Category Archives: Vacation

It’s always good to be home

The kids and I went camping last week with my dad’s church family. It’s something the kids have been doing every summer for the past four or five years. This was my dad’s last year to be able to go, because he is retiring next June. So there was a lot of bittersweet floating around. However, I and the kids have been invited back for future years, since they have especially bonded with a lot of the kids there. We had a lot of fun. The kids swam, rode bikes, played gaga ball (??), went kayaking (my favorite part, may write a separate post about that), and played tug of war in the river. Lots of great memories.

My legs are in shambles. Good, old fashioned muscle pain from all the walking, I suppose. I walked constantly for the whole trip and I came back home to find I had gained 5 pounds. Seriously. I guess I forgot to mention there was a lot of eating as well!

I also woke up this morning with considerable nerve pain in my feet, which is unusual for the morning. It usually only comes around in the evening. I guess my body is just paying the toll for all the fun we had. I am more than okay with that. Just gonna keep moving forward anyway, with small breaks in between. No need to rush.

Speaking of waking up this morning… my husband woke me up to let me know that the refrigerator wasn’t working, and that he needed me to move the food to the fridge in the basement. He was on his way out the door to work but he is hoping to come back at some point to fix it. We’ll see. I’m just really grateful that we have a second fridge for these sorts of occasions. So that was my first task of the day, and I’m definitely going to take advantage of an empty fridge to get it all wiped out. There are lots of sticky spots and who knows what’s in those nooks and crannies.

The kids are happy to be home. The dog is happy we’re home. Hubby is really happy we’re home. Waking up on a Monday in our own beds is surely something to be thankful for, no matter what the day has in store for us. And coffee, of course.

 

Oklahoma in July

The kids and I flew to Oklahoma to visit Grandma Deb and Grandpa Dave (my mom and stepdad) for a whole week! EEK!! The last time any of us had been on a plane, Luke was 2 and Natalie was in utero. So it was pretty much like their first time flying. I was a nervous wreck through all of it, but the kids did great.  And once we were at Grandma’s, we settled in quite nicely. Pictured below on Natalie’s head is their green cheek conure, Riley. I learned very quickly that I have a new fear of birds flying near my head, mainly because when he flew toward me I could feel the wind from his wings before I could see where he was. Thankfully, he was pretty harmless, and by the end of the week we were getting along just fine.

We had so many activities in store! Our first full day there we went hiking near some natural springs. I took a lot of really blurry photos of that, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was really cool and the kids enjoyed themselves.

The next day Grandma took us to the salt plains to dig for selenite crystals. I was happy to stand around and take pictures while they got dirty. Luke found the first crystal, which led us to the mother load of crystals. It was pretty exciting. (Oh, and I got to drive a car! Since it was wide open space and no one was around. Don’t tell anyone though lol)

Another day we visited the children’s science museum in town. This was similar to the one we have back home, but with a different mix of things to see. The kids had a blast here too, and it was a good way to stay out of the 100 degree weather.

I’m sure I’m getting the order of events mixed up, but at some point towards the end of the week we visited what we were calling the rock museum. The museum was a house, made entirely out of rocks, that belonged to a couple that did a bunch of stuff, and kept pretty much everything they owned. So now they keep it on display and let people come and look at it. Which is funny to me, because it’s just some people’s old things, preserved for no apparent reason. I still thought it was pretty cool to see all these items from an entirely different era, and the kids were great sports about it. Grandma even bought them some geode stones to take home and smash open.

Let’s see… we also did some put-put golfing, because my poor deprived children had never been, can you believe it!? I beat everybody, both times we went, but the kids scored a couple holes in one, so they were strong opponents, for sure. We celebrated the second day by taking them out for ice cream, as you can see below.

There was also grilling, eating out, a bit of swimming in the blow up pool to cool off, jewelry making with Grandma, and of course lots of playing with Riley, the bird. I’m sure I’m leaving out details. Yes, flying was stressful for me, having to rely on the kids to see and hear things for me, but it was really nice to get where we were going so quickly. For all the fun we had and getting some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa, it was totally worth it. It was a fantastic, full week of fun and I am so glad we went. We hope to do it again next year.

 

Spring break smiles

image

It’s Friday, the last day off from school for the “spring” break. It’s been snowing off and on since Saturday, which really put a damper on things. But we made our own fun. My sister and her kids (and dog) were here for five days, which was both crazy and awesome. Today the kids and I took the Spec-Tran to the nearby roller rink. I don’t skate because I don’t care for pain, but my kids love it. Only Natalie wore some low cut socks and quickly developed a painful blister. She’s pictured above, soaking her feet in a warm Epsom salt bath. And of course that’s her brother Luke photo bombing with the bunny ears. He thinks he’s funny, and sometimes he’s right. I guess.

That is all I’ve got for now. Happy Friday folks!

Home again

We went camping. With our church family and with our children. Our kids had a blast. One of the memorable parts for me was staying in the caboose. All the cabins were taken when we signed up, so that was our only option, and it turned out to be the best one! What do you mean by caboose, you ask? Well, it’s just that. A caboose. Equipped with bunk beds and a futon.

The caboose!

It was kind of a hike to the restrooms (Cuz we ladies do NOT use the porta-potty. No way, no how.) but we managed. I brought my cane, and I’m glad I did because it was very useful keeping me upright over all the hilly terrain (Well, mostly. I only fell three times).

Most kids love to camp, and ours are no exception. So we do it for them. We are not crazy about camping, and the two of us do not camp well together. I am generally a morning person, but something about waking up on a crumb-coated futon with welts on your face from your wiggly, sound-sleeping, seven year old sets me on the wrong foot. Not to mention the moment I recall that I did not bring a coffee maker and have to roam the campground with my empty traveler mug, peddling for hot coffee. Oh, and did I mention the 15 mile hike to the bathroom?

