close to the campground and girl scout camp for us to go? It’s fine. It’s contained.

The bummer is that the Saturday after had our awesome camping trip, lightning started another fire in the area. This fire is HUGE! In just  few days, the windy dry weather had helped the fire expand to over 52,000 acres and burned 118 homes. Girls Scout camp was cancelled for the rest of June, and they’re not sure if they’ll be able to open for July. The fire is jumping rivers and roads and is only 40% contained. They’re not expecting to have the fire fully contained for another 3-4 weeks.

Then today, we got notice that Camp Alexander, the Boy Scout Camp in the mountains near us was evacuated due to a new fire that has started just up the pass from our house. Our house is not in danger – we’re down here in town – but all those folks up the pass are very nervous. Our weather is windy and has been so dry. We’re hoping the fires are under control and that camp will be open in mid-July when Dude is supposed to go for a week for summer camp with his troop!

Thoughts of wet weather and safety for the firefighters and residents of the area are much appreciated!

Geocaching in Red Feather

We woke up Friday to another beautiful morning. They boys grabbed breakfast and I gave them my blessing to head out kayaking and fishing while I packed up camp. We couldn’t pick up the girls from Girl Scout camp until 5:00 p.m., so we weren’t in any hurry.

We packed up and had to leave the campground by 1:00 p.m. The boys, of course, had kayaked and fished until it was time to leave, so we tossed the stuff on top of the camper and headed to a small cafe next to the campground and had some lunch. We had 3 hours to kill, so we decided to go grab some geocaches in the area. I will say, that it’s A LOT easier geocaching without a pop up attached to your vehicle! I got REALLY good at backing up the trailer and turning around on forest service roads!

Our first cache was called Allen’s Cache and was on a forest service road by a small lake. What a great spot!

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It’s always fun to find the caches. We get to go a lot of places we never would’ve thought to go. But for the boys, it’s also fun to get out the loot bag and make a trade for something in the cache.

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Next up was a cache called Gnome. The note said the cache was inside a garden gnome. I wasn’t sure if there would be a spot to turn around the camper, so we walked the 1/2 mile to the cache (turns out there was a nice spot to turn around, as Dude and H pointed out to me as we hiked in the heat!).

We thought for sure this was the gnome, so we all took off running to it to be the first to find it. Nevermind that we totally ignored the GPS and the fact that it said we were still 1/3 of a mile away :-)

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We started walking down the road in the animal habitat and saw this sign:

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We giggled, until we kept walking and figured out where we were. We were in the land of Gnomes! Along our walk to the gnome that was the cache, we saw all kinds of fun stuff :-)

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We had a great time looking at all the gnomes. After we all ran to many gnomes that were NOT the cache, Dude finally found it:

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Dude and H had fun signing the log and checking out the loot in the cache. What did Dude choose? Dinosaur Poop :-)

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On our way back to the car, we saw this guy flying around with the gnomes and had to giggle:

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After hiking back to the car, we had still had some time and we were having fun, so we headed out for the next cache – Fuddbutt’s Deadman’s Cache on Deadman’s road :-) Again, I wasn’t sure there’d be a spot to turn the trailer around, so I found a wide spot on the forest service road and turned around. It took quite a while . . . at one point H said “I feel like we’re just going back and forth and not doing anything.” Um – he was right 😉 But I finally got it without running into the ditch, and we started our 1/3 mile hike up the hill to the cache. Sometime I’d like to go back and drive to Deadman’s hill.

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We had some great views when we found this cache!

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We logged the cache and moved on, deciding to hike up another 1/3 mile to the next cache. We picked out some great camping spots on the way, and found a great spot for turning the car around with the trailer 😉

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After signing the log and checking out the area a bit, we headed back down the hill on the half mile hike to the car. We were all hot and tired and ready to pick up the girls.

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We were 4th in line to pick up the girls and headed out on our drive home. All told, we all had a great time! The girls absolutely loved camp, the boys had a great time doing what boys do, and I enjoyed my quiet time. The 3-hour ride home was again uneventful driving-wise; however, there was a lot more singing from the girls (new girl scout songs!), a lot more pestering from the boys, and a bit more yelling from the front seat for the boys to stop being annoying and the girls to stop whining about the boys being annoying :-)

But, we all made it. The girls can’t wait to go again next year for a whole week, and the boys can’t wait for another chance to go camping.

