"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Homeruns and MVP

Though she's walking (walking!) in this picture, I have a one-year-old who, as of late, requires being in my arms for 98% of the day, and within touching vicinity the other 2%. Which is fine... admittedly tiring, but fine. If that's what she needs then I'm happy to give it to her. It just means that things like blogging (and oh, say, peeing) are currently taking a backseat.

Thankfully, I can share some of the excitement of this past weekend in pictures alone.

Second time up at bat:

Coming into home after his amazing HOME RUN! That's his coach waiting for his high-five

The game ball he won for not only the home run, but also an incredible stop, taking a line drive off the chin, and shaking off an injured finger to finish out the game:

Proud boy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

(More) Adventures in Geocaching

We've been a little too housebound. We've been sick with various ailments recently, and Everett was diagnosed with strep throat on Friday. On Saturday, no one wanted to hang around at home - including Everett, who felt much better after a good night's sleep and his first two doses of antibiotics - so we headed out to do some more geocaching. Since Everett wasn't up for hiking, we chose a series of micros that were right off the side of the road, all in row. Perfect for "park and grab" caching. At some of them, myself and one or more of the kids jumped out, and at others Mike took a turn. We did all 11 caches in the series, and enjoyed a leisurely ride through a beautiful area. When we finished with those, we did only two that were a couple hundred feet from the car...

One in a really cool wash

And one on a long (and beautful) winding mountain road, at the location of a no-longer standing General Store.

We were pretty hungry by that point, as it was well past lunchtime and we hadn't eaten since breakfast, so we decided to call it a day and head home. We'd been on the mountain road for a long time (which is funny in retrospect, given what followed) and didn't really want to retrace our steps. We weren't sure if it circled around to somewhere familiar or not, but we were having fun and willing to chance it. We promised the boys we'd stop at a store - when we found one - and get them a snack. We enjoyed the scenery; passed a campground, some tiny houses and old sheds, and a whole lot of miles of nothing. We were feeling pretty good about coming out to civilization soon, and then we came across this sign:

The sign made me laugh. What else could I do? There were tears in the backseat though, which turned out to be due to a fear of being "lost in the middle of nowhere." We reminded the crying party of the GPS, showed him the atlas with its detailed map, and told him that if all else failed we had cell phones. Mike did some quick research, and found that there was a turn-off road (that would eventually lead to the freeway) up ahead and that we would not in fact have to go the whole 60 miles. Onward we went.

It really was a beautiful area! Truly God's country. I pray I never get blase about the beauty that is Arizona.

It was well into the afternoon by then, but we were all enjoying the drive. It was slow going of course, as some spots were extremely rocky and/or steep or narrow, but no one seemed to mind, even the hungry boys in the backseat. It was an adventure.

And then there was a sound, and a "What was that?", and well....

Not to be deterred, the pit crew made quick work of the flat, and we were on our way again in 20 minutes.

Are you wondering if we passed any other cars? We did. In fact, two good samaritans stopped to see if we needed help while we (by "we", I mean Mike) were changing the tire. After we were up and running, we came across one of the very same good samaritans again, when they were dealing with a flat tire of their own. We returned the favor and stopped to help. We stretched our legs, and Tegan had a snack - the only one of us who was able to eat all day...

While we were stopped, we were passed by more cars, this time coming from the opposite direction. They were bearing news, and it wasn't encouraging. Three miles up ahead was a river that had to be crossed. A wide one, with large rocks and soft sand.

Did I mention my truck is not 4-wheel-drive?

It does have high clearance though, which played a big factor in our decision. Of the people who stopped, one thought we could make it if we took it slow and easy, and two thought we'd be foolish to even attempt it.

There were a few more brief tears. The kids, who were incredibly patient and pleasant for the entire trip despite being starving, were getting tired and were not happy with the new turn of events. But we all eventually rallied.

We had two options... not even trying, turning around where we were, and driving the many many hours back through the mountain (eventually through the dark); OR continuing on up ahead and risking either having to turn around like the others and driving the many many hours back through the mountain anyway, or even more worrisome, getting stuck!

There was really only one thing to do.

Mike took one look at the river three miles later and essentially said that it would be a piece of cake. And it was.

Until it wasn't.

Thankfully, no one panicked when it got stuck. It took some rock rearranging, some finagling, some praying, and of course some careful driving... but it was only a matter of time before he got it un-stuck. Our hoots and hollers must have been heard clear across the mountain when we'd finally made it back on dry land. My truck, and my husband, ROCK!

