Sunday, August 26, 2012

...And There Was Great Anticipation

 Molly had great anticipation for this week to finally come because this was the week that she was going to farm camp. Before the summer started a friend on facebook posted that she had gone to this farm with her preschoolers. She posted what a great time her students had as well as the website. I clicked on the link and went to the summer camp link. There was a schedule of a normal camp day. The kids got to choose a chore from mucking the horse stalls, gathering the eggs, milking the goats, feeding the pigs, or working in the garden. Reading and writing were also part of the schedule and they got to choose where they were going to do it. They could sit in the hammock, up in the treehouse or a number of other fun places as well. This was definitely the camp for Molly. She was so excited when I showed her the website. She originally was going to go the first week in August but since our summer schedule was so jammed packed with swim team and basketball and vacations, I still was trying to get a trip to New York in our summer to visit Grandma. So we bumped farm camp to the last week of August. She has been anticipating this camp all summer. 

Anticipation is part of making memories. Being actively engaged in planning out a trip, a party, or a summer full of activities are part of the memories. 

Molly LOVED camp! She would come home and talk about her day and then there was anticipation for the next day. She would plan out what chores and activities she would sign up for the next day that she hadn't done yet. She wanted to make sure she did everything.

Her favorite goat that she got to milk.

She had no fear of handling the chickens.

The treehouse where she read her book and wrote in her journal.

Where they cooked.

On Friday, the last day of camp, Chris was home so we picked up Molly and her friend from camp together in the jeep. It was a nice day so we took the long way home through the town of Waterford. 

When I see old, dilapidated houses like this one, it makes me think of the families that once lived in them and their stories; who were they, what were their lives like, their loves, their struggles, their fears, their ambitions?

I don't think this cow was suppose to be there.

A happy girl that had a great week at camp.

We had a few knots to get out when we got home.

As I write this, it is the last day of summer vacation. Tomorrow, the kids will be going back to school and there is anticipation once again. Anticipation of what high school will be like for Shannon, anticipation of which teachers will be his favorite for Timmy, anticipation of the last year of elementary school for Ryan, and anticipation of the third grade animal fair for Molly.

Today they anticipate, tomorrow they will participate.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We Seized the Saturday

Yesterday, was our last free Saturday for a while. Next weekend, Shannon has a soccer tournament and then our weekends will be consumed with flag football games for the boys and more soccer games for Shannon. I wanted to do something on this Saturday even though school is a week away, I had about ten loads of laundry waiting for me in the laundry room, and I've been on a quest to catch-up on my Project Life scrapbook which I am nearly finished with the first six months of 2012. I am no different than any other mom. We ALWAYS have an unfinished house project that can be tended to, a room that needs to be sorted through and cleaned, or just the everyday stuff of laundry and making dinner. But if we did not seize this Saturday, there would not be another Saturday for a while that we would be able to spend together as a family that would be outside of our normal routine of weekend sports.

We woke up and saw a crystal clear blue sky and Chris asked me, "What's left on the summer bucket list?" The kids didn't want to go tubing on the Shenandoah. Chris suggested renting kayaks on the Potomac near DC and then we could get some lunch in Georgetown. The kids didn't want to do that either. But we still hadn't gone to Assateague Island to see the wild ponies. So we packet our lunch in a cooler, threw some towels and bathing suits in a bag, headed out and hoped that route 50 wouldn't be too bad.

Our first stop was at the visitors center. We hit the bathrooms, picked up some guides and maps and talked to a ranger that told us where to find the ponies. We had two goals; to see the ponies and to go to the beach. 

This was out first sighting of some ponies. They obviously were not too close to the side of the road, but we saw them and Molly, my horse girl, was happy. At this point the kids were hungry and wanted to get to the beach to eat and to swim. So we kept on going to find the water.

We saw a number of these three-wheeled scooters that seat two. The kids loved them.

Ahhhh, and there's the water.

But it was cold.

Molly determined to get in despite the cold temperature. We were so surprised it was so cold in August.

This is the Saturday that our neighborhood kids wait anxiously for the mailman to deliver the letters from our elementary school that tell us who their teachers will be for the up coming year. Since we were not going to be home, I had my neighbor give us a call when the mail came. This was Molly doing the happy dance because she got the teacher she wanted and one of her best friends was in her class too. "Mama, this is the best day ever!!!"

So after eating our lunch, swimming in the ocean, and playing in the sand, we headed to walk some of the trails on the island in hopes of getting a closer glimpse of the wild ponies. We picked the Woodland Trail that looked like it was along side the field that we saw the ponies earlier.

It was a beautiful day for a walk. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and it really was not hot at all for an August summer day. But as we started walking along the path, we quickly started to get bitten by mosquitoes. At first it wasn't too bad, but as we walked further and further along the path, we knew we couldn't stay here long. We came to a "Pony Overlook," but no ponies were here. I tried to get a shot of the kids, but even standing still for a split second would bring the mosquitoes to land on you and have a feast. The kids struggled to get a picture.

We decided to walk a little bit further down the path and then we spotted them through the trees.

Once we saw the ponies we headed back to the car. Shannon, Timmy, and Molly took the keys and ran back. Ryan stayed behind with me and Chris. He found a stick and was swatting at the mosquitoes. It truly was a battle to keep them off you. But I do have to say, all that Virginia history that our schools drill into my kids heads stuck. As we were walking, one of the kids made a comment about the original settlers and how could they possibly deal with the bugs like this? We couldn't deal with it for just a short time, they wouldn't have had any way to get relief. A simple connection, but none the less, a connection.

So we got back to the car, drove along the main road, and the ponies that we had seen earlier were a bit closer to the road.

I wanted to get a few shots of the lighthouse. The kids begged to stay in the car because of the bugs. Chris and I jumped out, snapped our shots and then were back to the safety of the cabin of our car.

Before we drove home, we stopped for dinner and watched the sunset. It was a great way to spend the last "sportless" Saturday the Nealons will have for a while.