Sunday, August 17, 2008


I love the Olympics. I am most definately a fan of beauty and excellence, be it in sports or other areas. I stayed up late to watch the opening ceremonies from start to finish and have been watching hours and hours of Olympic coverage since then.

I know there has been quite a bit of hate and discontent over the opening ceremonies. Some say that part of the fireworks were faked, some say that the Chinese military had no business being in the opening ceremonies. Some say the little girl that sang one of the songs was lip synched. "Some" might be right, but you know what, it's there opening ceremony and it was beautiful. I loved the walk through history. I recorded the entire thing so I could show parts of it to my class. The moveable type was amazing. The fact that they could get that many people to move in synch was awesome. You show me any performing group that's been that right on ever, anywhere.

So to those people who have to make everything into a huge political statement and those that have to see the negative in everything, I say "Open your eyes and your heart and simply WATCH for a change"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Family Camp - Boxing

Every year since I started letterboxing we have carved stamps and planted boxes while camping. Three of those years we planted them as individual boxes, all along one trail. We are about 3 miles into that trail now and have 30 some odd boxes on it. This year we went a little different route.

The kids got new fishing equipment and one of the "tackle boxes" was a cheesy little thing so we took all of the tackle out of it and made it into a letterbox. Everyone in camp helped to come up with ideas for things to go in the tackle box. Pupp did the vast majority of the drawing and then everyone (except Jenn and Dave) carved at least one stamp. The finished product was adorable. More than a dozen stamps, all in their little spots, of all different carving abilities. All 4 kids carved along with Pupp, Dork, and I. Now that we had a box ready to go it was time to figure out where to put it!

First we rented a large pontoon boat. Then we took it out on the lake. This is the beautiful lake we boated on for an entire day.

We boated the length of the lake, which looks like THIS.

Do you see the log floats at the left edge of the lake? Here's a close up:

It is completely possible to walk across these. Dork and Lady Macbeth walked a short way on them in order to hide the box. Here's a sneak preview for those that read my blog :)

Yes that log Dork is walking on is the exact log in the clue. All you have to do is get to that location, walk on or shimmy down the log to where it meets the bank and the box will be right in front of you! Aren't we sweet?

I do hope someone eventually gets it. The stamps are adorable. We didn't put very many pages in the logbook, figured it wouldn't get a lot of traffic!

Happy Trails.

Family Camp Part 2

When last we visited Family Camp via this blog, we had made it through packing, set up, and the beginnings of our many fishing trip. This entry goes from there.

I believe every child should know how to fish. This last year I took my class fishing and the vast majority of them had never been fishing. They did not know how to handle a rod, how to bait a hook, how to cast, or anything. The sheer joy on their face when they actually caught something was amazing and reminded me how important it is. We fish at least once a year. Very rarely do we catch anything, but it's good for them. They both learn to be patient, to be competent, and to break gender stereotypes.

Another of our "everyday" activities while camping is swimming. Just down the road from Promonotry is a swim dock with a small beach. The first day we went swimming Pupp and I took the four kids and all three dogs. If your math isn't too rusty you will realize that means there were TWO adults with *7* things to watch. Let's say it was less than relaxing. I am hypervigilant around water. I refuse to let my children get near large bodies of water without a life jacket. This year was the first time that either of them even questioned it. Samantha wanted to know if she still had to wear hers, and our decision was that she still needed to wear it until she could prove she could swim across the lake without it. What we're looking for is for her to be strong enough to not panic and get herself out of a situtation if something were to happen. She is a strong swimmer and I bet next year she'll be out without a life jacket.

Jay loves swimming here. He hasn't questioned the life jacket. It gives him the security to swim in deeper water, to jump off the dock, and to play freely. He's a good swimmer, but not real strong yet.

It was Dobby's first time in the lake. He has always shown somewhat of an aversion to water but enjoyed the lake. He thought wading was a great thing. He would chase Tank and Jett and any other dog that was there. He got up on the dock once, the labs pushed him off and we discovered that he does NOT swim well. they say dogs are natural swimmers, NOT Berners. At least not this one. :) Pupp and I thought we were going to have to go in and rescue him. He made it back to shore, but not with any grace.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Family Camp Part 1

Family Camp was a rousing success. This years attendees were made up more of our chosen family than our biological family, but we still call it family camp.

My motto in life is anything worth doing is worth over doing, and packing for camping is no exception to this motto. This is the van, stuffed to the brim with camping gear. Now in my defense, I come by this honestly. My grandmother was the matriarch of camping in our family. When she was alive it took *4* large vans and trucks to get everything to the camp ground and we usually ended up going into town to get stuff she forgot. I've streamlined this process and now only use one minivan and one pickup to get everything out there. Really, it's not to shabby.

This year was full of rites of passage. Lady Macbeth got to sleep in her own tent this year. She is quite the capable young lady and fully enjoyed her independence. The tent is one of those little pop ups. The box says it's 4x6 but she says they lie! She's only 5 foot 6 but had to sleep lying diagonal.

After camp was all set up it was time to get down to buisness! Of course the buisness of the day was to relax and play in the outdoors. Chess was a popular game among the kids. I never saw any of the adults playing. (I think we were all afraid the kids would kick our butts.) Marbles was the other game of choice. In these pictures Lady Macbeth is playing chess with Pupp's oldest nephew and Darth Zeus is playing marbles with Pupp's youngest nephew.

This was Dobby's first camping trip and he handled himself remarkably well. He was quiet and well behaved the entire trip, except when barking at Pupp for getting to close to our tent. Every day we went down to Small Fry to fish. Small Fry is a man made pond that is stocked with trout every spring and summer for kids 14 and under. The kids enjoyed fishing but didn't enjoy the fact that we didn't catch anything. Dobby loved hanging out on the shore with Tarnished Knight and watching the kids fish. Pupp's labs were with us but we didn't take them fishing. Ever tried fishing with a lab? Trust me, it's not pretty!