If there is one thing my family is good at it is looking for things. Notice, I didn't say FINDING things; that is not our forte! We take an opportunity nearly every three weeks to go on a great search- three weeks is amount of days we have before the library books are due. For most people keeping track of library books probably isn't a big deal. What do most normal people check out per library visit? Five, maybe ten books? We are not normal. I have gotten better, but at any given time, we'll check out anywhere from 30 to 50 books, sometimes more. We have an addiction to library books; not that this is a bad thing. I like to spend at least an hour a day reading "picture books" to the younger kids. Just a habit I'd started with the Jane Austen Wanna Be when she was little and continue to enjoy that time together even now.
Turning 5 in our family is a big deal- this is the age when a child gets to get his/her own library card. Of course this also means he/she accepts a bigger chunk of the blame when a book is lost, and that is not so good! To say a frequent calling upon St. Anthony is heard from our home is an understatement. I expect when we reach the pearly gates, each of of us will receive a tongue lashing from the multitude of times St. Anthony had to take a break from praising the Almighty to guide us to where the lost library book rests.
The Clown has earned the nickname of "St. Anthony"- because she is really good at finding lost things. I'm always calling upon her when something has gone astray. She has a good turn around time! This is also why I ask her to find things that I have lost in my mind. So many times I will leave a room, only to stop and holler her name to remind me why I had left the room to began with. She is also good with unwritten shopping lists, telephone numbers and keeping track of sibblings' forgotten punishments. . . hmmmm shouldn't be surprised about that last one.
What is this all leading to? I had a point, but I lost it : ) No, the point is I have been searching for a family hobby that would occupy a minimal amount of time and include all of us- from the 2 year old to the 45 year old (see prior post: "Happy Birthday to Me!"). I had all but given up- especially since we are not really sports oriented, not so musically talented that we could play anything remotely recognizable to any human, and don't possess the patience of Job, nor the wealth of Midas. Yet, about about 2 weeks ago, I stumbled upon an idea (probably under the guidance of St. Anthony) that looked like it was a hobby made just for us.
This activity is called Geocaching. It is also known as Letter Boxing. See the following link: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx?lat=39.01103&lng=-95.777829&dist=5
This is a hobby where you use your GPS Navigation Device (yes, of course we have one- my husband's solution to keeping us from getting lost around town) to input a set of coordinates. Then, piling into the car, you follow the GPS to the set point and find the cache that is hidden. Wow! A hobby involving looking for something that is hidden?!? It should be called "Mooradian-ing."
What makes the search fun is that the end result could be a bit of a treasure- a medium/large size cache holds little goodies that you can trade out, or disguises that you don and photograph to upload as proof of your successful find. There are also little/microscopic size caches that usually just hold a log that you sign and date.
Our first few attempts were nothing shy of a complete failure (St. Anthony?!?). But, on the 3rd attempt, we found the needle in the haystack and you'd thought we'd found the cure for cancer! Considering we weren't using our GPS correctly, it was on the level of brain surgery. It felt so much more of an accomplishment too because we weathered 102 degree heat, around a 3/10 mile walk and overgrown grass that harbored overgrown grasshoppers (at least according to The Jane Austen Wanna Be).
A round of root beer floats proved to be the best way to celebrate (which coincidentaly, we also included the celebrating of finding a lost library book). Lots of bragging ensued, along with posting our pictures on the website. It appears that an answer to our hobby search has been found! I'm actually quite surprised that The boy and The Cute One Who Always get Free Stuff at Garage Sales were the two children that started begging to go Geocaching again- especially since they were the first two to give up searching when we were out in the field. Perhaps is just that they ejnoyed the time together we had as a family, with a common goal at hand. Maybe it was they were relieved to break of the regular routine to get out of the house. Possibly they just liked seeing The Jane Austen Wanna Be get flustered and mad at the GPS in what we call the Geocaching Rage. I'm not sure, but I know that we are building memories and having fun.
Thank you Lord that you don't need to work so hard to keep track of us, your children. I can rest knowing that no matter where my children or I am, you are keeping close track of us.
Now, if I could just get a fixed coordinates on each of our checked out library books. . .
Finding and Surviving Myself,