Life

Weekend Update with WFK

This past weekend was cool and quite pleasant – a welcome change from the 90+ degree weather we had had up to that point.

When the weather turns cooler and the air becomes fresh and crisp, I CRAVE camping. There is nothing more relaxing and comfortable as lounging outside your camper door around a campfire and roasting marshmallows while enjoying family time. Seriously, nothing.

At least, in my world.

So, I made more camping reservations. We’ll be camping in Branson again (we love Branson – mainly because it’s only 45 minutes from home and the country is so pretty down there) at Cooper Creek over Labor Day weekend; we’ll take off as soon as the boys get out of school on Friday and come back Labor Day. We’ve camped at Cooper Creek several times before and though we’re not entirely crazy about the bathrooms (which is a major issue when we camp because come on, how fun is it to take a showers with spiders?), we love where the campground is situated – right off the Taneycomo lake. So, we’ll likely do a little fishing (well, when I say “we”, I really mean the guys will fish and I will sit around and read), feast on some awesome beef stew (cooked in the Crockpot – Crockpot food is PERFECT for camping) and count the stars.

*Sigh* I’m already more relaxed just thinking about it.

The husband and I went searching for a new microwave yesterday. The one in our camper sort of fried – and I mean that literally. The little computer just went berserk and it wouldn’t respond to any commands. And then, while we least expected it, it would DING and start up, for no apparent reason and without provocation.

It was sort of freaky, if you want the truth.

We discovered our microwave was possessed this past camping trip. And we were QUITE bummed that we were unable to pop popcorn to eat while watching our movie (don’t look at me like that – a microwave is ESSENTIAL to a successful camping trip *grin*). So, we bought a cheap microwave at Wally World and the hubs monkey-rigged it into the space in our camper. So now, we’ll be able to chow down on popcorn and watch movies! Maybe this time, the weather will be cool enough we can watch movies outside – that’s always fun. (And our camping neighbors REALLY love when we do that. *snort*)

This photo is neither here nor there; I just discovered it on one of our camera cards this past weekend and thought my facial expression was funny. Apparently, I have the same “deer caught in headlight look” and tight-lipped expression when I read, too. The husband is constantly teasing me about it.

Zoning Out

If you look closely, you can see GD in the background “pretending” not to watch the movie with us. We were watching Spiderwick, which I thought was pretty cute, considering.

And please, no smart comments about my peace shirt. I LIKE my peace shirt, thankyouverymuch. 😀

In other news …

My nephews spent the night with our boys Friday night. The younger boys pooped out about 1ish, the older boys stayed up until 4ish.

They spent every waking moment playing games, of course. Though there was a curious little distraction that I thought was quite ….. odd.

MK likes plush toys. He has a small collection of Nintendo plush toys that he will periodically sleep with and/or pull out and role play with. (A sign of his immaturity, in my opinion. Though I don’t know, I “played” with my barbies until I was 15 – but we’re not talking about me here. *wink*)

So, all of the boys pulled those plushies out, used our old video camera and proceeded to film a random skit using those plushie dolls. They filmed at various points in the house, assuming high-pitched voices personifying the characters and shot a bunch of short video stories.

What I found odd about this whole thing was that an almost 18-year old and a 16-year old would think this was amusing.

But judging by their laughter, I’m assuming it was.

They spent the remainder of Saturday afternoon, inputting it in some video software and trying to make the audio card work. I suppose I could look at the episode as their curiosity to play around with production options, but I don’t know, I still think it was odd for them to run around the house assuming Nintendo characters.

Perhaps they were truly bored. *shrug* At any rate, I think I need to get my boys out more. *grin*

(I tried to take a picture of them while they were role playing, but they would catch sight of me every time and stop their actions, their facial expressions tight, pinched and self-conscious. It’s too bad, because it was really funny to watch).

In other news …

Motivated by my boys’ odd behavior this past weekend, I coaxed them into making banana bread with me last night. Though I abhor cooking myself, I wanted to the boys to participate for two reasons:

1. I got to spend time with them

and

2. I wanted to start the ball rolling on teaching them everyday, mundane, real-life skills.

If the experience taught me anything it was this: I could never, in a hundred million years, homeschool my children.

Ever. As in NEVER.

The experience only reinforced what I’ve known my entire adult life – I simply do not have the patience required to teach ANYTHING for long term.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, we had a good time – the boys laughed and goofed off, much to my annoyance. Yes, I laughed along with them, and there was much eye-rolling, but overall, it drove me crazy to stand back and supervise when I was ITCHING to just take over and do it myself.

Clearly, I have issues I need to work through.

