Visiting our Kids at Camp Sandy Cove

Remember going to camp when you were younger? Warm days spent learning fun things, getting dirty, singing silly ditties and playing pranks. Good times, indeed. Zeb, Hudi, Bri and Mollie still get to experience this annually as they work at Camp Sandy Cove in West Virginia (Mollie grew up attending the camp, which is super-fun). In my opinion, their camp is even cooler than most. Not only do you get to do the normal cabin/hiking/swimming sort of activity, but you also get to learn to shoot rifles, cook outdoors, do some high-flying on a trapeze, mountainboard and skateboard (among other activities).

The kids have been asking us to visit for a few years, and we really wanted to go, but it just didn’t fit in our schedules. We had planned to finally get there on the way back from Utah, but that all fell apart. Then we discovered an unexpected window of opportunity.

On July 3, the kids asked if we were coming the next day. Since we were moving a load of beds from our old house to our new house, and we had plans with friends on July 4 (plans we made last February) I told them we wouldn’t make it. Then the load moved super well, and our friends had to cancel. We realized we could make it. At midnight the kids confirmed it would still work for them, and by 5 am, we were on the road in our reliable new-to-us car.

Wahoo! Since we left at 5 am, and I worked on the road, I was able to put in a full work day by the time we reached the camp so I could immerse myself in enjoying time with the kiddos. We got there right in time for lunch. Sons and dad caught up (it was Hudi’s day off, and he was tired. I didn’t notice he was yawning in the image below until much later, and I didn’t get any other shots with just the three, so this will have to do. It’s real, anyway). We also got to officially meet Oliver, Bri’s hedgehog.

My guys (minus CJ). It was Hudi's day off, and he was tired.

My guys (minus CJ). It was Hudi’s day off, and he was tired.

After lunch, Zeb had some time before his next session so he did some skateboarding with Chris.

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I somehow didn’t get images of Zeb’s rifle-ry session that he taught, although it was fun to watch. After that, we attended Bri’s outdoor living session and made waffle smores and learned to tie different knots.

Mollie, Hudi, Chris and I went into town and perused through a few shops that were open on the holiday while Zeb and Bri finished their sessions for the day. We met up for dinner, and the campers put Zeb on the spot to serenade us all. This was a highlight of my day. They started off with a verse of “Sing us a song, Chief Zeb,” which I did not get on film because it was unexpected. Apparently when this happens, if the person called on does not sing the song, they pay a forfeit. Later Zeb said that he was thinking of not singing until they started in with “for your Mother, Chief Zeb, for your mother.” He said at that point he knew he had to do it. What a guy 🙂

Bri still had activities to cover after dinner so we hung out a bit as we waited for her. Zeb had designed this mountain board course, creating elements out of beds that were getting thrown away. He is so creative with scrap. Just like his dad. Some little children helped with the painting to make it look good. This was Chris’ first time on a mountain board, and he is now addicted.

Finally we were all together, and we decided it was too late for a movie. Instead we went out for ice cream, stopping for gas. As I wrote in a previous post, the kids had persuaded us that the Honda Fit was a great car. This is the first official pic of the Blueberry (as we call Bri’s car) next to our Blackberry.

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Sadly, due to the holiday, our ice cream place was closed, but that did not deter us. We each grabbed some treats from the gas station and had an impromptu night-time picnic that lasted until past midnight. So much fun being with those kiddos. It really cracked me up when they mimicked the person in the ad behind them as I took their pic. And guess what? I found Ring Dings! (which are sadly no longer available in our local store).

We spent the night at the camp instead of the hotel we planned on staying in because it was offered to us, and that allowed us to spend more time with the kids. Before we left, we got to see Hudi in action, doing his job.

Hudi in his element - the kitchen

Hudi in his element – the kitchen

That impromptu visit was a treat that is already a highlight of my summer. Love those young men and women!

Here’s a summary of the day thanks to Google Photos:

Complete and Utter Chaos

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I think the game Chaos is sadistic. But some of my family members love it so I play. It’s probably good for me, helping me work on my memory.

Have you ever heard of it? Chaos is a board game from 1970.

It’s basically checkers. With up to four people. With identical pieces, and you have to figure out (in theory–keep track of) which pieces are yours.

