Sunday, October 29, 2017

What's that game called?

A couple of Sunday evenings ago I was putting the boys to bed and Miles popped off with a question.  "Mom, can we play that game tomorrow?"

"What game is that Miles?"

" You know, that game that Wyatt and Finn played when their Grandpa and Grandma were here and they didn't have to go to school?  I think it's called Hookie.  Yeah, that's it.  Can we play that game called Hookie tomorrow?"

He absolutely loves Mrs. Dean and Waffle Wednesdays, but there's just something enticing about taking that extra day.  I guess the brain gets tired when you're reading chapter books, playing flag football twice a week, solving addition number sentences, and driving 4-wheelers. 

Meanwhile over in the 3rd grade Carter just earned Citizen of the Month and his umpteenth perfect score on his spelling test.  Although his current favorite pasttime is arguing with his mother, he exudes nothing but respect to the staff at school.  He too plays flag football twice a week and is the Etna Lions permanent water boy and ball boy.  He even travels to away games courtesy of my inlaws.

His new hobby is riding his dirtbike which was gifted to him by his older cousin Mason.  I was at first shocked on the sticker price of protective gear, but quickly learned that it's a savings compared to the potential ER costs we could have incurred this weekend alone.

This fall has truly been exceptionally beautiful in Scott Valley.  Rumor has that it's caused by the low dip in temperatures followed by the warmer weather.  Usually the oaks don't impress me, but even those colors are alive this year.  Bradley and I managed to get away to Reno for a weekend to celebrate my mother in law's 60th birthday and the drive there was extraordinary.  We really hooped it up.  Bradley stayed up until 5am both nights winning at Blackjack.  I won a few hundred dollars on slots and got up enough courage to finally play roulette for the first time at the age of 33.   We too wanted to play "that game" which Miles spoke of after that weekend.  The fun thing about Reno is that you can really feel like a "high roller" and spend a tenth of what you would for a weekend in the Bay.  Cigarette smoke induced headaches and all.

Bradley managed to take one day off in the midst of fire season to take Carter into the mountains for opening day of rifle season.  He got a nice buck and Carter had his first true taste of "buck camp" with his cousins and Papa Jim. 

Both Bradley and Carter would have joined in "that game" following their weekend of hiking. 

We've finished our garden harvests, canned all that "we can", tilled in the garden, rolled up the drip tape, and planted our fall/winter cover crop of turnips.  As each leaf falls and the end draws nearer to pool season we mourn the long days and warm temps, but look forward to a season of gratitude, giving, and maybe - just maybe a few games of hookie

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summer 2017 Recap

 The most common question I get asked is, "How was your summer? ".   The obvious response for someone who gets to take that time off with their kids is always a re-sounding "wonderful".   There's no denying it. Summer really was and continues to be full of all of our favorite things. Swimming, Giant's games, fishing, hiking, baseball, enjoying a new pool, late nights, and time with friends.

This summer we were blessed with a lot of time with family around the Fourth of July. All of our southern California cousins came for close to a week. Between giving pedicures to great-grandmothers, hiking in to Mountain Lakes, and running the streets of Mount Shasta, it was a terrific week.

 I also had the privilege of taking the boys up to Eugene, Oregon for an Oregon Ducks baseball camp. The boys learned a tremendous amount about fundamentals and drills. They had full access to the college baseball facilities. It was 9 to 5 baseball and they completely ate it up.   Meanwhile, I was able to take advantage of the many running trails around the town and had lunches by myself.   After the last day of camp the boys and I toured the college and checked out the many opportunities. It is Bradley and my goal that any time we go to a new city we tried to get the boys on a college campus.

 The boys also participated in swim team this summer. They awoke each morning, did their chores, 30 minutes out of school work, and then we headed off for an hour of conditioning. They were only able to participate in one meet which was our county meet and they both took High Point places in their age group. I was so thankful for the time that they were able to spend in the pool each day learning new strokes.   Their hard work paid off and on the evening of my birthday they both came home with trophies.

 That night marked a turning point in our summer. Bradley's grandma Cora has been in the hospital and then under hospice care since that time. The silver lining is all of the time that we have spent with family over the last month. She is regaining her strength and just today ate some homemade tomato soup that I made last night from the bounty of our garden.  At 87 years young, she has amazed all of us with her tenacity and strength.

