Cub Scout Camping


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The Camp Site – I’m trying to decide if it is really on a hill or if Nick took this photo while he was falling over. I keep forgetting to ask.

I, personally, didn’t camp with them (David and I spent the night comfortably at Nana & Pa’s house and had dinner with the cousins), but Pack 369 went out to Gilmer this weekend and set up camp.

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Our Boys’ Tent. It is small and warm.

My husband forgot the camera AND his phone the first night and they all came home the second night because Nick and I had an ETSO performance to attend, but they got pictures this morning, finally, when they went back to pack everything up to bring home.

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Dear Scout Pack 369,

I’m sorry I brought my 101 degree fever to your banquet. I didn’t know I had one after I baked the brownies and fed them all to you and rubbed my germy hands all over your scouts little fuzzy heads. So sorry. :*(


Cub Scouts at Camp Ford

Nick took the Pack 369 Tiger Cubs up for a tour of Camp Ford, the largest Prisoner of War camp during the Civil War this side of the Mississippi.

Meeting up at the front of Camp Ford

Meeting up at the front of Camp Ford

One picture of one sign.  No, really, I took pictures of ALL of them. If you want to see them, let me know and I'll post more. :)

One picture of one sign. No, really, I took pictures of ALL of them. If you want to see them, let me know and I’ll post more. 🙂

Nick starts his lecture on Camp Ford while the Tiger Cubs and their families listen intently.

Nick starts his lecture on Camp Ford while the Tiger Cubs and their families listen intently.

At some point Greg injured himself and had to be carried for a while. This did not deter Nick in the slightest.

At some point Greg injured himself and had to be carried for a while. This did not deter Nick in the slightest.

Apparently I lied. I like pictures of signs. Whee!

Apparently I lied. I like pictures of signs. Whee!

On the trail...

On the trail…

Greg finally gets down when there's a sign with labels that mean something to him in real time.

Greg finally gets down when there’s a sign with labels that mean something to him in real time.

Playing on the wall.

Playing on the wall.

This really cool cabin/tent combination that prisoners built themselves (this is more than likely a recreation, but still). Basically they were just left out there to their own devices. If they wanted shelter, they had to make it themselves.

This really cool cabin/tent combination that prisoners built themselves (this is more than likely a recreation, but still). Basically they were just left out there to their own devices. If they wanted shelter, they had to make it themselves.

Inside the cabin/tent. It's kind of cozy.

Inside the cabin/tent. It’s kind of cozy.

Scouts trip to see the Lady Apaches

Last night while I was at work, Nick took the Tiger Cubs of Okee Tuklo Pack 369 to a Lady Apaches Basketball game at Tyler Junior College. The gym there is very nice and they let scouts in to the game for free.

TJC Lady Apaches Basketball

TJC Lady Apaches Basketball

Go Apaches!

Go Apaches!

Tiger Cubs watching the game (Greg is so not amused that his daddy is blocking his view path).

Tiger Cubs watching the game (Greg is so not amused that his daddy is blocking his view path).

You go girls!

You go girls!

Scout Cake Baking

Our old scout pack used to do a Cake Auction this time of year, so we’re used to baking cakes by now. Our new pack, though, doesn’t sell the cakes off to raise money (they make plenty in popcorn sales apparently)…instead they EAT THEM ALL UP!  The kids were so excited. They put ALL the frosting and ALL the sprinkles on them.  Look:

Greg's Christmas themed cake of love and joy

Greg’s Christmas themed cake of love and joy

Ben's cake of randomness.

Ben’s cake of randomness.

Even after I took the pictures, they kept coming back and sprinkling on "just a little bit" more.

Even after I took the pictures, they kept coming back and sprinkling on “just a little bit” more.


(And for those of you asking “Why all the blue and yellow?” Well, our old pack did scout themed cakes and so the original plan had been to make a Tiger Cub seal and a Webelos seal. Once we found out we could make whatever we wanted, those intricate design plans went way out the window. Whew! Was I ever a relieved Mama.)


I guess I should catch up with the rest of the week first.  All righty then!