Players are assigned a color, but the color is hidden on the underside of a piece. You can’t flip the piece until it’s in the home zone across the board from where you started. If you move someone else’s piece, they can call you on it, and you lose a turn. Oh, and you can’t move your pieces past the halfway point of the board until all the pieces are out of your home zone.

While I somewhat dread playing the game since I’m incredibly bad at it, I do have to admit then on the rare occasion when I do win (or even come in as a close second) I feel incredibly smart for a few minutes. It’s quite gratifying.

Last night I was doing all right. I came in last place on our first game, but was respectably close to everyone else. On the second game I lost first place by one move, so I was feeling pretty awesome. As an evening topper, I knew where all my pieces were on our third and final game. Or so I thought. I hit the home zone and discovered that it was someone else’s piece and mine was aaaaaaalllllllll the way across the board.

Extreme sadness.

But that’s the thing. Everyone gets a chance to shine. Systems win and fail. Jumps soar you across the board in one shot, or you can get gridlocked.

No matter what, it’s always utter Chaos.

While I would still prefer playing a word game, I have to admit that the evening was enjoyable. I found a video on how it’s played:

Sun, Sons and Snowboarding

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After Friday night’s snow who would guess that we would be sipping coffee on the deck Saturday morning? Even better, we were sunbathing by the afternoon. It was over 50 degrees. We slept in, yakked, read, took naps and basically took the day off as a quasi spa day. Pure luxury.

In the evening we headed over to Zeb’s to check out his new home.

Zeb is in a pretty fun living situation now. He’s with CJ’s pre-marriage housemates who also happen to be delightful young men from the area where our boys grew up. Aaron and Thomas and Zeb made some delicious coffee (can you tell we are big on coffee?) and yakked with us until Robert and Anthony came home. Then we chatted a bit more and started playing a game called QuipLash. Anyone with Internet could join our game if they had to code, and the guys decided to call Hudi (back in NY) to join the fun. That made me really happy — knowing my boys wanted to hang out together, even long distance.

After a really enjoyable evening we headed home to get a good night’s sleep. The next day was busy. We went to Lauren and CJ’s church (a church with a view!) then grabbed some pizza and headed off to Solitude for some slope time. It was interesting since we were on borrowed/new-to-us equipment, but we adapted pretty well and had a fantastic time. The road getting there was winding and kinda crazy. There were definitely rocks in the road on the way down that weren’t there on the way up. And it was wild how we had snow, but half an hour away, there wasn’t any.

As the day wound down, we settled in with some nice drinks and tv time.

Monday was our last day there 😦 And we were far from ready to go. But the good news is that we plan to travel back next summer. Sadly, CJ’s car had been backed in to over the weekend so Chris and CJ spent most of Monday finding repair shops to get quotes. Lauren and I worked on websites, read and yakked.

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She made me one final drink (a mint hot chocolate thing this time with white mocha or something. Yum!) then we headed to a burger place they enjoy as we headed back to the airport. Our flight left at 11:59pm, and Chris’ birthday was the next day – beginning one minute into our flight 🙂 The screenshot of the plane is when were were pretty close to flying over their home on our way back to NY.

That trip was fortunately uneventful, and we were home in plenty of time to unpack, plow out the driveway, clean the house and have a birthday celebration thanks to Mom Pollock.

I took the next few days as AFK so we had time to rest up and get our life back in order. And here we are. Back in the flow of our reality, and loving it. With a ton of new fantastic events stashed into our happy memory arsenal for times when we miss our kids and want to look back on times together.

 

Love to All – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

This holiday season has given me a mind shift and mental reboot, which I hope will lead to my being a better contributor to the human race. After a wonderful day of snowboarding with my family (yesterday), I now sit here and write in front of a lit tree, with a fire on the TV in front of me (I pretend it’s real), “For Unto Us a Child is Born” from the Messiah on my Pandora, our dog, Star, at my feet and a son by my side. Dinner is in the crock pot, smelling fabulous, and church is in two hrs. Pure Bliss.

