Today is what I would call a perfect summer day. The whole weekend has been pretty good come to think of it. Friday was the kids last day of their Education Soaring program. It was so much fun. During lunch time the drama class put on a play- and Thomas was the lead. He didn’t tell me- he wanted me to be surprised. He did so well. I was so proud. Then the Digital Movie Making class had their movies shown and Thomas’ (and his pal Ziad) movie got a huge laugh and standing ovation from all the kids and parents there. Once again- very proud. Graham also did very well in his little classes- and he even got to mummify a barbie doll and make a spider web and build a robot. His classes were geared more towards younger kids- so very hands on and packed full of activity and fun. Everyday was something new and amazing. I am so glad they got to take part in it.
Friday night Thomas went to a sleep over so Graham, Mick and I went to the Oregon Brewers Fest where we met Mick’s good friend from college- Rob. We had a blast and I discovered two new amazing beers.
Saturday I picked a very sleep deprived Thomas up from his friends house. Apparently- 5 ten year olds have a lot to talk about and do to the point that 3 of them didn’t even bother going to sleep all night long. Needless to say, Thomas slept for a big part of Saturday and then we all went out for pizza for dinner.
Today one of Thomas friends came over and then two more- so including my kids I had 5 kids here. It was pretty crazy in my house but it just felt so summery. Come dinner time I put paper plates out and Mick grilled hot dogs and burgers and we all ate outside. Reminded me so much of my mom feeding all of my friends when I was younger. As i set the food out I thought, ‘I’m doing what my mom did’. It was cool.
I’m car shopping. Have a few good ideas. Trying to figure out my best avenue for a loan.
Boys start their second session of swimming lessons tomorrow morning.
it’s a beautiful night- just a tad bit chili.
It’s so hot here now. Currently 88 inside the house 96 outside. I have several fans going- and that does help. We are supposed to be in this heat wave until Friday. Friday was 104 in Portland.
Summer is flying by before my very eyes. I forgot to mention in my cub scout camp recollection that the last day of camp Kai’s parents brought a gift for me to thank me for taking care of Kai. They gave me a beautiful sumi brush, ink, and rice paper set from Japan. I LOVE stuff like that and they remember me telling them so. It was a wonderful surprise and greatly appreciated. What kind people they are- and thank God I found their child.
seems like my friends are having a hard time now. I find it surprising that they come to me- I think I am the last person to ask about relationships. I will listen, i will sympathize, I WON’T husband bash and I will let them know I care about them. That’s what I can offer. I always thought I knew a lot about relationships- and my friends seem to think I do, but really, I don’t. I don’t know what makes them work or not work. I know you make a lot of sacrifices in relationships to make them work and sometimes not even that’s good enough. You hear people boasting all the time about what they would and wouldn’t put up with if they were in “THAT” relationship. But how can you know unless you ARE in THAT relationship? you can’t. But then again what do I know….
Day three of camp started at 7:30am- much better than 5am. It was a sunny, beautiful morning. Kai woke up very sad and crying because his mom wasn’t there. I hugged him and loved on him until he was ok. I told him that he could cry until we went to KP duty then he had to start having fun on his last day of camp. One of the dads in our group and I hung out by the coffee machine and let the boys do their thing until breakfast was ready. After pancakes and sausage we started stations again-BB’s first. Graham was very discouraged because he only hit the paper once the day before. I told him he’d be MUCH better cause he knew what to do. I showed him how to hold the gun and how to aim and POW first shot hit the 10 spot on the target. WHOO HOO!!! At that point I looked around to do a quick count of all of our boys and came up short by ONE. Kai was missing. My heart raced as I began to inquire where he was. The guy leading the BB range put a call in on his walkie talkie and notified the camp that Kai was missing. The search for Kai began. Meanwhile- Graham kept shooting and almost hit a bulls-eye 5 times!! He was so proud. According to the camp if a child is missing for more than 5 minutes they shut down the camp and have an emergency fire drill to group all the boys together to find. him. A few of the other dads were concerned because they knew Kai would only come to me- so I was ready to start my own search for Kai. As I turned to begin my search Kai was walking over towards us with one of the camp advisors. He had been about 60 feet away from us the whole time making a wooden tool box. Apparently- when the groups split off to go to their stations Kai followed the wrong group. PHEW…. I did not want to be the one to tell Kai’s mom I’d lost him.
