Another long update

Life has been very busy in this house. Also, I’m not of the generation who grew up with blogs and social media as an everyday part of life so updating this space seems difficult to me when I’m in the thick of life. So, I’m sorry for the long absence again. Here is all the news that’s fit to print:

April & May were busy with the usual end of the school year stuff. June brought Marching Band Madness to our usually laid back & tranquil summer plans. Ditty participated in the flute section for the first time (she could have participated last summer but I’m glad she didn’t). They had a week long sweat camp and then it was 2-3 parades per week for the rest of June. One parade got rescheduled because of rain, so that week had 4 parades, the rescheduled one on Tues, another on Thurs & Fri & Sat. So glad that’s done, none in July & just one more exhibition parade on Aug 2nd. They did earn some good marks and even received one Grand Champion recognition. I didn’t get to watch them perform at any of the parades, so I’m looking forward to watching on the 2nd. June also brought Driver’s Ed classes back to our schedule. Ditty now has her learner’s permit and needs to get 30 hours of behind the wheel in the next 6 months in order to take her test for a conditional driver’s license. Teens don’t get full driving privileges straight off anymore.

DH learned the importance of teaching your teen driver exactly what your “driving slang” means before you use it on them. Ditty’s first behind the wheel attempt with us was driving his truck over to Clearwater/Pleasant regional park. She was backing out of the driveway and he wanted her to turn more sharply onto the road so he said “crank it”. She applied the gas and we bagan to shoot across the road. I yelled “Stop!” and she applied the brakes, thankfully before we wound up in the neighbor’s ditch. DH asked her why she stepped on the gas and she replied “well, I thought that’s what you wanted me to do.” Teach them the meaning of your slang so you will live longer-just saying. Also, saying Crank It when you don’t give them a direction to turn in isn’t very helpful. Hard right or hard left would help a beginner more. Maybe this was why the eldest always wanted me in the vehicle with her. If that happens again, I really need to get some valium.

We brought BooBoo in to the doctor in June and we have finally received some answers to his issues. We now know that he has ADD, the inattentive type and he has now begun taking medication to help with his attention issues. This has also greatly improved his anxiety & depression. It really feels like we have our old Buddy Sunshine back again. He comes up the stairs with a spring in his step and no longer balks when we interrupt what he wants to do with a request to complete a chore.

July has been, well, interesting-let’s just leave it at interesting. The 4th brought the usual parade & 2 potlucks. A neighbor invited us over for fireworks and that was nice. I am getting a little tired now of picking up the debris from my yard. Apparently fireworks are for the whole month of July. Oh well, they are good neighbors the rest of the year. Speaking of neighbors, I think we finally have some new neighbors kitty corner across the street. There was a trailer there yesterday along with 2 large vehicles so one can hope that house is finally going to be someone’s home.

I finished writing the new Nature program for our Girl Scout day camp. 2nd grade learns about mammals, 3rd grade learns about bugs & butterflies, 4th grade learns about birds, 5th learns about trees (and has the coolest craft), 6th learns about reptiles & amphibians & fish, and 7th learns about wildflowers. 2nd & 3rd don’t do a nature craft, they have games instead. 4th & up do a craft that relates to what they are learning about: Bird feeders, Pine cone boxes, Toad homes & Wildflower presses. The girls seemed to enjoy their time in Nature this year, especially their nature hike/exploration day. I think it was the fact that they had permission to look & touch & observe their surroundings that captivated them. The 6th grade girls loved going out to catch frogs & toads. We learned that we have a lot of Leopard frogs in our day camp area. We also found a baby Great Plains toad. Maybe next year we’ll have to catch some insects too and see how the frogs and toads catch their meal. (This thought is due to the Cope’s Gray treefrog that was clinging to our deck door last night. I watched it crawl, looked like an Army crawl, up the side of the door and then leap at a bug that it ate.)

July also brought 2 more visitations/funerals. My last uncle on my dad’s side passed away in June, then the father of a friend’s husband passed away in early July and another friend’s husband was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash this past weekend. It has been a mournful month. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, by the mercy of God, rest in peace.

I am looking forward to enjoying our final 5 weeks of summer vacation. BooBoo wants to have the guys over for a fire and hot dogs soon. Ditty has swim team practices starting up again in August. We still need to update her flute and she wants to start learning the saxophone as well.

Time to get BooBoo started on his guitar practice. Hope your summer is going well.


Life Update

Well, I haven’t posted in awhile so we’ve got some ground to cover.

Last week Ditty, BooBoo & I were at Girl Scout Daycamp.  BooBoo gets to come along because the daycamp director doesn’t believe her volunteers should have to pay for babysitting when they are giving their time to her for free.  So BooBoo plays with the other Tag-A-Longs (their unit name and a great GS cookie flavor) and roams around camp finding all sorts of adventures, weird looking bugs, etc.  One year, he decided he was Harry Potter and he had various versions of the Nimbus 2000 (large sticks) hewould ride on.  That’s a year I wish I could freeze and replay the way little kids watch the same movie over & over.  He was nicknamed the “Camp Wizard”.

