Saturday, July 30, 2016

Track Meet

 Our small town Parks and Rec center sponsored a family Track Meet.
It was billed for everyone ages 3 and up.
Wanting to expose my children to something I loved as a kid, we signed up right away.

Have you ever seen anything so cute in your life?  This guy ran and ran and ran!
My older three weren't able to go and the youngest isn't even rolling over yet.
It was up to the three younger kids and Mom to represent the family.

Most of the events were brand new to my girls. A good family friend is a track coach for the high school.  He is a natural teacher and got to work right away, explaining how things worked to my crew.

My girl is in lane 3 with the red top.

I was proud of my younger girls, ages 8 and 10.  They ran just about every race and tried the jumping events as well.  The eight year old had injured her heel just a couple of days before on a rock in a lake, but she didn't let that limit her.

My little girl is in lane 4, dressed all in pink.
 It was 95 degrees and we had to run facing west.  The sun was hot and in our eyes.  
This picture is after the 400 meter run.  That is such a hard race and they did great! (Her shoes were really hurting her heel, so she ran sock-footed.)

When it was time for the 4x100 relay race, the girls were quickly divided into teams.
Here, the younger kid team discusses strategy.

The middle kids got things worked out as well.

There was a team that needed one more member, so I joined in.
Good grief, you guys.  I was trying as hard as I could, but those high schoolers zoomed by me like I was a leaf in the grass.

I did attempt another event.
I participated in the triple jump.
I literally have not done this in more than twenty years.
I was surprised that my muscles remembered how to do it
and I was thrilled (and surprised) that I made it into the sand pit!

My buddy followed right in my footsteps.
He started hopping as soon as he got to the white lines and jumped the whole way into the sand.

When I jumped, I fell sideways into the sand.
He decided that was how it was supposed to be done.
Every time he jumped after that, he fell sideways into the sand.

 It was so much fun!  The word about these meets hasn't been spread far and wide just yet, so there weren't so many spectators as to intimidate an old, saggy lady like me.  Plus, it was a perfect exposure to the sport for my kids.  We all came home tired, a good kind of tired, if you know what I mean.

We have two more meets and everyone is excited to run again!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Time for a Hike

Dad had a half-day for work, which meant he was home by noon.  We figured it was about huckleberry time in the mountains, so we threw some picnic foods into backpacks and took off.

We could not have asked for more perfect weather.  It was warm, but not deathly hot.
I get really grumpy when I'm too hot.

This particular hike is perfect for a day trip with younger kids.
It is about a 4 mile round-trip, has a well-defined trail, and has every feature you could want:

big fallen logs for balancing acts,

mountain streams and gurgling brooks,

breathtaking vistas,

green forests,


and a sparkling lake to greet you!

The water is so clear, and after the sweaty hike, everyone was ready to jump in.

Take care, though, we had two pretty bad cuts on those rocks!  One sliced open her heel, another gashed her toe.  Nothing like some mountain first aid when we inadvertently left the first aid kit in the car!

Dad was the bravest of all.  He went in all the way, even dunked his head in the alpine lake, to the delight of his children.

We ate our picnic dinners and played in the lake and on the glacial rocks until it was time to head back down the mountain.

I carried the baby on the way up. (Dad carried her down.) When we stopped to pick huckleberries, I sat and filled her belly.

There is a waterfall behind me, but the position of the sun and my awesome camera made it impossible to capture.

Justin takes his berry picking very seriously.  He wanted to fill his quart-sized container with the tiny berries and that meant everyone had to pitch in.  

As soon as the baby was done eating, however, she had to empty things out on the other end.
Needless to say, I did not put any berries into the container.

While Justin was cracking the whip to get everyone to work, I sat tending to the baby, eating as many as I could pick.
This was partly because I couldn't hold the baby and a bag and pick and partly because they are irresistibly delicious,
but I mostly did it to taunt my husband.
I'm so wicked.

