Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jack and Faith go to Camp!

Hey Peeps—

Have you ever found that the long winter months in Colorado can make you crazy?  And right around the month of March, you go and make an impulsive plan for the summer just to help you cope, and then when summer comes, you realize you’ve made a huge error in judgment?  Anyone?  Or is it just me?

My house is eerily quiet.  You don’t hear me say that often, but for this week, it’s true.  Two of my three kids are off at camp. Yes, back in March when school projects and trips to Hobby Lobby were overtaking our lives, I decided we needed something totally fun to look forward to.  I’d heard about Idrahaje—a camp in the mountains near Bailey, and decided this was the summer my kids experienced the great outdoors.  Without me.  Without their daddy.  And now I can’t believe how stupid that was. 

The decision to take Jack and Faith to camp was simple.  I asked if they wanted to go, they said, “sure mom, whatever” and the decision was final.  Will also asked to go, but being that he is seven, we said, “no way, not on your life”.  At first he was mad to be stuck with me, but he soon began compiling a list called, “Will’s Week-O-Fun”.  It has been displayed on the fridge for months, in order to make Jack and Faith jealous, and to remind me that we are going on a lot of outings, so I better plan accordingly. 

The day to take them to camp finally arrived.  We’d packed them up with everything the list required, and headed out the door.  Both Jack and Faith were nervous, but seemed determined.  Billy and I tried to talk it up like they were about to have the best week of their lives, and Will just kept asking, “how longs it gonna take to drop them off?” 

As soon as they arrived we got them registered and found their respective cabins.  We took Jack first, and his counselor came out to greet us and meet him.  We found his bed and put all his stuff in the cabin and quickly realized this was “goodbye”.  I tried to give him roller coaster knucks (we learned it from Modern Family) and hug him goodbye.  However, he was embarrassed and told his counselor, “sorry for their behavior” while trying to shuffle us out the door.  Billy managed to get a quick side hug out of Jack, while I just got an eye roll.   

Faith was next.  My sweet 9 year old little baby girl…we drove over to her cabin and carried her stuff in for her.  Her counselor was bubbly and sweet and instantly I knew Faith would like her.  We settled her in as well, and prepared for our goodbyes.  At least she still hugs her mama.  I could tell she was trying to be brave, so we didn’t draw it out, even though I really wanted to.  I noticed Billy was mumbling under his breath, “okay, it’s okay.  This is normal.  This is what parents do every year, and this is normal”.  I think it’s called something like“Positive self talk”. 

As soon as we got in the car we drove back to Jack’s cabin to see if he was playing outside with the other kids yet.  At first we didn’t see his red plaid shorts, so naturally we thought he’d been kidnapped.  Then there he was in the crowd—he looked serious, but at least involved.  And we knew he was going to be okay.  We “forgot” to put something in Faith’s stuff too so we drove once again to her cabin and took a peek to make sure she was not sobbing for her mother.  No, in fact she was out in the playground playing tetherball with a friend, and in my heart, I knew she was okay.  I’m pretty sure she’d already lost her sweatshirt too. 

We made the dreaded right turn out of the camp and began heading back home.  All three of us had different responses, and without naming names, here’s how it went down:  One of us began bawling like a baby, one of us kept saying, “stop! If you cry I’m gonna cry” and one of us was in the backseat cheering, “Time for the PARTY WEEK!!!” By the time we hit Conifer, we’d all settled down and tried to focus on what kind of comfort food we were going to have for dinner.

Will’s gone to bed with us every night so far.  His excuse is that he can’t sleep without his brother in his room.  Oddly enough that’s our excuse too.  By midnight, Billy gathers up his 60+ lb frame and carries him off, so we can all sleep better.  Last night we began the list of fun with a bar-b-que.  We had good food, good friends, and a lot of laughter.  Today we biked to Billy’s work, and came home by way of the fountains where we cooled off and had a snack. So far having Will all to myself has been good, with the exception of the conversation he begun with, “Mom, how do babies get out of the girl’s body?”  That was a painful, and somewhat weird five minutes.  Luckily I thought to distract him with candy. 

