Hello Summer!

It is that time of year again where everything seems just a little bit sweeter. The pressure of daily routine shifts and the world appears to be more relaxed. Our berry bushes are filled with nature's jewels. I went out this morning and collected just around the back yard for a few minutes and came in with a quart.
I know the next week is going to be filled with sticky hands and the sounds of little thumps as the berries are collected.
As I gather and walk around trying not to get pricked by the thorns, everything about this feels true to my soul. There is some kind of deep wisdom I feel that the forest is whispering to me.
I became a nature lover as a wee girl living in N. California. My earliest memories are of rivers, trees and many hours playing outdoors. My parents had friends Lyn & Jo Bates, they came over and they would use the slide projector to share their vacation adventures. I fell in with traveling by dreaming of going on those adventures too.
Summer just brings all those things I love together. We don't have any grand plans this season but long for a trip back to Alaska again to be with family.
The kids and I will just have to make a not-so-bummer Summer list together soon because I feel like it is slipping away all to quickly.


YW Girls Camp 2015

Where: Prince William Forest Park  Virginia 
Dates: June 22 - 26th
Who: Patuxent Ward Young Women

Theme: Warriors of Worth
Putting on the whole armor of God
I have a love/hate relationship with girls camp. There are parts of my soul that love camp and what it means to the girls and then...the heat & sweat and dying of bug bites gets to the other part of my soul.
This was Lydia's fourth year. I have been one of the camp leaders for the past two years also. My main job when I get to camp is to help Lydia so she can participate. This is a lot of work. She needs help to simply even get places anymore. She is not as mobile as she once was and it breaks my heart. 

The second day is always the hardest both physically and emotionally. She is such a trooper. She pushes her little body to go farther and work hard. Lydia is amazing. This year on day two I accidentally gave her some granola bites that had milk in them. Then it was allergic reaction time and meds. She is very patient with me, and still loves me even when I poison her. I had to basically knock her out with Benedryl for the rest of the afternoon. Yep, I'm not winning any mother of the year awards.

The best thing about this girl is her sense of humor and how happy she always is. She won Warrior of the Day for participating in the warrior dash obstacle course. Seriously, she is rather cool. Her leaders had to help her walk and climb but she did it! She made it through the whole obstacle course.

I always have to take a little time out during the week to commune with nature on my own. Without Lydia or anyone else. Sometimes I have deep moments and sometimes just the peace that comes from being enveloped in God's creations fills my soul back up.

I am always humbled by the perfect design of mother earth. How complete each aspect of the plants and animals complement each other. I wish my brain could have the enlarging capacity to fully comprehend the sacred geometry of it all.

This frog was huge and right under my feet during my walk. I barely noticed him until he leaped away from my foot. He blended into the forest floor completely. His coloring was totally matching the forest floor.

Lydia's favorite part of camp is always the crafts cabin. This year they made jewelry, painted signs for their rooms and made Waldorf style window stars.

Lydia's favorite color is still purple. I love her concentration as she was painting. She surprised me by actually accenting it with some blue. Their boards had their name and then the phrase "daughter of a king" on them.

Here are the other leaders. Sis. Carolee Battaglia and Sis. Dixie Ely. We all had worked for about 9 months together to make sure camp was the best experience for the girls.

The 4th year level girls rocked the party!!! Emily, Lydia and Bethany were the coolest kids there. Lydia said her favorite part of camp this year was the pranks. Since it was just our ward , we allowed nice pranks. Well these girls dumped some really cold water on some other girls. Lydia thought that was hilarious.

There were some nights where fierce storms raged through the camp ground and we all sheltered inside the dining hall. Never fear, these girls know how to play some games. Lydia's favorite....Killer Frog.

Lydia and I won the Golden Broom award for the most creative and clean cabin. I think our rug between the beds helped us win. It is a necessity though for keeping dirt and sand out of the sleeping bags.

The problem with pranks is that things get a little out of control really fast. The leaders except yours truly all got into the pranking mode. They got caught and had to go to Kangaroo court and receive their punishment. Camp is so much fun!

The best part is the love that surrounds all of these girls as they grow to know who they are as daughters of God. Camp this year was epic.


And just like that...

Right now I am breaking the rules by having my phone in bed, writing this with an app while my newly turned ten year old is snuggling.
It is the first day of Summer break and he says he wants to sleep all day. His version of staying in bed includes me though. The clock reads 8:29 and the little voice says, "Please don't leave me Mommy." I am staying.
How did ten years fly by so very quickly? He is my last and I really need Father Time to slow down the clock and let it creep for awhile.

We needed to celebrate his birthday last Saturday and the thermometer on the back porch was telling us that the zoo was going to have to wait. He and I will ride the metro up a different day.

We ask if he would like to see a Lego store. As a non-neuro typical child we rarely take him places like gigantic malls. Filled with lots and lots of people, those buildings are really hard for him. He was thrilled, didn't have any trouble at all and it was so good. He was so intrigued by people and stores, everything was new and exciting. Things are getting better and better every day.

His birthday was filled with Lego and a delightful candy shop. We laughed and played in that gigantic shopping center. We had a grand time. Sometimes things are a little harder for this sweet boy of mine, but he is loving and kind and I think will surprise us all by how he changes the world.

Happy Birthday my sweet Thayne! May this next year hold many amazing new discoveries for you.



Last Friday, it was finally a perfect day for romping around at the park with our homeschooling group. Some delightful ladies from the local baby wearing group joined us with their rosy cheeked little ones all comfy close to their mommas. It was a happy scene.
I am now far from baby wearing as my 'little' one turns ten in a few weeks. Our older daughter will be having her first baby in November. Meanwhile the last month has been filled with shopping and preparations to launch my older son into the world to serve a mission for our church. It is a birth of sorts and just as painful a transition.
As we left the park, I looked wistfully at these moms in their youth. I don't know how to be okay with that season of my life being so long gone. I was so confident then in my opinions and beliefs. So very sure of myself and how I wanted life to be. Life has shown me that I really lack. That the more I acquire in knowledge, the more I realize that there is just so much more I will never have the time to learn. There are days when mortality smacks me in the face.
Today was the day when it was time to let my young man boldly go into his quest. The security personnel look through his bags and he quickly stretched around them to sign “I Love You” one last time. The next time I hug him will be in two years. I am so pleased at the man he has become despite my failings. Conflicting emotions are rocking my heart.
My baby boy is sad that his brother is gone, his sisters are realizing how quiet the house is without young man energy, and it might take more time than we thought to adjust to our new normal. I gave him all the roots I could and I pray his wings are strong.
So the baby wearing takes on a new form. No longer am I wrapping that sling around our bodies so we can be close. I am wrapping my heart and love energy around each one, hoping that all the strength from my love will carry them into adulthood well.