Saturday, August 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Dear Teenage Jamie.

January 29, 2003 
The first day we met our Jamie.
 Karl was the first one of our family to see him... being the tallest, and so able to cover the ground quickly, he made to across the room and to his son before anyone else. 
From the back of our family pack, I heard his first words to his first son. 
"There you are! 
I'd recognize you anywhere.."
And so began their first of many adventures together.
Today Jamie turns 13 and he and his dad are very much alike and so they appreciate each other immensely...they enjoy being together and have a lot in common. 
Both share a love of the outdoors and are talented musicians...the most difficult part about camping for both of them is that it's really tough to take your piano into the woods with you.
Father and son also both happen to be the kind of dudes who can rock the floppy hair and aviators just enough to keep things interesting...
(although Karl's floppy hair is a more historical reference right now)

Wishing our oldest son all good things as he begins his teenage years.  
Happy happy birthday dear Jamie...we love you. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Jamie... Home from Camp Kooch-i-Ching!

Jamie has returned from a month away at his happiest place on earth... Camp Kooch-i-ching in Northern Minnesota. He loves his camp more than I think anyone has ever loved camp and is already counting the days until  he returns next summer. 
Top three things that he loves the most about camp...
1)The people...they are awesome, all dudes, no parents involved.
2)The trip...eleven night canoe and camping trip in the north Minnesota woods is Jamie's perfect journey.
3)Trying out different stuff not generally done at home with your riflery and archery and woodsmanship.   
This makes me all very happy because our hope was that Jamie would enjoy camp by meeting new friends, trying out new activities and become more self sufficient while camping.
I mean how often does it work out that kids and parents agree on the same summer adventure?  
And admittedly, I am sub par when it comes to target practice and woodsmanship, so Jamie is going to have to go off site from our homestead to gain those skills.
So, much like last summer, Karl happily traveled to pick him up. Karl enjoys camping also, and was looking froward to an excuse to travel to the the North Woods and the mission of collecting Jamie is his idea of a perfect weekend. 
And because he is always up for a little bit of adventure, he asked the kind director at Camp Kooch if he could borrow the camp trees to set up a hammock for a couple of nights. 
(Thank you J.R. Verkamp for your kindness and hospitality)
This is how Karl slept on the pick up trip... 
In the trees, 
in a hammock, 
under a tarp, 
wrapped in a bug net.
And nobody thought he was even a little bit odd.
In fact, Jamie's camper buddies thought it was a cool, instead of weird, set up.   
While I was glad that Jamie and his buddies didn't think it was unusual to sleep in the trees, I was even happier that Karl's weekend vision did not include me suspended in the next tree over.
Although the birds eye view of Jamie's cabin was more than lovely.
Jamie is passionate about how much he loves his camp Kooch. 
Which speaks volumes about the magic of the place because almost 13 year old guys don't often exude their passion of place.
But his own personal photographs don't exactly speak the same story...he brought home about 65 images of minor injuries and bug bites. 
Jamie faithfully carried his camera on the big trip throughout the boundary waters between Minnesota and Canada, paddled through some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world, but from his photos we learned mostly of bloody toes and mosquito bites.
And even more bug bites... noted.
However, mixed in with all of the buggy body party, we did see this photo of a young moose that Jamie and his buddies came across. I will credit his counselor for telling Jamie to point his camera away from himself and in the direction of the amazing wildlife across the river.
When Jamie's trunk arrived home a couple of days after he did, a few mysteries were solved. We discovered his bottle of Deep Woods Off insect repellant still in it's original shrink wrap, as well as this bar of deodorant soap in pristine and unused condition. 
Which explains why Jamie smelled a whole lot like a young moose himself when he got his dad out of the trees and left camp. 
But smelly or not, even his sibs were happy to see him and we all had a little welcome homecoming on the front porch.
Thank you Camp Kooch-i-Ching for giving our Jamie such a wonderful camp experience that makes him eager to return year after year...truly a magical place for one of my most favorite guys!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Kicking the Dust Up with Luke Bryan and the Sisterhood.

I spent a fantastic time kicking up some dust last night when Luke Bryan brought some of his uber cool friends to Cincinnati to hang out and sing a few songs with some of my uber cool cowgal pals. 
It was a night to remember. 
And because we are stylish and fancy country concert goers, we took a batwing stretch to the show just because thats how we roll.   
And Luke was so happy to see us (and 60,000 others) that he insisted on looking extra handsome and country swagger-y.
Which we were all ok with.
Like me, Luke has a ton of talented and energetic friends who played before he hit the stage.
And those friends have a lot of fans who aren't as capable at party pacing themselves as my smart and experienced sisterhood. The main difference is that my pals had a token beer to celebrate all things country and then realized that we would rather watch the show then stand in line in the ladies rom.
Some of the less wise fans that we shared a stadium with drank gallons of beer and then either puked or fell asleep.
One of these amazing friends of mine is a doctor pretending not to be a doctor for one night.
There were several fans in our section who drank far too much than anyone should and didn't realize this until they were on the brink of consciousness.
"They will be fine once they puke, but I don't want to get barfed on tonight" were her medical words of wisdom while keeping a safe distance. And she was absolutely right. 
The party animals woke up from their beery sleep, threw up their Miller Lite (gross) and then were escorted out by medical personnel while my doctor friend stayed and enjoyed the show.  
It turns out that concert over drinkers are pretty predictable.
While we were waiting for Luke, we enjoyed the  bro-country duo Georgia Florida Line who were super energetic and hip with their country rap.
I didn't even realize that there was such a thing as bro-country duos singing rap country songs before now but thought they were both really fantastic. And fit. And very talented at styling a man bun on stage in between country rap songs.
Erika and I realized that we shared our first concert memory when we went to see The Police together over 30 years ago, so we took a selfie to commemorate that anniversary. 
And I found my brother Charlie in the crowd!
And Luke played his piano and sang his adorable country heart out and indeed showed us all how he earned the esteemed title of entertainer of the year. 
Luke is a super talented, high energy performer who puts on a great show and we all loved and respected him for it.
And just when we didn't think he could get any more adorable... he asked a little boy from the audience come on stage and share a song with him. Which proves of course, that Luke has a gentle heart as well as a super cute smile.
And then there were fireworks!
And flames!
And our dear Luke rose up from the front stage on the top of big black pick up truck and it was really beyond awesome.
And really what can top a song from the roof of a flaming truck?
And so ended my glorious evening of wonderful friends, fancy wheels, and fun and energetic music.
A night that could not be topped... not even from the roof of a truck on fire.
Thank you Luke Bryan and thank you more to my fabulous country concert sisterhood for sharing in  such a perfect summer night.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Take your Mothers to a Concert Night.

