Aug 1 - You guys!!! Ian is camping overnight at the JCC! He is beside himself with excitement. “Mom! I need PJs!”
Aug 2 - 6:00 “Mom, is it too early to go downstairs?”
6:07 “Mom? Are you awake?”
6:15 “Mom? Is Kitterson happy that I’m petting her? She’s wagging her tail. Do cats wag their tails when they’re happy?”
6:21 “Mom ... So what’s the plan for today and Friday?”
6:26 “When is your alarm going to say it’s time to go downstairs?”
6:30 [alarm goes off]
Someone is excited about overnight camp tonight.
Aug 3 - Report from my child-free night:
90 minute nap after work
60 minute phone call with another adult
2.5 hour visit with my parents
sautéed scallops from the farmers market
sleep with no one elbowing me in the head
dreams about how to find my kid
Aug 3 - For those playing along at home, this is Ian's report from his sleepover.
TL;DR It was fun and he’s super tired. A+++ would camp again.
Aug 7 - One good thing came out of Norfolk Academy's summer camp this year: Ianmoved over to a reading camp the last week and has been voraciously consuming books since then.
We sorted his book shelves to clear out anything too young for him and made space for new series. I got him the "I Survived" books and he's inhaling those at an alarming rate.
I also bought him a refurbished Kindle (thanks Bossman!) and figured out how to download library ebooks to it. He is flying through the Wimpy Kid series on there AND IT'S ALL FREE AND NEVER GETS LOST/DAMAGED! Game changer.
Now at bedtime, we curl up together and read next to each other for about 30 minutes. He asked me to read one section to him last night because he couldn't read it - it was in cursive. :)
Ian has struggled to find the right content, where the plot and characters interest him but the reading level isn't too easy.
So for those of you wondering if your kid will ever be interested in reading, there is hope. One day a switch may just flip.
Aug 13 - Ian, leaving Crazy Rich Asians last night: "This was WAY less scary than 'The Meg'. Why did they make it PG-13?"
Aug 25 - We had just gotten over Afton Mountain and stopped in Lyndhurst for lunch. We found a HUGE Panera Bread (like three times the size of ours at home).
As we left, Ian said, “This parking lot is really pretty. Actually, everything is really pretty here. Like that Super 8, I would totally stay there. This is really nice.”
So, there you go, Lyndhurst tourism.
Aug 25 - Adventure Day One.
After our amazing lunch at Panera, we headed to Devil’s Marbleyard. It’s a 2.8 mile hike (1.4 up and 1.4 back) but is SUPER steep. We stopped to rest several times.
My blood sugar went low 1.38 miles from the truck, we forgot our water bottles, and Ian fell down badly several times on the way down, but as Jenna would say we were “making fucking memories.” I quoted her about half way up, and the other family on the trail with us started laughing.
We could have continued climbing up those super steep rocks in the Marbleyard but my blood sugar situation said “lie on this rock and don’t do shit for about 10 minutes”. Ian clamored around on them for a bit and declared himself king of the world.
He also said the lizard with the blue throat looked like he was going to lizard prom.
We’re in a cabin at the KOA campground. It has electricity, lights, AC, a front porch swing, and beds. This is so great.
I cooked hot dogs and beans for dinner. We played catch right up until dark. Ian fell in a hole twice during catch too. Poor guy. But he declared today a win.
Aug 26 - Adventure Day Two
At Ian’s wedding reception, he will say, “Hey, Mom, remember that time we almost died but didn’t? Thanks for that.”
Today was supposed to be a bit of an adventure and boy howdy, did it deliver. We decided to go canoeing down the James River from the Alpine landing back to Wilderness Canoe Company where we parked and rented a canoe.
Ian was already nervous and excited before we even got in the van to ferry us to Alpine. He told me (and our driver) that he had farted out his nervousness just before getting in the van so he was ok.
We got in the canoe and took off just fine. Ian took his shoes off and I kicked my flip flops behind me. I tied the cooler to the canoe so it wouldn’t slosh around. We were ready.
The first two rapids were easy. But the third one we caught sideways and ended up capsizing the canoe. In the rapids.
My daddy taught us never to panic. I’m not sure how you teach someone not to panic but I need to sign Ian up for those classes. Everything and everyone went everywhere. Paddles. Shoes. The canoe. People. Water bottles. It was awful.
I had to keep the canoe from leaving us but I also had to save my kid and myself. While barefoot on hard rocks.
