Down By The Creek

Summer is going by quickly.  It didn’t seem that way a month ago.  At that point, I purchased a white board so that we could do a countdown to the first day of school.  It seemed eons away, but now we’re almost at the 20 day mark, and I’m about to eat crow.  I’m a little sad that I technically only have 3 weeks total of summer vacation left.   I’m hearing you all say, “I told you so”.   Especially those of you who have told me to savor the days as they will be gone soon.

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Campbell’s Covered Bridge.

In my effort to soak up the last few days of summer, I’ve taken my boys on some adventures over the past week.   We tried a new hiking group, picked blackberries, and most recently spent a cooler morning at Campbell’s Covered Bridge in Northeastern Greenville County.

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The kiddos love to run and scream through the bridge.

My original intent was to snap some pics of my kiddos, being the amateur photographer that I am.   The bridge is gorgeous and the scenery surrounding it just breathtaking especially in the fall months.   It offers a serenity that’s becoming nearly impossible to find in this day and time and even gives me a sense of nostalgia as I grew up playing in the woods and creeks.   Speaking of creeks, Beaverdam Creek which runs directly under the bridge was easily the best part of the journey for both of my boys.   Thankfully I thought ahead for that scenario and came prepared with towels and a change of clothing.

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It’s amazing the things that seem to catch their attention.

There’s something peaceful about a creek, the sounds, the rhythm of the water as it stumbles over all of the rocks in its path.   I love a good creek.   They’re refreshing , cool and in most cases sparkling.   They offer a great way for a quick cool off without a complete soaking unless you’re my two children.

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A little exploring before taking off of the shoes.

What started out as throwing sticks and stones into the babbling waters, soon turned into no socks and shoes and a trek through the creek.   Davey immediately took off after discarding his socks and shoes, and slipped on the first rock and went right into the water.   My heart skipped a beat.   Was he hurt?  Was he going to start crying?   Would he want to leave this beautiful place to go back home to his toys and television?   I held my breath as he stood up from the water, his clothes dripping wet, arms stretched out as if was going to take flight, and then he laughed.   He threw his head back and laughed a laugh I haven’t heard from him.   Henry, usually the more daring of my two children, stayed back and yelled, “be careful, D.”

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And there is Davey, sans socks and shoes, enjoying Beaverdam Creek.

Davey kicked and splashed water.  He pulled up pebbles and caught some leaves, and even tried to sneak up on a couple of dragonflies cooling themselves in the stiller section of the water.   Henry, after slipping once, didn’t seem to want much to do with the water anymore, which disappointed me tremendously.   So we found a nice dry rock in the middle of the creek and Henry and I took up residence on it, him sliding over occasionally to sit in the flowing water while Davey went up and down the creek bed.

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At home, you can’t get these two to be peaceful with each other. In nature? Well, that’s a different story.

I sat peacefully, a smile upon my face as I watched my two boys, one sitting in the running waters, the other inspecting every inch of the creek, from the various rocks, washed smooth of their jagged edges thanks to years and years of the creek flow, to the flowers that were smiling back at us from alongside the creek.   Davey would walk over to the water in one section, as it danced back and forth over rocks while rolling towards him, and with his hands cupped at the bottom, he would fill his hands with water and then throw it into the air.   I loved his laughter.  I loved his excitement and inquisitive nature.    To see the creek through his eyes?   Now that would be sight.

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Look at those baby feet and that beautiful water.

It became apparent, shortly thereafter that Henry would be best without his clothing and just a diaper which of coursed meant Davey wanted to be free of his clothing as well and run around in his underwear.   So, there we were, my two little redneck children and I, skipping around in the waters of Beaverdam Creek in their underwear, reminding me easily of the little things in life that seem to matter most.

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Henry throwing a few rocks.

We only stayed an hour as a few thunderclouds rolled in, forcing an early evacuation of a place that my boys want to visit every single day now.   Yeah, going there added extra effort on to me.   We could have gone home, where the boys would have been dry and clean, watched some television and just hung out of for the day OR we could just get ourselves covered in some silt, mud, and wet leaves and a treasury of memories moving forward.   I vote for the extra work, especially since it made me feel like a kid again.  When was the last time I stuck my toes in a creek?

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Not the best lighting as I wasn’t totally prepared for this shot, but still a keeper all the same.

 

So Long! Farewell!

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First Day of School for the 2015/2016 School Year.

“Tomorrow is the last day of school,” I said quietly to my husband last night as we sat on the couch reading books.   We’d just put both boys to bed and were relaxing.   I had attempted to get my mind focused on my book, to get lost in a fictional world, but my mind kept evading the words on the pages.   I kept thinking about the last day of school.

