Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pigs in a Blanket with Gram

It’s no secret that we like to do a lot of cooking in our house.  What can I say, we like to eat!  One thing that I am a little sad about is that I have not been very good about keeping the girls in the kitchen with me lately.  We get so busy, and I get in such a rush, that it is just easier to not have them underfoot.  Or, it’s the rare time when Brenda and I are able to talk undisturbed for a few minutes while we are working on making dinner.  I really need to figure out a way to strike that balance better. 

While Grace and I were away for the weekend on our Father Daughter Camp Out, Gram gave Brenda a wonderful gift by keeping Hailey overnight on Friday.  This gave Brenda a blissful, kid-free night on Friday and a Saturday morning to sleep in and do whatever her heart desired.  I was so pleased that Gram shared these pictures with me, because it really did make me proud to see Hailey (at the ripe old age of 3) helping Gram make pigs in a blanket. 

For those who may be unfamiliar with pigs in a blanket (oh, how I pity you), these are the Hillshire Farm “Lit’l Smokies” sausages enveloped by a potato bread dough.  We love to keep these stashed away in the freezer and make an awesome breakfast when we are camping.  During the fall and winter, we typically keep the dough starter going in our fridge and Brenda will make these by the dozens several times throughout the season. 

I am most proud that in our family, learning in the kitchen frequently means really getting your hands dirty.  It isn’t a “sit here and just watch me” scenario.  To me, there is no better way to learn than to jump right in.  You can see from the pictures that Hailey was heavily involved in the process and made her own pan full of pigs.  From rolling out the dough, to forming the pigs, to getting them into and out of the oven and of course the all important taste test, she really did it all!  She was very proud of her pigs and shared them with mommy when she got home. 

Thanks, Gram for sharing the pictures and for encouraging Hailey in what I consider to be one of my family’s greatest gifts and calling.  I know that Hailey will think back to days like this and will have many, many smiles and stories to share because she got spend this time with you. 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Daddy and Daughter Stuff that Mom Wouldn’t Approve Of

This past weekend, the Men’s Ministry from our church, Hill Country Bible Church – Austin, sponsored the first of 2 weekends that make up the annual Father Daughter Camp Out.  I have been looking forward to Grace reaching the right age for this opportunity and we were both really excited to go this year.  Camp Peniel, in nearby Marble Falls was our host as somewhere around 230-250 men and daughters descended on camp for a fantastic weekend.  We could not have been more blessed.  Everything from the weather to the campsites to the food to the activities were all beyond our expectations. 

Our family took a weekend camping trip last weekend, and with a favorable weather forecast for our father daughter campout, I had decided to break out the tent and forego the travel trailer.  Since the camp was providing the food, and it was going to be just Grace and I, I just couldn’t justify all the work of packing, hauling and setting up the trailer.  I am so glad we took our tent, the nights were nice and cool and it was a brand new experience for Grace. 

Our weekend was themed around a bible verse, Galatians 2:2o, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Grace and I were challenged to memorize this verse.  Once we had it memorized, we were to find one of a handful of father/daughter teams to recite the verse to, in order to earn our camp bracelets.  Grace has done quite a bit of scripture memory with her Awanas club at church, but the verses haven’t typically been this long and complex.  I was hoping we would be able to earn our bracelets before camp ended, and I was thrilled when we were able to check this off our list almost first thing on Saturday morning.  This was just the first of many things that Grace did that surprised, delighted and amazed me over the course of the weekend.

Camp Peniel has so much to offer, but I was a little worried that most of the activities would be a bit over Grace’s head.  Some of the activities, like trail riding were limited to the bigger kids.  But most of the activities didn’t have an age restriction on them, but seemed daunting to girls that haven’t tried them before, like the rock wall, for example.  Grace had done a smaller, mobile rock wall last year, but nothing like the one that scaled the walls of the gymnasium at Camp Peniel.  When her foot slipped on an early attempt at the wall, she got scared and abandoned her climb.  I was afraid she was going to give up before even trying some of the bigger activities that were ahead of us.  At lunch, we talked about how her foot slipped and it scared her, but she didn’t really fall, because the spotter was there to keep her safe.  We talked about how, in this environment, she was safe to take some chances, knowing that the spotter (and her Daddy) would never let her fall.  So after lunch, she mustered up courage and returned to the gym to give that rock wall another try.  This time, when her foot slipped, she didn’t panic.  She listened to the spotter who was coaching her on which hand-hold to grab next, or where to put her feet.  It wasn’t long before she was up to the rafters and ringing the cowbell.  I was SO proud of her for controlling her fear and for listening to the guidance that was provided for her. 

The rock wall gave her the courage try all sorts of new things.  She got to go on a pony ride with Peanut, which she had never done before and next we found ourselves at the rifle range watching other girls and their dads shooting paper targets.  I almost couldn’t believe it when I found myself loading the small bullets into the bolt-action rifle, and showing her how to look down the sights to her target.  I managed to get a picture of her when she was getting ready to shoot, but was so excited watching her squeeze the trigger that I completely forgot to get another picture.

Next, was the zip line.   Now, this isn’t some rinky-dink, kid’s version of a zip line.  This zip line was awesome, as it dropped 40-50 feet from the side of a cliff, over a small lake and into a meadow below.  I am guessing it must have been 100 yards long.  I got a video of it on my phone but it came out very blurry.  Here, the staff secures your harness and gives you some basic instructions, then they have you sit on the platform.  The staff yells down to the end of the line to let them know that the rider is harnessed and then tells the rider that they can go whenever they are ready.  I would not have been the least bit surprised or disappointed if sitting on the platform, dangling over a ledge, if Grace would have said “No thanks” and gotten up.  Instead, she leaped off that platform before the spotter could finish her last sentence.  Afterwards she said she was never afraid.

By the time the day was over, she was a filthy mess from head to toe.  She had conquered a rock wall, ridden a pony, decorated a rocket we made, fired a rifle, braved a zip line, launched her rocket, drank orange soda before dinner, ate Halloween candy for a late night snack and went to bed at 11 o’clock, without brushing her teeth.  It was an experience she will never forget, I am sure.  I also learned a lot over the weekend as well.  Sometimes I hold on too tight, and forget to let her do some big kid “stuff”.  I have to learn to loosen the grip around her, especially on occasions like this where she can have the freedom to fail in a controlled environment.  To be clear, when we told Mommy about all the fun we had, she was proud of Grace too.  I didn’t get lectured about pushing her too far either.  But deep down inside, we knew that a lot of that day would not have been on the Mommy-Approved list of activities.  And we can’t wait to go back next year!