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!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 31, 2012

It started raining around noon today, and hasn’t stopped since. That didn’t get in the way of any play time, since Rowen was helping her parents all day either at home or at the store; and I was helping out at home; babysitting with Alicia this morning while Mom and Violet did all of the running around to pick up everything from groceries to dry cleaning. At least they beat the rain getting that done, but we weren’t so lucky with helping our guests bring luggage in when they got home.

We first ended up sitting around for two extra hours before Violet’s family got to Witch Falls. The rain made for a miserable trip for them; with accidents slowing them down all the way from Woodvale. It took them over two hours just to get through the snarled highways in and around Crystal Springs – and they’d left home early! Dad, Violet, and I all helped out with unloading Uncle Rick’s SUV, and Grandpa Richard’s car; and we all looked like we’d jumped in the river with our clothes on by the time we were done.

Dawn and I decided that visiting with everyone else could wait; and we took turns with some quality Jacuzzi time before going back downstairs for what ended up being a little bedtime snack and round of hugs before we came back up to my room and decided to just go to bed. She and Mandy are already sleeping, but I wanted to check my email and write this up. It’s funny that I wanted to get to bed early so I’d be ready for the big game in the morning; but there’s basically zero chance that we’ll be playing now. Even if the rain stops by morning, it’s a safe bet that the ball diamonds will be flooded – and it’s supposed to keep raining for most of the day on Saturday.

The farmers would have loved to get all of this rain if it had been spread out over the last couple of months; but we’ve heard that most of them are worried about losing crops that are close to harvest. It’s hard to believe that they can battle drought all summer, and then end up having their crops flooded out. Compared to that, rescheduling Championship baseball games – or even having most of the holiday weekend events moved indoors or cancelled seems trivial.

While we have the Rice family staying with us, Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne have Grandpa Duncan, Grandma Mercy, and Aunt Deborah’s parents, brothers, and their families at their house. Uncle Blaine, Aunt Alison, and their kids are with her family this weekend; and the rest of the Johnson family, and all of the McEwans, had other plans too.

Our big, summer-ending holiday isn’t exactly off to a great start, but even if it rains all weekend, I’m sure we’ll have fun together. The sound of the rain is lulling me to sleep now too, so I think it’s time to wrap this up and call it a night.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 30, 2012

Congratulations Aunt Deborah and Uncle Nick!

It would have been more fun if Aunt Deborah had needed to interrupt Uncle Nick’s class to give him the big news; but it was still fun watching our friends and family find out about Aunt Deborah’s pregnancy. The news also made for a couple of last-minute changes for the weekend too; and Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne are going to have a few extra weekend guests.

Their news was the top story of the day around Witch Falls, and Rowen and I heard most of the gossip while we were at our back-to-school hair appointments. Liz was taking care of both of us while Vicky had other customers; so we were there for nearly an hour of baby and pregnancy talk that occasionally included more information than either of us needed to know. While we had the afternoon off to play, except for those appointments; we mostly took it easy between lunch and dinnertime. We dropped off Olde Bakery treats at the clinic and school for Aunt Deborah and Uncle Nick after our visit to the Salon, and then spent the rest of the afternoon either swimming in the river or lying on blankets under one of the big trees and doing nothing at all except talk and sip on cold drinks. It’s hard to believe that this is nearly the end of summer considering just how hot it’s been so far this week.

The heat might be part of the reason why Aunt Grace and Mark were mostly staying indoors and doing their own thing today. It’s definitely been a lot hotter here than Mark’s used to in Seattle. Hopefully that won’t end up being on the ‘cons’ side of his list when thinking about his job offer, but if I find out that it is; I’ll point out to him that hot weather does equal more time with Aunt Grace in a swimsuit, and see if that helps.

Since Uncle Nick’s family was mostly busy with work; our house was dinner central again – mostly so we could have a mini-celebration that Aunt Deborah joked could be one of her last regular meals for a while; depending on how her morning sickness progressed. Baby and pregnancy jokes and stories kept all of us entertained during dinner, but with the long weekend just one sleep away now; there was work to do at everyone’s houses; and it wasn’t long after we’d finished eating that Mom, Dad, and Violet were on their own with just Ethan, Ehlana, and me.

There isn’t anything exciting to report about the rest of the evening, and I’m tired and ready to shoot for a solid eight hours of uninterrupted rest, so...

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 29, 2012

Hopefully by this weekend, Mark will get used to our time zone, but he and Aunt Grace didn’t make an appearance at our house until nearly eleven o’clock again. They’ll miss out on half the fun if they sleep in on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday!

While they were sleeping – or something – we were busy working. Violet and I were drafted for a bit of running around that included picking up a few things at the grocery store and bakery to drop off at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Mom was cooking all morning, and Alicia took care of Ethan and Ehlana while we were busy. Violet and I had fun together, and it’s hard to believe that we really haven’t had much time for just the two of us all summer. I’d suggest that we work on doing better with that next summer, but since she’ll be going away to college; that probably won’t happen.

Mark and Aunt Grace were over in time for a little visit with Mom, Ethan, and Ehlana before helping out with lunch; and it was nearly one o’clock by the time we finished cleaning up the kitchen and were set free to play for the afternoon. Rowen and I were their entertainment coordinators, and we took them, and Ethan and Ehlana, for a canoe ride; stopped to play at the park; went across the river for an Emporium ice cream break; and walked to the Falls before canoeing home again. Mom, Violet, and Alicia all joined us for a swim, and then Rowen and I went back to the park on our bikes while everyone else went inside to stay cool and relax for the rest of the afternoon.

