Monthly Archives: July 2009

Caffeine Addiction – Day 2

I cannot find a Bunn replacement decanter for my coffee maker.  But I do have a very resourceful husband who suggested I make the coffee one or two mugs at a time.  So until we can find another coffee decanter, this is how I’ll be brewing our coffee.  




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Caffeine Addiction

It’s pretty bad when you need a cup of coffee before you are awake enough to make the coffee.  

That was me this morning.  I stumbled into the kitchen and grabbed the coffee pot from the coffee maker.  I filled it all the way, then remembered my husband wouldn’t be sharing the coffee with me today because he is back to drinking his daily allowance of caffeine at work.  So I started to dump half the water out.  Then, in a sort of slow motion, it happened.  The pot began to slip from my clumsy fingers.  I couldn’t get my other hand to the sink in time to catch the pot.  And CRASH!  The pot fell into the sink full of cereal bowls.  

The lip broke off the pot.  Like any good coffee-addict, I thought, “That’s OK, I can rinse off any tiny shards of glass and use this pot just for today.”  Then I noticed the giant chunk broken off the bottom of the pot.  Finally, my sleepy, slow-working brain realized that jagged hole meant no coffee this morning.  

I took an extremely scientific poll of my Facebook friends, asking them if this Coffee Pot Incident meant I could go right back to bed, and the majority voted YES.  So, Goodnight.

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Random Photos

I thought I’d post some random photos from our summer in the mountains. 

My kids learned this really great game called Gau Gau (pronounced gah-gah).  It’s sort of like dodgeball.  


And my younger daughter Rachel may look small and sweet, but don’t let that fool you.  She’s a killer in Gau Gau!


My son Caleb is a natural recycler.  He loves turning trash into toys.  He turned this plastic tube into sort of a cannon.


Projectile objects warm his heart.


At Audra State Park in WV, we walked along this mountain trail.


And we saw this giant rock, which had -at some point- fallen off the side of the mountain and crashed down right beside the path.


And we peered down the side of the path and saw this, straight down the side of the hill.


My kids slid down little waterfalls.


And played on huge rocks.


We saw a hollow tree that has historical significance for my hometown and wondered what it might be like to live in and around a tree for three years. 



We sure have crammed a lot of fun into five weeks!

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I was thinking yesterday about this notion of “home.”  

We have lived in Florida for 19 months.  Our stuff is there.  We are part of a church there.  We have neighbors we love and are part of the community there at the mission home offices.  We have grown to love sand between our toes and summer mornings spent at the pool.  Seeing alligators in a lake is nothing new and amazing to my kids.  Palm trees and thick, fake-feeling blades of green-year-round grass are part of our daily lives.  In many ways, Florida has become home for us.  

But when we drove up Fancy Gap Mountain and smelled the mountain air, we sure did feel like we were coming home again.  And when we hugged our friends at our church in Virginia, we felt like we had come home.  And when I had dinner with my girlfriends, I felt like I had really returned home.  And when our kids jumped right into Vacation Bible School with all their old friends, I watched them and felt very much like we had all come home.  


Then we drove up the highway to my husband’s hometown.  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows with his whole family and watched our children play with cousins.  We laughed as they played baseball with an old stick and walnuts.  And I think we all felt like we had come home.  

Then we drove on up the highway to my hometown.  I slept in my old bedroom and visited with extended family.  We roasted more marshmallows, and my kids played with more cousins.  We went on a picnic to a state park I picnicked in when I was a kid, and my children swam in the river.  We showed my husband and children some local history.  And it felt good to be home. 



Then I went to Jackson’s Mill, the state 4-H camp where I spent so many weeks as a teenager.  As soon as we drove into camp, I remembered the name of every cottage, the steps to folk dances, the names of people I hadn’t seen in a decade, the words to songs I hadn’t sung in years.  I danced to Little Black Book and sang Middies, Bloomers and felt like, after ten years, I had finally come home.  


I love that so many places and people have come together to form me into who I am.  I love that so many places feel like home to me.  (And yet, in some ways none of them feel completely like home because there is always a longing for my eternal home, but that is a whole other topic.)  

