Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer is Flying by, and I Can't Keep Up!...But I managed to make it to Girl's CAMP!

We got back from the beach, and I went straight into Girl's Camp mode.  I was called as Assistant Camp Director this year--FINALLY!  I have been practically BEGGING everyone I know in the ward to go to Girl's Camp for years.  Apparently I finally found the right people to beg!  We had the sweetest camp director that I worked with--who was so much fun!  We had one last week to prepare, then left for camp on Monday of this week.

Girl's Camp was amazing.  It has been 20 years since I went to camp--can you believe it?  The last time I went to camp was the year I graduated, and me and my friend Misty went as YCL leaders for the third year.  I will never forget that last year--as I sent a missionary off the day before camp, and my parents drove me up while I was bawling in the back seat, wondering how I would ever live without him.  I spent the whole week in despair, wondering where he was, what he was doing, and how I would ever stop missing him.  Funny how things seem SO important when you are a teenager (who thinks she's in love).  A year later, I would have met Todd, be spending the summer dating him, and be engaged that fall.  Wow, how things can change in a year's time!  I knew it was right--and eventually he did too, but girls camp that year has always been a special memory, since my friends and family gathered around and helped me to smile, and be happy.  Girl's camp is a happy place, and has always held dear memories for me.  

This year, Abby and Emie were both at camp with me--I was Abby's cabin mom for her 1st year, and Emie went as a YCL for her first year.  Erin did the high adventure camp for 4th years--and WOW was it an adventure!  They hiked for 15 miles with frame backpacks on their first day--and slept out under the stars!  For someone who doesn't hike--or camp very often (she is my child, after all), she did great, even though I worried, and fretted, and murmured at times!  Isn't it amazing--how we think our children can't do hard things--and then they go and prove us wrong?  She hated it--but she did it, and she amazes me!  Great job Erin!
Our stake loaded up 4 buses with girls and their STUFF!  WOW! That doesn't even include all the leaders that drove up to prepare for them coming!  We have a HUGE stake with 10 wards--and over 200 girls!  It was amazing that they could organize it so well!
We had a cruise theme this year--and our country was the United Kingdom!  We had so much fun decorating, and making our cabin look awesome!
 I was in charge of the SKIT!  YIKES!  We ended up doing our own version of the One Direction Song, "That's what makes you beautiful"--replacing it with our own group, Right Direction--with "That's What Makes US Beautiful"!  It was really cute--the girls did such an amazing job!

 Sis. Erickson taught this ward time on "Looking Up to the Lord".  We tied all of our problems and frustrations we wanted to be free of, and prayed that the Lord would take them for us, like he has promised. What does it mean when my problems were the ones that got stuck in the TREE?  I guess the Lord doesn't want them either?  Haha!

 It was Abby's 12th Birthday at CAMP!  We pranked her with silly string--and the girls decorated her bed to welcome her to beehives!  So much fun!

Our ward:
Our Stake:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, ABBY!...

Abby celebrated her birthday at Girl's Camp, but Todd made sure that he didn't miss getting doughnuts for her birthday tradition!  He got up at 5 a.m., and went and got them.  I have the sweetest husband in the world!
We did NOT, however, wake everyone up at 5 a.m. to eat them with her!  That's just TOO early if you're not going to girl's camp!  Isn't she the cutest?

After we got home from Girl's Camp, and before we left for Lake Powell, I told Abby she could invite a few friends over for pizza and we could take them swimming over at her Grandma Allen's. We took them to Barro's Pizza--YUM!  And then we went to Grandma's super fun pool with a slide and diving board.  It was a total blast!  I'm so grateful that as she enters junior high she has a great group of girls that she is friends with.  I know I don't have to worry about her, because they are all such sweet, and respectful girls!  This does NOT mean that they are not loud, and giggly, though!  But I love them!  Here are some pics...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Oceanside 2012...

