Saturday, June 30, 2012

Geo Caching

Nate pulled through again at Clear Creek by looking up some Geo-caching sites and bringing the coordinates with him when they came to camp on Saturday. The older grandkids still talk about some of the first Geo-caching experiences he led them on.

Nate loading up his gear and rearranging so some

of us could ride in there to get to the sites.

Colton, Layne, Garrett and Gramma riding in the back of Nate's truck.

{that would be my leg - just to prove I was really there}

Carter and Tyler followed the truck on their bikes.

This was the reality of their bike ride - they ate our dust

the whole way.

Nellie and Adam followed the bikes

The first site stumped us. The clue was "Tree Nest Under Sticks and Rocks". We never were able to find the cache but we had fun searching and coming up with ideas about what they meant by 'tree nest' and where it could be stashed.

Trying to figure out the best way to get across the stream.

What's that reflection off the top of Nathan's

head??? Oh, my!

They certainly look like little explorers, don't they?

Carter and Adam trying to get some inspiration as to where

to look for the cache.

A power huddle as some of the great minds try and decide which way to head.

Garrett, Krisy and Layne

The Clue to the Second Geo Cache was "Barely Legal" and the coordinates led us to some fenced property that adjoined the National Forest Service land. Judging by the clue, we stayed on the legal side of the fence and this time we found the cache. Well, Nellie found it. There were so many false alarms at the first spot that she had to announce her discovery a few times before anyone believed her.

Tyler, Carter and Uncle Nate

The whole gang gathered around as Nellie opened the box and

showed everyone the contents.

The whole gang getting ready to head back to camp. Getting to this

point was all downhill, which meant it was uphill all the

way back to camp so Tyler and Carter hitched a ride back to camp.

The third Geo Cache Adventure was a little closer to camp. Tyler took charge of the GPS and led the group as they followed its arrow. The name of this one was Potato and the clue was "Help me, I'm falling".

Hmm. Which way should we go?

I am reminded of the song, "Five little ducks went out to play, over the hills and far away . . ." 


The Booty

They soon found a potato can under a tree that was leaning precariously. This particular Geo-cache had surprises and treats in it that they could divide out and keep. They were a little bummed at the other site when Nate explained the rules of Geo-caching; namely you don't take any of the treasures out of their container.

Nellie dividing out the booty. There were treats and glow sticks and a ball and whistle toy. We were lucky that whoever {wink, wink} left this stash knew what these little boys would have fun with and also knew to leave five of everything!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oh, Good Grief!

Seriously??? Can LOML and I get any more redneck than we already are?

I know for sure I'm delegating the job of making sure all the windows and vents on the trailer are shut before take off to LOML. It's a simple task, really. You'd think I could get it right. More times than not, though, we get on the road and LOML has to pull over because a window or vent is open. I'm done.

I swear, SWEAR, SWEAR I closed all the vents tight before we headed to Clear Creek Thursday morning. LOML never pulled over.

We get to camp and get the trailer parked and leveled and I go into open up windows and vents so the breeze can cool it off a bit. {Yes, even though we were in the mountains it was still plenty warm}. It took me a minute to realize what was wrong but once I did, I was dumbfounded. This is what it looked like when I went to turn the crank and open the vent:

This is what I was supposed to find:

Needless to say, I was a little frustrated. At some point in the the trip, the whole vent had ripped off the roof of the trailer. Amazing. At least we were going to get a decent breeze out of that vent. However, the hole was big enough for sizable bugs to drop through and the thought of things with eyes and legs dropping on my face {or worse - in my mouth or nose} in the middle of night is just plain creepy.

We left it alone until it got close to time to bed. That's when I started getting nervous and asked LOML what we could do. Mistake. Big mistake. His response?

"Do you have any duct tape?"

Why I didn't lie and simply say, "No", I'll never know. Instead honesty took over and I replied, "Why, yes, sweetheart, I actually do! About nine rolls of nine different colors!" {Gotta be prepared in case the grandkids get bored!}

This is the way the next half hour played out:

LOML getting his trusty tool tray.He doesn't
have a tool 'box' that he carries around. This tray has been on every
trip we've ever taken in our 35 1/2 years of married life. One more
thing that is part of his signature!


Taking out what's left of the vent - aka the screen.

Brushing off the dirt so the duct tape will stick better

Trying to get the first piece off. Did I mention it was Dollar Store duct tape? Well I think we quickly discovered why. LOML couldn't find the end - or the beginning - or whatever.

Enter the little Wifey. Sacrificing, I had to put the camera down just to help figure out the duct tape.

LOML's pocket knife proves it is no match for the duct tape. I figured if we couldn't find the end that was intended for us to start the tape, we could create our own.

Scissors finally got something started.

Yeah, so LOML takes over once I got it started. Hmph.

The first strip

Second strip - in case you can't count. It was about this point where I realized he was going to cover the entire screen. How would we get a breeze coming through if the entire screen was taped over? Oh, to find out the answer to that, you have to keep reading!

I spared you having to see a picture as each strip was placed. It is now finished and being put back in it's place.

I did talk him into leaving one strip open for air to get in.

