Heirs of the Magi News Flash!

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

Cassie's Journals have now come to an end with the start of the Magi Ascension storyline on June 15, 2018! Ethan and Ehlana will now be taking over the Heirs of the Magi daily updates as Cassie prepares to move on to college - and you can read all about her story by picking up a copy of Magi Ascension - Part One! Ethan's and Ehlana's roles in the Ascension of the Light is just beginning now too; so their journals will offer a different perspective on the events going on at home while Cassie is away at college!

Happy reading this summer; and I hope that you enjoy this new 'chapter' in the Heirs of the Magi story!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cassie's Journal - February 27, 2013

Dad and I started out our day with more snow shoveling instead of Tai Chi, but it was a lot easier to deal with today; and we even managed to have a little fun while we worked.

Mom took care of Ethan and Ehlana, and had a hot cereal breakfast ready for us by the time we were finished, and after cleaning the kitchen; it was time to hit the showers and get ready for work and school.

Despite the sledding incident yesterday, there wasn’t really any tweeird for me to deal with today.  Lisa didn’t really talk to me at all, and definitely kept an eye on Michael and me during music class; but we stayed out of trouble, and at least that part of my day was uneventful.  We were all kept really busy in our classes, and though the two snow storms hadn’t actually affected our Day One classes; our teachers still seemed to feel the need to work us a little harder to make up for the lost days.  The school was practically empty during lunchtime – at least once everyone had eaten.  Even some of our teachers came outside to play for a while; and nearly every kid and teen was in the school yard, even if they were only there to watch the action and chat with friends.

I was trying to balance having fun with staying out of the tweeird zone, so Rowen and I decided to help some younger girls with a little snow castle building.  We helped them defend it during a snowball attack from some of the boys their ages; and then we went inside a few minutes early so we’d have enough time to de-snow ourselves before going to our first afternoon class.

Keeping my day tweeird-free wasn’t a problem after school – Michael was working at the Inn.  Rowen and I did our after school snack with Mom, Ethan, and Ehlana; got our homework out of the way; and then we took the twins out for a little snow play time in the back yard.  The deep snow wasn’t quite as much fun for them today, and they were ready to go in after about twenty minutes or so.  After helping Mom to get them out of their snowsuits, Rowen and I grabbed our sleds and headed for the toboggan hill.  There was already a gang of kids and teens there, and the fun was in full swing.  The snow was getting packed down farther out along the bottom of the ridge now, so the runs were longer – and so was the walk back up the hill.  We were out there for about an hour before we were cold enough to decide that it was time to head home again.

Rowen was staying for dinner and a Magi lesson, so we made up cups of hot chocolate after getting home, and helped Mom with making dinner until Dad got home too.  The next few hours were fairly entertaining.  Mom and Dad had a lot of snowstorm stories from around town to pass on to us during dinner; Ethan, Ehlana, Rowen, and I all had a blast (not literally) with our Magi lesson; and Rowen and I even had time for a music practice before she needed to head home.  I helped Mom with giving Ethan and Ehlana their baths after Rowen left; we did the bedtime snack and story with Dad in the office; and I’ve been in my room since tucking my brother and sister in for the night.

Since I was in bed early, I used the extra time for a little family business work, and then moved on to my usual studies and nightly computer checks.  There isn’t anything particularly interesting to report from any of the work I’ve been doing since climbing into bed with Mandy, and I’m pretty much ready to crash now anyway, so...

...until next time, this is Magi Master Cassie Proctor; logging out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cassie's Journal - February 26, 2013

Yes, we have a SNOW DAY!

We also had another power outage emergency too, and I didn’t end up getting much sleep before waking up at around five-thirty when I sensed or heard Mom and Dad moving around.  I got up and dressed appropriately to work outdoors.  Mom was in the kitchen when I got downstairs, and Dad was outside already; shoveling his way out to the generator so he could get it fired up.  A fire was already started in the living room fireplace; and Mom was getting things ready for incoming while waiting for the generator to kick in.

Dad was going to need to get his truck going to help pick up everyone in town needing someplace warm to go until the power was fixed, so after I hugged Mom and got the update; I grabbed my coat, gloves, and boots; and headed outside to start shoveling the driveway.  We already had maybe five or six inches by then – it was hard to tell with the blowing and drifting.  It was also really heavy, and I was making very slow progress when Dad joined me.  The work went a lot faster after that, and I mostly cleaned up behind Dad as he dug in and threw shovels full of snow in a steady, unbroken rhythm.  We joked about easier ways we might be able to do the work if only we could apply a little Magi power to the job, but speed shoveling or auto-cleaning driveways and sidewalks would just be too hard to explain; and the Magi council has apparently already ruled on those kinds of requests several times over the last couple of centuries.

We concentrated on getting the driveway cleared from his truck to the road first, and then he cleaned off his truck and headed out for his first pickup while I started on the sidewalk to the front porch next.  I had that done, and was taking a break in the kitchen with Mom, Ethan, and Ehlana when he dropped off George and Madeline Morris and their two kids, Natalie and Mike.  Natalie will be two in March, and will be a future classmate of Ethan’s and Ehlana’s; and Mikey is about five months old – and the main reason why they were near the top of the transportation list this year.

Thanks to our incoming guests, I quickly had some snow support after that.  George Morris helped me for a while, and then Philip Seager joined us outside after getting Liz and Naomi into the house.  We had Mom’s van, and most of the rest of the driveway dug out by the time that Tammy Morris, her brother, and parents were dropped off; and Jeff and his Dad relieved us so we could rest up and get some breakfast.  By then, there was enough more snow for them to start the whole process over again; with close to two more inches on the ground.

Being twelve now has definitely changed things for me since my experience with ‘the storm’ my first winter here.  The good news is that I had Tammy for company, and once our last group of guests – Alicia Jennings, and her parents and brother – joined us; we were mostly given the easiest outdoor jobs.  We kept the sidewalks and porches cleared; helped at the unloading end of the firewood delivery line; and took a couple of turns babysitting Ethan, Ehlana, and the other toddlers.

Mom had lots of help with making meals, and that’s when we had most of our guests in the house.  The snow started to taper off by mid-morning, and after that, most of the guys were out and around town helping out with whatever work needed to be done.  There was a giant pot of stew ready for everyone by lunchtime, along with variety trays full of sandwiches; hot drinks; snack sides; and Olde Bakery desserts.  Tammy and I helped out with the kids while we ate; stayed for the clean-up; and then we were set free for the afternoon so we could go and play with our friends.

We met up with Rowen first, and then invited Rebecca to join us before heading for the toboggan hill.  The Stones had some guests too, so we ended up collecting extra kids, and I stopped in at home again to help out with getting some extra sleds.  Some of the guys, including Michael, started a snowball fight while we were still in my yard, and that delayed us for quite a while as we chased each other around the yard and tossed snowballs at each other.

Once we finally made it to the hill, I expected to be wading through deep snow after each run, but there’d already been a lot of kids playing there already, and as long as we stayed on the beaten path, the slope was in perfect condition for both the sliding and the return walk.  With the extra kids and teens, we didn’t have enough sleds for everyone; so we paired or tripled up with the bigger toboggans.  Rowen and I used hers, and that was fine with both of us until she decided to lose her mind for a few moments and pull an Aunt Leanne.

Timing is everything too, and she couldn’t have picked a worse time to prank me by getting Michael to sit on her sled behind me before shoving both of us down the hill.  There’s even a chance that Mother Nature was in on the conspiracy too.  I knew what was happening the moment Michael sat behind me; put his arms around my waist; and stretched his legs out against mine.  We were both laughing, and our run was great – right up until the point where we blasted past the well-packed area where most sleds had been stopping; and plowed into the deep snow beyond.  We didn’t crash, but we were pretty much buried to our waists.

If you guessed that was when Lisa reached the hill with a group of friends and other kids and teens; give yourself a pat on the back.  Michael still has his arms wrapped around my waist; we’re laughing our heads off; buried in snow; and since his hands were under the snow too, that probably didn’t look good at all to his girlfriend.  The whole scene turned into a comedy sketch after that, though certain spectators were not at all amused.  Getting out of the snow wasn’t easy.  I needed to stand first; helped Michael to get up too; and then he slipped on the sled and I ended up on my back; buried in snow again; with Michael on top of me.

I know, but it was funny, and I couldn’t help but laugh about it.  That was also when I saw Lisa at the top of the hill as I looked to see how many witnesses there’d been to that little moment.  Laughing harder didn’t help my case with her, and advising Michael that his girlfriend was not currently amused with us only helped to keep the comedy going.  In his defense, he was only trying to help after knocking me over, but putting his arms around me to help me up probably looked a lot like hugging, and keeping an arm around my waist as we waded back out of the deeper snow didn’t have gone over any better with Lisa.

Could we have been lucky enough for that to be the end of it?  Of course not!

By the time we were back on snowy-firma, Lisa was on her way down the hill toward us.  I’m sure she didn’t intend to run into us, and definitely wasn’t happy when I ended up in the snow again with Michael on top of me after he pulled us both out of the way of her sled at the last moment.  Again, laughing about it didn’t help; but we both laughed anyway.  Since I wasn’t buried this time, I was able to get up easily enough, and though I didn’t really want to leave Michael to take all of the heat; we both knew that staying to defend him would have only made things worse.  Instead, I grabbed Rowen’s sled and headed up the hill.

I took a moment to bean my best friend with a snow ball while she laughed at me unapologetically, and then we went back to our sledding; and tried to stay out of Michael and Lisa’s way while we continued to play and have fun with our friends.  Since we saw Lisa eventually laughing an having fun too, Michael must have worked things out with her, but I still got icy glares whenever I made eye contact with Lisa; and Michael looked like he was trying not to grin or laugh whenever I looked at him.

By four o’clock, I was ready to go home and get warmed up.  It was almost four-thirty by the time I made it into the house after walking home; putting sleds away and saying goodbye to Rowen, Rebecca, and most of the other girls and boys who had come back with us.  Michael and Lisa were not in that group for some reason.  Tammy was still hanging out with some friends, so I was on my own when I went inside.

Mom and Dad already had dinner cooking going on in the kitchen, and lots of help, so I sat at the table after getting a cup of hot chocolate; and gave them the afternoon update.  I spent a lot of the next couple of hours in the kitchen.  Most of the ‘kids’ had dinner there while the parents and older teens were in the dining room.  The hour-long clean-up that followed kept all of the teens and tweens busy, and that was mostly because the power started coming back online again.  That had the Dads heading out to start checking on houses and making sure everything would be fine at home before moving any of the younger kids again.