Wednesday I went to the doctor for my physical.  We talked about many things, like my meds (they’ve changed), my blood pressure (it’s happy), my anxiety (lessened by meds, yay!), weight loss (uh, yeah), and my heart condition, which was the surprise topic.  Apparently I have one?  Or might?  In any case it led to more blood tests on Thursday.  We’ll see what they say.  As I was leaving there the nurse from the school called and said Greg’s shoes had exploded and could I bring new ones?  I could not, so he borrowed some from her.  My mom took him and Ben out and got them more shoes that afternoon while David was at meetings at school.


Thursday was a sick-kid-at-home day, but my mom watched him while I was out.

Pathetic Greg.  This was in the morning while he was still feverish.

Pathetic Greg. This was in the morning while he was still feverish.

By mid afternoon he was doing all right and we watch Sofia the First on the Disney channel, which he loved, while snuggling.  🙂 That evening we went over to my parents house for dinner and a game of Cargo Noir, which went on for hours and hours.  I don’t even remember who won.  It went on so long that Ben and Greg both fell asleep, so Nick and I had to carry them home while David carried all our stuff.  I’m sure we made quite a sight on the street.


Friday I had a sick Ben at home…or rather, at Grandma’s house in the morning so I wouldn’t have to miss my coffee date with the neighbor yet again (we’ve been back and forth and back and forth with changing dates due to sick kids.  We live 4 houses away from each other and have not managed to see each other since Thanksgiving).  It was a lovely morning with muffins made by a different neighbor.  🙂  Friday afternoon I brought Ben back home and he was much recovered.


We learned to play Bakugan, which he got as a post-Christmas present. :)

We learned to play Bakugan, which he got as a post-Christmas present. 🙂


Friday afternoon we had the Scouts over from our Pack and taught them Fire Safety in our side yard.  It had rained enough this week (all week long) that everything was nice and wet and safe, but we still made them clear the ground cover before starting the fire.

Ben and S. work while M. reads the newspaper.  How is this fair?!

Ben and S. work while M. reads the newspaper. How is this fair?!


Then they and their siblings all jumped on the trampoline until it was too dark to see anymore and the other mom dragged them all off.  🙂

See the children.  See the children jump and play.  Jump, children, jump!

See the children. See the children jump and play. Jump, children, jump!


Then that evening we had my parents over for dinner, as it was our last evening together before they had to go back home and my dad had to start teaching again.

Yummy yummy cheese platter.  I'm getting good at throwing those suckers together.

Yummy yummy cheese platter. I’m getting good at throwing those suckers together.


Saturday morning we hung out with my parents again and made them play Creationary with us.  We’ve discovered that it is supremely hard, even using just the basic cards.  David’s the only one that’s any good at it.  Our church had Teen Day that afternoon, with all the kids in the Teen Group serving in places that adults normally serve, like being Greeters, Ushers, Song Leader, Prayer Leader, and Pianist.  It was pretty cool seeing all our kids do that stuff.

David is counting all the people in his section as part of his duties as Usher.

David is counting all the people in his section as part of his duties as Usher.

After services were over was our church’s Mexican Potluck and Variety Show. (I still need to offload videos, but some of them are pretty shaky.)  Our congregation has been hit pretty hard with the flu, so two of our major performers/accompanists were out sick, which left us with some holes in our program.

The Pre-teen Group sang Old MacDonald.  We had zero rehearsal time; this was just for fun!

The Pre-teen Group sang Old MacDonald. We had zero rehearsal time; this was just for fun! They’re even wearing flower pots on their heads as hats. One of the animals on our farm was a hippopotamus   The snorting was SOOO cute!



David played an excerpt from the William Tell Overture on his trumpet right after doing a skit with all the other kids.  I don’t have a picture from that one, but it was a hilarious scout skit and the high point was David running off stage with a roll of toilet paper in his hand.


The Teen Group sang God Bless America as a finale. Photo Credit: Joanne Gonzalez

The Teen Group sang God Bless America as a finale. David waves the flag from our house that we put up at holidays.  Photo Credit: Joanne Gonzalez


Right after the Variety Show, we headed straight out so David could make it to his friends birthday party/sleepover.  He was sooo excited!  🙂  They stayed up all night and played the Wii and DS’s and had Nerf gun wars.  He came home and pretty much went right to bed.  🙂


The rest of us have spent our day cleaning house and getting ready for the next week.  And that is that. Hope y’all are having a great weekend!


