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October, 2012:

It’s A Major Award!

Dear Parents,

Congratulations! Your camper has been selected to receive a 2012 Summer Camp Value Award! The Summer Camp Value Awards have been designed to recognize campers who exemplified one of our core values.

During the 2012 Summer Season, Summer Camp Staff were asked to identify campers who they felt deserved special recognition. Campers were unaware of this selection process, so this may come as a surprise to een them! These awards are not handed out to everyone and campers and families should be proud of this achievement.

Dude has been selected to receive a Value Award for outstanding achievements ain Respect during his 2012 Summer Camp adventure.

Yay for my Dude :-) So happy to know he’s respectful even when we’re not around.

When I showed Dude the letter, I said “Dude! It’s a major award!”

Without skipping a beat he said “Frageelay! I wonder if I’ll get a leg lamp?”

Love that kid’s sense of humor :-)

English

When we got Dude’s first quarter report card, we were displeased. Why, you ask, would parents be displeased with a child who had all As and Bs on his report card?

Because he ALMOST got a C in BAND! He forgot his trumpet once, his music once, and then got a 170/400 on his September PRACTICE record. All you have to do is fill the thing out and hand it in!

Because he ALMOST got a B in PE! The kid’s teacher called one day during the middle of the day. Hubby was terrified when he found out it was Dude’s PE teacher, because he figured something had happened in class. But no, the teacher said “Just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoy having Dude in class. He’s so fun and funny and he’s a great role model for the other kids.” How can you have a teacher pulling for you like that and not get an A? He only got an A because at the 11th hour the PE teachers agreed to let the kiddos complete any health assignments they had not turned in (Dude had not turned one in because he thought he’d already done it. What – pause for dramatic effect – EVER!)

Because he ALMOST got a C in ALGEBRA! He’s awesome at math. He got lazy and didn’t do well on a couple tests. BARELY pulled out a B-.

It all came down to him being lazy and unorganized – not acceptale. No we’re not THAT terrible of parents – we did start the conversation with “Most parents would be thrilled with this report card blah blah blah” before we explained how if he’d been just a bit more organized he would’ve had almost all As, without doing any additional work.

He did manage a B+ in French. Which kills me because at this moment in time, Dude is FAILING English. He can manage a B+ in French, but in the language he’s been speaking for the past 11 years, he’s FAILING. Yes – an actual F! He had all kinds of excuses when I brought this to his attention.

He finally hung his head and resolved to actually, you know, STUDY for the tests a little after we pointed out that even if he gets 100% the rest of the quarter, he will be lucky to get a C.

Then a couple days later he knocks on our bedroom door. He comes in, HUGE smile on his face while waving his Kindle at us. He says . . .

“Hey! I just checked my grades and I got 100% on the last 2 assignments! So I’m not failing anymore – I have a D-!”

Blank stare from me.

Hubby says “Wow Dude. We should run out right now and get you some ice cream.”

I almost died laughing!

Speaking for my son, I would like to ask the Internet to pray/hope/dance that he pulls out at least a C+ in English, because if he doesn’t, it’s going to be a very long 3rd quarter for him.

One Thing Leads To Another

In my “new” life as a work-at-home-stay-at-home mom, I find myself with more time. Some weeks Hubby has tons of work for me to do, other weeks I have a lot of icky accounting stuff to do, and other weeks I find myself in the blissful peace of having “free” time. I’m pretty sure I should be using that free time to do Mom things, like plan meals and whatnot, but sometimes I choose not to do that. Books are fun :-)

This past Sunday, I got a bug up my butt while I was vacuuming. The morning sun was shining through the windows at just the wrong angle so I could SEE how dirty I KNEW my windows were. So I washed all the windows with my awesome new super duper handy dandy window washer thingy. I bought it a couple of weeks ago for the large windows in our sunroom entry way area.

While I was washing the windows, I decided that it was finally time to wash my walls. Forest living + no grass + wind + pollen = dusty dirty walls.

So I did. I moved all the furniture, took all the stuff off the walls, and got my mop. I washed the ceilings, walls, and mop boards on the main level of the house. Oh how clean it feels!

