Nature Walk

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A panoramic view of the pond

We are in the Midwest visiting family for the holidays. Today the girl and I took a walk looking for a beautiful deer we have spotted a few times while here. Unfortunately we did not come across the deer, but we did enjoy our time outside bird watching and looking for animal tracks in the snow.

We watched the geese for a while and then we accidentally scared them away.

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There was also two hawks in the tress.

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Autry went swinging for a while, and then we followed some animal tracks.

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We were surprised by all the different tracks left in the snow.

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Taking a nature walk is a wonderful way to spend the morning. Tomorrow we head home to 70 degree weather and blue skies. I have enjoyed the snow and cold, but I am ready to be back in California, to be home.

California Wildflowers


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Autry was reading a favorite old book today, The Daring Book for Girls, and she came across the section on how to make a flower crown. She decided she wanted to make one, so we went out in the nature preserve searching for flowers. We found a nice assortment and brought them home so we could identify them.

photo (88)After identifying the flowers Autry got to work making her crown, and I arranged the other flowers for our mantle. They smell so wonderful together, especially the Cowboy Sage, and they brighten up the house on this cold, foggy day. Unfortunately we couldn’t identify the small white flowers. We still need to research that.

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photo (84)The crown turned out great, and it made me think about that old book that Autry use to love so much when she was younger. Maybe it would be fun for her to work through the projects now that she is older and can do all of it on her own. Hmm…something to think about.

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In Search of the “Super Moon”

Hello people. This is Autry “guest blogging” because my mom is too lazy to sit here and write this post. Just kidding, yeah she just asked me to write it.

Anyway we had a wonderful time last night walking around our AMAZINGLY beautiful neighborhood. Mom had told us a few days before about the “super moon” when the moon was the closest to earth in a long time. I forgot exactly how long, sorry guys. But anyway I thought mom was a bit crazy when she dragged us out at early evening to look for the moon. Why would it be out when the sun hadn’t set yet? Looking back on it, this was a really AWESOME idea since we got to see the sun set and the moon rise! 🙂

May I just say that the whole time we were walking around I was thinking, OMG I’m really glad I live in this EXACT part of Orange County. Why I say this exact part is because not every place in OC is full of beautiful rolling hills and California wildflowers that bloom everywhere and green trees against the gray sky and real California wild grass that looks sort of like wheat and is a sort of purple color. We really live in the thick of all the nature things here. And I’m really glad about that. We live on the nature preserve and by the Turtle Rock and the rolling hills.

First mom dragged us around the back way around our house. The whole time Decca did annoying things (in my opinion) and almost ran into us multiple times on his scooter and told extremely bad jokes that are best not relayed over this blog.  Tru and I tried to make him stop to no avail, and then Tru found a giant stick and we fought over the stick. Then we did this limbo thing with the stick…not sure why. Finally Mom took us to climb the big hill near our house.

That’s when I turned around from the top of the hill and saw the sky going dark and pink at the center, like it was colored by a misty oil pastel. The sun was visible just below the trees as it sank beneath the horizon. I thought that was pretty awesome. But then it was gone and we still didn’t see the moon anywhere. I was starting to feel like this was all a rip-off or something…

Anyway we went back and grabbed Kingsley. By that point, the sky was completely dark. Mom took us to the Turtle Rock. I love this place because on clear nights we lay there by the rocks and look up into the sky. It makes you feel so small. We toyed around there and fought some more. But by this point I wasn’t really expecting to see the super moon.

That’s when I turned around, and I wasn’t even thinking about the moon anymore, and I saw this yellow pale sliver that looked to me a bit bigger than the sun from below the trees. Since it honestly looked yellow just then to me, it took me a while to realize that it was the moon, but when I did it just took my breath away.

“Look at that mom!!” I said.

We ran on to get a better look when we stopped by a big hill. The moon was just peeking out from above it, so I was wondering why we stopped here. Then I saw that the moon was so big you could see it rising. We stood there and watched it climb through the sky over the hill.

I was like “Whoa.”

Next we went over to the chapel on a college campus in the hills in hope of seeing it better from there. Kingsley and Mom and the boys and I lay there on the grass by the chapel and looked up at the moon. Decca and I wanted to stay there for ever because whenever we are out at night like this, taking walks and seeing amazing things, I feel so awesome and so close to everyone else. And with this may I just say that I am so glad to live here in the midst of all this beautiful nature.

Reflecting

I have been in a bad mood all week. I am feeling a little stressed, a little down, a little overwhelmed. I started feeling this way even before Monday started because of the over-scheduled week I was about to face. Autry had a concert on Friday, which meant many late nights at OCHSA which in turn meant many late-night drives to and from OCHSA. In addition to this Tru had numerous days at the golf course last week, and Decca started back up in piano. Add to all of this my normal daily drive to OCHSA (every morning it takes me an hour round trip), and I was stressed.

Monday and Tuesday were not as overwhelming as I thought, and I realized that I may just get through the week. Wednesday morning I woke a little more stressed and down, but I still thought I could get through it all. Then Wednesday morning around 10:00 I looked out my back window, and I saw something that I thought I would never see – a crime scene. The whole nature area was closed and there were cop cars and detective cars everywhere. I had a bad feeling that something terrible had happened, but I wasn’t prepared for what I found out.

What I found out was that a young man, only 14-years-old, took his life in the nature preserve the night before. Roughly around midnight this boy died. All alone in the dark he died; in the nature preserve, the beautiful peaceful nature preserve that I love so much. I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock.

The rest of my week was spent thinking about why this happens. Why do kids fall through the cracks? Why do people look the other way when they see bullying (apparently the boy had been bullied at the local high school)? How can no one, not one teacher or parent or friend, see that someone is struggling so much? How can one of the best high schools in America fail one of their students?

Of course I am sure many of us can answer these questions, as situations like this happen all to frequently. But in this day and age, when there is so much awareness of these situations, it should not happen. Children should be able to go to a school and feel safe. Parents should be aware that they have choices in their child’s education and feel confident in their legal right to withdraw a child from any school and homeschool them if they need to. And there should be legal ramifications for those that torment other children, especially when the abuse leads to such a terrible ending.

But this is not the case, and the thought of that had me felling down. And the thought of that poor boy, out in the nature preserve all by himself, had me down. How can a place that means so much to me be the place where one ends their life? How can I go out and walk by the spot everyday and not think about him? Why am I so stressed and worried about my week just because it is a little over-scheduled? Why are my kids so blessed with a life where they can be who they are with no worries of other’s thoughts?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do know that I am appreciative of all I have, all that my children have. I do get stressed sometimes, overwhelmed trying my hardest to juggle the job of raising three wonderful children all by myself. There is only one of me, and sometimes I feel stretched to my limit. But I am blessed, and I know it. I appreciate it.

A day after the boy’s body was discovered I walked by the spot where he was found. It would be hard to avoid it for very long, so I decided to face it head on. At the spot was some flowers and this balloon.

In honor of this boy, who I have never met, I want to get out the word of the new movie Bully. I hope all teens and pre-teens see this film, and I hope the film has the ability to influence someone’s life for the better. I believe it can, which is why I signed the petition to change the rating from R to PG-13. In honor of this boy, and all the children who are bullied, please consider signing the petition also.