And, even more, I love that my children are comfortable and at-home jumping waves at the beach and climbing giant rocks in a West Virginia river, playing in the soft sands along the ocean and digging in the muddy sand of a mountain river.  


I love that my children have had weeks to enjoy summer in the valleys and mountains of West Virginia and Virginia.  They’ve caught lightning bugs and been bitten by mosquitoes.  They have climbed trees and played with sticks.  They’ve walked through wooded trails, tripping over tree roots and rocks.  



I hadn’t realized how important this would be to me, that my children’s feeling of “home” would include cool mountain breezes and multi-generational family cookouts and the rocky sides of mountains and playing in real mud.  

I’m satisfied living in Florida and making that one of our homes, but I know that the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia will always be another home for my children.  We will visit in the summer and walk through woods thick with rhododendron and, at night, look up at the stars, so clear and bright.  We will visit in the autumn and crunch leaves beneath our feet and shiver under our fleece jackets.  And sometime when Jackson and Griffin are older and lose their memories of snow, we’ll visit in the winter and throw snowballs and build snowmen.  

Yes, this notion of “home” is interesting.  I have several homes, several places filled with memories which make me the person I have become.  And we have a home in Florida where we are making memories and becoming the people we will be.

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Here’s To Jackson’s Mill . . .

the finest camp in all the land.  Here’s to boys and girls, the happy-hearted 4-H band.  Ra-ra-ra.  Where ‘ere we roam among those West Virginia hills, we’ll strive to live what we learned at 4-H camp at Jackson’s Mill.  Raaaa-raaa-raaa

I spent last week at one of my most favorite places on earth.  Jackson’s Mill, West Virginia’s state 4-H camp.  

Throughout my teenage years, I camped at Jackson’s Mill every summer.  I met people from all over the state and formed lifelong friendships.  I hadn’t stayed at The Mill since 1999, when I took baby Lauren and Rachel-in-the-womb and spent a week as a counselor.  Ten years is a long time to be away from a place you love so much!  What a treat it was to be back last week!

The first night at Council Circle (the nightly campfire for you non-4-Hers), a small group sang My Home Among The Hills and I cried like a baby.  As we sang the same songs I sang when I was 15, sitting with some of the same people I camped with when I was 15, — well, you know that feeling when you sigh deeply and just feel at home in a place?  That’s how I felt all week.  

I even remembered the steps to folk dances I hadn’t danced in more than 10 years.  And the words to songs I hadn’t sung in 10 years.  And I enjoyed meals with friends I hadn’t seen in more than 10 years.  And I can’t say for sure, but the egg-like-product patties they served for breakfast one morning might have been at least 10 years old.  

My friend Forrest builds the best Council Circle fires.  This isn’t a picture of his fire.  I snapped this picture on Sunday night at the first Council Circle, and Forrest wasn’t in camp yet.  But his fires were amazing and artistic and fun.  You’ll have to take my word for it. 


And that boy in the blue — he’s the one whose phone started ringing in the middle of the Council Circle.  And his ringtone was a very non-4-Hy song.  Bless his heart, he was embarrassed!  He couldn’t get it to stop playing that obnoxious song, and he was wrapping it in his shirt to muffle the sound.  He should really choose a different, less-embarrassing ringtone.  

And this hillbilly-looking guy in the overalls is Lars.  He is a fabulous musician and extremely hilarious.  His fiddle-playing was a highlight of my week. 


On Monday, my daughter Rachel joined me at camp.  For around 27 hours, she got to experience 4-H camp.  I loved sharing Jackson’s Mill with her.  And she quickly made a friend, little Sadie, the daughter of another counselor.  Rachel and Sadie danced and danced and danced during the night-time recreation hour, then little Rachel, the daughter of people I camped with years ago, joined them.  I’ve never seen three little girls twirl so much! 


And on the final morning, the camp chorus sang My Home Among The Hills and Come Home To West Virginia and, again, I cried like a baby.  I probably would have just let a couple simple tears stream down my cheeks, but Jerry, another counselor, actually called his daughter in Florida, who really wanted to be at camp, and held the phone up for her to hear My Home Among The Hills.  That just pushed me over the edge.  It’s all Jerry’s fault that I cried like a baby.  

