First Day of School

Well, today is the first day of school and my children have been given the privilege of sleeping in.  Yes, so now you are believing the stereotype of homeschoolers sleeping in and going to school in their pajamas, etc.  I will tell you that is not how I run my school.  Normally.  But today is not a normal day.

This last weekend was a 4 day weekend for Daddy.  He got Friday off as well as Monday off.  The boys had fun making a 10 meter antenna for Amateur Radio (Ham Radio for short,) watching Daddy climb high up in the tree to hang it, and I think they even tested it a little bit.  The antenna is not finished, but almost.  On Sunday, the boys went flying in a private airplane with the Scouts and had a wonderful time, and then we all went camping.

The car was packed and we headed straight out to Ossian State Forest.  We found our way to Evergreen Pond where there was supposed to be a primitive camping spot available on a first come first serve basis.  The camping area was right off the road, and we sat down at the picnic table and decided to stay.  We even saw a lot of road kill, just in case we were hungry. (See picture of frog) 😉  After hearing a shotgun and my husband actually SEEING the hunter and yelling at him to be careful and the hunter very recklessly swinging the gun around and apologizing, we decided it was not the place for us.  So, with strict orders to the older boys to sit at the table and not move, we took the younger one and off we went to find another spot.  It was not long before we found a nicer spot – off the main road, down a path, with a fire pit and wood available for us to use.  (You are not permitted to bring wood into the forest for potential of invasive insects coming and destroying the forest, but you are permitted to use wood found in the forest.)

We had a blast!  Two tents were put up, fire was started and the boys had fun roasting potatoes and having baked beans for supper.  We put the fire out and went to bed.  The boys went to bed really good – almost immediately!  The next morning the boys got up quite early surprisingly, however, that did not help them in packing up their tent!  They just could not get it done in less than 2.5 hours!  (Don’t really blame them, I hate packing up as well, but it needs to get done!)  To try to help them out I said no breakfast until it was finished.   Not sure it helped 😉  but we finally got everything packed up, a new fire made for coffee that was accidentally left on the counter, davened and ate.

We finished and packed up the few remaining items around 12:30.  Nothing had gone the way my husband wanted it to that morning (and it did not help that I forgot the coffee!)  However, we left, got some coffee and spent some time walking around a Lowes that we found in the area.  We decided we were just looking at ladders (for the antenna!) and we had no set time to leave.  I made lunch before we took off again.  We were going to try to do a geocache before going home.  We went to Hemlock Lake – that is the lake where we get our water from.  Unfortunately, there were a few grumpy people, and when grumpy people are in the same vehicle, it affects everyone for there is no room to go and hide.

We ended driving around to the west side of the lake and finding a trail down the forest.  The plan was for the four big boys to hike in the old growth forest around the lake to a meeting point on the other side.  The littlest boy and I were going to meet them over there in the van.  DH took his phone with the GPS on it and a Ham radio for the phone did not have a signal very reliably.  This was around 4:45pm.

Everything went fine until they had traveled a long ways, the trail ended and they went bush wacking.  Then the phone decided it was going to get ready to die.  I was given a few location coordinates before the phone died.  The area was very marshy and full of thickets and wild roses, making it extremely difficult to walk through.  It was not until about 7:30 that I started to get really worried.  It was almost sunset.  It was going to be getting dark very soon.  I told them to turn their radio off for a while to make sure they would continue to have battery when needed.  8:20 I called 9-1-1.  The lady dispatcher was very nice and helpful.  She dispatched the sheriff who was a few towns over, so it took a few minutes to get to where I was.  She stayed on the phone with me and we kept tabs on what was happening to the boys.  As we were trying to narrow down their location, the sheriff came and we drove to where he thought everyone might be.  He shined his light in the forest and yes, boys saw it!  By this  time there were more police cars driving around at various spots, that I only found out later.  It was not that much longer before they were on their way and close to coming out of the forest.

They came out at a different place to where I was at the moment and the sheriff and I drove to them.  Around 9:30 they finally made it out! As they climbed out one at a time, you can be sure that each one got a hug!  My oldest was a great trooper, never complaining, just chugging along in the bush.  Another boy was almost in tears – he was scared and was just so glad to be out!  The third boy did not say much other than smile and say he was glad to be out.  The biggest boy?  I think he was a bit dazed.  I do not think it really hit him fully until this morning.

There were almost a dozen police cars, fire trucks and ambulances over there.  I want to thank the Livingston County Sheriff department and the Springwater volunteer ambulance and everyone else that came.  Obviously they were just Hashem’s messengers and even though we need to thank them, it was ultimately Hashem’s doing that they were found that quickly.  I also thank Hashem that the batteries in the radio lasted the entire time, for without the radio it would have required a whole lot more time and energy to find them!

We finally got home around 11pm.  We had not eaten supper, but I made everyone hot chocolate and they got as much orange juice as they wanted.  Other than being smoked out from our camp fires, they needed to get clean from their hike!  After getting clean and filling the tummies a little bit, they were all tucked into bed.  It was then that I told them they could sleep in on the first day of school.  I finally woke them up at 10 am to say brachos, eat and clean the table.

So now, the biggest brave boy is at work, and the others are in Room613 for the open house.  The little one who did not have a bath last night just washed himself and is getting dressed.  The day will involve our math like we have done in the summer, and the afternoon is going to involve emptying the van and perhaps washing it (if it does not rain!)

So that, my friends, is why my boys got to sleep in on our first day of school.

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