Grandma and Grandpa got home a bit later than expected, so we all met them at their house and helped out with unloading their van before walking to the Inn for dinner. They provided the stories; the food was as awesome as always; and we sat and talked until we were the last group in the dining room. Jacob and Miranda even joined us for a while to have a little break before we headed out; and they got ready to close the Inn for the night. By then, it was middle-of-the-night to Grandma and Grandpa, so we walked them home and they went in with plans to go straight to bed.

Rowen had come with me for dinner, and we were doing a sleepover too, so we made a side-trip to pack an overnight bag for her before going home. We went for a moonlight swim after that, and ended up having a little more time to hang out with Violet when she, Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie all decided that a moonlight swim was a good idea too. That was fun, but short for Rowen and me; since we only played with the four teens for fifteen or twenty minutes before decided that six was a crowd.

Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, Aunt Grace, and Mark had come home with us; and Rowen and I joined them in time for Ethan and Ehlana’s bedtime story and drinks – none of us needed snacks too. We did that in the living room, and then Rowen and I took Ethan and Ehlana up to bed on our way to my room. After getting changed and in bed with Mandy, it was time for some serious girl chat and a little random surfing around the net. We’ll probably do at least one more sleepover this weekend while Dawn is here, but since this is the last one for just the two of us before going back to school next week; and it was school that we talked about the most.

We’re both working at our jobs tomorrow morning, and it’s nearly midnight, so I’m going to wrap this up and we’re going to get some sleep. Just two more days until the holiday weekend, and the three-day blast of fun before we go back to school; and at least some parents celebrate the start of their kid-free weekdays.

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

Cassie's Journal - August 28, 2012

Mark may be having issues with the time change, but Aunt Grace doesn’t seem to have a problem with sleeping in late too. We didn’t see them at our house until we were nearly ready to head out for our trip to Quarry Lake.

Going out to the campground wasn’t specifically in today’s plans until this morning; when Violet suggested that today would be a great day to spend there when Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie had the day off and could go with us. By the time Aunt Grace and Mark came over, we had another big group going along, including the rest of Jake’s family; Jenny, Tim, Patrick, and Scott. That meant that we had extra work to get done this morning; and Violet and I pitched in to help out so that Mom could still get most of the weekend pre-cooking she had planned for today finished while we took care of some laundry, cleaning, and getting nearly everything except the picnic ready for our play afternoon.

Our little caravan left town by eleven; and we had our little camp set up at the edge of the beach by a quarter to twelve. Everyone was ready to cool off by then, so we went swimming for nearly an hour before the adults started getting lunch ready. Rowen and I stayed with Mom, Alicia, and the twins; and Aunt Grace, Mark, Miranda, and Jacob mostly played with us while the teens, Rebecca, Jenny, and the rest of the boys played on the slides and out on the big diving rafts in the middle of the lake. I’m not sure if Jake and Dillon were asked to help out or not, but they spent more time than usual with Michael, Tim, Patrick, and Scott; though Michael and Tim had some other friends to hang out with for most of the afternoon too.

Since we’re at the picnic lunch part of today’s recap, I’d just like to make a little note that we definitely need to invite Miranda and Jacob to more Quarry Lake trips – and book them on their days off. Jacob makes the best picnic foods in the world! Between his contributions and the Olde Bakery treats, it’s a wonder that we didn’t all just sink to the bottom of the lake when we went swimming again after lunch. Aunt Grace was complaining about what all of those calories were going to do to her, but all of those protests are just a little unbelievable when you look that hot in a bikini both before and after the meal. Mark wasn’t the only guy to tell her that either – especially if you include some of the blushes and averted eyes from some of the younger boys in response to some of those comments.

The boys in our group must not have been the only guys thinking about girls in swimsuits today. Even though they were coming up on one of the busier month-ends of the year, Dad and Aunt Leanne blew off work early, and came out to Quarry Lake to spend the last hour or so with us before we needed to get home again. Getting to spend that time with them was great with one little exception – Aunt Leanne jumped right into matchmaker mode.

I know you’ll never read this Aunt Grace, and I’m glad you thought that her efforts were both amusing and some deserved payback; but you weren’t eleven when we nudged you and Mark together. I’ll remind you of this precedent some day when you’re kids are my age. It should be interesting to find out if you still feel the same way about pre-teen matchmaking.

Fortunately, Aunt Leanne had a time limit, and Michael went into hiding with Tim and some of their friends shortly after her first attempt to shove us together; so hopefully he didn’t get razzed too much. The Stones, Stephanie, Violet, and Dillon were all staying later than we were, so we only packed up about two-thirds of our day camp when it was time to leave. Having Dad and Aunt Leanne with us helped with the transportation back home again; and Dad took Alicia, Patrick, and Scott home with him while Aunt Leanne came back to town with Mom, Ethan, Ehlana, Rowen, and me.

We were doing another barbeque, but at our house this time. Rowen and I had our last ball practice of the summer before the big game this weekend; so we were eating early too. I would have loved to be there for the big after dinner walk and talk, but Rowen and I went to our practice; and it was still cool getting to hear all about it later; first while everyone talked about it back at Aunt Leanne and Uncle Adam’s house, and then from Ethan and Ehlana when they did a telepathic story time with me before we put them to bed. They were very, very happy about how everything went with Aunt Grace and Mark.

I’m sure that there will be a few archive entries about this, but I’ll add my two cents too.

Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, Mom, and Dad eased into what they wanted to talk to Aunt Grace and Mark about. They walked out along River Road, and started telling their cousin and best friend about their plans for the research lab and medical center showing them where the two buildings were going to be built. I’m sure you can guess that Mark in particular was interested in how Uncle Adam was planning on juggling a research job with his doctor duties; though he was definitely floored by the answer. Thanks to Ethan and Ehlana’s bedtime story, I know exactly what he looked like at that moment – an expression that Aunt Grace duplicated when she was advised that they wanted her to become the CEO of the new research company.

