Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ER Beth

Yesterday Beth was bound and determined to go to the hospital.

It seemed every time we turned around she was doing something dangerous.

I was sitting at the top of the stairs talking to Jeffrey during his lunch hour, and she kept getting angry with me because she wanted to slide along the narrow edge between the wall and the stairwell, and I just wouldn't let her. Because I am mean like that.

Later, Jeffrey and I were talking in our room, and the Mommy senses started tingling. I leaped up, looking for Beth, and saw her trying her hardest to shove a flat blade screw driver into the outlet. Which is sad, because the outlet cover, which I am usually so vigilant about keeping plugged in was sitting on the floor right next to her. I had pulled it out so I could plug in my computer, but then the kids had moved my computer and had forgotten to put the cover back in place, thus leaving an enticing hole for Beth. Add to that the fact that Keith had accidentally pulled the faucet knob in the bathroom off, so he had my tools out, and so access to my screwdriver was very handy because he hadn't put them away properly, instead he had placed them beneath the uncovered outlet in my bedroom.

And thus began the chain of events.

For some bizarre reason, I had decided to make kool-aid yesterday. I never make kool-aid, but it has been unbearably hot, and I have been feeling quite a bit like June Cleaver, and felt like indulging. So I splurged like a 49'er on payday and got those adorable little humans of mine some sugar infused drink to add color and sweet comas to their childhood memories.

Yesterday I decided to make Mango Peach. Because mangoes and peaches just happen to be the two of my favorite fruits, and I called that the most amazing luck ever, to find a drink that contained both at once! It had to be absolutely lush, I was sure of it! I was so excited to try it and share it with those partners in joy and crime of mine.

Pity it really wasn't all that good. It had such potential!

But while Keith and Faye ran in and out of the house, chasing goblins, vanquishing trolls, and conquering kingdoms, Beth and I attacked dust bunnies and dirty dishes all the while keeping the four of us hydrated on the orange liquid of mango peach nectar of childhood called Kool-aid.

Jeffrey got home from work and needed to do some work on his car. I decided I needed to bake him some bread as payment for when he finished. Because every good mechanic needs payment, and since mine wasn't charging me an arm and a leg for service, he needed something, and my man loves nothing better than a fresh baked loaf of bread, that is what he would get.

Except that is not what happened. Adrienne called and needed a ride to pick up her car from the mechanic. I happily jumped at the chance to help her as she is always there to help me and many others when they are in need, so of course I could repay the favor. I scooped Beth up in my arms and headed out the door. Except as I got there, I realized that I couldn't bring Beth with me, because there wouldn't be a car seat for Adrienne's baby, so I would have to leave Beth home. I explained the situation to Jeffrey, he agreed to watch her as I would only be gone for a short while, and he held her so she would be safe as I drove out of the drive way.

I drove away taking care of Primary things in my head, as that is always what I do when I have a spare and quiet minuet. I prayed for some guidance and direction because every other time I had attempted to pray, I was interrupted by Beth bursting into the room, jumping onto my back, or trying to squish beneath my arms and join me. I always had to end quickly, though, as she made me laugh and was far too distracting for me to get anything accomplished. And so I prayed, as I always do when I drive, because I really can't get any peace and quite at any other time. And as funny as it sounds, I really do love that!

Near Adrienne's house I noticed there had been an accident and that there was a lot of traffic, and how grateful I was I wasn't going that way. At about that time, my phone rang. It was Jeffrey. He was slightly panicked. He told me he had been draining the wiper washer fluid and had turned to find a tool in his tool box. When he turned back, he noticed that Beth had scooped up the cup that was collecting the orange mango peach colored fluid, and when he looked at her, she had it all around her mouth, as if she had just guzzled it.

He didn't know if she had swallowed any, or a lot, or none at all and had simply put it up to her mouth. He had no idea. He no longer had the container for this fluid, as it was at least a season or two old, and he worried that this had some antifreeze in it.

