Tag Archives: Summer

Bubble Boy

4:30pm, Saturday, June 6th, 2015
It’s Summer.  The pools are open.  And this Summer, my son is of an age where the pool grants him a new priveledge: he can go to the pool ALONE.  He’s old enough, according to the HOA, to supervise himself at the pool.  However, his father and I do not exactly agree with that.  As soon as he got that pass, he’s bugged us every. Single. Day. to go to the pool. The pool is not my favorite place to go and part of me is glad that he can go without me.  However, the other part, the bigger, freaked out part, is scared.

Some of his friends from the neighborhood were heading to the pool this afternoon and invited him to come along.  “NOOOOOO!” I screamed inside, but I knew he had to go sometime.  Only one of the other boys was old enough to go alone, like B, so I figured there must be a parent going with the other two, right?  Right?!  But I don’t know the other parents.  I don’t even know these kids!  I see them everyday when B plays with them and they’re all very polite and friendly when they speak to me.  However, some kids can lose their minds in the water.  I’m sure you’ve all seen one of those – splashing everyone in the face repeatedly so their victim can’t catch their breath; jumping up, putting their hands on a person’s head and pushing them under the water; swimming up behind them and pulling their swimsuit down.  But I let him go at 3:40pm.  I’m so worried!  Therefore, I’m typing right now, to keep me from doing a survailence drive-by of the pool.

The hubs is currently 2 hours away at a party and I sure could use him here!  He could sit on me to stop me from going or I could pull out The Obey and tell him to go check on the boy.

I keep thinking about the time that B almost drowned in this same neighborhood pool.  One section is zero-depth entry to 3′ and the other section is 3’6″ on both ends and 3’10” in the middle.  On a day when he was more than a foot shorter than he is today, he wanted to see if he could stand in that 3’10” part of the pool.  He started on one side, I stood at the edge of the other side and he started walking towards me.  You know how you sort of hop from foot to foot when you cross a pool?  You’ll get there faster, if you don’t weigh much, than you would dragging your legs through the water at a walk.  So, he was hopping and happy and getting lower into the water.  Then at the end of a hop the water splashed over his face.  He didn’t fully submerge, and he continued to hop, bobbing up and down, but when he went down, the water surface enveloped his face.  Then it covered his face on the way down.  Then he stopped progressing forward, although he still bobbed up and down.

I got concerned and I called to him if he was OK.  He was not up long enough each time to answer me.  I looked at the lifeguard who was sitting in his chair, right above B, watching him.  You see, we were the only 2 people at the pool besides the lifeguards at this time.  I looked at the lifeguard with this, “Are you gonna DO something?” expression and he just kept looking back and forth between me and B.  I guess he needed me to tell him to go in?!

I jumped in, swam over to B, pulled him up and held him.  “Are you alright?!”  He coughed.  He gasped.  When he caught his breath he said desperately, “Thank you, Mama!  It was too deep!  I couldn’t keep my head above the water long enough to call you.  I opened my mouth to yell ‘help’ but it just filled with water!  Thank you for saving me!”  He had a death grip on my neck and I started to cry.  (In fact, I’m crying right now, reliving it.)

The lifeguard called down, “Is he OK?”  I didn’t answer because I knew nice words would not come out.  But I shot him daggers and all I could think was: no thanks to YOU!

We were the only 2 people at the pool and I had to save my son.  Now, I am worried about him drowning, unnoticed, on a day when 50 – 100 people are at the pool and the lifeguards spend more time watching the teenagers and the hot moms more than the kids.  (I know cuz I’ve watch those lifeguards ever since that day B almost drowned!  And I’m not looking at their abs, either.)

I told B he had to come home when the break whistle is blown at 5:45pm or when his friends left the pool, whichever came first.  I’ve made it halfway and I’m still in the house.  Yeah, me!  OK, back to me and my fears…

Then why, you ask, after telling you this scary story of drowning and lady-watching lifeguards, did I let my son go to this pool without me or his father?  Because he’s growing up.  Because, how will I ever be able to let him go to sleep away camp this Summer if I can’t let him go 2.5 blocks without me?  Because, how will I ever be able to help him move into his college dorm room, take him to dinner, drop him back off in front of his dorm and then drive away without him if I can’t let him go 2.5 blocks without me or his father?  Because how will ever be able to keep a smile on my face and say goodbye to my baby when he and his new bride start their own life together, if I can’t let him go 2.5 blocks to the death pool without me!

I finished typing the last paragraph at 5:01pm.  Then I went to the bathroom to wipe my eyes, blow my nose and reread the last paragraph for grammatical & spelling errors, since it was typed through the blur of tears.