Theresa and I had a great night out... lucky for us, it was take your mothers to rock concert night for our two Lillies.
It was also be sure to find nice people to drive you to the concert night so these mothers had two very good reasons for a fun night out.
We went to see Matt Nathanson, who opened for The Fray, who opened for Train. 
All were fantastic. 
And while I always think of Train as this edgy and hip new band, I also remember driving Anna and Mary to preschool while singing along to Meet Virginia. And since any and Mary are now 20 and 23... this suggests that Train might might not be quite so brand new. Which suits me better because I realized that every Train song is one of my favorites... and now Lilly loves and appreciates some of the more recent songs.
They are awesome... tons of great songs with incredible energy and lyrics.
And I discovered that my daughter takes after her mom when it comes enjoying a summer concert with a best buddy.
She, (like me) sings energetically but not in perfect accompaniment to the band on stage... 
happily though, her pal, (like mine) is good natured and doesn't mind a little friend concert karaoke. Bless her. 

And since Train has gorgeous lyrics of pure poetry...
here is my girl singing with gusto about being run over by 
"a crappy purple Scion" a favorite Train lyric of love and loss. 

So thank you Theresa for sharing your daughter with mine and for spending a beautiful summer evening with me and our girls rocking out to some not so new but very fun bands, on the banks of the Ohio.
We are truly two lucky moms :-)


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Dear United States of America!

Happy Birthday Dear United States of America!
And behold, a furry face of fear.
Poor Penny spent the evening of the 3rd of July panting and pacing in terror over the booms in the night.
Tonight she will celebrate our nations independence with a valium.
Have a happy 4th friends, and please be sure to keep your pets safe and inside...we don't want to loose any beloved pets.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lilly's Father/Daughter Super Secret Mystery Trip.

To celebrate the end of middle school and the beginning of summer,
Lilly took her dear dad on a quick trip to Montreal.
Lilly planned the trip herself... she wanted a European-ish adventure without actually going to Europe, and thought Montreal all would be the place to go. She kept the destination and secret from him until two days before departure, but was sure to mark it in his calendar as "Mystery Trip with Lilly" so that he was ready for anything. 
These two peas in a pod had a low key and lovely time together so documented in a series of photos taken by various friendly folk of Montreal. 
They stayed in a sweet little hotel in Old Town called Le Petit Hotel that also hosted a coffee shop called, of course Le Petit Cafe.
Here there are looking cute and Canadian while waiting for a taxi in front of the cafe.
(photo credit by the gentleman setting up tables in the across the street restaurant) 
This posey photo was taken in the lobby of Le Petit Hotel.
(credit to nice front desk lady)
And while it might be odd to be surrounded by suspended wine bottles while enjoying a fancy French dinner, it made a nice background for this photo.
(credit to charming waiter at fancy French restaurant)
They sent this selfie to me from the airport... I love it :-)
(credit to Karl's super long arm, so helpful for selfies)
Lilly is a lucky chica to have a fantastic dad who will happily save a post 8th grade graduation weekend just for her and she knows it.
So happy that these two have each other and enjoy each other as much as they do. 
Wishing all fathers everywhere the happiest of Fathers Day today and always. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Camper.

Jamie has been waiting for 11 months to get back to his happiest place on Earth... 
Camp Kooch-i-Ching. 
This is his second summer to attend and while last year he may have been a little bit apprehensive, this year he was over the moon excited to return to a place that he considers his second home. 
Here he is hanging out in his cabin which he will soon share with his summer pack of guys.
And on the outside of the same log cabin in the wilderness... complete with a cool Native American grimacing bear to make it even more macho and appealing to middle school guys.
Both father and son were stoic when it came to saying goodbye... the second time to camp was easier for both. 
The camp posts a selection of photos of their campers as they go about their daily activities. So we learned that on the first day Jamie signed himself up for sailing lessons. 
I can most definitely say that camp provides many opportunities not available in any other setting. Here goes Jamie in a trust fall... arms crossed and eye to the sky... and to prove extra trustworthiness, a trust fall platform has been built in the woods for added height.
All this make my kid a very happy camper.