We divided the duties up so that both boys would have a chance to do something. GD broke and divided the egg yolks from the whites (which they thought was uber-cool because you and I both know egg whites looks like clumpy snot), mashed up the bananas (which was also fun because you know, they could ANNILHATE something), and put in the sugar and oil.

While GD was busy doing his part, I gave MK a camera and he took “action” shots.

Remind me to give the boys a camera more often. When I went back and looked at the photos … OMG! I thought I was going to bust a rib I was laughing so much. It’s so much fun to “see” through a kid’s eyes.

Here is a slideshow of my favorites:

[rockyou id=120019186&w=426&h=320]

The bread turned out really good. The boys were pretty proud of themselves and quite triumphant until I told them that next time? They were on their own. 🙂

By the way, the banana bread recipe came from the “New Dieter’s Cook Book” and is only 125 calories, 4 g of fat and 0 mg of cholesterol per serving. (Of course, MY definition of what a serving is is pretty broad *grin*). Here’s the recipe if you would like it:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 slightly beaten egg whites
1 cup mashed banana (which works out to be about 2 or 3 overly ripe bananas)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cooking oil
Nonstick cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl stir together egg whites, banana, sugar and oil. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt just until moistened.

Spray loaf pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Makes one loaf (16 servings).

In other news …

The husband FINALLY bought his dream phone.

Proud Owner of HTC Touch Phone

He’s wanted a phone/PDA/MP3 player phone for like, EVER. Though he did seriously think about buying an iPhone, in the end, he simply couldn’t justify paying $80+ dollars a month for service. So, he shopped around and settled on an HTC Touch Phone. His monthly plan is the minimum ($35 dollars a month) and it does everything he wants it to. He’s very, very, VERY happy and I’m very, very, VERY happy to see him happy.

That’s how love works. 😉

(Side note: That purple shirt? Is my favorite. He wears it when we go out to lunch together every Wednesday. *sexy growl*).

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It’s fun!

Life

Worth the Sweat and Hard Work

Camping is not for everyone.

You must be willing to get dirty, to be sweaty, to take showers in different, sometimes bug-infested places and to show body parts to strange people while pretending that walking around in a towel in front of women you’ve never seen in your life before and will most likely never see again, is all perfectly commonplace.

But camping? DOES it for me. And my family? LOVES it.

Which is really odd for me to say because though I’m not exactly a “prissy” sort of girl, I don’t care to get dirty. I DON’T enjoy gardening, on any level. Why? Because I can’t stand the thought of having dirt under my fingernails or possibly running the pads of my fingers over a cold, slimy worm. In fact, I don’t enjoy any sort of outdoor work mainly because I can’t stand that outdoorsy smell that clings to your skin and clothes when you come back in.

I don’t swim in lakes because of the fishy, moldy, NASTY lake smell and the fact that you’re swimming in pond scum and God knows what else. And I can barely stand to wade into the ocean because when seaweed wraps it’s slick fingers around my legs it makes me gag and feel all … icky (how’s that for an original adjective?).

And yet, I’m okay with camping.

Go figure.

Camping is A LOT of work. It’s a lot of work to prepare our camper – soak the fold-down canvas beds with waterproof solution, check, and patch any leaks, replace a faulty faucet, tear out soaked cardboard and insulation because the caulk on one of our seams had aged and cracked and it leaked, air up the tires, make sure the propane tanks have enough gas, the brakes on our camper are working properly (this was especially important when we went camping in Colorado last year), blahblahblah.

And then, packing the thing with clothes, bedding, towels, food (we’ve learned that buying our perishable food when we reached our destination is SO MUCH EASIER than stressing about whether it’s staying cold in a cooler the whole trip), cooking utensils, cookery, plastic forks, spoons, knives, dish soap, paper towels, coffee maker, coffee mugs (I almost always forget coffee mugs), entertainment …. and on and on.

In essence, when you pack a camper, you’re furnishing a small house – it’s time consuming, back-breaking and really sweaty work hauling stuff back and forth between the house and the camper – both coming and going.

And yet, we do it, several times a year … and we enjoy it.

Well, me and the boys enjoy it; I think the husband just tolerates it because of me.

The camping bug usually bites me in mid-summer. I don’t care camping in the spring because my guys have allergies and the few times we’ve camped in the spring, it’s been a miserable experience for them – so we don’t.

By mid-summer, I don’t know, I just yearn to be outdoors, to appreciate nature, to breathe in that fresh air you only get when you leave the city, to hear the nature creatures and insects you can only hear when you’re away from the buzz of the city. It’s soothing, it’s peaceful, it’s rejuvenating.