We had a great time and are sad that our little “Brigadoon” is once again done for another year.

During that week, that Monday evening to be precise, Ditty & I came home to discover that DH & BooBoo had gone shopping.  Or perhaps a better phrase would be “gone buying”.  We are now the proud (?) owners of a used pop-up tent camper.  DH & I had been watching craigslist and were looking to get a nice used pop-up camper, but I had assumed that I would be able to at least look at photos online before we bought one.  I also assumed that “we” had stopped looking for awhile since I was going to be busy that week.  Silly me. 

This one came stocked with all the dishes and appliances the seller had used in the camper and the indoor/outdoor carpet they had used as a ground cover in front of the camper.  If you’re a non-camper, you’re probably thinking “That’s great!”.  Personally, I’d like to know why they parted with everything.  In other words, where did that mouse they might have found get in?  I’ll be thoroughly shampooing all of the upholstery later today and cleaning every knook & cranny of the camper.  I will also be disposing of much of the dishes, etc. that they so graciously gave us.  The “Free” box will be at the end of the driveway by tomorrow morning.  I just don’t want to deal with their stuff and we’ve already replaced the stained indoor/outdoor carpet with one of those woven plastic camp mats from Walmart.

Soccer tournaments start up this coming week for Ditty & BooBoo.  Ditty has possibly 3 nights of tournaments; Monday, Thursday & Friday.  BooBoo has two nights; Tuesday & Saturday.  Guess I can always go out for coffee Wednesday night, since I’ll have nothing to do (insert laughter here).  BooBoo’s team won their first game ever last Tuesday night.  They had tied one game previously.  That puts them in last place in their four team league this season.  Ditty’s team has done much better, they’ve lost 2, tied 2 and won 5.  The tenth game was cancelled due to extreme heat.  Not a bad record for the year.  We’ll see how they do in tournament play.

We camped again at St Croix State Park mid month with DH’s sister, brother-in-law & their family.  It was great fun and very laid back.  We spent about two and a half hours on the river in canoes & kayaks, some of which was spent on the sand bars just wading & swimming.

Prior to leaving for that trip, we found these guys (three of them) sleeping in the big tree in our front yard.

Sorry about the bad shot.  It’s hard to get a good picture when they were in the middle of all those leaves.  Of course, they had to go, one way or another, since raccoons can carry rabies.  Happily for DH, the kids and the raccoons; they were no longer in our tree when we got home the following Sunday.

We’ve got some more camping planned for this summer, but first it’s time to tackle that camper.  Wish me luck.

Girl Scout fundraising

“Reminds me of my safari in Africa.  Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.”  W.C. Fields

I think I need a girl’s night out.  I can relate to Mr. Fields far too easily today.

The weekends have been crazy around here.  Last Friday & Saturday, we held a garage sale fundraiser for Ditty’s Girl Scout troop.  It would have been a bigger success if I would have had the time to put an advertisement in the paper.  As it was, no ad & not getting signs up until noon on Friday, we still made more money than we did on the garage sale fundraiser we did last spring that did have ads in the newspaper and on local radio and had houses all through my neighborhood participating (in the garage sale part, not our fundraising).  Bums me out though that we could have done better.  The remaining items have been donated to a local thrift store that benefits an organization called Love INC (Love in the name of Christ), so it isn’t so bad.  DH & my co-leader’s husband were both relieved that there wouldn’t be any storage of the remaining piles on the off chance of us doing this again sometime.  I think I would prefer bagging groceries as a fundraiser and apparently the girls in the troop would too based on their responses to the idea.  The one dissenter must have left the troop this past spring.  We required everyone to be on board with a fundraising idea before we would approve it for the troop because we wanted everyone to participate.

What are the girls trying to raise money for, you ask.  They wish to attend the Girl Scout National Convention in 2013, under our supervision of course.  It will probably cost about $700-800 per girl so I am glad that they are planning to do their fundraising early.  We really don’t want to hit up the parents for the cost if possible because our troop parents aren’t wealthy and it would cause a large financial burden for some of them which would equate to their girl being unable to attend.  My co-leader and I are very adamant that every girl who wants to attend should be able to attend.  Fundraising is the way to achieve that goal.

Our troop has been very self-sufficient in the past.  The girls sell cookies and that money has allowed us to forgo asking parents to pay the $12 annual membership fee to National (the troop pays it for every girl) and we have almost eliminated the need for troop dues (we ask for $1 per meeting, but do not strong arm anyone over the amount) to cover the cost of badges & patches.  Cookie sales alone, however, will not meet the cost of a trip to the convention and learning experience it offers the girls is too good to ignore.  We also, if it is possible, want to take the girls to Savannah to see the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts.  That will be another trip that offers a great opportunity for learning since my co-leader’s sister works for a national television station and we could tour there and possibly stay with her as well.  Fundraising for that trip will need to wait until we can get this one under our belts.

