Heirs of the Magi News Flash!

***Heirs of the Magi News Flash!***

Summer is almost here! Everyone in Witch Falls is getting ready for the first big holiday weekend that will launch the summer season, and this year; there's a big wedding to add to the mix of fun and work for the Proctor family!
Check back daily to share in the fun and adventure with Cassie, Michael, and their families and friends!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cassie's Journal - July 31, 2012

Let’s start right out with the early morning bad news. I was caught in mid-laugh and hug outside of Michael and Tim’s tent by two people who also saw me leaving his tent at about four-thirty. The fact that I’d been in there to take care of changing Ethan’s diaper again, or that the hug and laugh was in reaction to Michael’s comments and appreciation for helping him with that little problem, was conveniently missing from the story by the time it had hit the campground gossip network at breakfast.

The good news was that we weren’t even close to making top billing for best camping news story. I really don’t want to go into any details, so let’s just say that there were at least a few non-segregated tents last night and leave it at that. Now if only I could get Aunt Leanne to stop grinning every time she looks at me or Michael; like she did practically every time I saw her today. At least that was only a problem at breakfast this morning; after we got back from the whirlpool; and after baseball practice.

Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne came over in time for Tai Chi with Mom, Dad, and me; and we had Ethan and Ehlana with us again after I answered the call for another diaper change for Ethan. Ehlana had needed a change by then too, but Rowen took care of that while I was busy with Ethan; and then she and Michael sat out on one of the benches and kept Ethan and Ehlana busy while we were exercising. There wasn’t much movement coming from any of the tents until after Mom, Dad, Aunt Leanne, and Uncle Adam had gone inside; taking the twins with them. Rowen and I went for a swim next, and had some company in the river as more of our friends decided that a swim before breakfast was a good idea.

With so many campers, Mom and Dad hadn’t even thought about doing anything major for breakfast. They set out bowls of fruit, boxes of cereal, and platters of Olde Bakery muffins, cinnamon buns, and croissants. Cartons of milk and pitchers of juice completed the food and drink choices; and if there was anything left by the time everyone had finished eating; it was probably just crumbs that were too small to feed mice with. Have I mentioned before that boys are scary? Yes, I’m quite sure that I have.

The campers in the Stone’s back yard were doing their own thing for breakfast, but the members of their group that were going on the great whirlpool canoe expedition with us came over in time to help with getting all of our canoes out of the storage barn, and rounding up the extras we’d need for the day. Mom and Aunt Leanne had help for getting the picnic ready to go too, and by nine-thirty, we were on our way upriver.

Rowen and I were in separate canoes, and she had Dawn with her while I had Jillian and Emma in my canoe; mostly because it was easier for them to talk together while we paddled side-by-side. We were at the back of the flotilla, close to Violet, Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie; and as far away as possible from Chris, Martin, Jonathan, and the other guys in their group. That kept us away from the worst of the goofiness for the trips each way, and trust me – most of those guys were in top form today. The fact that their antics actually seem to work on the girls they’re trying to impress continues to just baffles me.

The whirlpool isn’t exactly huge, and it actually seemed crowded today. I’m sure that part of that was because of how much space some of the guys needed to show off for the girls, but it’s been another hot day; and staying cool and playing with Rowen and the rest of our friends was fun anyway. Violet and Stephanie split their time between hanging out with us and with Dillon, Jake, and the rest of their friends; and Rowen and I weren’t the only girls there who appreciated spending a few hours around Jake Stone in a swimsuit.

Did I write that out loud? Oops. Sorry, Stephanie, but I’m positive that you appreciate where that sentiment comes from on a daily basis.

That’s dancing a bit too close to the edge for me. Let’s move along.

We played at the whirlpool for nearly three hours, including having our picnic. When it was time to head for home again, we were in the last group to leave; mostly because Violet and Stephanie had us do a last check to make sure we didn’t leave a mess behind us. Since that left us quite a bit behind the rest of the canoes, we were good with that; and with pretty much being on our own with the ‘cool’ teens for almost the entire trip back.

We were having a second night of camping at our house, but the older teens weren’t doing that – possibly because all of the girls were more interested in some quality bubble bath time; air conditioning; and a comfortable bed to sleep in by then. All of those thoughts crossed my mind a few times tonight, but I don’t need to give Chris, Martin, or anyone else new material or opportunity to tease me more than they’ve been doing today.

Mom and Dad put on another barbeque dinner with some help from their friends, but Rowen, Emma, and I needed to eat early and get to our baseball practice, so we unfortunately missed out on the eating, drinking, and belching competitions that were probably some kind of championship round after the previous rounds yesterday and during the picnic today. Hopefully our team will appreciate that little sacrifice of ours!

We’ve got our next game this weekend against the Colonists, so Claire had us work fairly hard tonight to get ready for it. Between that; about four hours of canoeing; and hours more spent swimming, some of us are really tired tonight. Emma was invited to stay tonight too, but decided to go home with her mother after the practice. Rowen and I met up with Dawn and Jillian again, and they gave us the dinner recap while we went for a bike ride and Emporium ice cream run.

Violet, Dillon, Stephanie, and Jake were doing their own thing tonight, so it was Chris, Martin, Jonathan, and their friends ruling the campfire. Yes, that was scary, and Rowen, Dawn, Jillian, and I went for a moonlight swim at a bit after ten before skipping the rest of the campfire action and just hanging out around and in our tents. Michael earned at least one pass – not that kind! – for letting Ethan camp with him last night, but he didn’t help either of us when he and Tim joined us for that swim. I’m sure they just wanted to escape too, but if they’d just waited a while, we could have avoided all of the cat-calls; suggestions; and jokes that were sent our way from the peanut gallery around the campfire.

After our swim, the boys took off somewhere, though I suspect it was so they could work out a little payback for getting teased by Rebecca, Carolyn, and some of the other guys. Rowen and I ended up with Dawn and Jillian in our tent for a little girl chat time, but we were all getting tired, and they moved back over to their tent when they were ready to go to sleep. The campfire is still going strong, but Rowen and I have both had enough fun for today too, so I’m going to pack up; we’re going to head inside for a quick washroom break; and then we’ll hopefully be out for the count until morning.