“It makes me sad,” I continued when my husband didn’t say anything to me.

“Why?  Because you’ll have to have them the entire time?” he asked me.  I was shocked and angered by his pointedness.   It hurt, I can’t lie, but I brushed it off as the tears started to roll down my cheeks.

“No.  I’m sad because it’s another chapter that is written and closing.   I’m sad because for some reason it is just hitting me that Davey will be 5 in just 4 short months.”

And there it was.   My oldest, the one who made me a mother, is quickly becoming a big boy, a child no more, someone who won’t need or want mom’s hugs and kisses.   Then there’s Henry, my demon child who’s an angel for everyone else.   Well, he’s officially going into K2 AND on top of that is getting a big boy room!   It’s just too much!

There are times, especially on days like the last few I’ve had, when I wish I had a time machine like Orson Welles wrote about.   I’d want this time machine to take me back to the moments in my children’s lives.   I want to get out and experience it all over again, not just relive it all through videos and pictures.   My husband asked me if this meant I wanted to start over, to have another child?   No.  I don’t want that.   I just want my babies to still be my babies.

As I picked the boys up from school today, I found myself choking back tears and trying to beat down that lump slowly rising in my throat.   Henry’s teacher actually cried when he hugged her.   As a matter of fact, he hugged every teacher and even a few of the kids.   When I spoke to him this morning about it being his last day and not getting to see Levi, Tommy, and Rob again, he asked, “why?” and his little lip quivered.   Shame on me for stirring up that emotion especially since it broke my heart a little and even more so when I saw the sweetness that is my Henry hug all of his friends good bye and exclaim, “have a good summer.”

Davey hugged his teachers, he hugged his classmates, and even managed to squeeze in a hug for another parent.   As he was being placed in the car, one of the teachers asked if he was enrolled to come back next year, because as she said, “I just can’t imagine my school year without this happy face.”

I have my trying days with my boys, days when I want to throw in the towel, days when my patience gets the better of me.  I have days when I just want to scream at the top of my lungs and then shout from the rafters, “I can’t wait for you two to grow up!”   Am I really ready for them to grow up?   Probably not, but I don’t have a say in the matter.

So, as we say, “so long and farewell” to this school year, I want to give a huge thank you to every teacher who has worked with my both of my boys, who have loved them, taught them, and treasured them as much as I do.   I’m excited for K4 & K2 next year, but right now I desperately want to cling to their memories and adventures from this past year.   I’m afraid that the winds of change may rip the balloon string from my fingers, their innocence and childhood floating away.

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Last day of school for the 2015/2016 school year.

Going On a Bear Hunt

I’ve blogged before about all of these romantic, Norman Rockwell-esque visions I’ve had of raising my children.   I’ve always imagined our adventures to be like something you would see in an old Saturday Evening Post.   The boys would be dressed handsomely, the adventures would go off flawlessly, and we’d all have a grand laugh and sheer enjoyment.   Then I became a mother to two boys, and I realized that any sort of notion I’d had about having this type of family could immediately be shooed out the door like today’s annoying fly.

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When Davey was still a baby, we bought a hiking backpack that has a nice little compartment for him to sit in.   My husband and I thought that since we lived in one of the more beautiful place of South Carolina, with mountains literally right in our backyard, that we could go on hikes.   It never happened.   Davey never once got to sit in said backpack and experience the fresh air, the exciting wildlife, or the exhilaration of hiking through the woods.

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When Henry came along, we used the backpack while flying, finding it easier as he’s become older to put him in it as opposed to bringing along a labor intensive stroller.   For weeks I’ve considered remedying this, to take my boys out into the woods, to experience nature, like I did as a kid.   Unfortunately, the incessant rain and cumbersome flooding we’ve received have dampened (all puns intended) my desire to go for a hike, not to mention that I’ve been super worried about going alone with the boys, only because they can be a handful at times.   Yesterday, we made that dream into a reality.

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For the first time in weeks, my husband came home early on a Friday.   He had no meetings, no golf games, or clay shooting events.   He wasn’t going deer hunting on a Saturday morning, so no need to go out on the land to check out his blind or his feeder.  Nope.   The stars officially aligned for our hiking trip, so we took it.

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As I stated earlier, we live in the most perfect of places.   We have Paris Mountain literally in our backyard.   It’s a beautiful mountain, not extremely high, but gorgeous to look at while sitting on our back porch in the evenings.   Since it was after 2 when my husband got home, we decided our best bet was to just go to Paris Mountain to hike as opposed to driving to one of the many other splendid places.

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I laced up my hiking boots, the wonderfully comfortable North Face boots my husband bought me 5 years ago and which I’ve only worn a handful of times.   I dressed the boys warmly, had them all prepared, so that as soon as my husband walked into the door we could go, and off we went.