In the meantime, we will continue to camp with the girls and do the badgework they have chosen.  Getting them rolling on their Silver Award projects is another goal for this year.  We have a good group of girls and the prospects of adding two more plus possibly others as well.  All this in a spirited and fun environment.  Whew!

I looked back at the title I gave this post before I started writing.  It was My Weekend.  I guess I should subtitle it:  or Who cares as long as there is Girl Scouting.  The post definitely took on a life of its own. 

The title has been changed.

Enjoy your week.

Just a quick update

Heading out Girl Scout camping this weekend.

Hopefully the rain doesn’t happen & the box oven bake-off is a success.

Enjoy your weekend.  I’ll try to post the next segment of the Yellowstone pictures on Monday.  DH finally burned them to a CD so I can upload them to the blog in the air conditioned comfort of my office/craft room/junkpile I mean “storage space”.

The “de-crapification” will need to continue soon.

Daycamp 2011

I finished another week of volunteering at a Girl Scout daycamp last Friday.  At daycamp, my camp name is Sparky and I teach OSS which stands for outdoor specialty skills.  Things like jackknives, compasses, trail signs, knots, tarp shelters and weather.  This year I had a young adult helping me.  Her camp name was Smurf.  No, she didn’t have blue skin.  And she may be coming back again next year.  That would be great.

I always feel bad dumping someone in the deep end if they’ve never taught before, so I basically had Smurf doing simple tasks with me.  On Friday, I asked if she was coming back next year and she didn’t say no, so I suggested taking her OSS binder home and looking over what we do and letting me know what stuff she’d like to teach the girls next year and I would teach the other stuff.  I hope she comes back.  She was fun to work with.

Last week was incredibly hot here in the great white north.  We definitely were not frozen anymore.  Monday’s heat index was 112, Tuesday’s & Wednesday’s heat index was 118.  At that point, I stopped paying attention to heat indexes because it just made me feel warmer than not knowing.  The campers were hot & tired, but who can blame them.  We’re used to temps in the 90’s in July, but with the extremely high humidity we were getting, the mugginess was just about unbearable.

In spite of the weather, we still had loads of fun at camp.  Thursday night was the sleep over for 4th grade & up.  We cooked hot dogs over a fire, made s’mores and enjoyed a second campfire later with songs and skits. 

Today is a rest day.  Tomorrow, it’s laundry & getting on DH’s computer to post some of the Yellowstone pics.

An IPP for that

“There’s an app for that!” 

I forget which cell phone carrier first started using that line.  It came back to me this weekend as I was sitting, sleep deprived, on my bunk at Girl Scout camp.

I hadn’t gone to bed until 12:30a.m. and woke up at 3:30am thanks to being in a strange bed minus DH and forgetting my sleeping pills.  It was now 6 a.m. and I figured that if I’m going to be awake I might as well look over the training info I would be presenting to the adults that day.

As I was sitting there, I began thinking about all the people with smart phones and how every time you turn around there is someone (or a billboard) proclaiming “There’s an app for that!”.   I began thinking that for everything a Cadette age level Girl Scout wants to learn, guess what?  There’s an IPP for that!  The badges the girls earn at Cadette level and above are called Interest Project Patches or IPP’s for short.

Now if I can just get National on board with this saying, maybe they will stop pushing Journeys down our collective throats and proudly re-embrace the traditional Girl Scout Handbooks and Badge books.

After all, when it comes to Girl Scout traditions: “There’s an IPP for that!”

Adieu, Adieu to you & you & you

I’m off this weekend to our annual Girl Scout Service Unit Encampment.  I’ll schedule posts for Saturday & Sunday (hope they post as they’re supposed to).

Each year, our service unit takes a weekend in November and goes camping.  Yes, here.  In the great white frozen north.  Uh huh, really.

Now lest you think we’re crazy (or crazier than usual), let me reassure you that we will be in cabins.  That’s right.  Spacious heated cabins with all of the proper amenities up to and including flush toilets and working showers.  We’re not Boy Scouts after all.  We appreciate amenities.  You do have to bring your own chocolates for your pillow, but hey what can you expect for $15/night per kid.  They will feed us and even provide program opportunities for those leaders too uncreative to think up their own stuff to do.

Our troop will be working on their Kid’s Only Sale crafts and taking frequent breaks for meals, snacks, oh and a walk in the woods to help wear off those snacks (maybe).  We’ve had good times in the past at this event and expect to have good memories of this one also.

So, until Monday, enjoy the automated me.

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"Among those around you, apostolic soul, you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example, you produce a first circle, and it another, and another, and another, wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?" St. Josemarie Escriva: The Way