Live, but ready to sleep like we’re not, from Camp Proctor, Witch Falls; this is Cassie and Rowen, signing off!

Cassie's Journal - July 30, 2012

Yes, you heard it here first, but today’s top news story around town was that Hannah and Nathan Draper were expecting their second child; due sometime in early April.

While that announcement didn’t have much impact on most of the kids in town, we – the eleven and under kids hanging out at our house – stopped in to the Olde Bakery so that some of us could offer congratulations and hugs; and pick up some camping treats while we were there.

I’m getting ahead of the events of the day.

Ethan and Ehlana were awake early; so they came outside with Mom, Dad, and I for our morning exercise. They toddled around the benches; goofed around a bit by acting like they were doing warm-ups with us; and then sat down on the grass and played while watching Dad lead Mom and I through the Wu long form. I was put in charge of wake-up calls after we went inside again, and took Ehlana with me for that while Mom and Dad started to work on breakfast with supervisory support from Ethan. Chris and Martin weren’t particularly excited about getting up before noon, but Violet, Dawn, and Jillian loved Ehlana’s wake-up cuddles and giggles.

Chris and Martin were the last to get downstairs for breakfast; but found enough energy to demolish about half of the food. The weather was looking good for the next couple of days, so Mom and Dad approved the camping request that Dawn, Jillian, and I made while talking about what we were going to do for our free play day.

They could be regretting that by now, but I’m sure there are a lot of happy parents around town too – the parents with kids at the mass campsite that is currently our back yard.

There’s a camp in the Stone’s back yard tonight too; but they got the older teens while our campers are in the eight to fourteen-year old range. I’m not exactly sure how we ended up with the biggest campout of the summer so far when we started out with just five girls, including Rowen and Emma Norton, but it certainly hasn’t been boring around here today. Since our camping adventure had been approved by the end of breakfast, Dawn, Jillian, and I wanted to set up our tents before it really started getting hot out, so when Rowen came over; that was the first thing we did. Dad had suggested the invitation for Emma, since she could stay overnight, and get a ride back home with Claire after baseball practice on Tuesday. She ended up getting a ride into town in time to have lunch with us when her father needed to pick up something at Landry’s; and multi-tasked that little job with dropping Emma off with us, and having lunch with Claire while he was in town anyway.

We had our tents set up long before Emma joined us, and we’d gone for a bike ride at the park; done a morning ice cream break at the Emporium; and done the congratulations and camping munchies run to the bakery before going home again in time to have a long swim before lunch. Emma caught the end of the swim with us; and it was at lunchtime that the camping plans started to get out of control. Mom and Alicia had been prepared for extra incoming teens for lunch, and we ended up with somewhere around thirty kids and teens. Violet, Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie all helped out with feeding the rest of us first before getting to have lunch with Mom and Alicia, and since we were finished eating by then, Ethan and Ehlana got to go play for a while at the park with five girls; all of us very happy to both give Mom and Alicia a little break while escaping from the weird and crazy that was currently surrounding Dawn’s brothers, Jonathan, and their friends.

By then, there were going to be a total of twelve more campers, and there were four more tents in various stages of being raised by the time we returned Ethan and Ehlana to Mom and Alicia; including a pair of two-room tents that were on loan from the Palmers and Bassetts. Seventeen campers seemed like a lot at the time, but then Stephanie and Violet suggested the teen camp at Jake’s house, and that led to more teens and kids getting in on both camping adventures; plus a mass barbeque dinner at our house for everyone and quite a few of the parents.

Our tents were already set up, so Rowen, Dawn, Jillian, Emma, and I mostly stayed out of the way as the campground spread out along the river and eventually ran the width of our yard and two rows of tents deep. While that was going on, we went for a canoe ride, played at the park again, and went for a long swim while we were at the park. When we got home, Rowen and I were drafted to help out with setting up for dinner, and Dawn, Jillian, and Emma entertained Ethan and Ehlana while we were busy.

Food donations were coming in fast by then, along with some adult and teen volunteers, so it really wasn’t that hard to get tables set up for the older guests, and the campers were all going be set free to take their food and sit around their tents and by the river to eat. Dad, Uncle Adam, Jacob, and some of the other guys were on the grills, while side dishes ranged from corn on the cob and salads to a variety of snacks like chips and pretzels. Rowen and I helped out for nearly an hour before being set free again, and then we sat down by the river with Dawn, Jillian, Emma, and the twins. We spent most of the time we had left until dinner was ready just sitting back and watching the tween action around us, and Dawn and Jillian did a great job entertaining the rest of us with their commentary; which regularly poked fun at Chris and Martin. I’ll guess that’s a defense mechanism they’ve needed to hone over the past few years to help cope with and survive the teasing, pranks, and practical jokes the Chris and Martin inflict on them on a regular basis. At least they had to play it cool, and were too busy to even pay us ‘kids’ any attention at all today.

Our plans for tomorrow came up during dinner, so since I’m at that part of the recap, I’ll mention that our canoe trip to the whirlpool and picnic has turned into a major event too that most of the kids and teens from both camps are going on. Rowen and I talked about changing our plans, but Violet, Dillon, Stephanie, and Jake are going too; and I’m sure that Dawn really wants to spend the day with Violet even if we’ll have to put up with way too many boys.

Grandma and Grandpa came over for dinner too, and they took custody of Ethan and Ehlana for a couple of hours while Mom and Dad were busy. Getting drafted for the pre-dinner crew worked out great for us when we were free to go play after dinner while quite a few of the teens, including Chris, Martin, and Jonathan, were ordered to help out with the cleanup. Rowen and I were sure that the park would be hang-out central until the campfire started once it was dark, so we biked to the school with Dawn, Jillian, and Emma to play there for a while; and then we went home again to go swimming while nearly all of the other kids were gone.

