Sunday, March 30, 2014

As for the Rest of Spring Break

Year after year I get to field the question, "Are you going anywhere during spring break?".  And my answer can always be "yes" - just not what they have in mind.  "Of course I'm going some place, I'm sure I'll hit Walmart (at least once), Target, maybe Safeway, and probably a gas station."  Oh, that's not what you meant?  Well, that's what I usually have in mind when it comes to spring break. 

We don't like crowds when vacationing, so we've never opted to do any major vacations during that time period.  Instead, we risk it, and pull the kids from school.  (Which is getting harder and harder to manage).  Now that the kids are involved in Camp Harlow, that's another major reason not to travel at this time.  

One thing that is an absolute, though, is getting together with Michele and spending our days off together.  She was thoughtful enough to spend Monday and Tuesday in Dallas with Michael, then an appointment with this gal brought her down Wednesday.  Christi is such a favorite for all of us - and Michele's hair looks beeee-uuuu-tiii-full after seeing her.  And, Michele was doubly lucky as she got to meet Elsie as well.  

On Thursday, we headed back up north together.  While the Outlets were the ultimate draw, the real necessity of the trip was to pick up Ellie, the sole child not at Harlow (one more year!) who had spent another night in Dallas due to a church ice skating trip.  It was fun to shower love on just her for a while. 

And, the joy of spring break means we get to justify eating a little less healthy.  Yes, I know the scales will reprimand me next week, but when it's vacation time, it just makes life a little more special to partake in some fun indulgences.

By the time we left, the sky looked like this.  Oooooh.  Blessedly though, those campers at Harlow were able to spend at least a portion of the day outside on every day except for Friday (on which day we actually broke records for rainfall). 

Here's Michele's Instagram Collage of the day.  Not pictured was the (alive!) deer we saw in the grasses along the freeway.  That bunny is actually a runaway Michele helped to rescue for some neighbors of ours.  =)

On Friday, we met up with Mom and Dad at Red Robin to celebrate Mom's birthday.  Don't they look great?!  It was nice to be able to catch up with them.

Friday night brought back our kids from Camp Harlow (so far, so good with all of Brayden's belongings also returning!), Michael coming down from Dallas, as well as a visit from the Whites.  It's been forever since Michele's seen Whitley so she was all about giving her a ton of attention - and in this case utilizing Baxter to help.  Whitley LOVES to give both Sydney and Bogey (her family's beagle) dog treats, so she was much more interested in just passing along the goody than seeing Baxter doing anything clever.   (By the way, the bottom right hand picture shows her signing "more" - while she was eagerly saying it - she was clearly loving the opportunity to feed him!)

The big outing on Saturday involved going to see "Divergent".  Michele, Nati, Mikayla, and myself had all read the book - Ellie and Brayden were just along for the ride.  =) 

Michele and I were pretty impressed with the movie.  There are some obvious plot deviations (especially at the end), and of course, some omissions -but, given the movie ran for 2 hours and 20 minutes, I felt like they did as well as they could.  Mikayla and Nati were less thrilled - this is one of their first experiences in reading a book before seeing it any movie format - and they are now recognizing that their imaginations are much more creative than any movie special effects can be.  =)

When you have house guests over, it can prompt a little more effort made on meals.  For Christmas, John got a "family present" of a "flip-over" waffle maker - like the ones we use all the time at the breakfasts offered at hotels.  We had yet to really use it (outside of a token effort with Bisquick mix), so when I found a recipe on the Pinterest feed featuring "Best Buttermilk Waffles", I thought it might be fun to give a try.  We made use of it all this weekend and it was definitely a recipe winner - none of that heavy, starchy taste like the box mixes give you and a wonderful crispy texture.  YUMMMMM! 

As for the rest of the weekend, the weather has made for a good time to stay inside, watch movies, and pour through books.  We've also been keeping tabs on the Oregon Softball Team which is ranked 2nd nationally.  Several weeks ago, while hanging out with Alesha at the Trinity House, a gal named Alexa came into the room and visited with Whitley, Alesha, and myself.  I've known of her through CCF - she's a senior and has been around at fall retreats, and I was pretty certain she was the one I remembered that played softball for the Ducks.  We kind of hit it off in easy conversation, and by the end, she offered complimentary tickets to home games whenever she has extra for our family to come watch.  We exchanged numbers, and have been enjoying text banter ever since, with plans to meet up soon. 

Well, as it turns out, Alexa's not just any ol' member of the softball team, she's kind of the "face" of it - as shown on the the huge sign on the ball bark pic below.  First team all-American, Pac 12 Player of the Week, record holder for RBI's, highest batting average in the league, etc., etc., etc.  Gosh, I wish I would have ran into this girl and started conversation earlier in her college days - as this is her last year as a senior....  Boo!  But, I'm definitely enjoying the friendship and cheering her on - and hope I'll have even more to say of our interaction in the future.  =)  (Let me just re-iterate that my interest in getting to know her more has nothing to do with her status on the team, in fact, I've purposely waited for her to initiate any desire to meet up.  From all I can tell, this gal is "the whole package"- way beyond just a talented athlete- with an extraordinary family, strong friendships, and a walk with God that comes first and foremost and is displayed as the source of all her success.)

It's always a good sign it's been a sweet vacation when you have absolutely no interest in it ending.  Sigh...  But, the summer is not all that far away and April and May's non-stop weekend plans will undoubtedly have time flying by!!

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