But THEN I noticed how empty the walls in our master bedroom are. They are usually adorned with any manner of picture, photograph, or art project my kiddos have deemed worthy of being taped to the wall in place of my nonexistent headboard. Hubby took them down so I could wash the walls. Anyone who knows me also knows that I don’t mind bare walls – less clutter and less to dust :-) Our bedroom is the only room on the entire main level that is still the same as it was when we moved in 9 years ago . . . bad doors and trim, tan ceiling, unmatching window blinds, and nasty olive green and tan bag-painted walls. We never got around to updating it because it’s just a bedroom – it’s dark in there and our eyes are closed most of the time :-)

Anyone see where this is going? My walls are bare, they are clean, and there is nothing in there to stop me from . . . tearing down all the doors, trim, and window blinds. Which of course means I’ll need to purchase 3 new doors and paint them, purchase countless feet of trim and paint it, purchase a really good plastic thingy to cover my new carpet so I can purchase a couple gallons of paint and paint my bedroom . . . all without having to tape anything since everything will be new.

All because I had an urge to wash my windows while I was vacuuming.

Hubby is gone next week at a conference in Orlando. Any votes on whether he’ll come home to a new bedroom?

Baseball Mom, Scout Mom, Swim Team Mom . . .

. . . Horse Show Mom :-)

My Princess rode in her first horse show this past Saturday! OMG she was so friggin’ cute I can’t even stand it. She’s been taking lessons from awesome Miss Amara since May and was ready for her first show. Amara took Princess and 3 other students to the show with two horses – Sunny and Shadow. Sunny is the horse Amara rode in shows when she did them and Shadow is the older horse that is not a show horse, but loves to be out doing stuff. She can be a bit lazy during lessons, but she is totally a gamer! When you get her in the large arena with all the people and horses, she holds her head up high, smiles, and has a blast with my little half-pint riding her.

We love Miss Amara for many reasons, but one of my favorite things about her is that she teaches the girls everything about horse ownership. So Friday night, we had a 2 1/2 hour lesson that involved 1 1/2 hours of preparing the horses for the show (brushing, cleaning, braiding manes and tales, trying on costumes and walking them around to make sure they would tolerate them) and 1 hour of practicing jumping the poles.

Princess was sharing Shadow with another girl, H, in the show. Since the show was in October, there was a Costume Class that the girls were entering. They decided to dress Shadow up as a hippie horse and have the girls dress up as hippies, too. H’s mom owns a dance studio, so she had awesome shirts for the girls. Princess and I made a large Peace necklace for shadow and bought some tie dye and flower ribbon for decoration.

Here’s Shadow tolerating the costume the girls are trying out on her.

We were totally lucky on Saturday – an 80 degree and sunny day in late October! The girls had to get to Amara’s at 9:00 a.m. to re-brush the horses, get all of their stuff together, and get them trailered to take to the show. Once at the facility, they got the horses settled in their stalls and started dressing them for the Costume Class, which was first. Here they are in the stall, waiting for it to be time to head on out.

Since Princess was the smaller and younger of the two, she got to ride Shadow while H walked Shadow. We had to modify Princess’s helmet to have the matching flower bandana on it.

 

The girls and Shadow did awesome! They earned a 5th place ribbon in the Costume Class. They give out ribbons up to 6th place, and there were 13 horses in the Costume Class, so they were pretty excited!

 

The girl in the Santa hat is Princess’s riding partner at lessons. A and T shared Sunny for the show. They dressed Sunny as a reindeer! They took a 6th place ribbon – how fun!

We had to hustle back to the stall to undress the horses and girls and get everyone ready in formal clothes for their jumping classes. Princess was riding Shadow in both of the Piles of Poles classes. They are technically jumping classes, but it’s a beginner class, so the poles are just lying on the ground :-) More of a little hop for the horse than a jump.

Princess was a little nervous once she got out there, but she was happy she wasn’t the very first person to ride in her first Piles of Poles class. She had a chance to watch a couple other girls do the course first so she could memorize it.

 

H rode Shadow before Princess, so Miss Amara and her Mom cruised out to the arena with Princess to change Shadow’s number and give my half-pint a boost onto her horse.

 

Princess and Shadow make their courtesy circle before starting the course. Look at her awesome posture!

 

And they were off! Shadow can’t really feel Princess on her, so she doesn’t adjust well to the posting between jumps and 2-point over the jumps, so Princess just rode 2-point the entire course. She was so friggin’ cute!

 

She did so great – we were so proud of both of them! She decided to sit on Shadow while she waited for the rest of the girls to finish before she was called to ride in the 2nd Piles of Poles Class. She was first this time, and was happy when they told her the course was just the reverse of the first course.

 

Since it was her first show, we’d chatted about how she should just go out, enjoy herself, learn some things, and not expect to win any ribbons. We were so excited when she won 5th place in her class! She and Shadow rocked!

My Princess and her beautiful Shadow :-) Oh how this girl loves her horse!

 

We hung around until the last class to watch Miss Amara ride. She rode Sunny in the class with the 2′ 6″ jumps. She and Sunny got 1st place in both of their classes – how awesome! After that, it was off to the barn to load all the tack, trailer the horses, and clean the stalls before heading home for some thorough hot showers.