They did it! They made their quota.  Now we will have huckleberry ice cream, milkshakes and pancakes,

The little guy had an accident, so he was hiking down the mountain in his tighty-whities.  At one point, he ran to catch up to Dad.  You guessed it, he tripped, skinned his knee and gave himself a pretty good road rash on his hiney.

I picked him up and continued hiking.
Out of nowhere, I felt a terrible pain in my foot.
A wasp had stung me under the strap on my sandal! Twice!
Our injury list was at capacity.

This was hard for me, but at the same time, it felt SO good to use my muscles again.

We made it down alive, performed some more first aid in the car and settled in for the ride home.

Even with the injuries, it was a great day.
It was an everyone-was-happy day.
I love those.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Field Trip Summer: MAC & Campbell House

This week's field trip was to the Museum of Arts and Culture, or MAC.
It was half price Tuesday, for which I was grateful; that was all it was worth, in my opinion.  
The museum is small and not varied--some animals, some art, some artifacts.  The architecture of the building was cool--better than the exhibits, unfortunately.

But, you know, we saw a few things and it was the right size for the youngest's attention span.
You have no idea how ridiculously long it took to orchestrate this photo!
Can't help but notice the blank space where our Eowyn would be.
After viewing all of the exhibits, the children got to create a bit of their own art!

Why are the children all squashed together when the whole giant wall is available?!
Next door to the museum is the Campbell House.  It was built and owned by a rich mine owner in 1898.  It has been carefully preserved and restored and is now an historical house.  This house was worth the price of admission. 

Waiting for the tour to start.

I hadn't been to the house since I was a teenager.  My memories of it were positive, but there were a lot of details I'd forgotten.  I hoped it was as good as I remembered.

It was.
Gorgeous woodwork, decadent wallpaper.
Last time I was here, they were carefully peeling layers off the walls to find the original wallpaper design.  This is a replica based on that paper.
I love it.

My stupid camera failed me, but this room was gorgeous.  Deep greens, rich woods, big windows, some of my favorite things!

In the carriage house, they had some dress-up clothes.
We had to take a "waiting for the train" picture.

Having just read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, we had to take a picture with Aslan!

 See the kid on the floor?  I'm afraid that was frequent during our outing today.
It was time to go home!

We all loved the Campbell House 

Love me some tudor style!

and were glad it was half-price Tuesday for the rest of the exhibits!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

On a Happy Note . . .

I'm wearing jeans for the first time in probably half a year!

Friday, July 22, 2016


We have these pigs.

My family had a few animals when I was growing up, but they were mostly the responsibility of the older kids (or Dad and Mom, most likely).  I never really learned how to raise animals.  

The girls are raising 4-H pigs and, although they are doing most of the care on their own (cleaning the pen, feeding, watering, exercising, etc.), there are some things they cannot do without a parent's help.
This is where I come in.  I picked a seller on Craigslist (the ad seemed so promising), I made decisions about food, I have to transport the things and I have to try to guide the girls through 4-H booklets, paperwork, and fair prep.

Tiny baby piglet trying to nurse off of it's older pen mate.  I don't think that's normal.

I leave every 4-H meeting not necessarily in tears, but frequently on the verge of them.
We were sold terrible piglets.  They were WAY too young to the point where, in one case, I don't think the piglet had been weaned an hour before we arrived to take her home. Only one of the three has any chance of making weight before fair time.  You don't need every detail about how ignorant I am, but you can know that I am ignorant and constantly feel like a fool.
Raising pigs is fully outside of my comfort zone.

Anyway, I've been pretty hard on myself and ashamed at how I was taken advantage of.
Until I watched this:

The re-framing of failure is a pivotal idea for me.  I am still mightily ignorant, but I know more now than I did two months ago.  When we raise pigs again next year (which we will in order to take advantage of our new, hard-earned  knowledge), I won't make the same mistakes.
Did I fail?  In some ways, YES!  
But I did TRY
and that counts for a lot.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A New Fairy

The big news this week is that our baby has discovered her laugh.

Later that afternoon, our eight year old came running excitedly into the house.
She had seen the new fairy, born on Baby Girl's first laugh.

  • "When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.  When a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies."
  • - J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan