Sunday, June 22, 2008

Becoming One With Nature and using Tweezers to fix it

"All they do is dig into your skin and bury their heads."

This is actually something that I said to one of my children today. At the time it seemed completely logical and actually reassuring. Looking back on it, well . . . let me explain.

Today the Mrs. HTF and I took the troops on a "hike." (I'm using the air quotes because most of it was on a flat paved trail not unlike the track at your high school) We decided that the kids needed some distance from day to day fun at our house, so we found a park with a trail and off we went. The paved track end abruptly at the edge of a pretty dense forest. Then it turned into a much-less well defined trail. In the back of our minds was the goal of "toughening our kids up." (still not sure what that means, but it made sense at the time) So I glanced at the map and we decided to dive into to the woods. I'll spare you the details, but let just say this was one of the stupider decisions we've made in, well, . . . today.

As we emerged from the woods at the other end of the trail we were covered in ticks of all shapes and sizes. Well, I guess they're mostly the same shape, but the sizes were different. Everyone freaked out nicely. (It probably didn't help when I told the true story of how my mom was almost killed by a disease from a tick. I gotta remember to keep my helpful stories to myself.) We tried in vain to brush them off. A couple hours later we found ourselves in the bathroom with multiple not-clothed-at-all children plucking insects off of their bodies with tweezers. I lost count. Even tonight when we laid down in bed, Traci glanced at my arm and found another little blood sucker. Ugh. What were we thinking?! I totally should've known better. Now everyone in the family is constantly looking over every inch of their bodies, and everyone else's for the opportunity to tweeze. I've tried to pluck off the same little mole on my leg now multiple times because I swore I saw it moving. So much for our fun, family wilderness adventure. Next Saturday we're playing XBox and walking around WalMart like we're supposed to.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stuff I like lately . . . a little list

I know that a list blog is a bit of a cop out, but maybe you'll find some nugget of insight here, and well, I'm tired. At the very least it's a quick read so you can get back to doing something useful, but then again, if that were your goal, you wouldn't be reading my blog in the first place. Thanks for being a reader - both of you!

Stuff I like lately, in no particular order:
  • Humility
  • Viva La Vida by Coldplay
  • When it doesn't rain/hail/tornado
  • Braeden thanking me for coming to his little league game
  • Simplification
  • People finally deciding that maybe we should change our consumption behavior on oil
  • Social Networking
  • People who will ask me for help and let me help them
  • Sweet new tile in our shower - thanks, Dad!
  • When I get home and the kids smell like chlorine from playing in the pool
  • BSpeck and crew are gonna stop by for a short visit
  • When the girls' excuses for not going to bed is that they haven't hugged me yet
  • Tellin' it like it is

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Invasion of Lake Texoma

Monday was my first day back at the office in like 10 days. So I got to answer the "how was your vacation" questions a dozen times or so. That's a good thing, because we had a great time. Wow, was it hard getting back into work mode (I say that like it's a thing that's already happened, but it hasn't really...) So here are a few highlights:
  • First and foremost- didn't see a single snake. But we did see a bunch of very non-scary armadillos. I don't recall seeing these up close before. They looked like a cross between my parent's wiener dogs and a rolly-polly.
  • On Thursday I saw that we were under a "Severe Wind Advisory." Part of the notice said that anyone on a lake should "use extreme caution." So naturally we decided boating needed to be part of our day. A few of us spent some kinda scary moments on a pontoon boat rolling around "waves" that were strong enough to ensure that we were thoroughly soaked. At one point we took on so much water that the front end of the boat (remember this is one of those pontoon boats that are kinda like a raft welded to a couple of massive 2-liters) was actually submerged so the water was above my knees while I was seated. It was like our very own "3-hour tour." In hindsight, not a huge deal, but I was glad we didn't have any kiddos with us.
  • The adults were out-numbered 15 to 12, so that always makes for good entertainment. One of my kid's greatest discoveries was, well, mud. They called it "clay" and "sculpted" odd shapes with it. My first statement to them, said with some foresight, was "you're not bringing that home." Their answer, "ok, daddy."...................... The mud is now on our front porch greeting all who come to our house if you'd like to see it. But the kids were amazingly self-entertaining and just kinda became roving mobs that went in small, but feisty, groups from place to place doing important things like gathering rocks, dumping cups of water on each other, riding inflatable dolphins, and looking for bugs. I'm glad they never realized that if they'd have combined their might they may have overthrown the adults.
  • In another embarrassing sign of, well, lots of things . . . I pulled a muscle in my chest just as I was getting up on the water skiis and that was the end of that. Maybe if I wait another 14 years until I ski again I'll be better at it.
  • Not too long after we arrived I started hearing the phrase "talent show." To which I snickered a bit, and assumed this was just talk and would never happen. Well, it did happen and it was marvelous. Here were some of the acts on display:
    • Traci and I threw water balloons at each other
    • An elephant named "Nuts" relieved himself on some unsuspecting kids
    • Braeden tore up an entire field dancing emphatically to High School Musical . . . by himself
    • Jake (a cousin) did a river-dance thing that was mind boggling. If I moved my feet that fast, I'm certain they'd fly off or at least I'd not be walking for a while.
    • The older boys poured water on the daddies
    • The older boys poured water on the girls
    • The older girls poured water on the boys
    • And who can forget this, which was pretty much the cultural highlight of the trip for my boys:
    • We all sang a song led by Grandma & Grandpa Morrow - a good warm, fuzzy moment.
Anyway, this post is far too long already, so I'll close with this. I usually set low expectations for things, especially when there are multiple kids involved, but to answer the question in my first paragraph, this was an awesome vacation. Everyone got along so well, and we deeply appreciated being invited along. Anything that keeps the kids smiling and me reasonably safe is a good thing by me! Thanks, Mike & Kathy!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Day One at the Lake

Yesterday was spent about 8 hours headed straight south. I thought we'd hit Guatemala at some point, but we ended up in Texas instead. We're spending this week as lucky guests of the Morrow Family Reunion at Lake Texoma. We have an amazing "cabin." I guess it's the "Commander's Cabin" for whenever he shows up here. It has a big screen TV that probably won't get turned on while we're here. The kids are in heaven with lots of cousins, lake water, and well, dirt.

Entertaining kids is pretty easy in a place like this - they pretty much do it themselves. I told the group of boys that to build a fire we'd need to have a circle of large rocks, so they spent an hour just looking for the right rocks to make our fire ring. Before I woke up today, Braeden was out there in his Superman PJs looking for the right rocks to finish the thing up. We put in some strong swim time this morning and dealt with some pretty stiff wind. At one point an inflated dolphin was blown out far into the lake where we had to send a motor boat to pick it up. ("The Inflated Dolphins" would be a good name for a rock band.) Uncle Mike was kind enough to rent a boat, so the boys and I got to drive around the lake. On my third attempt to get up on the water skiis something popped in my chest muscle, and that was the end of that. It even hurts to wave with my left arm. What a wuss I am.

Traci has already read like 300 pages of the "The Host" - which apparently is a pretty popular Stephanie Meyer book. And the kids are now inside eating junk food, playing scrabble, holding burping contests and practicing snapping. For some odd reason, Allison is walking around saying "20 bucks" to everyone - I have no explanation for that, but she thinks it's hilarious. So life is good. The only concern . . . some folks saw a water moccasin this morning where we go swimming. So I may be stuck in this cabin for a while . . .
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