Dad had some help with getting everything ready for the campfire, but there weren’t going to be any adults actually staying for that. Rowen and I were going to have Ethan and Ehlana in the tent with us, so while Mom and Dad were going to have a yard full of kids and teens, they were also going to be kid-free for the night too. Maybe they won’t spend all of that time working in the office, but if they don’t; their kids are good with not knowing the details about anything else they might find to do instead.

When the campfire started, Jake was our primary guitarist, but there were lots of volunteers willing to try their best to tell scary stories with varying degrees of success. That was all fun for me, but tonight I spent some time just sitting back and observing everything around me – even the scarier than scary stories action going on with my cousins and the other tweens and teens. I’ll need to write that up sometime later this week, but I definitely have some observations to add to our Magi Project archive. Top of the list for that – a detectable variation in the aura strength for Magi and Latents; and some pretty wild clashes and synergies between different teens and kids.

I wonder why I haven’t really noticed this around Mom and Dad, or Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne – not! Uncle Adam can take this and run with it if he wants to study this among adult couples, but there are just some things that a kid doesn’t need to know about her parents, or any of the other adults in her life. The whole thing is seriously strange when you’re on the kid side of crossing over like I am. Let’s move along.

Couples time kicked in sometime around eleven o’clock, and Rowen and I were among the first of the younger kids that decided to find something else to do then. Ethan and Ehlana gave us that out; though they weren’t particularly sleepy yet. There was a slight change in plans when Ethan toddled over to Michael and Tim’s tent; got invited in; and all but told us that he wanted to stay there for the night. There were a few jokes about Ethan not wanting to be the only guy in a girls’ tent, but I’ll give Michael and Tim bonus points for taking on a junior camper – especially when changing diapers could become an issue sometime before morning.

We ended up going for a swim that Dawn, Jillian, and Emma joined us for, and then sitting outside of our tents and talking until after midnight. Ethan and Ehlana were asleep by the time we were all ready to climb into our sleeping bags, with Ethan in Michael and Tim’s tent, and Ehlana in Rowen’s and mine. I went into the boys’ tent to change Ethan’s diaper, and I hope he’s happy; because I had to put up with some teasing about whom I was spending the night with by Chris, Martin, and a few of the other younger teens when they caught me in there on their way to the river for a cool-off swim. Unfortunately for Michael and Tim, I think they got the worst of that thanks primarily to Rebecca and Carolyn; and the ‘way-to-go’ comments directed at them from the older guys did not help. I’ll admit that most of those jokes and the teasing was funny, but hopefully the comedians won’t try to stretch the entertainment from this out to the point where it’ll just be annoying. Dawn predicted that’s exactly what Chris and Martin will do, but I really hope she’s wrong about that.

Rowen and I were ready to hide in our tent after that, so we said goodnight to Dawn, Jillian, Emma, and the boys; and zipped ourselves safely into our tent for the night. I fired up my computer, and we did a little surfing while chatting and winding down. Rowen fell asleep about a half hour ago, so I’ve been taking care of a few things, including this journal entry, while also half-listening in to what’s going on around the tents; in the river; and at the campfire. There isn’t anything exciting to report on from the family business or much email traffic tonight, and since we’ve got a big day of paddling ahead of us, I should probably just call it a night now; shut down the computer; cuddle with Ehlana; and get some sleep.

Live from Camp Proctor, Witch Falls; this is Cassie Proctor, signing off!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cassie's Journal - July 29, 2012

This has been such a great day!

I’m going to totally stay away from all things teen, tween, or romantic tonight, so if you’re interested in any of that news; you’re out of luck for this journal entry.

Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne came over this morning for Tai Chi with us; and then brought Chrissy and Jonathan over for breakfast too. The usual pre-church running around followed, and after Pastor Lewis gave us another heat-day short service; we were free to get an early start on getting changed and packed for an afternoon at Quarry Lake. There were quite a few families making the trip out to the campground too, but the only additions we had to our two families were Rowen and Patrick, Scott and Lindsay, Rebecca and Jenny, and Claire’s daughter, Emma. It’s a good thing that Grandma and Grandpa, and Violet, could help out with the extra driving help. Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie couldn’t take the afternoon off from the Inn, but Violet and Chrissy still had some teen friends to hang out with when they needed a break from the younger kids and adults.

Emma had been a last-minute addition to our group, and I’m glad that we invited her. She really hit it off with Dawn and Jillian; and the five of us, including Rowen and me, had a blast together. Lindsay was officially with ‘our’ group, but quite a few members of the Bassett family came out to play too, so she spent most of the afternoon with Jessica. We played with them sometimes too, and with Ethan, Ehlana, and all of the adults; but we hardly even saw Chris, Martin, Jonathan, or any of the kids hanging out with them except for during lunch. I’d explain why that was such a good thing, but I’m not going there tonight. :^)

Anyway, we did a lot of swimming, played on the water slides and at the playground. Dad, Uncle Adam, Grandpa tossed a Frisbee around with us for a while, though according to Patrick and Scott; we were just getting in between them and having fun with the guys. I was wondering if Chris and Martin were like Patrick and Scott when they were nine, and Dawn assured me that they were worse. She’s admittedly biased, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she isn’t right about that too.

Rebecca needed to be back in town early to help out at the Inn, but for reasons that will, once again, not be discussed here; Jenny needed to take the day off. Violet offered to take Rebecca back, and timed that trip to match up with Dillon’s lunch break. We all eventually needed to pack up and head home, and Violet was back again with enough time for another swim before helping out with the packing and kid transportation.

So, how do you top an afternoon of sun and fun at Quarry Lake? You go with everyone to the late buffet at the Inn!

I hadn’t really thought about it before tonight, but this was the last buffet for Grandma and Grandpa before they leave on the month-long trip to Europe that they’ll fly out for next Sunday morning. Hopefully I’ll find a little extra time to spend with them between now and then, but that didn’t happen tonight; and it won’t be easy with everything we all have on the go this week. We weren’t the only families to follow up our play day with dinner at the Inn; and the dining room was full. Rowen, Dawn, Jillian, and I were at a kids table with Patrick, Scott, Lindsay, and Jessica. Emma was at the Inn with her family too, but was with them for the meal.

