Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A New Smile

While we were in Isle Royal, T lost his third tooth. It had been loose for awhile, but not loose enough to pull out. We were at the Lodge and it had been raining, so we waited it out playing our new favorite card game, Kings in the Corner. After the rain stopped, the boys and I headed out to hear a park ranger talk about fishing on the island in the 1800's. We didn't all even make it out of the door, when I saw (in slow motion, of course) T slip on the wet floor outside and slam his mouth into the edge of the screen door. Blood was dripping out of his mouth and he was screaming bloody murder with big tears coming down his face. He had his hands over his mouth and we saw that his tooth was out. M and I tried to make it a happy occasion - Yay, that tooth finally fell out! But, T wouldn't have it. He was crying into the sink, saying "this is not good" and "I am not happy about this" and "it hurts too bad! It will never be the same." We got him to stop crying and got the blood stopped, when it happened...he saw himself in the mirror.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Did the crying and wailing start again! "I look ridiculous!" " I can't believe this happened!"

Needless to say, we were late for the Ranger talk, but we did make it.

He's okay now. Thank goodness.

I'm sure you're wondering.... The tooth fairy did come, but came to our house and gave him double pay (two bucks) for the "pain and suffering." When T got up to bed after we came home, he found the money and was totally stoked.

Here he is in his glory the day after the incident:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Visit to Gladstone

My gramma was born in Gladstone, MI, so we took a bit of a detour on our way home to make sure that we visited her birthplace. Although she moved to California when she was three years old, you'd think that she lived in Michigan all her life. Whenever the University of Michigan was in the Rose Bowl (which has been a lot during my lifetime), my Grandmas would put Michigan colors and pennants up and sing the fight song. She has always been so proud of her homestate!
The town is just a little one in the "UP" (the upper peninsela of Michigan.) There's not really much going on in town. It looks like it used to be a big iron mining and railroad town back in the day. I'm very glad that I got to look it up, though.
Ever since I've lived in the midwest, she always asks me if I've been to Gladstone, MI. Well, now I can proudly tell her that...yes, I have!

Thank You for Playing!

Believe it or not, your stories make more sense that our actual conversation. Here it goes.

The boys were getting ready to go to Cub Scout camp (they left today) so I was telling them Girl Scout camp stories. I went about 7 years in a row, so I had a lot of stories and had 'em laughing and laughing. I got to my CIT year (Counselor in Training) and the boys were a bit giddy. I explained how I had pool duty for most of the camp, including "polar bear swimming" (7 am swimming in a COLD pool) and "water ballet." This is where the crazy story starts....

Me: So my friend Julie and I were in charge of teaching the girls a water ballet. We had never done it before, but we figured we could do it. We picked a song that was popular at the time, "Copa Cabana."

R: You said that you got sunburned, you should have picked "Rock Lobster" (he says with his head banging in that rock-n-roll way.)

T: "R, it's Red Lobster, not Rock Lobster!"

T: Mom, I don't know that song, will you sing it?

Me: Sure, it goes something like, "Her name was Lola, she was a show girl, with diamonds in her hair and a dress cut down to there. His name was Rico, he wore a diamond..." Oh, I don't know all the words, but it was a good song. I finished the story, explaining all the moves that we did. Later on, as R was rinsing the dishes, I heard him singing.

R: "His name was Rico, he was a beaver..."

Me: Rico's not a beaver, honey. (Both boys cracked up.)

R: I'll just sing the song I made up earlier today: "I'm taking a ride on a camel's back."

Crazy conversation, huh? Anyway, I was smiling and loving every minute of it the whole time.

Friday, August 15, 2008

You Guess the Conversation

The boys and I were eating dinner, laughing and telling stories. Here are three quotes from one conversation. These quotes didn't happen all in a row, but over the course of a five-minute conversation about a story that I was telling about Girl Scout camp. Your job is to try to guess what we were talking about (good luck!) or create a story that incorporates all three quotes. So, I'm looking for interactive blogging and commenting here.... Here it goes:

T: "R, it's Red Lobster, not Rock Lobster!"

