Ah, Sunriver. The place where I can carefully make my transition from Christmas and holiday euphoria to the realization that a new year has arrived - and along with it, lots of changes needed to be made. But, while we're here, those are still abstract thoughts, not to be dwelt too much upon. Instead, this is the time to dwell in all those things that embody the idea of a holiday vacation - particularly time spent with family (biological and "adopted") and R & R.
THIS YEAR SUNRIVER INCLUDED:
FOOD, BAKING, AND EATING:
(Even the wildlife appreciated this - as this morning, at 4am, Travis had to literally use a broom to try to deter aggressive raccoons from gorging themselves. They favored the Chocolate Krinkles - fortunately the rest was salvaged. The whole story made for great entertainment this morning!)
(Of the video game variety, board game variety, and air hockey variety)
(We were pleased to find a new hot tub installed this year - with lots of cool features. However, we're not happy with how it held up with our family using it - lots of foam overload. It's a salt water tub, so there was only so much we could do to try to fix the issue. I promise...we were clean upon entering!)
SUNRISES VIEWED FROM THE HOT TUB:
(Every morning I saw the sun rise, with my Kindle, Russian Tea, and baked treats by my side - and sooner or later - Michele as well)
TIME AT SAGE SPRINGS SPA:
(This was one of my favorite years - a perfectly chosen book to read in the Coyote Tub, the perfect picnic lunch for the Serenity Room, and an excellent Pumpkin Spice Hot Stone Massage - one of the best I've had in Sunriver).
(this year, we abandoned the real tree and went with a Charlie Brown version purchased from JoAnn Fabrics - I thought I'd miss the real one more, but we're all pretty content, given the lack of real tree gives us more time in not having to decorate it - and takes up a lot less space!)
(Including a whole lot of play and cuddle time with Whitley - she's been absolutely DELIGHTFUL... and giving us lots and lots of joy as she snuggles in our lap eager to hijack whatever technology piece we have (computer, smart phone, or Kindle) to watch a Baby Einstein video =) )
FOOTBALL VIEWING, MOVIE VIEWING, AND A WHOLE LOT OF READING:
(A shout out to the Ducks who just defeated Texas in the Alamo Bowl 30-7. The Pac 12, so far, has represented well in their bowl games)
BOWLING AND SWIMMING AT THE SUNRIVER INDOOR POOL:
(our gratitude to Michael who took them to the pool....twice)
& CELEBRATING MIKAYLA'S12th BIRTHDAY.
WHAT SUNRIVER DID NOT INCLUDE THIS YEAR WAS:
(at least not much of it - and no precipitation. Mikayla's expression spoke for all of us as she opened the group gift of a "Snowman Kit" knowing it wouldn't be used this year).
AN INCAPACITATING HEADACHE OR FAMILY MEMBERS FIGHTING ILLNESS:
(No picture needed, but this is a huge praise - last year was very bad in both capacities.)
(Belly aches from overeating not included!)
THE ENTIRE TRIP SPENT WITH JOHN:
(He arrived by 8pm on Friday and left at 7am on Monday - so we definitely got some quality time, for which we are thankful. We did what we could to make the best of the situation.)
As Mikayla gets older and older (and likewise with Nati and Ellie), they openly demonstrate more and more of the feelings Michele and I have struggled with over the years in terms of disappointment over the "highs" being over, or expectations not being met. What we've told them, and have to remind ourselves of, is:
1.) These feelings are huge expressions of just how blessed our lives really are to be able to have so many "positives" - to not only experience along the way, or compare to when we feel a bit let down.
2.) Any situations that didn't go completely as hoped for are just situations that can be learned from and improved upon the next time around.
3.) Just because it didn't turn out "perfect" does not mean all is lost - some of the most poignant memories are not formed from life rolling down the smooth and straight tracks. It's a good thing to learn to bounce back from the obstacles or endure the rough patches, and still maintain a positive view of life.
4.) Anticipation is becoming a much more enticing thing for them too - and now they have a lot longer to look forward to and anticipate the fun of next year! (Mikayla was in tears on the night of the 23rd saying, "It's all gone too fast" - with Ellie saying almost the same thing about our time here in Sunriver tonight).
5.) And, finally - and most importantly, any shortcoming of what we expect to have go "perfect" is just another reminder of how much we need the Lord to lean upon, trust in, and guide us through this life that will never, ever fully satisfy.
This truly has been a wonderful year in Sunriver - perhaps one of the best in terms of family harmony. (Six adults and six kids in one house for 5 days can sometimes stir things up ;) ). But, I gotta admit, I'm already looking forward to what Sunriver 2014 will bring! =)