It has been a long time…5-6 years actually…since we have gone to the Christmas Festival of Lights Parade. Since we were blessed with a dry, unseasonably warm, weekend–we headed out to Keizer to watch the parade.
We had very strange weather today. Dark gray clouds with pouring rain most of the day. Around 4:30 as the sun was beginning to set the kids played outside in the gigantic puddle in our driveway. It was the first time we saw the sun the whole day. At 3:15 PM when I picked the kids up from school, it looked like 10 o’clock at night. As the sun peeked its way out at sundown a beautiful rainbow filled the whole sky.
The words to this hymn in my church’s Psalter Hymnal You Are Our God; We Are Your People written by David Hoekema immediately came to my mind. It fits appropriately with the promises of Advent.
It rained on the earth forty days, forty nights, and all of the world was destroyed
The ark Noah built at the calling of God saved God’s chosen ones from the flood
God gave to Noah the rainbow sign, “Such a flood I will not send again—
I am your God; you are my people.”
And when Jesus Christ came to live on the earth, God’s promise to us was fulfilled.
His life and his death were a new covenant, assurance of love full and free.
God gave His Son, his only Son; to all who receives him he says,
“I am your God; you are my people.”
Can I just say how much I love summer? I love swimming with my kids.
On Tuesday my husband had to do a visit in Silverton so we came along. We swam at the Silverton Reservoir where I also did a few training swims for my triathlon.
I get a little more concerned with swimming with my kids in the open water. Even thought my oldest is an excellent swimmer for an eight year old, I still have her wear a life jacket. We’ve had a large number of drownings in the area the past couple weeks. Many of our lakes and rivers have not warmed up yet and people don’t expect the cold temperatures. Our swim areas tend to be more rustic and not as user friendly as the Midwest beaches I grew up going to. You have to be cautious about drop-offs, rocks, and currents.
On Wednesday we met friends at a local park and on Thursday we relaxed at home. I did not take any pictures those two days.
On Friday the kids had their annual lemonade stand for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
I race for Prostate Cancer awareness because my grandpa passed away from it in 1989 when I was in junior high. My dad is a survivor.
Saturday was my triathlon. Sunday we had thunderstorms all day. For us thunderstorms are somewhat of a treat because we rarely get them. We have had abnormal humidity this summer and high temperatures. Some complain about the heat, but I kind of like it. It makes it feel more like summer.
It was 4th of July week and it started out with temperatures climbing into the 90’s. So that meant cooling off at West Bennet Park.
The beautiful thing about Oregon summers is that its gets hot, but it doesn’t stay hot all day. A breeze and cooler temperatures come in the evening. So the oldest and I drove to Keizer where we biked along one of the few bike paths (we really need more!) in our town. It’s a small 3-4 mile stretch that goes along the Salem Parkway, but you don’t have to deal with traffic and many intersections. I love it that we can now bike together.
Yesterday was the 4th of July–one of my favorite holidays. For the past three years we have gone to the Independence-Monmouth Parade. We sat closer to Independence like last year. Thankfully this year they did not run out of candy until they got to us.
Our original plan was to go to our friend’s house after the parade and spend the rest of the afternoon and early evening there. They always put on a fabulous 4th of July celebration. Due to some unfortunate sickness, they had to cancel. We had friends come to us last minute and we set up the slip and slide. We had a nice outdoor dinner with them. Then just our family headed downtown for the fireworks–the first ever 4th of July we all went to a fireworks show as a family. I had not been to a fireworks show since 2006! This is a picture of everyone standing for the National Anthem.
The kids did fine with the change of plans and all in all had a great 4th of July.
Next week is supposed to be HOT again. We don’t have as much planned, but I am sure we will find plenty to do to keep us busy.
First week of Summer 2014 is in the books. I think it could be called the “Woa–we have all this extra time on our hands, what do we with ourselves?!” week.
We enjoyed an early Father’s Day dinner at Sonic. We only go here about once a year (though their milkshake menu tempts me to go more). There is something fun about eating in the back of the van. We had just come from Costco hence the giant bottles of detergent.
And the hot dogs too!
On Saturday we had a small army of men from our church in our house. Since we moved into our house I have despised the carpet in the eating area. It seemed to get more disgusting with time. The red velvet cake stain would not come out, the cat peed in the corner, the kids tracked mud in this winter–I hate the carpet. If I were to give any advice to pastor wives out there living in parsonages I would say the following 1) Show love to your Building & Grounds 2) Advocate for your families’ needs in a kind and gracious way. Gentle reminders are good, but don’t be pushy. 3) Be patient.
And hooray–hardwood floor. Someone asked, “Did you cry when they ripped out the carpet?” I said, “No I cried when we had the carpet.” The guys did an amazing job and we felt incredibly cared for as friends and a pastor’s family.
We celebrated the start of summer by going to the drive-in with friends. I LOVE drive-ins. I have always had a thing for them.
The kids love them too!