All I do is rush around and read

Last Wednesday we didn’t have a lot going on, which was good, as I was still recovering from Icky Tummy.  Greg had a short playdate with his friend Kya. We were late, then they needed to leave early, but they had fun in the backyard!  Lots of climbing on the jungle gym the way it wasn’t intended to be played on, of course.   Then I caught up on housework, Greg caught up on My Little Pony watching, and the big kids had school.

Greg & Kya both fit on the swing in her backyard! Too cute!

Thursday all the kids were in school, so it was another day of errands for me, this time for the Spring Recital.  I got the programs made and ordered, practiced my various instruments, and picked things up from hither and yon.  The scout pack meeting was at the Waste Management Plant south of town.  It was very, very stinky, but also quite interesting.  Made me want to re-read Slow River.  David “officially” crossed over to Scouts and received his Scout book from our pack leader.  (I didn’t know that was going to happen or I’d have invited people and probably would have insisted it not happen someplace quite so informal.)

Scouts at the Waste Management Plant

Friday turned unexpectedly busy.  More Spring Recital errands, more just-for-us errands.  Greg got a new toy with his own money at the dollar store.  We had my “birthday lunch” with Nick at Oliveto’s (I had a birthday coupon!).  Then I went up and had a conference with Ben’s teacher because (prepare yourself for the shock.  No, really, prepare yourself!)  Ben had been challenging the teacher and substitute teachers authority.  My Ben.  For real.  It turned out to be no big deal, but apparently he’d had a hard week, there’d been a mix-up with the sub paperwork, and it just spiraled from there.  *sigh*  After that was an impromptu PTA meeting (announced in the funniest way: “Let’s go to my house and drink beer in the front yard while the kids run in the street!”  whee!  note: the kids did not actually run in the street, nor was it an official meeting).  After that I took the kids to the PretzelMaker in the mall, to use our birthday coupons there, whereupon we were treated unkindly by the establishment, they denied looking at our official documents proving our dates of birth (which I’d brought just in case because it can be awkward when two in a family have close birthdays), but they gave us our free pretzels eventually.

Greg's cool new toy. It's already been repaired five or six times. Nick and I take turns repairing it now. Yay for cheap toys.

Saturday was busy as well.  Ben had a birthday party for his friend L. to go to first thing in the morning.  It was in the backyard and I got to spend my morning chatting with my friend R, who I don’t see enough of, which was lovely.  The cake was a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake (homemade).  So very yummy!

This was the Pokeball Drop game at Ben's friends Pokemon themed party. It was a gorgeous day for a party.

Saturday was also my solo debut doing special music on the piano.  I’ve done quite a few duets with Nick’s mom, but never played on my own.  I was so nervous and shaking so hard I could barely play.  Everybody later said that it was beautiful and soothing music (I played Savior Like a Shepherd Lead us from the Simple Hymns book.  I’d originally planned to play a more complicated version, but with the RA flare, I decided to go simple).  Hehehe.  After church I managed to spill an entire cup of hot tea down my front, burning myself across my belly, thigh, toes, and hand.  It was really quite painful that first day and continued to be painful in spots for several days after.

Sunday was the big day of the Spring Recital.  The kids and I practiced, practiced, practiced, then loaded up all the munchies for the reception and drove out to church, whereupon we started set up and rehearsal.  We had some great people come out to help with sound & kitchen stuff, for which we are very grateful.  The recital went very smoothly.  My parents and Nick’s sister and dad came.  Nick did a great job as MC, the kids did excellent at their various instruments (Ben played three pieces on piano, David played one piece, three ways: piano, violin, & recorder), and my clarinet solo (the adagio section of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No.2) went off without a hitch (playing the clarinet in front of people is a breeze; why is it so difficult to play the piano in front of others?).  There were tons of other refreshments there (we were worried there wouldn’t be), so we got to take home lots of goodies, too. My parents cooked dinner for us afterward.

Me, in my new dress, playing clarinet. I still need to work on my posture, apparently.

Monday we hung out with my parents again in the morning for breakfast, then had a working PTA lunch here at our house to try to make t-shirts (the iron-on stuff just didn’t work).  After that we went & picked up my parents and took them with us over to David’s TARGET Bullseye forum.  David played the recorder there, too.  I can’t seem to get the video off the iPhone, but will update this post once I’ve figured that out.  😉  (Monday was also art lessons and scouts, but no photos of that nonsense.)