Our world has shifted radically this year, and I’m starting to come to terms with it, I think. There are steps I’m making to implement changes that reflect the shift. I’m sure I’ll be sharing some of those with you over the next few weeks. For now, though, I’d like to leave you with the warmest of thoughts and two of my all-time favorite holiday songs. From Pentatonix and Straight No Chaser:

May you all be blessed in this upcoming year.

Feelin’ the Love at CJ and Lauren’s Wedding

It's official. Chris and I have a daughter.

It’s official. Chris and I have a daughter.

It’s been a pretty busy week, and it was magical. We now officially have a daughter (in law), and she is amazing! If you like watching weddings, you can see the Facebook Live recording from the event by clicking this wedding video link. Please ignore the less-than-professional filming. Things were a bit confusing. I have pics from the weekend at the end of this post. For those of you who want to be/are part of this exciting time with us, as promised, here is a summary. Enjoy 🙂

Ten Things I Learned From our Wedding Weekend Experience:

  1. When doing Facebook Live from the groom’s Facebook account, make sure the device you plan to set up early so you can start the recording is not in his pocket when he is off doing pre-wedding pictures 🙂
  2. Keep undershirts on hand for the guys. Even the non-sweaters might sweat in this sort of situation.
  3. Have more than one person write out name tags for table placement so you don’t get stuck having one person writing everything out for consistency’s sake.
  4. Keep as many vehicles on hand as possible for the bridal party/family/friends. Great for last-minute errands and carpooling to events.
  5. Make sure you have extra cash on hand for things like extra waters. That way others can help you run errands, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting who has your credit card.
  6. Find out about allergies in advance and plan food accordingly (that’s obvious for actual eating, but I had never thought of allergies that actually kept people out of rooms we were hanging out in).
  7. Have a backup suit for the groomsmen and dress for the bridesmaids in case of disasters.
  8. Practice curling hair on a day that is NOT the day of the wedding.
  9. If you are going to rent a conference room in the hotel for your guests, find out when quiet hours are (and get ready to placate managers with coffee the next morning).
  10. Request rehearsal luncheon deliveries for an hour ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about late deliveries.

As those of you who have been following my blog know, Lauren went to college in the town in which we lived, which gave us the really unique gift of getting to know her as she turned from young college student to a business-woman who is taking on the world. We witnessed our son becoming more and more attached to this friend he brought to the house to hang out with, and saw him put his own life on delay a bit so they could spend more time together.

She knew of his passion for snowboarding and the west so she learned to ski and got a job near him in Utah. From Utah, the two worked to plan this wedding where we all got to celebrate their love for each other.

Last Monday we drove to our old house to get our haircuts and to vote the next day. On Tuesday, Chris and I drove the 90 minutes to Rochester to pick up the suits from the rental place and to drop a car off with the kids. We made a date of it, hitting my favorite Indian cuisine restaurant and watching Finding Dory at a $3 theater. As a bonus we discovered it was half price night so our tickets were only $1.50 each. Score! Funny thing was that CJ was up in the air watching the same flick 🙂 Gotta love those family bonding moments. Lol

Chris and I sat in the cell lot waiting for the plane to come in. Chris wondered which direction they would approach from as a plane came in on what seemed to be about 100 feet over our heads. I saw the Delta tail and commented that it might be their flight right there. Two minutes later we got the text that they were on the tarmac 🙂 And so began an amazing week with the young adults.

We talked, laughed, baked and decorated as we planned for CJ and Lauren’s wedding. I have pics from the weekend below. And my aunt did some nice writeups on:

Gathering for a Wedding
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A Tractor Greeting
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Wedding of Lauren and CJ

On Friday night we gathered in Rochester to watch Here, There and Everywhere — kicking off the ski/snowboard season in style. 19 family members and friends from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, western NY, northern NY, Texas and Utah all gathered into two rows to enjoy the night together. Such fun! The next day we had a great rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower and family gathering before we congregated on Sunday for the main event.

As the guests poured in, we were humbled by the dedication they showed. Many traveled 2-4 hrs each way — just for the day! All went well, and the reception went great. Hudi had a fun toast for his brother and his bride. 🙂

Then we were off to a final after party. On Monday everyone scattered then on Tuesday they were back on a plane for Utah. A true, amazing whirlwind. Better pics will be coming once the professional images are in. If you click on the pics, the descriptions will show. Here’s what I have for now: