Sunday, July 26, 2009

hunter, our inventor

I'm thinking about changing Hunter's blog name to "Go-Go Gadget."

I should have seen it coming.  This boy has enjoyed building and construction from before he could talk.

IMG_0609My sister and I often laugh at the time we all went camping when Hunter was just six years old.  This boy found a nasty, dirty, torn up portion of a bandana in the stream by our campsite.

IMG_0611He proceeded to cherish this piece of discarded fabric like it was the finest treasure he had ever laid hands on.

This bandana was made into every head covering he could think of as well as a knapsack, fishing lure, flag, and I can't even remember the many other things he created with this thing that anyone else would call trash.

For a few years now I have called him my "Dumpster Diver" because he is constantly taking trash from my recycling bins and confiscating items that I have deemed garbage.

Example?  Sure, I'm glad you asked.  I present to you Exhibit A:


This is a scuba tank.  A grocery bag, a salsa container and a piece of plastic that I have no idea where it came from is all you need to carry your breathing air on your back.

His plan was to connect a foam pool noodle to the top of the salsa container and wrap it around to his mouth to breathe the air.

Watch out OxyClean, ShamWOW, The Clapper, and the iPhone -  my boy is growing up!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

secrets, searching, and stamps

Knowing that the summer is more than half over, I sure wish I would have initiated this activity when the snow first started melting.

Has anyone ever heard of Letterboxing?

Well, we have just discovered it this week and I think we are standing on the precipice of addiction.

According to the official website, "Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry in a charming "treasure hunt" style outdoor quest."

We follow clues to a hidden box (there are over 5000 in the U.S. right now). Inside the box is a journal and a stamp.

We stamp the journal with our personal stamps and mark the date. Then, we stamp our personal journal with the stamp in the letterbox.

We do all of this very discreetly and hide the box back where we found it.

So much fun.

Today we found two letterboxes in our town alone (there are hundreds within a reasonable distance of our home).

One was at our public library. A hollowed out book that masqueraded as a real library book. We're pretty sure that the library doesn't know it is hiding on the shelf. The clue helped us find it and we took it to the back corner of the library to see our treasure.

At one point, I asked Hunter why it didn't look like he was having any fun. He replied, "I am having a blast Mom, but I don't want anyone to be suspicious."



Our stamps: An "L" for me, a frog for Sauce, and a bow and arrow for Hunter. We carved them ourselves out of erasers just this morning.


Our next box was found outside. The boys were thrilled.


We added Rufus's stamp to this one "PC" for our little ski town.


We're heading to a week on Lake Michigan in a couple of days. Needless to say, we're bringing our stamps because we're sure there are some letterbox adventures to add to our vacation!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

love thy neighbor

I just finished cleaning up tonight's dinner and am sitting here quietly in my living room with a glass of wine (ok, my second glass of wine), listening to the dishwasher hum.

Squirt is in bed with his binky and bear, because he just couldn't make it another minute.

Hubby has Hunter, Sauce, and Rufus playing four holes of evening golf on the municipal golf course that runs through our neighborhood.

I have been thinking for the last little while about the literal meaning of loving thy neighbor.  I know that Jesus meant so much more when it came from his mouth, but we have a neighbor that we simply love.

And it is a very unlikely match.

We have virtually nothing in common except our address.

P1000200I'll call her Miss Roots because that is what my boys call her.  She is in her late fifties.  She has never been married and has no children.

She has no fear of conflict (very unlike me) and one would be best served by never getting on her "you know what" list.  Because she says what is on her mind and really means what she says.  So watch out.

But I really love her.

When we moved into this house, we bought it from a very elderly couple who built this house 30 years ago as empty nesters.  They kept to themselves and weren't social with the neighbors.

Then the woman surrounded by men moves in.

Miss Roots didn't even attempt to meet us for the first six months that we lived here.  She came and went, 20 feet from our garage and didn't even wave.