There were even more tears. This time, of happiness. The last hour of the trip was perhaps the best. The sun was setting as we were finally making our way out of the mountain, and everyone agreed that it was well worth the drive.

It was 7:30 PM by the time we made it back to the highway, and our first order of business was stopping at a Walmart to get the kids their promised snacks. We got them their snacks (and some dinner too!) then we headed home, all six of us tired and happy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack

Last night was Paxton's first game of the season. He was so excited to be playing again, and got two huge hits - one a pop fly out to center field, and the other a foul ball that may or may not have hit one of the other parent's cars. We were all disappointed that Mike had to miss the game, as he was stuck in a meeting that ran late.

Paxton has a new coach this season, one who is much tougher than his first, and so highly invested in helping the boys really learn how to play the game. He's admitted that the practices have been harder (lots more running this time!) but he is enjoying it more than ever. His dreams of becoming a video-game designer have, for the time-being at least, been cleanly replaced by those of becoming a professional ball player. This is the face of a boy who loves baseball.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Exploring Arizona

I love Arizona. I'm especially loving Arizona today, as I listen to all my friends back east complain about the time change (Arizona doesn't do a time change). I'm also especially loving it for the beautiful weather, again at a time when New England is still getting brutalized with snow. Perhaps my favorite thing about the state though is the diversity of the landscapes. Mountains in one direction, desert in another; forests to the north, saguaro cactuses to the south. It is the quintessential place for anyone who loves to be outside as much as we do.

This past weekend we went on another geocaching trek, this time with Mom and Dad and the whole gang. It brought us up to Camp Verde, to a little tucked-away natural playground that can best be described as looking like the surface of Mars - at least the way it looks in my mind.

Yesterday, we spent another day out caching, enjoying another part of the state. I'm so glad that after 3 1/2 years, none of us has lost our sense of wonder. This is a great place to live.

Monday, March 02, 2009

FLYLADY (or, what I've learned from my shiny sink)

Flylady goes against everything in my nature. For one thing, I don't like being told what to do, so a schedule of any kind (especially one that has me doing housework every day) brings out my inner petulant child. Second, as much as I love having a clean house and thrive when things are organized, my natural inclination is more towards chaos. And finally, I tend to have an all-or-nothing mentality. When I want something done, I want it done all the way and I want it done NOW. Flylady's whole idea of baby steps, of starting with a shiny sink and adding new habits a little at a time, of decluttering in small 15-minute increments (instead of killing myself by trying to do it all in one marathon weekend) has been very, very hard for me.

It's taken time, and patience, but I am learning to let go and let my best be enough, and learning to trust that I will get there eventually! Somehow, along the way, some of this has actually been sticking.

Today I woke up feeling just awful. We've all been down with colds, and this morning my head was pounding, my throat was on fire, and it made me dizzy just getting out of bed. Now I've learned from a difficult pregnancy - and subsequent gall bladder issues - that the kids and I can manage even when I'm sick. The house, I'm afraid, is another matter altogether.

But today was different.

I didn't do the bathrooms, but I know that they're both clean because they both got their daily wipe-down yesterday. I didn't make the bed, but the bedroom is clean and everything is put away. After I'd had some ibuprofen and was feeling a little more human, I took the five minutes to empty the dishwasher and throw in one load of laundry (and one load was all that needed to be done) The boys were happy to do today's "mission" for me, which was to shake out the welcome mat and sweep up the front patio. I've gotten dressed, the house is clean, and I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone came to the door. Best of all, I spent 99% of the day drinking tea, getting better, and enjoying being with my kids.

Flylady is awesome.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spencer and the Arrow of Light

This weekend was Spencer's Blue and Gold dinner banquet, the night he received his Arrow of Light - the highest achievement in Cub Scouting - and officially graduated as a Cub. Here he is standing onstage with his den

Shooting his flaming arrow

With the parents

Checking out his plaque. They are beautiful... Decorated arrows, stained wood, and an engraved nameplate.

No longer Cub Scouts!

Mom and her boy

Award nights are exhausting!

Right now, he doesn't think he's going to continue on as a Boy Scout. A few days ago he played soccer with some other kids while we were at Paxton's baseball practice, and loved it so much that he wants to give it a try. We got him a ball, and if the interest is still there, will sign him up in the fall! Busy boys.


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