Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Official "End" of Summer

Seeing that Labor Day is so early this year and the kids are back to school, it feels like Summer is over. Part of me is happy, even though that means I also return to work next week. The weather wasn't even that hot this year, and seeing as I live in New England this is unusual. It was rainy, but that didn't really matter (other than when I was in a pop-up for 3 nights!!!!).

Since Pal is out of school for Friday and Monday, we are going to end the Summer with a couple of trips to local amusements. One is an amusement park, the other a water park. Then we will head to our camper for the remaining part of the Labor Day weekend and spend time with our family and friends who also camp with us.

Then my baby, my only child, will turn 9 on Tuesday!!! 9 years ago I was bringing him home from the hospital on Labor Day. I remember the first car ride, going home with him in the car - we were so nervous and have never driven so cautiously! Pal cried the whole way, and I sat in the back with him. The nice thing was that our families were at the house when we got home and my nieces had hung signs all around our dining room welcoming us home. It was the best Labor Day, ever!

I want to say Happy End of Summer and Happy Labor Day to you all!
See you on Tuesday!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

School Days

(((Singing))) "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

4th Grade - HERE HE COMES! I laugh at those Mother's that cry when their kids go off to school on the first day - I was dancin' !!!! Of course, I will only dance until next week when I have to go back to work...

He's also going to turn 9 years old a week from now, and I can't believe it. That means in another 9 years he will be a legal, voting adult! Yikes....can these next 9 go by a little slower than the last 9? Please?

Here are a few pictures from Cub Scout Camp last week:

This was "cooking" class, where they made a campfire out of edible treats.

He's the middle one, getting ready to jump in the lake (first one in, of course!)

Woodworking class, where they built bird-feeders. He looks so professional!

Here is Pal and his best buddy, (the one in the middle). The other Scout is best buddy's OTHER best buddy, hence why best buddy is in the middle!!

Here is the fishing pond picture from this year. I tried to copy last year's pose but didn't quite succeed.

So this about sums it up:
Summer vacation - $500.00. Cub Scout Camp - $140.00. 4th grade - free (to the town's taxpayers). Mom's sanity - priceless!!!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Privilege We Don't Often Get

(((Yes, I made it through the week of Cub Scout Camp. I'm here to blog so it couldn't have been that bad - although my back and my legs tell a different story! I will post some cool pics from Camp as soon I can.)))

THIS POST, though, is not about Cub Scout Camp at all. It is about the privilege of saying goodbye to someone before they are gone. As in, gone to the other side. And this woman, she will most definitely be going to Heaven.

Mrs. D is my brother-in-law's Mother. She is also my childhood best friend's Mother. She is also my hubby's best friend's Mother. (The bro-in-law and best friend are all the same person, by the way!!!). She was my neighbor and fellow parishioner at Church all through my childhood. She was there when my heart broke for the first time, when I was left behind for the Prom by a boy who took another girl and didn't tell me. (She accidentally let that cat out of the bag as the others were getting into the limo!) OOPS. Her husband, Mr. D, has been mistaken for being my father, and vice/versa. (We think they might be related somewhere down the French Canadian lines of heritage). She let us "kids" hang around their house when we had nowhere else to go. She made her son (above mentioned friend/bro-in-law) walk me home in the dark even though it was right around the corner. Both my hubby and I were invited to their family gatherings throughout the years, and they were invited to our Wedding and our son's Baptism and First Holy Communion. You could easily say that she is a second Mother to both my husband and myself. Our families are linked in more ways than one, and this pleased her to no end.

Mrs. D has terminal liver and pancreas cancer. She has recently decided not to continue with Chemo treatments. Today, her family held a "Celebration of Life" party at her home where she is resting comfortably. It was a wonderful thing to do - it gave all of us a chance to get together and let her know how much she means to us. And the best part of it all was the atmosphere was a happy one - because she has total, undying faith in her God and Savior, and she knows she is going on to a better place and that one day she will be there to greet us when we (hopefully) meet up in Heaven.

One thing we were asked to do before we left was to write her a message in a journal. It was very hard to do, both because it made me sad but also to try to say goodbye without actually saying it. In the end, it made me feel good and when I left her I was able to tell her I loved her and that was as good a goodbye as any. As my title says, it is a privilege we don't often get. I ended my journal entry with "Til We Meet Again", and I sincerely hope that it comes true.


Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm too tired. Day One.

I feel like I should blog, but darn it - I am just tired.

WHY? Did I hear you ask that? No, I heard it. Subliminally.

You've really asked for it now.

I just spent Day One of Cub Scout Summer Camp with 440 BOYS. Little boys. 12 of them were entrusted to my care. Does anyone out there realize that I have ONE child, and there is a VALID REASON why?!!? Does anyone really give a sh*t?! Nope. It was flippin' hot today, in the sun. In the shade (where we WEREN'T), there was a nice breeze. And the forest, get this, is NOT bug-proof. Go figure. Nature sucks. Oh, I don't really mean that - get over it.

