Monday, August 31, 2009

B: Responsible . . . for a price

The other day I was remarking to my mom about how responsible B had been in the past few days -- taking the initiative on things that needed to be done around the house, making sacrifices, watching out for his sisters.

"B has been getting more and more responsible ever since he turned nine," I said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Just then B piped up: "Yeah, but it's probably just because I want something."

I swear we've never said the same -- so he came up with that one entirely on his own.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2009 Garden Tour

Yes, this has been The Year of the Evil Rabbits. I am about done with rabbits and squirrels. The squirrels ate all my apples; the rabbits ate darn near everything else, including stuff they haven't touched in five previous years. The latest victim: large, juicy, ripe tomatoes. I hadn't fenced off the tomato plots, because normally rabbits leave them alone; but now I am finding multiple tomatoes half-eaten. Hey rabbits! If you're going to eat amy tomatoes, at least finish the darn things! Oh, they have also eaten every one of my pumpkins (while they were still little).

For some reason, this video abruptly cuts off before we get to the pumpkins. Probably the rabbits ate the end of the file. Anyway, I'm not re-loading it!

Camping with the kids, part II

Well, it was time for our annual end-of-summer camping trip. We hooked up with some friends this time -- we've been camping with them a couple times before, a few years ago. All their kids are similar ages to our kids, and they get along really well, so it works out great.
This trip was less-than-ideal in many respects. In fact, I probably would vote not to do it again -- at least, not the way we did it, which was last-minute. We didn't have a reservation, which is a bad idea for weekend camping (we went out on a Friday afternoon). So we were going to camp at Whitewater State Park, which has a swimming beach, but by the time I'd single-handedly thrown together all our camping gear (S has started work) and packed the car, it was mid-afternoon. When I called the park at 1:30, there were only six spoits left. When I called the park at 2:30 -- right before leaving -- there were only four spots left. The park is forty minutes away.
So, after much dithering -- literally circling the top of the freeway entrace ramp a couple times trying to figure out whether to go east (toward Great River Bluffs State Park) or west (toward Whitewater), I finally opted for Great River Bluffs, which was closer and less popular. I hesitated because our job was to secure the campsite and meet the other family there after their dad got off work, so I hated to let them down about Whitewater, but I figured it would be worse to get there and find it full; it would probably be too late by then to drive an hour east to Great River Bluffs, so we'd miss out on any campsite at all.
Turns out the kids enjoyed GRB just fine -- despite the fact that it rained much of the afternoon and part of the evening, soaking us and our tent thoroughly. Made for a muddy mess, but the kids were underred. Heck, it started pouring right after we set up s'mores, but the kids barely braked, they were so busy greedily stuffing half-baked, slippery-wet marshmallows into their mouths, along with a token graham cracker (soggy, of course).
Our packing was so rushed that we forgot numerous crucial items -- like a can opener. And the other kids' dad forgot his sleeping mat, and broughgt the wrong kind of sleeping bag.
On the up side, the kids pronounced it a grand success, and we enjoyed several hikes through the bluffs, as pictured below.
Here are the kids six hundred feet above the Ole Miss. Yes, that's a cliff behind them. A little nerve-wreaking, to be sure.

The girls proclaimed this meadow the "fairy meadow," and made up an imagination game about it.

B was given responsibility for keeping the fire going, a job he and his friend performed with enthusiasm.

The girls got a little silly and a little loud around the campfire.
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Pink cousins video

Nothing cuter than a couple of young cousins enjoying each other's company:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cute Pink Cousins

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J and cousin C while they made a brief visit to our home a couple of weeks ago. They are the same age and had such a good time playing together.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why We Kneel In Church

(Just to prove I can contribute to this blog, it's S again.)

So a few weeks ago we had a rough day at Church (I tell you, people without kids have NO IDEA how different Mass is with them). My kids are squiggly--not really bad, just squiggly. They were squiggly squared that day, and getting the three of them to kneel without violence seemed to be mission impossible.

In the car afterward, I said to them with more than a tinge of exasperation--"Kids, this is important. Why do you think we kneel during the Liturgy of the Eucharist anyway?" Short silence.

M: Because Veronica did.

Me: Um, what?

M: You know, on that picture in the stations. Veronica kneeled down to wipe the face of Jesus. So we kneel, too.

Me: (flabbergasted into silence, thinking "That's good. That's REALLY good.")

So now when she is squiggly during the Eucharist, I remind her to "be like Veronica." There are a lot worse images.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We're still around!

Sorry--it has been a busy month!

The elegant writer of this blog is on retreat, so I am doing a quick update for folks. He may fill it in more later (in fact, I'm sure he will, eventually, with pictures and everything).

  • We went to Alabama to visit the "W" side family for nearly two weeks--and the kids had a blast, as usual. It's a big highlight of their summer, since that is the only time we can see these members of the family. It was a nice visit.
  • The parable of the sower doesn't deal with the seed that grows and gets eaten by bionic bunnies. We (well, the older J) is more than a bit bummed about this. It's also been cool even by MN standards--pleasant but not good for gardens. The tomatoes are just ripening this week.
  • S (me) is having a hard time with the physical aspects of the pregnancy. It isn't worse, it simply has never been good. Baby seems just fine, kicking hard. I'm just hyper-tired and have headaches that won't go away and won't respond to Tylenol. Sigh.
  • The kids did our city-wide Catholic VBS last week and learned a lot, had a great time--I tell you, they don't pay those volunteers enough. ;)
  • Now B and M are at a Park/Rec day camp for the morning this week, which seems to have been OK but not their favorite activity this summer. It's at the local lake, so swimming, fishing, hiking are the name of the game. It's good exercise anyway.
  • S just finished directing a retreatant for the first time in the first half of the week, and the elder J is taking her place for the second half of the week. In the spiritual direction program, we direct each other through a three day retreat experience under a supervisor's watch. It sounds a little fake but it gets "real" fast, and its good to have a supervisor there to spot check people (and as a resource, of course). I'm not retreating because I didn't think I could handle it physically (really, I have to suddenly take naps at the drop of a hat, felled by headaches, etc....even directing for three days was a risk, but it worked out, thank God).

So, that's the highlights. As they say on the local news, More at Ten!