Thursday, October 29, 2009

BVI -- Third Time's a Charm!

Rick and I have been blessed to go to the British Virgin Islands not once (which would have been great), not twice (which would have been even better), but THREE TIMES in the past four years! We LOVE BVI and have made some terrific memories by visiting that island country in the Caribbean. Our friends, Trevor and Shelli Larson, invited us to go this year. Since Rick has his sailing credentials for chartering a sailboat, he was asked to go along and captain the boat. We gladly accepted!

This trip brought with it new friends, new adventures, new places, and new memories. We were happy to not only spend time with Trevor and Shelli, but to also get to know better the Heidens and the Despains.

Here are some highlights from the trip. (Between Rick and me, we took almost 900 pictures!)

Naturally, we have to have the picture in the plane. This is anticipation and excitement.

This is getting on the airplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico headed to Tortola, BVI. I wasn't allowed to take this picture, but I did anyway. The sky is blue, the weather is already warm, and and Rick has changed into his shorts ready for a week of warm weather!Grocery shopping was an experience. The stores are very similar to ours, but the prices are more than twice what we pay and a much smaller variety. For a week's worth of groceries for eight people, we spent close to $1,000 -- and that didn't include all the nights we ate out at restaurants.Captain Rick is starting to move the boat out of the marina. He has to work both engines independently to make the boat turn on a dime.Rick brought components to make a homemade Hawaiian sling in order to spear lobster, fish, or whatever. We bought a mop handle in the market and wah-la! A spear.Rick speared this red snapper (he was searching for lobster). That night, we had barbequed chicken, red snapper, and two large lobster that we acquired from a local fisherman out in the middle of the ocean. A BVI FEAST!!!Rick was never limited to diving with only daylight. He went out several times at night. That made me nervous.We loved diving in the warm, warm waters of BVI. Even 75 feet down, the water was still a warm 85 degrees!
The colors on some of the reefs were incredibly bright!

Rick and me
We were waiting on Peter Island for the restaurant to open so we hung out in the hammocks on the beach.
Spring Bay on Virgin Gorda. This is the bay right next to the Baths where we anchored for a night. We played on the beach the day before.
Here we are all hanging out in The Baths after jumping off the rocks.

This is the fresh water pool at the Top of the Baths where we had lunch.
The view from the Top of the Baths.
Rick diving off a rock at The Baths.
In the cave at The Baths.
This was our game of jumping off the front of the boat while we are sailing, then catch the rope under the boat and drag. When you get tired, you let go and grab a rope that's trailing at the back of the boat and pull yourself in -- of course, only to repeat the process.
No need to adjust your monitor -- Rick and I ARE DANCING!!!
Once again, BVI was an incredible trip and we had an awesome time!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Is it me, or is blogging becoming a thing of the past -- being replaced by Facebook? I just looked over the past 3 months of blogs I started but haven't posted and there are NINE incomplete and unpublished posts for me! And unfortunately, once you get behind, it's hard to catch up! I think this summer has been so crazy with activities and work that blogging was just on the bottom of my priority list. I'm still 3 1/2 years behind on scrapbooking and getting further behind every day! Thank you, friends, who are still keeping up on your blogs! I do read yours, I just don't post mine. I will try to work backwards and catch up a little. :-)

My 29th Birthday!

(Okay, it is really my 44th birthday -- but don't tell!) For my birthday this year, Rick took me to Central Oregon for a weekend of fun and relaxation. We camped at Paulina Lake outside of Bend, then drove to our destinations from there. The area was SWARMING with mosquitos to the point that it was completely miserable, but when we drove into the resort community of SunRiver where the trailhead is for our first bike ride, we discovered what an incredible little place this is and we completely fell in love with it! The first thing we noticed was that the community sprayed for mosquitos!! We were mosquito-free!

Our plan was to mostly mountain bike -- which we did on the first day -- riding 24 miles round trip up and back along the Deschutes River. I only fell a couple of times and only skinned one knee! Whoo hoo! Once we rode out of the protection of SunRiver, we immediately noticed the appearance of mosquitos everywhere. We couldn't stop for fear of being eaten alive, so we rode for three straight hours without any rest. Later that afternoon, we relaxed at one of the two swimming pools back in SunRiver until we were hungry enough to drive into Bend for dinner (Johnny Carino's -- yum). Then we drove back to our campsite for a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, at the restaurant, we discovered that Rick had lost his camera somewhere in SunRiver and all of our pictures were lost with it. We still haven't found it, but are hoping that it will be turned in to the SunRiver police!

