Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ore-Gone Camping

Well, here we are camping in Grants Pass, Oregon, where Ethan has presbytery meeting tomorrow and Saturday.


Errr . . . let me try that again.


Well, here we are at the Super-8 (where our dog is allowed) in Grants Pass, Oregon, where Ethan has presbytery meeting tomorrow and Saturday.




When we drove into our planned campground last night, about 30 minutes before the gate closed at 10, we found large sections roped off and a chipper older couple chasing us in a golf cart. "I'm sorry, but we only have one section open and no bathrooms. Did you want to stay one night or two?"


No bathrooms? No stay. That 15 (really 30, but don't point this out to my husband) minute shower is the ONLY chance at privacy I get when camping. I'm so used to corraling children ("Stay on this part of the road! Don't sit on other people's tables! Finish getting dressed BEFORE you leave the camper, for crying out loud!") that I have to train my eyes to stop scanning for a wayward child while I bathe. It never works, and the shower gets a constant looking-over. Each spider tries to crouch further into itself: "Hey, lady, what did you think I'd be doing in the two seconds since you last glared at me?"


So we found a hotel and have high hopes of scouting out a campground today, before Ethan's preliminary presbytery meetings with various committees.


The drive over was GORGEOUS. We figured out our van and camper have traveled cross-country, from Virginia to Oregon (with a 4-month stop in Montana). We traveled through Coeur-d'Alene, Idaho, camped outside of Pasco, Washington, and followed the Columbia River across the top of Oregon, past The Dalles. Such incredible landscape. We stayed a day at the campground outside of Pasco, right on the Snake River. It reached 80, we played in the river (and found out Maverick is a water dog, on top of being the world's most perfect dog in every other way), and Benjamin (7) perfected his bike-riding ("Mom! I think I'm an official rider now!"). The twins (3) and Lily (5) worked on their scootering. And sharing. Two scooters and three kids working on scootering means working on sharing (or working on speed in running to the vacant scooter, whatever). Eden (2) followed everyone around and played house with Miriam (who is always the mother, and always yells, "Edith! Edith!" in this shrill, matronly voice. Even though she can say "Eden" just fine. But THAT wouldn't make this pretending, would it?). Jonathan (10 mos.) speed-crawled all over the place and wore himself out thoroughly.


And Ethan fought and is still fighting a stomach bug. Which I plan to help him conquer by getting whatever super-duper medicated stuff works. The homeopathic stuff (you know, with acidophilus, bidowhateverus, and several other multi-syllabled us-es) hasn't effected much change. And him not sleeping/feeling good is BAD news at anytime, but especially when we're traveling.


Anyway. I'm off to google some campgrounds and gather the dirty clothes. Oh, but I just walked the dog, and it's a brisk 50-degrees and feels absolutely delightful.


AND, we're in the land of coffee houses on every corner! Today will be good!


It will!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Edee in the Van


The other night, we were driving around town while the older four were at AWANAs (this is not a promotion for that organization, believe me -- it's a desperate attempt to have our kids meet other kids). All my misgivings about our efforts to help them socialize aside, I guiltily enjoy this hour-and-a-half (a little less given the time it takes to sign kids in/out) with just Ethan and the younger two. The youngest typically act . . . older . . . without the others, and it's fun to have the mental and physical capability to focus just on them and interact wholeheartedly.




Let me just get on with the story . . .


Eden (2) and Jonathan (9 mos.) were in the van with us, and Edee burped. Loudly.


"EXCUSE YOU!" she yelled.

"No, you mean, 'Excuse ME,'" I corrected.




Well. You know what happened. We went back and forth, Ethan and I trying to get her to say "Excuse me." "Say Me me me me me excuse me!"


"Me me me me me excuse YOU!"


And on and on.


Until she burped again.


"Jon-Jon burped!!"

"No, that was you."


"Oh. You're welcome!"




Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Thaw

I have learned that this word, Thaw, serves as an adequate synonym for that most evasive of words here, Spring.


This is what Spring looks like on the boots:



And under the nose:




And, just because Ethan's mother has a picture almost identical to this, except the boy is wearing a hat and darker hair is peeking out from under its rim (but the boot-and-nose-dirt is present):



(And, just as a side note, the glass door behind that child is filthy! Doesn't he have a MOTHER?)


But, most advantageously for us, three above-60-degree days in a row spurred us on to Missoula, where we dabbled in the water






and made a boat



and set it to sail down the river



and threw sticks, small



and large



and just generally watched the happy goings-on





and relaxed. Oh, and discovered the wonders of chewing gum:



Even the drive home was a treat for the eyes:



Goodnight, Missoula. And goodnight, moon.




Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Update

  • Blue milk for lunch? Check.

("It's from a blue cow," I say.

"EW!" says Lily [5]. "You're giving us milk from a COW???")

  • Green food dye in the upstairs toilet tank; red dye downstairs? Check.

(Edee [2] is the first to use the potty. "It's green!!" she says. I didn't even know she knew any of her colors yet.)

  • Vanilla pudding mixed with cherry juice and pawned as "fingerpaint"? Check.

("Is this yogurt? This smells like yogurt.")

  • And others:

The berry "drink" (it's Jello):


The "cake" for dinner (shepherd's pie with ketchup and mustard "icing"):



"Taco salad" for dessert (taco shell: waffle cone bowl, ground beef: ice cream rolled in graham cracker crumbs, sour cream: whipped cream, lettuce and cheese: colored shredded coconut, olives: licorice, tomatoes: cherries):



But that stinkin' seven-year old, Mr. High-and-Mighty-You-Can't-Fool-Me. I couldn't. But his papa could, and this really irks me. After all the work I put into today (and do you know how hard it is to catch minutes ALONE in the kitchen to work your magic?), THIS is what fooled him:



Yes, icicles snapped from our roof and plopped onto our railing. He still thinks this is real and what nature provided. No, it's his father's doing, and it only took about three minutes.


So the game is on. Next year, my son, the pranks will be nowhere near as tasty. You'd better hide your underwear (my sewing needle is ready) and your toothbrush (where's the salt?).



Owa Tagu Siam

My own words come back to mock me. A year ago, I never would have dreamt I would be here, in Montana, the icicles dripping and the trees occasionally relieving themselves of snow, powdery white cascading down.


It's April, for crying out loud. And I am. Crying out loud, that is.


It's not that I'm an itchy gardener or anxious for the spring insects (which is what I guess makes for itchy gardeners). Honestly? I'm too lazy for all this snow. The thing is, snow is just so much WORK. The shoveling, the scraping, the boots and coats, the puddles of melting snow on the floor of the van every time we get in.


Getting out is not simple. We can't even take a decent walk, because no stroller will make it through this stuff and our backs can't handle bouncy, whiny kids who snot up our hair and try to acrobatically crawl out of the back carrier.


I think I need to get creative.


We'll start with today. I've got some rather tame pranks up my sleeve. I'll let you know how those work out. Unless they don't, in which case I'll preserve my dignity and keep mum. (Every one else's dignity is up for grabs, though.)


Oh, and the title of this post -- it's great for having 7-12 year olds say those words fast. They won't get it but you will. And then they will, and they'll groan and roll their eyes and it's so worth it. I live for preteen eye rolls.


And then you can apologize and say, "Hey, do you know how to keep a turkey in suspense?"


And walk away.



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