Now, I am an expert with calling Poison Control. I have done it so many times with my other kids, that I didn't even worry. I told Jeffrey to get her to drink a lot of fluids right now, but if it would give him peace of mind, I would call poison control. He said it would, and so I said I would call them as soon as I stopped the car (I was in Adrienne's neighborhood by this time).

I hung up the phone with him, and nonchalantly called them, breezily explaining the situation, and confidently told them that I had already told him to flush her with fluids and to watch her. Which is the advice that I have always received when I have called in the past.

Not this time.

"I'm afraid fluids wont do any good this time, hon." the lady kindly said. "You need to take her to the emergency room right now. Which hospital will you be taking her to so I can call ahead and have them ready for her?"

I was floored. Not only be her words, but by the calm way she spoke them. As if she were asking me the time of day. No alarm in her voice, no worry, just fact and kindness.

By the time I got off the phone, Adrienne had come out, and tears were streaming down my face. She gave me a hug, which somehow squeezed more of those tears out, and I then I was off driving again. Except I had forgotten about the accident and the rubbernecking induced traffic.

Now, as a side note, I am not prone to road rage. I don't shout at drivers, as I know they cannot hear me, and I find it silly to get so upset over something I am so powerless over. But for possibly the first time in my life, I was shouting, and screaming at the traffic in front of me. I was calling Jeffrey frantically. Except I was accidentally calling his work phone so he wasn't getting any of my calls. And the cars in front of me who were "purposefully" driving so slow, well, it is a good thing that cursing people doesn't actually work. And that they will never know my ire of that moment. I drove as fast as I could, squealed my tires into the driveway, and shuddered the van to a halt in front of a bewildered Jeffrey.

I jumped out of the van, I am sure looking like a lunatic, with tears still streaming from my face.

"Where are the kids? We have to go right now. Beth has to go to the hospital this moment!" I sputtered.

Jeffrey stood for a moment watching me, and I had to explain again that I had just gotten off with poison control, they said to take her to the hospital immediately, and that time was of the essence, so we had to leave immediately!

The kids were next door playing, and right at that moment the dad got home, so it was very convenient for Jeffrey to run over and quickly explain the situation while I buckled Beth into her seat and we set off again, breaking every single speed limit ever set, and not even getting the juvenile joy out of it that I would have years ago.

It really seemed like we did hit every single red light on our way there.


We got to the hospital, and Beth the whole time was acting like she was fine. She was happy and thought we were on an adventure.

Bless her happy little heart, she certainly helped my tears disappear and my peace restore. Calmness came to my soul because of her laughter and chatter and concern for me every time she saw anything resembling a tear come near my eyes.

Jeffrey was a mess, though. He beat himself up black and blue, though. He blames himself for the whole thing, saying he wasn't watching her properly, and it is his fault if anything happens to her.

We only had to wait in the waiting room of the ER for about 5 minutes, and we were taken back. They told us that with this type of poison, it is always metabolic first, and then the physical symptoms happen, so watching her and seeing how happy she was and seeing how much fun she was having would do absolutely nothing to gauge how she actually was. But good heavens, that little girl charmed her way around the ER. Everyone there wanted to peek their heads in and see the curly headed cherub who was filing the whole floor with laughter and gaiety. She was throwing Jeffrey's keys around the room and chasing them down, giggling hysterically, thinking it droll and the greatest thing ever.

I did get a little tired of people asking where Beth's curly hair comes from. Especially when they would ask me while I was holding her.

The gaiety was broken by the nurses reluctantly coming in with the news that they were going to have to draw blood. Which they did on three separate occasions. Jeffrey and I had to pin my poor giggling baby down, while they poked her with needles. She was so pale when they finished, and it really broke our hearts.

I have never in my life seen Jeffrey cry, until last night.

Each time they took her blood, it made all three of us cry; the baby, Jeffrey and I.

Apparently for that particular test the blood must be specially packaged, and then carefully chartered to Salt Lake City where the test itself takes at least three hours, which meant we would have to be there four hours or longer. They also informed us that they would need to catheter Beth, to which she again amazed them with her super powers. We informed them that she would not need to be catheterized, because my amazing little cherub who is not yet two can use the potty and loves to show off to everyone that she is an expert at potty-ing.