I would have loved doing a storm night sleepover, but within a couple of hours, all of our guests were ready to go home again; and this little snow emergency ended up feeling like a big family and friends party day instead of a major bonding event.  Despite not having any overnight guests, there was still a fair bit of clean-up work to do once Mom, Ethan, Ehlana, and I were on our own again; and Dad was still out driving people around town.  I have no idea how many showers were taken, but there was a lot of laundry just from that, plus some nap time bedding, and our usual laundry that hadn’t gotten done during the day.  I helped with that; cleaned the guest bathrooms; and Mom and I tag-teamed taking care of Ethan and Ehlana.

Dad didn’t have any work to do after finally getting home, but by then, we only really had time to do the bedtime snack and story with Ethan and Ehlana before they were tucked in for the night; and then Mom decided that she and Dad needed to have an early bedtime.  They didn’t go to sleep anytime soon after I was sent up to my room for the night, but let’s not go there.

I was in need of some Jacuzzi time by then anyway, so that was the first order of business; but I multi-tasked while in the tub too.  Next up was a little computer chat with my best friend.  She still isn’t even remotely sorry for setting me up for that little sledding incident with Michael, and was happy to have another few laughs while reminding me of the highlights – not that my photographic memory will let me forget anyway.  Yes, I had fun with it, but could have done without all of the tweeird that we ended up having too.

Let’s not think about Michael and I buried in snow with his arms and legs wrapped around me either and move along.  Rowen and I chatted for nearly an hour, but I did some archive reading too, and decided to skip the language lessons tonight.  That only left this and my nightly email, news, sports, and entertainment checks to deal with after I finished doing my hair and climbed into bed with Mandy.  There isn’t anything new to report from around the family; and not really much email to deal with either.  Though we could get another inch or more of snow overnight, it looks like school will be back on again tomorrow, and most, if not all, businesses will be open again too.

Rowen and I didn’t have our usual after-school work shifts today, but we’re still having our usual play time tomorrow so we can take advantage of the snow while we have it around to enjoy.  I can always add some family business work to my bedtime computing, or do a bit extra on the weekend.  We’ll just play that by ear this week.  I’m going to wrap this up now and try to get some sleep; but I may need to not think of entire fields full of soft, cuddly bunnies to get there from where I’m at now.

Make that snowy hills full of soft, cuddling – I mean cuddly – bunnies.

This is all your fault, Rowen Emerson!

Until next time, this is Magi Master Cassie Proctor; logging out!

Cassie's Journal - February 25, 2013

The next big snowstorm has finally arrived as I write this, but we only had a dusting of snow and rain late in the afternoon; and the snow didn’t start falling again until late evening.  If we get as much snow as they’re forecasting by morning, it’s a safe bet that we’ll get a snow day – something that every kid and teen at school is hoping for.

Since the storm was taking its sweet time getting here today, it was school as normal today.  After being away for the weekend, we had a lot of catching up to do with our friends, and the Maple Valley Winter Festival was the top story for most of them.  Rowen teased me about being too busy hugging Michael last night to find out that he and Tim had taken Lisa and Nora to the festival on Saturday; getting a ride out there from Jake and Stephanie.  It sounded like they all had a fun day, and that probably went a long way toward saving Michael from ending up in the girlfriend doghouse after my little hugging incidents with him made the gossip network rounds.

That didn’t keep me from being on the receiving end of a frosty cold front that was definitely chillier than anything this storm will throw at us over the next twelve or eighteen hours.  I didn’t help my case with Lisa and her best friends by having fun all day; smiling a lot; and playing along with the jokes that Tim and some of the other guys threw at me.  It still isn’t much fun having some of my friends upset with me, but the tween drama is a lot easier for me to deal with now; and I have every intention of continuing to be myself, have fun, and not worry about all of that anymore.

There was extra homework for us today, and most of the bonus assignments were for our Day Two classes.  Mrs. Warren passed all of that along to us, including the homework from other teachers, so they were obviously expecting a snow day tomorrow too.  That wasn’t a problem for Rowen and I – we just added a little Magi power to our after-school study session; and were still finished everything with lots of time to play.

Mom hadn’t been playing while we were at school.  She’d dropped Ethan and Ehlana off for the morning at KidZone daycare; done a grocery and supply run; and then she’d spent the afternoon on some family business work with Miranda, having a travel plans meeting with Grandma Emerson and some of the volunteers; and keeping up with Ethan and Ehlana.  That’s the main reason why Rowen and I stayed indoors after getting our homework done instead of going out for a little sledding action.  We played with Ethan and Ehlana in my room and the lounge so that Mom would have a chance to do some work in the office before cooking dinner.

Our play time included a music practice; some cartoon action; a long telepathic chat that Mandy was in on too; and a short, Magi-powered video game match.  When Rowen needed to head home, I helped Mom in the kitchen, and Ethan and Ehlana supervised.  Aunt Leanne stopped in on her way home from work mostly so she could tease me about the Sunday night hugs with Michael; though she also had more pictures of Robyn Johnson, and a few stories about their trip.  She’d needed to get home and get a few things done in case their house was needed for any storm-related emergencies, so she didn’t stay long before heading out again.

Dad had come home at the same time Aunt Leanne had stopped in, and we were able to sit down for dinner a bit earlier than usual.  He was expecting a snow day tomorrow too, but still spent most of the evening working in the office just in case he and Aunt Leanne were able to open the office in the morning.  I’m hoping they don’t if school is cancelled.  Shoveling all of that snow during the last storm wasn’t so much fun that I’d like to do that much work this time.