Okay, so I better update my last post, since our vacation is over, and I've had time to relax.  It ended up being an okay week at the Beach Club. It was just a weird week.  Since the management singled us out the first day--we were on guard all week, which is really no way to spend a vacation.  They even went so far as to tell us that we needed to have our kids all wear a wristband, so we put them all on.  The next day, we look at the kids coming out of other people's rooms, and wouldn't you know it?  No wristbands.  This was their way of singling out our family, getting a good count, and keeping tabs on them throughout the week.  Not cool.  We cut those things off pretty quickly. Then, we were sure to call the front desk and complain about every OTHER kid in the resort who was running, or making noise.  We even saw some on scooters--having FUN in the hallway!  That sort of thing is frowned upon.  Snarky? Yes.  Just a little annoyed still at the people for the rude treatment.  As you can tell, this is a small resort--only 20+ rooms, which is why they know us all, and were ready for us when we came.  Annoying. Who knows?  It might be our last year we are allowed to go there, which makes me really sad!  Anyone know of a good resort where we can get 7 or 8 rooms the same week?  A beach vacation without 25+ cousins would not be a vacation at all!!

Todd was not in great shape this vacation.  On the ride over, he even turned on the heater.  WHAT?  If you know my husband, you know he is SICK when he turns on the heater.  He had been sick for a few weeks prior, cough, chills, etc., but on Monday, he was DEATHLY ill.  He stayed in bed all day while we had fun at the beach--not joining us until dinner time--and then went back to bed until almost 11 a.m. the next day!  Poor guy.  Even when he was out on the beach, he wasn't feeling well enough to go out into the freezing water, so he only got in a few times when it was sunny.  Too bad, because this is his favorite vacation!  He is usually the first one in the ocean, and the last one out!  The weather was cloudy and a little cold most days, so I didn't get in much either--again--just a weird year!

The other rotten thing about the week was that I forgot my CAMERA!  Are you kidding me?  I seriously had charged it, and gotten a new zoom lens just for this vacation--then I left it sitting on my kitchen counter!  Ugh.  Katie was nice enough to let me use hers to get a few shots--so I will post more when I get them--these are just on my cell phone, so they aren't very good, but oh well.  Not much luck this week, like I said. 

All was not lost.  We still enjoyed the beach, and the waves.  The kids didn't know, or care about our problems, so they enjoyed every moment!  We had some yummy meals, both at the resort, and eating out.  The farmers market and sunset market were amazing and delicious as ever.  We found a new yogurt place, and it was AWESOME!  We even fit in time for a movie, MIB3--which Todd slept through since he was on drugs for his cold--but I loved!  The kids had a fabulous time with their cousins--and Abby was even able to bring her friend Marley with her (lifesaver--since all of the cousins Abby's age are boys--and even though she loves them, 11 year old boys and girls couldn't be much more different).  We loved having her there!  The older teenagers were able to go to the San Diego Temple with Grandma and Grandpa--they had a BLAST!  As always, Oceanside was a great place to be for a week, and when we hit Yuma on the way home--there is always that sigh when you step out of the car and realize you are back to the HOT desert. Oh my, it's going to be a LONG summer!

We love walking on the pier, looking at what the fishermen catch. This particular trip, there was a lady there trying to sell little dachsund puppies.  She let the kids hold them and they were ADORABLE!

 Todd dug an awesome tunnel--the kids loved crawling through it!
 FUN with Jack on the car ride home!  So funny!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Growing Pains...(Or...Our family keeps growing, and the Southern California Beach Club doesn't like it...)