A teeny-weeny part of me let him go, hoping he would lose track of time so I’d have to go down there to get him, worried out of my mind, and then have the pleasure of taking the privilege of going to the pool alone away from him, because he can’t respect my conditions.  ;o)  I know that’s terrible of me, but he is my child!  I grew him!  He is a piece of my heart, walking around in this cruel, scary, dangerous world, and I am allowed to want to keep him in a bubble!  I just can’t actually keep him in a bubble.

I only have half an hour left until he has to pack up and come home.  Thank you for being here!  I’m glad I chose this outlet instead of being Piper’s Mom from New Year’s Eve (one of my FAVS!  If you haven’t seen this movie, do!)

B misunderstood when I said he was to head home after the 5:45pm break whistle was blown; he thought he had to be home at 5:45pm and he was home at 5:44pm. :o) He had a blast!  He ate the sandwich I packed him.  They all stayed together and played nicely.  He swears the lifeguards did not blow the whistle at them at all.  ;o)  But, no parents went with them!!!  B and one other boy were old enough to go alone but the two remaining boys were not and their parents let them go to the pool alone anyway.  The lifeguards didn’t check any of their passes when they walked in!  *sigh*

I’m not fighting that battle today, though.  My son had a great time and came home safely.

My Separation Anxiety

My boy is going to a sleep-away camp this Summer for the first time and I’m a wreck.  I don’t know why, though.  I’ve never had separation anxiety before, never had a problem being away from him for hours or even days.  In fact, when the hubs and I go out alone together, he’ll ask a few times, “I wonder what he’s doing now,” or say “I miss him,” and my response is always, “Who? Oh, right, we have a son…”

I’m not worried he’s going to have a bad time.  He’s going to have so much fun with all the activities available to him and he’s going to be there with several of his friends.  I’m so excited for him to go and experience this!  I never went to sleep away camp, but the hubs did and has many fond memories and friendships that lasted for decades afterward.

B is convinced that he’s never going to college and I’m sure that going to camp is going to change his mind.  The freedom (i.e. no mom or dad correcting him, pick his own activities, get himself to where he needs to be) in a controlled environment (i.e. counselors in charge and there for help, curfews, bunkhouses and dining halls provided, etc.) is somewhat similar to college and and see that going away is fun and maturing.  This is a big positive to me of him going.

I’ve left him with friends, family and even strangers (Sunday school, Summer day camps) for years and haven’t had any problems once I met them, talked to them about his allergies, found out who will be holding his epi-pens and their knowledge and comfortability with administering them.

Over lunch this afternoon, we talked about the things that he needs to stay on top of that can be hit or miss at home without being reminded: putting on his deodorant, wearing underwear daily, wearing clean underwear.  I let him know about the number of people per room and that they will share one bathroom.  I asked if he had any questions or concerns at this time and he didn’t.  I told him I did: him getting sunburned and mosquito bites.  He replied, “Yeah, you’re right.  I’ll bring sunscreen and bug spray with me.”  “That’s a good idea, but you can’t just bring it; you have to use it.”  “Oooo-kaaay, Ma.”  I give him credit for not physically rolling his eyes, but I heard it in his voice.  ;o)

I also told him that I was worried about ticks.  So many people where we live have Lyme disease and we have been lucky so far.  I told him that we’ll go over thoroughly checking himself and give him a hand mirror to look at places not easy to see (armpits and manly bits).  I was asking him to think about whether or not he felt comfortable asking his friend who is rooming with him if he could check B’s hair for ticks at night and B would check his friend’s hair when I lost it.  I just started blubbering!  What is wrong with me!

Is it that this is another milestone that drives home, once again, how quickly he is growing up?  I don’t know how I’m going to handle not talking to him every day!  He’s not allowed to take his phone.  If they find out he has one it will be confiscated.  Do they have pay phones the kids can use? Can I send him with a calling card so he can call if he wants to?

We both need this and I hope all my blubbering and worrying ends once he’s down there.  Although, the drive home after we drop him off will be the worst!

Turning Fear Over to God

7:00 am. When I climbed into bed last night, everything that had to be done today ran through my head.  I started to panic.  B is attending a camp this week that includes swimming in a public pool everyday.  Although I’ve been just as excited as he is to go to Summer camps up to this point, my imagination went wild in the dark of our bedroom.  The pool is indoors and the only light is from limited windows.  How are the lifeguards able to keep an eye on everyone?  The pool will be packed with so many bodies, how with the lifeguards be able to tell if anyone goes and stays under?  What if there are kids who are not so nice or roughhousing and push B under the water?  What if he does his Tazmania Devil – he’s so excited about an activity that he just keeps going and going at full speed until he drops –  in the water and then just slips under when he runs out of steam?

I know this kind of panic is strange, even crazy, to others, but not for us. B’s not replaceable.  He’s our one and only.  It took 6 years and lots of effort, poking & prodding, tests, biopsies, tears and prayers to have him.  And in the 11 years since his birth, we haven’t been able to conceive another child.  So he is IT.  I, we, cannot lose him.  So, I started praying.