I grabbed Ian and dragged him into the shallows. We precariously walked to the edge. One of his shoes floated away and I couldn’t get to it. We almost lost one of the paddles too but Ian grabbed it.
Then I had to save the canoe. I untied the cooler and took it to the shore. It had my phone and our car keys and my blood meter. It was important.
By the time I got back to the canoe, it was perpendicular to the rapids and full to the brim with water. I dragged it as far as I could while Ian screamed bloody murder from the edge. “PLEASE MOMMY! JUST LEAVE THE CANOE! I’M SO SCARED!”
I’m forever grateful I upgraded to a waterproof iPhone X after our Jamaican water adventure in December. I walked to the edge and called for help.
I ended up texting with the canoe folks. I cannot say enough great things about them. We were in a very inaccessible part of the river. There were hardly any other boaters out. Our rescuer drove to the closest drop in upstream and canoed to us.
It took both him and me to get the canoe loose. And then he followed behind us the rest of the way in case we had trouble again.
Sure enough, another mile or so later, we got stuck on a rock. I yelled to Ian, “Don’t paddle! Don’t move!” He started to whimper again and desperately wanted me to wait for our rescuer to catch up. Our rescuer got within shouting distance and told me I’d have to get out and move the canoe then get back in. In the rapids. With a weeping 8 year old.
We did it. Ian stayed still. I rearranged the canoe. I got back in (it took me two tries and when I fell on the first try, Ian was not happy). We made it to the creek where they drop off tubers right as the tubing bus was arriving. They loaded our canoe and the rescue canoe on the trailer. We road back to our car.
Our rescuer’s name is Dick Pickle. Yes, really. I love him. He was totally calm, patient, and capable. He even told jokes to Ian on the ride back. “Hey Ian. You know how I can tell the trains been through not long ago? I can see its tracks!”
The good people at Wilderness Canoe Company, LLC are getting a hell of a thank you card. And five star reviews on every platform I can find.
My legs are covered in bruises and scrapes. Dick Pickle even had bacitracin in his bag for me. My feet are bruised from the rocks. I’m emotionally exhausted. My blood meter is waterlogged and probably won’t dry out til morning.
It was clear to me on the river just how much I’m all Ian has. The boy has very tangible fears of losing me forever. And I think he saw his nightmare coming true as I floated away from him on the James river. We talked about how it’s hard for both of us to only have one parent (and one strong/calm canoe wrestler) in our family.
Ian improved over the day. We went from “I don’t ever want to do this ever again! I want to leave right now!” to “I really really didn’t like that and it scared me and I wish I could stop thinking about the James river.” We even joked we would look for his shoe in our part of the river tomorrow once we got home.
But good grief.
Aug 27 - Adventure Day Three
Today was significantly less traumatic. Zero tears were shed, which can’t be said for day one or two.
We both slept like stones. I had a pretty significant case of night sweats, but otherwise it was uneventful.
Since my blood meter was still down for the count, we had to make a stop at Lexington’s CVS pharmacy to get a backup meter (for only $20). Now that my blood sugar was back under wraps, we could head to the Natural Bridge Zoo.
The zoo is super small and bummed me out a little with how small and run down some of the enclosures are. But the small size and the fact we were the only guests at 10am on a Monday meant we had the animals basically to ourselves.
We got to feed giraffes, a camel (who was a bit of a bully), a donkey, llamas and alpacas, and tons of deer.
We started our journey home. Lunch was at the super awesome and huge Panera again in Waynesboro (which I thought was Lyndhurst on Saturday). We stopped at the Target in Short Pump for Pokemon cards. We went to Whole Foods to use up the gift card I was given by a librarian who learned of Rich’s passing. It had gotten soggy in the James river and I wanted to use it before it disintegrated. Whole Foods is even better on someone else’s dime! Also, the super great insulated coolers I learned about from Brigit were on sale.
Our timing was perfect to drop in on Granddad and Uncle Lee. Lee helped Ian cut down and wrap a hockey stick for his season that starts in a few weeks. We chatted about our river adventures and their medical adventures.
Then it was off to the house before we hit bad traffic. We are tuckered and a little sore, but overall very good.
Aug 28 - My 8yo wears a size 7 in MENS SHOES. School shoe shopping just became twice as expensive.
Aug 30 - Ian, passing Victoria’s Secret: “Hey, it says pink life. That’s my kinda store!”
Aug 30 - Ian has been watching “Odd Ones Out” and “Jaiden Animations” on YouTube. He just spent his own money on an Apple Pencil so he can work on his own animations.