Day 8 Soggy Starbucks Run
This morning Jay was photographing a race, so I had a short window of time to get my not-very-long long run in before I needed to be home with the kids. It was slow, soggy, and almost cold, but I never regret a run once I’m out there. The best part was running into Jay with about one mile to go. My new watch has a tracking feature that allows certain people to access where I am along my route. (No, this does not feel creepy stalker-ish when my husband’s the one doing the tracking.) He surprised me along my course, and we chatted for a few minutes before I had to keep moving to get warm. I like that guy.
Day 9 Put a Bucket on Your Head
At some point this weekend Bubba turned an old popcorn bucket into a helmet. I guess if you have to unload the dishwasher, doing it with a bucket on your head is the way to go. I just tried not to think about what nastiness was getting in his hair.
Also today, there are no pics to prove it, but I met Emily and Alissa for Starbucks and race stories. My friend is strong, brave, and able to run 100 miles in less than 24 hours, and now she has the belt buckle to prove it.
Day 10 Camping Prep
This coming Friday we leave for our annual family camping trip. The kids have been busy prepping by spending many hours in their hammocks. Jay has installed hooks both outside and inside, and they’ve alternated back and forth with the rain. Here’s a picture he sent me of Chica asleep for the night right beside his desk in the basement.
Day 11 Professional Development
Today I led two different math PD sessions for LCS teachers. The first was a repeat of a training that I led in the spring. I tweaked a few things and planned for it to be twice as long, and I think this one went beautifully. I led a second one in the afternoon that was longer and had many more teachers in attendance. This was a training that I planned during one of my Master’s classes, so I was excited to have a chance to try it out. Facilitating something like this with people that don’t know each other is always tricky, especially if participants are a bit hesitant to share. I was pleased with how things went overall, but I definitely know elements I will change if I get a chance to lead it again.
Day 12 Picnic
Today we enjoyed the annual University of Lynchburg faculty and staff picnic. I think this was at least our third year attending as a family. Chica spent the whole time cuddling kittens that one of the librarians is fostering, Bubba got me soaked in the water balloon toss, and Jay stalled in the shade as long as he possibly could before returning to his office for a meeting. I’m so thankful that U of L has been such a great fit for him and our family.
Day 13 More Camping Prep
To me the worst part of camping is not the bugs, lack of air conditioning, or sleeping on the group. It’s the packing. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get my butt in gear and get ready until the last minute this time. We altered our usual final night dinner from hot dogs to hamburgers, so this is the picture I sent Jay from Walmart to make sure I was getting something he’d approve of. In case you’re wondering, these were great.
Day 14 Finally On Our Way
This is the picture I sent Jay around 11am, just one hour after I was originally hoping to leave for Twin Lakes State Park. I was so proud of myself for getting everything in the van and all of the bikes on the rack without a great struggle, so I sent a text to brag. He was appropriately impressed.
The past few years we’ve gone to James River State Park, but we decided to try a new spot this year. We were so excited to find that friends of ours are the camp hosts at Twin Lakes this summer. They have kids almost the exact same ages as Chica and Bubba, so the four of them spent countless hours together riding bikes, exploring, going to the ranger programs, and swimming. I don’t have a ton of pics, though, because I purposely let my phone die and put it away for most of the weekend.
Day 15 Kayaking
We spent the morning lounging, reading, and watching the kids ride bikes. In the afternoon I took them to the lake to try kayaking. Much like last year’s tubing debacle, Bubba hated it. That child literally pouted and scowled for 35 minutes straight. Turns out he was scared of jellyfish, but his fear gets translated straight into anger for whatever reason. I tried all the mom tricks I knew and finally declared, “I am NOT going to let you ruin my hour of kayaking too. I am choosing joy!” (Fake it til ya make it, anyone?) Well, some switch happened, he suddenly decided he was fine, and he paddled out to the center of the lake to meet up with Chica. With our 20ish minutes left, we explored the entire left side of the lake, and that stone-cold kid even cracked a smile or two.
As I was finishing up washing dishes after dinner, the kids told me they were going to go on a bike ride with their friends. I said okay, then asked if they would mind waiting for me to join them. Well, IT happened. I got a heavy sigh, bit of an eye roll, and a totally unconvincing “okay” from Chica. My brain jumped from hurt to understanding to back to hurt, I told them to go on without me, and I trudged back to the campsite to pout to Jay. That wise guy encouraged me to suck it up and go on my own bike ride…a perfect solution to get my mind off the idea that my kids are entering a new stage of independence that I’m not sure I like. I rode three hard miles on the Beaver Trail and forgot all about her heavy sigh. I was mostly just thinking about how I should have brought water, and hoping I’d make it back before dark.
Oh…and one more story I don’t want to forget. Jay decided to sleep in the hammock tonight. The kids were already in the tent, I was trying to finish up the last few pages of a book, and he was turning in early. All of a sudden I hear the distinct sound of a tree falling from his direction. Then silence. Nothing. I instantly knew what had happened, and the moments of complete stillness were so frightening. Yep, you guessed it…the part of the tree where he had attached the strap of his hammock completely snapped off. He came down with it, and he was laying flat on his back tangled in the hammock when I finally got over to him. He had managed to roll out of the way while the huge branch was coming down, and he was laughing by the time I got to him. Someone from a nearby site called out to see if we were okay, but by that point all we could do was laugh…and laugh, and laugh. I finally helped him up, he tied the straps around a thicker part of the same tree, and got back in the hammock. He made it through the whole night without breaking anymore trees. 🙂
Day 16 High Bridge & Legos
Our camp host friend, Becky, is training for an upcoming half marathon, so she needed to run 10 miles today. I was so excited to join her on the High Bridge Trail, another nearby state park. We hit the bridge at the most beautiful moment of the sunrise.
For Father’s Day we gave Jay a 3 in 1 Lego set, and he had completed all three by the end of the day like I knew he would. The kids and I decided on another spin out on the lake, and this time Chica and I tried their stand-up paddle boards.
Day 17 Home and Back and Home Again
I had an interview back home this morning, so we got up early to have breakfast and start packing up our campsite. Our breakfast choices were limited because SQUIRRELS! Saturday one of the kids left the food tote open, and while we left the site for a few minutes, a squirrel got in a helped himself to some of our bagels. Well get this…on Sunday the plastic tote was completely shut, but they still found a way in while we were out. Those suckers chewed through the tough plastic top and got to the rest of our sliced bread and more bagels. Lesson learned: Food. Stays. In. Van.
Anyways, I traveled back home in the morning, showered so I wouldn’t reek of campfire and sunscreen, completed the interview, then headed back to the campground for a few more hours on the beach with my kids. And guess what crazy thing happened while I was at the bathhouse trying to help everybody cleaned up before heading home again?!? I received the call that I GOT THE JOB! I’m so excited to share that I’m staying at my same school, but I’ll be moving into the role of Instructional Coach. Basically that means that I will do whatever I can to help teachers teach better. What a great end to a great vacation…probably the best our family of four has ever had. We celebrated the new job with dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and many excited texts with friends and family. Woohoo!