Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Father-Son Challenge

When Tim heard that Doe River Gorge's Father-Son Challenge featured guest speaker Steve Saint, he decided that he and Seth had to attend. Just this winter, Tim watched "The End of the Spear" and the documentary "Beyond the Gates of Splendor," about Jim Elliot, Nate Saint (Steve's father), and the other American missionaries killed in 1956 by the Waodani people in Ecuador. So, earlier this month he and Seth, along with friend Andre and son Eric, went to the Gorge for this phenomenal weekend retreat.

All of the guys were blown away by Steve Saint - he was incredibly engaging, an amazing storyteller, and a inspiring missionary/visionary. He not only spoke each evening, but he interacted with the fathers and sons all weekend long.

Tim and Seth also enjoyed crafting their own spears, giving paintball a try, and pairing up for a late-night game of DragonSlayers. They came back spilling stories from their weekend, so excited about what they'd heard and done.

If you ever have the chance to go to an event at Doe River Gorge, we urge you to attend. They do an excellent job! And if you ever have the opportunity to hear Steve Saint speak, we encourage you to go. (If you're not familiar with Steve Saint, then check out his books Walking His Trail and End of the Spear).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Desperately Sleepy Susan

We're going on sick day #4 in the Tucker house. Poor little Reed has been ill with a virus/flu since Saturday night. So, he and I have been sleeping in the guest room. Hmmm, "sleeping" doesn't seem the right choice of words, as we've done little of that. It's been reminscent of the boys' newborn days, when sleep deprivation rocked my world. I forgot how brutal it was.

Here are a few things I've realized during these long days/short nights...

1. I enjoy sleep, and I need it...desperately. I am not one of those persons who can get by on a few hours of shut-eye, and a power nap does nothing to recharge my batteries. I relish a solid eight hours a night, and a nap needs to stretch toward an hour to do me any good. A sleepless night stretches on much longer than the ticking clock shows. Thankfully insomnia has never been my companion.

2. I have a thing for Stash tea. I enjoy a big mug of hot tea every morning and actually several times throughout the day. In fact, my tea drinking has replaced my former Diet Coke habit. Everytime I'm at the grocery, I peruse the tea and usually purchase one or two new ones to try. I've learned that I do not like the flavor of Earl Grey (not even Lady Earl Grey), and I am not a fan of any tea by Good Earth (they all have a strong licorice flavor). My favorite, as I mentioned, is Stash - particularly their Double Spice Chai and their decaf Chocolate-Hazelnut. Yum!

3. One can watch a LOT of Phineas and Ferb, SpongeBob, and iCarly without growing tired of them. You don't have to be a seven-year-old boy to be entertained by Doofensmirtz's (not-so-)evil schemes, Bikini Bottom humor, and Spencer's antics. However, when the broadcast turns to Bakugon and Ben 10, you've lost me. I guess you do have to be a seven-year-old boy to get it, or I reached my quota during the Pokemon years.

4. Advertisers are already hard at work promoting their toys, games, movies, for the upcoming (15 weeks away!) Christmas season. It's really amazing to notice the number of commercials so obviously geared toward holiday wish lists. Even Reed has uttered the phrase I long NOT to hear: "I want that..."

5. A child can live on Jell-o, Gatorade, and Chicken 'n Stars soup alone. Poor little Reed has lost his appetite this week. Unfortunately I think I found it. Being housebound isn't good for my diet, that's for sure. And not even last night's episode of The Biggest Loser could inspire me to get out of the kitchen and get on the treadmill today.

6. A well-timed phone call from a friend can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes it's the sound of the garage door opening, letting me know that Tim's home early from work. Last night it was a solo trip to Target and a leisurely stroll through the aisles. I never know how the blessing will come, but it always seems to come right on time.

Most of all, I've realized our amazing fortune in having two healthy sons. It's not often that one of them is sick, and I'm so thankful that Reed is on the mend. I am hopeful for a good night tonight, some sweet rest, and a snugglebuggle who snoozes the hours away. Tomorrow I hope to see his usual bright eyes and wide smile greet me in the morning. I've missed them!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

XC Xcitement

Yesterday Seth ran in his first cross country meet with nearly 500 other elementary students from the area. It was a beautiful sight to see all of those eager kids line up on the soccer field of Victor Ashe Park and wait for the starting gun to fire. To watch them take off, running with abandon toward the trail, and to stand with the crowd of parents and grandparents yelling and cheering as they crossed the finish line a mile later was a thrill.

I have to admit: I don't know who was more nervous - Seth, his dad, or me. Cross country was one of those activities that Tim and I "encouraged" Seth to try (i.e. signed him up for without a choice), and this was the first race of the season. With only one training race under his belt (a run with Tim on Monday morning), we were unsure how he would handle the one-mile run ahead of him. Tim's hope was 12 minutes. My hope was that he would be able to run the entire mile.

Unfortuntely Tim had to dash off himself to take Reed to Wolf Scouts, so he couldn't wait with me at the finish line. But, I gathered with mass of anxious adults waiting and watching for a familiar face to emerge from the trees and charge toward the finish line.

I confess, it was one of those "mother" moments when I saw Seth come into view. My heart moved from my chest to my throat. My brain was telling me "Scream for him. Cheer!" but I knew if I opened my mouth the tears would explode and my strained-with-emotion voice would expose me. Finally, I gained enough control to yell, "Way to go, Seth!" as he pounded toward the finish line. A huge grin stretched across his red, sweaty face.

His time? 9 minutes, 48 seconds.

After the race, the question became who was more proud? Seth was beaming. Tim was amazed. And I was overcome. To watch this child, who I have known and loved every second of his life, grow into such a courageous, capable, determined boy blows me away. I can't imagine how he will surprise me next, but whatever it is, he'll find me by his side, swollen with pride, and cheering wildly. Way to go, Seth!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Damp Camp

To be fair, our Labor Day weekend camping trip wasn't all wet. The first 24 hours were actually dry and quite lovely. The rain began around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and only lasted for about six hours. Still, it was my first campout in the rain, and that's certainly a memorable experience.

We met Tim's dad Charlie and his wife Debbie at the Cosby Campground on Friday afternoon. Here the guys are pitching our tent. Wait a minute...where's Reed?

Here he is - not far away, enjoying Granddaddy and Debbie's hammock.

Full from our supper of roasted hot dogs and corn on the cob, we enjoy a good campfire. Anyone hungry for s'mores yet?

Morningtime at camp. Do not be alarmed by the hatchet and ax in our sons' hands. They were well supervised...really!

We enjoyed a lovely hike on a nature trail in the campground. The boys ran ahead of us exploring, while Charlie, Debbie, and Tim studied the trail map and the information it disclosed. I meandered somewhere in the middle.

We tried to stay alert on our hike - not only to spot any lurking bears, but to see all of the fascinating sights along the way, from colorful mushrooms to unusual tree trunks. Natures truly offers both the beautiful and the bizarre. (Kudos to Reed for the first photo of the vine connecting to the tree trunk - awesome picture!)

What real men do when they go camping: Whittle while listening to the first UT football game of the season on a shared mp3.

Seth's wondering, "Is this really just a passing shower?" Unfortunately it wasn't, so our grilled steak dinner and late-night s'mores were thwarted. Instead, we ventured into Cosby to enjoy a night of fine dining at "Mama's Kitchen." Thankfully Mama had fresh-made lemon icebox pie, so that made up for the missed s'mores.

Ahhh, a dry morning and a warm campfire! Here Reed snuggles up to his granddaddy.

Our second official camping trip ... a success! Thankful for a good tent that kept us dry, good sleeping bags that kept us warm, and good company to share the fun.