Sunday, July 26, 2015

See'n double?

I met Kara Vance when she and her husband, and their twin boys, came to rent an apartment at the apartment community I managed.  Her boys were 5 days older than Ryan and we hit it off immediately.  When I had Lydia and Emily, the fact that there were NO twins in my family, I "blamed" Kara for my twins.  

Kara was part of a twins club in her former hometown and really wanted to be part of a twins club in our area.  There was a twins club years before, but there had not been one around in a few years.  After meeting two other twin moms, Chris Rivera, and Monica Pangle, we started our own twins club and it went on for almost 8 years.  

Several times we tried to pass our club on to other MOMs who would head it up.  "Fresh Meat" so to speak.  People with fresh ideas and people who were not tired of doing it all these years.  When this did not happen, after the 8 years, we decided to disban.  We had stopped having meetings and the club was at a point that it was nothing like it once had been.  Two MOMs took it over, but they have not done the same things and are not using the club for its intended purpose.   

Tonight, three years later, we had an ARCMOM (Augusta/Rockingham Counties Mothers of Multiples) "old school" reunion.  All the MOMs who were members in our day were invited with their twins and families.  Crazy how big they have all gotten!  After the twins shot, we took a picture of all the members and their families.  We were trying to stay out of the sun and the pictures turned out a little dark, but you can still see everyone if you make the pictures bigger.  It was a fun night!

50 years! How amazing!

This past Friday, July 24, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  50 years!!  Pretty amazing in this day and age! I am quite proud of my parents in all that they have accomplished, all that they have been through and they have stood by each other for all this time.  Two children and five grandchildren--they have led a pretty good life I think.

My brother and his family were not able to be in Harrisonburg on the 24th so we planned to celebrate their anniversary on Saturday.  We had debated on having a surprise party for their anniversary, but we had surprised them for their retirement and Ann and Bill had surprised them for their 25th.  They had requested that we have an intimate celebration with just our family and Ann and Bill.  We decided to go along with their wishes and looked for a place to have our dinner.  My moms friend, Ann, told us that mom had been wanting to try this home restaurant that is in a Mennonite lady's home.  Several people she knew had, had parties there and all came with rave reviews.  This was something unique and different and all the food was out of this world!  Everything was home grown and home made.  We had ham, party chicken, mac n cheese, tossed salad, mashed potatoes and corn.  For dessert there was pecan pie and chocolate fudge pie with homemade vanilla ice cream.  Totally amazing!!

While eating this wonderful food, Ryan says "This is the best Anniversary party ever!" to Mike.  As this was his first anniversary party that he has attended, he does not have much to compare--but love that his appreciation for the food was so genuine.  Immediately after Ryan's statement, Adella says "I am so glad I wore something nice!  Thanks Mom!"  According to Allison, Adella did not want to dress up nicely, but in the end she appreciated the battle her mother won.

The food was served homestyle and the kids all took part in serving themselves.  Penny needed a little help and there was a little help needed in cutting up the meats, but all in all they did well on their own!!
After our amazing dinner, we went outside and took some pictures.  The house where we ate was quite pretty and the surrounding landscape was pretty as well.  Happy Anniversary to my parents and thank you to Ann and Bill for coming as well as helping out Paul and myself in having this perfect celebration.
 All of us
 Us with the parents
Grandparents and the Grandkids
 The five of us
 Paul and his clan
Ann and Bill

Our small town takes a stand

Each summer, our local volunteer fire department has their lawn party fund raiser.  This past weekend was the time for this year.  The lawn party is similar to a fair, but on a smaller scale.  The MVFD has food booths, games, rides, etc.  It is a three day celebration/fundraiser which also includes a parade and fireworks.  The parade is held less than a mile from our house so we always walk down and watch it go by.  The children enjoy scrambling onto the pavement when each of the entries pass by throwing candy to the children watching.  They always bring home enough candy that we often give some away.  The past two or three years, Emily's softball team has had a "float" in the parade so we have enjoyed watching her go by as well.

Emily is the one in the orange shorts.  We could not find denim ones.

This year the parade was a little different than normal.  There were still the ball teams, the church organizations, the local pageant winners and campaign goers, but there were about 50 additional entries that made me realize my little town is pretty amazing!  There were many entries of vehicles carrying the confederate flag.  With the recent banning of the confederate flag and supposedly what it symbolized, back during the Civil War, has caused an insane banning of a flag that (in my opinion) has come to simply symbolize what it means to be a "good 'ol boy" or a " redneck."  Nothing more.  While I am not one to hang the confederate flag in my yard, I don't think it is necessary to take that right away from those who do.

The row of flags went on and on.  It was so neat!!  We also hit the lawn party on armband night.  And the fireworks are always able to be seen from our front yard.  It is always a fun time!

