Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Old Friends, Good Times

Whenever we travel, I seem to always set really high expectations. Too high. It's a bad habit of mine. And, um, sometimes it threatens to ruin my trips. I suppose I could use a little more perspective at times. Because usually, more often than not, a lot of fun happens that I somehow seem to skip over because I'm too busy going thru my mental checklist of all the pre-set activities not accomplished. Take, for example, our trip to McCall this past weekend. I did it to myself. Again. Made a list a mile long of everything I thought would be fun for our family to do. Canoeing. Time at the beach. Dinner out. A trip to the nearby hot springs. Maybe an excursion up to the top of Brundage Mountain courtesy of the chairlift. A lot to pack in over the course of 3 days--Friday thru Sunday. And you can guess that I probably did NOT factor in the chance of rain! No way! Not in August! But uh huh, you can probably also guess where this is headed. Friday? Rain. Saturday morning? Rain. Sunday? Afternoon thunderstorm. So not too many activities got crossed off my list. Well, none of the ones I listed really. BUT, I had to remind myself of the John Lennon quote at the top of my blog--"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." And what life brought us this past weekend was all sorts of old friends who came out of the woodwork. Friends who we weren't expecting to see. Friends who we hadn't even talked to in years. But friends who we missed. And friends who we LOVED having the opportunity to catch up with. An opportunity that I'm glad I didn't miss because I was too busy lamenting over the fact that things weren't going according to my initial plans. So all in all, even though the weather S-U-C-K-E-D it turned out to be a good weekend spent with both family and friends. Maybe next time we'll be so lucky to have family, friends, AND sun!

If you've never been, McCall is really, REALLY beautiful. Unfortunately my pictures taken on an overcast cloudy day do not do it justice. But I had to at least "document" the fact that we were there...

Looking toward downtown.

I know, a horrid picture of me and my hardware. But my boy is too sweet, and I love the lake and the mountains behind us. Imagine if it was actually sunny! So pretty.

Molly Girl was sleeping. That's why she is missing in all of these pictures.

Ah, I love it. These times are the best. Sitting around the table catching up with old friends and remembering the glory days... :)

Just part of the old gang from high school...You can't see the 11 kids who add to the gang these days!

After barbecuing at one house, we moved the "reunion" to our good friend Jason's house and continued to chat it up.

And then...out came the "toys"! And my husband was in heaven...

Now before you start noting all of the safety violations, just know that we barely got out of Jason's driveway with the bikes! So there. And sometimes you just have to live a little...

My sweet biker girl.

Grayson and Jason.

Sweetness. Molly was so enamored with Jason. Unfortunately it just made him miss his girls even more! (They're on a month-long vacation with their mommy in Minnesota. Daddy had to stay home and work.)

The smile on his face is evidence that Grayson loved it. A lot. Like I think he'll be begging for one of his own for some time...

Jeffrey, Amie, and Molly waiting for their turns.

Cydnee and Molly.

This was just to appease my husband. I am definitely not a biker chick, but I do give in to peer pressure from time to time. Ha! Ha!

Proof that I actually rode. (if you consider going like 100 feet actually riding...)

Then because it wasn't raining and because they begged us all day long, we took the kids to the pool by Grandma Pearl's house on our last night. And for whatever reason, G decided that it was time to swim! Like really SWIM! Without a life jacket! Like he kicked his legs and paddled his arms and actually got from point A to point B without us holding on to him!!! Oh my word, it was exciting!

And what's a trip to McCall without breakfast at The Pancake House? It was our last stop before heading out on Monday.

Family photo opp outside the restaurant. Pretty cute, eh?

Thank goodness for photos. Because as I look at all of these, I realize that we really did have a lot of fun...even if we didn't stick to MY "play book". Lesson learned. Again.

**edited to add: Okay, you can't tell from my pictures (actually lack of pictures) that our whole reason for visiting this past weekend was to attend Dave's brother's 50th birthday party! Unfortunately I was lazy with my camera that day. :( But it was fun to see everyone, and thank goodness it stopped raining just in time for the outside party!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Life on the Umpqua (09 version)

We just got back from our annual weekend on the Umpqua River. We went, we saw, we swam, we ate. What else is there?! Oh yeah, we slept in a tent, too. And saw slugs. Ick. But even I can't complain too much about this year's camping experience because praise the lord, it was hot, hot, HOT during the days, which meant that I did not get cold, cold, COLD at night! Yahoo!

The kids were in heaven. Grayson couldn't get enough of the river and playing with the big kids, and Molly never tired of talking. To anyone who would listen. Anyone. And of course, by the end, we were exhausted and filthy, but even I wouldn't trade the weekend for anything. Being with my family and my 94 year-old grandpa in the one place that has been familiar to me since, well, forever--that's a priceless experience that never gets old. (Okay, actually in all honestly, there was that one summer that I tried camping alone with my 2 children that it did get a little old, and maybe, just maybe I would have traded it all that weekend...ha! ha!) So often throughout the weekend I found myself remembering the Umpqua experience the way it used to be for me when I was little--A LOT has changed. And while there are things and people that I definitely miss, I'm just so happy that the traditions continue and that there's still this place--this tiny bit of heaven on earth, if you ask the Spencer family--that MY kids get to experience now each summer. And it's cool and comforting to think that one day down the road, a few of our experiences will overlap, mine and theirs. Rock jumping, catching crawdads, the swimming hole, floating the river from Mac Brown park...thankfully some things never change.

Poor Jenna. She got skunked. Eeeewwwww.

This boy would have slept in the river if we would have let him.
But when we did get him out of the water, he loved playing games with his cousins...
...even when he was so tired that he could barely keep his eyes open.
And this girl...still chattin' away! And eating cake to celebrate my brother's recent marriage to Aunt Rebecca. (What?! Did I forget to mention a family wedding?!! Nope, they eloped. Hee hee.)

Here's Miss Mols doing the "Cheetos Dance" with Cousin Tom--her partner in crime as they snuck Cheetos together all night long.

Anyone who will share her Cheetos passion is definitely a friend for life! :)

She has a way of getting almost anyone to play with her. Thanks, Cousin Malia! :)
But the BIG event of the weekend--which I didn't but now DO have pictures of thanks to my cousin Cindy (!!!)--was the annual river float. It was big for our family this year because both Grayson AND Molly floated! Like thru "rapids"! (Though I do use the term "rapids" rather loosely.) And G was only slightly traumatized when he and Dave dumped out of their tube during the first set. But after a quick recovery, both kids loved the experience and spent most of the afternoon out of the tubes and simply letting the current carry them down the river in their life jackets. 2 little fish they are!

And at the end of the weekend, how do you know if you saw enough, swam enough, ate enough?...