Saturday, June 27, 2009

One week of camp done

Carson is halfway through his 2 week camp. It's so quiet around here!

So, what are we doing while Carson is away? Elise is getting lots of pool time. She has learned to swim with her face in the water this week. She's turning into a regular little fish! And, yes, that IS a duck decoy in the pool. I have no explanation. It's one of those "pick your battle" things.

And Carson has a big surprise waiting for him when he gets back. Never fear, WE did this to his room.

And the project involved some demo work, which Elise was THRILLED to lend a hand!

We're also going to paint his room but I can't decide on a color. He has blue carpet and did have vivid blue walls. Not sure what the wall color will be and we'll tackle that after he gets home so he can provide some input.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Videos of camp

Video from camp! Carson appears wet in the videos because he had just taken his swim test. I was a little worried it was greasy hair already but was assured it's just wet. :)

Deerfoot quick overview:

Tyler's cabin area:

Carson and Spencer's cabin area:

Cliff's teepee area:

Pictures from NY!!!

Part of the boy crew returned home today and I was able to snatch up their cameras and download some pictures. Sadly, my dad (who took TONS of pictures) had a bad memory card and the majority of pictures were lost. He was bummed.

Here's the camping crew on the famous pig stone which announces the entrance to Deerfoot. Wonder how many cans of grey paint have covered it over the years!

My brother is the original Deerfoot camper in our family. His wife's family has a summer house near the camp and they are vacationing up there the entire time our boys are at camp. It is reassuring to know that if something terrible happens, Aunt Merry is close by and can offer some motherly comfort (Eric would just tell them to suck it up, I'm banking on Merry for the caring role!). Eric has already calculated the years his boys can start camping at Deerfoot.

And this was the big draw for my dad and Perry. Fly fishing in the Adirondecks. This made the 1000 mile drive with 4 boys worth it.
After dropping the boys off at camp, they stayed a few extra days in the area and fished to their hearts' content. My dad was in Heaven. Dad grew up in upstate NY and knows this area like the back of his hand.
This is how they celebrated Father's Day, knee deep in water with a fishing rod. And they loved it. No schedule, no one reminding them of a "to-do" list, just fishing. All day.

And in this beautiful setting. It was perfect NY weather. While our heat index hovered around 100, they enjoyed temps in the 70's. I miss that type of summer day.

And fish, well, let's assume there were pictures on the disk that was damaged because I never actually saw a picture of a fish (but I was assured plenty were caught). Perry did "catch" this branch. Yum, tasty!

I'd say it was the perfect Father's Day. And, I'm glad they made it home safely. We missed them!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Too hot!

Ugh, I hate the hot humid weather we get in the summer here. I love being outdoors but this sticky heat just drives me inside.

It's been so hot that we haven't even wanted to venture to the pool. How sad is that?!? We needed some new pool floats (thanks to some boys cannonballing on the floats we had and popping them all). By the time I got this one blown up, I was too pooped to face the sticky weather. Elise decided it made a pretty good movie watching lounger for her in the cool air conditioning of the house.

Yes, we finally did venture out and the float is now in its new home in the pool. It didn't really match my decor anyway.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Remember, way back in January when I filled out the paperwork to send Carson to Deerfoot Camp this summer? Seemed like such a great idea at the time. Two full weeks at a deep woods wilderness camp in the heart of the Adirondeck Mountains in NY. Three cousins going with him. How could that possibly NOT be a good thing?

It's not a good thing when Mom realizes her son has been handed off to strangers almost 1000 miles from home and will have no contact with him for 2 weeks. Unless he writes (hand writes!) an actual letter home. Which he'll be required to do next weekend. Sniff. Not seeming like such a grand idea now. Sniff, Sniff!

We did finally get him all packed. I shudder when I think about what it all might look like (or how it will all smell) when we pick him up.

There was some concern that it might not all fit in the van. Perry drove my sister's 3 boys out as well. My Dad also went along to get in some fly fishing in the Adirondeck mountain rivers.

Here's the gang ready for the long drive ahead of them. Did I mention electronics are not allowed at this camp? Seriously. The cabins don't even have electricity. So, the boys got their fill on the drive out. They watched non-stop movies and played their portable electronic games. Perry reports that the ride out was pretty darn peaceful.

And they are off (well, were off last week...I'm a little late in posting this).
I sure hope my son writes home soon. This has been a little harder on me than I expected! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009


We've been wanting to put a basketball hoop for a while but just never got around to it. Well, we FINALLY did and the kids love it. I think it will provide many hours of entertainment for the entire family.

Dad showing off some moves.

Having a tall daddy can be a real advantage! (Yikes...her pants are too big and falling down!)

Carson wanted a turn as well. Phew, dad was winded after trying this!