They were duly impressed.

And something along the lines of having to take her blood every three hours, just in case the first test results didn't take. I don't remember. That, or they are secretly in the black market for baby blood.

And so, we sat there, waiting in a small room, trying to entertain Beth, all the while trying to bate our fears. Jeffrey kept talking about "what if," until I finally told him that "what if" was not an option for me because I couldn't bare to think about anything other than them telling us after a ridiculously long wait would be that she is fine, and we could take her home, and then we would have an outlandish bill to pay because we don't have insurance for the kids.

We called our Bishop who happens to be a childhood friend for both Jeffrey and myself. He immediately came up to the hospital and assisted in giving Beth a blessing. Adrienne, who had been helping to keep my spirits up with her witty texts that always make me laugh offered to bring some things to us from the house. She brought Beth's binki (which was heaven sent as she desperately wanted it every time they poked her to take her blood), blanket, and pajamas. My phone charger, and my tablet, as well as some medicine to help with my migraine that was beginning. She also stopped at a store and picked up some humus and crackers and a mix of cajun nuts all of which really helped my head because I think part of the migraine was from hunger, part was from lack of sleep, and part must have been from worry.

Around 12:30 we finally learned that Beth was fine. She had ingested some, but clearly not enough to hurt her. The toxicity level is 20 and Beth was at a 6. They let us go home. It was the greatest homecoming I have ever felt, and I am not saying that in my usual way of being melodramatic, I truly felt happier than I ever have to go home.

Meanwhile, my parents had collected Keith and Faye had given them dinner and put them to bed at their house. It was decided that they would stay there for the night and in the morning, Beth and I would go and get them. Which meant that she and I would be able to get the amount of sleep that we actually needed!

Today was quite a surprise, though. I did get a decent amount of sleep last night, which was heaven. And then today I ran errands with the kids. I had to go to my doctor's office to get some lab work done, and then we went to 2 different grocery stores. While at one of them, we were waiting in line for a long time. A new checkout lane eventually opened up, and they asked us if we would like to go to the new lane, meaning, did we want to be first in line. Oh my goodness, yes! The lady who was checking us out said she was very impressed with my calmness as the kid seemed to be climbing up the walls. Faye had no shoes on and was trying to poke holes in wheat and flour bags. Beth was being adorable and trying to add everything from the impulse buy items to the cart, and Keith kept pushing the cart, running me over. I was also surprised by how calm I was and how un-frenzied I felt. Because they are my little humans and I love their guts and I am so happy that they are alive and healthy and well!

There is nothing quite like the emergency room to put things into perspective, is there?

When Jeffrey got home from work today he told me that his co-worker and our friend had to leave work early today as they discovered whopping cough in their home. The whole family is now under quarantine. Jeffrey showered as soon as he got home from work so as not to spread any of the germs he may have gotten from work. What a scary thing this mortality is!

I just have to say, I am so happy I have this darling little family. And what a blessing they are in my life. And more than anything, it is so beautiful to me to see how protected and loved we are. How the Lord is guiding and protecting us in every aspect of our lives. It is so evident and obvious to me that we are being watched over, and I obviously have to give credit where credit is due.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Diggy Diggy Hole

I am beginning to appreciate the adventures that Life always seems to enjoy dishing out to us. It is what adds so much flavor and memory to our days, right?

After years and months and finally days of intense studying, Jeffrey passed his last test for school on June 11th!

The week before that, we got a call from our renters telling us that the kitchen faucet was leaking really bad, and it was dripping into the cabinet beneath the sink. Rather than bother Jeffrey who was crazy stressed out studying night and day for his test, losing sleep over the anxiety of the pressure, knowing this was it and if he didn't pass, he wouldn't be graduating, I called my dad and he and I went up and fixed it without even telling Jeffrey about the problem. We fixed it the day before he took his test. While my dad and I were there fixing the sink, we noticed there was a leak in the water meter, and so I called the City to let them know so they could fix it, so the girls wouldn't have a huge water bill. That was on a Wednesday. The test was a Thursday. Friday, when he got home from work, he went down to his office, got on his computer, and checked his email to see the results of this life altering test.