While he was busy in the office, Mom did Magi lessons with Ethan, Ehlana, and me; we had a little play time; and then I came up to my room to get an early start on my nightly computing and studies.  That really just ended up giving me more time to work, and if we do have any power outage issues with the storm, I’m far enough ahead of my study plan for this week to take a night or two off if needed.

Whatever Mother Nature ends up throwing at us, I should probably wrap this up and get some sleep if I want to be ready to deal with it, so...

...until next time, this is Magi Master Cassie Proctor; logging out!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cassie's Journal - February 24, 2013

It’s a girl!  Congratulations, Elaine, Kevin, Nicole, and the rest of the Johnson family!

Robyn Johnson was born at 5:37 this morning; weighing in at 8 pounds, two ounces.  Aunt Leanne sent pictures, and Robyn is beautiful, healthy, and both Mom and baby are doing great. We found out later than Uncle Adam confirmed that while they were there; and I’m looking forward to reading his report on Robyn in our Magi Project archive.  Edgar and Doreen Johnson didn’t try to make the flying round-trip to see their newest great-granddaughter, but Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne went to Rosemont with Grandma Christine, Uncle Nick, and Aunt Deborah.  They left first thing this morning, and though I haven’t seen them because it’s so late; they got home again about an hour ago.

It’s been an exciting day for the Johnson family, so my report for today will probably seem boring by comparison.  Ethan and Ehlana were up early and wanting my immediate attention, so I started out the day by dealing with a pair of diaper changes.  Ethan and Ehlana played on the floor and watched me work through my Tai Chi after that, and then we did another wake-up call for Dawn, Jillian, and Rowen before I left them with the other girls and went upstairs again to take an early turn grabbing a shower.

I helped Aunt Melissa with making breakfast after that – Mom and Dad were on their own until they were supposed to meet us at church.  My timing for personally getting ready for the day wasn’t very good, since I ended up helping with the clean-up too; but Uncle Rick, Violet, and I had fun while we worked too; and Ethan and Ehlana did a lot of giggling as they supervised us.

Chris and Martin were opposites this morning.  Martin was up early and again took extra time getting ready for church while Chris acted exactly as he normally has on every Sunday I’ve been around him for.  I didn’t really need the confirmation from Dawn and Jillian to figure out that was because Nikki had recently started going to their church too, and Erin didn’t go to any church.  Martin may have dragged things out a bit to avoid any kitchen work too, but Chris was barely conscious long enough to eat and get ready to go out the door when it was time to head out.

I was more organized, and even with the cooking and cleaning, I had my bags, and all of Ethan and Ehlana’s things, packed and ready to go before we left for church.  Mom and Dad, Grandpa Richard and Grandma Carrie, and Jillian’s parents, were all at the church already by the time we got there.  Thanks mostly to Chris, we didn’t have much time until the service started, so the good morning hugs and kisses were quick; and then we went in search of someplace to sit in the sanctuary.

Rowen and I had fun with Dawn and Jillian; and with their friends while we were in Sunday school, but I that tugging sensation from the general direction of home I’d been feeling all weekend seemed stronger while we were at the church.  It almost felt as though I could hear our Pastors and praise team; and I definitely missed the usual weekly hugs with my favorite people.  The Sunday school classes were all spending at least some time working on their contributions to the upcoming Easter weekend programs, and while Rowen and I couldn’t help out with learning the skits or music, we were able to help out with the sets, decorations, and costumes; and we would have been doing things like that at our church too if we’d been home.  With just five weeks left until Easter this year; that really isn’t much time left to get ready – especially at Dawn and Jillian’s church.  They told us that half the kids would be away for both March Break Sundays, so they were trying to get nearly everything ready before the holiday.

Time seemed to speed up for a while after church.  We all went back to Uncle Rick and Aunt Melissa’s place – including Jillian’s parents and Nikki.  Rowen and I were put on the cooking crew because we were leaving for home right after lunch.  While we were doing that with most of the women; Dad and Uncle Rick loaded the minivan; and this time, Aunt Melissa provided some entertainment for all of us by putting Chris and Martin in charge of Ethan and Ehlana.  The twins confirmed to us later that they definitely played up the normal toddler act because it was funny to watch our cousins try to keep up, but the diaper changes that the boys refused to deal with were not part of the act; and they were both glad that Chris and Martin didn’t attempt fumbling their way through getting them cleaned up and dry again.

We spent nearly an hour having lunch together, and then it was time to get on the road for Witch Falls.  I wish we didn’t live so far away from our cousins, and it’s always really hard to say goodbye to Violet, but we also really needed to get going; and Mom and Dad didn’t let the goodbyes drag out.  I went with Dad for the first half of the drive, and Rowen went with Mom so she could help out if Ethan or Ehlana needed anything.  It was smooth sailing to Crystal Springs, and we only made one short stop at Wal-Mart so that Mom could pick up a few supplies before continuing on to Witch Falls.  Ethan and Ehlana assured us that they were going to nap for the second half of the drive, so Rowen and I both went with Dad, and kept him entertained with the stories from the last week that we hadn’t been able to share with him while we were all busy with everything else that had been going on.

We made good time, and were home with enough time to get the van and truck unloaded and put everything away before we needed to meet up at the Inn with Rowen’s parents and brother.  The original plan was for Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, Uncle Nick, and Aunt Deborah to be there too, but not having them there wasn’t all bad, since we were able to squeeze in around one table instead of being split up like we normally are.

