Friday, July 31, 2015


I finally captured it:
My little matching campers! They're off to their last day of camp, and I think these smiles say it all!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

He's Home!

Brad is home! He had been gone for 10 days, which hasn't happened in a very long time. 10 days is a very, very long stretch--even though we talk multiple times a day.

He got home in time for dinner yesterday, and he barely had the car in parked before he was mobbed by small children. As we were all snuggled up on the couch last night watching Food Network, I heard everyone take little sighs--little breaths of peace because we were all back together. When we went to bed last night, a certain puppy wedged herself in between us and let out the most contented puppy sigh I have ever heard.

It was in those little moments that I was just overcome with gratitude. Our family isn't always blissfully happy. We have moments when we get under each other's skin. But...there is a sense of peace and love in our home. It's all of our safe place, and that is an answered prayer. I hope this will always be everyone's safe place--somewhere they can land and take refuge when the rest of the world is a bit much. Even when our family is a bit much.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I have very weird children. This week at camp, they have decide to wear matching t-shirts every day. As of yet, they will not allow me to take a picture, but I wanted to record it here for posterity. Monday, they wore UNC shirts, yesterday they wore Quest shirts, and today they wore their camp shirts from this week. Sometimes they drive each other crazy, but I really hope they always stay this tight.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Puppy Love

Yesterday, I dropped the kids of at camp and then did very mundane adult things like getting an oil change. I am working from home most of this week wading through data and creating all the end of year reports, and I can do that from an oil place just as well as my desk.

When I got back home, the cleaning lady was still finishing downstairs, so I slipped up to my room where I could spread sheets of data across the bed to try to start making sense of numbers that don't add up. I was sitting at the head of the bed surveying the chaos when I heard Neela come back inside. I heard her thudding paws come up the stairs and down the hall, and then I saw her head snap up when she saw me--she didn't know I was home. She vaulted over the foot of the bed, knocked me into the pillows, and starting smothering me in kisses. Paper was flying everywhere, and I just didn't care.

There truly is something so magical about a dog's love. It's very difficult to stay grumpy about a project when you are literally knocked over my 65 pounds of pure love. I think I'll keep her.

Monday, July 27, 2015

So Tired

I am in need of a weekend to recover from the weekend. Daddy had to be at a conference, and I have learned it's critical for us all to keep busy during those weekend, and boy were we busy!

Friday afternoon, I attended the camp closing ceremony. It was so fun to watch the kids do some of the songs and games they had been playing all week, and I brought two exhausted kids home with me. We ordered pizza and called it an early night to get ready for the very big weekend!

Saturday, we had our last ADF performance. Since Daddy couldn't go, Issa asked Abby to go along and then spend the night. The occasion required a selfie:
 We saw the Doug Varone company, and they were a more traditional contemporary company. The girls loved seeing dance that they felt like they knew; Evan was not entirely sold on the idea, but he said they were pretty good. The second piece was a new piece for them--we were only the second audience to see it--and it was based on the art of Joan Mitchell. They used the scrim as a canvas and the dancers as the pastels. Again, the girls and I were enthralled; Evan thought 45 minutes was a bit much of anything.

We headed home and the girls went straight to crafting while Evan waited outside for Henry to come. He came back in five minutes later with this:
 That would be a lizard tail. I was not happy. He was quite proud of himself.

As soon as Henry got there, the boys headed upstairs. I got exactly one picture of the boys:
 We had finger foods for dinner, which was a huge hit. We also baked cookies. I think my kitchen has recovered. They were so funny measuring and scooping. It's a miracle they came out well!

I was also so thrilled by how well all four kiddos played together. They put together a whole puppet show, complete with scenery and refreshments. It was too funny, and I loved listening to all of the laughter coming from upstairs.

Poor Henry did not make it all night. As we started to get ready for bed he got homesick. Poor Evan was so scared he would catch it! It took a lot of explaining. The girls were so sweet, though:
 After they were ready for bed, they invited Evan to be part of their party. Those children were up reading and giggling for-e-ver. I was so tired when they finally fell asleep.

They were up by 7:30 Sunday morning, and we had pancakes. The girls played dolls until Abby got picked up, and Evan contented himself with me.

Once we had the house put back to rights, the kids and I went back to school shopping! I am a huge fan of getting that out of the way at the end of July. The year round kids are already back, and most people aren't thinking about it yet. The stores start to panic about inventory overhead and we get great sales. Yesterday, everything was at least half off--and now we're finished! Poor Evan was less than enthused about his lack of options compared to Issa.. It is tough to see Issa pick out all kind of colors when his list is very, very specific. But I was feeling generous and let each kid choose a treat--which never happens--so he was pretty excited Issa chose an American Girl movie, and Evan chose a small Lego set, which he promptly built all by himself:
He was so proud! We also made peach roll-ups and gave Neela a much needed bath.

And that was the weekend. The kids are at the Museum for camp this week, and I'm back to working on all kinds of data. Here we go...

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Lifetime Ago

In what feels like a lifetime ago and what was several jobs ago, I was a high school English teacher. I truly believed that was where I would be until I retired--in a classroom with high school students writing and reading and growing together. I loved it. And while I don't regret moving in to other realms--still writing, reading, and growing--there are days I really miss the classroom and my freshmen. I miss their quirkiness and seeing the light bulbs when they discover a book they love. I miss seeing them get connected to characters and each other. Part of my heart will always be there.

I have found myself really missing it this week. I've been reading Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, and I find myself wishing I could go back and teach my To Kill a Mockingbird unit again and add this novel. (Spoilers coming) While I will never understand why she killed off Jem so subtly, I am finding myself believing these characters' stories. Yes, they are messier, but Scout is older. The world is real, and I would love to enter into that world with a bunch of 15 year olds who are just discovering the bigger world themselves. I guess some parts of us stay deeply nestled inside no matter how far we roam...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Camp

The kids have been having a blast at Camp Chestnut Ridge this week! They chose the day camp option, and they have been coming home filthy, stinky, a little scratched up, and blissfully happy.

Issa is in art and crafts camp, and she is loving making all kinds of traditional camp crafts: dream catchers, painted pots, lanyards--oh, the lanyards. She is also swimming and hiking and gardening and having a great time.

Evan is in the general camp, and he has been rafting, swimming, hiking, cooking, scavenger hunting, and climbing trees. 

I love that they are getting to just be kids outside. I love listening to them chatter when I pick them up, and I love the way they crash hard at night. Good tired.

They are both saying the want to do residential camp next year, so we'll see!