The food was as awesome as always, and the only other comment I have about that hour and a half is to point out that Dawn is reconsidering her assertion that the nine-year old versions her brothers were worse than Patrick and Scott. She and Rowen had joked about a trade earlier in the afternoon, but I’m fairly sure that offer’s off the table now too. (Side note: I won’t be discussing Rowen’s reaction to that suggestion either, but potential crossing over danger lurks there for my best friend.)

Moving along now, Rowen went home after dinner, and Dawn and Jillian opted to take turns using my Jacuzzi after we got back to our place. Jillian did that first, and Dawn and I took it easy in the lounge until it was her turn; watching some music videos and talking about the highlights for the day; and what we’d be doing during the coming week. Jillian and I did the same thing while Dawn was busy, and then they decided to watch a movie while I got reacquainted with my Jacuzzi. They were both sleeping by the time I’d finished, changed, and dried my hair; and Mom or Violet must have tucked them in. I went downstairs for a quick round of goodnight hugs and kisses, and have been snuggled in bed with Mandy since then.

It’s after midnight again, and though tomorrow’s a ‘free’ play day, we’re also camping by the river for the next couple of nights; so I need to wrap this up and get some sleep. Since Rebecca and Jenny have the next two days off, I’ll take a wild guess that we’ll be having quite a gang around our house starting right after breakfast. Hopefully the tween-teen twilight zone weirdness won’t get in the way of the fun for Rowen, Dawn, Jillian, and me. I still don’t want to go there tonight, so...

...live from Witch Falls; this is Cassie Proctor, signing off!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cassie's Journal - July 28, 2012

Tai Chi with Mom and Dad was pretty much the only quiet time I’ve had before now since waking up this morning.

We had breakfast for ten, and then most of us walked over to Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s house to say goodbye to Kara, Eddie, and Nicole before they all hit the road for the trade-off they were doing to return the three kids to their parents while picking up Chrissy and Jonathan for the nearly two weeks they’d be spending with us until needing to head home again in time for Rob and Trish’s wedding. After seeing them off, my cousins had the option to be set free for the morning while Mom, Dad, and I were busy with the usual Saturday morning chores. Rowen, Dawn, and Jillian opted to help Mom with Ethan and Ehlana, so while I was mowing the lawn and doing some gardening, they took the twins out for a walk and some play time at the park. We all went for a mid-morning swim when I was ready for a little break, and thanks to their babysitting assistance; we were finished the ‘must-do’ chores by noon.

Chris and Martin grabbed bikes and left the house to meet up with some of their friends, including Rebecca and Jenny, but more of their friends had part-time jobs this year, so not all of them were available – or at least they could only hang out with them before or after work. They were on their own when they came home for lunch, and then were off and running again as soon as they’d scarfed down some burgers, chips, and Olde Bakery desserts.

Having the guys doing their own thing all afternoon worked out great for Dawn, Jillian, Rowen, and me – and for Mom and Dad. Violet played with us for a few hours; with a break in the middle while she was busy hanging out with Dillon when he had his afternoon break at the Inn. We played with Ethan and Ehlana for a while too, though they also had an afternoon nap break so they’d be rested up for the campfire tonight.

It’s hard to believe that we didn’t run across Chris and Martin all afternoon in our little town, but even though we went to the park, the school, and the Emporium; we didn’t see them at all until they came home again for dinner. Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne had just gotten to our house by then with Chrissy and Jonathan; though they’d been home for more than a half hour, and had Violet and her six-member junior welcoming committee meet them and help with both a round of hugs and kisses, and help carrying luggage up to second-floor bedrooms.

I haven’t really gotten to know Chrissy very well yet, and she’s probably the quietest member of her family, but I really like her, and she and Violet both seem happy to be spending the next couple of weeks together. Since Chrissy’s a February baby like me, I don’t usually think of her in the same group with Violet, Dillon, and their friends; but she is in the same grade with them even though she’s nearly a year younger than Dillon and Jake. Underneath the shy and quiet, she’s also really beautiful too.

Jonathan has been a bit on the shy side sometimes too, but that might just be in new situations; since he was ready and able to keep right up with Chris and Martin once they got together at our house. Violet and Chrissy mostly stayed with Mom and Aunt Leanne while they were getting dinner ready, and Dawn, Jillian, Rowen, and I went for a swim and hung around on the dock until it was time to eat. The Arrows had a game, so Violet and Chrissy recruited all of the kids to take care of the post-dinner cleanup while the ball players got ready for their game and then headed over to the park. Chris, Martin, and Jonathan weren’t thrilled with that plan, but they did help anyway. Ethan and Ehlana were included too, but their supervisory assistance was mostly just for entertainment value. Yes, guys, I know that you could have helped – and Mom and Dad have let you do that a few times. Trust me on this, and just enjoy being too young for chores. We don’t get to do them the fun way very often, and the normal way isn’t much fun.

When we’re finished the work, Violet and Chrissy take us over to the park to watch the game. Chris, Martin, and Jonathan are off with their friends again about five seconds after we get there, and since there are girls in that group; I’m good with them finding something else to do. The Arrows played the Torpedoes tonight, and though they had a great cheerleading squad; we didn’t really have anything to cheer about. The only good news for the Arrows was that it was the shortest game of the season so far, so the pain was over fairly early; and we could all move on to the campfire. Final score – ten to four. All of the attending Arrows players came home with us for the campfire, and the game post-mortem included blaming all-day work; hours of travelling; or AWOL players that had the audacity to miss a game just because they got married and thought that going on a honeymoon was more important. I really hope the Arrows make it into the Championship game, or Uncle Nick and Aunt Deborah could get teased about that for years.

Anyway, it wasn’t dark yet when we got home, so while the adults were busy getting everything ready for the campfire, most of us younger kids went swimming with some support from Violet and Chrissy. The boys weren’t with us at first, but they came over in time for a quick swim too; and had all of their friends with them for the campfire – including Rebecca and Jenny. That’s made for a few déjà vu moments, with the only changes being that Caleb Palmer and Erica Bassett, and Carolyn Landry and Jeff Morris, were ‘officially’ couples this summer. The last two members of their group from last summer, Anna Marie Palmer and Calvin Jennings, were hanging out with them too, but weren’t currently dating anyone.