“Lord, your favor has always been on this child. He has the best of me and the best of the hubs in him.  Everywhere he goes, everyone he comes in contact with, sees You through him.  He is a shining example of You, Jesus – in his openness, his friendliness, his kindness, his thoughtfulness to others.

“This boy is destined for great things, Lord!  You and his dad and I know this and can’t wait to see his destiny fulfilled in Your honor!

“So I am trusting You to keep our boy safe.  Watch over him; protect him from harm and let’s all marvel as this boy turns into the man You have planned.”

My prayer started out desperate, frantic – a plea.  But as I prayed, the fear and panic slipped away and peace replaced it.  I fell asleep immediately after.

The hubs just called and said, “I’m worried about this camp.  I don’t want anything to happen to him.”  “I know,” I replied.  “I felt the same way last night.  I panicked and then I prayed.”  I started to cry and then I repeated my prayer to the hubs.  I reassured him.

As I typed my prayer out here, it wasn’t peace I felt; it was determination, strength, assurance…

3:00pm.  A couple of times today, once before dropping B off at camp and once afterward, I thought about worrying.  “How come I forgot that I have something huge to worry about today?  I should be fretting!  How come I’m not?  Well, I should start now, right?”  Then a calm, paternal voice in my head said, No. I got him. 

8:00pm.  The hubs picked B up from camp on his way home from work.  When they got home, B breezed in, dropped his bag full of wet things from the pool and his empty lunchbox, went right out the back door and over to the neighbor’s house to see if the kids could play.

Me: Did he have a good time?

The hubs: Yup.  He made a friend, but he can’t remember his name.  He loved everything about camp except for the locker room.  But none of the other boys liked the locker room, either.  It’s that age.

Me: Did you meet the lady with the curly blonde hair and freckles when you signed him out?

The hubs: Yup.

Me: She made me feel good about leaving him there.

The hubs: Me, too.

“Thank you, Lord, for looking after our boy and for angels with curly blonde hair and freckles.”


Purse-Sized Sunscreen Container that Provides Easy Application


Last week, my girlfriend and I surprised our boys with a trip to Kings Dominion.  We had a blast!  The weather was perfect, there weren’t any crowds, we hit every ride we wanted to and spent a couple of hours in the water park.  Perfect!

I decided I wanted to travel light in the park and chose a petite backpack purse.  My brand new, 8 oz tube of sunscreen would weigh down my bag.  We needed sunscreen, but not the whole tube!  I searched through the kitchen cabinets to find some small container in which to carry a day’s worth of sunscreen for two people.  I came across an old McCormick spice jar that the hubs takes salad dressing in to work with him.  BINGO!  I filled the jar and off we went.

While standing in line to enter the park, I pulled out the sunscreen to lotion us up.  I screwed off the lid, plunged a finger in the jar and then smeared that finger on one of B’s arms.  *Yuk!*  I didn’t want to do that again, so I flipped the top of the cap up, figuring it would pour out the little spice holes.  It didn’t pour out, but there was sunscreen covering the cap and it’s lid.  So guess what I did?  I just stamped that cap up B’s arm a few times!  He rubbed it in and then I stamped the other arm and both of mine.

My girlfriend saw what I was doing and said, “That’s genius!  You need to blog about that and get it on Pinterest!”  So that’s exactly what I’m doing.

We reapplied sunscreen twice that day at Kings Dominion.  Today we went to the pool, we both applied sunscreen twice and the spice jar still isn’t empty.  My neighbor, who carried a 1 liter pump bottle of sunscreen in her pool bag today, saw my little spice jar and loved the idea, too.

I hope this idea makes your pool/beach/park/outdoor adventure bag a little lighter this Summer, too!



I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Homemade Ice Cream!

B wanted to make ice cream when we created his Summer Bucket List.  I found a recipe all over the internet and Pinterest that involved a Ziploc bag of ice cream ingredients inside another Ziploc bag of rock salt and ice, shaken for at least 5 minutes and then hurry up and eat it before it melts.  But I kept searching and found this fabulous recipe on Positively Peaches.  In less than 20 minutes, following this fabulous recipe, I had made 2 batches of ice cream, one Vanilla and one Mint Chocolate Chip!  If you have been wanting to try homemade ice cream, I highly recommend you try Positively Peaches‘ simple and delicious recipe!

It’s ridiculous how easy this is!  I whipped 2 cups of heavy cream in my Kitchen-Aid mixer until it reached stiff peaks (bowl on the left).  You could also do this with an electric hand mixer.  I mixed a can of sweetened, condensed milk in the bowl on the right with 2 tsp of vanilla extract.

