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Hand Camp 2014

4/30/2014 Category :General 0

The last two years we’ve been wait listed for Hand Camp and gotten last minute invitations to go. The first time we were able to arrange for Patrick and the kids to go. The next time, with one day notice, we couldn’t make it happen. So I was very excited to be outright accepted this year.

The kids and I packed up and hit the road this past Friday. I of course was nervous about not having Patrick there to do all the interacting and you know, having to talk to PEOPLE! After getting stuck in Dallas traffic we did not make the 6:00 arrival time. We placed a call to let them know it’d be closer to 6:30. At this point I of course notice the small note on the map that says, “don’t use gps, google maps, etc they give the wrong directions.” And what was I using to navigate? My phone. But by this point I’m headed a very different direction than the map. So in the back of my mind I’m getting very nervous about getting lost and then being teased about getting lost. As we get near the directions send us down a “road”, back woods country kind of road. Dirt. Rocks. Not gravel. It was narrow and full of twists and turns. We were cutting it close to the cut off for enter camp that night. We were almost out of gas with a total lack of gas stations. So we were all a bit nervous. But guess what? This road lead us right into camp. Safe and sound. We got checked in. Dropped our stuff at our cabin. And then drove the car back out to the remote parking lot. When we realized dinner was only being served for 15 more minutes. And we were about a good 10-15 minute walk away. So what did we do? Ran. And I don’t run. Because the knees. The lung capacity. The ouch How am I this out of shape of it all. But the threat of starving kids and low blood sugar for me….well, as I said, we ran. And we made it just in time. So dinner and “campfire” (burn ban) songs commenced.

Poor Em had been tired since the minute she woke up Friday morning. And then she’d gone to school and ridden in the car and run. We normally eat dinner and head to bed far earlier in the evening. So a few songs in and she was so tired she was asking to go to sleep and crying. It was around 9 when they finally got to bed.

There are 10 people per cabin. The kids made friends with a family in our cabin that had a girl Brenden’s age and a boy Em’s age. All weekend long all I hard was Mei Mei (the little girls name). We’ve already scheduled a playdate since returning home.

On two separate occasions Brenden had meltdowns over other kids killing bugs. His tender heart just couldn’t understand why anyone would do that. So he, Emily, and their new friends (the cabinmates) formed the Nature Club. Because they care about everything on the planet. Even bugs.

Saturday we did the Nature, Sports, Weird Science, and Fishing family activities we’d chosen the night before. Sunday was a cooking class. And in between were breakout sessions for parents with the kids going off into groups based on age. Emily did not like going off with her group with no Mom and no Brenden. We really had a great time and I’m going to miss having the support of Hands Down and Scottish Rite. Saturday night we were up until nearly 10 enjoying the carnival. Well, my kids played in the dirt while others partook in the carnival. And at first I couldn’t drag them away. But then the crying tireds hit Emily again and it was off to bed. Sunday during our cooking class the missing sleep finally hit both kids. We were all supposed to go to one final breakout session, then lunch, then home. But both kids asked if we could leave after cooking. So we did just that. We had a great time, but we were all happy to come home to our own beds.

Little Thumbie Needs Anger Management

4/30/2014 Category :General 0

Tonight as Brenden and I were sitting on the couch together I was playing with his little thumb. It seemed like it had changed shape and so I was just looking at it. Brenden pulled it away and moved away from me. I asked him if me looking at his hand was bothering him. He shook his head yes and then was quiet. A few minutes later he said, “If little thumbie gets angry or sad he hits me.” What does little thumbie get upset about I prompted. “Well, if someone hurts his feelings or something like that. He can’t hit the other person though because what if they blame me?”

“The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook”–He wrote the book on it!

4/22/2014 Category :General 0

As we buckled into the car for school this morning Brenden started telling me about the brain of the forest. It’s a big huge tree in the middle of the forest. “You have to go by car to get there in case you die,” he says. “How did the forest become an occasion for death?” I ask. “Well, wild animals could get you….” more ways to die follow at length. See, you just aren’t safe even on a simple trip to the forest to see it’s brain. Oh, he says, actually, that’s the heart of the forest. The brain is actually inside this metal wall. This kid!