I think we did some fun things while we were there. Well, the kids anyway. They swam, rode bikes and scooters, slid down the biggest slip ‘n slide you’ve ever seen, and even went zip-lining 30+ feet off the ground. When Natalie saw that her brother was getting ready to go, she wanted to go too. No fear, this child. She is our daredevil. Four years old, and such a girly-girl, but she has no fear. She trekked right up to the top, feigned hesitation and fear for the zip-line operator, and then when it was her turn, off she went. She had a blast! And her only complaint was that it went too slow. Crazy girl.

Let’s see… We also had a big potluck with the church folk. Now, I grew up Methodist, so I’ve been to my share of potlucks. This potluck was by far the most memorable. Because as soon as everyone got the food set up, it started to rain. Hard. So I scrambled to get my food (yummy salad, by the way) and squeeze in with the crowd under a camper awning to eat it. Craziest potluck ever.

All in all, it was a memorable trip, and we are glad we went. We are also equally glad to be home. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of great details about the trip but my head still needs to unwind. Tomorrow is the first day of school! Again (it happens, like, every year)!!

Summer is ending, y’all. What was your favorite part?

Abbey Trip 2014

I have just returned from my annual trip with my sister to an Episcopalian monastery. This was our 4th trip together, but I started going there more than a decade ago, and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been. It’s truly a time of rest and renewal for us. I did some journaling, but not as much as I would have liked. And since I didn’t bring my laptop, I just wrote it down. No filter, no edits. So what follows here is exactly what I wrote. Reading my writing on a white piece of paper is physically exhausting for me to do, so pardon me if I don’t feel like reading through again and “perfecting” it. Whether it sounds good or not, it’s all true.

Friday:

We made it to the Abbey. I’m teetering on the brink of a flood of tears. Mixed metaphors, I know. I just have all this sadness built up. I think that’s why I keep getting so frustrated, and Mike keeps asking me what is wrong. I always say it’s nothing, but that’s a colossal lie. I am sad and scared. Not angry, because I don’t know who to be angry at. Just really scared for my future, and sad for what I am missing, like pictures Natalie draws for me. And not being able to really see my surroundings. That frustrates me – constantly. If it were all gone, if I couldn’t see any of it, maybe the frustration wouldn’t be there. Because I wouldn’t be subconsciously trying to see it all. Maybe. Not that I’m wishing for that. That is maybe what scares me the most. Losing my eyesight completely. Losing the ability to see my family’s faces and watch my kids grow.

Well, I let the tears fall, and it didn’t end in a sob-fest. I’m sure there are more to come, but for now I feel like I can breathe again. This is good, writing. I didn’t bring the laptop so this is all I’ve got. It’s slower, and harder to read, but I guess that’s good as it allows me time to let my thoughts come through. Clearly.

I need to eat.

We went to Vespers and Mass already. Had lunch, went to buy chicken and steak. Not in that order. I took a nap too. I can’t believe I forgot the steak! This weekend seems cursed. There was a huge accident on the way here that prevented us from getting onto I-94 – cranes had to be used to move the semi trucks. But we are taking the curse in stride. This past year has dealt us both a shitty hand, but we are determined to make the best of it, despite the obstacles.

Just like this weekend.

10 pm: Heading to bed! Will be up at 3:30 am for the 4 am Matins service. Good day 🙂

Saturday:

Was up at 3:30 am for Matins (thanks to 3 cups of coffee the night before, I woke up all on my own. Slept from 10 pm to 12:30 am, and then every hour after that. Not too bad. Then went back to sleep after Matins, and woke up to the smell of bacon (for the quiche), just in time for 8:15 Mass. And yes, they do communion on Saturday.

I’m not sure what to do with myself at this point. I want to make the best of this time, but I want to get rest and relax too.

Next weekend we go camping with the church. I’ll definitely have to make grocery lists and catch up on laundry before then. I’ll wait to do that when I get back home. Because Mike likely would have bought some food. And what fun is coming to the Abbey to make grocery lists?

Now – coffee. Read.

It’s our last night, and after finally beating Kari (just barely) at Spite and Malice, we are heading to bed at 10:50 pm. Tomorrow is Sunday, so Matins isn’t until 5:30 am. Kind of like sleeping in.

Today was a humid day, and my hair shows it. Do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and gasp? That just happened here. Think Gene Wilder and that comes pretty close. Compounding the issue is all the short wispy hairs I have from the regrowth of the hair I lost when I was on steroids last year.

Ah, I forgot to mention we went to tea time to mingle with the monks. Prior Aelred greeted me first with a big hug and said “can you hear me now?” I love his sense of humor and compassion. He has been following my updates on Facebook and has given me lots of encouragement along the way. It’s always good to see him.

I miss Mike. It’s been a good trip, but I’ll be glad to be home. Of course, I miss the kids too. It will be so great to see them again too.

Camping

Had a lovely time camping with the kids this week. I took a nap as soon as we got home. Sleep was interrupted by a nightmare that seemed like it came out of an episode of Criminal Minds (which I haven’t watched in well over a year). Oh well. I woke up to dinner with the family. I have laundry going and now I’m just trying to catch up on paperwork and junk while Grandpa feeds my kids ice cream. Between the ice cream and camping gunk, they will be bathing tonight!

**INTERMISSION**

And now the kids are bathed and in bed. Time for me to rest. Not doing laundry. Not working on a grocery list or planning my weekly chores. I still desperately need to bathe as well, but first I’m parked on the couch with a heating pad, warming my aching, arthritic lower back. Cuz I don’t have enough issues with the hearing and vision loss.

Ah, but life is good. I am blessed with a wonderful family. And it is so good to be home.