Me: "Rico's not a beaver, honey."

R: " I'm taking a ride on a camel's back."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Many Bandana Looks of T

T loved wearing his bandana. He wore it a few different ways to get different looks and different levels of comfy-ness. The one above is when he took off the bandana without untying it, and moved the knot to the front. It has sort of an Aunt Jemima quality to it, doesn't it?

Here he is with a similar look, but a bit more open. He didn't care that his brother and parents told him it looked a bit strange, he still liked it.

Then, of course, there's this look, which is really quite normal.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back from the Wilderness

We're back! It was a beautiful place to visit -- and the only way to see it is to either kayak or backpack. We were in the "backcountry" for four days, hiking or backpacking on three of them. As you know, I had never backpacked before so it was quite an experience. The good news: I was able to use pit toilets and spare myself the whole pooping-in-the-woods thing. (There, I got that out of the way. I know you were all wondering.)

After a 10 1/2 hour drive, we spent the night in Copper Harbor -- the northenmost part of Michigan. Then we took the 3 hour ferry to Isle Royale. M was excited that it looked just like it used to look when he was a teenager, only smaller (as most things do as we grow up!) We got our packs on and headed over to the water taxi, which took us to Daisy Farm. Daisy Farm would be our home for two nights. The water taxi dropped us off at the dock and the boys and M checked out the map to see where we'd sleep for the night.
We basically had to walk around the campsite to find an open site. If no one was there, we could have it. We were lucky to not only find a site, but to find a shelter! I was so excited -- in addition, it was just a stone's throw from the lake (Lake Superior, that is.) We set up our two 2-man tents in the shelter just in case it rained (you can see the tent through the screen of the shelter in the picture.)

This is taken from the picnic table in our site looking towards the lake. M and R were filtering water when I took this picture. We filtered water twice a day so that we would each have 2-3 liters of water a day to drink, plus enough to cook and wash dishes with.

Now, about our backpacks. T carried about 14 pounds when we added his water for the day. We each carried our own sleeping bag, clothes, extra pair of shoes, and our own water -- plus food. (M and I carried the tents and cooking gear. The picture below shows what T carried: two ziplock bags with his clothes (one for shirts, undies, socks, and one for pants/shorts.) He also carried two dinners (dehydrated minestrone soup and beef strongenoff) and the hot drink bag (instant coffee, tea bags, cocoa bags, creamers, and splenda) and his fishing pole and reel.

R carried similar things to T, but a bit more. His food included some heavier things -- granola bars and oatmeal for each day. He also carried my air mattress, which I'm forever grateful.

After we got our camp squared away, we hit the lake. Both boys went swimming in their skivvies as did all of the other backpackers out on the dock. R stayed in the water for almost an hour and loved running and jumping off the pier. T was in the water too, but got out often to warm up on the dock.

After dinner ("Daisy Farm Tuna Mac" named by M) the boys and I played a mean game of Crazy Eights.

M and the boys tried their hand at fishing a few times, but with no luck. Later in the trip, we heard that it was a really bad year for trout.

The next day was our day hike up to Mount Ojibiway. It was a little more than six miles round trip. With the incline to get to the top, we were glad that we didn't have our packs with us. M carried T's pack as a daypack for our lunch (PB&J on tortillas) and water. R carried a hip pack with our first aid kit in it.

Some times we hiked through swamps, so the forest rangers built these boardwalks, which I loved.

The view from the top was stunning. We could see Canada, which was what the boys were hoping would be the case.

The next day we headed out for our second camp, Three Mile. It was a four mile hike with full packs. The last mile was a BEAR, and the first three miles weren't that easy either. The trail was clearly marked, but there were tons of tree roots and rocks just waiting to twist an ankle. The last mile was up and down over boulders. We were thrilled to arrive at the campsite and even more thrilled to get a shelter right on the water again.