Fishing at Dowdy Lake

Even though the boys went to bed quite late on Wednesday, they were up and ready to go Thursday! The could not wait to go fishing. We were camping at Dowdy Lake near Red Feather, CO. So beautiful!

The grabbed some breakfast, loaded up the kayak, and headed down to the lake. I followed them with my camera, of course :-)

There was a nice little inlet for them to get ready at, before pushing out into the lake. Dude’s arm was a still sore, but some Advil and fresh air helped a lot!

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Here they are, giving me a salute as they head out, each with a paddle.

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Here’s the non-zoomed in photo. Not a bad place to spend a couple days, huh?

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After the boys headed out, I decided to hike the trail around the lake. Having a bright orange kayak was awesome! I could see them from anywhere, like when they went ashore on one of the islands.

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They fished on the island for a long time! At one point, Dude hung out on a little piece of land between two islands fishing while H paddled around.

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I had no idea how long they’d fish, but I was certain they’d come in for lunch! So I finished my hike and hung out at the camper reading. Around noon, I made a sandwich for lunch, thinking the boys would show up soon – I mean, they’re 11 – they’ve got to be hungry! Then 1:00 p.m. rolled around, and they boys still weren’t back, so I walked down to the lake to see if I could see them. I spotted them standing on a huge rock in the middle of the lake. They’d found a place to wedge the kayak in so it wouldn’t float away, and they stood there and fished :-)

I went back to the campsite and read some more – and apparently took a nap, because I woke up around 2:30. It was SOOO nice! But, still no boys, so once again I headed back down to the lake. Sure enough, they were STILL down there fishing away! So I headed back to the camper, rode my bike around the campground to mark down the sites we’d like to camp in next time, read some more, got the fire pit prepped for the fire to make dinner. Around 4:30 I headed back down to the lake, and the boys were finally paddling in.

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 Dude had taken on the role of GPS guidance while H paddled – they were having a blast! After 7.5 hours of fishing, I discovered they’d caught 3 fish, and let all 3 of them go because at any given time, the lone fish they caught was lonely :-) I can’t believe they fished for that long when they only caught 3 fish! And without coming in for food. For me, it was a nice surprise. When was the last time I got to do nothing? I have no idea.

They were of course starving to death, so we got the fire going and made dinner right away – Dude’s favorite – cowboys and indians foil meals :-) We ran out of wood, so I headed down and bought two bundles from the camp manager so they could get their fire fix for the night. It was a beautiful night, and we got to watch a great lightning show from a storm far off. The timing was perfect – we ran out of wood and put the coals out right before it started to rain. So we headed into the camper for bed and fell asleep to the wonderful sound of rain on the roof.

All in all, it was a great day for everyone :-)

Camping June 2012

Continuing on the theme of me finding any excuse to not actually work this summer (sorry honey!), I volunteered to drive Princess and two of her Girl Scout friends to a 3-day mini summer camp. The camp is a 3-hour drive one way, so I asked Dude if he wanted to invite a friend to come along and we’d camp somewhere close to the Girl Scout camp. His best buddy was able to go, and all was good!

We were a little concerned whether or not we’d get to go because there was big forest fire up in the area of the camp, but the fire was far enough away and contained, so camp was open.

Dude and I got up early and packed up the camper. I did most of it since his broken wrist was still quite sore, but he helped out where he could. We got everything packed up and the bikes and kayak secured on top. The girls showed up at 10:30 a.m., and Dude’d buddy, H, showed up shortly after, and we were ready!

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Here they are, ready to go! The 3 girls sat in the middle row and the boys hung out in the back . . . for the 3 hour drive. I did my best to ignore anything happening behind my back, and may have turned the radio up louder a few times 😉 The drive was totally uneventful. We dropped the girls off at camp and headed over to set up our own camp. We could see the smoke from the forest fire in the distance, which was pretty amazing.

The boys were very helpful! They couldn’t wait to get out kayaking, so they dragged it down to the lake and paddled around for a while, checking out the islands in the middle of the lake. I got to hang out and relax and do whatever I wanted – in silence – soooo therapeutic!

