one of THOSE weeks

Usually I’m a pretty patient person, I tend to take everything in stride and have a Pollyanna-like disposition when it comes to staring trouble in the face. I didn’t receive the “Merry Miss Sunshine Award” at Camp Coleman for being a party-pooper. My stress levels are almost entirely self-inflicted 99% of the time when others are involved and around the house, well… I didn’t pen my blog under the name of chaos for nothing.

This was one of those weeks when the hand-basket took the express lane to Lucifer’s summer picnic in the park. I can’t say that there was one instance or two that put my status quo in the red, it was an accumulation of nit-picking, love-taps, and general disobedience that tipped the scales and sent my sanity into a downward spiral.

an_promo

The Farmers have been watching Speilberg’s Animaniacs lately and I’ve come to the shocking realization that I was watching not only my children but myself. Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are my farmers. I, unfortunately, have narrowed myself down to either Dr. Otto Scratchnsniff or Slappy the Squirrel; Nurse would be great, but who am I kidding here? I’m either trying to make sense of the crazy or a crotchety old woman without an ounce of humor to be found.

Wednesday was melt-down day and not one of my finer moments, I might add. What was worse than giving up was that fact that given the ‘night off’, the only thing I could do was fill up the Focus at a Maverick station and head for the boulevard. There was nothing I wanted to do. Nothing at all. Shopping would only infuriate me more, what I liked wouldn't fit or its too expensive and other, happy people would run the risk of witnessing or becoming a victim of my venomous attitude. I even lacked to patience to hang out an hour and a half to catch a chic movie to escape in. Not wanting to make the ten o’clock news as a stay-home mom gone berserk, I headed home just as frustrated as I left. Grabbed my iPod for some girl-rocker angst (anything else and I would be in tears) and shut myself in the bedroom, buried underneath my white quilt and a dozen odd pillows, like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Minus the man part, the crystals, the solitude… It was what it was and the best I could do at the moment.

You men-folk who happen to still be reading this full-on estrogen dump might wonder why I or your significant other could or would or does flip out. Here's a clue. See below.

Muuuhhhhahahhahha! Laundry Horror.

Straight up, no rocks to water this disaster down. I did send it through Photoshop to emphasize the wanton destruction of a once orderly laundry room. Clean clothes, dirty, stinky, smelly, puke and poo laced clothes, all living together in a happy place under the stairs. I suppose this would qualify as a particular melt-down moment... add this with that, shake and stew and that's the recipe for psycho-mom.

Thursday was a little better, I’m striving to breathe deeply, find my inner chi and repeat the mantra, “Twenty-six days, Twenty-six day, Twenty-SIX days.”

While getting my morning news (I at least pretend to know what I'm talking about) I came across the obituary for Randy Pausch. I had heard of his Last Lecture, but never really watched it. Today I did and it was just what I needed. From his own words, he's not presenting anything new and he won't be the last. I already know the gist of it, I'm living the gist of it and somehow I forgot, letting myself get bogged down in the little things that don't really matter.

This afternoon, Miss Is and I made a bread-cake like thingy for an E.Q. BBQ. It was fun and I felt better. I bought a new pair of shorts, stylish sunglasses and lipstick. Very girly, very much needed. The laundry room remains untouched, racetracks line my staircase, and I still breakup non-fighting fights started for no other reason than to fight but not to fight. Twenty-six days, I can handle that.

A Conversation With Myself

Stacey Phone Room

“Oh my gosh! You can’t be like, serious!”…..“I mean like, is that even possible? It’s like totally impossible, like for sure!”…..“That’s SO old and crusty - how gross is that?”……“Like, I so knew this would happen, like it was only a matter of time.”….. “You’re not like, grey or anything like that, like you’re not a saggy and wrinkled grandma, right?” …..“I’m totally bummed, like this sucks.”…. “Happy Birthday I guess, it’s totally uncool though.”

Unfortunately, it’s true. Another year older and my eighteen year old self is like, 'grossed out to the max'. I’m surprised she didn’t ralf when I told her how old we’re getting. Thirty-four when you’re a teenager is near retirement and that much closer to diapers and death. In her mind, life is over. On the other hand, she has so much to learn and so much yet to live through. I’m amazed she made the choices she did and got me to where I am today. Maybe its a good thing you don’t know the path ahead; you might not choose to the right one again knowing how difficult it would be.

Look at me… on second thought, don’t look at me!