Okay, so I always warn you when I go off on a rant--so've been warned.  Todd comes from a large family, with 9 children.  Since I've joined this family almost 19 years ago, we've loved going on vacations together.  Oceanside has always been one of those vacations.  Todd's parents bought a timeshare here, at Southern California Beach Club, more than 20 years ago.  They've been coming here as a family since then.  At first, they only owned a 1 bedroom unit--which they would cram with people--sometimes 10 or more, depending on who could come, during the week.  My first time at this resort, Todd and I slept out on the balcony, in sleeping bags, on an air mattress.  There were bodies from wall to wall--and you know what?  We had a blast!  It's a great little resort, right on the beach, and the management has always been so kind and accomodating, even though we had a large group of teenagers and newly marrieds.  Some years later, when we had 3 or 4 of the kids married, Todd's parents bought a second unit here, to accomodate our growing group.  We would bring our little kids, and share rooms, with 2 or 3 couples sharing rooms.  Fast forward now, 12 or more years.  Todd and I own a room, his sister Katie owns a room, his brother Greg owns a room, , Todd's parents own 3 more rooms within the resort--making a total of 6 timeshare properties in this one little resort.  It has been the highlight of my kids summer every year for MANY years, to come here to spend time on the beach and to have fun with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Until now.

You see, we have a problem.  We have all followed in Todd's parent's footsteps, and we all have large families.  Granted, none of us have 9 children--most of us have 5 or 6, but in the eyes of people around us--we are pretty much NUTS.  This year, the management decides to tell us that they are going to start enforcing occupancy rules at the resort.  Every resort has occupancy rules--we have stayed at many of them.  Not every resort enforces these rules.  In fact, since we have a large family, and we have stayed at several resorts around the country, (it's why I prefer timeshare resorts to hotel rooms--bigger rooms) I have yet to find one that enforces them.  But the management informed us this week that since Todd and I have 8 people in our room, we need to either buy a 2 bedroom unit--(which makes no sense, since the occupancy for the 2 bedroom is 6, one bedroom is 4), or another 1 bedroom unit at the resort.  When I asked if they were going to enforce this policy across the board, for every room, every week--the lady said YES.  But I don't think they are planning on doing that at all.  I think they are singling our family out because we all have too many kids, and we all are here the same week--which for some reason creates a problem for this manager.  Nevermind that we have been staying at this resort for 20 years, and no one has said ONE THING about occupancy rules, we were forced to get another room for the week--and put our teenagers in it, in order to keep management off our back.  Can I just tell you how disappointed I am that they have thrown such a fit about things this week? (And our week just started yesterday). Our family has spent a ton of $$ on timeshare property in this resort.  If we could just pack up and find another place, we would.  But we LOVE this property.  We have made memories here over the last 20 years that can't be replaced. Emie took her first steps here at this resort. We have our routines, we have our little traditions, and our family has so much fun here--and planned on another 20 years of fun.  It is so frustrating that management can't appreciate that?  I'm not saying that we are angels, and that our kids are perfect in every way--there are a lot of kids here this week.  But I can say this.  We don't smoke or drink, we don't stay up late, we don't have loud teenage parties, or loud music, our kids are rarely in the hotel, because we stay down at the beach every day from morning until late afternoon, and they are so exhausted, they usually fall into bed early as well. 

But here's the thing.  This society that we live in is becoming increasingly intolerant of large families and children. Grumpy old people call the front desk because they hear footsteps of a little child, who can't help but to run, he's so excited to get down to the beach, or the crying of an infant who has been at the beach too long, and is exhausted. (If I ever get to the point where I cringe at the sound of a joyful child--I need to be put in a home, heavens sake). My four year old, (who thinks he's Spiderman), sometimes JUMPS off the couch or the bed--which I'm sure makes a loud thump for the people below us, so they call to complain.  People have no tolerance for others around them.  Yes, I understand that you came here for a nice, relaxing vacation.  But can you also understand that we did too?  Can you understand that every child RUNS when they are excited.  And no matter how many times I tell them "QUIET FEET!", they just can't help themselves?  It's part of being a KID for crying out loud!  Should we just expect our children to act like little adults--lest we ruin YOUR vacation?  Do I really need to constantly be on edge about every sound my children make?  Or are YOU ruining MY vacation by being intolerant of a little noise and commotion that is perfectly acceptable during day hours at what is supposed to be a family resort? We truly do try to contain our children, and their excitement, but honestly, I'm tired of worrying about every peep that comes out of their mouth.  I don't complain about the cigarrette smoke that comes over into my balcony while I'm outside enjoying the beach--even though this is a non smoking resort.  I don't complain about the people in the room below us last year--15 Tongans, who were smoking weed and getting high at all hours of the night and early morning.  I don't complain about the guy in the room downstairs who yelled at my child for running, instead of talking politely to me, the parent, about it.  You know why?  Because I try to be a tolerant person. I am not perfect, and neither are my children, so I don't expect you to be perfect either.  I just want to have a nice vacation--and make memories with my family.  I'm just like you--only I have 6 crazy kids. So shoot me.