Dude and H were hungry when they got back, so I boiled water in the camper (Mountain House dinners awaited!) while they started the fire in the fire pit. Dude is a Boy Scout and master fire builder, like his Dad :-)

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We enjoyed our Mountain House and s’mores, and, like any boys, they had to have sticks in the fire – constantly! At least they are smart and got long sticks and used a little common sense so I didn’t have to yell at them constantly :-)

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Off to bed a few hours later, where they closed the curtains on their side of the camper and laughed and swatted moths and played cards and giggled and laughed some more. I loved hanging out on my side just listening to them have so much fun :-) They could not wait to go fishing on Thursday and had the entire day planned out before they closed their eyes for the night.

The Cast

Dude decided to start the summer out with a bang – er crash :-)

I was outside working on the camper while the boys were riding their bikes in the cul de sac. They were going over some bike jumps they have, like they have a bazillion other times. I hear the boys say “Let’s go do something else.” Then I hear Dude say “Wait, just one more jump.” I hear tires on pavement, I hear tires on a plastic ramp, and I hear crash, bang, crunch, ugh, oof under 11 year old boys going “Whoa! Oh man! Wow! Oooooooh ouch!”

Then I hear nothing. so I walk over there and see Dude lying on the pavement. I ask him if he’s OK. He says yes. I ask him where it hurts. He says it doesn’t.

Then I start my MOTY lecture, telling him to stop doing stupid stuff before our trip to Alaska because I don’t want to have to leave him with Grandma while we go, but I will leave him with her if I have to!

Then I go back to finish working on the camper. The boys are still out there. After a few minutes I go back out there to see what’s up. He’s still in the street. I ask him again where it hurts – he says nowhere. I ask him if he’s OK. He is laughing and says yes, he’s OK. So I say get up and out of the middle of the street before you get run over. He says, just give me a minute. So I do. Then he says he just needs to go inside for awhile. While we’re walking up to the house, he starts staggering and almost falls over. I sat him down on the retaining wall, and he said he just wanted to go inside. I took him inside and got my keys and decided he needed to go to the urgent care because I thought he had a concussion.

His friends were so nice – they were dragging his bike and theirs and the jumps and everything up to the house. I yelled to them to just leave the bikes in the ditch and get in the car. I wanted them to come with because I hadn’t seen what happened and I figured the doc would want to know.

On the way to the Urgent Care, Dude was white as a sheet – taking deep breaths and sticking his head out the window. I was envisioning the need to get my car detailed in the near future :-)

He got steadily better as we checked in – we got back to see doc quickly (can I just say how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Urgent Care up here!!!). He checked out his head and stomach – Dude’s shirt was totally ripped up from its meeting with the pavement. He found nothing wrong with his head or stomach. Then he gave him the once over and all was good. He was checking out a pretty good gash on Dude’s wrist and Dude winced. Doc asked him if his wrist hurt, and he said no, not really. Then he started poking around more. Found nothing, but sent him in for an x-ray anyway just to be sure it was fine. Dude was laughing with the boys and chatting with the nurse while we waited for Doc to come in after looking at the x-rays.

When Doc walked back into the room with the x-rays, he had this stunned look on his face. He said “Well, surprisingly enough, he broke his wrist.”

The look on Dude’s face was priceless – I wish I had a picture of it! His jaw was pretty much on the floor, and his buddies couldn’t believe it.

Dude got all wrapped up in a temporary cast while doc chatted with us about what was next. He gave us the name of a pediatric orthopedic doc to call to make an appointment for a few days to get a permanent cast put on. Said it would be 2-3 days before he could get it because of swelling.

What?! No way. We have PLANS to go CAMPING in 2 days! Must get cast before then so plans are not ruined :-) Dude was determined to be able to go camping, so he kept his hand above his head the entire day and night and iced religiously according to doc’s instructions while I called and conviced the nice reception lady to let us come in the very next day because there is no swelling and surely my superhuman son can get a cast the next day :-)

8:15 the next morning, Doc told us yes, indeed – he can get his cast today – and there was much rejoicing! Dude was way excited and all smiles – until Doc told us he had to have a full arm cast above the elbow for 4 weeks, at which time he’d come back and get a short cast for another 3 weeks.

Um, Doc? That schedule will not do. We are going to ALASKA in 3 weeks, so unless you want to get us in contact with someone in Anchorage who can change out his cast before we get on the boat for our cruise, we should figure something else out. He agreed that since it isn’t a terrible break, we could come back as close to the time we leave as possible. Soooooo, I scheduled his follow up visit . . . for the middle of the week while he’s at summer camp with his sister and two buddies. That’s 6 hours of driving for me to get him from camp, get his cast changed out (hopefully!), and get him back to camp. Oh how we hope he can get a short cast before we go on or two week vacation . . . this whole stiff bent elbow thing is a real downer!

