|This summer Ayden discovered my childhood Calvin & Hobbes collection. Here I caught he and Riley nose deep in comics~too cute!|
I ran the "art" station this year and it was SO much better than my job last year! Last year I was a group leader, which means you are baisically "mom" to eleven or twelve six and seven year olds, and there is a LOT of talking and sweating and walking and responsibility for the kids' experience~good or bad. I loved every kid in my group but I'm an introvert. Not talking to anyone all day sounds like a refreshing oasis, so talkity talking and drumming up social enthusiasm all day was hard. The most difficult part, though, was feeling SO responsible for the kids having fun. I managed, but it was a heavy weight. I take that kind of thing pretty seriously and tend to empathize with people deeply so I get all tangled up in kids' experiences and worry about them all week.
This year being art coordinator was PERRRRFECT! The kids all rotated into my station and I simply demonstrated the art lesson for the day, set them up, and helped them make art. Still lots of talking but way less pressure. I'm good at commanding the attention of a group of kids (isn't that pretty much what I do all day, every day? Like, hello.) and at communicating and tailoring a lesson to my audience. I'm articulate and can answer questions endlessly, so demonstrating a lesson for five minutes and facilitating it with four different groups is perfect. THEN, after lunchtime, I would prepare for the next day while the kids were all off at different activities, and I could recuperate in my basement cave and do my introverted thing. One day one of the other leaders (bless her) caught me deep in introvert mode and said, "GOSH! You must be so lonely! I'm going to keep you company for a bit." And I maybe bit the inside of my cheek so hard it bled, trying not to laugh.
I like her, although she is the person who asked me the stupidest adoption question I've been asked yet, last year. "So, what does Matthew call you? Like does he call you mom and dad?" Uhhhhhhhh..... No he calls us Your Royal Highness and Slave Master Extraordinaire. Say WHAT? Do you premeditate anything that comes out of your mouth, girl? Sheesh.
The weekend prior to Arts Camp my cousin's little boy, Ryen, had developed this mild rash. Sara was wracking her brain trying to figure out what the heck ELSE he was allergic to (he has several allergies), but the day we left he spiked a fever and she took him to the doctor: Scarlet Fever. So lo and behold, the second day of Arts Camp Matthew comes crawling over to me at lunchtime, lays his head in my lap, and says, "I have a headache." He gets migraines (once he even threw up), and they really put him out of commission so I figured he had that. Being the mom of an allergic-to-everything kid I always carry Benadryl and often tylenol with me, so I gave him something for his headache. Then he pointed out an itchy spot he had on his arm that looked kind of rashy, so I figured he touched something he was allergic to, and I gave him a big old dose of Benadryl, too. By the late afternoon I looked at him and it struck me: he had Scarlet Fever, too! Jeepers. Only his rash wasn't mild. It was like a thick layer of pimple sized red bumps on top of three other layers of pimple sized red bumps! And red as a lobster! All over his face, torso, and spreading rapidly over his arms and down his legs. Poor kid. I took him to the walk in clinic and when I listed the symptoms and mentioned the Scarlet Fever, the doctor actually made a tiny leap backwards, away from Matthew. Poor form, asshole.
Antibiotics. No more Arts Camp. My mother in law took three days off work that week to help me look after my kids--I LOVE her and don't know what I'd do without her. Seriously.
The following week we divided the kids up in pairs (I got the easiest pair: Ayden and Amarys. Woot! Well, actually the easiest pair would be Ayden and Riley but that wouldn't be fair to the parent with the mayhems so we wouldn't ever divvy them up that way. But of the two pairings we had, mine was easiest. Ayden read and Amarys slept part way and got entertained by Ayden the rest of the way. SO EASY) and I drove the van and Brent borrowed and drove his dad's truck.
See, my parents had finally sold their house and farm after 2 years on the market but one of their conditions was that they had to be out in six weeks. After living on that farm for twenty years and raising three kids and a bajillion animals, they had to sort, pack, sell, ditch, and lend out ALL their stuff, and move, in six weeks. Crazy. So we went up to help them out as much as we could. We brought two vehicles because helping them out had the small perk of us acquiring some furniture, plus Riley wanted us to dig up and transplant his placenta tree from their farm.
|In between sorting and packing and ditching and selling, we managed to hit the lake a few times|
|Last photo at the home I spent half my childhood in (we moved here when I was 12). The front door is custom stained glass of a ginseng plant, complete with root and plant and berries, which is what my dad farmed|
|My childhood bedroom was the top two right windows. The middle is the hallway, and the left two were my brother's room. My sister and parents were at the back of the house.|
|This was the bed we acquired|
|And the couch|
|I just realized in these photos Riley has no bottoms on whatsoever. Classy. It is also very weird to look at family photos without Amarys in them. I keep thinking someone is missing but she just doesn't exist yet!|
It was both happy and sad to say goodbye to the farm. I had lots of nostalgic memories, but to be entirely honest, that farm has been a stressful financial burden for my parents for YEARS, so mostly I felt relieved to let it go. I have tons of wonderful memories from that place, and some that are more ambiguous because of how much strain it put on my family. I think perhaps harder than giving up the farm is giving up the town itself. Although I have a home in Langley and a family of my own, I always felt that I had another 'home' that was more foundational and that operated like a compass point for me, and that was Vernon itself. Every street and park and school has memories for me; my good friend's mother and my grandma Katie are buried in the cemetery there, I dipped my babies in Kal Lake there, learned to ride a horse on the hill behind our Palfry Drive house, had near death rattlesnake experiences, hiked, camped, fish, learned to ski when I was Amarys' age on the ski hill there (Silver Star; and seriously, there are pictures of me on the hill on skis at one and a half years old), fell in love with drama, art, theatre, and dance there, had my first boyfriend there, made my longest lasting friendships there, and my parents are moving away from here, so it is a goodbye to my compass point home town. We might come back to visit now and again, but it won't be home anymore.
My parents moved into a camper on the back of their truck. So, pretty major downsize. They are living like hobos in the Alaskan wilderness for two to three months and won't be settling down to anything permanent again for awhile. And when they do, they don't know where they will wind up. I just talked to my mom this morning and she said they are having fun and getting along really well (it was a bit questionable, since my dad is a hermit and my mom is an extrovert and they were moving from 25 acres, two outbuildings, and a 2500 square foot home to a camper. With their dog). But it is totally working out and sounds SUPER fun. I'm pretty jealous of their life stage because we're drowning in kids and debt right now and being carefree and retired sounds frickin' amazing! I'm so happy for them. =)
And then we dug up Riley's tree and brought it home. It is an oak that is supposed to grow 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide, so we didn't have a spot in our yard. Instead we planted it on Brent's parents' acreage, in the front, with the condition that it will not be moved again. If Brent's parents move, we can drive by and look at it anytime Riley likes, which is why we planted it in the front, but we warned Riley it can't be transplanted every time his grandparents move! He just was so devastated when he heard his tree would get left behind that we took pity on him and transplanted it. Poor peanut! The tree wasn't flourishing where we had planted it, anyways, so the move was probably an excellent idea for its health. =)
The end. Oh, and p.s. if you come to stay with us I'm happy to say we have a spare bed to put you in now. The end again.