Yesterday was another busy day (they all are lately, it seems).  Got the kids off to school, then headed over to Rose Stadium for the area 5th grade track meet.  Someone was really thoughtful this year and brought a tent for the parents to sit under (in the bleachers, which I thought was a bit weird, but all the schools were doing it) so I didn’t quite die from heat.  Got some quality time talking with my friend Lea, which is always good.  David ran the 800 meter race and came in 7th, which was an improvement over last year.  I don’t know why he keeps getting signed up for that one; he’s much better at sprinting.  He had a lot of fun, though!  I took advantage of a 10 minute lull in my schedule and showered before heading on to other things.  Other things being: kid pick-up, Lego club, buying a present for David’s friends birthday, taking the kids to piano lessons, then yet another PTA meeting (last one before the spring carnival!), then the aforementioned kids birthday party.  The birthday party was interesting because it was at a pizza buffet and we’d gotten a call earlier in the day that they were going to discount our meals by about half, but we didn’t know why.  Well, come to find out they were filling spots for commercials.  So we had to do all this cheering and present giving over and over and they interviewed some parents and generally were in the way with their big camera and lighting set up.  It was chaos!

Lining up for the 800 meter race

Today looks to be a quieter day.  Greg and I are going over to Molly & Clive’s for breakfast/coffee, then we’re going to register him for kindergarten this afternoon.  🙂  He’s sooooo excited!  🙂


Don’t Just Talk About It, Day 11

For Day 11 I tackled the biggest boys bedroom.



oh my (he assures me that he was trying to find something, which led to this mess.  I love how that happens.)


the closet full of mostly my stuff and/or empty containers


I don’t have any DURING photos.  I was too busy being busy.  And now for an explanation of my process.  A real life friend asked today how I manage to do all that I do.  Here’s how:  when I move furniture I take everything out of it.  Then I take it as far apart as it goes, unscrewing screws, taking off drawers, legs, anything to make it lighter.  Yes, this is time consuming.  Yes, it’s tedious.  Yes, I probably ought to ask my husband to move stuff for me.  But then he’d have to stand around while I internally debated all the pros and cons of where I wanted the item to end up and move the parts back and forth and back and forth while I decided and let’s face it: that would make him insane.  I’m trying to avoid insane Nick.  Also of note, I didn’t do this room in an hour or even two.  I started on it right after I dropped big kids off at school around 7:30am and worked on it off and on, with frequent rest breaks and time off to take Greg to school and to eat meals, until 1:30pm.


Here, for instance, those plastic drawers: mostly empty.  Also: lightweight.  They’re living in the garage awaiting a trip to another home.  There was a little plastic cart in the corner you can’t see that just wheeled on out (also mostly empty, oddly enough).  That all got moved the first 15 minutes, then a fifteen minute break.

The file cabinets got emptied out (each one had one empty drawer already).  The top one had drawers that came all the way out, the bottom one did not, but I already knew that (that’s how they came to be stacked that way).  I only moved them a few feet across the room to hold up the desktop (which, don’t tell David, was the bottom of his crib) of D’s new desk area.  I moved those one at a time, with a rest break in between and afterward.


Since the closet was then nearly empty (I still have a stack of file boxes of old high school & college memory stuff in there that needs tending, but that’s another day entirely), I slid the dresser (particleboard, also sans drawers) in there.  After that another break, this time for lunch.  (See the pattern here?)


The only heavy thing to move at all was the former TV stand – also oddly particle board – but it was much lighter after removing the drawer.  (The family that took our old TV is coming to pick it up later this week)


Also in between everything was the ever-present picking up of Lego bricks.  They’re EVERYWHERE (they were even, mind-bogglingly, under my bed).




A nice, neat desk area for David, with drawers in the file cabinets for his Scout stuff & papery goodness and the hope chest for Lego brick storage. (Not shown: his display shelves: they’re to the left of the frame)


The closet of joy and emptiness.  Or NOT.  I found 12 belts in there.  12.  He can’t ever complain about a lack of belts again.


