Tuesday, August 28, 2012

49 - Sleep in the Wild

Ethan, Gavin and Mikey have experienced sleeping outdoors on many occasions in several different settings. They have all been involved in Boy Scouts of America as cub scouts. Recently Gavin has 'crossed over' into Boy Scouts and has had the experience of wilderness camping as well as sleeping at a campsite. The camp Gavin slept at has open flap platform tents - open to the air and whatever might be sharing that space.
My boys have also been sleeping in the yard for several years. Now and then they will decide to set up camp in the backyard and "campout" for the night. Recently, Gavin and his friend camped outside in his friend's large, Long Island backyard.

These two boys also engaged in Dangerous Things #28, #43 and #45 all in the same evening! That's just how they roll ;) As I write, Gavin is packing to leave for another friend's house and I have heard that their options for sleeping are the loft of a barn and a previously hand-constructed shelter the two friends built recently.
I am sure these traditions will continue in (or rather outside of) my house. Soon they will have to take their little brother out and initiate him into the clan called "They-Who-Sleep-Out-In-The-Yard".
I love when they sleep out there - it's just so good for them and everyone should do it at some point. I hope my boys gets lots of opportunities to sleep under the stars. Have your kids slept in the yard?
Dangerous? Depends on who your ask. I have had strange reactions from people to allowing my kids to sleep in the yard. I have been asked if I'm worried about animals - nope, or people 'stealing' them - nope. I am not afraid and I think it is good and safe and a wonderful experience.
“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”
Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Renassaince of Sorts

The New York Renaissance Faire celebrated their 35th year this summer - and I think I've visited for about 25 of those years! Dennis and have gone together for about half of those and now we are passing on the tradition to our kids.

The venue in Tuxedo Park, Stirling, NY is a super back drop comprised of forested acres, water features, grassy knolls, wooded pathways, and great structures built just for the occasion. 

The artisans that present their wares enjoy explaining their crafts, providing lots of information about the Renaissance time period, tools of the trade and their chosen medium. I've never saw one of them tire of the questions that my crew could pepper them with. 

The faire is full scale theatrical production. The characters roam the grounds and move from one location to the next - including stages like the jousting grounds and a chess board.

Gavin spent some time watching and juggling with Paul Del Corral. It really thrilled him to spend time with such a talented guy and realizing they had a mutual friend in Criag Quat of Circus Place.

A show that we've enjoyed before and enjoyed again was Arnold & Stuart's Knife Throwing Show. Their knife throwing is amazing and their comedic timing is great. If you click here, you can watch them on youtube - but beware, I've already had several requests for throwing knives!

A favorite act that we saw was Jayna Lee on the static trapeze. She and her partner, Collette, were so talented, funny and daring. She also has some videos on youtube that you and your kids might like!

I love taking the kids to places like this. I feel like they get a frame of reference for the period in time. I love living history! It is also a place that provides exposure to people who are making a living through their art - both creative and performance arts. Going to the Ren Faire is like walking into a storybook.
There are several weekends left, so you could probably still get there - and, oh, I forgot to mention the food! Have a 'steak-on-a-stake' and an onion blossom - and if you are so inclined, hard cider or mead :) You'll also LOVE the music.
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
~ William Shakespeare

Monday, August 20, 2012

August Interlude

I get behind on blogging and then I don't know what to do, and then I don't want to post, but I want to post, but I'm behind and overwhelmed and then...

I post a photo montage with little blurbs underneath. I wonder if you like when I do that?

We have been Geocaching a new trail at Duke Farms. It is longer and harder than we thought it would be.
That's a good thing.

 A great day at Navesink Lighthouse. We've passed so many times, but this time we stopped in.
 A little archery, with the hopes that a lot more archery is to follow.

Beach day. See that beautiful water - that's Jersey folks :)

Boardwalk fun.

Crab cooking.

 For crab eating...

 more crab eating...

more crab eating...

and still more crab eating

I noticed I've had trouble blogging in August before. That's ok, though. As the newest quote on my front page says, 'Have the day you have.' It's a fantastic quote from an equally fantastic movie, 'The Odd Life of Timothy Green'. I thought it was a great movie, and it set me off on crying jags several times. If your kids are less strange than mine and you've never had one of your children delivered by car it might not have the same effect on you. I found the movie very poignant and profound. I'd like to have that quote tattooed on my arm. So if every blog post can't be great - just post the blog post you can.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Date With Ethan

 I don't often have 'just' Ethan with me, but after this great night, I aim to remedy that. I dropped Gavin, Mikey and Sean off at a local vacation bible school (fun for all!) and because Dennis had something else he needed to do, I had 2 hours to spend with Ethan. I offered him a couple games of bowling and he accepted!