He passed with room to spare!

We were so excited!

We piled the kids in the van and decided to go out and celebrate! The kids played at my parent's house, and Jeffrey and I went to Cafe Rio and had a date without the pressure of school for the first time of our married lives, and it was glorious!

And then half way through that date we got a phone call from the renters.

The water main was still leaking. So I had to call the city again.

Saturday they came out, and left a notice on the door of the girl's house saying there was a leak in the meter, 3 inches too far on our side, making it our problem, and we had 15 days to fix it or the city would shut off the water to the house.

Herein we really see the mettle of Jeffrey and my personalities. Jeffrey immediately began grumbling about another crisis happening, immediately happening. The moment we pass through one thing, something else happens. He had about an hour of peace between graduating school and the next crisis. I, on the other hand had to keep reminding him how lucky we are that the leak happened when it did and not a day sooner! It is such a good thing it didn't happen before he was through with school, because that really would have put us in a pickle, for sure!

He is a glass half empty kind of guy, I am a glass half full kind of gal.

I really wonder how this is messing up our kids.

Needless to say, we had a week full of lots of calling around to plumbers, excavators and the like, comparing prices and trying to figure out all the semantics of everything that would go in to fixing the water meter, specifically how long the girls would have to be without water. And here we see another blessing. We have so many friends and family with so many different skills in particular professions, which helped us so much. My friend Shaun and I were chatting and he offered to come and help, despite having surgery on his knee the week before. I remembered he had helped me out with some plumbing problems previously, so I accepted his help. It was a good thing we did. He seriously saved us. He lays pipe for Rocky Mountain Power, and we had to figure out how to get some pipe under the sidewalk. He knew exactly what to do, how to do it, and he saved us so much time, heartache, and stress.  I really don't think he understands just how grateful we are for all his help. We would probably still be over our heads in that hole right now were it not for him.

Saturday morning we dropped the children off with Jeffrey's parents, and went up to the house and began digging a hole.

When the excavator we rented arrived, 2 giant six year olds looked like a giant claw machine was the only thing they could ever had asked for and some odd 30 years of playing video games had finally paid off as Jeffrey and his brother giddily climbed into the machine and began digging up the earth with the giant shovel.

And while one dug, the other would play Foreman and shout out directions to the other, laughing whenever a mistake was made. Soon, a 5 foot hole was dug, and we got to pull out our shovels, and I laughed as they looked like a couple of dwarves, their Norwegian ancestry really coming through in that moment. Jeffrey later told me that a truly epic song which he discovered on youtube was stuck in his head all day.

Diggy Diggy Hole

Brothers of the mine rejoice!
Swing, swing, swing with me
Raise your pick and raise your voice!
Sing, sing, sing with me.
Down and down into the deep,
Who knows what we'll find beneath?
Diamond, rubies, gold and more
Hidden in the mountain store.

Born underground, suckled from a teat of stone.
Raised in the dark, the safety of our mountain home.
Skin made of iron, steel in our bones,
To dig and dig makes us free!
Come on brothers sing with me!

I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole.
I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, digging a hole!

The sunlight will not reach this low
Deep, deep in the mine
Never seen the blue moon glow
Dwarves won't fly so high
Fill a glass and down some mead!
Stuff your bellies at the feast!
Stumble home and fall asleep
Dreaming in our mountain keep

Born underground, grown inside a rocky womb
The earth is our cradle; the mountain shall become our tomb
Face us on the battlefield; you will meet your doom
We do not fear what lies beneath
We can never dig too deep

I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole.
I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, digging a hole!

Born underground, suckled from a teat of stone
Raised in the dark, the safety of our mountain home
Skin made of iron, steel in our bones
To dig and dig makes us free
Come on brothers sing with me!

I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole.
I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, digging a hole!

And that song, basically sums up our Saturday.

We did finish late on Saturday night, with a huge thanks to all the people who helped! Jeffrey's brother, his father in law, my dad, and our friend Shaun.