(Notice that I’m not showing the beds in these pictures.  Yeah.  That’s where I dump all the stuff I no longer have any interest in picking up.  I put away the stuff that’s big and in the way, but the nitty-gritty stuff that needs a kid who knows where it goes to put it away?  Well, that’s what beds are for.  And kids.)

Leading up to Thanksgiving

(It’s really hard to come up with titles these days. Apparently I’ve been blogging too long.)

Tuesday I went and got my eyes checked. It’d been a while and my left eye has been behaving oddly. They set me up with the new doctor, as my old doctor is easing his way into retirement. The new doctor was young, perky, and talked a lot. I told her about my eye weirdness (pulling feeling, twitching, verynearlypain) and she took a look. Apparently nothing’s going on there. She adjusted the prescription a bit, that’s all. Then she looked at my good eye (I’ve always thought of it that way, don’t know why) and saw something vaguely interesting there. She started looking through my old test results and noticed that the weirdness had always been there, but it was definitely growing, little by little each year. I asked about it and she said it was a “hemihypertrophy” of the cells. I was intrigued, as “hemihypertrophy” is what my son David has, but he has it all over his body (leg, arm, hand, tongue, stomach, etc.), not just in his eyes. She hadn’t heard of that disorder and said it was probably not the same use of the word. *shrugs* So we’re going to keep an eye (I couldn’t think of something not punny here) on it and see what it looks like next year.

I also went in and worked my volunteer hours at the library. The librarian had a new toy this week, something she’d won at convention: a vhs to dvd converter. So I got to set up the equipment and try it out. It worked well and the librarian would like that to be my special project in the future (they have a lot of teachers that want to use vhs tapes that the library owns, but there are no more vcr’s in the building besides the one in the library after the new building was built.). In any case, I get to take the thing home and learn all its ins-and-outs over the break, and incidentally get to record some of our old home videos to DVD. I’m looking forward to that!

Wednesday we had A. over. We took him on an already-scheduled playdate with us over at the local community center. p_00193 - CopyThe kids had fun, the other mom brought lots of interesting snacks (basically she cleared her cupboard of all the stuff her kids wouldn’t eat. genius!), and a good time was had by all. After A. went home, Greg and I headed over to the new Panera Bread and joined my friend E. for lunch. Panera was overcrowded and there was quite a wait for food, but it was the first week they were open and the food was yummy. E’s daughter did not join us, which may have been the first time in our 7 years of lunch dates that she didn’t. I really missed her.

Thursday Greg’s MDO had a little program in the morning. He’s been singing the songs for the last couple weeks at home. It was so cute seeing him sing them with his friends on stage.DSCN4819


There is, of course, a video

Greg’s MDO Thanksgiving Program

, if you’re so inclined. They also had a little party at lunchtime.


Someone made the fruit & veggie turkey again this year.  The kids always LOVE that!

Then it was off to piano for me again. The lessons are going pretty well. Learning lots of chords now. That night was the Box Car Derby with our cub scout pack. We had a lot of kids make their own cars this year, which made me so very happy (in years past we’ve had a lot of parent made cars, which is against the rules).




I have no idea when Ben came home with this hat, but have a cute picture of Ben:


Today we had another playdate at Southside Park and we even got to walk the trails. Oh the excitement!


Greg used to be scared of the bridges, but he wasn’t at all frightened with his sweetheart nearby.


Afterwards we hit Chik-fil-a for lunch and more playtime:


And now I must dash because it is time to get the bags all packed up for our Thanksgiving trip tomorrow.

First week of April

Monday we had a horrible storm first thing in the morning. DSCN1666 There was some golfball sized hail and lots of thunder and lightning. Greg and I spent lots of time cuddled up on the couch. We also started working on Iheartorganizing’s Project Purge. 🙂

Tuesday all the kids were at school. I visited my rheumatologist (more about that here) and then met my friends E & H for Thai food. They brought me an early birthday present: scrapbooking pens, a layout book, and a nifty cottage mug. 🙂 (How did I manage not to take a photo?!) After school the kids spent time exploring the creek since it was still fairly full of water. p_00170Even Greg went over the fence (he usually stays behind with me) and took a look around. David had his first lesson out of his new piano books & Ben counted out how many songs left in his current book so he can “catch up” (they’re not using the same books, so he’s not really catching up, but that’s how he thinks about it).