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This is a great time of year for a hike, especially in South Carolina.   The days are still enjoyably warm, but not too hot.   The mountain air was fresh and invigorating.   We started out on the small trail, before taking on one just a little bit harder.   My husband took the lead, Henry strapped to his back, while Davey and I followed along.

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The entire hike, Davey periodically broke into song, singing, “Going on a bear hunt,” while other times asking about the creeks, the fallen trees, the fallen leaves, the rocks he had to climb over, or some of the massive roots.   We used the opportunity to talk to him about if he’s ever lost in the woods and is thirsty where best to drink water…from a flowing creek or stream.   We talked about the huge roots, why some of them can be seen above ground, and what their purpose is.   We stepped over small breaks in the trail where trickles of water were flowing.   We even repurposed some of the fallen branches into our own personal walking sticks.

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About a mile into the hike, Henry decided he’d had enough of being lugged around on his daddy’s back, especially as he saw Davey able to enjoy the physical exploration of the trail, so we took him out and let him walk.  I cringed for a split second as I wondered if he’d actually stay with us on the trail or if he’d wander off and try to climb the mountain.   He quickly proved me wrong, but after only a half mile of walking, he tripped and fell, thereby skinning up his hands and forcing us to put him back into the backpack.

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We had a wonderful time, an hour and a half of nothing but us and God’s beautiful creations.   It took us literally an hour and a half to hike 3 miles, which I’m hoping will improve once we get the boys going more regularly.   Davey even enjoyed himself so much, that he wanted to get up and go again this morning.   Unfortunately, our Saturday is already booked solid.

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What a great day of hiking, “bear hunting”, and family time.   I can’t wait for more.

A Change Will Do You Good.

I have a mixed relationship with change.  I’m always eager to have it, to break up what I feel has become the monotony of day to day life.   I dream about it, allow it to seep into every spare crevice of my brain.   I allow it to take control of my life, to affect me in ways that it shouldn’t.   Change is a good thing.   I’m a firm believer in that, it’s just the process of going through the change that wears on me.

My husband and I are very blessed.  We are fortunate for everything the Lord has given us.   We do our best to continuously thank Him for those blessings and not take them for granted.  Some days I feel that I should just be happy with what we have and not look for more, but I’m human.

For the past year or so, my husband and I have embarked on the adventure of looking for land with a potential new home site.  Over the years, we’ve both decided suburban life isn’t for us.  We have wonderful neighbors, but our neighborhood has grown and truthfully we feel almost suffocated.   The idea of land would give us the opportunity to explore with our boys in the comfort of our own backyard.  It would give my husband the opportunity to hunt in our own backyard, and it would give us the ability to do what we want with our property without seeking approval from our neighbors first.

Recently, the opportunity has presented itself for us to possibly purchase a significant amount of land along with a house already on the property.  The house is older than ours, as we custom built ours 8 years ago, but the place is beautiful with a lot of potential.  Unfortunately, there are some downsides.

It is more land, so there is more work.   There wouldn’t be a fence, so what would we do with our dog?   There are some changes and renovations to be done to the house, something I’m eagerly looking forward to should we get the house, but again it’s work.   My husband and I managed to get our current house the way we wanted it BEFORE having kids, thereby granting us the ability to really just do maintenance and spend time with our boys.   We wouldn’t be able to do that as much if we get this new house.

There’s also the moving.  I would have to pack up our ENTIRE house amidst the chaos of two boys.   I would uproot them from their home base and move them almost 45 minutes away.   On the plus side, moving would give me the opportunity to really declutter and clean out.  We would still be close to my family, but there wouldn’t be daily visits to the Y, there wouldn’t be a neighborhood pool during the summer, there wouldn’t be easy access to a biking trail.   A lot of things would change and it makes me sad, but the possibilities for our new adventures also excite me.

My husband and I aren’t new at house hunting.   We’ve done it before, but this time we have to take in so many other factors.   I find myself researching schools in my spare time, looking at FBI crime statistics for what could be our new area, trying to explore what could be our new surroundings.   I want to get it pinpointed where our closest grocery store would be, and fast food joint.   And all of this could be for naught if we can’t sell our house and get this one.   My sleepless nights of worry and excitement could be nothing more than a colossal waste of my time.

I’ll still plug forward, working towards the common goal of possibly purchasing this house with the land.   If it doesn’t work out, then something else may come along.  I just have to continue to reconcile myself with the fact that change is inevitable and it’s what you make out of it that really impacts your life.

Now, I must go and pray for guidance.  Sometimes I just really wish the Lord would tell me “yay” or “nay” when I attempt life altering changes.   It would make life easier.