And then Jeffrey was a super hero and helped me all that night and the next morning finish things up for primary.  Because he is amazing like that. Gosh I love that hole digging, school finishing, problem solving, paper for primary cutting man!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pluviophile: someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

Remember how I gushed about the storm this morning?

It was nothing, nothing compared to the glories we got this afternoon and evening.

I hate to say it, but the fact that we got a severe lightening and thunderstorm warning made me happy. Don't worry. We did come in when that warning was issued, but still, the knowledge that such a storm was coming brought the giddiness at lightening speed. No pun intended.

When we were telling Jeffrey about Beth being scared of the thunder this afternoon, she chimed right in. I had just finished telling Jeffrey how the thunder had scared her and she jumped up on the couch and said, "Thunder. Scared. Ch-choom!" imitating the noise thunder makes to her.

We all dissolved into laughter.

Later, when we were reading scriptures before bed, we were going in a circle, each reading a verse, but skipping Beth, who was climbing on Jeffrey's back. After skipping her once, she angrily climbed down, and demanded, "My turn!" When we went around again, and it was her turn, she came and sat on my lap, and gravely repeated every single word. I was impressed! Jeffrey and the older kids couldn't stop giggling because on her third word she burped it. It was awfully funny, but the glowering look she was giving everyone (which may have made them giggle all the more) helped me be serious while helping her, full well knowing I could laugh to my heart's content as soon as she was asleep. And I am. I am still laughing at her diminutive glare that could wither a person into submission, or so she thinks. Oh my heart, that girl!

Once the kids were in bed, I wandered outside and just sat on the stoop and watched the storm.

Living the lightening that was blinding, and the rolling thunder bouncing off the mountains and rolling around the valley was a form of cleansing meditation for me.
The cat watched me through her watered down sky colored eyes as I let the cold rain drip on me, sometimes trying to anticipate where the next flash would be, and sometimes just resting my head on the door frame with my eyes closed, listening, feeling, savoring each resounding explosion of light and noise. I loved the quivering tremble of the rain which would sometimes skip around, and sometimes lightly pulse, but always steadily it would come down, quenching the parched earth, and answering the prayers of farmers all around. I am praying it will somehow revive my lavender and rosemary which seem to be dead right now.

Oh glory, this day!

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. ~Langston Hughes

Mothers Nature and Goose

There is nothing quite as wonderful as a summer rainstorm. And if there is, I have yet to discover it.

Today has been simply blissful! Beth let me sleep until 8:30, which is Christmas in and of itself. She then came in my room for her morning snuggles and milk. Keith or Faye usually sneak into her room when they hear her stirring, play with her for a little bit, and then get her out of her crib. At that point, she will come running into my bedroom, curls haloing around her head, binki clamped firmly between her teeth, and she will clamber up into my bed as quickly as her clumsily waking up limbs will let her. At that point, I usually ask Keith or Faye to bring a drink in for Beth, juice or milk, and then she and I will snuggle in bed while she drinks, and we whisper and giggle, and really enjoy the moment. Sometimes when I am too tired, I will pull out my Netflix phone, and she will ignore the fact that she can watch a show on my phone, rather she will try to go into all of the apps that tempt you to spend money, and she will try to buy the world. Which is usually a great way to jolt me into alertness. We are a team to wake each other up in the mornings.

As I was getting dressed, I could hear that all the children had gone outside and were playing. We cleaned out the shed on Saturday, and there was still a bunch of bits and bobs that had not yet found a home. I hurried out to join them, and a neighbor boy came over to play with Keith. I let them play around for a bit while I watered my wee bit of a garden, and then the kids and I went inside to get some chores done.

Except that isn't what happened.

Beth found a book. She was getting sleepy. We found her freshly laundered comfort blanky and snuggled up on the couch where I read nursery rhymes to her out of one of my favorite childhood books.
Look inside! Amazon
The artwork of this book simply enchanted me, and long before I could read, I remember sitting on the floor gazing at the lovely pictures and pretending I was the lady in the nursery rhyme Ride A Cockhorse to Banbury Cross.