But if I EVER talk about going camping at the end of July/first of August again, you have my permission to reach across cyber space and flick me on the forehead.

For those just tuning in, we went camping this past weekend – in 100 degree weather. Wow. It was not only hot (which I can handle), but it was stuffy and unbearable (which I can not handle). This past weekend was a heat wave. And to make matters even more uncomfortable, there was no wind. None. Walking outside was like trying to breathe through a blanket. The air was heavy, thick and moist. Within minutes of being outside, your skin beaded with moisture and felt clammy and unnatural.

In essence? It was miserable camping weather. We’ve camped when it’s been hot before, but not anything like this. The skies were clear, the atmosphere was hazy and people walked around liked zombies because it was simply too much of an effort to be anything more.

So, we didn’t venture outside our air conditioned camper very often. We sat around and read, played games and watched movies, and we were perfectly okay with that. We wanted a brief getaway where we did … nothing. We had no agenda. We had no desire to get out and see the sights because we’ve seen them a million times before. (We camped in Branson for the like the umpteenth time). We simply wanted to get away and … breathe, a chance to catch our breath and focus on just being together.

I think the boys really like camping because the husband and I pay attention to them. The husband and I enjoy camping with the boys because they actually acknowledge our existence. We get so caught up and distracted with other things and responsibilities at home, that we often find ourselves co-existing, and not much more.

I bought some of those cheesy plastic ball lights that you string up along your awning. We’ve always wanted them but just never got around to buying them in the past. We strung those lights up and one night, we oiled our skin up with insect repellent and sat outside together under those lights. It was a comfortable, companionable silence, the silence that you typically experience with people you’re around a lot.

And then something wonderful happened – the boys began talking.

If you are, or have ever been, a parent of a teenager, then you’ll know that when these “talk” sessions happen, you savor every minute of it. It’s hard enough to communicate with your teenager at the best of times, but it’s certainly a rarity if they VOLUNTEER information about themselves or what they’re thinking.

We sat around and had a really good chat. They talked, and we listened. We asked them questions, and they actually answered them, honestly. It was an insightful and rewarding pow-wow with our sons. We caught a glimpse of the men they were becoming and we were quite pleased with what we saw.

We have been blessed with some truly great kids.

We spent the majority of our time playing a board game. It’s called Blokus and in essence, it’s a reality-based Tetras game. You can only place your pieces on the corner of your own colored pieces and when you run out of places you can place your tiles, you count up how many squares you have remaining and the person who has the least squares, wins.

Blokus - New Board Game

We really had a great time playing that game. It’s a strategy THINKING game (as opposed to all of those RPG shoot-first-ask-questions-later games the boys are in to), and we shared quite a few laughs trying to outwit each other. I think MK might have won the most games, which doesn’t surprise me, he is the linear thinker in the family (well, he and the husband – they are two peas in a pod). GD and I held our own, though. (Translation: We weren’t TOTALLY boring to play. 😀 )

See this happy, relaxed smile?

Blokus Craze

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what I like about camping: the easy camaraderie, the relaxed atmosphere and the chance to be together and enjoy each other.

It makes all the sweat and hard work seem insignificant in comparison.

Friday Fun

Aloha Friday

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Aloha! Kailani is the brain-child behind this fun Friday meme. If you feel inclined to answer my question, please post your answer in the comment section. Sound fun? Of course it does! Want to answer more questions? Hop over to An Island Life and play along!

(Please feel free to answer the question below, even if you’re not playing Aloha Friday!)

My question:

What are you doing this weekend?

My answer:

We’ll be camping, in 90 degree weather and 80% humidity at our mini Las Vegas. Other than eating out at a Chinese buffet and driving go-carts, we really don’t have anything else planned except relax and enjoy each others’ company – if that’s possible with two brooding, moody teenage boys. 🙂

Oh, one last thing …


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Life

Life Resumes After the Blog-a-thon

AAAHHHHH ……

The blog break did me good. Did you miss me?

I missed you.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked – no surprise there.

Sunday, I got up early, inserted toothpicks into my eyelids (Gah, what an image!) so I could be awake (notice I didn’t say alert) enough to participate in bible study (hey, just because I elected to stay up all night and do the blog-a-thon doesn’t mean I could ignore my familial responsibilities). And by the time bible study was over, I had gotten my second wind so I was able to do my normal household chores. In addition, I went out to our little 21 foot travel trailer, unfolded the beds (it’s the hard-shelled kind that have the pop-out beds), sprayed the canvas down with waterproof stuff, and then cleaned it out so we could use it this weekend (we’re doing a quick camping trip to Branson – in 90 degree weather – did I mention I LIKE to sweat? *sigh*).