Camping at the lake with the Settles

This Pontoon Boat thing is really fun!  We are loving this boat and will never go back to a different kind of boat.  We camped at the lake again this past week and spent a great deal of time on the boat.  For the first time this year, we had our annual camping trip with Becky and Stuart Settle and their boys Lucas and Mason.  We so enjoy camping with them!  As you can see in prior posts, we try to camp with them each year.  The kids always seem to take about 10 - 15 minutes to warm up to each other, but then they pick up where they left off.  As if we are able to see them more than once or twice a year.

We tooled up and down the lake as well as dropped the anchor and jumped and floated in the 25 feet of water.  One day we went to a beach area on the lake and had it all to ourselves.  And of course, had to ride to get ice cream in the boat one night.

Having S'moreos, making our traditional Doritos taco salad in the bag and hanging out with one of our favorite families, made our camping extra special.
Lucas hanging out in the lake
Mike and Emily floating in the water
Ryan on the boogie board
Becky, Stuart and Lucas
Lydia's Target version of a Paddle Board
Doing a front flip off the "Paddle Board"
Lucas and Lydia
We did some fishing while we were there.  Poor Stuart ended up having to help all five kids get their worms on their hooks.  All five kids fished and we had three catches total.  Fun times!
Emily waiting on her catch of the day
Lucas and Mason fishing
Lucas and Stuart
Lydia waiting to reel in a big one
Becky on the porch making pancakes.  She let the kids make and flip their own.  It all turned out really well and the kids LOVED them!!
Lydia's big pancake
Mason's big pancake
Ryan and Mason riding into the sunset
L to R:  Lucas, Emily, Mango, Lydia, Ryan and Mason--the gang's all here!
Emily and Lydia having fun walking Mango
Fish on!  Good job Lucas!!
Mike and the kids fishing
Reeling one in

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Crush goes 10U!

Emily started her 3rd year with her Crush softball team this year.  With many of the girls aging out of 8U, they needed to upgrade to a 10U team.

10U is very different than 8U.  The big change has been the team has gone from their coach pitching to them, to kid pitch.  Kids from the teams actually do the pitching. The pitching can be difficult to master.  Some of the kids pitch well, but many of them pitch fast.  Some of them pitch some crazy ones in there.  Emily has been hit with a crazy pitch before.

Emly had a tough time starting out in kid pitch, but after this weekend, she seems to have finally found her groove.  This picture is actually from last weekend.  Crush came in 2nd in their tournament.  They had another tournament yesterday and today, but as a whole did not do as well.  Emily did much better this weekend as she was able to get in some good hits.  Wish the whole team could have done better.  She sure loves this game!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Vacation to Lake Anna

We typically take our vacation at the beach each summer.  The beach is one of my favorite places as I have indicated in many posts on here over the years.  Our plan was to camp at the beach this year in our camper.  We decided that as much as we enjoy camping, it is difficult for us to find time to camp.  You must have several days available to camp, but finding something that we could take somewhere for the day would be something we could get more opportunities to use.  After much thinking and tossing around, we decided to get another boat.  We had a boat several years ago.  As much as we liked being on the water, that was not a good boat for us.  It was designed more for speed and would "beat you up" if the water was choppy or if there were lots of boats on the lake.

We wanted to get another boat, but not one like we had.  Pontoon boats were the way we wanted to go, but they are expensive.  We found an older model one and got a pretty good deal on it.  We took it with us to Lake Anna this past week after we sold our camper and cancelled our camping trip to the beach.

We took the boat out each day.  We were able to pull up at "beach areas" and spend some time swimming and touching.  We packed lunches one afternoon and even parked our boat at a pizza/ice cream place and got ice cream two different evenings.  These things were really fun and different!!

While I miss the beach, we had a REALLY great time!!  And, I have to admit, the setting sun is just as beautiful over the lake as it is over the ocean.  :)

When we first arrived, the boat was still hooked up and the kids were so excited that they sat on the boat waiting for us to put the boat in the water.  Loved that they wanted to ride so badly!
 Our boat parked while we are getting ice cream.  So fun!!  It is an older model one and a little bit ghetto, but it is ours and we love it!
 Packed our lunch and eating on our own private beach

 At the place we were staying, there was a swimming area with a dock.  We spent some time there too.
 Wish I had, had a camera better than my phone when this happened.  Ryan and Mike went out for a short ride and to jump into the water.  On their way out, a group of people flagged them down.  Their boat had run out of gas.  They asked for a tow back in and they happened to be staying at the same place we were staying.  Mike had to secure the boat because of the location of the cleats on our boat.  Therefore, Ryan had to drive the boat.  All three kids drove at some point, but this was pretty exciting for Ryan as he drove them back on his own.

Ryan "surfing."
We have a tradition in our family.  Well, a ritual more than a tradition at this point.  We spend Thursday evenings (or whatever evenings we can get the time) eating in front of the TV and watching Master Chef and Master Chef Junior.  Our favorite part is the mystery box challenge.  In honor of the mystery box challenge, we had a mystery bag challenge while at Lake Anna.  Each kid had a part of the that evenings dinner to make.  It turned out great!!  They had a blast!

Was a great week!!