Except the "bells on her toes" line always perplexed me. 

But I digress. I was so happy to be able to cuddle with Beth on the couch, reading her these nursery rhymes I was always so fond of. Keith and Faye eventually gravatated towards us and had fun trying to figure out the riddles. 

Keith's favorite to stump people on is "Elizabeth Elspeth, Betsy and Bess"

Elizabeth, Elspeth, Betsy and Bess,
They all went together to seek a bird's nest.
They found a bird's nest with five eggs in, 
They all took one, and left four in.

The answer is that all the names are diminutives of Elizabeth, so it was just one person. 

Another rhyme we read created a bit of a science discussion.

As the days grow longer
The storms grow stronger

We later googled that rhyme to see if scientifically it is sound, and sure enough, it is true

The memories I am sharing and we are creating! It is magical, I tell you. 

We looked outside and saw some impressive thunderhead clouds gathering, so we decided we had better move some of the more damageable things out from the open, in case it began to rain, even though the forecast said it wouldn't. As I was finding my shoes to go outside, I heard the rain begin. Keith and Faye and beat me out there, and Beth was hot on my trail. Keith was a lovely helper and together we were able to move most of the things out of the rain. But that rain came so fast and so hard! 

The lightening!

We could hear the sky crackle with electricity as the lightening tore through those black clouds. Before the light had much time to register in our eyes, though, the earth shattering boom from the thunder followed. And then the hail started. I know saying pebble sized hail doesn't sound all that impressive, but when it is being hurtled from the sky in fistfuls, quite painful as it bounces off your back, it is much more alarming than it sounds. I grabbed an old umbrella and hurried over to our small metal shed and began to throw some things into the safety of its shelter. As I stepped in to put a box inside, lightening crackled, immediately followed by another knock-you-off-your-feet boom. At that moment I realized the lawn mower would probably be fine, and it was really not a great idea for me to be holding an umbrella with a metal pole, standing inside a metal box with the lightening being as close as it was. I left the lawnmower and rushed back to the kids. When I got near, I glanced through the curtain of hail and saw the terrified eyes of Beth.

This was Beth's first experience in a car wash, but the eyes are about the same.
Tears were spilling down her cheeks, and she was quietly whimpering, hanging on to the steps of the deck. I felt so bad for the frightened child. Of course it would scare her! I immediately dropped the umbrella and scooped her up into my arms. I shepherded the older two into the house, and of course, we flocked over to the windows to watch the rest of the storm in the safety and comfort of our house.

It was beautiful in its ferocity. And while it only lasted about 10 minutes more, we were in awe at the savage strength of Mother Nature.

Then, quite as suddenly as it came, the storm was gone. The sky is cloudless now, a mere half hour after the fact. After the storm Keith and Faye wandered away, downstairs to romp and play and create chaos and havoc as they are wont to do. I scooped up Beth, and she and I rocked in the rocking chair for a little bit. She tugged on her ear, as she always does when she is tired, and she kept saying to me "Scared. Scary." I kissed her all over her adorable little face, whispered in her ear, and hummed her lullaby as we slowly waltzed down the hall to her room. Even as I lay her down in her bed, she still kept whispering "scared." I guess it was quite the experience for her!

The house is quiet now, which is a rarity. My mind is calm, and I feel quite refreshed after the excitement of that lovely storm this morning! I really truly believe that there is magic in a summer storm.

Friday, June 5, 2015

To Live in a World Where it is Always June

Summer has officially begun. As with all moments of importance and celebration, we had to kick it off in grandeur. Because that is what we do. And the end of the school year is a day of great importance, as is the beginning of summer. We celebrated both.

Hello, June! I can't wait to get better acquainted with you.