Violet and Stephanie must have decided to get some of their friends to come over to hang out with them, and with Chrissy, and by the time the Stone family, Dillon, and Stephanie joined the party after closing the Inn; we had a handful of sixteen and seventeen-year old teens to go along with the younger group. That at least had the effect of controlling the extreme goofiness as Chris, Martin, Jonathan, and the other guys had to play it cool around the older guys; but there was still a lot going on around the yard and campfire that I’d have been happy not to witness – or have a photographic memory to remember those moments with.

Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of really great moments tonight to offset the weird and uncomfortable. I love the campfire stories and music; Rowen, Dawn, Jillian, and I toasted marshmallows, joined in for the sing-alongs, and thrilled to the scary stories that Grandpa, Uncle Adam, and Jake took turns telling us. We had Ethan, Ehlana, and Naomi to cuddle with part of the time; though they were all taken inside and up to bed by shortly before eleven, and Mom and Dad ended up with another guest for the night.

It was still hot out, and quite a few kids and teems, including our foursome, jumped into the river for short swims. There was rain in the overnight forecast, but we haven’t had any rain yet. The campfire is still going on as I write this, but only some of the teens are still hanging out around it now. Rowen went home with her parents and brother when they left, and Dawn and Jillian are in their rooms tonight. I’ve been sitting in the window alcove with Mandy since getting ready for bed; doing the usual bedtime computing.

I’ve been entertained by the teens around the campfire too, though maybe that little admission should scare me. Then again, they – the friends still hanging out with Chris, Martin, and Jonathan – are scary-story kind of entertaining; so I guess it’s okay. Scariest moment of the night: Jenny kissing Martin down by the river. They’ll never read this, and probably think there weren’t witnesses, but then they were probably too preoccupied to consider the moonlight, shadows, or reflection in the river.

I don’t know if Rebecca and Jenny talked that over first, but while I didn’t observe anything even remotely approaching the kissing stage between Rebecca and Jonathan; they were sitting next to each other; while Chris was sort of bridging the gap between the younger and older teens, and sat next to Caleb and Anna Marie Palmer. Their big brother, Josiah, stayed after all of the adults and younger kids left too, which was a first; so I’ll guess that he wasn’t hanging around for the marshmallows and cold drinks. I’m trying to stay out of the matchmaking business right now, but while watching my cousins and their friends is scary; there are two shy, sweet teens out there tonight that are just adorable. I know, that’s very inconsistent, but I’m a girl – live with it!

Anyway, I’m tired, and we’ve got a big day ahead of us tomorrow – later today. The guys and girls around the fire can party all night if they want to, but it’s definitely time for me to wrap this up and get some sleep.

Live from Witch Falls; this is Cassie Proctor, signing off!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cassie's Journal - July 27, 2012

Jaimie and Kaitlyn had fun with us this week, but if their reaction this morning was any indication; they’re both missing their parents too, and ready to go home.

After Tai Chi with Mom and Dad this morning, I was kept busy helping my cousins fed, dressed, and ready to travel before Grandma and Grandpa came over to pick them up at nine o’clock. Aunt Leanne brought Kara, Eddie, and Nicole over in time to say goodbye to Jaimie and Kaitlyn; and then she left the kids with Mom and Alicia while she needed to spend the morning at work dealing with some month-end business that she and Claire needed to be taken care of before the weekend.

I was recruited to help out with the morning entertaining, and we mostly played in the back yard until having lunch with Dad, Aunt Leanne, and Uncle Adam. Aunt Leanne was spending the afternoon with Kara, Eddie, and Nicole, and though I was invited to go along, I stayed home to help Mom with getting four guest bedrooms; the lounge; and three bathrooms – including mine – cleaned and ready for our incoming cousins. Aunt Leanne and the kids were back again in time for her to help Mom with making dinner, and I had my work done by then; had gone for a short cool-down swim; and took over as entertainment co-coordinator until Grandma and Grandpa got home with our four guests.

Warning! You are now entering the twilight zone!

I haven’t spent very much time with Rebecca and Jenny this summer, other than a chat here and there when we see each other around town. They’re almost always hanging out with their usual group of friends; and boys in full-goof mode are usually nearby trying to impress them. While I had expected to see them a lot over the next two weeks, I was surprised when they came over about two minutes after Grandma and Grandpa pulled into the driveway. Yes, I’d been busy with Kara, Eddie, and Nicole, and didn’t notice them, but they must have been out on Rebecca’s front porch waiting to get there at almost the same time that I made it around to the front of the house with the three younger kids in tow.

Chris and Martin put up their usual protests when I hugged each of them, but Martin in particular seemed to be very happy to have Rebecca and Jenny there to welcome them too. They didn’t hug my cousins in front of everyone too, but I definitely got the impression that they would have liked to. Chris will be fifteen in a few months, and starting Grade Ten; which is probably why he isn’t quite as impressed with Rebecca and Jenny as Martin is. I don’t think about them from the same perspective as my older friends do, but I guess that they’re both really good looking guys. Let’s just leave that train of thought right there and move on.

Dawn and Jillian were both fired up about getting to spend two weeks with us, and the three of us, with help from Violet and Kara, went up to the third floor with their bags as soon as we could. Dawn was in the room across the hall from Violet, and Jillian had the room across from the lounge and next to the back stairs, but I expected that we’d be doing quite a few sleepovers with Rowen in my room and the lounge – our camping in the back yard. Chris and Martin had the two river view guest bedrooms on the second floor, and Mom and Aunt Leanne had plans to have them split their nights – and Jonathan’s – between the two houses.