Almost 8

4/13/2014 Category :General 0

7, almost 8, can seem so grown up at times. But today, when we were at the movie theater, it was Brenden who crawled up in my lap to watch midway through the movie the way that Emily normally does. And for the mom of a boy who never sits still, getting to hold him for a little bit was just perfect. Despite the rain boots digging into my legs!

No Pressure

4/12/2014 Category :General 0

Brenden last night: I wonder what it’s like to have another child. That belongs in our family and not someone else’s.

Me: You mean like a brother or a sister? (He shakes his head yes) What do you think it’d be like?

Brenden: Awesome!

This morning: I wish I had another brother or sister!


On writing

4/7/2014 Category :General 0

Though it’s been some time since anyone but myself cared to publish anything I’ve written, there is a part of me that always considers myself a writer. However, people that I’ve meet in more recent years don’t necessarily know this about me. So I was very surprised at lunch with my grad school friends when one of my friends laid out a business plan for me that involved writing a blog. The idea, she said, was to combine my play therapy and other counseling skills with my writing. She’d been thinking of this plan for me all based on my Facebook updates not knowing that I write. She told me that most of the time when she knows someone is going to post about their kids she skips over it, but not mine, because I’m funny. I know there is currently this belief that people that blog or use social media are narcissistic. I couldn’t really be further from it, so if it sounds like I’m bragging or patting myself on the back that’s not the case. The funny thing is that I always feel like I over post about the kids and I’m conscious of annoying people every time I do it. So 1) it was nice to be told that it’s actually enjoyable (which a few others have told me as well) 2) It reaffirmed that I have some talent with a skill usually only my Momma praises 3) It made me realize I really like to be told I’m funny.

So I don’t know about the business possibilities.But I do know, yet again, I’m reminded how much I want to write here.

A vastly different weekend pace

4/7/2014 Category :General 0

In contrast to last weekend, this weekend was non-stop busy. Both kids had a birthday party to attend on Saturday. We woke, bought groceries and presents, attended party one at a bounce house place, attended party two at a mini-golf place and then came home and crashed.

Sunday I had plans to meet for lunch with my friends from grad school. The kids were very excited to have a babysitter. They pointed out that they had not had one in some time. The babysitter this time happened to be the older sister of one of Brenden’s classmates. He woke me Sunday morning to tell me, “I think Natalie’s house is always very clean. I don’t want to be embarrassed if our house isn’t clean. I’m going to go clean the toy room.” And he did. Little did he know, I’d already cleaned the rest of the house the night before with the plan to make the kids clean their rooms and the toy room. Worked right in to my evil plan! MWAH HAA HAA.

There’s no trouble in a bubble…

4/7/2014 Category :General 0

Patrick was home this past weekend for the first time in over a month. I had a small list of things I needed him to accomplish because I was physically incapable. The kids had a small list of fun things they wanted to do with Dad. And Patrick had his own small list of things to accomplish. Despite those small lists adding up to trying to squeeze a lot in to a small weekend, we managed to have a very relaxed family weekend. The kids wanted him to see a movie the three of us had seen and wanted to play WII with Dad and to go to the park. We balanced the chores and the fun things, even managing a quick grownup only escape for a moment of gambling. And while we had some chores, somehow it managed not to feel like the normal weekend running around doing errands thing. It was just nice to have time for just the four of us.

Patrick left very early Monday morning while the rest of us slept. The kids woke in good moods. When it came time to take Emily to school the heels dug in. In a big way. She didn’t want to go. She did everything she could to avoid putting on socks and shoes. Once she realized there was no way around it, so put them on, but refused to speak or even look at me until the hallways of her school. I should note, it takes 30 minutes to drive to her school. We hugged goodbye and I asked her one more time to tell me what was wrong. “I’m tired.” was the best I could get. I took a moment to tell her teacher about her mood. The teacher replied, “I guess she just wasn’t ready for the weekend to be over yet.” And it hit me, she was just acting out the very thing I was feeling. I wasn’t ready for it to be over either. I liked our little bubble.