Pink bows and froufrou florals with pastel pink walls– what was I ever thinking? Wish I had my bedroom set for Miss Is though, it was the ultimate in girly, 1970’s bedroom furniture.

White stretch leggings, my favorite oversize Wiz of Oz print t-shirt and BIG hair.

Corded, slim-line phone and a portable t.v. on the nightstand that I tuned in to watch Star Trek TNG on KCPQ-13 Seattle/Tacoma. (Hey! My mother is a Trekkie… wha’da ya want.)

My trusty notepad full of nonsense that I can’t remember what about, the little green frog I bought at a thrift store and still have to this very day and a picture of my homecoming date and I taken in the driveway before the dance.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast had just been released in theaters; I got Beast and Chip from buying cheeseburger Happy Meals at the new Micky D’s across the street from the schools stadium.

I burned my fingers while reaching up to turn the lamp off one night. I suppose that happens when you blindly reach up for it and I think that’s a dirty clothes pile in the corner, but I won’t fess up to it.

Raise your can of diet coke or whatever it is you have handy and join me in a solemn birthday toast, “To my lost youth and an intrusive, shutter-bug of a Dad; thanks for the memories.”

The Truth About Cats and Bags

Back in the days of chivalry, princesses, knights in shinning armor and extreme poverty and pestilence among the masses, it was a general practice among unsavory business men to pull a fast one on their paying customers. In the backrooms or behind the curtain, once the piglets or chicks were selected, the salesman would bag something other than the livestock so that the young animal would be easier to transport. Cats are highly fertile and readily available to dispose of in such a manner. The merchant kept the livestock and the money hoping that by the time his deceit was discovered, the buyer was too far gone to matter. If the rouse was caught in time, the peddler was exposed and the cat would be let out of the bag for all to see. A crook, a cheat and someone never to do business with again.

What does this have to do with the price of rice in China? Absolutely nothing.

Yeah, I have a cat. An ugly cat. The world’s ugliest cat. He’s stuffed in a bag in the back of my closet merely to keep mankind from the horror of such a hideous feline. If it wasn’t for a certain person who will remain nameless and at the top of my poop-list because of said offense, this cat would have never been an issue. There is no reason for deceit; only the shame of owning such a pitiful creature.

I throw it some Meow Mix every once and a while and if its been especially good or I’m feeling not so foolish, a can of Fancy Feast’s tender lamb with veggies. Sometimes I ask myself why I bother to keep the poor thing alive, that the humane thing to do would be to put it down and let it rest in peace. Only I would grieve the loss and the world will keep wobbling on its axis unaware of its passing and much happier for it.

Having been told that I could never raise that particular breed of cat, in their educated opinion I would be better off never adopting one or anything remotely pet-like as a child because I would inadvertently kill it with my ignorance. I am defying those who "knew better" by its existence in the first place and somehow that is satisfying enough.

It is not common knowledge that I failed year four of Cat Care For Dummies or that I was enrolled with fellow, medically declared, simple-minded, pet-deprived children and subsequently finished the required program with only the very basics. Food, water and a gentle pat or two on the head if an adult was present. Steinbeck's Lennie and I have more in common than I would like to confess. I was given specific instructions that if by some chance I came upon a hapless critter, I was to give first-aid if needed (food and water) and transport to someone who actually passed all sixteen years of training with the proper paper and a gold star to prove it.

So you may be asking why an illiterate, mom-aged gal such as myself would even put in the effort of nurturing something so mournful knowing what I know and feeling the tremendous weight of all that I do not. I suppose its nice to have something to care for, that someone - somewhere out there thought it was worth a chance despite its unfortunate exterior and funny smell. It was born in desperation, raised in isolation and allows me to be me, as I am, without condition, fault, or pretenses implied or otherwise. Trust in others is not the issue here. Complete anonymity has its perks and manages the hate mail PETA would feel obligated to send me.

Maybe someday when the fur starts to grow back in - when malnourishment is no long an issue and those "who know" feel I haven't done such a bad job caring for it in my disabled state, I'll let the poor thing out into the open and bask in the late twilight of day.