Come morning, I realized a reason why, out of all nine colors of duct tape, LOML must chose yellow. I woke up to a sunny, yellowish cast all over the trailer - artificial sunshine! Wow! Talk about Mary Sunshine! Or is it Merry Sunshine?? Not sure now. I just used to sing that to my kids on the mornings they woke up a little sluggish - aka grumpy.

And, to answer the previous quandary as to what we were going to do to get a breeze in the trailer during the day:

Just pull the duct tape down on two of the three sides! And . . . drum roll, please . . . we now have a fly trap in the trailer, too! Aren't we just the most clever country bumpkins you've ever had a chance to be acquainted with? Sorry to the descendants . . . the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

Just to let you know how our evening of duct tape fun ended! Quietly, at least!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reality of Miracles

Max is officially in more friendly surroundings, aka HOME. Home with his Mom and Dad where he can get round the clock loving. One of the many miracles in his short, little life.

It goes without saying that I am oblivious to many, many miracles in my own life. In my head I know there are innumerable moments occuring on a daily basis as my Heavenly Father tries to get my attention and remind me He is aware of me and I am loved. I try to be more observant and recognize more of those elements in my day to day life. It's those times I find myself so envious of little children. Everything they see is amazing and worth pointing at and stopping and staring and studying. Their eyes haven't been clouded over with the cataracts of worldly cares and worries and fears and inhibitions.

When I do latch onto one of those messages from Heaven, I get so wrapped up in knowing that Heavenly Father not only allowed it to happen but allowed it to touch my life that I forget how fragile and fleeting those tiny miracles are. The butterfly coming out of its cocoon will never be a caterpillar again. Blossoms never return to that magical budding form and firy sunrises fade into blue skies and then regroup into vibrant sunsets - always moving forward, never going back. Because there are no re-runs to watch over and over again, picking up something new each time, I get selfish as I try and absorb as much of the miraculous moment as I can. Time in a bottle, I guess you could say.

Thanks to a good friend who let me be my selfish, natural-man self, I've gotten to not only see but wrap my arms around a tiny little miracle and feel the beating of the life within him that pushes him forward, progressively, towards who he will become.

I have no idea how many years and how many doctors, scientists, mechanics, electricians, engineers, manufacturers, etc, etc, it took to build all the machines and wires and connections and humming and whirring motors that have maintained this little guy for the past three months as he got used to a little body that wasn't quite ready for such an anxious little spirit. Amazing when you compare the room full of equipment man had to invent and build in an effort to replicate and function for the relative simplicity of a mother's womb, created by God.

Not every day is going to hold miracles of this stature and I know I'm lucky to have been privy to this one. I will never be the same for having been able to share in the fragile, perfect miracle of Max.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I See Skies of Blue

I know there are dentists in the family {well, actually orthodontists} and so I must tread carefully in this post. Yeah, right, like I ever 'tread carefully'! I shouldn't even use those two words together in the same sentence when describing me! 'Bull in a china shop' or 'cow on ice' are a couple of terms that are a little closer at truthfully describing me - in either the actual moving about or metaphorically referring to the things I tend to verbalize. Anyway, here goes:

I have had more near death experiences {undocumented, of course, but real just the same} while in the dentist's chair than anywhere else! Yes! Even on the colonoscopy table.

Maybe these episodes are a result of the Happy Gas. Have I mentioned before that I have self-diagnosed myself with addictive personality traits? Well I certainly should have mentioned it because it's the absolutely truest of truths. So, yeah, Happy Gas and me are friends and I prefer not to lay blame on a friend.

A few years ago, I had to have a tooth pulled. Wait...let me go back further.

I remember it as a summer, but it could have been over the course of an entire year. All I know is I don't think I was even a teenager yet. During however long this course of time actually was, I lived in the dentist's chair. I think there were huge cavities in everyone of my molars. My mother was probably set back for years financially. Nightmares of pieces of black plastic hooked from one end of my mouth to the other with little clips on my teeth and big blocks stuck in between my upper and lower teeth to help hold my jaw open wide enough and being afraid I was going to choke on my saliva because I couldn't swallow it and not being able to spit in the little sink like real people are just a few of the visions that flash before my eyes when I think about that summer. Probably where I got my claustrophobia from, come to think of it.

Just as the rest of my body has so gracefully aged, so have my teeth. The fillings have come lose and slowly had to be replaced but sadly they leaked before I realized they were lose which means there was so much damage done that several of them have had to have root canals and crowns.

So back to a few years ago, I had to have a tooth pulled. There wasn't enough of it left after removing the aged filling. To say the hole in my mouth has made me self-conscious would be an understatement. I've actually felt like a Carny ever since. Or a Druggy. At work conversations will get started about how you can always tell when someone has lived a drug-ravaged life - they lose their teeth. Like I said I do have addictive traits. However in this case, I can honestly say my addiction was sugar and laziness when it came to brushing my teeth.