Then on to archery. Graham was a pro- and he almost hit the bulls-eye. He was so excited and proud of himself. It was SO good for his confidence. As Graham moved on to his other stations some of us parents went to pack up our camp. After my tent was empty several of the dads came over to help me pull the gigantic stakes out of the ground that held down my tent. (the ones that came with the tent were lost/broken/etc.. and I could only find huge ones to replace them). I knew I could do the job myself and even started to with much success. Apparently, I looked like I was in distress. The dads from the other pack not only took down my tent, but folded it and squeezed it into the little bag, then hauled all my stuff off to my neighbors car and packed it up. Guess it’s good to be the Queen.
After lunch we had another game of human foosball. Graham and I were goalies and I told him how to block the ball. He did exactly what I told him and blocked it EVERY TIME. I was so proud of him. The other team was getting discouraged so i told Graham to let a few go by-. It was good fun and we laughed the entire time.
We then had a few hours of free time and several families came to the camp for the family BBQ. Kai’s parents showed up at that point and asked how Kai was doing. I told them nothing of the tears and loosing him- i don’t think they need to know that. Graham and I went straight to the BB range. Then to play in the water and a few other activities. We cut out of the BBQ early and found my neighbor-and decided to leave early to avoid parking lot traffic.
Got home and was greeted by Thomas and Mick- who were very happy to see us. We had an amazing time. I am so glad I got to be a part of Graham’s camping experience. There’s just something about going through that with your child- a different bond is formed. It’s indescribable. Thomas goes to his camp in a few weeks. Graham and I will go up and camp with him for a few nights. Out of 8 boys three are going without parents- Thomas is one of them. I considered going the whole week- but I don’t know how Graham would do and I kind of want to give Thomas a break from his little brother. I know it will be just as amazing.
I’m going to bed now
Four years ago today Isamu died. I heard a song on the radio today that reminded me of him. the kids and I got an ice cream in his honor and toasted to him. Earlier in the day i spent some time in my butterfly garden thinking about him and admiring all the beautiful flowers that have evolved in my garden. I have butterflies this year- Monarchs to be exact. They are beautiful. His death still makes me sad. The memories I have of him make me happy. One time it was really late at night and he had been driving all day returning from a trip home to San Diego. He stopped at my apartment and surprised me with a container of cookie dough ice cream. We shared it and he teased me because I picked out all the cookie dough and left just the ice cream for him. He told me he started smoking that day- as a way to stay entertained on the long drive back to Santa Cruz. We laughed about it because it was just so silly. He said he thought that maybe someone was living in his car at night – I thought that was creepy. He didn’t seem to mind. He was going to leave something in the car to see if they took it-then he’d know for sure. (He never locked his car and his apartment was in a questionable area.) We watched Twilight Zone- the original- as we ate the ice cream. Then I went to bed and he slept on a little foam mattress I kept in my room for him. He liked little things like that.
My neighbor passed away two days ago. Cancer of the pancreas. Perhaps I’ll take a butterfly plant over to his wife.
The second day of camp- Saturday morning started out VERY early as another pack woke up at 5am and decided to be very loud- hence waking all of our boys up. Since breakfast wasn’t until 8am and there was nothing else to do, I decided to take a shower. The boys walked around and took advantage of the peanut butter and jelly bar- which was open 24 hours a day. Breakfast time finally came around and we ate then started stations again. First one was BB Guns. Since Graham has never shot a BB gun it was very new to him and he only shot the paper once. I was thrilled and told him he did a good job. Next station was Archery. Same thing- never tried it but he hit the paper which got him a glow in the dark bead. (They had a bead reward system in which the boys could trade and earn more). Next was a very boring nature walk and then off to make tunics for the evening events. Lunch followed which is where our boys had KP. They had to set the table, get more food, then clean up. Graham LOVED it and signed up for every meal. After lunch was BOB time- bodies on beds where the boys have to stay in their rooms for 45 minutes to rest. None of our boys fell asleep. They just ate Japanese cookies and goofed around. Afterwards we started stations again and our first was HUMAN FOOSBALL -which consisted of a HUGE wooden area with ropes and PVC pipe that you had to hold on to and play soccer. It was so much fun. All of the parents were in playing with the kids and everyone was having a good time. There was this red necked father there-(who deserves a whole other side