Friday and the past week

Our finished mailbox - ready for postcards, letters, and mail

It is early Saturday morning. The sun has yet to peak over the horizon and all is quiet. Even Ivy has decided it is better to stay in bed and has returned to her place on the floor in our bedroom. It has been a great week – for all of us.

Beth finished planting the mailbox on Monday and it has been a reminder of how beautiful her gardens are at home. It certainly makes a statement at the front of the driveway. After Julie’s letter on Saturday, we received a few more items including a postcard from mom! I’ve been writing and sending postcards all summer and this is the first to arrive, here. It is great to get mail and hear how other folks are spending their summer.

William has been day camping at Camp Tapico, a scout camp near Kalkaska, all week long and each day he gets up at 7:45 or so, eats breakfast and rides along as we drive him to camp. He and Beth approached the camp director last week and it has really worked out for him and us. It kept him busy all week and that was good because all of the kids he hangs out with on the strip have been gone this week and it certainly would have been a long week for him (and us). I am sure we could have kept him busy, but he kept himself busy working on merit badges at camp. He enjoyed himself at camp and learned that all scout camps run differently. We have only been to two and this was his third. At Camp Tapico, the troops camp and eat as a troop – it is called the patrol method and one of the guiding principles of scouting. It teaches scouts responsibility for the troop while instilling essential camping skills – cooking and cleaning. He also discovered a new way to earn merit badges and he relished in his discovery. William is goal driven, much more than I was when I was his age. By this time in my scouting career I had quit and was on to other things unrelated to scouting and sadly, generally unproductive.  He wants to earn the Eagle Scout award and ALL of the merit badges, possible. Currently, there are 126 merit badges, by my count, ranging from American Business to Woodworking and everything imaginable in between. He has almost five years to reach both goals and he is well on his way.

At camp, this week he discovered he could earn several by demonstrating that he knew the content and the skill and work at his own pace. William, like most adolescents, has two speeds: slow as a turtle or fast as a hare. This week he was somewhere in between and focused. He also had the opportunity of a lifetime to spend time as a camper during program time but he was invited to eat with the counselors and ‘be behind the scenes’ of the camp when it was time for scouts to eat and be with their troop, as he had no troop. It really made a difference for William and he had an excellent week. Each morning we would drive him to camp and each night, or evening, or as in Friday’s case, we would drive over to pick him up and bring him home. Every time we brought him home he was filled with energy and excitement, but he was exhausted, spent, and ready for bed. He is upstairs right now sleeping in a few minutes; I will trudge upstairs to rouse him and go pick up his friend, Joey. Joey is coming for the week and William and he plan to race in next week’s Casey’s Challenge canoe race. Both kids are He is excited, though I am not sure waking him up will bring out his best.

Olivia has been busy, too. She has spent a lot of time with her friends on the lake and has been boating with them a few times. Mostly, she has spent time swimming and playing with them, either here or down at their cottage. On Tuesday, she had a great day; it was also the day that Beth and Clay (momma and dad) got their epic sunburn but that is another story!  I took Olivia fishing Tuesday morning after we had gotten a new batch of worms. We were in our spot across the lake and it was still, hardly a breeze or ripple on the lake, when Olivia announced she had one. She had a hard time reeling it in and I helped her with it. It was the biggest fish Olivia has ever caught – a large mouth bass about 12-14” long and over a pound, at least. It put up a big fight but we pulled it and put in the live well to show momma when came home. After that catch, we had nothing else. When we came home, Beth took a few pictures and let it loose. Ivy was particularly intrigued and wanted to get in the water and chase after it. She had her chance as we all jumped in the lake and went swimming, including Ivy.

Beth rides the waves and waves!

Lake Margrethe is a beautiful lake and it has a sand bottom and is shallow, about thigh deep, for almost 70 to 80 yards from shore, just perfect for wading, swimming, and playing. We played at the edge close to the drop-off; we had Ivy perched on a flat-topped tube where she seemed to enjoy fun. I swam a couple of lengths along shore and Beth, Olivia, and Ivy floated, splashed and played in the lake. Eventually, I knew I had to get in and out of the sun, by then probably, too late, and I took Ivy to shore. She swam, paddled, jumped, and walked with me. But, we weren’t done! Beth suggested we take the pontoon boat, tubing. Beth was the first and had a bumpy ride until we got a place protected from the wind. Olivia couldn’t wait to show momma how to do it. We tubed until we needed gas and headed home.

This week the weather has been hot and humid, like it has been back at home in Wheaton and across much of the Midwest. We have been blessed to have been along the lake where it has been windy with strong winds off the lake cooling us. The wind made for a rough lake and even whitecaps, boating was difficult, and we haven’t been out since. Friday night, Olivia pulled out the croquette set and organized a game. She had blue, Beth had black, and I had red. We enjoyed a fun, spirited game of croquette on the lawn as the sun set.  

I finished my book, Mockingjay, and had time to spend with the family and even took a few naps. It has been a great week and the days have counted in so many ways, far too many to count. The sun is up and I need to rouse William and get going. I’ll be on my way to meet Joey and his dad and bring him back for a fun week at the cottage. It is much more fun when you share it. Making the Days Count, one summer day at a time. What did you do this week that a difference for you?

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