So I guess what I'm trying to say, is...if you're looking for a family friendly resort, where you can take your children to have a great time at the beach--that used to be the Southern California Beach Club, in Oceanside.  Now, I'm not so sure--which makes me really, really sad. Despite that--I'm going to stop ranting, stop worrying, and have a nice vacation--and if management, and the people around us don't like it--oh well.  I came here to have FUN--and that's what we're going to do!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Father's Day DAD!

We decided that since it is tradition to drive home from California every year on Father's Day, we would start celebrating it the Sunday we LEAVE, instead of the Sunday we come home!  After church, we cooked him a nice breakfast, and had his gifts all ready!  He loved it, and we all left for California with a nice full tummy!  We are so grateful for Todd, and for the fabulous husband and father he is.  I love him with all my heart, and I thank God every day for his example and his influence on my children. I know how rare it is to find a husband that is like mine.  He loves his family, and he loves his job, and he is committed to me and my needs.  Most of all, he loves the Gospel, and he loves Heavenly Father.  He honors his Priesthood, and is worthy to exercise it in our home.  I am so grateful for you, Todd!  We love you so much!  Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy Summer!

"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all is right in the world."  Ada Louise Huxtable

I found this quote the other day, and I just love it!  It describes all that I love about summer.  I love that in the summertime, I feel free.  Free from homework, responsibilites, and obligations.  Free from carpools, deadlines, and stress.  Unless you count a dirty house as stressful--then I am not free of stress.  Lucky for me, I'm not that hopeful that the house will stay clean.  It seems if you set your expectations low, you will be easily impressed!  Boy, I wish I would have realized that 15 years ago--along with so many other things.  Sometimes I wish that my 38 year old self could sit down with that 23 year old self, and have a conversation about life, and parenting.  I could really have used some wisdom back then--and some assurance that things would work out just fine, whether I worried to death over them or not.  I'm so glad for perspective.  It is such a blessing.

The other thing I love about summer is that my lazy self can stay up late, and sleep in late, and all is right with the world.  During school, I stay up late anyway, and have to drag my butt out of bed in the morning, and boy do I hate it.  I know, I'm not supposed to admit that, but you might as well know it.  I love sleeping in--sometimes until 10!  When the boys get up at 6 or 7, I get woken up a few times to fix a bagel, or stop a fight, but I love that I can just go get back in my cozy bed, and there is no where to be.  It's my favorite thing in the world.  Yes, I'm sleeping life away--which makes early risers (like my husband), crazy--but it is me.  Some people want to sleep when their dead--I want to get plenty of rest while I'm ALIVE!  Ha!
We are heading to our favorite place in a few days.  Oceanside.  I can't tell you how much we look forward to this trip each and every year.  We have been going to the same resort for over 20 years now, since Todd and I have been married.  Emie took her first steps there 15 years ago, and it is just a part of who we are.  We are antsy this week, knowing it's coming.  And we will be sad at the end of next week, because it will have been over too quickly.  Hopefully I'll have some time to get some blogging done, and catch up on my blog book (which is going so stinkin' slow this year).  But if I don't--oh well. I will have time to relax, and sit on the beach, and worry about--NOTHING.  I have a whole summer to get things done!

Happy summer!
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