We all enjoyed our first horse show and are looking forward to more lessons and hopefully more shows.

Let The Games Begin!

Seriously – the family games at the table.

Why?

Because, as of last week . . .

Volleyball – over
Rugby – over
Girl scout campout planning – over
Advanced Swim Team – changing back to intermediate for 2 days a week instead of 3
Little League Spring Registration – set up complete

It was great to let the kiddos just go out and play after school yesterday (until they were both over 30 minutes late getting home and got grounded for today – sheesh!).

It was great to just enjoy a day and not hustle through every minute of it so we could make sure to have time for our evening activities.

It was great to sit down and enjoy dinner at the table as a family without hustling out the door to whatever was next.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of this week :-)

Her Ah Ha Moment

Princess and I were leaving the Y after swim team practice the other night.

She glanced in the pool and saw one of the girls on the swim team in there swimming after everyone had left.

She says in her most accusatory like the girl is doing something wrong tone – “So THAT’S why she’s so good! She stays after everyone else leaves and practices!”

I love to see my  kids have Ah Ha moments :-)

Recycling

Our little beer fridge that classes up our living room died over the weekend, so Hubby and I went out and bought a new, bigger, better even classier one to replace it :-)

Today my task was to find a place to take the old one – and the 30 pounds of lead blocks (don’t ask) – that I needed recycled. As always, the Google Universe was very helpful, and I found a place not too far from my chriopractor, who I had to see this morning anyway.

As luck would have it, the place I chose that wasn’t too far from my chiropractor’s office is a total PITA to get to! I “missed” the non-existent turn 3 times before I got out my phone AGAIN and checked the map. Then I saw the 3 other streets I had to go on before finally getting to my street. The 2-mile drive down said street took me over the train tracks at odd angles at least 3 times and past many different “Do Not Pick Up Hitchiker” signs, which can only mean one thing.

The recycling center was right across the street from the giant criminal justice center jail and detox holding tank with only one way out. I sure can pick ’em!

Anyhoo – I followed some very large trucks hauling lots of junk and old cars into the scrapyard. They lined up and stopped on a scale. I parked and went inside because surely I could just carry my tiny little items inside, right?

Nope. I had to get in line with everyone else and get weighed. So I waited my turn before driving on the scale and dutifully waiting for the green arrow like I’d been told. While I was waiting for the scale to send the weight of myself, my vehicle, and the two items inside to the phantom weight writer downer person, 4 trucks had lined up in front of me waiting to come out.

Still waiting. More trucks lining up.

Still waiting and no green arrow. So I figure I can just go – I must’ve missed it.

Um – WRONG!

I inched forward and this giant red X displayed and a buzzer buzzed and I ducked down in the car waiting for the giant magnet thingy to come take me and my car away!

Apparently, all was fine – my front tires just weren’t quite far enough forward on the scale to register . . . so 5 seconds after the red X, I got my green arrow.

I pulled forward to the refrigerator graveyard and got out of my car to wait for the men that I was assured would come help me, even though I said I could take it out myself. The guy inside had said “No. You can’t. You have to wait for the guys.”

So I did. And I checked my email. And I waited some more. And I checked Facebook. And I opened and closed a few doors on the car very loudly. And I checked my email again. Then I opened the back to look at the tiny little dead fridge one last time. Then they came walking across the giant lot with their black reflective suits and gloves – 3 hulking men to lift the tiny lifeless refridgerator out of my car.

I asked if they could also take the two boxes of lead . . . two tiny boxes because putting it all in one made it too heavy for my whimpy self to lift . . . even though I could lift an entire refrigerator out of the car by myself.

They said yes, they could recycle it, but THEY couldn’t take it. I’d have to drive back onto the scale, like I was leaving, to get weighed again. Then when the arrow turned green, just back up into the yard again and drive to the warehouse where they’d take my lead blocks.

So I did.

And the scale did not give me a green arrow. So I drove forward some more. No green arrow. Forward some more. Still no arrow. FINE, I’ll just drive off, turn around, and go back like I know it works on the way in.

Flashing red X, buzzer, giant magnetic claw thingy!

Not really on the claw, but again, I was certain it was coming!

I got my green arrow and backed all the way into the lot to the warehouse.

The lovely hulking man – one of the SAME men who helped me with the fridge took my lead blocks.

Yes, really.

So I thanked him and got in my car to leave and he yelled “Make sure you stop on the scale and get weighed on the way out!”

Really???!!! This is worse that the GYN office!