This is my 3rd year of being a "Den Escort" for my son's cub scout den at Camp. I do actually enjoy it for the most part, but it also means a LOT of walking, standing, yelling (I mean "speaking authoritatively"), and counting. Counting heads to make sure no one is missing. Counting beads that they earn for every.darn.activity. Counting the number of cars that have blocked me in in the "volunteer" parking lot. I should "volunteer" to remove some people's keys from their pockets so I can LEAVE!

Unfortunately, Pal's best buddy was assigned to the other group that we share a cabin with (this is only day camp, but everyone gets assigned to an area so we can have a home-base, so to speak). Upon hearing that Pal's buddy wasn't in our group, I fully expected the ultimate melt-down. Which surprisingly, didn't come. Wow! I guess having the buddy to ride home with every day was enough to keep him from melting. I even allowed buddy to stay when we got home, and that was the ultimate benefit!

This is the first year that Pal will be allowed to travel off-site to another Boy Scout reservation. He also gets to shoot BB's and learn archery. The highlight for Pal is usually the Frog Pond, where he can get covered in inches of green slime while looking for a HUGE frog. This is my favorite picture from last year's frog adventure - not because of the green "water" behind him, but because he is just SO happy, and it shows in his smile.

And this was one of the many HUGE frogs they caught last year:

I guess I will stop whining now, and go to bed so I can be refreshed for Day Two.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, "R"

Today is my nephew's 12th birthday. He is the only son of my only brother.
He was the fifth grandchild for my parents and the first nephew on my side of the family. "R" is a sweet kid, not that any 12-year-old boy wants to be called sweet, but he just IS. He always has a smile and kiss for you when you come in. He's got a devious older-brother side, too, and loves to tease his little sister....much like his Dad did to me for all those years (and is still at it, I might add!).

It was at our wedding that it dawned on my sister-in-law that she might be pregnant, and sure enough, 8 months later little R came into the world. I wasn't at the hospital or in jeopardy of losing my job at the time, but it was awesome to get the news that I finally had a nephew! (I had 4 nieces at the time). He was a happy, chubby cheeked, adorable baby. And sweet. Ooops, there's that word again.

So, Happy Birthday, "R". We love you. Stay sweet. And sorry for calling you sweet.

Auntie G

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You can't BUY this kind of entertainment....

Our weekend in the White Mountains in a Pop-Up was both fun and wet.
We arrived at the campground around 1:30 and started setting up the pop-up, and around 4:30 our friends arrived with their pop-up. And it started to rain. Hard. So hard that we couldn't even think about setting up a grill to cook dinner, and we had a LOT of food to cook. But there was just no way with the rain pelting us from all sides of the little canopy our friends brought. So we decided to head to the little Italian restaurant near the campground. It was right on the Lost River, which is very swollen due to all the rain we've had this Spring and Summer. The food was good and at least we were dry. It had stopped pouring by the time we got back, it was still drizzling but at least the heavy rain had ceased. But, by this time, everything was pretty damp inside the pop-up.

When we woke up on Saturday morning, the rain was ending and the sun was peaking through the clouds. We decided to head to the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves. This was very cool - you walk down inside the gorge on a wooden staircase, which consists of 1000 steps. Yikes, was I tired after that!!! The kids absolutely loved this - all kinds of rocks to throw and caves to climb around in.

That same day, after a rest and some dinner, we decided to head to Clark's Trading Post and Trained Bears. This turned out to be a great decision because we had the place (almost) to ourselves. In 3 hours we accomplished everything in the park, and the kids got to do the bumper boats for as long as they wanted. The trained bears were nothing short of amazing - they are so cute, but I wouldn't want to find them outside my pop-up, that's for sure!!!!

On Sunday, it was promising to be sunny and warm so we headed up to Six Gun City in Jefferson, NH. This is an "old west" town with a water park inside. The kids really liked this place but the adults were thinking it was a rip-off. Despite the ominous clouds moving in, we enjoyed ourselves and the kids loved the water slides.

Unfortunately, this is what was waiting for us on our ride home:

It rained for the rest of the time we were there, although this time we were prepared to cook in the rain! I have to say, packing up wet, muddy camping equipment IN.THE.RAIN.IS.NOT.MY.IDEA.OF.FUN. But, we made the best of it and enjoyed camping with another family. We had a lot of laughs and burned a lot of wood in the fire pit. The kids had a blast, and really, that was the most important thing. This beats TV and Wii by a MILE:

Let's just thank the heavens we didn't go BUY a pop-up before renting one. We're now more appreciative of the RV we own and that stays in one spot!

Happy campers - going home. Notice the rain drops on the lens.


"K" is HOME!

Thanks to everyone who said a prayer or kept my niece, "K", in your thoughts these last few weeks. K had her colon removed on July 31, and did really well. She was happy to be in the hospital and enjoyed all the attention and flowers, balloons, bears, etc. She did have a minor setback last week and had to stay in the hospital a lot longer than originally planned. By Monday night she was desperate to go home. The good news came at about 4:00 Tuesday that she could go home! I'm sure she enjoyed her first night in her own bed (which happens to be a brand new Queen!). And a shower - I know she enjoyed THAT!!! (We all appreciated it!!!! LOL).

