Kids Gone Wild — Adventures in Camping

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MEMO FROM THE OPC (OFFICE OF PROPER CHILDREARING)

Dear Unskilled Perfectionist,

It has come to our attention that you have violated several key tenets from the OPC during your recent camping trip.  The charges against you include but are not limited to the following:

Improper Language
Upon approaching Cinder Cone and realizing that your husband’s plan was to hike to the top of the giant volcano, you blurted, “Get the f@$% out!”  Yes, your disbelief was motivation for your kids and they powered to the top, but horrible language is frowned upon by the OPC.

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Complete Disregard for Proper Nutrition
We have reports that you fed your children so much stuff cooked on a stick over the fire, that when they passed a café at the Lassen Visitors Center, they begged for an apple.  An apple!  It is also our understanding that you let your children invent something called “The Ultimate S’mOreo” — a stacked monstrosity that includes: graham cracker, roasted marshmallow, bottom of an Oreo, another roasted marshmallow, top of an Oreo, yet another roasted marshmallow and another graham cracker.  We’re pretty sure the road to childhood obesity is paved with Ultimate S’mOreos thanks to you.

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Engaging in Activities Unfit for Children
Really? You taught your children how to play poker?  It doesn’t matter that they won.  Poker is poker.  They chopped wood with an axe, whittled with a pocket knife, put bait on their own fish hooks and wandered down to the lake without an adult trailing them warning “be careful.”  We also have a report of child labor violations as you made your daughter paddle the two-person kayak while you kicked back and took pictures.  Shameful.

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Inappropriate Clothing
Your children played in the snow while wearing shorts and t-shirts.  Yes, it was 90 degrees out and the snow was a welcome break during a long hike, but children in the snow need hats and gloves – no exceptions.  And what’s this rumor about skinny dipping in a lake when you forgot to pack bathing suits?  Ok, just a rumor.  We’ll strike that from the record.

In conclusion, despite your children’s claims that this was the “best trip ever,” those of us at the Office of Proper Childrearing hope that this warning will prompt you to make some much needed changes before your next family adventure.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

The big picture is overrated.  It is uncertain.  It can be messy.  It is rarely understood, never controlled and frequently overwhelming.  I like the little picture instead.  Focusing attention on small details adds beauty to days that could otherwise slip by unnoticed, obscured by looming shadows of the big picture.  Life’s details are here now: bright, beautiful and begging to be seen.

* Post inspired by WordPress’ weekly photo challenge. This week’s theme is color.  

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

jan pics 028-1Although I don’t make resolutions in January, I do like to choose a word to guide me through the upcoming 12 months.  I’ve done this the past few years and I’m always surprised at how often my word perfectly fits with what I experience during the year.

2013 will see the launch of several projects, including a few for the house and a few for me.  I think it has the potential to be a very transformative year but also one where I’m pulled in a million directions.  So the word I choose for 2013 is: focus.

Focus on the goal and embrace the work it takes to get there.  Focus on what’s truly important and let the rest slide.  Pause, breathe, focus.

What about you?  Any words to guide you in 2013?  Share in the comments section.

* Inspired by WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge.  This week, we’re invited to post a photo that exemplifies our New Year’s resolution…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

Pulling open the heavy doors, we peered into the tasting room.

“Can I help you?”

“We’re big fans of your wine — any chance we could do a tasting today?”

“Oh, that’s too bad, tastings are by appointment only,” she replied, punctuating her statement with a wince as if the news pained her.

We looked past the petite gatekeeper into the room that appeared fully staffed but lacking customers.  “Um, can we make an appointment for right now?” we sheepishly offered.

“Um, no.”

As we headed back to the car, I snapped a picture of the winery’s roofline against a bright blue sky.  I wouldn’t be taking home bottles of wine that day, but at least I could leave with an interesting photo.

Years have passed, but I still dream of having a Pretty Woman moment where I revisit the tasting room as the author of a best-selling cookbook featuring photos and recipes from Napa’s favorite wineries.  “Remember me?  You wouldn’t let me taste your wine.  Big mistake.  Big.  Huge!” I’d say with a head tilt and a Julia Roberts smile.

* Post inspired by WordPress’ weekly photo challenge.  The theme for this week is geometry in photography.   Since I’m posting daily in November, I need all the creative prompts I can get…

True Colors

Although I took this photo a couple of years ago, the image of that ballsy orange tree letting its freak flag fly in a mountain of green has stuck with me.  A good reminder to join the ranks of brave souls offering their true colors for all the world to see.

Post inspiried by today’s Shutter Sisters prompt: reflection

Playing Hooky

Playing Hooky: to be absent from school without an excuse

I love family adventures.  But I hate spontaneous family adventures.  I’m a planner.  I like to charge my camera battery, write notes to teachers and pack snacks, sweatshirts and dry socks.   I even make road trip mixes so we have a soundtrack for our shenanigans.

So when my husband called Friday morning, suggesting I spring the kids from school and meet him in the city so we could catch the Blue Angels, I had a succinct reply:  “Um, no.”  It would be too disruptive for the kids’ teachers, too hard to coordinate the details, and besides, my hair was still wet from my morning swim.  No.

I’m glad he persisted.  I’m also glad he didn’t call me a buzzkill or drop a YOLO in his effort to convince me to loosen my grip a little.  I don’t remember what exactly made me acquiesce, but aside from the awkwardness  of barreling into the school office and announcing I need my kids, the day was picture perfect.

Although I do wish I had a chance to make the road trip mix — imagine all the songs from Top Gun I could have used!

Watch This!

Although the Tebowing trend has probably run its course, we live in the ‘burbs, where cool things go to die.  Slowly.

“MOM!  Mom mom mom mom mom mom mom.  WATCH THIS!”

When I’m interrupted in this manner, it’s usually for something along the lines of hey-stop-what-you’re-doing-and-cheer-for-me-while-I-put-peanut-butter-on-my-sandwich.

But this time?  Totally worth it.