Anyhow, most recently I learned that a tooth with a root canal can actually get a fracture in one or all of the roots. This produces a bump of infection in the gum and a visit to the dentist BEFORE the scheduled annual appointment. At that appointment, the dentist then makes a referral to an oral surgeon and, yes, you guessed it - another tooth needs to be extracted. Yup, definitely going to get a booth in the carnival when the county fair rolls into town!

Well, I'm in the chair. The Happy Gas hose is placed over my nose and everyone leaves me alone in the room. Not good. That's when I realized my glasses weren't in my lap. I poked myself in
the eyes just to make sure I wasn't actually wearing them. I felt the top of my head
- nope. When a nurse came in, I asked her if someone had maybe taken them and set them on a counter but she couldn't see them anywhere. I asked
if they were on the floor but, after a few furtive glances to the floor, the answer was again, "No".

Why in heaven's name could I not find my glasses? I was sure I had Alzheimer's. Yup. My thoughts immediately went spiraling downward. Why is this stuff called Happy Gas if I was not happy?? I was now sure that if I didn't die in this dentist's chair on this day, then I was going to die an ornery old crotchety lady who could remember no one and nothing. I couldn't even see who I had forgotten because I had never found my glasses. Images of my lonely death filled my thoughts and then the tears started coming. As these thoughts were developing and building in my head, the dentist was in and out three or four {I lost count because the Happy Gas kicked in} times to deaden my gum and tooth area; proudly leaving one side of my mouth obviously more and more deformed and down-turned after each shot. I thought I had successfully blinked away my tears before the dentist made another entry. There must have been a streak on my face or something because he noticed. He patted me on the shoulder and handed me a tissue saying,
"Sorry, I made you tear up there. Are you okay?" My reply?

"I just don't want to die with a frown on my face! Will you please fix my mouth before you call the mortuary?"

He chuckled and left the room.

Abandonment! The single most hugest traumatic trigger in my entire existence! I was going to die alone. I stared around the room wondering if I'd recognize the 'bright light' when it appeared. Would it come from above or by my side? Were they going to come in next time and find me clinging to that overhead moveable light arm thing, trying to find a way in? I needed to find something to focus on that I would be happy if it were the last thing I saw in my earthly life. I found it. There was a bird on the window sill just outside the window. As it flew away {should I follow the bird? Maybe it's a bird not a light that will lead the way}, I saw a window full of blue skies. Out of everything within my line of vision, that's what I wanted my last earthly sight to be. And so I stared.

Staring leads to thinking and I was not sure I was living my life in such a way that I was ready to leave it on such short notice. In fact I knew I wasn't. How was anyone going to know that the last thing I saw was blue skies? How would anyone know that's what I wanted to see? I'm afraid too many would remember me grumpy or angry or wallowing in gray clouds with thunder and lightening. How does one not only live every moment as if it were their last but also live all the moments before their last so that everyone would know what their last moment was like?

I wanted everyone I love to know I not only looked at blue skies but I sought them out.

So, I now have a second request for whoever prepares me for my casket after I die {the first being to get my boobs out of my arm pits} - please make sure there is a smile on face!

FYI - I found my glasses. They had fallen into hinged area in the chair. Whoosh! Not dying from Alzheimer's today!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Treasure Hunts

No matter what was found - a paw print, a butterfly, a leaf that Uncle Joe could make whistle, a bullet casing or a leaf that had been chewed on - it was a treasure and it was amazing and unique and exciting. Oh, to see the world and life through the eyes of a child again! 

There were a couple of treasure maps that surfaced at camp, though. One map for the older kids and one map for the younger ones. Without knowing what was in store for them, they all excitedly took off to try and follow the directions. {Probably not the best idea to have someone who is directionally challenged draw a map - treasure or otherwise} There was some difficulty and confusion at times but the end results were well worth the effort. At least that's what the Treasure Seekers said!

There were eight colored triangles hidden on trees or bushes or fire pits or "No Trespassing" signs along the maps trails. There was a picture for each Seeker attached to the triangles that could be traded in for the real thing once everyone had found one.

Treasure Hunters in Training in the practice fields

The Younger Seekers' map

The Younger Seekers: Brian, Garrett, Hunter, Aspen

{Reagan was napping}

Trying to figure out which direction to go next

Getting some help from Amber.

One triangle found

Hunter maneuvering to a position with a enough

height to reach another triangle.

The Older Seekers' Map

The Older Seekers - Colton, Mariah, Jodi, Carter

Searching. Trying not to stand in one place too long so the

ants didn't carry them away.

One triangle found

Figuring out how to reach another triangle.

Getting closer to finding all the triangles.

Trading in their picture tokens for The Real Deal - the bag first.

The bag had a Scavenger List in it to keep those busy eyes searching.

Colton modeling the bags. Everyone's bag had their initials on it.

Trading up for all the rest of their Loot.

Mariah with her bag of Loot cooling off a bit.

Carter trying out the binoculars

Garrett ready to go find some bugs.

Carter and Jodi organizing.

Hunter organizing his bag

Aspen found her own treasures, too. Just

like Grampa!

Grampa and his own treasures.

Like I said, there are lots of treasures and all only in the eyes of the beholder! Grampa's idea of a treasure would have been to catch some fish. But that's another story for another post.