Rowen was coming over for dinner, and Mom earned some bonus parent points when she invited Rebecca and Jenny to stay for dinner too. They hung out with Chris and Martin after that while Dawn, Jillian, and I continued to play with Kara, Eddie, and Nicole until dinner was ready – with help from Rowen once she joined us. Grandpa, Dad, and Uncle Adam took turns working the grills, and it was going on six o’clock by the time we sat down to eat. Chris and Martin were, thankfully, not scarfing food to impress tonight, but that didn’t keep them from devouring what seemed like everything in sight. By the time we’d finished dinner, Dad was suggesting that he and Mom should have warned the grocery store that they’d need to order more stock for the next couple of weeks to keep up with the extra demand.

Once they were re-fueled, Chris and Martin were ready to go again, and Rebecca and Jenny were happy to go with them to meet up with some of their friends. That worked out for Dawn, Jillian, Rowen, and me, and while the boys were away, we went for a bike ride; played at the park for a while when Mom, Dad, Uncle Adam, and Aunt Leanne took the five younger kids there for some playground action; and went for a long swim after getting home again. Rowen was staying overnight, so we made a trip to her house so she could pack a bag, and we were already hanging out in the lounge and watching a movie by the time that Chris and Martin got home again – along with Rebecca, Jenny, and six more teens.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if Rebecca and Jenny had suggested staying with us tonight too, but they didn’t. Maybe they didn’t think that the benefits were worth hanging out with a bunch of ‘kids’ all night. We didn’t stop our movie or anything, but Dawn and Jillian happily passed on regular teen reports as they sat in the window alcove and kept an eye on the action in the back yard. That included swimming, snacks and drinks by the river, and a lot of loud chatter, laughter, and horsing around. Chris, Martin, and the other guys and girls gave us lots of material to keep entertained with for the next few hours, but we also had a lot of catching up to do too – especially since Dawn hadn’t been home since the Memorial Day weekend.

We watched two movies, and Chris and Martin have said goodnight to their friends and moved on to playing video games in the living room. Dawn and Jillian are asleep on the sectional sofa, and Rowen and I are in my bed with Mandy; and we’re both doing a little computer surfing. I hadn’t really paid any attention to the news all day, but the Olympic Games started today in London; and we watched a few highlights from the opening ceremony while I was doing my usual email and work checks.

There isn’t going to be any Olympic glory in my personal future, but it must be really cool getting to compete at that level – and represent your country on that kind of stage. Somehow, I don’t see the world being ready for a Magi-powered super-athlete anytime soon, but Rowen and I entertained ourselves for a while imagining what that might be like. I liked the idea of a hundred meter dash in a fraction of a second, or high jumping that pole-vaulters would be jealous of; while Rowen thought that diving with one or two dozen mid-air flips followed by a slow-motion, zero splash finish would be amazing. I wonder if Mom and Dad would let us try that out at Quarry Lake sometime? Okay, yes, we know what the answer to that would be.

Anyway, it’s going on one o’clock, and we’ve got a busy day ahead of us, so it’s time to call it a night.

Live from Witch Falls; this is Cassie and Rowen, signing off!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cassie's Journal - July 26, 2012

We finally actually did get some rain overnight, along with a bit of a lightning show that Rowen and I ended up watching with Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and Kara after the thunder woke them. Eddie and Nicole slept through the light and sound show. There wasn’t as much rain as I’m sure the area farmers hoped for, but they probably preferred that to the deluge, hail, and damaging winds that swept through other areas along the storm front.

Except for a bit of rain around lunchtime, we’ve had another beautiful day. Rowen and I went to our weekly riding lesson and trail ride this morning, and then we spent the afternoon playing with all of the younger kids; including Ethan, Ehlana, and Naomi. That included playground time at the park; an ice cream run to the Emporium that Mom, Alicia, and Violet helped us with; swimming in the river; and just hanging out in the back yard for the last hour or so before dinner.

Though it turned out that we could have done the campfire tonight after all; we’d already done that, so Mom and Aunt Leanne went with a dinner and a movie night – this time at Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s house. Philip picked up Naomi after enjoying nearly a full kid-free day, but Rowen stayed to help me entertain the younger kids while Mom was busy with her end of the cooking. She helped us ‘move the show’ two doors down the street too before needing to head to the computer store; where her parents needed to be reassured that they actually did still have a daughter and spend the rest of the day with them.

There wasn’t anything on the dinner menu that was grilled in any way, and might even have helped to partially de-tox some us from a week of regular doses of treats and snacks. The movie was picked mostly for Eddie and Nicole; and we settled in for a little quiet cuddle time while watching the animated flick. It was time to go home after the movie ended; mostly because Mom, Dad, Violet and I needed to help Jaimie and Kaitlyn to pack up for their trip home in the morning. Kara, Eddie, and Nicole weren’t leaving – and doing a similar switch – until Saturday morning, but Grandma and Grandpa were meeting up with Richard, Carrie, Duncan, and Mercy in Crystal Springs to exchange Jaimie and Kaitlyn for Chris, Martin, Dawn, and Jillian. Taking the collective grandkids out for lunch and a little shopping was going to be involved before our next group of cousins – and one best friend – would be on the road again for Witch Falls.

Ehlana and I helped Jaimie with her packing, and then we did a group bedtime story and snack before tucking Ethan and Ehlana into their beds and moving up to the third floor. Mandy and I ended up with another cuddle buddy, and this time, I have Kaitlyn with me while Jaimie is bunking for the last night with Violet. My usual nightly computing had to wait until after Kaitlyn fell asleep, but, thankfully, she was tired out too, so I’ve been able to get a little family business work done; had a little messaging chat with Dawn; made a few notes in our Magi Project archive; and I’ll have this wrapped up too without needing to stay up an hour or three past midnight.

While my cousins have a travel day, with shopping and lunch with the grandparents bonuses, I have a work day ahead to help Mom with getting everything ready for our incoming guests; so I’m going to wrap this up. The next couple of weeks are going to be a blast of fun, and even though we’re a little scared of having another summer holiday like last year with Chris and Martin – and Jonathan this year – Rowen and I are really excited to have Dawn and Jillian to hang out with too.

Don’t go there, Proctor. It’s time to sleep.

Live from Witch Falls; this is Cassie Proctor, signing off!