We got to the Inn before Rowen’s parents and brother did, and there weren’t many people in the dining room yet for the first buffet.  I didn’t see Miranda or Stephanie in the main room, so I went back into the kitchen to get hugs and kisses from some of the people I’d missed so much while I was away.  I’m sure it was just random chance that Michael was the closest person to me in the kitchen, and I was hugging him before either of us even really thought about it.  He hugged me back, and the moment probably lasted at least a few seconds too long; judging by the grins we could see after stepping apart.

Miranda was right there to tease me about that, but I didn’t care, and hugged her for a long minute too before moving on to share hugs with Jacob, Jake, Rebecca, Stephanie, and Jenny.  By the time I was ready to go out to the dining room again, Michael was really getting razzed by Jake and the other guys, and looked like he was both very happy and mortified.  He was already in for a bad night now anyway, so I hugged him again, apologized for putting him in the tweeird zone, and assured him that I wasn’t sorry about the hugs because I really had missed him.  Then I left the kitchen, and completely ignored the laughs, whistles, and jokes.

Miranda didn’t wait long to continue teasing me by starting her round of welcome home hugs with Dad and Ethan before moving on to hug the girls.  I was home, was filled up with the warm fuzzies, and just went along with the jokes and had fun.  Witch Falls has really felt like my home for quite a while now, but something changed this weekend; and it’s just a little different now – and stronger.  I’ll try to study that a bit, and write about it some more if I figure out why that’s happened.

For tonight, though, I was just happy to enjoy another great buffet dinner; spend time with my family and friends; and be home again.  We’d needed to rush around a bit to go to the early buffet, but we did that because Dad needed to work in the office to get ready for appointments he has on Monday – or may have.  The buzz in the dining room was about the worsening weather forecast for another winter storm to hit us; possibly as early as Monday morning, but currently expected to start in the afternoon.  The timing will be the problem; and could mean the difference between a lot of freezing rain and a lot of snow.  The good news for us is that whatever happens, we’re mostly still ready from the extra work that was done just ahead of the last storm.

I must have been in a very strange place tonight, because I included Michael in my round of goodbye hugs before Mom and Dad took Ethan, Ehlana, and me home; and I mostly did that because I wanted to – and because I knew it would get Jake and the other guys going again.  Since Michael hugged me back again, grinned, and didn’t look at all upset anymore; I’m sure that he knew exactly why he was getting the bonus hugs.

After getting home, while Dad worked in the office, Mom did Magi lessons with Ethan, Ehlana, and me that also took care of the little bit of storm readiness we did need to do – giving the guest bedrooms and bathrooms a once-over in case we needed them sometime over the next couple of days.  We followed that up with the full bath and bedtime routine for the twins; and then I was set free to spend a little quality time with my Jacuzzi.  Mandy must have missed me, because she came into the bathroom with me while I was in the tub.  We talked while I soaked and got started on my usual school night studies.  I did my archive assignment while having my bath; did my hair and got ready for bed; and I’ve been cuddling in bed with Mandy for the last couple of hours while doing my language studies and the usual nightly computer checks.

It’s been a long day, and I’ve wound down enough to be able to sleep now, so I’m going to wrap this up and call it a night.  The forecast is still looking rough as of my last check, and tomorrow could be a very interesting day.

Until next time, this is Magi Master Cassie Proctor; logging out!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cassie's Journal - February 23, 2013

There’s a lot to write about today, so let’s start from the beginning.

First of all, I should have made sure that I didn’t dream of soft, cuddly bunnies last night.  That might have save me from spending what I remember of my dreams – which is everything – solidly in the tweeird zone.

Don’t ask, because that’s all I’m going to write about that.

I had time for my Tai Chi workout before going upstairs to take care of Ethan and Ehlana when I sensed they were waking up and ready to play ‘normal toddlers’ again.  They may not be missing home the same way I am right now, but they do wish that they didn’t have to deal with wet and dirty diapers.  Once I had them changed and dressed, we went downstairs again to give Rowen and Dawn their wake-up call, and really had fun doing that.  The ensuing pillow fight made enough noise to wake up Aunt Melissa, Uncle Rick, and Violet, but by then it was time for everyone to get up and take turns getting ready to go out for breakfast anyway.

Mom and Dad had left the minivan so that Uncle Rick and Aunt Melissa could haul Ethan, Ehlana, and their gear over to the hotel.  Chris and Martin are too cool for minivans with car seats, and Chris wanted to show off his developing driving skills, so Uncle Rick let him drive their SUV while Aunt Melissa had Ethan and all of the girls with her in Mom’s van.  We made it into the hotel restaurant and had a first round of drinks delivered before Mom and Dad joined us there – catching up with us while Grandpa Richard and Grandma Carrie were still doing the round of good morning hugs with us.

I don’t think they were late because of Tai Chi.  Let’s leave that train of thought right there and move along.

There’s a chance that my ongoing thoughts of home were affecting my perception, but I would have enjoyed having this breakfast at the Inn a lot more than at the upscale, high-priced hotel restaurant.  We had fun with our family, and the food was fine, if not as good as at the Inn, but Mom and I have also been in a lot of restaurants over the years, and this one certainly wouldn’t have made our favorites list.

Fortunately, we had lots of entertainment to keep us happy.  Violet and Dawn had a lot to tell us about school, everything else they had on the go, and their upcoming plans.  Violet is really getting fired up about spending the week with us over March Break, and though I wasn’t thinking about it at all; she’s looking forward to the school dance on the first Saturday night of our holiday.  For some reason, that particular annual event means a lot to her – and probably to Dillon too if he knows what’s good for him.  Chris and Martin were getting a fair bit of attention directed their way from groups of girls at a couple of nearby tables – there was apparently a gymnastics competition going on somewhere in town this weekend.  Dawn teased them about that – especially since they both currently had semi-serious girlfriends; were with the parents and grandparents; and couldn’t exactly take the obvious opportunity being offered to try flirting with the girls.