Bowling is one of Ethan's 'things'. He's got a ball and his own shoes, he knows the system and he is comfortable at the bowling alley. He even likes the food. Ok, he especially likes the food. 

It was very nice having all my attention on Ethan. There was definately a different dynamic with the ability to have casual conversation without juggling the other boys. Ethan was clearly more relaxed and he was much more conversational. There are times at home that I grab a few moments to ask him about school and his friends, but it is usually met with some sort of fresh retort. You know, like ''You're old mom!"

In the bowling alley he was really happy and funny. He was chatty and pleasant. Clearly a change of pace. We hi-fived for spares and strikes and I was boo-ed for gutter balls. After Ethan's gutter balls he said 'No matter!' Of course not. 

He talked me into nachos and a Pepsi - who could resist such a charmer? I beat him, but he said I didn't. I showed him the score - he still said "No matter!" I guess it really didn't. I am still hoping for second date :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sick & Tired

I've been sick and tired. I am not comfortable with either of those states. I developed a fever for a few days and an extremely sore thoat. Sometimes it was so sore I couldn't think straight. It made me think about people for whom choronic illness is something they live with. I knew very well that my illness would pass and that in several days (oh, the horror!) I would be well again. I know people who live with an illness or a limitation on a daily basis and yet persevere with such grace and dignity. I thought about the frustration they must feel when they need to tend to their own physical needs rather than something else they would rather be doing. I realized how much I rely on my own strength and health and spent a lot of time being so grateful for that gift. Being sick makes me panicky, feeling like I might not be able to meet everyone's needs or get done the things that I deem 'necessary'. I feel like I had the chance to develop some empathy. It's not that I've never been sick before, but maybe I was just in a place that I could listen to the message.

Because I was sick, I was really tired. There is not a physical feeling that strikes fear into me more than tiredness does. I am unfamiliar with it ~ I have been gifted with an extrodinary amount of physical energy. Coupled with the fact that I have also been gifted 4 boys, none of whom are short on energy, I am exceedingly blessed. I realiz that many people who live with chronic fatigue for one reason or another can no more control that as I can the fact that I rarely feel it. I am so sorry if this is something that plagues you. I hope I used this time that frustrated me so much to improve my compassion for others.

I've been a little introspective lately. I realize how easy it is for any of us to covet the gifts that others have been given. I am amazed by moms who are really organized and never miss an appointment and women who can prepare delicious and varied meals night after night. I am sure I could make a whole list of things that challenge me. Maybe I will sometime. I am feeling better, and I am hoping that I am better for it.

 I recently took these pictures on a day out at Duke Farms in Hillsborough.
I have been working hard on improving my photography.  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Balancing Act

Have you missed me? You don't have to answer that.

I've missed posting at least a weekly if not bi-weekly post because my precious, little laptop quit working. Oh sure, we have other computers in the house (Dennis lives here, remember?!?) but it means sitting in what I refer to as a dungeon. The walls, are in fact, painted 'Castle Walls' gray, and the air is warm and stale. All the makings for gamers and programmers, I suppose, but not for me!

I like to sit at the helm of my ship which is located at one end of the island in the kitchen surrounded by sunny windows and just the right amount of a/c vents. It puts me on the middle floor of my open-floor-plan-house, where I can hear everything, which is a necessary vantage point here. I can read blogs, write blogs, read email, and do all the magical things my laptop could provide to me when it was not being insubordinate.

Dennis has assured me that a super-compliant, action-ready laptop is on it's way here, but it will arrive while he is at Cub Scout Camp with Mikey. Phooey! I'm going to have to figure out how to plug it in myself - no wait, Gavin will be here! Then I will download the 1,026 photos I have taken over the last 10 days and find some way to neatly package them into posts about all our recent adventures - so mark your calendars - "Posts coming soon"!

I continue to remind people who say "I can't believe how fast the summer went", that summer has not gone anywhere. In my estimation, it is just about 1/2 way through. I maintain that summer ends somewhere around the 21st of September (you know, like the calendar says) and extends out even further if mother nature is a cheerful giver. Please God, talk to her, will you?!

I am reading a lot of books and thinking about a lot of things. I am a little restless and eager for something on the horizon, but I cannot make out clearly what it is. I am thinking about this household of boys, and wondering if the principles we live by are clearly established. I wonder if I am pursuing the things that I believe in. I am wondering what I really believe in. I am pondering the moment I am in as well as dreaming about the future. This is not a luxury I have partaken in often, and I am finding it an extremely unchartered and curious exercise. It's like standing in the middle of the see-saw as a kid, a little to far to one side and the end bumps harshly into the ground - but find the right balance in the middle and the arms of the teeter-totter extend out like giant wings ready to take flight. Can I keep my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds?

So as I contemplate these deep thoughts, I will rely on the things that I know I can count on - Pandora. Bose Speaker. Raft