The rest of their walk included a return trip along the river with the turnaround point approximately where the new residential part of Witch Falls was going to be built to accommodate the extra people that would be living here as the lab – and other new businesses – got up and running. They took another look at that from Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s back yard too; though Aunt Grace and Mark weren’t told everything about that part of our future plans. That much information might just scare them off – or have them sure that we’re all certifiably nuts!

I walked home with Rowen before moving on to join my family next door, and by then; they were relaxing in the living room. After getting a cold drink; I joined them there, and mostly sat back and watched the show. Aunt Grace and Mark both had a lot of questions, and it’s a good thing that we have a fairly brilliant group putting our plans together; or we wouldn’t have been ready for that – and even with all of our preparations; they both had some very useful opinions and suggestions. We didn’t expect either of them to jump into a decision this big – especially since Ethan, Ehlana, and I know we won’t get their answers until later this Fall.

They’ll both have to give up a lot to come here. It’s a bigger move for Mark, but Aunt Grace would be moving away from her parents; brother and sister-in-law; and nieces and nephew even if this is home for her too. Their jobs would be quite a bit different than big-city hospital medicine for Mark; and going from blue-collar manufacturing to high-tech bio-engineering research for Aunt Grace. From their perspective, when all they’ve seen are empty fields to go with the plans they’ve been told about tonight; maybe they’ve already been told enough to think we’re crazy. I guess we are asking them to make a leap of faith, but that’s not always easy to remember when some of us know just how great their future is meant to be.

By the time that Mom and Dad took Ethan, Ehlana, and I home, one thing that we could be sure of was that Aunt Grace and Mark were definitely interested in our offers; and opened up a possibility for a life together that they’d never have even dreamed about before now. I’d call that mission accomplished!

After a day of sun and fun, I’d also say that it’s time to call it a night – especially since I’ve been working on my computer for nearly two hours since climbing into bed with Mandy. I’ll be helping Mom again in the morning, but have the afternoon off to play again; and Grandma and Grandpa will be home in time for the dinner at the Inn we’ve waited to take Mark to until Miranda and Jacob were back from their days off. The biggest part of our future plans tasks for this week is over now, but I’m sure we’ll manage to keep the fun going for the rest of the summer – all six days of it.

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 27, 2012

Welcome home, Aunt Grace and Mark!

I’m sure it was just the fact that Mark is still on west coast time that kept them from getting here until this afternoon. Since Mom had me working all morning anyway, that wasn’t really a big deal. Cooking, cleaning, and laundry was my life from after breakfast until lunchtime.

Rowen and I were set free for the afternoon, but we stayed close to home so we could welcome Aunt Grace and Mark when they got here. They pulled into Aunt Leanne and Uncle Adam’s driveway at around two o’clock, and Rowen and I helped them with getting their luggage into the house before we all walked down to our house to see Mom, Ethan, and Ehlana. We had a little snack break while we were there, and then Aunt Grace, Mark, Rowen, and I took Ethan and Ehlana with us and went on a little tour that included stops at the clinic to see Uncle Adam and Aunt Deborah; the office to see Aunt Leanne and Dad; and the Olde Bakery, just so I could start reminding Mark of one of the best things about Witch Falls. The dinner desserts that wouldn’t let us go home without them were a bonus, though.

Aunt Leanne left work a bit early, and we all went over to her house then so that Mom and I could help out with making dinner. Uncle Nick was back to work at school this week, along with the rest of the teachers, but he came over after work too, and he and Mark went outside to fire up the grill. They were ready to start cooking by the time Dad joined us. Violet and Dillon had been having a play day with Jake, Stephanie, and some of their friends, but came over in time to catch the tail end of the pre-dinner work; and everything was ready by the time Uncle Adam and Aunt Deborah got home from the clinic.

The next two hours was a lot of fun. Aunt Grace and Mark had a lot of stories to tell us, and wanted to hear all about everything that was happening here in Witch Falls too. Rowen and I took care of feeding Ethan and Ehlana so that Mom and Dad could sit back and enjoy their food without interruption, and while we weren’t really all that involved in the main conversation; it was still fun to just listen in on a very entertaining story time.

Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne had wanted to spend the rest of the evening with just Aunt Grace and Mark, so the rest of us pitched in for the cleanup, and then left the two couples alone and either headed home, or in Violet and Dillon’s case, on to meet up with Jake and Stephanie again. As usual, Dad had some homework to do, so Mom decided to do a Magi lesson with Ethan, Ehlana, Rowen, and me. We spent about an hour and a half doing that, and then we all went for a walk around the park before Rowen went home, and Mom and I started a lengthy bedtime bath, snack, story, and chat session with Ethan and Ehlana.

I’ve been in my room since Ethan and Ehlana went to bed; doing a little computing while cuddling with Mandy. We’ve got a big day tomorrow for the next step in our future plans, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot since Aunt Grace and Mark got here. They’re definitely in love now, though it sounds like they haven’t really even talked about how they were going to make their relationship work. That’s a good thing for us, since while we know what’s meant to happen, there are still choices to be made; and other options could complicate or change those decisions.

I’m not actually going to be directly involved in this part of our future plan, though I will be doing my very best to help out in other ways – including daytime help with entertaining Aunt Grace and Mark. The next few days are supposed to be beautiful, so that should help. Some sun and fun; Aunt Grace in swimsuits; Olde Bakery treats; and meals at the Inn will all help to give Mark some good reasons to think about when making those choices.