We – the ‘kids’ – were sitting at one table while the adults were at the one next to us, so I missed out on a lot of the grown-up conversation.  It might be after we get home again before I get those highlights from Mom and Dad, but I’m sure they were mostly just catching up on current and near future events too.  Once we’d finished having breakfast, it was time for some serious shopping at the Mall.  Chris was driving again for the short hop to the Mall, but this time, he was driving Dad’s truck, and had Uncle Rick and Martin with him.  He had the bonus of impressing some of those girls when we left, though he was apparently concentrating so much on taking care of Dad’s truck that Martin had to tell him about the girls.  With the guys now in Dad’s truck, Aunt Melissa took Dawn, Rowen, and me in their SUV, and Mom drove her van with Violet and the twins.  Grandma and Grandpa Rice were going to shop with us too, but had a side trip to do first before catching up with us again.

Rowen and I hadn’t been in a Mall since the Christmas shopping trip.  Violet and Dawn had been there on Thursday – a perfect way to spend at least part of a snow day away from school.  Despite that little difference in our social lives, we were all enthusiastic about making the rounds of the stores in search of bargains and new fashion.  Rowen and I also had a list for upcoming friends and family gift occasions, and even Chris and Martin didn’t mind helping us out with the ‘guy’ gifts.

We shopped until about a quarter to one, and then had lunch in the food court before heading home again.  Mom spent the afternoon doing Magi lessons with Violet, and Chris, Martin, Dawn, Rowen, and I were politely kicked out of the house and told to go tobogganing or do whatever else we wanted for a few hours.  The boys went to meet up with their buddies, and though they were eventually hanging out at the same hill Dawn took us to; they pretty much ignored us the whole time.  We stopped by to get Jillian on our way to the hill, and were able to scoop an extra sled there too so we each had one to use instead of needing to take turns having two of us share one.

This was my first time going to the favorite tobogganing hill in Dawn’s area of Woodvale, and Rowen and I both thought that it was a lot better than anything we have right in Witch Falls.  The hill was about a half-mile wide; the steepest section was about twice as high as the ridge at home; and the longest run was probably close to two hundred yards.  They’d gotten a few more inches of snow in Woodvale than we had back home, and the entire hill was now in perfect shape for sledding after getting lots of use over the past forty-eight hours.  There were also a lot more kids and teens there too, and we really needed to be careful both on the trips down the hill and while trudging our way back up to the top again.

While most of the kids, teens, and adults were using a wide variety of sleds, there were quite a few teens on snowboards too, though that didn’t look to be nearly as fun as snowboarding or skiing is at an actual ski resort.  The longest run was also the busiest, so we only went down it a couple of times, and that was a long enough walk back up the hill that at least a rope tow would have been nice to have.  Some of Dawn’s and Jillian’s friends were there too, and we spent some time hanging out with them; though that was mostly while we were all walking uphill or waiting for turns to slide back down again.

When we pretty much couldn’t feel our feet anymore, we headed back to Dawn’s house; stopping in at Jillian’s to drop off her sleds and pick up her overnight bag.  She was going out with us for dinner and a movie; and staying for a sleepover.  We’d given Mom and Violet enough time for their lessons, and Mom and Dad had gone back to their hotel room to get ready for our night out.  Aunt Melissa set us up with cups of hot chocolate and a little snack, but we didn’t have much time for that break before we needed to take turns getting ready to go out too.

Aunt Melissa and Violet were taking care of Ethan and Ehlana, but Dawn, Jillian, Rowen, and I took turns helping out when it was their turn to get ready.  The shock of the day so far for me was that Chris and Martin each spent about an hour getting showered and dressed up too.  Yes, they really are the same cousins who could get ready for church or dinner at the Inn in less than five minutes – ten if they needed to take a shower too.  It was a little scary.

We had to split up when it was time to head over to the restaurant.  While it wasn’t quite as cool as Chris might have liked, he and Martin had Uncle Rick with them when they left in the SUV to pick up their girlfriends.  I’ll guess that having their current girlfriends meet the family tonight will be scary for all four of them.  Aunt Melissa had Mom’s minivan again, and she had the twins, Rowen, and me with her; while Violet took Dawn and Jillian, and went to pick up her two best friends, Ally and Katrina.

This time, Mom, Dad, Grandpa Richard, and Grandma Carrie were all at the restaurant ahead of us; and were seated at the largest of three tables that had been reserved for us.  Since we went straight there, though we left the house last by the time we had Ethan and Ehlana buckled in to their car seats, we were five minutes ahead of Violet, and it was nearly fifteen minutes before Uncle Rick joined us with Chris, Martin, and their girls.

There was a fairly lengthy round of introductions, though Chris’ girlfriend, Erin, and Martin’s girlfriend, Nikki, were the only two people I didn’t already know.  We worked through that while getting seated; and our servers had already been working on some drink and appetizer orders by then too.  Aunt Melissa teased Chris and Martin about having them take care of Ethan and Ehlana during dinner, but put the two teen couples at a table for four.  The twins were with Dawn, Jillian, Rowen, and me; and Violet, Ally, and Katrina were with the parents and grandparents.