Cassie's Journal - July 25, 2012

Happy twelfth birthday, Vanessa!

The crossing over continues, and Vanessa joins the growing group of girls in our class to have their first girls and guys birthday party. Rowen and I were both good with missing out on that action; though I’m sure our more ‘advanced’ classmates all had fun.

While about two-thirds of our classmates were in party mode, Rowen and I had another play day with my cousins. We took Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and Kara on a canoeing and exploring picnic adventure while Mom, Violet, and Alicia entertained Ethan, Ehlana, Eddie, and Nicole. Our little excursion included paddling as near as allowed to the falls; a few hours of park exploring and playground time; two swims in the river to cool off; a picnic by the falls on the park side; and a paddle across the river for Emporium ice cream snacks before going home again.

Ethan, Ehlana, Eddie, and Nicole joined us for some back yard play time until we had to take a break for dinner, and we mostly floated around in the river or played games under the trees where we had some shade from the hot sun. As usual on a baseball night, we ate early, and then headed over to the park for the Arrows’ practice. The younger kids weren’t much interested in watching baseball, so Rowen and I took a fairly large group to the playground, including, Ethan, Ehlana, and Naomi. Grandma and Grandpa helped us with kid control after getting to the park too, and earned grandparents of the day award when they sponsored a trip to the Emporium for ice cream that wrapped up at about the same time as the Arrows’ practice.

Our original plan was for another night of camping, but the weather forecast is calling for thunderstorms overnight and tomorrow, so we’re doing a sleepover instead, and Eddie and Nicole are staying overnight too. Mom, Dad, Uncle Adam, and Aunt Leanne also had wanted to do at least one campfire for our cousins, and had planned that for their last night with us, but decided to move that to tonight too in case we actually do get all of the rain they’re forecasting. That worked out great for everyone, including the members of the Arrows team; since they all came over for the campfire too.

I didn’t expect to have the usual neighbor drop-ins for a weeknight campfire, but even though all of the adults had work in the morning, we ended up with a big group joining in for the fun, food, music, and scary stories. Bill and Sylvia Bassett brought their kids over; Rowen’s parents and brother arrived at about the same time; and the Stone family made an appearance after closing the Inn. Dad and Bill took care of the music; Aunt Leanne and Miranda were the primary storytellers this time; and we toasted marshmallows and made s’mores for our snacks.

The party started to break up by a bit after eleven, and while most of the guys pitched in for the cleanup, Rowen and I had lots of parental support for getting our sleepover buddies upstairs and ready for bed. Ehlana ended up having a sleepover too when Naomi was added to the guest list, and got to be the first to try out the other new bed in Ehlana’s room. Since this was officially a sleepover, we set up sleeping bags in the lounge, and had Kaitlyn, Kara, and Nicole on the sectional sofa while the rest of us, including Eddie, were on the floor. I put a movie on, but none of the younger kids lasted fifteen minutes into it before dropping off to sleep, and Jaimie fell asleep about half-way through.

Rowen and I have been chatting while I’ve done my usual nightly computing, but we’re both ready for some sleep now too, so I’m going to wrap this up and do that. Until tomorrow...

...this is Cassie Proctor, live from Witch Falls; signing off!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cassie's Journal - July 24, 2012

Rowen and I are camping by the river with Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and Kara tonight, so I’ll need to keep this short.

We played; did a little biking; more swimming; set up our tent and camp; Rowen and I had our baseball practice; and we all took regular breaks for meals and snacks.

Eddie wasn’t happy about our girls-only camping, but he and Uncle Adam are camping too while Nicole and Aunt Leanne are having a five-star camping adventure indoors since Nicole wasn’t quite ready this year to sleep in a tent with us.

Violet, Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie went to Crystal Springs today; mostly to see a movie; though I’m sure that some shopping time will be involved too. I never really think about that kind of thing at all, but Violet probably misses being able to do things like going to the movies with her friends whenever she wants without having a three hour round-trip drive to do that.

Anyway, it’s not that late now, but our three junior campers are currently napping; if a bit restlessly. Rowen and I don’t want to wake them, so I’m going to wrap this up, and we’re going to go sit out on the dock for a while so we can still talk without waking the other girls.

Live from Witch Falls; this is Cassie Proctor, signing off!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cassie's Journal - July 23, 2012

This morning, the parents surprised us with the announcement that we’d be going to Quarry Lake today. Dad had to work, but he and Uncle Adam were going to join us out there after closing the office and clinic for the day.

We had quite a gang going too, including Violet and Dillon; the Stones; Rowen and Patrick; and the usual group of best friends, including Stephanie, Jenny, Tim, and Scott. Aunt Leanne was coming with Kara, Eddie, and Nicole; and Alicia had the option for the afternoon off, but she came out to Quarry Lake with some friends too. There was quite a bit of work to get done before we could go there, and though we helped out when it came time to pack up Mom’s van and Violet’s car; Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and I mostly stayed out of the way while Mom, Violet, and Alicia put together our picnic, and got everything else that we’d need for the day ready.

It was about eleven o’clock when we headed north on Quarry Road, and Mom, Aunt Leanne, and Miranda and Jacob had some volunteer drivers helping out with the transportation. Patricia, Emily Warren, Brent Palmer, and Tracey Landry all helped out with rides; including taking other kids along once word got around, and sisters, brothers, or cousins wanted to go too. There was more work to do when we got to the campground, and all of the kids were recruited to help out with carrying chairs, bags, coolers, and picnic baskets from the parking lot to the spot Mom picked at the edge of the beach. Once that was done, it was all play for the rest of the day – at least for the kids and most of the teens.

I’d like to take a moment to mention that I really love getting to play with Miranda and Jacob. They don’t get to come out and play with us very often, but when they do; they’re really very good at it! Dad and Uncle Adam weren’t the only adults to come out to play with us after work, but since Miranda, Jacob, Mom, and Aunt Leanne were the only adults in our group for the afternoon, they stuck together; and Rowen and I, and the seven-and-under kids, helped to make sure that they had fun. If you’re reading this some day, Miranda, you’d have loved hearing some of the comments I did today – like one guy who shall remain un-named who suggested that your Inn would be full every day, all day if you wore swimsuits at work too. There were comments about Jacob too, but I’m definitely too young to hear most of them, even though I did – including a few from you and Aunt Leanne. Okay, time to move along now for sure.