Wednesday Greg and I went to the library for story time. p_00172There was a lady there from our local professional ballet troupe and she read the kids Pocahontas, as that’s the show they’re currently putting on. Since the version she read was the Disney version (and therefore mostly romance), the boys all got fairly bored fairly quickly. By the end of the story Greg was the only boy left in the room. We exchanged our books from last week for some new ones and went on home for lunch. DSCN1674After school Ben planned & prepared our snack as part of his scouting electives. We didn’t have raisins for ants on a log, but we did have craisins & dried cherries, so we tried those instead and it worked out well.

Thursday was another all-kids-in-school day, but I was feeling under the weather, so instead of being productive, I stayed on the couch and watched TV and dozed all day (fortunately for me my coffee date friend cancelled that day -serendipity!). It was a beautiful day, though, and the day that my rosebush erupted into blooms.DSCN1675

Friday Greg and I spent all morning playing with his kitchen & grocery store sets, something we haven’t done in ages. DSCN1685Greg made me six kinds of soup (because soup is good for you when you’re sick) and set up a “table” with a table cloth for our meal. It was very fun and something I could do while sitting down, which was great since I was so dizzy. That afternoon my parents arrived back from Germany and so we went over to visit and look at all their photos. Nick and David left for a while to go fishing with Uncle Mark in his boat (which we’d planned before we knew my parents would be up – my dad had been selected to serve on a jury that week, so we thought they’d not be up til Saturday). When they came back we had dinner together at their house.

Saturday we got up and I felt pretty good at the beginning of the day. I was perky and could finally smell stuff again. We went over to my parents house for breakfast and hung out for a while. By the time we left to go back home, though, I was starting to feel weird. Dizzy again, and tingly in my extremities. I went home and took a shower, hoping that would make me feel better, but it didn’t. I tried blow drying my hair, but couldn’t feel if the drying was blowing hot air or not, so I asked Nick and he said it was. I decided that I shouldn’t continue, for fear of hurting myself. The rest of the family got dressed and went on to church. I was supposed to follow along in the second van, but I was getting so confused, I couldn’t figure out how to drive. I called my mother in law to let her know what was going on, so she could tell Nick why I hadn’t made it to church (our phones don’t work out there very well) and laid down to rest. My parents eventually got back to me (they were out buying a new van, which took hours longer than expected, even once they’d picked it out), picked me up, fed me a bit of lunch, and took me back home to rest some more when I couldn’t manage more than a couple bites of toast. Once my in-laws brought the kids back from church (Nick was staying late for Men’s Club), I walked the kids over to my parents house for dinner (frozen pizza, the kids favorite), as I wasn’t sure I should be in charge of an oven. My parents tried to show off the new van to the kids, but something went wrong and the new van wouldn’t start. They spent the evening calling back and forth everywhere trying to get a technician out, but ended up leaving town the next day with the problem unresolved. The pizza, being left to me in the meantime, did in fact end up crispy critters. 😦 The kids ate around the burnt bits and were very sweet about the whole situation.

Sunday Nick made us a nice breakfast at home before running off to work. I was still feeling really weird, so the kids and I stayed home and had a quiet day. The kids were really well behaved all day and mostly kept to themselves, David with his Legos, Greg with his games, and Ben with his book (he’s reading Barthe de Clements “Nothings Fair in Fifth Grade” – which I read as a child).

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling nearly normal. I was finally able to drive the car & managed to get the kids to school, the mail stamped & mailed at the post office, and the milk & bread purchased at the grocery. Of course, I spent all that time also fielding phone calls from the various doctors offices that were finally calling me back (I’d left messages over the course of the weekend asking for advice). The rheumatologist didn’t think it was a drug-reaction or an RA related event, even though he’d specifically mentioned numbness & tingling being a possibility at our appointment earlier in the week. My primary physician wanted to see me “right away” but didn’t have a hole in his schedule until today, which the nurse thought was all right to wait since I was feeling okay by that point. Greg and I spent the rest of the day doing our quiet little Monday things: tidying, dishwashing, laundry, watching movies, the usual. The big kids came home and had a snack before David ran off with his friend on bikes, riding through the neighborhood. Once he and Nick arrived home (within moments of each other, so I was surprised into not taking a picture of David arriving home), we had a bbq picnic outside (another one of Ben’s elective’s for scouts).