 In the midst of the summer Bradley has also been dealing with severe back pain caused by a torn disc in his back. He went ahead and had the injections which did not do anything for him. Recently, he was seen by a local physical therapist and masseuse. He experienced the first relief he has had in months and I can't tell you what joy it was brought to our family to see him without pain.   Even in the midst of his physical struggle, he has managed to take the boys fishing quite a few times and even a 9 mile hike and a summit of Black Butte hike. His dedication to his family and his job is remarkable.

 As I dictate this blog into my phone sitting by our pool, ashes falling out of the sky on to me. Fires are burning near us, temperatures are high, and air quality is poor. All of those fire camps make a lot of waste and on top of managing a growing business Bradley is also working  to service those camps.

 The start of the school year was last week. Both boys have taken to the adjustment of school life again very well. Their alarm goes off, chores are done, breakfast is eaten and off to school they go with dad.   Our school is full as enrollment is high, and this is very exciting for our community.  The boys and I went to visit grandma today, and our school viewing the eclipse and receiving a grant made the front page of the local paper the first day. She remarked on this news with each visitor that came. With all of the stress of daily life, it really is important to realize that  when we leave this life all that we will have left behind that matters is our family.

Here's to another year of learning, another season of change, and hopefully less ash in the air.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Who does the world revolve around?

A lot has happened in the last two months.  We made it through baseball season, Miles graduated from Kindergarten, Carter got promoted to the third grade and mom renewed her contract for her 4th year as principal.  Miles's "graduation" from Kindergarten was recently validated based on a conversation in our car.  I was in the middle of ending a conversation on my car phone, and Carter immediately asked that we listen to Journey on Pandora.  Frustrated, I replied to his request by saying "Carter, the world does not revolve around you."  Miles promptly replied, "Yeah, Carter.  The world revolves around the sun."   Looks like those new NGSS standards are really impacting the education of our youth.  I still get confused on what revolves around what.  Either way, it was a good laugh and reminder of what really matters.
Unfortunately, in preparing the pool room to house all sorts of lovely drinks and ice cream bars by positioning a refrigerator, Bradley tore a disc in his back.  It's been a slow healing process, but after a week flat on his back or with a walker, we're calling each new task a win.  The world did revolve around his needs for a week or so and we are so incredibly thankful that he's recovering!

 Sadly, Bradley was supposed to be joining Joy on the 200 some odd mile running trek from Southern Oregon to the coast, but the back injury prevented him from joining in the fun.  Mom logged over 27 miles in 35 hours and Bradley was able to join the Hiltons in the mountains for a trek into a lake for some Father's Day fishing.

We recently spent a weekend in San Francisco as a family.  After a wedding on the way down, we arrived in the city late on a Friday night.  We had purchased owner tickets for Saturday's game as a fundraiser for our local Booster Club and decided to sit in the bleachers for the Sunday game.  Little did we know that it was also "Pride" weekend in San Francisco.  An additional million people in the city and a lot of cultural flavor made for some interesting conversations.  In the city, it really does feel like everyone knows the world revolves around them.  Nice guys do finish last.

We arrived early in line for Sunday's game.  We wanted the world to revolve around us and decisively ran fast, passing up other fans up the levels in order to score tickets for autograph day.  Both boys had their MLB baseball and mom supplied Sharpie and patiently waited in line.  Sam Dyson, number 49 relief pitcher was on duty, and both boys got his autograph.  Following the game the boys got to run the bases.  What a thrill!!  They even managed to scoop some of the infield dirt into their pockets and I added it to the bottom of the cases for their signed balls.  We ate a lot of great food, enjoyed all that AT&T has to offer, cheered on our Giants and just enjoyed each other.

Both boys are doing swim team this summer and it's been a great way to keep a routine during the summer and get some exercise.  They recently completed their first lap-a-thon.  Miles had a goal of 10 and Carter of 50.  They completed 69 and 100 laps respectively.  The boys have also been doing a great job of following Captain Super Bulldog's recommendations to do 30 minutes of math or reading each day.

We are trying to breathe in everything that summer has to offer us.  Our pool has been an amazing addition to each day and is a total mental game changer in the heat.  We hope that summer is truly never ending.  The long days and late nights seem to fly by despite the speed that the earth does revolve around the sun.