story) and he was playing really rough and competitive. He kicked it really hard towards me and I ended up kicked it really hard back more as a reflex than anything. It was one of those things that as it was happening I was like ” NOOOOOOOO” in slow motion because it connected with the red necks son and it ended up winding the poor kid. I felt HORRIBLE and took myself out of the game. The red neck thought it was hilarious and was laughing so hared at his poor kid crying that he didn’t even bother stepping out of the game. I ran out and made sure the kid was ok and basically offered to carry him across the world if he wanted me too. (His pack leader told me the kid was ok- but I still felt awful.) The kid was fine but the dads all took this as an opportunity to start teasing me and calling me KILLER. We then moved to the next stations which was building a small catapult then on to making knight helmets. Then finally, free time where the boys could go to any of the stations and do what they wanted. Graham choose to go down the 50 foot slip and slide-the very thing he’d been looking forward to for months. He had a blast. He did that until dinner time. After dinner there was a parent vs. staff human foosball game and all the dads came up to the kitchen to get me to play on their side. I watched the beginning to make sure I wasn’t going to get killed- since I’d be the only girl in on the parents side. So I went in. Got 2 assists and several blocks…. now at this point i should say there was one staff member that was HIGHLY annoying and everyone was joking about ‘taking him out’ during the game. Well by accident I did. Kicked it high and it smacked him in the head and knocked his glasses off. All the dads and kids were screaming “GO KILLER GO!!!’ Once again, I felt awful and I took myself out of the game. I found Graham who was with several of his new friends and they kept saying stuff like how I kicked fast …. And Graham said “YEP THAT”S MY MOM!!!” and the other little boys said “WOW- KILLER is your mom?”" and Graham proudly said yes. My heart melted. THAT was the highlight of my weekend.
Later that night they had a knighting ceramony for the boys where they had to walk through various points of the camp and make promises to do their best etc.. They had on their home made tunics and helmets. It was very cool. The last stop was the chapel where the ‘King” was and he had the boys kneel and he knighted them. It was very touching and it made me cry to see Graham go through this process-because he thought it was so cool to be knighted. it was truly ALL worth it. Then it was bed time- and the boys were pretty much asleep as soon as they hit their pillows.
NOW as for Kai- earlier in the day his mom had called me several times to check on Kai. She wanted to know when they should come and what he wanted them to bring to eat. I asked him and he said he didn’t want them to come and he wasn’t hungry. Which he was-and he wasn’t hungry because he’d just eaten 3 hot dogs for lunch. I didn’t have the heart to tell his mom this and luckily my battery died before I could call her back. His parents showed up and brought snacks which all the other boys ate- because Kai was still full. By bed time he was VERY tired and he wanted to go home- but his dad wanted him to stay. I told them that if he laid his head down for 5 minutes he’d probably be asleep. So his mom got in the bunk with him and in 3 minutes he was fast asleep. Thus ending day two of camp….
Graham and I spent the weekend at Cub World. Our adventure started on Friday at 1pm and ended on Sunday around 6pm. We had SO much fun. Friday was spent setting up camp- the 5 boys from our pack got to sleep in the castle on the top floor in 6 bunk beds grouped together in a U shape. There were 3 of us parents that went and we sent up our tents outside of the castle as we were not allowed to sleep in the same room as the boys. The walk from the parking lot to the car was absolutely grueling. My neighbor- who we ended up hitching a ride with- brought his small dump trailer (wagon) and we loaded that up 4 times. (for the record, my stuff fit in ONE trip). After setting up and an orientation the boys were given their Legions- and from then on we were known as the Alabaster Lances. (the theme was knighthood). Since we were a smaller group we were paired up with another pack that consisted of 7 boys and 7 parents- in total 12 kids, 8 dads and 2 moms. The boys then began going to stations until Flag and dinner. After that we had chapel and a bunch of very long skits where everyone yelled to be dramatic. We then moved on for more skits and dramatic yelling at the big campfire. After that we broke up into our Legions and went back to camp to roast marshmallows and make smores. Needless to say, no one got much sleep that night but honestly, that is what camp is all about. Our boys decided to play with their flashlights until we threatened to take them away. FINALLY around midnight our half of the Alabaster’s were asleep. The parents and I hung out in front of our tents and chatted and admired all the beautiful the stars. I think around 1am I was the first to go to bed and the other two dads followed. For the most part, I slept like a baby on my little twin air mattress.
