Changing Decades

Birthdays are always fun, but I think perhaps milestone birthdays are the best. After all the youth milestones, it is the decade changes that get our attention. As many of you may already know, Rob is having just such a birthday this year. Come August, he will be saying hello to the big 5-0.

The puzzle board

I usually try to make the milestone birthdays stand out just a little bit from the rest. Whether the gifts are a little more special, or we go somewhere new, or the cake is just a little bit bigger, making them different is always the plan. This year I felt like we needed to do something really special for Rob since he is a full half century old!

He’s figuring it out!

I went through many ideas in my head and the one I had originally decided on was quickly becoming unrealistic. As soon as I realized that, another idea popped into my head. Rob’s best friend lives up in Alaska, and they have not seen each other since our wedding almost 17 years ago. That is a long time! When Rob and his buddy both lived up in Alaska, they spent a lot of time fishing together. So I thought it would be fun to send Rob to Alaska for a week to hang out with his best friend. I contacted his friend to arrange the best dates for salmon fishing and made sure he was on board. He was, of course, and has it all planned out that they will spend the week at his cabin. Should be a fun man week!

Impatient kids looking on…

Once I purchased the tickets, I had to decide how to give them to Rob. That was actually the hardest part! The kids had introduced Rob to a game where you have to unscramble letters to make words that match pictures. I now find him playing it almost every night. Catheryn thought it would be fun to make a word board just like in the game. That was a great idea, so she and I spent the morning putting together a word puzzle.

Almost finished!

Since Rob will be going to Alaska in July (better salmon fishing apparently…) we decided to give him his gift now so that he has time to get the time off from work as well as plan for the actual trip. The kids and I were excited to give him his gift, so we decided to do it over his lunch break. Unfortunately we picked a day when he was very busy, so he did not really have the luxury of taking his time. I realize now that we should have just waited until after work, but it is a little too late for that now.

Prize time!

He was pretty quick at solving the word puzzles, and I think he was a little surprised at the ‘prize’ at the end. Normally you get tokens for finishing a level, not plane tickets. I am so excited for Rob to be able to go back to Alaska, I just wish I could have managed a little more. After all, it is not every year you turn 50!

He liked the comic I put with his tickets. ūüôā

(I apologize for the terrible pics!)

Fish On!

April 1st marked the first day of the new fishing season! To celebrate, we ventured over to Fenton Lake to wet some lines. It had been a while since we had been fishing, so everyone was very excited. It was a beautiful day to be outside. A little breezy, but the sun felt great.DSCN0415

Apparently everyone else had the same idea because the lake was really crowded! It is not a very big lake, but apparently it is a popular spot. People were catching fish all over the place!

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Despite our best efforts, Nathan was the only one lucky enough to catch a fish!

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But Liam did catch a crawdad, so I suppose that counts as a catch, too!

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We have fishing licenses, a box full of gear, and a car full of people who love throwing lines in the water, so I think this will be a summer full of fishing for us! Next time we will have to remember to take cinnamon bears, because it is scientifically proven that a person with a cinnamon bear in their mouth is almost guaranteed to catch a fish. Rob and I have tested this theory many times, and it has rarely let us down. ūüôā

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Catching Up

I had forgotten just how hectic this time of year is for us. It is great being back in Kentucky and we enjoy being back to work at Amazon, but between work and school and trying to get a little sleep from time to time, there is not a whole lot of time for anything else.

Things are in full swing, though. Rob is on his last work-hardening week and then he is on full 10-hour shifts, as I have been for the last couple of weeks. We are both picking, meaning we are getting a lot of exercise walking around the huge facility every night, picking items people have purchased. Last year we both left here a few pounds lighter, so we will have to see how that goes this year.

Back on the 13th of October, I ran my first official half-marathon in Midway, Kentucky. It was such a wonderful experience running the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country. Horses were running the fence lines with us and were just amazing to watch. After not running more than twice since my marathon three weeks prior, I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I was able to run the whole way and finished in 2:18:55. I even met Jeff Galloway! I followed his training plans for my marathon and it was neat being able to meet the person who made it possible.

