Sunday, July 24, 2011

More summer

Cub Scout Base Camp

Taran is a Wolf Scout (almost to Bear) and although he has been a cub scout for a couple of years this is the first year he went to scout camp. We--Calvin, Enoch, Taran, and I--went to the newly opened Base Camp on Fort Snelling. Calvin and Enoch attended the "sibling camp" while I went as a scout "leader."

Most of the camp options were late summer, but I wisely chose to do the camp in late June so I could beat the heat. Of course the two days I chose happened to be exactly the hottest days of the first heat wave that hit us this summer.

We tried to stay cool by doing most of the activities inside (which was cooler than outside, but NOT air conditioned) and drinking plenty of water.

All the boys, siblings included, learned archery.
Here is a long view of Calvin shooting. He's the one next to the instructor in blue shorts.

Taran awaiting his turn on the indoor climbing wall.

Taran taking aim.

The next day we went out early, so it was only around 85 degrees with high humidity and Taran tried out the outdoor climbing wall.

They let Enoch do it too.

Because Base Camp is on Fort Snelling property, not far from the Minnesota Air National Guard Museum, a docent from the museum, a former Navy pilot, came to talk to the boys. He demonstrated some of the gear with Taran and Calvin as models.
The poor man was obviously very hot. But he handled the boys' questions well, somehow being patriotic and condemning war at the same time.

Besides, who can resist a man in uniform?

Afterwards the boys made paper plate aircraft and threw them from the second floor balconies. It was quite a site to see them fly.

Of course there was also games. The kind that little boys play, dodge ball, toilet tag, water balloon toss and such. There was a short hike the first day. And other cub scout-like activities. All in all it was a fine experience and I hope my boys remember.

You might wonder, but where were Emma and Willa? I offered to sign Emma up for the sibling camp and find a sitter for Willa. Emma declined and offered to watch Willa herself. DEAL!
So she stayed home, kept Willa occupied and baked cookies on those two record breaking days of heat. She also caught up on her Glee episodes. So, everybody got what they wanted. Including
homemade oreos!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Cookout

During one of this summer's heat waves we were invited to a cook out at our friend Robin's house. She loves her cook outs and is not one to be deterred by something as inconsequential as weather--we once watched a black cloud blow in a green sky, ignored the warning sirens, and didn't head inside it started to hail.  So even though it was hot and humid enough to boil spaghetti in your hand, she pulled out her fire pit and we had a weenie roast.

Emma stands as close as she dares.

Willa has the same philosophy as Robin's, only her's pertains to marshmallows: any temperature is a good temperature for roasting peeps.

Everyone drank a lot of fluids.  Only Calvin attached them to his tongue.
We love Robin's cook outs and hope to go to many more, no matter the weather!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Starts

We started summer with the end of school, of course.

Emma and her class went to Valley Fair.

Taran and his class went to Lake Nokomis.

Enoch and his class had a party with pretzels and juice boxes.

And Calvin graduated from preschool.

Calvin in front of his locker with his friend Isabel on the last day of preschool.

Calvin in his graduation robes.

Hugging the amazing Ms. Tammy good bye.


Aunt Kirsti and cousins came to visit on the very first day of summer. Aunt Cheryl took us on a trip to Lilydale park again to do some fossil hunting. Lilydale is an amazing park that makes you think you're out in the wilderness but at the highest points you can see that downtown St. Paul is just a few miles out.

Searching for fossils, or really, just digging in the dirt.

More dirt play, you can see in our manner of dress that summer was reluctant to come.

At this point, Addie gave up all pretense of searching for fossils and just laid down in the dirt.

Oliver (alternate Willa pronunciation: Ov-il-ler) looking for the inside of his bucket.


Even before summer began I knew I wanted to do a garden. I wanted my children to have the experience of being outside and helping things to grow and then eating those healthy things.
I also knew that I couldn't provide that for them.
I have tried to do a garden almost every year out here in Minneapolis and between squirrels, "helpful" young neighbor children, a shady, shady yard and sheer laziness, we have always failed miserably. But this year I found the secret to success: Parasitical gardening! we have hitched our wagon to a friend's gardening star. We offered to go in half and join them in their successful garden plot.

Of course, we're not as much help as the work we make, but we are loving it and our friends are the amazingly patient type, which is probably one of the reasons their garden grows so well.

Here are Emma and Willa at the entrance to the community garden.

Calvin hides among the bushes.

Taran and Calvin "helping"--eating the strawberries--in the garden.
Note: Calvin is sporting his summer/lice haircut. Compare it to the hair they had in the Lilydale post. That's a lot of hair gone.

More strawberry picking while our friend weeds and I take pictures. Don't you want us to come and help you too?

Willa and Amanda search for the last strawberries a couple of weeks later.
The blue cups surround the pepper plants and protect them from cutworms. Experienced gardeners know these things. They also over plant so they can loose a few plants.
I'm learning so much.

More hard work:
Dave helps to get Enoch higher so they can pick the mulberries off of the bush that grows wild by the gardens.

Success! We are so thankful for our friends Dave & Amanda. Their knowledge, patience, and kindness is overwhelming. We are having so much fun.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lesson Learned

I want to continue updating our Martin Family Life Adventures but after the day that we've had and the article I read in the Star Tribune about "facebook depression" (go ahead, google it) I feel that only showing happy, shiny times would be wrong, morally, ethically, honestly...

You see, today I left church early and in tears. And I didn't leave gracefully (because you can't do anything gracefully 7 months pregnant, trailing 5 kids). I didn't even have the where withal to wait for a hymn, just stood up mid bishop sermon and pretty much stumbled out. Got home, sent the kids to bed and sobbed into a bowl of cocoa puffs.

Do you feel better about your life? Because if I have ever given the impression that all is sunshine and roses at the Martin home, than I want to set the record straight. Both for friends now and children looking back at their past. Emma, Taran, Enoch, Calvin, and Willa, listen up: you were both wonderful children and at times so awful that I couldn't sit another second with you in that pew!

And I hope you remember this day. I hope you can always recall the shame it was to walk out of chapel early and go home to spend the rest of day in bed. Sadly, I think the only things you'll remember are the wonderful people who quickly stepped in to help and the delightful dinner one friend brought. Because when I said we needed to thank Sister Howell for returning Willa's left behind shoes and the sympathy food she delivered, Taran said, "And you kinda need to thank us too."