 By the time you read this, my home will be full again, brimming with noise.  I’ll be hollering at three sweeties once again, to put their shoes away, make their beds, and brush their teeth.  This week is different, and it feels weird.  But it’s good and right, and my kids are learning a little bit more about who they are going to be in this big scary world.  And we are learning how hard it is to let go.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

A visit to Pagosa Springs!

Hey Peeps—

My two boys are in the front yard playing with a toy they got from Sonic.  It’s a small missle-shaped blow up toy that they are launching at each other’s heads.  Faith is dancing away on the sidewalk playing with a bouncy ball, without a care in the world.  There is a gentle breeze, and the children are laughing.  This is what summer is all about.  Until the blow up missle puts an eye out. 

Summer continues to move at a rapid pace.  We just returned home from four days with family in Pagosa Springs.  My mom lives there—she and Gilbert have a bit of land and a home  so we can spread out and enjoy.  My aunt and uncle from Maryland were also there, and boy was it a good time!  However, I almost contracted rabies during our trip, as there was a bat flying around the 2nd and 3rd floor of my mother’s house as if it owned the place.  One morning it came quite close to my head, and I did what any normal woman would do.  I dropped to the floor and screamed, “Bat!!!  Bat!  It’s trying to kill me!”   I badgered Billy for two days about how aloof he was about the flying rodent and begged him to remove it from the house.  I guess I wore him down, because on our third night while I was outside, Billy brought me a bag holding a dead bat.  If I’d had a crown I would’ve put it on his head and called him a king right then and there.  I didn’t have a crown, so I just high fived him and said, “Thanks babe.  You rock”. 

Besides all the excitement with the bat, we did a few touristy things around the town of Pagosa.  The boys spent one whole morning fishing with Grampa Gilly at Echo Lake, while we ladies went and shopped along Main street.  I grew up in Pagosa, and as a child I rode my horse down that street many times.  My horse, Lady often made a “deposit” right in front of Goodman’s department store, and the owners still like to mention this to my mother every time she stops in to do her shopping.  What can I say?  I tend to leave a mark wherever I go.

Another fun outing was going to the Liberty Theater to see the new Spiderman movie.  It always brings back memories sitting in that old theater.  It’s where I saw movies like E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark as a kid.  The sound is bad, and the floor is sticky, but you just can’t beat a small town theater that’s been around for almost 80 years.  And in case you hadn’t read any other credible reviews, Billy voted this Spiderman “the best one yet”. 

The next night we did something really exciting!  Our friend J.R. brought us free tickets to attend the Red Ryder Rodeo.  It was amazing!  The kids were mesmerized by each event from the bucking broncos to the bull riders.  They loved everything but the calf roping—Will kept turning to me and said, “That’s so mean!” Next time we go, we’ll make sure to take him to the snack bar during that event.  You live and learn.   As the final bull rider was bucked off, Will announced he was going to throw up.  We missed the last event in order to get him home, and I’m pleased to report it was a false alarm.  All in all, I’d call the night a great success.

One of my favorite parts of going to my mom’s is just hanging out at her house.  This time they had a neighbor’s horse on their property that we were able to let the kids ride.  The kids sat on Ace bareback, while I led him with a halter and rope.  Ace was great, unless there were loud noises, and I’m proud to say Will learned how to fall off a horse the right way.   We also spent some time playing a little basketball—my mother who is 69, and my aunt who is 78 also played.  At one point I just sat back in awe of these two women playing basketball with three kids—who does that at their ages?  It was great. Then my mom started cheating a little.  She kept pulling Jack’s shirt over his head and then moved to distracting him with a hug.  He did what I expected him to do, and that was to just hug her back.   

We are happy to be back home, but will miss the time we had with family and hold onto those great memories, along with the others we’ve made this summer.  The fires are out, the rains have come, my kids are happy, and there’s no bats in my house.   Life is good. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Girl's Weekend to Remember!

