Wednesday, August 3, 2016

take me to the river

The river was high this year, for our annual camping trip to fairyland.  This was just after the flooding in West Virginia, and we were worried that the water would be too high, too wild for our yearly anointing.  It was so hard to coordinate this group of families, so we were loathe to cancel. We went for it, hoping for the best.

We armed ourselves with inner tubes. I'm not sure that armed is quite the right word, but we were ready for something. The river was too much the first day, and I played goalie while the kids all bumped around like babies in a playpen, me grabbing and tossing them back towards shore if they started to inch into the current.

This place is one of my favorites. It is so beautiful, and for the first time during one of our visits, the rhododendrons were in bloom.  A couple of us agreed it would be a perfect place to visit even if the river were unswimmable, but we were outnumbered because the river is so much fun.

Blooming Pipsissewa, Spotted Wintergreen: Chimaphila maculata

I have this group of children well-trained. Debbie! Debbie! You have to come over here, and bring your camera!

Hair-cutting, camp style

Day two we were in the river all day. It is like our very own waterpark, with enough current to make it really exciting, your feet find hidden standing rocks at just the right moment. A few brave souls walked up river and floated down on the inner tubes, but most of us cheered them on, pushing up the rapids and letting our bodies float us down.

My kids find their own kind of brave here - their limitations change from hour to hour, and they are happily exhausted by the end of a river day, filled with the satisfaction of pushing their bodies, working together, feeling a part of the water and stones.  It feels dangerous enough to feed the spirit, but not so dangerous that I am constantly worried for their safety. Perfect balance. (Except for the moment when a snake swam against my legs and we both got horribly confused and freaked out for a minute. Then I was like, Oh, you're a little snake! and it was like, Oh, legs! and away it went. Thank goodness it was my legs, right?! Shudder.)

Glorious. I missed it as soon as we were in the car. Our summer has been so busy, but this is the kind of place summer should be full of.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Oh, Summer. You are so juicy. And hot. Really really really hot. It finally rained today, enough rain to cool things down by a few degrees and revive all living things.  Our walks have been relegated to dusk this past week, and Dan and I were treated to a mink sighting and some screech owl whinnies a couple of nights ago...everyone is glad for a bit of cool.

We don't formally school in the summer (when do we "formally" anything?!) - which is to say that we don't stick to a routine, which has its pros (more sleep for the teen) and cons (a bit of crazy for mom). I anticipated more routine to July, but with my grampa's funeral service we have only a couple of weeks, some of them with Dan gone, and so...Life. We embark on another trip north in a week, so we are mostly just enjoying our days as they are, which is probably just as it should be. It's working.

Here is essentially a slide show of the other things we've been up to this summer:

Eliza participated in two summer intensives with other high schoolers (gasp!) and college students: mask work and stage combat. She loved both of them.

She is so capable and game.  What a joy to experience as her mama.

*photo by J. Evans
With Dan's new job, we've been spending time up in Dublin and Columbus this summer, and we managed to be there for their Pride Parade. Yes!! It was such a great community event, and Eliza walked with the theater company who were promoting their next show, Tammy Faye's Final Audition. This was her crowd. It was hot, so sunny, but Ani and I were happy to watch for hours.

There was The Birthday - and bowling - and a visit from grandparents...

I just don't even know.  And yes, she approves the sharing of all the photos of her;)

catapult and felt balls

There's been so much reading - Dashner's Maze Runner series for Eliza, and The Sisters Grimm, whichever Harry Potter is in nearest reach, and Nancy Drew for Ani.  There's been some art-making, like these collage cairns.

And what is summer without bubbles? There are bunches of DIY bubble solution and wands on the interwebs, and we used this one which seems to work pretty well, though the bubbles couldn't get super big with just the Dawn soap we used. Well enough for an evening of merry-making! 

I love that these photos show the girls for the goofballs that they are.  How I love them so...So much time together, and we still really like each other. Feeling very very grateful!