The Week that Wasn’t

I have to admit, when I looked at last weeks calendar in the days leading up to it, I was cringing.  Every night we had something we had to go to, people to see, things to do.  It was supposed to be rush, rush, rush, followed by a weekend of quiet rest.

Well, it didn’t happen that way.  On Monday Nick realized he’d forgotten to call the cub scouts and remind them about the meeting, so that got cancelled.  Tuesday the kids came home and said that the PE Exhibition for school was just for the cloggers and we are not them, so we skipped it (although we did still have piano lessons to go to).

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Wednesday we didn’t have a busy night planned, but a busy day.

 

A friend dropped off her child while she took another one to a marathon doctors visit and another friend and her children came over to play.  Everyone had a great time, ate lots of muffins, and played a lot of chase.  🙂
After the other family left, Greg and his friend had a picnic lunch on the back patio before her mom came to pick her up.DSCN1265
I was just going to sweep and mop Wednesday afternoon, but after you move all the furniture to do that, you get to thinking “Hmm, does it have to go back the way it was?” and so I just shifted everything around a bit more. Everyone says it looks a lot more welcoming. I agree. There are more photos from various directions on the flickr feed, of course (and you can just click this one to get a bigger version, too).
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Since we didn’t have an evening activity we headed out into the yard and helped Nick with the gardening. We planted several kind of flowers: cone flowers, zinnias, and some other kind that looks really similar. Nick doesn’t love the flowers, but he knows I do, so he put them nice places for me where I’ll be able to see them out the kitchen window and when driving in from the street.
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Thursday was a super busy day.  First of all, St. Patrick’s Day.  We got up, tuned the TV to the Holidays: Irish music channel, and tried to Irish dance (I took lessons as a child). DSCN1286 We had a traditional Irish breakfast: oatmeal pancakes (dyed green, of course), fried eggs, and bacon.  The big kids school has a dress code which does not include the color green, so they made a rule that no one can be pinched for not wearing green. Ben wore a little shamrock pin we made, though David was having none of it. Greg wore a green shirt & I made him a special shamrock sandwich for his lunch.
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After I got all the kids to school, I headed over to have coffee with my friend M & J, which was lovely.
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Came home and baked brownies and a strawberry cake for scouts, then picked up kids from school.  For our after school snacks, I had the kids make rainbows, then gave them a pot of gold (vanilla pudding – the off brand is really gold colored) to put underneath.  🙂  They LOVED it.
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That evening was the Blue and Gold Banquet, where the kids get their awards for the PInewood Derby.  One of the other dens brought lots of decorations to put out, so we helped with that. DSCN1298 A man came and talked to us about his dog and another one came in with all the badges & awards he’d gotten over the years on the way to becoming an Eagle Scout.  When awards time came, David was very cranky, as his car had broken on the track and couldn’t race, but Ben was ecstatic: he got 1st place for style and 1st place for speed in his den.  🙂DSCN1318

Friday morning Greg and I did a lot of laundry.  Then I ran off to my doctor’s appointment (I’m all good!) while Nick and Greg ran errands and picked up the big kids.  We packed up soon after to head over to Nick’s sisters house for dinner.  It was supposed to be a big event with several other families, but two of them ended up having to cancel, so it was just Mandy’s family, Mark’s parents & grandma, and us.  The kids had a fabulous time with their cousins.  🙂
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Saturday we had a nice quiet morning at home. We played games and took a walk. It was very peaceful (yes, it can be peaceful with three boys!). That afternoon I started getting texts from my best friend saying she was thinking of visiting, alone, that evening. So after church and various church related meetings, we headed home and hung out with her for a while. She and Nick talked gardening while I got guest space set up and the kids showed her everything in the house and all their latest tricks on the trampoline and sang her all their songs and did all their dances. Then she and I escaped their orbit and went out for a late dinner and some live music. We ate far too much, laughed lots and lots and took exactly one photo the entire time we were together (my camera battery had died and her memory card was full, so we were left with bad camera phones). p_00162 (2) We came back home and watched A Room With a View and stayed up far too late.