Before I get on with the dinner recap, I’d like to mention that Chris and Martin were acting completely different tonight than what I thought their ‘normal’ was – even compared to the last time I saw them during the Christmas holidays.  Now that I think about it, they weren’t acting any differently last night or earlier today either.  If this is just date night or new relationship best behavior, Erin and Nikki will eventually be in for a shock; though I guess that assumes they didn’t know my cousins before starting to date them.  That’s one thing that can’t really happen with the tweens and teens back home – especially when nearly everyone grows up knowing every potential boyfriend or girlfriend.  Anyway, watching Chris and Martin with their girlfriends tonight was more than a little strange, and I was glad that Ethan and Ehlana helped keep me distracted from the weirder moments.

Aunt Melissa and Grandma Carrie had picked out a really nice restaurant, and while Dawn, Jillian, and Rowen weren’t feeling like going on a culinary adventure with me, I picked one of the exotic chef specials.  I’d still rank the Bistro in Crystal Springs a bit higher, but my meal tonight was very good too.  Ethan and Ehlana thought so too when I gave them some to try; and they proceeded to eat more of my entree than they had from their own plates – something that our server thought was both amazing and funny.  Whether they went with more normal meal choices or entree specials, everyone in our group seemed to be happy with their dinners.  If you’re reading this some day in the future, and happen to be related to the Drapers, I’m sorry, but it’s only fair for me to admit that the desserts at this restaurant could give Nathan and Hannah some tough competition.  How good?  Chris and Martin temporarily reverted, and Erin and Nikki watched them each scarf down three desserts.  I’m fairly sure that they bring the dessert carts around instead of menus for a good reason; and I’m very glad that the bill for our little family dinner wasn’t mine to pay for.

We were at the restaurant for more than two hours, and then most of us moved on to the movie theater.  Grandma and Grandpa Rice were taking care of Ethan and Ehlana instead of seeing a movie with us, so they took the minivan and went back to Uncle Rick and Aunt Melissa’s house to babysit them there while Aunt Melissa took Dawn, Jillian, Rowen, and I in their car.

I love movie theaters.  It’s one of the few things I do wish we could do more often than we can living in a small town.  There were only a few choices tonight that Dawn, Jillian, Rowen, and I could go to, and we ended up going with the full-out chick flick option – Safe Haven.  Dawn and Jillian needed a little convincing, but we sold them on the fact that the story was written by the same guy that wrote ‘The Last Song’ and ‘The Notebook’.  They can always come back to see their first and second choices if they want to; and since I’d read the book, I was a happy camper.  It was also weird to have Chris, Martin, and their girlfriends pick the chick flick too.  I’d expected them to pick the latest, never let a cash-cow franchise die hard, harder, or any other way, Bruce Willis flick; or possible the Dark Skies alien movie.  Of course they could be doing all of this because they’ve been taken over by aliens, so if that’s the case, the second option wouldn’t likely interest them anyway.

I won’t give anything away for the movie, just in case you, future reader, haven’t seen it – even if it’s an oldie in your present.  Most of us loved the movie, though more than two of the guys only loved the cuddle and/or make-out time with their girls.  No, Mom and Dad were not one of the couples making out during the movie, though they did cuddle and share a few kisses.  That might have been even scarier than what I wish I hadn’t witnessed with Chris, Martin, and their girlfriends, but then I also don’t want to think about what my parents are doing right now in their hotel room.

Moving along, we split up after the movie.  Mom and Dad went to their hotel; Violet and Uncle Rick made the rounds to drop off Ally, Katrina, Erin, and Nikki; and the rest of us went straight home.  Ethan and Ehlana were already in bed and sleeping by then.  We put a snack and drinks together, and had that ready by the time Uncle Rick, Violet, and the boys got home too.  Chris and Martin must have been holding back at the restaurant and theater, because they demolished the snacks that were put out, and then took bags of chips along when they headed for the living room and some gaming action.

Dawn, Jillian, Rowen, and I helped with the post-snack clean-up; stayed to see Dawn’s grandparents off on their way home, and then went to get changed and settled into the family room for our sleepover.  Sleep was the operative word for three out of four of us.  We started a movie, but I’m the only one still awake, and it hasn’t been on for a half hour yet.  I started out catching up on email and the usual news and entertainment checks, and once I finish this; I plan on joining them in dreamland.

Before I get to that, there is some family news to report from my email.  Elaine Johnson has gone into labor, and is in the hospital.  She and Kevin will have a baby brother or sister for Nicole anytime now; and I expect that Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, Uncle Nick, and Aunt Deborah may be doing a rush trip.  I’m sure that Aunt Deborah is particularly excited, since her brother and sister-in-law’s new baby will be so close in age to her first child.  I’m sure that will be the top family story for tomorrow, and I’ll have the details tomorrow night, but that’s it for now; and I’m ready to get some sleep, so...

...until next time, this is Magi Master Cassie Proctor; logging out!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cassie's Journal - February 22, 2013

There were another couple of inches of fresh snow on the ground by the time I woke up this morning, and I shoveled the driveway and sidewalks instead of doing Tai Chi with Mom.  I was only a little surprised when Michael came over to help me with the work, and we even managed to get finished before Jake was done clearing their driveway.

We took the tween hit for it at school this morning, and I suspect that my adorable little brother and sister had something to do with the change in breakfast plans, but Mom invited Michael to have pancakes, bacon, and hot chocolate for breakfast with us to thank him for helping out with the shoveling yesterday and this morning; he accepted; and we both had fun goofing around with Ethan and Ehlana for nearly three quarters of an hour while we ate and then cleaned up before he headed home again, and we both needed to get ready for school.