As for the oddity and less-than-cryptic content of this post, I felt I had to say something in a very non-verbal sort of way. My brain falls out my rear, I panic and plead to die a very quick and painless death; I stew and stress over the cat in the bag and immediately want rid myself of anything incriminating and to bury its putrid carcass under a maple tree at least five states away. Knowing that you know, that you don't know specifically and still want to know, is enough for me to know that nobody should have ever known. You know? To satisfy your curiosity and relieve my angry ulcer, I'd like to introduce you to my cat.

worlds-ugliest-cat

The Origin of Farmers

Stacey Tractor Dad

(The Original Farmer at 18 months with Dad and Handy-Dandy.)

I thought I’d explain myself today and tell the story of where my kiddo’s got their Farmer nickname.

It's evolved over the years really. I wasn’t raised on a farm but my Dad worked with tractors for his business and all over the yard, on Grandma’s wooded acreage just behind us and we did keep a horse, my sisters jet black Mustang-mix, Velvet. Mom grew a monstrous garden and there were always berries of some kind that needed to be picked and squished into freezer jam. Snapping beans and flicking peas with Grandma on her back porch or gathering eggs from the hen house were constant summer activities I loved to help out with.

Dave grew up on a hobby farm in a very small hobby farming community near Spanish Fork, UT . Cows, horses, pigs, chickens, a dog or two and a pond that looked more like a cesspool more often that not. We lived there for a while when Devin was one year old. Let's just say I learned a lot from the experience and have come to respect the farming circle of life, like just where and how my juicy, tender steak came to be. It’s one thing to know and a completely other thing to live it.

The first of my creative nicknames was that of Farmer-Toad, hoppy little things in the field next to the creek and pond that would bounce off your legs as you walk it, much like Devin when he started walking and constantly underfoot. In fact, his first Halloween costume was a frog.

Then it was Farmer-Snot, not very nice considering, but a farmer does what a farmer has to in middle of a field without a hanky. Dave introduced me to the concept which I would never, ever do even in the most neediest of farming-nasal circumstances. The name falls in line with the fact that most kids are covered in the stuff from one year old and on and Devin was no exception to the rule.

From the family farm we moved into our own hobby farm, though we only had chickens and two yellow labs, we did have a pasture that our neighbor turned his Palomino out in. Then it was curb and gutter until we found our property in the Forest Grove area. No animals or pasture there, figured the wild ones would make up for that. We did have a garden with grapes and berries, a classic well-like cistern, a year round creek and gravel road. The Farmers had room to roam. For the past two years and some odd days we’re back to suburban life with asphalt roads and all our shopping within a ten minute radius.

So now it's just Farmers. They know how to push my buttons and drive me crazy, therefore reapers of my sanity. For instance, they build me up by saying this like, "You're really good at this video game, Mom -" followed by a wicked smile or a roll of the eyes, "- for an old person." Just when my self-confidence was bubbling up out of the tar pit of parental lameness…

Poking each other needlessly, whining, selective deafness and other generally annoying things kids do to send their mother to the padded room in a nice white jacket where “cocktails”are served each morning, sooner rather than later. I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about!

In the end, that's the story of where Farmers came from.

The Happy Camper Returns

Last Monday at approximately 5:26 a.m. I gave my oldest child a hug and sent him away to Scout Camp. As sad or pathetic as it seems, he has never been away from me or his family longer than a day and giving him up to the wilds of Idaho caused more than just a few pangs of worry.

There’s no calling to check up or say good-night and recalling all those Scout Camp horror stories of bears mauling scouts in their sleep, falling off a cliff side, drowning in some sort of water activity and freak acts of nature involving lightening strikes or tornados can and will put even the bravest of mothers on edge until their safe return.

Shirtless

I’m not completely off my rocker here, I have proof of wild, beast-like, crazy boy behavior. For instance, the Brawny Man picture. Shirtless and everything near the edge of a plateau. Don’t they know bees can sting them? That the sun will burn them? That personal body odor after such a hike can wilt even the weediest of flowers? These are the reasons a mother should be concerned.

Then while I was tending to the cleanliness of the kitchen, the bells I have hanging on the front door jingled and my Devin was home.

He’s dirty, extremely dirty and smelly and covered in nature. He’s smiling too! Wait a minute, is that a band-aid on his middle finger? Okay, I can handle that.

He wouldn’t let me give him a hug so I took one anyway. “My baby boy is back!” ( He loves me calling him that! )

After the gear was unpacked and put away, showers and my laundry pile tripled, he regaled the more exciting parts of Scout Camp and none of it I found scary. Though I wonder if he left anything out on purpose.