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We have¬†gone fishing a couple of times. It is nice to be able to relax a little bit while the kids explore. The fish in the area are new to Rob, so he is still learning how to catch them. He can catch trout like a master, but the bass and catfish and crappie are a little different. He did¬†catch his first Kentucky¬†fish, but it was so small that he wasn’t too excited about a picture with it. Notice his “Please just take the darned picture so I can throw the darned fish back in the darned lake,” look. It still surprises me that he keeps me around…

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I have already made reservations at an RV park down in Florida, so at least we know where we are going from here.¬†Now we must make it through Peak season at Amazon while keeping up on the kids’ schooling. But today is already the 23rd, so we only have two more months here, and if it is anything like last year, it will fly by.

 

Remarkable

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of
trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which
is infinite, which is yes.  ~e.e. cummings

DSC_0349 leafy kids

Today¬†marks the end of our week here¬†at King’s Mountain State Park.¬†None of us were ready to leave.¬†We weren’t ready to rejoin civilization. Or to wash the smell of the campfire out of our clothes.¬†We hadn’t even had a chance to see and do all there was to see and¬†do. There were trails¬†we had yet to¬†hike, water we had yet to fish, sunrises we had¬†yet to witness.

How could we possibly leave now?

We couldn’t. So¬†we didn’t. We decided to stay for another week, because¬†sometimes you have to hold on to a good thing. A great thing.

The kids are absolutely loving life. They are¬†running and playing and throwing leaves and riding their¬†bikes and chasing squirrels and simply being… kids.¬†And they are sleeping like the dead at night. I am loving the fact that I can simply let them be. Oh sure, I keep my eyes on them and make sure they are being safe and staying close to home, but I don’t have to follow them around anymore. I don’t have to worry about what they¬†put in their mouthes or up their noses.

And their new-found freedom has brought me a little as well.

I find that I have a little more time to read, to write, to run. To breathe. I feel as though my batteries are finally beginning to recharge. There is not a doubt in my mind that we are exactly where we need to be right now.

Rob is finally ready to hit the water. We picked him up a fishing license this afternoon and realized a few seconds too late that we were in North Carolina when we bought it, not South Carolina. So tomorrow morning, as he slips out into the darkness in search of solitude, he will have to go a few miles further down the road than planned. He won’t mind, though, just so long as he is able to get a line wet. Bringing home a catfish or two would be an added bonus. Whether they are from North Carolina or South Carolina won’t make¬†a bit of difference.

So when the kids and I wake in the morning, the birds will be singing, the sun will be rising, and Rob will be fishing. And all will be right with the world.

They were right. It’s the little things that matter. It’s the little things make life… remarkable.

Fishing with Dad

Fly-fishing is one of Rob’s favorite activities, and since the¬†weather is warming up, it is time once again to¬†hit the water.

  The boys have always enjoyed fishing, but now they are ready to learn how to fly fish with Dad.

And while the fishing lessons are going on just down the shore, Catheryn is perfectly content to play and explore.

Rob was convinced that there were fish close by, so the three boys snuck up on the perfect fishing hole.

Eventually, the boys tired of waiting for a fish to bite,¬†so they slowly disappeared to do other¬†things, leaving Dad to man the fishing pole. He has more patience than anyone, and it wasn’t long before he had a Fish On!!

He caught a cute little rainbow trout, but it was the first one of the year and everyone was excited. The kids all pet him and then we put him back into the river.

We saw lots of wildlife as well. There were a lot of deer out, both mule and white-tail, and pronghorn, too. My personal favorite, though, was the eagle perched up on the rock, watching for a fish of his own.

Ready to Hit the Road

We are just about packed up for a fun camping weekend. Destination: Holter Lake. Our only rule: NO clocks allowed.

I must confess that although it can be a little stressful trying to get everything done, I absolutely love packing for trips. Probably because I love taking trips.

This afternoon we are headed to a popular recreation area less than an hour from our house. We have the kick-boats all loaded up along with¬†some fishing gear. Swimsuits are packed, sleeping bags, glow sticks, camera. And marshmallows. Forget your tent, your underwear or your toothbrush, but I’m pretty sure it is a crime to forget the marshmallows.

Remington is not looking too impressed with me right now. He knows we are leaving. The pile of sleeping bags waiting by the door gives us away. I know he doesn’t like¬†being left here, but he would dislike camping even more. So I have spent the day sucking up to him with extra milk and tasty treats. Hopefully he will forgive me.¬†

In about two hours we will be taking off, heading toward campfire country. We will return Sunday afternoon with sunburns, mosquito bites and dirt in our hair. 

I can’t think of a¬†better way to end a¬†summer weekend.