The next day, we slept in then took a lazy float down the Deschutes River, stopping at a couple of rope swings along the way. We ate lunch at a park, then drove to Bend to catch a movie. We had some time to kill before the movie so we walked along the river in Bend and got a bite to eat. While in the movie, a huge storm moved in and the power went out in the movie theater -- twice. We could hear the thunder rumbling around outside. The winds were also blowing and howling, but by the time we got back to our tent, the rain, wind, lightning, and thunder had all stopped!

We packed up early Sunday morning and drove home. The funniest part of the story is that when we got home, we noticed a bat hit my bike that was strapped to the top of my car. I must have hit him the night before and he rode there all day. This is the only picture of our trip I have:

When we got home, the kids had made this nice birthday cake for me! :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Backpacking, Painting, Silverwood, and a Headache

Rick and Chase were gone this week backpacking with the Scouts... I promised the girls we would do something fun. We started the week by painting the girls' room (going from pastel yellow and lavender to red, cream, and black)... Before... Yummy!
[after pictures to come if the girls ever get their room clean]

...then finished the week with a terrific day at Silverwood. The girls didn't want an odd number, so they did rock, paper, scissors to see who got to invite a friend -- Tara won and invited her friend, Jessica. We had a great day with great weather, and except for a headache that I got from going on Aftershock one too many times, the day was PERFECT!!
Tremors -- what a photo op!Aftershock -- yes it was!!!Yep, this is the headache happening. Whitney was kind enough to capture the moment in pictures. Thanks, Whitney! Lunch! Nutritious AND delicious!!! Mmmmmm After lunch we went to the water park, but didn't bring our cameras in so the only evidence is that our hair is now fuzzy from being air-dried. (That's why mine is pulled back.)
The end of a PERFECT day!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Would You Do For This?

What would you do for this brand new, black, nickel plated, Pro Alto Cannonball saxophone, valued at $3,075?
Would you work hard for over a month to raise all your grades; would you sit on a hard floor for an undetermined amount of time with your hands on an instrument case and not be able to lift your fingers even the smallest iota; would you wait every six hours before you could take a bathroom break and only eat and drink when someone fed you; would you stay awake even when your body screamed SLEEP and your head kept nodding off; would you continue to stay in this position for 21 hours??? Chase did!
Chase was the winner of Ted Brown Music's "Hands-On Instrument Contest". After sitting with his hands on an instrument case for 21 hours (from 6:30 p.m. Friday night to 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon) he beat out 27 other students in the Tri-Cities in order to be the grand prize winner. He kept his concentration, stayed awake, paced his eating and drinking, and was a very good sport watching kids drop out of the competition one-by-one. Chase and a 7th grade girl were the last two contestants for about the last two hours and were both rock solid. The girl made one slip and raised a thumb to make Chase the winner. As a family, we all took turns being Chase's support crew, staying with him to help him stay awake and feed him when he needed it. Tara took the toughest shift (from midnight to 4:30 a.m.). Aaron and Kendall even called a couple of times to check in and encourage Chase. Chase was extremely happy that his determination and persistence totally paid off and he loves his new saxophone! My only question is this: If he can sit THAT still and under control for 21 hours, why can't he sit still for one hour of church?
This is Chase at the beginning of the competition. Notice the bright eyes and happy smile:
This is Chase at the end of his 20th hour. He was losing the comfort of his pillow and blanket right after I took this picture. Notice the droopy eyelids and bloodshot eyes:
At the end of the 21st hour, the two kids left in the competition were losing their support crews and would be on their own to endure every itch and not be able to scratch, not be able to eat because no one was there to feed them, and have no one to talk to or wake them up if they started to nod off. I fed Chase, put his water right next to him with a very long straw, and gave him a dose of a 5 hour energy drink. Right at the end of the 21 hours was when Chase's competition slipped up and raised her thumb. It was heartbreaking to see her lose after lasting for 21 hours, but we were very proud of Chase for sticking this out and working hard to accomplish his goal. He looks much happier now:

The local news came and did a story before the competition started. Here is their news report:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chase's Jazz Band Concert Solo

California Pup Tents

Rick is a funny guy -- for those of you who know him well, I don't need to make any explanations, but if you don't know Rick very well, he likes to do "different" things -- sometimes to get a reaction, sometimes because he needs a good laugh, and sometimes just because he can. Today was one of those "different" times and I think his reason might have been all three. He approached me at lunchtime and said, "I just made California Pup Tents" for lunch. Then he showed me this:
Do you know why I call them "California Pup Tents"? Because they are hot dogs [pups] with tents over them, and when I microwave them, they melt just like the people in the California wild fires. Like this:

I laughed so hard. It was hilarious!