Rootbeer Chugging

There was a Rootbeer chugging contest, silly songs about a golden ladle and tribal grunting calls which only encouraged Cro-Magnum like behavior. A Spirit Stick that I highly doubt encouraged the presence of the Holy Ghost, which I hear was accidentally burned in the campfire one night. Devin brought home a walking stick that he and his dad carved out and decorated together with ‘bear’ claws, a raccoon tail and strips of leather.

Swimming

Devin passed the swimming test and earned five merit badges; Environmental Science, Emergency Preparedness, Soil and Water Conservation, Fish and Wildlife, and Fingerprinting.

Leaders Trail

Lake View

THIS is where he spent a WEEK! Here? It’s beautiful! I want to be a Scout.

I want a week’s vacation in the mountains by a lake.

Devin Tree

I’m so glad that he had the opportunity to go and be manly but he’ll always be my baby boy whether he’s twelve or seventy-two! Thanks to all the leaders who spent their time wrangling the boys, especially mine. This is definitely one of the hardest parts about being mom, watching them grow and growing a bit myself.

Continuing On Through The Great Beyond

At the Waters Edge

Like all epic journeys, this one begins with your average, everyday character in an ordinary place and during a time of no real great importance.

There will be ups and downs, lefts and rights, with twists and turns that are wholly expected and yet altogether surprising moments of organized chaos.

I have never written a blog before or for that matter, read one. Thanks to Lora, I've set out to do the seemingly impossible- keep in touch. At this point I have no idea what could be so special about mundane life to write about, why anyone in their right-mind would want to read it and my ability to string together more than three words in one, comprehensible sentence. And with that, my first post, I'm off into the Great Beyond.

A year has gone by since I published my first post and despite feeling completely inadequate to make your time worth reading my mindless scribbling's, I’ve come to the realize what a blessing, if you can call it that, Chronicles has been. Those days when I truly believe that I’ve done nothing worthwhile, when days blur into months without any real accomplishment or specific instance, I can look back and say, “Yeah, I remember...”

I suppose that had I actually kept a family journal, this would be a moot point. It is arguable, however, that a blog does not and should not replace writing intimate details of your life the old fashioned way by your own hand in ink and paper, but it is a start. In a generic and filtered sort of way, this has been my life for the past twelve months and sharing it with my friends and those who’ve happened upon it by coincidence, has not only connected them with me but me with the rest of the world.

I am not alone in my joys or struggles of being a wife and mother or striving to live righteously and serving others when I can. That kids will be kids and that life happens when you least expect it. That nurturing mothers and strong families, though sometimes looked down upon as an archaic notion seeped in "mythical” doctrines of religion, can and are making a difference however insignificant the progressive world has made us believe.

  • The greatest word that could ever be inscribed on a headstone would be that of “Mother” and yet the world would not be able to comprehend Her greatness.

So thank you for spending a little time with me, your comments have often made a good day better and the bad ones sting a little less. Thank you for sharing your lives and inspiring me to be better, to be kinder, to be a little more compassionate. To laugh at the little things, sometimes the big things too, giving me strength and encouragement through your own.

Oh, I apologize for the soapbox moment. I suppose I’m allowed one or two now that then! lol

Just The Girls

group of girls

Yesterday morning, Hubby headed off to Scout Camp, leaving me and the two youngest farmers home to fend for ourselves.

It’s not very often that an opportunity comes along to invite the girls over and do what we do best into the wee hours of the morning.

Chat. About everything and anything. Getting to know one another better, nurturing new friendships and laughing to the point of tears. Although, I think I was the only one guilty of that!

It was so much fun, low-key and laid back, that I really want to thank those of you who came.

I missed you, Lora!

Creature Comforts

Something to snuggle, something to cuddle and something to tell all your secrets to. Mops up tears, cover ears and eases all those childhood fears.

Devin never really had a favorite animal or one that he absolutely needed every night before he would fall asleep. D.J. and Maddy are an entirely different story.

For the love of dogs, D.J. has about fifty of them in his room of all different breeds and sizes. His most favorite is Ruffy, a Black Lab that Santa brought him years ago. Since then, his litter has been growing exponentially. Next in line is Butterscotch the Basset Hound – lazily lying on his master’s chest. Jack, a life-sized Old English Sheepdog, serves as a pillow most nights or a comfy backrest while playing video games or watching a movie. Fred, Sally, and Rupert ( left to right ) round out the top row and all have gained a place of honor on his bed.