While I’m thinking about our future plans, there’s more work for that coming up in September. Mom, Dad, and Aunt Leanne have continued to deal with all of the issues surrounding all of the construction that’s going to be happening over the next few years; and some new road construction will begin next week. That kind of work will be the most obvious and visible, but there will be other things happening too – like the resumption of regular training with Mom for Naomi with Ethan and Ehlana that’s been on hold for most of the summer. They’ll have one more addition to their little Magi study group, but that won’t be until after Aiden’s first birthday. What they’re doing is going to set the precedent for what Magi training is going to be like in the future, and in some ways; that’s more important than anything else we’re doing.

Mandy’s telling me that it’s time to sleep, so that’s all for now. It’s not quite midnight yet, but we’re basically down to seven days left of summer holidays. Mom would probably turn down a request to time-phase the whole town to drag summer out for another month or two worth of fun, so we’ll just have to enjoy the week in real time.

Yes, Mandy – we can enjoy some sleep in real, quiet time too.

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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 26, 2012

There were two things that ended the campfire last night, and Rowen and I were still awake to witness them. First, Mom and Dad came home with Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, Miranda, and Jacob at about twenty after two. They quickly put an end to the campfire, but not quickly enough for the teens when it started raining before they could finish cleaning up and head to wherever they were spending the night. We heard a couple of jokes about parents having mother nature on their side, but it didn’t look like any of the teens minded getting rained on a little in exchange for a really great night.

That wasn’t the case when we saw some of them at church later, but before I get to that, it felt like we put in a day worth of busy before even leaving the house this morning. I didn’t get any more sleep than Mom and Dad, but was still up at my regular time. It was still raining, so I practiced my Tai Chi indoors, and then went into Ehlana’s room to start a round of diaper changes that Alicia and Mom joined in to help me with before we took Ethan, Ehlana, and their sleepover buddies downstairs to get drinks for them; and start working on breakfast.

Alicia went back upstairs then to wake up her fellow babysitters; and start getting all of the kids moving. Mom and Dad did most of the cooking, though they had some kid and teen help with setting the table and easier jobs like making toast and juice. It didn’t feel like I stopped once, even while eating breakfast; since Rowen and I were also helping to get Ehlana, Naomi, and Sophia fed. We also had to help Jessica and Lindsay get ready for church; help with the kitchen cleanup; and find time to grab quick showers and get dressed up for church too. The kid transportation began arriving at nine o’clock. It was still raining off and on, and by the time we left for church, Mom and Dad only had Ethan, Ehlana, Rowen, and me to take with them in Mom’s minivan.

It was hot enough this morning – mostly because of the humidity – but not really any worse than other Sundays this summer. I’ll guess that Pastor Martha took pity on the sleep-deprived members of her congregation, and that’s why the service wrapped up in just under an hour. We had Violet with us instead of Rowen when we went home again, and though we all would have liked to have a nap; that didn’t happen for most of us. Violet and I started cleaning and getting dirty towels and laundry downstairs while Mom and Dad took care of the twins and made lunch. We all stopped for lunch, and then I went back to work on the third floor while Ethan and Ehlana went for a nap. Dad had to work in the office, and while Mom and Violet took care of the lunch cleanup and more laundry; they also were planning on a long Magi lesson. Now that they were down to about a week before Violet goes home for her last year of high school; Mom’s feeling a little pressure to get Violet a bit farther in her training before they’d be back to having long breaks between lessons.

When I was finished getting the third floor back to normal, Rowen came over, and we ended up watching a movie in the lounge while having the telepathic chat that Rowen would have liked to have with me last night. I was able to help Rowen feel better, though we couldn’t do anything about the combination of problems that included more developed and advanced classmates; guys that find those developments very interesting; or how an ultra-shy girl should handle bouncing around on the border of crossing over when the boy she likes is being chased by more aggressive girls.

That chat kept us busy nearly until dinnertime, and then Rowen needed to go over to the store, and I helped Mom with making dinner. It’s been a quiet evening since then; and I’ve already had some Jacuzzi time; did a bit of studying in the archives; caught up with email and a bit of family business work; and am ready to wrap this up and get some sleep. Mark is on his way here right now. Aunt Grace will be picking him up at the airport; though they won’t make the drive here until tomorrow morning sometime.

This is going to be a really fun week, and I really do need to catch up on some rest to be ready for it, so...

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

Cassie's Journal - August 25, 2012

Other than a little rain early this afternoon, we still haven’t gotten the rain and storms that were forecast for most of the weekend; but that did still mean changing our camping adventure plans. The good news was that the Arrows were able to play their game against the Tornadoes, and we – the kids and teens – were still able to have our campfire while our favorite adults were at the Pub party.

The good and bad news in baseball – for the Arrows – was that they won the game fifteen to ten, but that wasn’t by enough to get into the Championship match. There were a few disappointed Arrows players, including Aunt Leanne, but I think that Mom and Dad are just as happy that they won’t be playing next weekend. That will make it a bit less hectic for them next Sunday.

I should back up to this morning.

Mom and Aunt Leanne both ended up spending some time on the phone after breakfast, and their tentative plans were only changed for what the older kids and teens would be doing instead of camping. The majority of parents decided to leave it up to their own kids to work out sleepover plans instead of saddling Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne with a house full of teens. The campfire at our house was still tentatively approved, weather permitting, and by lunchtime; Mom had four babysitters and fourteen kids booked for the night at our place.

Would you like a guess as to whether I was drafted for the guest bedroom and bathroom cleaning crew to get ready for the impending sleepover? I didn’t actually expect that yesterday’s yard work would get me off the work schedule for today, but cleaning the entire third floor – except for Violet’s room – kept me busy all morning. While I was doing that, Dad and Violet made a grocery store and bakery run to pick up extra supplies for everything from snacks and drinks for tonight to enough food for a major breakfast on Sunday. We all pitched in after lunch to get the second floor ready, including an extra cot in Ehlana’s room so she could have Naomi and Sophia Bassett in her room tonight.