Continue to keep her and the family in your prayers, though. She still has a long recovery to get through, and hopefully can return to college in September.

Later I'll post another blog about our wet, fun, wet weekend in the pop-up!

Have a great Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 it or not?

We are going camping this coming weekend with some friends of ours and their family. It's actually Pal's best buddy and his parents and little sister and little brother. Yes - the same people whose house the police had to come to looking for the "victim" (see older post "Good Cop, Bad Cop").

I am NOT a camper. Let's get that straight. I have been camping for 17 years now, but in a camper something like this one:

This is MY idea of camping. I have air conditioning, heat, full bathroom, microwave, queen sized bed, a screened in porch, and a beach on a lake that is a short foot path away from our site. When my husband and I were very first dating, which was the early Spring of 1991, he asked me if I like to camp. "Uh, NO." was my immediate answer. I don't DO bugs. I don't DO tents. But I did it for him. We started out with a tiny trailer that someone had given him in lieu of payment for electrical work! And because we camped with his sister and another mutual friend of ours (who are now married, to each other, and have 2 little boys!), we couldn't ALL sleep inside the tiny camper. So, we bought a huge tent and a huge air mattress, and we alternated weekends sleeping inside or outside. All for love. Yikes.

Now, here we are 17 years later, and we are renting THIS (or something like it) for the weekend:

And it's supposed to rain.all.weekend. Shoot me now! It should be fun, and all kidding aside, I am actually looking forward to it. After the weekend is over and we see how Mother Nature and her friend New England have treated those of us stuck in a pop-up for 3 nights.....stay tuned.....this could get ugly.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Girls Day at Cape Cod

I work with mostly women, of which I am the youngest. By years. Well, for some it's only a few years, for others it is more than 30!!! This group (about 20 of us) is c-r-a-z-y! In a good way, most of the time. The leader of the craziness would have to be Mrs. P2. She is a hoot, and loves to host these zany parties at her house. Or houses, since she has more than one. Last time we were at her home, which is fab-u-lous. This time we went to her Cape Cod house, and it just as fab in that Cape Cod style. Gorgeous. (secretly I'm hoping the next one will be hosted at her house in Florida!!! Just kidding, I'm not that rude to suggest she invite us I?)

The last party she hosted was a Crazy Hat Party. Everyone had to design their own hat, and prior to coming to the party, each person had to let Mrs. P2 know what our hat's theme was going to be, and she selected music to go along with each theme. We were "presented" by Mrs. P2's daughter and we modeled our hats down the stairs and into the room filled with our loud theme song and everyone screaming and laughing! It was a riot! We had the Queen Mum, Mrs. Foxwood's, Betty Crocker, etc. I had a sore throat the next day from all the talking and laughing we did.

Mrs. M as "Queen Mum"

My boss Mrs. P1, as "Chips and Dip", Mrs. R as "Easter Bonnet with a side of Depends" and Mrs. G as "Vegas Lights"! They were the winners of the Crazy Hat Contest.

When we first arrived, we also played a game called the "NO" game. Each guest brought a $5 lottery scratch ticket, and you were given a clothes pin to pin onto your shirt. If at any time during the first hour you uttered the word "NO" and another guest picks up on it, she can take your clothes pin. At the end of the hour, the guest with the most clothes pins wins all of the scratch tickets.

So, because I do not drink, (no, that's not a joke!), I waited until all of the ladies had a few glasses of wine in them before I really started playing the game. With about 10 minutes left, I targeted the guest with the most clothes pins, who just happened to also have a few too many glasses of wine! We'll call her Mrs. G. I asked Mrs. G, quietly, if she would like another glass of wine, and said (slightly slurring) "NOOOOOO". Thank you very much! I won $50 on the scratch tickets!

So yesterday, Mrs. P2 invited all of us to her house on Cape Cod. She lives there for the Summer and the house is a showcase. It is gorgeous, and has all the amenities you could imagine. Inground pool, patios, outdoor shower, a mile from the beach...she fed us like royalty and we played some crazy games that we haven't played since we were kids. The first game we played? You guessed it - the "NO" game. And this time it was $5 in cash from each guest. There were 12 of us so there was $60 at stake here! And who do you think won this time? You guessed it - MOI!!!!! Oh they were not likin' me.....!!!! This time I almost lost it right at the end of the game, but regained my "NO" sensor just in the nick of time. YAHOOOOOO!!!!

We also had a balloon toss, pin the tail on the donkey, and a hula-hoop contest. I didn't win ANY of those. Although I did come in second in the balloon toss!

Look at those hips swivel! GO MS. B!!!!

You get by with a little help from Mrs. P2's daughter!

So when our office politics get in the way during our crazy-busy time, we can look at these pictures and immediately start laughing. It's great to work with such crazy women who aren't afraid to chill out and have fun.