Maddy has simpler tastes. From the moment she laid eyes on Crystal, the two have not been apart. I tried explaining to her that Crystal was really from the Disney movie the AristoCats and most likely had a name of her own. “No, this is Crystal, Mommy.” She’s been on trips, has tried to sneak into church once or twice and time away at the "cleaners" is almost too much for Maddy to bear.

I have to have pictures like these of my Farmers to remind me that they are good, sweet, and angelic gifts from Heavenly Father despite giving me gray hair and outward symptoms mirroring those of Tourettes.

DSC02800

Fantastic Fourth!

This years’ Fourth of July was celebrated with all the proper elements befitting a summer holiday; water and fire. Dave and Devin started the day off by donning their scout uniforms and posting flags around the neighborhood. I love to see the red, white, and blue of our country’s flag line the streets, unfurled and weightless against the jet black asphalt. I’m filled with a great sense of pride and respect for this great nation.

After some minor set backs, including a dead boat battery off and on the water (after flagging down a fellow sailor for a jump, we realized that our boat was in gear and this good Samaritan was wasting his time), it was time to hit the waves. This year we took our friends the E's and had a great time.

“It’s alright, just hang on.” Gage’s first time out on the kneeboard.

Another first; D.J.‘s not so sure he really wants to wakeboard after all. We almost got him up, I’d say he was, but wiped out seconds later. Next time he’ll get it.

Dev, Madison, and D.J. taking a break after mastering the beast. I was told that they were singing ‘Juice Box Hero – with straw in his eyes’ the entire time Madison, Gage and Devin were being bounced from wave to wave. Too much of either Foreigner or Capri Suns I think.

Oh, don’t you just wanna make a picture worth a thousand blackmails? Like one with hearts and cupids, something that says ‘special’ friends and reeks of young love?

Oops! Where did that come from? Shame on Photoshop… shame, shame.

Once off the water, our friends were kind enough to have us and another family - the B's - over for a B.B.Q. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, salads, and desserts. All of it delicious and hit the spot.

(Notice the happy couple?)

Geez, cut that out! Their only friends for crying out loud!

Who’s writing this thing anyway, they need to be fired!

By eight that night the dishes were cleaned up, kids washed up and the flags picked up so we could embark on our final destination - the thriving metropolis of Melba, Idaho. Each year they start they day off with a 7 a.m. half marathon, various antique exhibits, a parade, and vendor displays then finish off the night with a pyrotechnic display worthy of a much larger city.

Here's the crew, watching a pre-show brought to us by our friend's the B's. A big thanks go out to our other friends, we'll call them the P's, for claiming an excellent spot to view the show. It takes a great family to let another, oh - three families crash their shindig.

DJ Maddy Smoke

Does smoke follow age or beauty?

video

Land That I Love


"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. "
God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
Irving Berlin, c. 1938

For The Pits

Last night we packed the Focus and headed out to the church orchard to thin the peaches. We’ve picked and gleaned apples last fall but this was our first experience with the fruit.

The fuzzy green grenades were pluck from the loaded trees and “dropped” to the ground, sometimes hitting those below or oddly enough, next to. Newton had the whole apple-gravity thing down pat but he obviously didn’t sit beneath a peach tree.

There were shriveled pre-peaches, evil twin peaches (shout out to Christi) that needed to be put asunder and odd deformities, of which all were unceremoniously ripped from the tree for the greater good of all peaches and partakers alike. If only thinning the family tree were so easy! Just think how those reunions would be each summer without the Cousin Eddies we all know.

Farmer Devin likes to climb the ladders. Farmer D.J. wants to be like Farmer Devin and climb the ladder too without Mom or Dad acting as a nagging stunt cushion. Farmer Maddy, jealous of both Farmers Devin and D.J. climbed the ladder once or twice with Dad, making sure there were no slips, shifts, or anything remotely dangerous to avoid the perils of a fallen farmer.





The families that came to do their part kept the job fun. The Young Women and Young Men showed up to put their two cents in and livened up the place. But it was the S.A. ward that broke the relative silence like a sonic boom. Love, youth or something else was in the air.

Yeah, that’s me. I’m one hot momma. Really! I was sweat’n with the best of ‘em and looking absolutely peachy. Itchy, damp and smelling as nature intended, crossing all my stubby fingers and toes that a bee would not take a liking to me or feel the need to die and drag me down that dark tunnel with them.

