I can’t believe it is already October! Then again, we have been so busy it has to be October.
First up, the chickens kept their little coop garden going and actually grew a pumpkin to maturity. We snagged and are enjoying its cuteness inside the house, but we will be cracking it open soon so the poultry can enjoy the fruits of their labors. I am still struck by how weird it was that 1. a pumpkin seed actually germinated in the chicken run – a place of trampled desolation and 2. they didn’t rip the green goodness of the plant, nor recognize one of their favorite foods and start carving up the pumpkin.
Last week, my sweet tiny baby…sniff…got a car! YEEEE-IKES! It was a very generous gift from grandparents, as they had an extra car they didn’t need anymore. I swear my kid was born just a “little while ago”. I remember it, so it could not possibly be almost 16 years ago! I waiver between the panic of knowing she is almost an adult and the incredulity that I could possibly be that old.
She was so excited and is still on cloud nine about the car. She is checking out car seats and making plans for it…but I will get to that in a sec. In the meantime, she has read her booklet for the learner’s permit test, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to ask to actually take the test. She has driven the car on our property, but unlike shooting sports, there seems to be no immediate natural ability. Good thing she is not in a hurry to get her license.
Last weekend, just before her first week of school, K had a camping trip with her survival school. She and her fellow Rangers headed out on Friday afternoon….just as a MAJOR storm was rolling in. K is a “second year”, so her prescribed packing list is far more minimal than the newbie kids. Her main defense to the onslot of incoming weather was an all wool outfit. In the last few days before camp we fell upon a great pair of wool military surplus pants that amazingly fit her as well as a Costco deal on a wool 3/4 zip long sleeve shirt. Both items proved to be her saving grace along with wool blankets.
Friday night rained. It rained HARD. Not only that, it was windy. While I was all snuggly warm with my fleece jammie pants and the pellet stove warming the house, I pondered how she was doing…and felt a bit guilty at having all the comforts. For all I knew she was sleeping in a debris shelter with mud and water seeping in.
If Friday was bad, Saturday was worse. However, we received updates that all the kids were having a blast. Pictures showed big grins on drippy kids. All was going fine, but then the wind started taking limbs down from the trees, one nearly hitting the camp owner. About 10pm, the decision was made to bug out to their Portland facility for safe shelter for the night. We got the info about 10:45 as they were walking in the door.
Funny enough, all the kids I talked to said that the night they spent indoors was by far more uncomfortable – hard concrete floors and too much noise from having everyone in the warehouse sized rooms. By morning they were fed and back out again to do archery and do a bit of tracking at the convergence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers…keep in mind the weather was still bad.
You, me, and most anyone you know would have come back with the horror story of such a miserable trip. These kids? They came back euphoric with tales of their “best weekend ever!” It is a strange breed of people they grow up here and K’s one of the village.
Soaking wet, K came home Sunday afternoon just a few hours before passing out to be up rested enough for her big life transition.
This week was K’s first offical week of college classes. (OH-MY-GOODNESS! Wasn’t I just changing her diapers???) I thought, ‘it is sad that her very first class was advanced algebra’. Funny enough, she was excited and actually found the class “interesting’ and came home and finished her homework. Later in the week, she did the following week’s homework to get ahead.
Tuesday, was crazy day. K had two classes, plus shooting practice, plus a 4-H meeting. The first class was music history – she loved that! She got out of class and I met her for her lunch hour. As soon as she hit the car, her lips were flapping about all the details of her class and teacher. After lunch, she went to her literature class. She got to all her classes early and immediatly spent time on-line sending me messages about how it was going as time lead up to the class start time. Can’t lie, I loved that she wanted to tell me all about it. She loved, of course, the literature class. Having spent significant time with the instructor prior to enrolling to be interviewed by him (enrollement for young students has to be approved by each teacher), she already knew that he was going to be both fun and challenging to learn from. She was exicted to tell me all about the class, her 137 page reading assingment, as well as her 3 part writing assignment…. If only she had had an ounce of that excitement of the homework I assigned during the last couple years!