I love Jackson’s Mill.  It really is the finest camp in all the land.  Ra.  Ra.  Ra.


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What brings you here?

OK, for a chuckle, I thought I’d share what search terms bring people to this blog.  

* flying ants wet laundry  

* boy grows hair   — I’m trying to imagine what would make someone Google this. Was it some first-time mom who has a bald baby and she really wants to know how to make him grow hair.  I’m sorry I wasn’t helpful.

* flying ants washer  –Clearly this person was disappointed that the “flying ants wet laundry” search didn’t yield results.  Sadly, she ended right back here again to read the story of my soppy carpet and leaky roof. 

* pregnancy eye twitching  –Glad I am not the only one who suffered through this!  

* remove blue food colouring from the skin  –I see we have a British searcher!  

* blue food coloring poop green  I hope this mother was reassured that this is a normal occurrence.  

* elf maker –This search term brings more people to my blog than anything else.  Who knew?

* the waltons barefoot –Not sure why someone is searching for this.  You people are weird.

* faux hawk mohawk  –Was my 8-year-old son searching Google unsupervised???

* food coloring in poop  –Seriously, after the elf maker, this tops the search terms.  I really never wanted to be known as “the food coloring in poop expert.” 

* went camping suddenly headache nauseous  –This exact same thing happens to me!!  It’s an allergy to being eaten by bugs and snakes and bears.  

* hundreds of flying ants in my house

* flying ants in my house

* problems with flying ants  –Ok, so I’ll be known as the “food coloring poop and flying ants expert.”  

* cheerio pee cheerleader  –Not sure I even want to know!

* meg ryan hairstyles french kiss  –I am not the only one obsessed with this hairstyle.  Yay! 


Have a nice Friday!

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Marshmallow Roasting, Rock Hopping, and Soccer Playing

What have I been doing this week?  I’m so glad you asked!  

Instead of blogging, I have been playing with my kids — soccer, badminton, ladder ball, catching a little ball in those plastic things that look like giant scoops.  Yep, I’ve been doing all of those things.  I’m not particularly good at any of them, but my kids don’t care.  

I also went on a picnic with my parents, my brother and his family, my husband, and all my children.  We ate and then did an easy hike on a curvy trail that went under a giant rock.  It was cool.  I took pictures with my mom’s camera, but I haven’t put them on my computer yet.  They’re good pictures, though.  You’ll have to take my word for it.  

After we did the easy hike, we walked down by the river.  It was too tempting, so we let the kids put their swimsuits on and play.  They rock-hopped up the river a little ways and splashed their way back down.  My youngest didn’t do that; he just dug in the nasty sand with my little niece.  They acted like they were playing in the white sand of an exotic beach, but they were digging in dirty brown muddy sand on a riverbank in West Virginia, which is -in some ways- better than the white beaches of an exotic beach.  

I did not have a swimsuit, but I did do a little rock hopping with my clothes on (you’re probably relieved I added that part).  Then I decided that I wouldn’t go back the long way on the rocks, but I would just wade across the river to the bank where my family waited.  Either I’m shorter than I realized or the water was deeper than I realized, but let’s just say I had to change shorts and my 6-year-old was screaming, “You wet your pants!” at the top of his lungs.  Fortunately, nobody got pictures of that on Mom’s camera.  

We have also roasted more marshmallows and eaten more hot dogs.  I’m pretty sure we’ve consumed our yearly allowance of processed meats in the past two weeks.  But boy, have they been some tasty hot dogs!  And maybe there is some rule that processed meats eaten with second-cousins-once-removed don’t count.  Maybe.  

We also sneaked in a little geocaching this evening while learning some local history.  And my 9-year-old realized how thankful she is for indoor plumbing when she examined an outhouse and turned down the opportunity to use it.  

So, that’s why I haven’t been blogging.  Cause if I have to choose between s’mores and blogging, I’m choosing s’mores every time.  

What have you been doing this week?

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