Farmers farming more than just my sanity. I love the orchard.

Mucho Grande Gracias to Christi for the pictures. I was more than retarded and forgot to bring the camera.

Boys Will Be Boys

DJ BowDJ StiltsDJ BB Gun

Every boy at some time or another has fashioned their own bow and arrows from sticks and twigs all the while imagining to shoot an apple off their snot-nose, little sister's head. In their minds, it's a win-win situation. Knock the apple off because you're that good or poke your sibling with a sharp stick being fully protected under the 'we were playing' clause from too much parental wrath. Of course, the "what were you thinking" line of questioning can be brutal at times but well worth it if sis isn't bleeding too bad or missing an eyeball.

Stilts give smaller boys a taste of what life is like to be taller. A lot taller and therefore instantly blessed with authority. "I'm taller than you, Mom! Now you have to do what I say." Its no wonder these words are thrown back to parents when after being bombarded with the "why can't I's" our response is either a) because I'm older or b) because I'm bigger than you. Honestly, I fear the day when he really is taller than me and when he really is old enough not to need me anymore.

Guns. What more can I say. Pump/bolt action Grizzlies. Locked, loaded and in the hands of eight year olds. It's a miracle I got this shot with out getting shot myself. "You'll shoot you're eye out!"

Today was D.J.'s very first day of Cub Scout Day Camp. I learned a few good knots to keep those apron strings tight while letting them loose at the same time.

Camp Glenwood

This years Ward Camp out was held at Camp Glenwood, just outside of Banks, Idaho along the Payette river. It was a lot of fun for those who attended. I always enj0y spending time with our Ward Family where Sunday attire is not required and everyone has a chance to let down their hair and be themselves - as they are - for better or worse.

dj uni edited-1

D.J. getting ready for the flag ceremony.

Miss Is just before she got me with a water ball bomb.

Hunter Ball

This little man is ready for action; too bad mom is so far away!

A shoulder to snooze on.

Retiring Flag

At the end of the first day, Devin retrieved Ol’ Glory.

Ain’ No Mountain High Enough!

Taking a break (Midway View)


















As soon as the tent pegs were pushed into place and the sleeping bags rolled out, Dave proclaimed that it was time for a family hike.

Behind our tent was a small trail heading up the hillside and the boys all agreed that the overgrown dirt path looked 'fun'.

So we set off, Maddy and D.J. in Croc knock-offs of all things and Devin’s foot attire wasn’t much better; at least there were Velcro straps to keep his sandals on.

The switchbacks were riddled with washouts, fallen trees and huge piles of jumbo chocolate jelly beans otherwise known as deer poop. The higher we climbed the steeper it got. The damp, compacted dirt trail that we started on became wide and sandy stretches laced with bare pine roots, patches of sage brush and rock faces. Maddy and D.J. were rendered helpless; no traction whatsoever. I held, pushed Maddy ahead of me by the waistband of her dirty pink jeans and at times boosted her up as she climbed an exposed root. David and D.J. didn't fair much better.

Finally, after much murmurings and lost hope, we made it. The Farmers were proud of their accomplishment and retold the more harrowing parts of the climb and how they 'almost didn't make it'. We had to keep reminding them that going down wasn't going to be as easy as they thought and that if they ran or rolled a la Princess Bride, they'd impale themselves on a branch or hit a tree... emphasizing the possibility of getting hurt really bad or dying. Unfortunately, the effect worked a little too good for Maddy who suddenly feared for her life, "I don't want to die today, Daddy." Talk about feeling like the worse parents in the world.

Our view at the top was cut short when I found a tick crawling up my arm. I just love blood-sucking bugs, especially when they've staked me out as an afternoon snack. So Maddy wouldn't die, we utilized our backsides and did our own version of the Alpine Slide. Of course, the Farmers thought it was the coolest part of the hike. We all fell a couple of times; bad enough to bleed for D.J. and Dad. Maddy caught a rebar stake in the shin, Devin a stick to the toes and Mom embraced her greener side and hugged a tree to keep from falling on D.J. who had crashed seconds before.

Sadly those who remained at camp suffered the horror of witnessing our dirty, sweaty return. It was not pretty in the least and after finding another tick in Maddy's hair, it was time to hit the showers for the good of everyone around. Once the soap had washed away the proof of our adventure, I was proud of my Farmers for not giving up.

Alpine Slide

Hike Height