Stumbling Into Epic Adventure

“I’m starting to feel antsy to get out of town again – I guess that’s a good sign.”

I had just told Chris that last Sunday, and it was the first time I’d even thought about leaving town since the all-too-often mentioned wreck twelve weeks ago. Sitting with my legs down for more than half an hour is impossible, so car trips seemed off the table.

But I get an itch to go, do, and be twice a year: once in the fall (this is the inescapable urge that must be satiated to save my sanity), and once in January. I presume the January one is a result of having survived Christmas and New Years sandwiched with both my kid’s birthdays, and I feel the need to stretch out and blow off the cobwebs.

Two years ago, this trip turned into the epic Snowchasers adventure – the one where we basically got snow/iced out of Birmingham. Last year, we returned to that same state park, but with no snow.

This year, I hadn’t made any plans, but then all of a sudden on Wednesday they made themselves for me. A contact at Alabama State Parks emailed and asked me if I wanted a room at Cheaha State Park to take pictures of the coming snow, Chris told me I should go and reminded me that the kids had been praying for snow, and a friend, Sarah, agreed to go with me. In the span of four hours, I went from having no plans to having a completely mapped-out trip and a LOT of packing to accomplish.

So.

Friday morning, we packed up the car to an impressive level for what was planned to be an overnight trip (which was good since it ended up being a two-night trip), grabbed Sarah, and set off.

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On the car ride up, the children showed off the vastness of knowledge and reasoning skills that homeschooling has afforded them.

…Such as when we passed a four story building, and Ali said, “That can’t be Rapunzel’s tower because her tower is 20 feet tall and that one is only ten feet tall.”

…And when we passed a small lake (a pond, really), and Noah informed Sarah, “That’s the Amazon River because it’s green and the Amazon is green.”

…And when Noah heard the song “I can’t help falling in love with you” and said, “I’m pretty sure that’s Mexico Music.”

…And then when Noah randomly explained theology, “There’s a big ice chunk floating around, and that’s hell. I read that in the bible. But I didn’t learn it at church.”

(We should note here that he can’t read. If that’s any excuse.)

Cheaha is the highest point in the state of Alabama, so as we drove up the mountain, we entered complete cloud cover. Ali started freaking out about being afraid of heights, and I, being the merciful Mom that I am, said, “What is wrong with you? We’ve been here before when you could actually see off the side of the mountain and you weren’t frightened at all. Now you can’t even see how far up we are!”

“Exactly! I knew we were high last time, but I had NO IDEA we were as high as the clouds!!”

…because if you fall off the side of the mountain you’re more dead if you’re high enough to be in the clouds, I guess.

We arrived, got settled in, and then set off for pre-snow adventure. Sleet was beginning to mix with the rain as we ran down the Bald Rock trail, a half-mile boardwalk trail.

 

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Ali’s fear of the clouds seemed to dissipate at the fun of the boardwalk,

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And Noah fully approved of the climbing rocks at the end.

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I sent Sarah out onto bald rock so I could get her picture and promised her that the view really was there…

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Really – it looked like this last time we were there.

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On the way back down the path, Sarah fascinated the children with her hipster Polaroid camera – it made her so beyond cooler than me. Not that she wasn’t already.

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We headed back to the room for some rest time, and right around dark, the snow began. The wind coming up the mountain was absolutely indescribable, so we mostly watched it from our large hotel room windows, running out for half seconds at a time to take a picture or catch a snowflake. But the children could rest easy because their dreams were coming true and their prayers answered.

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(And also because I was letting them play way too much iPad to keep them from jumping all over our hotel room. To which Noah said with a happy sigh, “I’m glad God made Minecraft. And I love you Mom.”)

To be continued as I gather myself from the weekend…

On Crossing the Bridge from Kid to Tween.

Dear Ali,

Something about turning nine is clearly a large step – we’re entering into something new, something unknown, a completely different territory of life.

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Maybe it’s not that exact age for everyone, but we sense it with you. You’re growing up, figuring out who you are, becoming more self-aware of your personhood.

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We’ve been having lots of talks lately about what it means to age, boggling your mind with stories of how your future hormones will probably make you want to hate us and hate your brother and hate everything else (and that you can’t let those pesky hormones win), and also, how proud we are of who you are becoming.

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You’re braver than you’ve ever been, you still have your goofy kid side, and you’re brilliant, perceptive, hard-working, and thoughtful.

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Wherever this journey takes you,

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I hope that you stay you,
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That you remember who you are and Whose you are,

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That you remember to set a good example for your brother who infinitely adores you,

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And that you never forget how much we love you.160108i

Oh – and be sure to have fun along the way.

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Happy birthday to the kid who made me a mom…

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I hope that you live the rest of your life with as much vigor and passion as is now contained within you.

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How to Properly Celebrate Two-Turd-Fifteen.

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When I originally blogged the above phrase on the first day of April in the blessed(ly almost over) year of Two-Turd-Fifteen, I really had no idea. Sure, we’d been pretty much constantly sick since The Unspeakable Christmas four months prior, but it was nothing compared to what would come.

Some would say I asked for it, speaking it forth so early in the year.

I prefer to think of myself as an oblivious prophet.

As we began the approach the end of this memorable year, I knew I needed to do something significant to cleanse us of its filth. I had to put it behind me and gleefully move into what I am preemptively referring to asIMG_4163.

I finally decided on what that should be.

We needed to eat it.

Eat 20154-2 in all its glory.

The time had come, anyway, to order Chris’ biannual Cake Pop order from the brilliant artist Jamie, and I always try to make it new and unique when possible.

So I took a chance and asked her for an extremely custom, specific order.

Even as I sent her the list of all that 20154-2 brought us, 20154-2 kept piling on, presenting us with The Holiday Hole:

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(Chris wrapped it lovingly for Christmas Day, though I told him it really needed Elf-On-A-Shelf or Santa legs dangling down. And maybe some lights. And tinsel. Oh and definitely a giant bow.)

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(No worries. The Holiday Hole is covered under warranty from the original flood. It’s pretty much the least stressful thing that has happened in the entirety of 20154-2.)

But I did indeed send Jamie the list and asked her to make our year in cake pop form, along with a few applicable emojis, for good measure.

And, as I expected, she depicted it in pure brilliance.

And we gleefully ate our year.

We ate all of our illnesses,

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We ate 20154-2,

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We ate my running injuries,

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We ate my tonsillitis hospital stay and resulting tonsillectomy,

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We ate our house flood,

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We ate our epically catastrophic camping trip,

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We ate our countless prescriptions,

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We ate the sad demise of Flexi,

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We ate my long and still continuing recovery from the wreck (there was actually a better emoji for this – the one with bandages on its head – but we ate it before I got to photography. Because edible therapy is the best, y’all.)

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And….we even ate the spider that ate his way out of Noah’s underwear.

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As I explained to the kids all of the cake pops, I gave this special one to Noah and asked him what it was. He stared at it for a minute, read his name, looked at the spider, burst out laughing, then gave me many bemused looks.

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Because if you can’t laugh at your penis spider bites, what is life?

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But we absolutely ate that spider.

(Not Ali, though. She said, “I know it’s not real….but I don’t think I want to eat that one.”)

After discussing each pop and the incidents surrounding them, Ali considered all these things in her heart and then said, “Wow. We’ve really had an….INTERESTING year, haven’t we?”

Yes, honey. And that’s why were eating it.

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May your IMG_4163be infinitely bright. Like ours is absolutely going to be.