Messing with the trailer put me and the hubs in the mood for the whole “we love camping!” mode, so we drove to the Marshfield Camping World (first time there! And it was pretty small for being the ONLY Camping World in Missouri – we hicks heart our camping) to buy a new faucet. Our old one was made out of cheap plastic and had split in two and I don’t know about you, but it’s sort of important to have running water (along with air conditioning, a microwave, a CD player, a TV/DVD player, a toaster, because we’re BIG into the whole roughing it bit, *snicker*) when you’re out in the middle of nowhere. (Actually, that’s not true, we’ll be camping right off the main 76 Hwy “strip” in Branson so we’ll be within WALKING distance of a Chinese restaurant – per the boys’ insistence – our boys heart Chinese food).

We were also on the lookout for a new awning because the husband accidentally took a corner too sharp when we started out for our Colorado camping trip last summer and ran into a stop sign – that octagon attacked us with a vengeance! As a result, we have two lines of small, quarter-sized holes dotting one side of our awning. We can still use it, but if it rains, well, think sieve.

They didn’t carry any awnings at the store and the ones we found online were about $200 (just for the canvas!?) so now we’re thinking that since it isn’t really that bad, we’ll just patch it. Hey, I put up with a pop-up camper in near-hurricane weather on several occasions over the last ten years – we have the whole hillbilly look DOWN when compared to the monster RV’s that surround us. What are a few holes in our awning? Pfft. We’re used to the snooty once overs by fellows campers. (Actually, that’s not entirely true, other campers are usually pretty friendly, there are no strangers – sort of like a Shriners’ convention where everyone knows everyone else and pass the moonshine, will ya?)

As if sweating a few dozen pounds off from working on the trailer in humidity so thick you actually gag wasn’t enough, I thought I’d abuse myself JUUUST a bit more and work out for two hours. I did the 20 minute Turbo Jam session and then walked 90 minutes and watched “Numb” with Matthew Perry (don’t waste your time. Matthew, I love you, but dude, choose your scripts wisely, please).

I think that’s why I spent the majority of Monday in a headache-induced stupor because I rung my body out like a sponge on Sunday. (Dehydration is BAD). I sometimes get these sinus headaches and NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, knocks them out. They aren’t so bad that I’m curled into a fetal position on the floor and drooling all over my chin or anything, but they are annoying enough and persistent enough to prevent me from thinking straight – or thinking about anything, actually.

However, I did manage to drag the boys away from their games long enough to watch LOST with me:

Watching LOST

We’re currently on season three – no spoilers, please! We just finished the first disk and WOW, talk about a 180 degree stylistic turn from the other two seasons. The first episode was so dark and depressing that the boys and I just sat there and blinked in shock at one another. But we’re not giving up on it, we’ll trudge forward because now we’re too invested in the story NOT to.

This leads me up to Tuesday. I felt 100% better when I woke up Tuesday morning (though I woke up at 2:50 a.m. and not being able to go back to sleep, read for an hour) and I kicked butt on my to-do list, well on the IMMEDIATE to-do list – does it really ever go away? I worked out to Turbo Jam’s Punch, Kick and Jam, cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed, and made some progress on another website I’m working on (that kind of stuff gives me a CREATIVE high! LOVE doing that).

And this leads me to today. After my weekly lunch date with my husband, I have a meeting to attend and then I’ll most likely get some grocery shopping done because tomorrow, me and the boys are heading to our county fair with my mom and nephews. I have mixed feelings about the fair. On the one hand, it’s the FAIR, something I’ve gone to nearly every year since I was a kid (!), but on the other hand, it’s the FAIR, something I’ve gone to nearly every year since I was a kid – not much has changed, you know? But I love my momma and she LOVES her some fair (she enters a ton of things every year and usually walks away with a ton of ribbons every year) and I don’t want to disappoint her and besides, it gives me a chance to act all silly and be spoiled because my mom? Is the QUEEN at spoiling. After the fair, I’ll need to pack up the trailer because we’re leaving early Friday morning, which will work out perfectly because I’m sure I’ll be one huge, sweaty salt hill by the time we leave the fair (I sweat, all the freaking time!) so I won’t have to worry overly much about getting even more sweaty when I pack up the trailer.

That was one of the “agreements” I made with the husband so we could go camping – I’d do everything (except for hooking up the trailer and actually driving the thing), and he could sit back and relax. He’s been working uber hard lately and he truly needs to relax. Aren’t I a good little wife? *cough*

And now you’re caught up in the mundane things I like to affectionately call my life (seriously, no sarcasm intended – I adore my boring, mundane life).

Your turn. What have you been up to these past days?

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