In the morning we sat outside with our coffee on the front porch and talked with the kids while Nick made breakfast. After breakfast I got a chance to show her all my latest things: jewelry, household organizational stuff, art, etc.) before she had to run back home and take care of her family (a three hour drive *sigh*).

After she left I decided to use all my leftover manic energy to clean the garage, something that has been on the To Do list for weeks. Eventually I enlisted the kids help, and then Nick helped me put together a shelf (he spent most of the day at work). I also put together the kids workbench that they’d gotten last November. When we started the day there was barely a path through the garage. By the time we were done there was enough space for the kids to ride bikes around inside it. 🙂 I still have some boxes to go through and purge, but the whole place looks so much better.
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After Nick got home from work, we worked in the garden for a while, the kids popped some little firework poppers, and Greg learned to fly a kite (he’s never done it before!).
IMG_2059 Then we headed over to my mom’s house for a movie night on her big screen TV. The kids loved watching The Seeker and now David’s all excited about reading the books it was based on. 🙂

So in the end we had a busy week, just not the one we’d had planned.

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Cub scout day camp

This was Ben’s first year at Cub Scout Day Camp, as he’ll be a Tiger Cub starting this summer and officially meet with his den in the fall.  Since he’s so young, the camp requires an adult chaperone to go with him.  I was that chaperone.  I packed us all lunches, got Greg ready to go to Tot Lot (an indoor childcare thing for kids of volunteers), and put a few extras in the car for “just in case.” We got there half an hour early and the line was already halfway around the “camp.”  I should explain: day camp is held on the campus of a junior college.  We have a “camp site” in between two old dorms, with areas for each den roped off.  Got through registration, changed his shirt, got him over to his den.  There we saw something unusual: a whole big bunch of parents standing around.  Now this isn’t exactly a drop-off camp; parents do have to walk the kids over and sign them in, but usually they leave right away.  This was a crowd of parents.  Not a good sign.  The woman holding the clipboard was one of our neighbor’s; her daughter and David have been in the same class for a few years now.  She has 6 kids; there was no way she was our den leader.  The other parents weren’t either.  So we stood around and talked about it for a while.  After about 30 minutes I told the others to go on to work, I’d been a den leader before and  was going to be there and I’d pass off leadership when the real den leader came.  Eventually someone (who later I learned was the camp director) came round and said “OH, are you our missing den leader?”  I said “NO! I’m a Tiger Cub’s adult chaperone.  Where is our den leader?”  He told me that 7 of the 14 adult volunteers for the camp had called in sick or dead and that we were one of the groups without a leader, at least for Monday & Wednesday.  So I stepped up (what else was I going to do?) and was den leader for the week, which meant that I was going to need all those aforementioned “just in case” items: cooler, tablecloth, folding camp chair, permanent marker, sunscreen, ball.

The first day of camp we had 13 boys, one of which did not speak English.  Most of the boys were awesome, only one who seemed not to listen and one that was actively troublemaking.  I had another mom there that followed along with us, but she’d never been to camp before, so I got to explain a lot to her.  Our first day things we chaotic.  We didn’t have a map, just vague instructions to our various activities.  Everything was running so late that morning that we all missed our first activities (ours would have been volleyball).  Our second activity was all the way on the other side of campus, nearly 3/4 of a mile away, and we only had 10 minutes to get there.  It was also about 99 degrees at that point.  We got to learn archery, which was both fun and a bit scary.  Then we ran all the way back across campus to decorate hats. After that was lunch.  We went back to our dusty, dry camp area.  I had brought a tablecloth, but it wasn’t big enough for everyone to sit on, so some kids just sat in the dirt.  It was all right.  After lunch we had water balloon launching, which did not last nearly long enough (not enough balloons, apparently), so we got to our next activity early enough that we were done with that, too, before that was even supposed to start, so we had an hour to kill.  With nothing but a ball to entertain us.  *sigh*  We played Simon Says, Red Rover, Hot Potato, etc.  I think that was the most tiring part of the day.  Eventually we got done and got to go home.  On the way out I was told that they were not going to make me pay for either a) Tot Lot or b) my t-shirt since I’d stepped up to be a “full volunteer.”  I went home and collapsed.  The kids watched TV all afternoon while I had the worst headache of my entire life (worse than any migraine even).  I was shivering and throwing up.  I finally looked it up online and figured out that I had heat stroke.

 

Day Two arrived and I was feeling better.  I got there and found out that my non-English speaker had been transferred to another den, which was fine with me.  He was a nice kid, but I’m sure it was frustrating to be lead by someone he couldn’t communicate with.  I also found out that the Tuesday/Thursday person had told a friend that she wasn’t coming, so to be prepared to lead again.  One of the other mom’s brought us a tarp for the week, which was lovely.  We had an easy morning: obstacle course, making beaded snake lanyards, “hiking” around campus.  I had another adult with me – one of my pack’s den leaders – so the day went really smoothly.  We took turns being the head or end of the line and giving out info to the kids.  Lunch happened, this time with considerably less grit consumed.  After lunch we did some more stuff, but don’t ask me what; I really don’t remember.  Went home and let the kids watch more TV.  Too tired to move, still a bad headache, but at least I wasn’t throwing up.

 

Day Three the nice mom that had brought the tarp brought me a cold neckerchief to wear to keep the heat at bay.  Chris, the den leader from my pack, came back again and we continued to split duties.  I took care of all the paperwork & kept track of who had what & their crafts and he played with the kids in between our scheduled activities.  It worked out really well.  We got through BB guns, nutrition, and compass activities before the rain got to us.  And boy did it get to us.  We were drenched before we even made it over to our cover.  We’d been told that morning that when it rained we should go to a certain covered parking lot and there’d be activities for us there.  There was some kind of miscommunication with the campus, though, because the parking area was not left empty of cars for us, so we couldn’t stay there.  Eventually we moved on to the gym, where we did a lot of races, saw a Tae Kwondo exhibition, and eventually watched a movie.  We took turns going out to sit out in a covered area for lunch.  It was chaotic and everyone was wet and cold.  Came home, got dry, and rested.  David was dropped off a little after 10pm from his camp.

 

Day Four we knew the day was going to be rained out, but we had to show up anyway because there was a “Rain or Shine” clause in the paperwork. I dropped Greg and David off at Tot Lot.   Ben and I met the den & got to go under the covered parking area, but had to make way for handicapped parking, which was tough because most of the covered parking was handicapped.  Only one person made a fuss about us being there, and she literally sprinted from her car to the building, so we did wonder why she had the permit (I understand all about invisible illnesses, but given that I, with my RA, limping, special shoes, & all don’t qualify, I’m wondering how someone healthy enough to sprint has one).  Anyway, we played soccer amidst a torrent of water flowing through the lot, then made picture frames, built & launched rockets (sideways out the side of the garage), and watched the kids fencing.  After lunch we went back to the gym and watched a completely inappropriate movie.

 

Day Five dawned nice and well, sunny, if not dry.  We went back to our regular schedule, but it was Water Day, so we ended up wet anyway.  The kids ran water relays all morning before lunch.  After lunch they hiked over to the local middle school (a mile away – Nick, who has Friday afternoons off, and Chris hiked with the boys. I drove my van & the other two kids over), where a firetruck was supposed to be ready to spray them with water.  It showed up about half an hour later, which was just as well, I guess, since that gave the kids newly applied sunscreen a chance to soak in.  The kids had a blast in the water (sorry for the unintended pun).  🙂  And then it was time for the end of camp.  We passed out cards with their earned belt loops on them, and waited for parents to arrive. That was that.  Camp was over. Ben earned five belt loops over the course of camp: hiking, nutrition, soccer, bb’s, & archery.

 

A couple hours later our pack had a bicycle rodeo planned.  Nick was in charge of it, so they went on over.  Sadly, no one else showed up (we later learned that the other dens didn’t send out messages to their dens in a timely fashion).  But our kids earned another belt loop: bicycle.  🙂