I had to pack my bag for the trip to Woodvale too, since we were leaving right after school, so Rowen already had the evening and morning news updates from Mom and the twins by the time I met up with her in the kitchen.  She was a bit too entertained by those stories, and couldn’t resist teasing me about winning the game night championship without her.  Aunt Leanne will be proud of her for adding in a few jokes about ending the night teamed up with Michael and then working together first thing in the morning again before having him stay for breakfast.  Ethan and Ehlana didn’t exactly help me out by telling her that they’d still been asleep, and didn’t actually witness Michael come over to our house this morning.  Thankfully that little attempt at humor didn’t make it onto the school gossip network!

The news that was floating around at school today made things weird enough for Michael and me; though it was harder for him.  Rowen had only teased me in private, but Tim didn’t feel the same need for constraint, and led the jokes that were mostly directed at Michael.  He seemed to be oblivious to the effect that was having on Lisa, and she was nearly as upset with him as she was with me by the end of the day.

While I managed to provide the wrong kind of entertainment for my friends and classmates, we did actually have classes to work through too, and there were other things going on that were more interesting to most of the kids and teens at school than the tween drama of the day.  Snow play at lunch time – and recesses for the younger kids – topped the to-do list for a lot of us; and Rowen and I had as much fun as everyone else as we joined in for a major snowball fight and added our contribution to the small groups of snowmen that dotted the yard by the time we went inside again for our afternoon classes.  I hadn’t really thought about it much, since we’ll be away all weekend, but the Maple Valley Winter Festival is this weekend, and it seemed that nearly everyone except Rowen and I were planning on going to the festival either on Saturday or Sunday.  This will be the first year that I’ve missed it since moving here, but I wouldn’t trade doing that instead of a weekend away for anything.

After being set free from school, Rowen and I stopped at the computer store to say goodbye to her parents; she changed and picked up her bag at her place; and then we met up with Mom, Ethan, and Ehlana at my house.  Mom had the van loaded and everything ready to go, but I wanted to get changed too, and did that quickly before we all hopped into the minivan and hit the road.

We were winging our travel plans, and wouldn’t be deciding whether we’d be stopping for dinner in Crystal Springs or just hitting a drive-thru and picking up fast food to go.  That decision ended up being for fast food when it took nearly three hours to get to the far side of Crystal Springs.  We were able to meet up with Dad there, but since we’d all been delayed; Mom and Dad decided not to lose another hour and a half by stopping for dinner at a restaurant.  Even with more delays from Crystal Springs to Woodvale, we managed to get to Uncle Rick and Aunt Melissa’s by nine-thirty.

Mom and Dad had a surprise waiting for them – two nights away from the kids while we stayed with our cousins, and they spent their nights doing whatever parents do when they don’t have the kids around in the privacy of a five-star hotel room.  We needed to unload the van first; they stayed for an hour-long visit; and we put Ethan and Ehlana to bed before they left the minivan behind and took Dad’s truck over to the hotel.

Dawn, Rowen, and I are using the family room for our weekend sleepover headquarters, though Dawn told us that Chris and Martin hadn’t been happy about giving up their usual weekend hangout for us to use instead.  Having girls invade their space wasn’t the problem anymore – Dawn and Violet had both kept me up to speed enough for me to know that Chris, Martin, and their buddies usually had girls hanging out with them this year.  That change, however, did not apply to kid sisters, her friends, or to Rowen and me; so we were cramping their style.

Violet spent a little time with us after Mom and Dad left for the hotel, but Chris and Martin took over the living room to do their big screen gaming there while we were watching junior chick flicks.  My usual late study nights must be making a difference, since Dawn fell asleep before we were half-way through the first, and what will be the only, movie.  I was doing some surfing on my computer while she, Rowen, and I watched the show and chatted, but started doing my usual nightly checks once Dawn was out for the count.

There really isn’t much family news to report so far, but we didn’t really have much time to talk about much more than our trip and what everyone had been doing for the past couple of days – especially with how we’d been dealing with the snow.  I’m sure we’ll have more time to catch up on everything that doesn’t make the email rounds tomorrow while we’re shopping and playing together all day.

For now, though, the last thing I want to mention is that I miss being home.  I know that sounds weird, since we’ve only been away from Witch Falls for a handful of hours, but it’s still true; and unexpected.  Maybe it’s the Witch Falls magic tugging at me.  I definitely miss Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, and Mandy; and I guess there really is a feeling – an attachment – that I don’t really even think about; but it’s as real as the links I have with Mom, Dad, Ethan, and Ehlana.  I’ve been exploring that sensation while thinking about it, and changing the focus to range from concentrating on the town and area in general to specific people and places.

I’m not surprised to find out that I especially feel that sense of something missing with the Stone and Emerson families, but discovering that feeling is strongest when I think about Michael – even more than Miranda or Rebecca – must mean that I’ve entered the tweeird zone.  Hopefully that isn’t a crossing over danger sign!  That little piece of information won’t be getting to Aunt Leanne anytime soon, and I half wish that I didn’t know either; though it also feels really great to have that whole connection to home.

We have a big day ahead, starting with meeting Mom and Dad for breakfast at their hotel, so I should wrap this up and get some sleep.

Until next time, this is Magi Master Cassie Proctor; logging out!