We were in the lake, on the beach, or playing on the water slides most of the time; with just two short playground breaks after lunch and dinner. Ethan, Ehlana, and Nicole all had short afternoon naps under the shade of a couple of beach umbrellas while Mom and Aunt Leanne took that opportunity for a little sunbathing. Violet, Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie helped out with our visiting cousins while they were doing that, and the four teens were a magnet for most of the other kids in our group.

One of the reasons that Rowen and I were happy to have my cousins to entertain was that the tweenies and younger teens, including Rebecca and Jenny, were in full-out weird mode today. Patrick and Scott were annoying too, and probably worse than usual because they were trying to act like the other guys; but they had orders to stay close to parental support, so avoiding them wasn’t an option. I can tell you that between the wedding and today, Rowen and I are more than a little scared about what it’s going to be like at home for the two weeks that Chris, Martin, and Jonathan are here. Maybe they’ll spend most of their time at Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s house.

When Dad and Uncle Adam came out to Quarry Lake, they had another group of parents and kids come along. Liz and Philip Seager brought Naomi; and they joined us so that Naomi could hang out with Ethan and Ehlana. While my brother and sister played and floated around with their friend, Rowen and I continued to play with Jaimie, Kaitlyn, Kara, and Nicole; though Nicole would stay with her aunt and uncle whenever the rest of us went on the water slides. Dad and Uncle Adam had Patrick, Scott, and Eddie with them most of the time they were with us; and Rowen I and were glad to have the break from the goofing around and pranks that Patrick and Scott had regularly annoyed us with all afternoon.

It was time to pack up and get ready to head home by a bit after eight; and most of us were home with enough time before dark to unload the van and truck. Violet, Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie had other plans for the rest of their night, and Dad had work to get started on in the office, but all of the girls, including me, and Ethan, were ready to head for bed after a long, busy day of sun and fun. I helped Mom with the bedtime routine for Ethan, Ehlana, Jaimie, and Kaitlyn; and then got changed and in bed. Mandy’s currently cuddling with Kaitlyn, but she’ll probably end up in here with me sometime before morning.

I thought about just going to sleep right away, but we’ll be doing some camping this week, and this might be one of the few chances I’ll get to do any family business work; so I put up my wards and have done about four hours of regular speed work in the last hour or so. That’ll be enough for now; there isn’t any other news to report; and I’m way past ready to crash for the rest of the night, so...

...live from Witch Falls; this is Cassie Proctor, signing off!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cassie's Journal - July 22, 2012

I had every intention of being asleep early tonight, but that didn’t end up happening – especially after Kara and Kaitlyn decided that they needed to do a sleepover together, and Mom and Dad won the draw for which house that sleepover would be happening at. The lounge ended up being sleepover party central; and Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and Kara only went to bed about twenty-five minutes ago after finishing the movie that I had hoped would put them to sleep; but didn’t.

Mom and Dad skipped Tai Chi, but I was up at the normal time, and so were Ethan and Ehlana, so I took them outside with me after dealing with a couple of diaper changes and putting coffee on to brew for when Mom and Dad did get up. After a night filled with music and noise, exercising by the river seemed even more peaceful than normal; and I really loved getting to share that time with my little brother and sister. After going inside again, I had time to get them both dressed for church before Mom and Dad made an appearance, and they took over from there while I went upstairs to have a shower and get ready for church too.

Violet and I both helped Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and Kara get ready for the day, and then Violet took her turn in my bathroom while the rest of us went downstairs to hang out with Mom, Dad, and the twins until breakfast was ready. We ate out on the back porch, and then Violet and I took care of the cleanup while Mom and Dad were busy getting ready for church too. It was hot in the church again, and the entire Sunday school class ended up going outside; spreading out around the church and school grounds, and doing our lessons while sitting under shady oaks with the breeze helping to keep us more comfortable than we would have been in our usual classrooms.

Lunch was at Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s; and they had nearly all of the Johnson and Ayres families there, along with most of the visiting friends of the now-honeymooning bride and groom. Mom and Dad were on the work crew for that, and Dillon was working at the Inn, so Violet, Rowen and I were both on kid-control. We all got changed at home first, and started out our play afternoon with a swim in the river after meeting up again at Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s. After that, we played in the back yard, tossing Frisbees or baseballs around; blowing bubbles – mostly for Nicole’s entertainment; and having a mini soccer game that Eddie recruited Jonathan and Kyle to help him with for a girls against the guys match. That might not have been fair for us, except we ended up with a few extra girls on our side – including Chrissy, Michelle, and Tory. Eddie was the only player taking the game seriously, and the guys did manage to win, but we all had fun; and that game took us through until lunch was ready.

Two hours of eating and cleanup later, and it was time for the visiting guests to pack up and head for home. Kara, Eddie, and Nicole were busy with their parents for a while, so Rowen and I took Jaimie and Kaitlyn for a little canoe ride before getting back in time to help with the goodbye hugs and kisses. We added Kara and Eddie to our little group once their parents were on the road, and we went to the park for the rest of the afternoon; hanging out at the playground, and going for a couple of swims when we needed to cool off.

Since our five guests were only here for one Sunday, we went to the Inn for the late buffet so that Christine and Andrew could come too after closing the Emporium for the night; and we had Grandmas and Grandpas Johnson and Proctor; the Seagers; and Emersons all come too. Mom and Dad had both been busy working almost all day, and Dad still needed to work in the office after we got home from the Inn; but Mom, Aunt Leanne, and Violet all went swimming with us after getting an overnight bag ready for Kara, and a little back yard play time.

I’ve already covered the movie in the lounge that followed our swim, and I’ve only taken care of the basic nightly computing before starting this little write-up. That’s all the news for today, and I’m way past ready to have a long nap now, so...

...live from Witch Falls; this is Cassie Proctor, signing off!