I was set free after that, and met up with Rowen to hang out together for the rest of the afternoon. We didn’t really play much, but by dinnertime, we had her overnight bag packed and in my room; had gone for a walk with Ethan and Ehlana; and went swimming with them at home after a little side trip for Emporium ice cream treats. The outdoor parts of our afternoon had been after the couple of little rain showers, and there were heavy clouds in the sky almost all day; but the sun was out for a while when we had dinner with Mom, Dad, Violet, Aunt Leanne, and Uncle Adam.

Alicia, Erin, and two of their friends were starting their babysitting work after the game, but they both came over to our house just as we were finishing the dinner cleanup; and took custody of Ethan and Ehlana when we all went over to the park. That left Rowen and me free to play during the team warm-ups, but we were back at the ball diamond in time to get our cheerleading squad ready to go. Ehlana and Naomi were helping us as usual, but we had extra support tonight from some of the other girls that were going to be at our house for the sleepover; and Violet, Alicia, and Erin all helped us too.

The game was fun despite the fact that our team’s season is over now. There was a party at Sheldon’s or a campfire for all of us to get to, and we weren’t at the park for long after the game ended. We had quite a gang coming home with us, though not even a third of the kids and teens we had around the campfire by the time Jake, Stephanie, and Dillon joined us after the Inn closed for the night. Mom and Dad were only home long enough to get the fire started and get showered and dressed up for the party, and then Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne picked them up; and the back yard party kicked up a notch or three.

By then, all of the kids staying at our house were there, and the teens were joining the campfire in waves of small groups. Rebecca, Jenny, and the girls that were staying at the Stone’s house tonight came over shortly after the fire was lit, and Michael and Tim came with them. The boys had been invited to stay at our house, but had decided to stay at Michael’s house instead. I’d say there was a direct connection between that decision and having a house full of Rebecca’s and Stephanie’s friends doing a sleepover at their house too.

Yes, Aunt Leanne, I do know that you were behind that offer to the boys. Cut it out!

I suppose it’s time for some scary observations from the campfire – which is still going on for most of the teens as I sit in the window alcove with Rowen and write this.

Jenny’s heart seems to be on the mend faster than Rebecca’s is if tonight is any indication; and there were a couple of boys around the campfire tonight who were happy about that. That could make things a bit strange next weekend when Martin’s here, but we’ll see what happens. Rebecca looked like she was having fun, but she wasn’t really paying any attention to the boys who were trying to impress her. Alicia and Erin had boys vying for their attention too, but unfortunately for the guys, they were far too busy keeping up with their kids tonight. I will give bonus points to them for helping out with the younger boys – including Ethan and Aiden. They even managed to do that without seriously damaging their reputations!

Speaking of reputations, Michael earned some points tonight too – from most of the guys and at least two girls – when he ended up playing guitar for the campfire until Jake took over. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know that he’s nearly as good as Jake already.

You can stop grinning like that, Aunt Leanne. Yes, I was impressed, but the girls I was referring to above were classmates; and Vanessa was all but tethered to Michael from the time she got to the campfire until she and Nora decided that they needed to go home too when Michael and Tim left.

Anyway, while Michael and Jake took care of most of the music, there were also campfire stories that started out mild while the younger kids were still awake, and moved on to scary as the toddlers, and then the rest of the kids were taken to bed. Rowen and I came up to my room to help with Jessica Bassett and Lindsay Faulkner, but ended up having a pair of sleepover buddies in the lounge; and we didn’t get back to the campfire at all after spending nearly an hour getting the girls settled and sleeping.

It was after midnight by then, and there were mostly just teens left at the campfire anyway, so we got changed; turned out the lights; and have been watching and listening to the action around the campfire while having a little computing and girl talk time. I’ve actually been doing most of the talking, and Rowen’s been a lot quieter than usual. I know why, but we can’t really talk with Jessica and Lindsay nearby; a house full of guests; and a gang of teens in the back yard.

Let’s just say that my best friend is showing symptoms of something we’re both trying to avoid; she’s annoyed with someone specific; and that it’s probably a very good thing that we aren’t allowed to use our special abilities to deal with things like that. Mandy must know something too, since she’s been extra-cuddly with Rowen. I’m sure we’ll get around to talking about this soon, but for tonight, I’ll just go with extra hugs, and keep talking; since that’s all that Rowen seems to want right now.

I’m going to wrap this up now, but we’ll likely sit here in the alcove for a while unless the campfire breaks up soon. If anything else newsworthy happens later, I’ll add it to my journal tomorrow.

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 24, 2012

We’ve got rain in the weekend weather forecast, so Mom and I spent the morning getting the yard work done in case that wasn’t an option tomorrow. I mowed the lawn; helped with some of the garden weeding; and swept the porches, sidewalk, and driveway while Mom did most of the weeding; raked the paths; and trimmed a few trees and bushes.

Violet had worked in the office all morning while Alicia took care of Ethan and Ehlana; and they had lunch ready for us when we finished our work by a bit after twelve-thirty. Rowen came over to meet up with me while we were still having lunch, and we stayed and helped with the cleanup before hopping on our bikes and heading out to play for the afternoon. Our first stop was the park, and since some of our friends were there, we stayed for most of the afternoon; hanging out around the playground; swimming in the river to cool off; and sitting under the shade of one of the big oaks when we didn’t feel like doing anything except talking for a while.

Mom and Dad were doing a dinner and a movie night with Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, Uncle Nick, and Aunt Deborah, so Rowen and I needed to be home in time to help Mom with making dinner and setting the table. It’s hard to believe that this is our first Friday dinner and a movie since the end of June, but I guess we have all been busy just about every weekend this summer. Uncle Nick and Aunt Leanne came over at the same time that Dad got home from the office, and the guys went outside to get a grill fired up while Aunt Leanne joined the kitchen cooking crew. Violet was helping us by then too, and we had fun while making up salads and side dishes to go along with the steaks and barbeque chicken that Dad was cooking.