Then I folded the whipped heavy cream into the bowl of sweetened condensed milk with vanilla extract and then put the mixture into a plastic, lidded container and placed it in the freezer – Vanilla!
I whipped another 2 cups of heavy cream and, in a separate bowl, mixed together a can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 tsp of peppermint extract left over from the peppermint bark I made last Christmas and some mini chocolate chips.
Then I folded the whipped heavy cream into the bowl of sweetened condensed milk with peppermint extract & choco chips and then put the mixture into a plastic, lidded container and placed it in the freezer – Mint Chocolate Chip!
I put the ice creams in the freezer for four hours.  B had the Mint Chocolate Chip for dessert and said, “Oh my gosh!  This is so creamy and flavorful!”

The hubs had a brownie a la mode with the Vanilla ice cream and said, “It’s very rich and creamy!”

Give it a try and let me, and Positively Peaches, know how much you like it, too!

Hamburgers and Corn, Tomato, Feta & Basil Salad for Dinner – YUMMO!

I found this recipe for Corn, Tomato, Feta & Basil Salad on Pinterest in the Spring.  I knew I’d be trying it this Summer with some fresh corn.  I was a little worried about the flavor combinations and it being a hot dish but it was delicious!  As you can see from my inferior picture, I did not use cherry tomatoes.  I had plum ones in the house so I seeded and chopped those and used basil from the hubs’ herb garden.  I highly recommend this recipe.

I served the salad with the best hamburgers I’ve ever made.  And I’ve made some pretty good hamburgers in my life.  Flavorful hamburgers will all kinds of stuff in them: Monterey Jack Turkey Burgers, Turkey Stuffing Burgers, Pacific Rim Turkey Burgers, Inside-Out Beef Bacon Cheeseburgers, hamburgers with a little ranch dressing and freshly grated pepper mixed in, etc.  The burgers I made tonight were just plain ole 80/20 ground beef, but the way I cooked them made all the difference in the world!

When I make burgers, I split 1 lb of ground beef into 4-6 burgers, depending upon how much other stuff I put in them.  Tonight, I divided the 1 lb of ground meat into 8 balls.  I have a panini press that opens up completely flat and came with both griddle and grill plates.  I opened that thing up, put on the griddle plates and heat up to sear/425 degrees.  Than I put the back, flat side of my bash ‘n chop kitchen tool on top of a ground beef ball and hit it with my meat mallet, smashing the ball into a cardboard thin patty.  I saw this technique used on a show last night.  A gentleman was touring the US, visiting the best burger joints.  One of the places flattened their burgers like this and served 2 on a bun with 1 slice of cheese in-between.  Then they fried the burgers in a pot of grease that is over 100 years old!  I cooked mine on my dry griddle plates.  The burgers weren’t handled much because I wasn’t mixing anything into them and being so flat, they cooked in a flash.  That’s what contributed to the tastiness.  2 patties with a slice of American cheese in between them on a potato hamburger roll and we all agreed they were the best burgers we’d ever had.  I am going to make burgers like this from now on!

Our Summer Bucket List

My friend, Julie, has a wonderful blog, Creekside Learning.  She is the put together blogger and homeschool mom that I aspire to be.  A couple of weeks ago, Julie and the Creekside Family came up with a Summer Bucket List, and I thought that was a fabulous idea.  The other night, while putting B to bed, we thought up all the things we’d love to do this Summer.  Our list is very ambitious (read – too long and unattainable) but that’s us!  I look at it this way – everything we don’t get done this Summer will carry over to next year so we won’t have to create a list then.  :o)  So here it is:

Our Summer Bucket List
  1. Drive-in movie
  2. Zoo
  3. Amusement or water park
  4. Beach
  5. Skateboarding camp
  6. Gymnastics camp
  7. Cartooning camp
  8. Get an Avengers LEGO set
  9. Free Summer movies
  10. Go out for ice cream
  11. Catch an ice cream truck
  12. Make our own ice cream
  13. Sleepover with best friend
  14. Sprayground
  15. Lay in the backyard and admire the stars
  16. Campout in the backyard
  17. Make s’mores
  18. Have friends over for a BBQ
  19. Whenever we want/need to go to the library, walk instead of drive
  20. Save a life
  21. Art classes at home
  22. Pick berries
  23. Go on a nature hike
  24. Make a new friend
  25. Scavenger hunt through the alphabet with a camera
  26. Get B to ride a bike
  27. Michael’s in-store passport crafts
  28. Vacation Bible School
  29. Minor league baseball game
Since we made the list, we have done #10 and #24.  Out of necessity (no car) we walked to the library twice in the week before making the list.  We enjoyed it so much, we put it on the list and committed ourselves to continue doing that.  He’s already signed up for VBS later this month and I am working on getting him signed up for the camps he’s interested in.  I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish from it this Summer!
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