Anyhoo . . . here’s my dude getting the base layer to his cast put on by Sam :-)

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Sam wrapping on the fiberglass cast. Pretty cool how they just dip a roll in the water and wrap it on like an ace bandage and it pretty much instantly hardens. Way better than how they did it when I got mine!

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Yes – he chose yellow – bright yellow. He’s certainly not gonna get hit by a truck anytime soon!

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Seems like a bit of overkill for a bend fracture in a kid’s wrist! For the first day, he acted like he couldn’t even move his arm at all, but then he figured it out. It was still a little sore, but it was OK. He wanted to go camping :-) So we packed, got his buddy’s stuff ready to pack, and headed out the next day for our 3-hour drive to drop the girls at Girl Scout camp and head to the campground for a few days.

The cast didn’t slow Dude down much. The boys headed out kayaking and fishing, and Dude even got back on the horse :-)

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I kind of had to agree with my friend, Doug, who said this looked like a tragedy waiting to re-happen . . . but thankfully, the little biking adventure around the campground went well and Dude returned with just one broken wrist :-)

So my Dude broke his first bone. He gets to spend 3 weeks in a full arm cast. He gets to spend 4-5 more weeks in a short cast. He gets to miss out on the zipline adventure park in Skagway, AK. He gets to switch from his swimming merit badge to a geocaching merit badge at summer camp. And he gets to have his cast taken off right before his birthday.

Welcome summer!

June 14th – Really?!?!

So this whole summer thing has thrown me for a loop. This is the FIRST summer EVER that I’ve not had to leave my house to go to work for at least some number of days during the week. I. LOVE. IT! My kiddos are loving it, too.

However, I will admit that I have been less than diligent at actually going to my office in the basement to work an acceptable number of hours each day. It could have something to do with . . .

. . . taking Dude and his buddy camping for 3 days in the middle of the week while Princess and her 2 friends went to Girl Scout camp.

. . . baseball still not being quite over for the league (even though our team is done)

. . . Dude breaking his wrist in a bike jump incident (post and photos forthcoming)

. . . putting the battery in backwards on the camper and possibly ruining the towing unit on my vehicle (miles and miles driven to figure this out)

. . . Princess attending a day camp about 20 miles away all week from 9:00-3:00 (miles and miles on my car)

. . . Dude’s Boy Scout troop putting on a BBQ fundraiser and Garage Sale this weekend (I may have volunteered to run the Garage Sale part . . . and pick up the giant grill from the AFA . . . and bring a double batch of potato salad . . . and bring cookies . . . and bring a 12-pack of pop – yes, I have a problem saying NO)

. . . Princess taking horseback riding lessons a couple times a week

. . . Princess deciding she really wanted to do swim team again

. . . me trying to make sure all of their bazillion forms are filled out and sent in for YMCA camp they are both attending at the end of the month

. . . the toilet breaking in the guest bathroom, which meant that since we had a new toilet, I “had” to do a mini-remodel

. . . Duma getting in a mini dog fight and me having to take her to the vet over and over to check her wrist and ear

. . . Duma’s meds making her so thirsty that she pees uncontrollably in the house, so we have to watch her every minute of every day and take her on multiple walks each day to try to keep her empty

. . . me trying to figure out if Dude can actually still do the Adventure Park and Zipline tour while we’re on our cruise, or if I need to cancel (try finding someone to answer THAT question – ack!)

. . . me finding other much more fun things to do than work, like taking Dude to a mid-day baseball game for the AAA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies

So ya – there are tons of excuses, but really, most of them are “legit” :-)

I’m off to pick up my Princess, figure out what to make for dinner, haul her to swim team practice, pick up Dude at the Boy Scout storage shed where they’re sorting stuff, and drop off the giant grill at the BBQ parking lot. All between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

If all goes well, I’ll have plenty of time for a beer on the deck when I get home . . . the fires in our state are giant and uncontrollable – we can smell the smoke and feel the effects of the haze from the fire burning a 3 hour drive away – it’ll be just like I”m camping :-)