The real reason we were having a dinner and a movie night was so that Mom, Aunt Leanne, and Aunt Deborah could talk about their plans for the next week and the holiday weekend. They got started on that after Aunt Deborah and Uncle Adam joined us after closing the clinic for the day. Since Aunt Deborah hadn’t taken a break in hours, she was put in charge of making the lists and notes while sitting at the table with a cold drink. Rowen and I mostly stayed out of that conversation, and a lot of what they discussed included extra work for me, but I’m getting more excited about our last week of summer too.

First up was contingency planning for Saturday night if we get the rain and thunderstorms that are being forecast. Rain wouldn’t affect the party at Sheldon’s, but it would be for the major camping adventure that had been planned for our back yard – complete with a crew of babysitters to take care of all of the younger kids. The tentative alternate plans will be sleepovers at several houses – including ours; and Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s. Rowen and I suggested having separate boys and girls sleepovers, but Aunt Leanne didn’t think that would be fair to the babysitters stuck with the younger boys; and Violet thought that was a terrible idea too.

I wonder why?

Anyway, we moved on to plans for entertaining Aunt Grace and Mark next week – particularly while Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne were at work during the weekdays. We’ll need to do that around the extra work, like pre-cooking meals for the long weekend; but having them here for nearly eight days is going to be really cool. I offered to help Aunt Leanne get a second bedroom ready for their guests after she had Aunt Deborah add getting a guest room ready for them to her to-do list for the weekend; but she didn’t seem to think that was necessary.

By the time we’d finished dinner and cleaned up, the planning was done, including everything from getting Grandma and Grandpa’s house ready for their homecoming on Wednesday to long weekend guest assignments. Rowen and I took a swim break then, and took Ethan and Ehlana with us while everyone else relaxed on the back porch with cold drinks for a while. We watched a movie after that; did the bedtime snack and story with Ethan and Ehlana; and then Aunt Leanne and Aunt Deborah took their boys home; Rowen went to her house then too; and Violet went to meet up with Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie at the Inn.

I came up to my room after Ethan and Ehlana were tucked in, and got changed and cuddled in bed with Mandy. We talked for a bit while I started my usual nightly computing, but she’s been asleep for nearly an hour now. Whether we can salvage the campout, or end up doing a sleepover, it’s going to be a late night, so it’s time for me to wrap this up and get to sleep too. Rain or shine, it should be a fun weekend!

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 23, 2012

I think we had a future Tai Chi student with us this morning. Ethan and Ehlana were content to sit on the grass and play with Rowen while Mom, Dad, and I exercised, but Naomi was trying to imitate some of our forms as we worked through the Chen long form. Mom reminded me that I used to do that with her before I was two, and she and Dad both thought it was adorable.

That made for an extra-fun start to our day, and Naomi, Ethan, and Ehlana entertained us during breakfast too. Rowen and I got our second get-out-of-cleanup cards in consecutive meals so we could get ready for our riding lesson, and Violet drove us out there when we were ready to go so Alicia wasn’t left on her own with three toddlers. We had a shorter trail ride than usual this morning, but this year, John and Pamela ended our summer lessons with a mini rodeo and snack time that starred two of their kids and some of the advanced riders doing some really cool tricks.

Rowen worked at the computer store this afternoon, so I worked in the office on the family business too; though Mom and I did make one little shopping trip while Ethan and Ehlana were having an afternoon nap. I hadn’t really thought about it at all this summer, but Grade Seven is one of the usual school computer upgrade years. (Grades One, Four, Seven, and Ten) Patricia and Owen had both my computer and Rowen’s ready when Mom and I got there, and though they’re not anywhere near as cool as my family business computer; they are a bit nicer than the standard Grade Four computers – a bigger screen, and more speed to keep up with the more advanced work we’ll be doing on them. Rowen was definitely a happy camper, and was already getting everything she wanted from her old computer moved over to the new one by the time Mom and I left the store.

I’ll need to do that too, since our old computers will be donated to a rural-school charity that Owen and Patricia have worked with for years. When we got home again, I went back to work in the office, and didn’t take a break until dinner was ready. We ate out on the back porch, and took a nice long break to just have some quiet time without any extra people around. Violet and I took care of the kitchen cleanup, and Dad needed to get some homework done, but we all did a Magi lesson together and watched a little television until it was time to get Ethan and Ehlana ready for bed.

By then, I was seriously ready for some Jacuzzi time, and have been soaking in the tub since coming up to my room. Since I was working all afternoon, there wasn’t much new to deal with for email, but I read through the archive records that Mom assigned me to go with our lesson; and read through the latest from Uncle Adam in our Magi project archive. An early bedtime is an option, and I don’t have anything else to report, so I’m going to wrap this up; get out of the Jacuzzi; and finish getting ready for bed.

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

Cassie's Journal - August 22, 2012

While we didn’t want to go to Quarry Lake while Tim was having his birthday party there yesterday, that wasn’t a problem today; and being out there on a really hot summer weekday really seemed like a very good idea this morning when Rowen and I got together after breakfast. We were given parental approval to bike out there for the day, but before we could get our little adventure started, we needed to get backpacks ready with the usual supplies; so it was going on ten o’clock by the time we hopped on our bikes and headed out of town on Quarry Road.

