Sunday, August 7, 2016

Vacation, Vacation, Vacation

I just can't get enough.  For my birthday, Sue had us to her beach house in Manasquan, NJ.  It is wonderful, amazing, peaceful, perfect.  This is one of my favorite things every year.  For the first time ever, Travis was able to go with us.  Also in the apartment were Ang and Michele and their daughters.  I love these people and this time together!
We play lots of games; this year Dog Monopoly, Trivia Crack and Sushi Go were big hits.
And we spend lots of time on the beach boogey boarding, digging, building, laying out, talking, doing photo shoots and pretending to be mermaids. He, he, he!
This year for the first time, we went to the next town over, Point Pleasant, to go to the Boardwalk.  It was a fun thing to do because we had never done it.  We rode rides, ate the biggest pizza ever, lots of fries and ice cream.  We all cuddled up to Santa, because of course it was Christmas in July. 
Last Travis was able to help Pete do a few things when he got there later in the week, and it wouldn't be a vacation if Sue and I weren't in bed cuddling together.  Until next year...I'll just have to have great memories.
 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Swim Season

 
So after two or three years of saying no to summer swim, this year I conceded.  Many have asked me why I said no and basically it is because I run myself ragged all year long, summers are sacred, lazy days.  But this year I knew the summer would be crazy instead of relaxing anyway and so let the kids choose for themselves.  Two opted to swim and it was Isabella and Issac.

Isabella swam during the daily training, but was only able to attend 2 maybe 3 meets or invitationals because she was gone so much this summer with Girls' Camp, Youth Conference, family vacations, etc...It was a good experience and she liked it, but doesn't think she will return next year. 

Issac took to it like the fish he is.  Able to attend most all of the practices and meets, he was able to really improve and became quite good.  His best friend also swims and so all the long hours of meets were one big party with food and friends for him. 

I learned that invitationals are like nothing I have ever seen in any other sport.  Swim meets are long, invitationals longer and so many bring their tents, set up camp and turn huge fields into villages.  Think one whole Saturday into the evening.  Staging the races with the kids is like trying to herd kittens, but really cool to see the system and organizations.

Both the kids did freestyle, back and then relays.  Issac hopes to get better at the more technical strokes of breast and butterfly to become good enough to swim some of those next year.  Overall it was fun to participate in and watch, but our summer was definitely more busy as a result.  But that didn't deter Kody who has determined that next summer he will join the team too.
 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Make America Great

Politics aside despite my post title, I love America.  I'm a patriot and a succor for fireworks.  This year the 4th of July boasted the worst weather in the past 7 years.  It poured rain and so I was glad that we had celebrated the day before at Longs Park like usual.  They always do an amazing show (concert, fireworks, etc..)  So after church at around 3:30 pm I went to reserve seats for our ever increasing group of friends, since two groups invited us we merged together.

Well when I got there, there was another acquaintance saving seats for her church friends too in the Lancaster ward.  We created a row of members of our church.  Shortly thereafter we noticed some members from York.  They were seated behind us until we became two great big lines of spectators.  There were a total of just shy of 200 of us in the alley and assorted members in other areas of the park.

Then on the day of, we had the Elders and went to the Henrichsen's pool to swim and eat until their neighbors did fireworks.  Swimming in the rain was fun for Travis and the kids, but I played inside.  The show was shortened but it was good to be with friends to celebrate!

Monday, July 11, 2016

We're Halfway to Christmas...and Then Some

In June and the beginning of July we:
finished baseball season

rescued many newborn animals

celebrated our favorite dad

had wisdom teeth removed

witnessed many gorgeous sunsets

attended girls' camp
 
and Cub Camp

Thursday, July 7, 2016

One More Down...One To Go

So Issac graduated from elementary school to the middle school.  I only have Kody left and this is his last year.  The days are going to fast.  This year I'll have an elementary, 2- middle, and 1-high school children.  I love these kids - they are my heaven.
 
 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Turning my Yankee Self into a Cowgirl Imposter

Tomorrow marks 17 years since Travis and I met.  Almost immediately we started "courting", a word I wouldn't have used before meeting the man.  Alas all these years have changed me.  He has changed me and for the better.  But even more remarkably I've become less of a Yankee wussy, and let me tell you that is not a word many would have associated with me.  I guess there is something to be said for being raised in the south.  See a northern country girl just isn't the same as a southern one.  But I think I am coming around.  Several experiences this past Texas trip confirmed my true "cowgirl" status.

First, I was able to help this time move cattle, little baby cows, from one field to the lower field.  And I couldn't help but laugh as I thought this was so fun, when on my first visit I remember being so nervous around the cows.  They were so big.  I gave them wide berth instead of herding them into a corral and onto a trailer, even slapping their hienies if need be.  Travis even thought it was cute how I talked to them lovingly along the way.  He thinks I have a real future with them, but he's an obviously smitten and biased husband.
Second, I finally conquered my fear of the creek and swimming hole.  It's a sizeable water source on their property.  One of my husband's favorite places and the place he planned to purpose someday by hiding a ring in a "shipwrecked miniature boat" on the bottom of the swimming hole.  Well getting engaged in February in Idaho may have dampened that desire, but it probably worked out for the best because I'm not sure I could have brought myself to swim in there back then.  So for the first time, I swam in the water, even though his cousin had just posted a picture of a slaughtered water moccasin from less than a month ago on Facebook.
And then doing it even one time better, on another property they own, they have a river.  I've swum in that water before feeling like it was safer.  This past visit we were there swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.  Travis's mom, Nana, was watching the kids as we went on a mini kayaking date with a fishing pole.  We navigated up stream to a little lagoon area.  Travis was casting somewhat unsuccessfully.  I wanted my chance and so we rowed close and he was handing off the pole when I heard a rustling.  I looked in time to see a  snake falling out of the tree onto brush on the edge of the river.  I was quite sure it was a water moccasin and Travis didn't notice, but he inquired as to why I wouldn't accept the fishing pole.  I calmly informed him that I needed my hands free to row away speedily if need be because of the snake.  Long story straight, he hadn't seen or heard the ordeal.  And after taking the time to get a bit closer, use my oar to point to the snake, he saw and confirmed my ability to identify deadly snakes.  I calmly removed myself from the area, but that didn't stop me from swimming in the water the rest of the day.  I would just not be swimming anywhere near that area.
Now after all of this hullabaloo, I had my final experience with the south in the form of a serious case of chigger bites.  Even now a week later, I am still partially covered by fading bites.  Although I never saw them on me, I felt the aftermath which was deathly itchy bites covering from my ankles to my waist.  Well there was nothing I could do, so I just made the best of it.  I'll still wade through the grasses, swim in the water and continue my love of moving the cows because I'm becoming Texas tough.
On the flip side, I've come to the conclusion I'll never be able to make venison backstrap as well as my mother-in-law.   Some things you just may need to be a native to perfect.