I have to say that we are loving the down time. I still cannot gauge if this one needs a nap or not. I don’t think she can either. I, myself, don’t take naps anymore except on Sundays…I can’t during the school year as I am working. I think I took two naps last week mostly because I could. My rule for when I take a nap–“Don’t wake me up unless–” The kids: “Someone is bleeding.” The kids have been keeping busy playing baseball in the backyard, picking raspberries, playing Lego Friends and regular legos, coloring, and riding bikes. We went to the library and the mall last week, but mostly we have enjoyed being home.
Cauliflower = Fail! I tried to grow it in little containers in the house. Due to not filling up the containers the whole way with soil, not enough light, or just plain inexperience–they sprouted a little and then died a short fast death. I am out of cauliflower seeds so no cauliflower for us this season.
Corn = Planted on Memorial Day. We’ve always had success with it except last year when the husband put me in charge of planting it and I completely forgot.
Beets = Planted on Memorial Day. I don’t even know if I like beets and not sure who will even eat them if they actually grow. Do you eat them raw?
Zucchini = Pretty easy to grow and coming in already. I still do have last year’s in my freezer. Should probably make some muffins or bread sometime soon.
Snow Peas = Also easy to grow. You just need a fence for them to wrap around. Not sure I put the fence in correctly.
Lettuce = I think it’s sprouted but it good be weeds. Pulled a pesty blackberry root out of the lettuce patch.
Cucumber = Pretty sure it’s sprouted. We grew them a couple summers ago and they are fairly easy. But unfortunately no one was quite as excited about cucumber sandwiches as I was.
Carrots = Planted and no sign of them yet. They are a root and take a bit of a time. We’ve always successfully grown lots of carrots.
Broccoli = Somehow lots of weeds grew in the broccoli patch at the time of planting. I don’t know what is broccoli and what is weeds. I google imaged it and think I figured it out and I hope I am correct.
Tomatoes = We’ve always purchased tomato plants. This year I am trying to grow my own. So far they are coming in fine. Maybe when they are transferred to the garden, it will be another story. I am hopeful.
The husband is also growing herbs and I have no idea which herbs are what.
The middle child is growing a sunflower out of a can with a face on it he named “Harry Harry.” Harry Harry used to have grass growing out of it for a kindergarten project and unfortunately we forgot to water it and Harry Harry lost all his hair. Now he will have a sunflower growing out of his head instead.
The youngest child helped plant a fairy garden which is similar to last year’s–although we won’t forget to water it this time.
This beautiful flower was a gift from one of my child care kids. Her mom took her shopping and asked what kinds of plants I like. I had to laugh when she said, “Amy likes vegetables.”
Gardening has been a lot of fun so far this spring.
Last May I did my first sprint triathlon and was hooked. I wanted to do a mid summer triathlon that required swimming in the open water (my first tri took place in a pool). I had grown up playing in lakes, rivers, and ponds so I had little fear of not seeing my feet on the bottom. I had never swam laps in the open water. I had only learned to swim about eight months before this and had only been swimming laps regularly for about three months.
So when my friends invited me to swim in their lake last June, I was excited. Here was my chance to swim across it because I knew I had the endurance. But it went terrible. I could not stay in a straight line. I veered so off to the left so I was completely off course from my friends who were swimming. Coming back I felt so panicky my husband rode next to me in a kayak. I kept wanting to grab the kayak. He kept telling me my stroke was off. How come I can swim in a pool but not in a lake? I was on the verge of tears and threw my goal of an open water triathlon out the window that day.
When we were in Michigan last summer, I was thrilled we were staying on a lake. Lots of open water practice right outside my window. But I was incredibly nervous and anxious. The times I did try I felt exhausted after two minutes. How come I can swim for an hour in a pool but only two minutes in a lake. My brother-in-law said, “Your stroke is off.” Then my sister-in-law watched me, “Yeah you know your stroke is off?” Again I was constantly veering off to the shore and almost hit a dock “head on.”
So my husband said to put the goal off for a year and focus on swimming at the pool. Why should I focus swimming in the pool when I am trying to learn to swim in a lake? But I took his advice to heart. I became a regular at the pool early Wednesday mornings. I worked on my stroke (which used to be really off), my speed, my kick–everything.
I asked some triathletes this spring when it would be warm enough to get in the open water. I asked some of them if they could give me lessons. One of them said, “You can totally do it. Just have confidence in your swimming.” Um…I was confident last summer and then I had to hold on to a kayak and almost hit a dock.
So last week I went to my friend’s lake and took my eight year old with me…mostly for moral support. I jumped in the water (which surprisingly with a wet suit was quite comfortable). I started swimming and then I looked up–I was going pretty straight! And I had the endurance–I felt like I could swim for a long time! I yelled to my daughter, “I can do it!”
My goal on this triathlon journey is to do an open water tri in July. The moral of this story is 1) sometimes you have to wait for things…at times it takes a little more hard work and postponing your goals 2) sometimes your husband gives the right advice and you should follow it