Mom, Violet, and Alicia came out to the lake with Ethan and Ehlana to have a picnic with us and give the twins a chance to play in the water for an hour or two; so Rowen and I didn’t really have that much time to play there on our own after our ride before they were there too. Violet wanted to be home in time for Dillon’s afternoon break at the Inn, so they all went back to town again by two o’clock while Rowen and I played until nearly four before packing up and starting our return ride. We were home in time for a cool-down swim in the river before sitting down to have dinner with Mom, Dad, Violet, and the twins. We were in charge of Ethan and Ehlana after dinner while Mom, Dad, and Violet took care of the cleanup and did a little work in the office before Mom and Dad needed to be at the park for their ball practice.

Rowen and I added Naomi to our group after her parents got to the park, and spent most of our time at the playground and by the river while our parents were busy playing with their friends. From what we saw the couple of times we stopped by to check in with them, it looked like they were really working hard to get ready for their last game, but we’ve done the math; and if the Torpedoes don’t win the game, all they’ll need to do for second place is take advantage of the mercy rule before our Arrows can win by enough for second place.

Anyway, since we have our last riding lesson of the summer in the morning, Rowen is staying overnight with me; and Naomi and Ehlana decided that they needed to have a sleepover too – though only some of us knew that they actually did want to do a sleepover. That meant doing a little running around after the practice ended, and it was after dark by the time we were all home and inside for the night. Rowen and I helped out with the bedtime routine for three, and then went up to my room and took turns using the Jacuzzi before getting into bed with Mandy.

We’ve been chatting and surfing the internet since then; and I’ve done my usual nightly email and entertainment checks too. It’s heading toward one now, though, so I need to finish this up and we both need to get some sleep. (Mandy’s been asleep for a while now.)

For starting out with no plans at all, this has really turned out to be a great day – especially thanks to the parents giving Rowen and me a little extra freedom. Maybe next year we’ll see what they think about letting us try overnight camping at Quarry Lake! Now that would really be awesome! Anyway, that’s all the news for today, so...

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 21, 2012

Happy Twelfth Birthday, Tim!

Tim and Michael may have crossed over already, but he wasn’t having a boy-girl birthday party. He and his buddies spent most of the day at Quarry Lake instead. Rowen and I dropped off his card and present before she went to work at the computer store, and then I came home again to work in the office on the family business for the morning.

Violet and Dillon went out to Quarry Lake with Jake and Stephanie too, and offered to take Rowen and I with them, but we decided not to do that. The four teens were helping Miranda, Jacob, and Tim’s parents with the party; and though hanging out with Violet and Stephanie would have been fun; that wouldn’t have offset getting razzed about coming along by the guys in our class. We found out during our baseball practice that some of the other girls in our class did go to Quarry Lake too; including the two girls who had been dancing with Michael and Tim at Roger’s party. I’ll guess that at least some of the guys were happy about that – especially the guys who had their girlfriends there in swimsuits. After hearing about the party from a couple of the girls on our team, Rowen and I are even more glad that we didn’t go to the lake too.

While most of the guys around our age were away, Rowen and I had fun playing this afternoon. We went biking; swam in the river; and played at the park for an hour with Ethan and Ehlana. Mom and Dad did an early easy-dinner for us before Rowen and I went to our ball practice, and then we did a Magi lesson after getting home again. We’ve only got one more practice before the big game, but some of us are going to get together for an extra practice or two between now and the holiday weekend.

Rowen went home after our lesson, and I’ve split the rest of my night between some Jacuzzi time and working on my computer while cuddling in bed with Mandy. Now that the shopping trip is over, I’m most excited right now about having Aunt Grace and Mark coming to spend the last week of August with us. They’ll be here next Monday, and while they’ll be staying with Aunt Leanne and Uncle Adam, I’m sure we’ll get to spend some time together with them while Dad, Aunt Leanne, and Uncle Adam are at work during the weekdays. What is really going to be awesome about their visit will be the surprise we have waiting for them. Hopefully they’ll think it’s just as great as I do!

I’ve finished my usual email and news checks; finished my archive homework from tonight’s lesson; and it’s time to shut down and get some sleep. Rowen and I don’t actually have anything specific planned for tomorrow other than our usual co-ed baseball practice babysitting; but I’m resting up while I can. Starting this weekend, I expect to have a lot of late nights through until we go back to school.

Until next time...

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 20, 2012

This has been another awesome shopping adventure day!

Mom, Aunt Leanne, and I all needed to skip Tai Chi this morning to have time to get ready, and go over to the Inn with Violet, Ethan, and Ehlana in time for the breakfast buffet. Dad and Uncle Adam saw us off, and then were planning on exercising by the river together before having breakfast at the Inn too once the shoppers had cleared out and hit the road. As usual, Jacob and Miranda were expecting a lot of the temporarily single men and boys in town to be doing that; and they were running the breakfast buffet until nine or ten o’clock.

The Inn was a bit more than half full once everyone going to the city had gotten there. Mom and Aunt Leanne only had about forty-five minutes to eat before they needed to be outside again; making sure that their drivers were matched up with all of their passengers, and that no kids were missed and left behind. Violet, Stephanie, Rowen, and I had the extra time while they were busy, and took care of getting Ethan and Ehlana fed, and then changed before putting them into their car seats when it was time to hit the road.

Mom and Aunt Leanne had Ethan, Ehlana, Rowen, and me with them in the minivan. Violet was taking Dad’s truck for the storage space, and she and Stephanie had Alicia and Erin with them for the drive each way. We were heading east toward the highway by five after eight along with the last few vehicles in the convoy – including Miranda’s and Patricia’s groups. We put one of Ethan’s and Ehlana’s favorite movies on, and while they mostly watched it, Rowen and I sat on the back bench seat and talked about what we wanted to look for, or needed to get, while we were shopping. We made good time getting to the Mall, and had time to get Ethan and Ehlana into their double stroller; go to the food court; and pick up drinks before Dawn, Jillian, and their Moms met up with us.