Setting out on the trip at 9 AM, we were all in good spirits. R and T stop for a water break using our hydration bladders in our packs.
A few hours later they weren't so happy and fresh. They hung in there, but were glad to have a break. T rarely got tired, he was always raring to go. R got pretty tired and not so happy at times. Funny how that turned out...
With a little more hiking to do, we made it to our great camping spot for the night.

We woke up to see the sunrise and get an early start the next day. We had showers and comfy beds on our minds, and wanted to get to them as soon as we could. T took this picture of the sunrise at our campsite. Beautiful.

It's amazing how a swim, good dinner, and good night sleep can be so refreshing. The boys donned their bandannas and we took off for the Lodge -- 4 miles away.

Here's a view of the Lodge from the water - it's very quaint. It looks nicer than it is -- the rooms are like a Motel 6 room. It didn't have a TV, but it had a bath and a shower and two comfy beds. That's all we needed!

Here we are all cleaned up and ready say good bye to the island and take the ferry back to the mainland.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Renassaince Faire and Trip Prep

Last year we went to the Renaissance Faire for the first time and the boys loved it. R had a blast fencing with the "champs" of the faire. This year he convinced his brother to have a dual with him. Both boys donned fencing gear and had two balloons taped to their masks. The person who popped both balloons of his opponent first won.

R was very excited about this opportunity to "fight" his brother -- usually he's told not to fight with his brother. On this day, we encourage him, even paid for him to fight with his brother. You can almost see his big smile through his mask.

On the other hand, I don't think T was too excited for the match. Maybe he knew that he didn't have a chance since his brother is taller, has longer arms, and won last year two times...

Nevertheless, they went at it....and R won after a good match.
M challenged me to a duo and I crazily accepted. Talk about a height/arm length advantage! He beat me mercilessly -- even when I did take a slice at his balloons, those darn things wouldn't pop!

The boys also participated in a Peter Pan sword fighting class (never mind that Peter Pan used a bow and arrow....he taught sword fighting that day.)

Both boys really enjoyed the class and really got into it. (T had a bit more fun doing this than fencing with his brother.) The man who was Peter Pan did a really good job at engaging the kids in the class.

After they completed their training, the boys fought the bad guy, Sheriff John. It was a good show/class.

During a magician show, R volunteered and was up on stage for about 15 minutes. He even cracked a joke or too -- what a shy boy! NOT!

Isle Royale Trip
For the next week, starting tomorrow, we will be heading to Isle Royale National Park for a backpacking trip. Yep, you read that correctly, I am going backpacking. I don't really see the need for carrying everything that you need on your back, but M does and I love him, so we're doing it. Isle Royale is a place that he talked about on our first date. He went there for a few years in a row with his youth group and he loved it. He used to always talk about how he wanted to go back and take is kids there when he had kids.

Originally, he was just going to go with the boys because I had no interest in going. After all, we're talking about backpacking here. Carry all you need on your back; sleep in a tent; poop in the woods. That's not for me. I'm not a priss by any means, but come on...poop in the woods! But, as they talked about it and I looked at pictures of the beautiful place, I began to get jealous. So, I'm going. We're not really hiking far at all -- only about 4 miles a day (with loaded packs). Now, I'm really excited about it. (By the way, I think that two of the camp grounds we're going to have pit toilets. I never knew I'd be so excited about outhouses in my life!)

  • I'm looking forward simply to making family memories..oh, and seeing moose.
  • T's looking forward to eating gorp and seeing the cool wild flowers and picking thimble berries and fishing.
  • R's looking forward to doing the day hike to Mt Ojibiwa because we'll be able to see Canada, and picking thimble berries.
  • M's looking forward to sharing his fond memories with his family.

By the way, R's birthday is tomorrow and he'll be 9. How many 9 year olds have been backpacking? Probably not too many...and even fewer have been to Isle Royale.