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Just another stay at home mom trying to do it all, save the world, and not run out of coffee.
My published articles: exm.nr/gkA1yp
Twitter: @CarolBruckmann

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Flies By

Smack dab in the middle of summer, July is a month that begs to be crammed full of activities. July fourth parades & cookouts, swimming, and baseball in the backyard make us all feel more American. In a month already stuffed with too many activities, including our last single digit anniversary, Jamie decided we needed to cram in a trip to Cincinnati. His main reason? He wanted to eat junk food. I guess I've pushed too many veggies from the CSA. He also wanted to see his family and have some fun, but we were about to see them at the end of the month. You decide. He found a great deal that would allow us to all visit the Newport Aquarium followed by Grandpa treating everyone to a feast at the Hofbrauhaus.We also fit in visits with two of his high school friends and their children, a backyard soccer game, and a ladies luncheon in which the little girls modeled the dresses they had sewn with Granny. (The girls later had a hilarious conversation that I joined in.)

On the way back home, we dropped off my nephew and picked up some amazing blueberries that my mom's friend had picked for us. Caitlyn and Elijah had fun daring each other to eat the green ones.

Granny found a time share in Tennessee that could accommodate them, us, and Jamie's sister's family. Before we drove there, Jamie found out that his van needed a new transmission. He was sure we could make it to the vacation anyway. I was pretty anxious about it all, so once we were there I insisted that we either ride with his family or bike where we needed to go. (This meant I didn't go to the flea market, where Jamie brought Caitlyn this bear that is bigger than her. Yikes!) I never thought of what it was like for Elijah to travel in the bike trailer, but he documented it for us. We had a big scare when Caitlyn took a tumble while riding on the road and I had to quickly maneuver to hit her helmet and fall myself rather than run over her. Thankfully we all survived.

Middle Tennessee is filled with state parks where you can hike, fish, view waterfalls, canoe, and occasionally letterbox. We were not at the time share much, but the lake, pools, and putt-putt there were enjoyable.  We hiked to the falls at Burgess Falls State Park where the kids argued over walking sticks they picked up. We also found a letterbox at the World's Largest Treehouse, but unfortunately the fire marshal had closed down the house itself. It looked like it would be a lot of fun to climb. We hunted a few more letterboxes, but Elijah sabotaged the GPS in may car, sending us to a Cracker Barrel rather than the last hunt. We realized it after driving for ten minutes in the wrong direction and spent some time waiting for the other group at a thrift shop. While Jamie and his sister took the kids to ride go-carts and so on, his parents and I drove to Alvin C. York State Park. I was excited about it after studying World War I and his heroism. My father-in-law has difficulty walking, but his wife convinced him to go on a "moderate" hike to the grave site. It wasn't long before we realized it wasn't so moderate. We were almost to the end when we spied a steep suspension bridge to get across the water. Grandpa was a trooper and made it across and then up the steep stairs at the end. I was helpful and ran back to get the car and pick them up on the other side.

At Cumberland Mountain State Park we were excited to have my friend Rebecca Ann with us, but sad that she was with us because she was on her way to move away to Tennessee. She helped us find the letterbox on our hike and stayed for lunch. After sadly bidding goodbye to her, Elijah having some bad behavior in the restaurant, and Jamie abandoning me to play tennis, I grabbed E's fishing pole so we could go down to fish with the others. I was not in the best spirits, to say the least. I thought it would be a good idea to take a potty break first. He was holding his pole, and when we went into the bathroom stall I realized that the line went out the bathroom door. Thinking it had only gotten caught there, I left him to grab the end of the line. Apparently he had been holding the button down. The line went out the bathroom, through the lobby, out the entrance, and was wound around the flowers and shrubbery outside. Senior citizens were getting tangled in it. I frantically stopped and untangled the people as I tried to gather the line. After I got it all together, I went to find Elijah, knowing that by this time he could be anywhere. The blessing that saved my sanity was this. When I reentered the building, Elijah was standing there with a couple who looked vaguely familiar. After a second, I realized it was Ed and Marcia, a couple I had spoken to after a welcome breakfast at our timeshare because they had the same name as my parents. They had also come to the state park for a visit, noticed what was going on, and came over to stand with Elijah. What a blessing! Later while we were fishing, they paddled by on a canoe. They called over, "Has our grandson caught anything?" Elijah spent the rest of the day trying to spot "our other family". I thank God for the kindness of strangers at just the right moment.

The highlight of Caitlyn's day was when she finally caught her first fish. I was most impressed that Elijah and I were able to paddle a canoe without capsizing. I was even able to take a video to prove it!

Our immediate family borrow a car and drove to Falls Creek Falls State Park. Daddy begged me to do the ropes course with Elijah. Oh. My. Word. Have I ever been more submissive? The whole thing was a mini panic attack coupled with working every muscle of my body to keep the kid going across the thing. After all that clipping in and out of the obstacles. The last step was me zip-lining down to the bottom then waiting for him to follow. That probably only took a month off my life. But, soon I can look back on the photos through the haze of my fuzzy memory and pretend it was a grand adventure.

You can click through more pics from the month of insanity by clicking here.

Shalom Seekers