I must interject here a side story about one of the little boys in Graham’s den- named Kai. He’s Japanese and his father became an Eagle Scout in Japan. I’ve REALLY enjoyed having them in our den as they have brought so much amazing culture to us. Anyway- this was Kai’s first time away from home over night and his parents very very worried. Since the camp was only 30 minutes away Kai’s dad decided to forego spending the night in a tent, and drive home every night. Kai’s mom (Sunea) whom I’ve grown attached to and consider a good friend of mine- was very worried about Kai because he is a picky eater. Once Kai’s parents left he became a totally different child. Not only did he join the other boys but he ate ham for the first time and asked for seconds on the cheesey mashed potatoes. His parents were so concerned that he wouldn’t eat camp food that they brought a huge tray of sushi to the camp ground the first night. Since Kai was full of ham and potatoes he didn’t want any. His mother was concerned and then I told her how much and what he ate and she was VERY shocked. I just chuckled to myself and helped myself to the sushi. Kai’s dad went to Costco to get stuff for SAMORAS (smores). He came back with HUGE boxes of everything- because he never made them and didn’t know what we needed. It was awesome. Kai- generally a very shy child, was the most mischievous scout at bed time and actually got his flashlight taken away. It was great!! Good for Kai… and this, my loyal readers is JUST the start of the Kai saga- more tomorrow!
i love waking up on my own and then looking at the clock and realizing I have another hour to sleep before the alarm goes off. Ahhhhh that sleep is the sweetest.
I had very strange dreams last night- dreamt i was on a plane with my sister- we were flying home from Saudi Arabia like we did when we were kids. Our plane had to circle the airport because of ice and then the oxygen masks dropped down. Somewhere along the line the plane turned into a shuttle bus and the driver had his girlfriend on his lap and he kept kissing her. So finally the shuttle/plane drops me off so I could make my 5:35pm connection and when I got into the airport I realized it was 5:30pm and that the airport that I needed to be at was 6 miles away. Insanity I tell you…
Last night we had dinner with Grammy. We just LOVE Grammy. She is my good friends mom and has been so special to us since Thomas and my friends little girl were very young. She always thinks of us, she always remembers us and she’s just really awesome. We certainly love our Grammy. She lives in Florida but she always makes time for us when she comes for a visit. I am very thankful for her as she is very special to me as well.
Graham and I go to Cub Scout camp tomorrow. Packing is proving to be crazy. I have to take all my own bedding, towels etc… Graham will have a bunk to sleep on. I will be in my tent on an air mattress. I know camping requires all of this stuff the thing I am dreading is the half mile hike from the parking lot to the camping area-while lugging all of this stuff. Graham is excited- and that is what is important. Thomas and Mick will be on their own this weekend. I think they have a bike ride planned. I’m nervous and a bit reluctant. The days start VERY early and it’s go, go, go. Well, what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger!
The boys end their first session of swimming lessons today. They will start the second session on Monday. They are enjoying it.
They are also involved in this program called Education Soaring which consists of 3 different classes a day for the next 3 weeks. I was very torn letting them do it- but two of the teachers called and begged me to let them come. It’s not cheep- and so I worked a very good deal out with the director- where I work part of the time for her and only pay 1/3 the cost. It’s really a great opportunity for them. They are LOVING it. I miss having them at home- but it’s only a couple more weeks.
Speaking of which- i need to get showered and out the door with the kids. Got a lot of packing to do today.
For the most part we had a good weekend. The 4th was good. We grilled steak and lit off our own little arsenal of fireworks before heading to the neighbors to watch their big show. My favorite fireworks were the little ground flowers that shoot of popping sparks after all of their color is gone. The boys and Mick had a good time lighting them off- I was the clapping spectator that ‘OOOOED” and “AWWED” . We got sparklers this year- REAL metal sticked ones. The smell took me back to my childhood when they weren’t illegal. I remember stepping on the spent metal sticks with bare feet- and OOOO did they ever burn.
Monday was the first day this summer that I really missed being in school. I missed my little art friends, i missed that positive, nurturing environment. I missed knowing I was doing something right and something good. There are things in my life now that just makes me sad.
The boys are loving being on summer vacation and I love having them at home with me. The started swimming lessons on Monday. Graham thinks it’s cool that he can float on his back and likes how he can see under water with his goggles. Thomas learned to dive today. He did a belly flog and his tummy was all red for awhile. He conked his head on the pool yesterday floating on his back- didn’t see the edge of the pool. He was ok. By the end of summer they will be little sharks.
The weather has finally cooled down here. It was actually a bit cool here today. I loved it. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same. Ahhhh
My friend has one of those fire pits in his back yard. I want to get one of those. I think it’d be cool to have in the summer time.
gotta get swim bags ready for tomorrow