This whole weighing thing confused me . . . I got weighed on the way in. I get that.

They took my refrigerator, so I get weighed to see how much that weighed. I get that.

But I didn’t have to leave and come back in, so after I backed into the lot, how do they know it’s the same vehicle and not a new one coming in the other way? I mean, nobody actually came to talk to me on the scale?

And then they took a whopping 30 pounds of lead out of my car before I got weighed again.

I think it was all really some ploy for the guys in the little office house thingy to laugh at the city slicker woman in her Highlander trying to recycle a few things in the ‘hood.

I Feel Like I Should Be Exercising

So I’m sitting on the couch last night with Princess, and we’re enjoying some Voice and maybe a little ice cream :-)

Princess: I feel like I should be exercising!
Me: Why?
P: Because it’s Field Day at school tomorrow and I need to practice and get ready.

Really?! This from the girl who is doing fall cross country, running 1-hour practices twice a week and mile and a half races on Sundays. The girl who is playing volleyball – 1 hour practice once a week and a 1 hour match once a week. The girl who is on the advanced swim team – swim team practice 1 hour 3 times a week.

She’s in better shape than any other 9 year old I know!

So I told her while it was awesome that she wanted to exercise, she is involved in lots of active activities and gets a lot of exercise and it’s OK to hang out and relax every now and then :-)

Four Oh

So sometime in late September, I apparently had a birthday that allowed me entry into a not-so-exclusive club :-) I don’t have problems with birthdays no matter what the number! I LOVE BIRTHDAYS! While my “real” birthday celebration was in July on our two-week trip to Alaska with some awesome friends, I spent my actual birthday doing one of my favorite things – camping.

Yup – I chose to spend my 40th birthday camping. The day before my actual birthday, two of my besties, R and MS, followed me up to the mountains with the campers for a little girls night. We set up the campers, hung out, drank wine, ate crackers and hummus, hung out around the fire, and chatted. Sooooo relaxing! Wouldn’t you agree that this campsite looks relaxing?

 

Notice the red book on the picnic table – that’s Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. Another of my besties, QT, gave me that for my b-day a few days earlier. Nothing quite like a good book at the campground!

After me and the girls partied into the wee hours of the morning (OK, maybe not, but we enjoyed our evening!), we hit the hay for my first night in my new-to-me camper! Loved it! Friday morning, I woke up as a 40-year-old – woo hoo! Of course my awesome girls had a little surprise for me – they decided to class up the campsite for my birthday :-)

 

Nothing screams camping in the Colorado Mountains like pink flamingos, shiny foil banners, and duct tape! I love it!

They also had to make sure anyone in the campground who passed our site knew it was a special site from the road…

 

After yummy breakfast of fruit, banana bread, and camp coffee, we headed out on a nice little 2.5 mile hike from the campground to Panorama Point – where supposedly you can see from Estes Park all the way to Pikes Peak (it was too hazy from the smoke from the Wyoming wildfires, so we couldn’t see all that). We were treated to a quiet trail with few other folks and tons of beautiful golden aspens! Taking pictures of Aspens interspersed with pine trees on a giant hill is kind of like taking photos of the Grand Canyon – you can’t really “feel” it unless you’re there. But here are a few photos from our girls hike.

 

 

 

I love the goofy knot in this tree. It looks like the tree is crossing one of its legs over the other knee :-)

Sadly, R had to leave after lunch to head back to reality while MS and I hung out and read books while drinking a beer or two. Friday evening, the Hubbies brought the kiddos up to the mountains after school, just in time for late dinners and awesome dutch oven chocolate cake compliments of MS. YUMMY! I even got to blow out candles for my 40th – woo hoo! It was a nice relaxing, fun, perfect way to spend my birthday.

Saturday was another beautiful day – we couldn’t believe how awesome the weather was for late September! We got lucky, that’s for sure! After breakfast and more camp coffee (yummmmmmmmy!) we headed out on a hike in search of an old homestead. The bummer was that we (I) chose the wrong trail, so we never got to see the homestead. But we did get to go on a beautiful 3 mile hike through the valley and hills where we saw Dude’s fishing pond and lots more beautiful aspens.

 

Another afternoon spent relaxing and chatting with the adults while the kiddos rode bikes around the loop and played in the forest, we enjoyed awesome Frito Pie before heading to the Ranger Station for a presentation on Mountain Lions. Next up, a campfire of course! Endless games of Telephone and eating S’mores galore before calling it a night.

Sadly, Sunday we had to pack up and leave in the morning, but we had a great time getting out of town for a few days, and I had a wonderful awesome perfect for me 40th birthday thanks to my awesome friends and wonderful family!