Hey Peeps--

The problem with going away for the weekend is not missing my family, although there’s a small amount of that.  The problem lies in the fact that my two boys, led by their father, feel the need to torture me by sending photos to my phone of them on my couch in nothing but their underwear.  I wish I were exaggerating or simply trying to humor you.  But no, the vision I paint is all too real, and my eyes still burn from images I cannot erase.  Thankfully the “girl’s getaway” was refreshing and fun, and even though I tried to be mad at the boys, all I could do was laugh. 

My sweet daughter Faith and I were among the 4700+ women this weekend that attended a Beth Moore Conference in Colorado Springs.  In case you don’t know, Beth Moore is an author of many books and several Bible studies. I stumbled upon Beth Moore’s Bible studies when I first became a mom. I had tried going to mommy groups, where the kids played and made crafts while I was supposed to have a couple hours to bond with other women in the same phase of life as me.  I learned rather quickly that other women annoy me, and decided I should focus my energy on learning about God, rather than coming home from mommy group in a tizzy because I couldn’t afford a weekly mani-pedi like all the other mothers.  

I’ve never personally met Beth Moore, but I love how she writes and I love that she doesn’t just spoon feed me with clich├ęs about how God wants me to send all my problems up to Him in a giant hot air balloon of love.  No, she makes you work for your spiritual growth, and believe it or not, after 10 weeks of a particular study, potentially you can walk away looking a little less like the old you, and a little more like the person God intended you to be.  But wait, that’s not all!  Not only is Beth Moore a great author, she’s a speaker too!

This past weekend Beth came to Colorado Springs to speak a little truth into our lives. Faith and I, along with some special friends, were so excited to be among all those women in the World Arena! Normally when I attend a Beth Moore conference I like to get in line way early to ensure seats in the front few rows. (yes, I’ve attended several of her events, but I promise I’m not a stalker).  This time was different. Being there with Faith was way more important than being right up in Beth’s business.  One of my favorite moments of the event was when Travis Cottrell, the worship guy, was leading us all in song.  The Arena was filled with all sorts of women praising the Lord, and there was Faith, standing on my chair behind me, with her arms draped around my neck while both of us were singing as loud as we could!

Beth’s message to us was all about finishing well.  That might sound a little odd to you, as we sort of live in a world that puts a huge emphasis on starting something new.  Don’t you agree?  I mean who doesn’t love to start a project?  Isn’t it fun to plan something huge, make a list, and then go shopping for all the necessary items?  I’m right there with you.  But Beth reminded us, through God’s Word, to remain disciplined, fight the good fight, and finish well.  In fact our motto of the weekend was “Follow Me=Follow Through”.  The “Me” in the motto happens to be God, in case you were confused.

I needed that message more than you know.  As I’ve mentioned a gazillion times, I started taking classes towards a degree in Nursing school back when I was 36 years old.  Slowly I knocked out one class at a time until I finally entered the actual program a year and ½ ago.  This August I will begin my final semester, and graduate in December as an R.N. 

Can I be really honest with you?  I’ve wanted to quit every single day.  I’m not even lying.  I’ve woken up every day, with one of the first thoughts on my heart being, “Why am I doing this?  What’s the point?  I won’t even be done until I’m 40, and who wants to hire a 40 year old, with no medical experience to be their nurse…” I’ve been successful if you look at grades, but somehow I still manage to doubt that I am worthy to be a nurse.  Even with one semester left, I recently told Billy, “Yeah, I think I’m just done. I probably better just quit”.  He did what he always does, which happens to be VERY irritating, and said, “You do what you need to do, but I support you”.  Grrrrr.  I know in my heart I will finish.  But now I don’t just want to finish.  I want to be confident.  I want to walk into my clinicals with a spirit of joy and energy to learn and help people.  I want to smile more.  I want to be a friend to the other students who lack confidence like me.  I want to finish well.  I’m thankful for a weekend of renewal, and remembrance that it is God who gives me the strength to not only finish, but to finish well!