The New Camping Normal

This weekend was the first of our camping weekends this year. As always, it wasn’t long enough. This year, we rented a fifth wheel travel trailer that was new to our campground. It was so much more spacious and comfortable than the one we were used to and is in a much better location with a lake view and easier access to the park. It was perfect and hard to say goodbye to.


The Tornado Crate

Story is growing up. I know that sounds ridiculous. Of course kids grow up. We all grow up — well, most of us. Anyway, what I mean is that she is growing in maturity. I can hear it in her choice of vocabulary. I see it in her facial expressions. I notice it in the grown-up topics she discusses and decisions she makes. I am very proud of her growing up; she is certainly growing beyond my expectations, and they are pretty high.

The other day she asked me about high-yield savings accounts — and I promptly told her to talk to Ali. She worries about how others perceive her and thinks deeply about how she can change perceptions. She shops for and makes her own lunches. She presents arguments in a logical way when she really wants something. She understands herself and her intrinsic motivations. I love all these things about her, but sometimes I wonder if she is missing out on childhood stuff. She’s only nine after all. And then something happens that helps me see the little girl she still is.

Last night, we had several tornado warnings throughout the evening. The sirens were going off. Tornadoes were confirmed on the ground. And Story was away from home. She is scared of tornadoes, so much so anytime the wind blows, she has me check the weather. I was grabbing my phone to call her, when I got a text: “Mom, can you get my tornado crate and Rocki [the bearded dragon] ready?”

A couple of years ago, Story put together a crate of her favorite stuffed animals, those that have special meaning to her. This crate has a specific function as a tornado crate. If we have a tornado warning, I am responsible for keeping Story and the animals safe, and Story is responsible for keeping the crate safe.

Story is growing up, yes. But she is still enough of a kid to worry about the safety of her stuffed animals over her own safety and that of her mom. And I’m okay with that.

Our Last Preschool Graduate

Wednesday marked the last preschool graduation that Lesley and I would attend (until the girls have kids anyway), and I have to say it was the hardest. Story’s preschool graduation marked the beginning of the girls growing up, but Maddie’s marked the last of their little kidhood. They are officially all elementary schoolers. No more diapers, no more large mom bags on outings, no more naptimes, and now, no more preschool.


Mess-Free Painting!

About a month or two ago, a co-worker brought in a case full of little blue bottles with roller caps. She had purchased them for a business endeavor that she never got around to and was hoping they would find a good home. At first, I resisted the urge to bring these little cutie bottles home. Sure, I could find something fun to do with them, but I have a cabinet full of things I could someday do something fun with. Not to mention I was purging the house at the time.


On Top of Old Smoky

Well, our annual NHN vacation has come to an end. This year, we visited the Great Smoky Mountains. We felt on top of the world in every way. And now, well, we’ve come back down. I should have written this before we left, because now all Ali and I can think about are our to-do lists, prepping the girls for summer camp, and the pile of work that is waiting for us in the morning. The mountains seem but a dream, but it was a darn good one! A few highlights:

  • Ali actually gave us permission to eat breakfast food for dinner, but all the pancake places (and there were a lot!) closed at 2:00 p.m.
  • I faced my fear of heights way too many times.
  • For the first time ever, we vacationed without lists. The jury is still out.
  • The girls had very few fights and played together very well, even during the car rides.
  • We visited a swimming hole; this was Story’s favorite part of the vacation.
  • We climbed (well, walked, but it felt like climbing) to the highest point of the Smoky Mountains.
  • There were roosters everywhere.
  • Ali yelled, “Give her the muffin!” and it became the quote of the day.
  • I yelled, “Children are dumb!” in a tram car full of people. I was under a lot of stress.
  • Our navigational guide tried to kill us.
  • We rode bumper cars on ice.
  • We did not get eaten by a bear; this was Maddie’s greatest fear.
  • We took a ghost walking tour, and Ali’s EMF reader went nuts.
  • Ali finally understands why I think spiders are aliens.
  • Maddie learned about moonshine and CPS.
  • Riley perfected her gorilla walk and had the girls in giggles.
  • We visited a place that served ice cream on donuts. Need I say more?