She had a short break and then she was off to do an abbreviated rifle shooting practice due to the 4-H meeting later that night. Shooting is still going well, but she has been challenged to finish the required scores for the standing position of the sharpshooter level. Her coach has let her mix it up a bit by letting her work on the “Distinguished Expert” level for the other 3 positions. For each position, she has to shoot 5 targets 2 times each and can’t score less than 18 on each in the entire group. To get the Distinguished Expert you have to get that high set of scores 10 times over (50 targets overall with none less than 18 for a score). On Tuesday, in an incredibly short time, she knock 4 sets of 5 targets out of the water in prone (laying down) position. A majority of the targets were perfect 20′s. That means both shots hit the same period size dot. They have to pretty much share the same hole to do that – 50 feet, naked eye. She just blows me away.
So, what a day, but it wasn’t over.
We packed it up and went to 4-H, where K is the Vice president. It is the new 4-H year and K walked in to find out that the president had resigned, so she was promoted. If you don’t know how 4-H works – the kids run the program. In shooting sports, the adult leaders do a lot of the planning and leading, but business meeting are run by the president. Despite being very tired, she sucked it up and worked with a leader and me to whip up an agenda and called the meeting to order on time. Leaders needed to do a lot of the speaking, but K was one of two officiers and she did a splendid job of leading the meeting as if she had been completely prepared and with humor. Oh, one of the officers missing was the secretary, so she also had to take the meeting notes and produce the minutes.
Needless to say, she never wants to go through that again, so she has NEXT month’s agenda all ready for leader approval. Almost a month and a half early, but that thing is written up with a page set up to take meeting notes on for the minutes. That night, she started feeling under the weather with a minor cold.
Wednesday, she was supposed to work, but she was not feeling well and was understandibly in need of a break. Since she is a Couselor in Training, missing a day did not cause a problem, so she could take the day off mostly guilt free – her preschool/kinder group does seem to really like her though. Even at age 4-5 they teach them how to find and identify edible plants, make cordage out of natural plant fibers, light fires without matches, and navigate the wilderness.
Thursday, she was back on her game and was out the door early for her music history class. After that, she went straight to a co-op geometry/spacial reasoning class. From there, she had a short break in the day where she was back on her homework before heading out to her last college class of the week – Automotive Mechanics. Yep, K, a couple of other girls, and a heap load of guys will be working on their cars. I swear, though we love the idea, she is not taking the class under duress. She wanted to take the class and wants to explore the possiblity of maybe having a career in auto/plane/diesel mechanics. She is also looking at what else she can do with her car – she is thinking she can either get her car painted by the class that does that or she might take the class that does paint jobs and do the painting herself. Pretty cool! The only problem with her class is that it goes until almost 10pm and she comes out of her classes so excited with lips flapping while telling us all her rapid fire thoughts about how great her class was. It took a bit for her to come down from her college high.
Friday, she had no college classes, whew! She did have a homeschool PE class, so she was able to blow off some steam and have fun with her friends. Sadly, her incredible week ended with an unexpected break up with her boyfriend (not her idea). Lots of ups this week, a bit of illness, and a lot of sadness. Happily though, she was able to hang out with her parents late into the night watching a favorite movie and Saturday she was able to smile, joke around, and have a good time.
What was clear this week (including the hellish weekend) was that K was able to find a lot of personal strength to take on a lot of major challenging changes with maturity. She took most every thing in with great enthusuasim and projected her best possible self. Proud mommy moments abound as well as a lot of gushy moments where K plopped into my lap for a hug and a smooch. (Shhh – I also got hugs and smooches in the parking lot before she bugged out to each class! Gasp! She didn’t care who saw!) OH – really – cool: I also became one of the smartest people in the world again —- She kept asking me to look over her homework to make sure it was done right! Years of advice finally being listended to! “Hey mama. Can you look and see that I showed all my work on algebra?”; “Can you proofread my writing and make sure that I clearly explained my opinion?” Then, when I suggested items that needed to be changed…SHE ACTUALLY LISTENED! Vindication never tasted so good!!!!!!
Yeah…big week. Glad it is over!