Carson is going to have the height for basketball and hopefully he has his dad's athletic ability and not his mom's!

Elise loves basketball as well, althought I'm sure playing in blue sparkly high heeled flip flops probably wasn't the smartest choice.

And how many dads can talk on their phone while making a shot with his daughter's pink ball?!?

And the real impetus behind the basketball hoop was the kids discovery of their dad's NCAA championship ring from his college days. His college team won the division 3 championship back in 1987. He doesn't even wear a wedding ring so this ring sits hidden away never seen. The kids were pretty impressed and have new reason to hone their basketball skills.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


You might be wondering where I'm going with that title. Let me explain. I'm getting Carson ready to send off to camp. I had to chuckle when I started packing his undies. (Yes, he's a boxer-type dude and probably greatly appreciates the fact that his undies are now posted on my blog.) Here's a sampling...

Hmmm....camo, frogs and spiders. And the camp he's going to is a deep woods wilderness camp. While I didn't pick out his undies to match the camp environment (I'm not THAT vain!), I did feel a little more assured that this was the right camp for him I saw the assortment of undies set out ready to go. So him. And I think he'll love this camp even though I'm getting very anxious at the thought of sending my 10 year old to a 2 week sleepaway camp 16 hours and 5 states away from home. Shudder.

Want to join our bet? While I'm packing 14 pairs of clean underwear, how many pairs will return home....clean and unworn. Perry guesses 13 will come home clean, I'm going a little more optimistic at 10. What's your guess?!? Remember, mom won't be around to remind him to put on clean underwear daily!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Guess what's in season in our neck of the woods!!!

Yummy, delicious, packed with nutrition, can't get enough RASPBERRIES! And my favorite store has had them on sale for $1/half pint. A buck!!!

Here's my fridge earlier in the week.

And here's my fridge today. I was so excited to find they still a healthy supply so I picked up another 10 pints. I think we've gone through 30 of these half pints in the last week! (I did freeze about 10 those.)

We just can't get enough. The kids will eat an entire clamshell by themselves. So will I. Each clamshell is 78 calories and 11 grams of fiber! Can't beat that for a healthy snack!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The difference between men and boys... the size and price of their toys. Meet Perry's new BFF. We call him John and he moved in with us this week.

I should point out that Perry grew up in an apartment so he never had the joy of HAVING to mow the yard growing up. My sister and I remember having to mow the lawn when we were 6. OK, maybe 10, but today that seems pretty young to let a kid loose with a machine with giant rotating knife blades! And I remember our yard growing up as being HUGE! (It probably wasn't, but it sure seemed that way when you had to waste a perfectly good summer day doing yardwork.)

In all our years of home ownership, Perry has let me mow the grass all of 2 times. Once in our old house when he was out of town and once at this house just recently when his schedule was crazy and we were worried our neighbors were going to report the high grass! That arrangement is fine with me since I spent a good deal of my childhood mowing the yard.


In the first house we owned, we had a double lot so a fairly large yard for that neighborhood. I remember how excited Perry was to buy his first push lawnmower. By the time we left, he had upgraded to a used riding lawnmower. We currently have 2 acres and quickly discovered our used rider wasn't going to cut it, so we bought a more powerful (yet still affordable so not super powerful) rider within a few weeks of living here. Even with that, it would still take him the better part of a day to mow the grass.


All it took was for me to give up a day to mow the lawn to suggest he look at a more powerful mower. I set a budget and he promptly doubled it. :(

So this bad boy can knock out the lawn in half the time as the old mower. Time he can better spend with his family and that's priceless, right? (Have to keep telling myself that and I choke over the actual cost.)

Carson looks pretty excited to be playing on it, doesn't he? Wait a minute, isn't he 10?!? Isn't that age I was when I had to mow our HUGE lawn?!? Hmmm.... He might not be so excited when he's given the chore of mowing the lawn! I think we need to drag out that ol' push mower to show him what it was like the "olden" days!

And at the very least, it can serve as a hill-billy amusement ride!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Elise's turn - 1st grade in review

Where Carson had a rough year, Elise has had a fantastic year in 1st grade! She has come out of her shell in so many ways this year. Where to begin?

Her teacher, Mrs. J, was AMAZING! True proof that the right teacher makes a world of difference. My biggest worry about Elise in school is that she'll get lost in the crowd. She's every teacher's dream student in that she follows the rules, HATES getting in trouble, loves to learn new things and is highly motivated. That said, with her speech issues and shyness, I'm always worried she'll get quickly overlooked in a roomful of other 6-7 year olds demanding attention in their own unique ways.

Mrs. J did not let that happen at all! She has the amazing ability to draw out the best of each child in her class...all 20 of them! She called me in early in the school because she had some specific academic concerns. Because of that early intervention on her behalf (she was noticing things we hadn't noticed when going over homework at home), we were able to work with the school to get Elise some extra support and she's made great progress.