Then, early one snowy morning, Hubby was out snowblowing the driveway in his winter coat boots and pajama bottoms, and Miss Roots is out there doing the same thing to her driveway in the same outfit.

"Allright," she said gruffly, "You can stay."

From that point on, we were o.k. in her book.

Maybe it was the fact that we clear our own driveway like she does rather than hiring a service.  Maybe it was the pajama bottoms, or maybe she had decided that our boys wouldn't be as much as a pain as she thought they would be.

Miss Roots occasionally comes over for a cold beer at the end of the day.  She beckons my hubby for help when she can't carry something heavy or needs help starting her lawnmower or snowblower.

Often at dinnertime in the summer, she walks through our sliding glass door in our kitchen, sits down at the breakfast bar and just chats with me while I make dinner.

She loves to make fun of my white trash meals that I often call dinner.  But, many moons ago, she was a professional chef, so I don't feel my normal insecurity, because I know of her talents.

And, well, my men must eat something.

Then occasionally, when she doesn't have a better offer, she accepts my invitation to stay for dinner.  Like she did tonight.

There are SO many people in my life that I struggle to really love.  How many sermons have I heard about clothing ourselves with the love of Christ to love the ones that are hard to love?  Many.

I feel like I have been given a gift because there is no reason why love should come so easily.

But it does.  And I'm grateful for my neighbor.

Monday, July 13, 2009

a camping we will go

P1040203 Camping is an odd activity choice if you really think about it.

We pack our minivan until it is ready to burst with sleeping bags, coolers full of food, bug spray, fishing poles, cooking utensils, pillows, a few clothes, sunscreen, and a tent to house the six of us for the weekend.

Oh, and the six of us.  And our dog.

We drive less than an hour into the wilderness and unload our deep woods essentials.

We endure rain, wind, and cold unpredictable weather.

We cart our food out of the car for meal times, and back in the car to prevent the bears from eating us attracting bears.

We sleep on the ground, or close to it.

We pee poop go potty in a hole in the ground.

P1040197Hubby has been known to climb dead trees to tear down branches for our fire.

I cook over a campfire for two to three meals a day.

Each evening we cart our trash to the bear-proof dumpsters.

Each night we lay down amongst the chatting, laughing, poking, and, "Mom I don't want to go to sleep!"  We try to drift off as quickly as possible because we know that morning will come soon.

We listen to the pre-dawn birds.

P1040258We wake to a two year old who has woken up way too early and noticed that he can see Mom, Dad, AND his brothers.

Did I mention that we go without showers and washing in general?

BUT boy, do we make some memories.

Like eating hot dogs covered in dirt for dinner and having to borrow ketchup and mustard from other campers because Mom forgot them.

Like s'mores, and s'mores, and s'mores.

Like Daddy making up songs at bedtime with lyrics that make all of us giggle and laugh and join in the silliness.

Like hiking up to secret ponds at 11,000 feet elevation and watching our boys frolic in the water, throw rocks, and slide down the remaining snow pack.

Donuts, real bacon, and fried eggs for breakfast.  Oh, and coffee never tasted better when you're short on sleep.

Last year at Shady Dell we had a fabulous farewell to our pop up camper.  Great weekend, but it was clearly time to sell the money pit.

Then we borrowed a tent and camped with the Swishers, but thought we hated tent camping because we were so crowded.  This year we bought an eight person tent so there is room for us to grow and stretch out.

It is great to get away from chores, computers, cell phones, and everyday life and just have us.



The boys love to climb.




Can you see the boy in the pond?P1040273

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Why do I have this amazing shoe collection and organization system?  Not pretty, but everyone has a bin and there is plenty of space for boots and overflow.

All tucked into a closet.


Why do I find this EVERY time I walk in the door?


That's it.  They're all going barefoot.

Monday, July 6, 2009

you thought I was exaggerating

Just to give you proof of number four:


I speak truth.

Hmmm, it's quiet in here.  Where is that Squirt?

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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