The hugs and kisses took a few minutes, especially for Violet and Aunt Melissa, but then we headed out into the Mall in search of this year’s coolest fashions and hottest sales – or possibly the reverse of that for the older girls. Violet and Stephanie were usually in the same general area with us all morning, but they were also either in other stores or other parts of the same stores from where Aunt Leanne and our Moms were looking for clothes for us. We had the largest group of shoppers with us, but Rebecca, Jenny, and their friends were mostly doing their own thing too with minimal intrusion from their Moms. Since Miranda and Emily were letting their girls mostly pick out their own clothes, they had time to shop for themselves, help Mom and Aunt Leanne out with Ethan and Ehlana, and play dress-up with us. For some reason, having our teacher help with our back-to-school wardrobe seems weird, but Rowen and I really love Miranda and Emily a lot; and we all had a lot of fun spending the day together.

Patricia and Sylvia Bassett were with us too, and while we were almost always in stores where they could shop for Jessica and Sophia, they also needed to juggle that with shopping for Patrick, Scott, and Ryan Bassett while trying to keep the three boys entertained too. Yes, that probably was an impossible mission, but they did their best; and we’re fairly sure that both Moms got home tonight with their sanity intact.

We shopped until noon; stopped for lunch and a trip to the parking lot to drop off bags; and then went back out into the Mall until three-thirty. There was an afternoon break while Mom and Aunt Leanne checked in with the rest of the groups, and then more than half of our shoppers moved over to Wal-Mart for another couple of hours of mostly supply shopping. Rowen and I had a little free time while we were there that we mostly spent picking up some gifts for upcoming friend and classmate birthdays; since this would likely be our last trip to the city for a couple of months. I didn’t find an anniversary gift for Mom and Dad, but I can always order something online and have it delivered to Aunt Leanne. We had the rest of that shopping done, and a few supplies picked up for ourselves, by the time we needed to meet up with Mom and Aunt Leanne again; and then we were another half hour getting out of the store and in the van again.

A fast food stop was the last thing we needed to get done before getting on the highway for home, and an hour and a half later we were home and wrapping up our shopping adventure with a little blast through Palmer’s Ladies Wear and Taylor’s shoes before going home. I still think it’s very funny that one of Abby’s biggest sales days now happens on days when so many of the girls in town aren’t even here. She probably wishes that we’d do more of these big trips, but then the novelty of her thanks for not going on the shopping trip to the city sales would likely wear off if we did that.

Violet had some extra deliveries to make, so she and Stephanie took care of that after dropping Alicia and Erin off at Alicia’s house. Stephanie’s house was the last stop, and by the time Violet got to our house, we had the van unloaded, and a small crew available to help unload the rest of the truck. Rowen had gone home to help her Mom by then, and once the truck was unloaded; Uncle Adam took Aunt Leanne home while Mom, Dad, and I were busy getting Ethan and Ehlana ready for bed and Violet was hanging out with Dillon.

I came up to my room after Ethan and Ehlana were tucked in, and put all of my new clothes away in drawers or the closet before getting changed and into bed with Mandy. It’s been a long day, and I’ll guess that this is what shop ‘til you drop feels like. We have two weeks left of summer holidays, and a lot of fun to fit into those fourteen days; but right now, all I’m interested in doing is sleeping, so...

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

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cassie's Journal - August 19, 2012

It’s been a fairly quiet day in Witch Falls.

We had a normal Sunday morning with Tai Chi by the river; breakfast for six; and a couple of entertaining hours with our family and friends at church. Lunch was quick and easy, and then Mom, Dad, and Violet all wanted or needed to get some work done in the office; so Ethan, Ehlana, and I met up with Rowen and went to the park to play for a couple of hours.

When we got home from doing that, we had a snack break with Mom and Dad while Violet went to hang out with Dillon during his lunch break before the dinner buffet rush at the Inn. After that, we moved up to the third floor for a movie and Magi chat that Mandy was happy to join us for; and we wrapped that up in time for Rowen to head home to get ready for her family’s dinner plans.

Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne came over for dinner with us, and that was mostly so Mom and Aunt Leanne could finalize the shopping trip plans and send out the groups, drivers, and passenger assignments lists for everyone. The final numbers for this shopping adventure is eighty-six shoppers; including twenty-eight adults and fifty-eight kids and teens. That’s mostly girls, but there are a few boys going this year too, including Ethan with Mom; Patrick and Scott with Rowen’s Mom; and Ryan Bassett with his mother and sisters. We’ll see how that works out, but I have a feeling that most of the boys won’t find this trip nearly as much fun as the last Christmas shopping adventure was.

It is going to be a blast for the girls, though, and I need to get to sleep so I’ll be charged up and ready for eight or nine hours of shopping. Mom and Aunt Leanne worked on their plans during and after dinner, and Dad, Uncle Adam, Violet, and I took care of the cleanup. We had time after all of that was done for a little visit in the living room, and then Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne went home; Dad went back to work in the office for a while; and Mom, Violet, and I did the full bath and bedtime routine with Ethan and Ehlana that included a little Magi elements lesson in the tub that made playing in the water a lot of fun for all four of us. Too bad we couldn’t try some of those tricks at the whirlpool!

Anyway, I came up to bed once Ethan and Ehlana were tucked in for the night; and writing this has been the only computing I’ve done other than my usual email check. Grandma sent her daily update email earlier, and it’s hard to believe that their trip is already more than half over. This was a travel day for them, and they’ll be back to work in the morning – a few hours from now their time. They have four more work days, and then four days of sightseeing before making the trip back over two days and getting home a week from Wednesday.

Okay, I think that’s it for now. Time to shut down and get to sleep.

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