Academically, she's done very well this year. She brought home one U (her school uses the Excellent, Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory grading system) and she was in tears. That was the only U she brought home all year. Her handwriting is beautiful, she has a new confidence in her reading abilities and she loves math. She would consistently get the highest level spelling list each week. She's a "nose to the grindstone" kind of kid who is motivated by earning high grades and will put in the work and effort for those grades.

Socially, she's just blossomed! From being a painfully shy kid at the beginning of the school year, she has BURST out of her shell this year. At the beginning of the school year, she was constantly coming home telling of new groups and activities she wanted to join. We agreed to drama club, soccer and Daisy Scouts. She looks forward to the activities and loves being involved. She's made some good new friends and is becoming quite the social butterfly.

She just loves school and loves learning. It's such a delight to have a child so excited about school. She even had perfect attendance this year! While I consider myself to be fairly organized, she was always reminding me of what she needed on which days and made sure she was all set for the day ahead.

Her speech is still progressing. I remember her excitement a few weeks ago because she'd been able to make the SH sound with her speech therapist! This was a HUGE deal! As she comes out of her shell and wants to be more involved, her speech still frustrates her. She really wants a speaking role in drama club next year. She still complains that friends just can't understand her and will ignore her when that happens. We continue to see progress and think her speech is so much more clearer now than at the beginning of the school year.
We've seen from Day 1 that she really seems to focus her energies on one area at a time. Once she masters that area, she moves onto a new area. We keep expecting that to happen with the speech. She was able to drop PT services this past year and now that she's on target academically, she'll have more energies to focus on her speech. The good news is that she's continually making progress and for that we are grateful.

Elise also played soccer this year and seems to have developed a love for basketball and bike riding. Dad is putting up a basketball net this year and we're looking forward to some long family bike rides now that Elise has her own "big girl" bike and no longer needs the tag-along (although she'll make a strong argument for still using the tag-along bike!).

Elise, we're so proud of the hard work you've put in this year. You've done great work and have learned so much this year! I'll sit down with you anytime to have you read me a book, sweetie!

4th grade in review

Now that the summer is here, I wanted to take a few minutes and reflect on the past year in 4th grade for Carson. This year has been the roughest so far for him. But, as his teacher wrote in his report card, "We made it!"

Academically, he just never found the right connection with his teacher (nor did we) and spent a good deal of time bored in class. While he brought home all A's and B's on his final report card, his grades represent very little effort on his behalf. As a parent, it's frustrating to know how well he could do if he just applied himself a teeny, tiny bit. It's frustrating seeing that love of learning dwindle (especially considering that we're both in the field of education!). We're hoping for a strong teacher next year who will re-ignite that fire of knowledge.

He's made some new friends and drifted away from one particular old friend. He's redefined what a friend means to him and it's been a painful process. He's learned that friends don't always treat one another so nicely (himself included there) and that trust is a big issue that can break up a friendship. Again, as a parent, it's been hard watching this process unfold and there have been times I've wanted to jump in and fight the fight for him. I've had a steep learning curve as I've realized he's growing up and needs to learn to fight his own battles. Unfortunately, the issue has driven the moms apart as well, something we swore we'd never let happen. But, I've also learned that the friends your kids surround themselves with are vitally important to the character they develop. Through this whole painful process, he's learned (as have I) to really value those good friendships. He's starting to make several good friendships through our church and I'm happy about that. I'm still hopeful that he and this other boy can find a way to be friends without hurting one another. Maybe in time.

Soccer continues to be his sport of choice. He joined a new team this past spring and really excelled. The coach was great and we're looking forward to being a part of that team again in the fall. Through that new team, Carson has managed to jump start some old friendships from the past with some really good kids.

Oh my goodness, he's noticing girls now! I've caught him changing his clothes and making sure he looks nice if he knows there is a chance he might run into certain girls. And I'm noticing sly looks from girls in his direction. Scary!

And growth has been a constant theme this year. He continues to shoot up. Comes up to my chin now and I know it's only a matter of time before he's taller than me. That height is a blessing and a curse. When you see him in a group of his peers, people assume he's older and expect him to act older than 10. (Let's be honest, 10 year old boys can be a tad bit immature!) He eats just non-stop, but is willing to try new foods! He's discovered some very healthy foods that he really likes this past year (like tilapia, salmon and sweet potatoes).

We're looking forward to a summer of down time and renewal so we're ready to hit the ground running come 5th grade this fall. Yikes...5th grade?!?

And just hours after school got out for the summer, the phone started ringing with calls from his friends. He's already sleeping over a friend's house the first night of summer break. I think this might just be the theme of the summer. And, you know what, I'm OK with that. :)