Finding Passion-Rock Climbing

A new passion has arisen among two of my three children-rock climbing.  The kids climbed at the US Whitewater Center many times when they were younger.  They always enjoyed the thrill of completing a route.  I remember the first time that Sims climbed with a person belaying him instead of using the autobelay.  I think this is when he became hooked.  He saved up and purchased his own harness, which he passed down to Sawyer and now Parks.

Fast foward a few years…Sims and Sawyer display amazing confidence in the climbing gym and on a rock face.  They both have learned how to read routes and to know how they climb.  They have learned so much about self-control, breathing, mindfulness, and how to work with what you have (short stature, tall stature, less flexibility, anxiety…).  They are learning about safety while climbing outdoors and how to help rescue fellow climbers.

They utilize many of our school lessons while climbing.  Sims researches outdoor climbing areas to learn about the rock type.  His geology lessons from last year are being put to use now.  He understands the importance of weather on the rock.  He discusses the physics behind the different types of gear used and why each is important.  He looks at the terrain to get to the rock faces.  They both train and show true commitment to the sport.  I look forward to watching them grow in this passion!

Finding Passion-Sewing Update

In February of 2016, I wrote about Sawyer’s passion for sewing.  In my mind then, I thought that she had a true talent with sewing-one that I never had.  Well over the past year and a half, she has amazed me even more.  She doesn’t sew all the time, and she is not obsessed with sewing.  However when she does begin working on a project, she works until it is complete.  I am impressed with her perseverance and passion.

Since my last post on her sewing, Sawyer has made huge strides in her abilities.  After a couple of camps and a lot of trial and error, she can sew-for real.  (Sewing is a skill that I imagine that I have, but I have NEVER been able to make anything that I would admit to.  Thus, I love that my daughter can do it.)  Sawyer can see a design in her head, play with the material, and make it.  Now, she is still on simple designs-I am not saying that she is a fashion genius by any means, but she has a gift that she surely did not get from me or her dad.  She can also fix her machine 90% of the time (if you do sew, you know this is a gift in and of itself.  The machine can have a mind of its own, and I have no idea on how it works.  Thankfully, Nick does, and he has taught her a lot).


Finding Passion-Biking

I am not sure why, but I have never thought of biking as one of my kids’ passions.  However, it is probably the longest passion that my boys have had.  Sims started biking well by the time he was three.  He used to ride his little 12 inch bike with me on my long runs.  Parks, of course being three years younger, started riding a bike as soon as he could get on one.  And neither of them has stopped since!  Sawyer rides too, but mainly to keep up with her brothers.

Finding Passion- Horseback Riding


Lately in addition to hiking and playing outdoors, the kids have found another passion-horseback riding.  One request to ride a horse by Parks on his sixth birthday changed all of our lives.  Since that day three and half years ago, all three of the kids have started riding horses.

Riding and working with horses has so many benefits.  The horses require emotional work-you cannot bring hostility or frustration or arrogance to the barn and expect a good ride.  The horses require physical work-getting the horses from the pasture, grooming, tacking up, riding, getting all of the gear off, putting everything away, and taking the horse back to its pasture.  The horses require mental work-problem solving, reading the body language of the horses, environmental awareness, executive functioning.

I am a proud mama when I watch the kids at the barn.  They are kind and hard-working.  They have learned to set goals for themselves on the horses, and they have learned that some days they need a break and just want to ride to enjoy riding.  I have seen each child gain  resilience, empathy, confidence and strength at the barn.

This week, I had the privilege to watch them at their first horse show.  (I have a new respect for those who participate in shows on a regular basis-wow! that is a lot of work and a long day!!)  They were excited and nervous.  They have never ridden around so many horses before, and they rocked it.


Finding Passion- Animal Rescue

My crew loves animals.  In fact, animals run our lives (or at least, it feels this way most days).  We have 5 cats, 1 dog, 1 bird and 1 fish who live with us permanently.  Notice the permanently.  Rarely are those the only animals that we have in our house.  Over the years, the kids have “saved” skinks, preying mantises, frogs, birds, and numerous bugs.  Most notably though was the rescue of Sticky, the black racer.

One afternoon my children rode their bikes through the woods and saw our neighbor with a snake that was caught in a trap.  They thought that the snake was dead, and they moved on.  When they rode past the snake the following day, they noticed that the snake moved a little bit.  Immediately, the kids rode home and went into action.  Mainly, they came and got me to help the snake.

The snake was stuck in one of those sticky mouse traps.It was obviously chasing a salamander, which also meant that the snake was hungry.  The malnourished snake was exhausted and dehydrated and seriously stuck.  After a quick internet search (what did we do before the internet?), I found that olive oil could be used to gently remove the adhesive from the snake.  After an hour of carefully oiling and pulling, the snake was free of the trap.  Unfortunately, he was not moving much.

The kids were not tolerating the thought of the snake perishing on its own.  Thus, we started making phone calls.  The first call made was to our friends at Latta Plantation.  They gave us some terrific advice and forwarded us onto a rare animal vet.  With our new information, we placed “Sticky” into a container with a nice shallow bowl filled with water.  It soaked in the water for hours.  Over the next two days, we worked on removing all of the adhesive from its scales and re-hydrating it.

After 48 hours, we released Sticky under a bush in our backyard.  We thought that it was going to go well.  That evening Parks went out to check on him and found three of our cats surrounding the poor little snake.  We immediately scooped him up and put him back into the container.  The next day we went into the woods and placed Sticky under a log and some leaves.  To the best of our knowledge, Sticky is slithering around the woods happily.  We learned a lot in that 72 hours, and something tells me that it won’t be the last time that we will need that knowledge.

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