Yesterday, was such a grand getting to know you activity. It was such a beautiful day, in all senses of the word. Keith about went out of his mind waiting for Avery to get out of school. The kids did their chores, Faye got to play with her cousin, and I visited with my sil while making an awesome rhubarb pie. While I was preparing the pie, I had a flash of inspiration. The next time I make rhubarb pie, I am going to add some orange zest. I think that would be out of this world gorgeous for the tastebuds. I can't wait to try it out! I made some quesadillas for lunch and got a horrific burn. Apparently freshly melted cheese dripping onto a finger while transferring the quesadilla from pan to plate to counter, equating a total of three seconds, can cause quite the gnarly burn. Seriously, I have a blister the size of a lady bug on my thumb, and it is only with the greatest of self control and the memory of the consequence that keeps me from exacting great pleasure in popping that bad boy. I love popping blisters, and peeling sunburn skin, and picking at scabs. I really don't know why it is so satisfying to do those things, but oh my goodness, it is amazing. But I digress.

When Avery finally got out of school, they came over to our house just as Beth was waking up. While Beth was eating her lunch and the kids were running around outside, Adrienne and I sneaked some forks out of the drawer and "tasted" the pie. It was quite honestly hard to stop with just tasting it, but we managed to use our self control. When Beth was finished, we grabbed some sunscreen which ironically was completely forgotten about while it sat in the car and we happily played in the sun we then headed up to the mountains to frolic and let loose.

I was struck by the beauty of the area where we went. The area is a favorite for Adrienne and her family, though it was my family's first time there. There is a short trail leading off the main trail which is right by the parking area. It is in a National Forest and honestly, I don't think many people know about this particular hidden treasure.

As soon as we got there, the girls immediately began playing in the stream while the boys went off in search of wood for a fire. Keith is quite the forager and the fresh air really helped him come alive. On one of his trips back to the clearing where we had set up camp, so to speak, we could hear him long before we saw him. The boy had a log nearly bigger than himself that he was lugging towards the fire pit, singing "I found a log," to the tune of Clementine. His happiness and carefree mood made my heart burst. There is nothing better for the soul than fresh air, and good friends. I love how he and Avery are such good friends. Beth and Katie are also best friends. Faye and Emily, on the other hand are more like frenemies. But oh my goodness, there was no fighting between any of the kids the whole time we were up there, and the air and smells and freshness patiently oozed its way into our souls.

Adie is an expert fire builder and before long, there were delicious s'mores to be had.

Avery and Keith had found some good long and thin sticks which they whittled into points and used those as marshmallow roasters.

Every time Faye got a toasted marshmallow, she promptly dropped it in the dirt. It was quite comical the look of devastation on her face each and every time. Of course, she ate it anyway. A little dirt never hurt a marshmallow.

Sticky fingers, muddy pants, and dirty faces was the theme of the afternoon. Beth found a little mud slide on the bank of the stream and used it to her heart's delight.

The boys went exploring, and the girls sometimes joined them, but not often. The boys' imaginations were far too vivid for the girls. Apparently there were trolls, and troll caves, and a dragon hiding out in the hills, and Faye came back to us, crying.

We gave her a sharp stick to fight the trolls off with, and all was well in her world, again. We then told her that across the stream is where the trolls and dragons lived, but behind us and up the trail was the fairy land. That cheered her up immediately, and she and Emily went off in search of fairies while Adie and I visited and tried to keep the girls from drinking the stream water.

Before too long, it was time to head back home. We drove through Trapper's Loop back home, and I wished for the millionth time that I could live there. It is like living in Little House on the Prairie, or something akin to that, with all of the rolling hills, the green which is actually quite rare for our area of the world, and the wildflowers blooming everywhere. It makes the wilderness girl in me long for her home.

As we wound our way through the green hills and the canyon, Beth decided the winding path really wasn't for her, and got car sick for the second time in her life. Although, it could have been the 20 or so marshmallows that she kept sneaking. Man alive, we were tired when we got home! We discovered that Jeffrey had enjoyed the pie, as there was about 1/8th left, which we divided and ate for our dinner. Then it was bath time, and bed time. Everyone went to bed without much of a fuss, and I think their dreams were that much better because fresh air and sunshine does wonders for wearing children out.

Adrienne and I decided we need to do this often, this summer. The exploring and nature adventures. We remembered that the children really come alive while out in the wilderness.

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it is always June." ~L.M. Montgomery

Well said, Lucy. Well said.