Summer Fun

Without smoke……..

I live in an area of Oregon that is beautiful in it’s own right. We have all four seasons though some of them are “shorter” than others. We have mountains, lakes, and a variety of trees surrounding us. I have lived here for almost 20 years and I still find new things that can be done. Most of the time though we stick to what we know: camping, going to the lake, hiking, biking and swimming at the pool. Our kids are getting older now which means we can try some new adventures with them.

Last weekend was somewhat of a bust of family fun. We try and do something as a family on the weekends whether it’s playing board games or taking a hike, but last week my hubby and I decided to get the bedroom floor put in and get the nasty carpet out. The kids were very patient with us and did their own thing, but our youngest has a limit when it comes to “doing his own thing”. So by midday Sunday he was done. He had that sad “I am so bored” look on his face. Even the dogs couldn’t change that. We had him help us bang in a few boards but wasn’t enough either. So we came up with a plan, we would be heading to the lake. Over the week the plan was still in play, the hubby even get a paddle boat rented for something new for us to try. As the week went by our fifth season came upon us.

I know, I know their are only four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. In our neck of the woods the fifth season is Fire Season. We have had quite a few over the years and this summer has been no different. Summer/fire season usually is marked with beautiful hot summer days, turned instantly into blah “check your air quality before you do anything” days. This past week we had days that started clear turn into afternoons that the surrounding mountains disappeared behind the smoke. I think we even had a day where we had a gentle ash fall from a fire that was about 30 miles away. Most of the time we gauge what we’ll do based on the air quality, but usually we go about our days. This weekend though, when we headed to the lake, there was some smoke in the air but not enough to keep us home.

“Smoke Clouds”

The lake was beautiful, the kids and the dogs (ok really just Jorj, Charlie is still of the mindset that water is not her friend) played in the lake and loved the fact that they could jump off the paddleboat. When it was time to return the boat, we finished the day with ice cream. I admit this used to be a bigger deal when the kids were little. Now that we have teens and a 10 year old, it really isn’t as big for them but they still seemed to have enjoyed the trip, but really how can we really tell when the girls head off by themselves and “glare” at you when it comes to getting them engaged in conversations with you? I just have to know deep, deep down that they had fun.

Then yesterday happened. So my oldest has a group of friends that she talks/hangs out with. There is a “new” friend that she has been hanging out with more (going to the fair, texting..etc.). I am always looking for situations in which I can tell that my teen girls are still ok with communicating with us “poor lost parents”. You know, things like showing us a new game they started, letting us watch an episode of their favorite show with them, having a “new” friend come to the house to hang out. I am blessed when I am a part of these moments, and yesterday was no different. So to put this into context, my oldest daughter once asked my youngest, Tyler what it would take for him to like a guy that she liked. He said the boy had to treat her right and would also have to be willing to have a nerf war. So this weekend the war was planned. The guns were drawn and the fun began. I will tell you, my son had a blast getting ready for this. He brought out the weights to start training his muscles to carry the load of a fully loaded nerf gun. Even my middle child who tends to stay in her room most days, and in her words “likes only three people, and tolerates the rest” comes out to play.

I really didn’t understand the capacity of hard, when raising teenage girls. My two are so very different but are best friends. One it trying to figure out who she really is, while the hormones are nowhere near balancing out, while the other older one has gotten through that rough patch to enter into the next one of deciding if she wants to stay the same person, while seeing there is a whole new world of guy friends and first time jobs. My youngest is muddling his way through with his parents just trying to stay out of the hurricane that is the girls. This is why we try and do family days. Even if the smoke is more than we want. Even if the rolling eyes and the blank stares are increasing, we know it is important to find time as a family to be together.

Summer and fall are my two favorite seasons, it has everything to do with being outside and enjoying the sun while not loosing the tips of my fingers to frostbite (I know, I know, I am dramatic). A healthy dose of Vitamin D will do wonders for the body. We came home exhausted from the lake, the kids finished the nerf war laughing. We didn’t get much work done this weekend, and that is ok. A family is a strong bond, a family that sticks together is even stronger. We were not made to be alone, and to work all the time. Even Jesus had days of rest, He enjoyed time with His friends and family. To tell you the truth, I know I will make it through the teenage years, I will probably have less hair and need a large bowl of ice cream when this is all done, but I pray that my kids will remember the fun we had as a family and that we support and stick with each other through thick and thin. Until next time:

When you do something beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun, every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.

John Lennon

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