Thursday, September 3, 2015

Zipping Along

Right before we left on our vacation, I caught the stomach bug that had been already plagued several members of our family.   It was the first time in years that I'd been sick enough to want/need to stay in bed all day and I was disappointed to have to cancel a couple of things I had on my calendar.   In the midst of lying there, feeling gross, unenergetic, and really wanting to be more productive than my body was allowing, I decided to get caught up on a few blog posts that I'd fallen behind on.    A few hours later, I had nine blog posts scheduled to post every couple of days the whole time we were on vacation.   I was so excited to finally be caught up and I had grand visions of continuing to blog while we were on vacation, so that I had some leeway built into my blogging schedule (and perhaps more time to blog creatively).   Too bad our schedule on vacation was jam-packed and did not allow much in the way of unfilled time to blog.  Actually it wasn't actually "too bad", since we had a wonderful vacation filled with outings, hikes, visits, and lots and lots of time with family, but alas all my pre-scheduled blogposts are published and I'm back to flying by the seat of my pants again. 


So  someone recently commented to us that they didn't like to spend money on traveling and that they strongly preferred to have someTHING to show for the way they spent their money and not some nebulous experience.   I understood a point, but had to disagree.  While I don't think that you have to spend a lot of money to have a good memorable experience  with your family,  even vacations on the cheap cost something.  And I think family vacations are not just educational and horizon widening experiences, but very much can play an important role in strengthening the fibers that comprise the fabric of our family.   

So  while we are not quite the world travelers that most of my family are, we do make going on vacations a priority each year.   And we cut corners wherever we can...

 We almost always drive instead of fly.  We use points to pay  for our hotels.  We eat simply, either buying food from a grocery store or forgoing the fries and drinks at fast food restaurants and getting only the main course.  The kids sometimes grumble at having only water and fresh fruit to go with  the meal, but they just know that that's what we do and it's not only more economical, but it's healthier too!  

Basically we skimp on whatever we can, so that we can have enough of our vacation budget left to have experiences like this....

A ziplining and adventure course in the mountains of Montana!   

We really love providing physically challenging experiences for the kids, because we feel like it offers them the opportunity to feel the satisfaction of overcoming their fears or insecurities to accomplish something challenging.    

Ziplining itself isn't strenuous, but it does require climbing to uncomfortable heights, walking on unsteady surfaces, exercising patience, and eventually feeling the thrill of soaring over the beautiful landscape.

It's something that even Ellie can do.   We witnessed her having a few seizures during the experience,  even one while she was in a shaky, precarious position that could have easily resulted in her slipping off the edge, but we knew that no harm could befall her because of the double-locked safety harnesses that we were attached to us 100% of the time we were in the air.  

Seeing the dedicated looks of concentration on their faces while they performed their difficult task and then the exulted look of accomplishment and excitement on their faces at the end of each zip was pretty priceless!  

We finished it all with a great  conversation on how, like on the zip course, they can overcome challenges that they may face in their lives.   Sometimes they may feel like they're on shaky ground, in uncomfortable situations, or with a herculean task before them that they can't see the end of, but if they put one foot in front of another, concentrate, and trust in  the safety harnesses of faith and family...they can overcome.    

Friday, August 28, 2015

Leaving Home....

Once upon a time there was a sweet little baby girl...

who grew up way too fast...   

and decided to go to college far away from home!

One day (August 7th to be precise), it was time leave home.

She said her goodbyes to the dog and the house and we all piled into our very full van.

Over the course of a couple of days, we trekked about 1500 miles and arrived to the land of her father's hometown...Denver, Colorado!  

We spent a day with Glen's long lost brothers, including Ryan....

his dad and brother Kurt, whom he hadn't seen in over ten years.  

We spent time with Glen's mom...

and just enjoyed spending time with this branch of the family we don't see anywhere near as often as we'd like.

It was only the beginning of our adventures of dropping our Cami Rose off to BYU...

but it was a great way to get started.   

Stay tuned for lots more adventures in the West!  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Baseball Tickets:  $15
Parking:  $20 
Ballpark dinner for 3: $50
Cute pink Nats hat:  $5
Baseball:  free after the ballgirl passed it to her 
Out-of-this-world smile:  Priceless!   

Monday, August 24, 2015

Family Gathering

When we moved to the DC area 15-1/2 years ago, young and naive,  most people assumed that we didn't know a soul.   Really, though, our family's ties to this area run pretty deep.   Glen's parents were both born in Washington, DC and Glen's mom even graduated from the same high school as Spencer and Cami.   When we moved here, we had Glen's paternal grandparents living nearby, as well as three aunts and their families.     

The Crain side wasn't represented yet, but they soon changed that as well.   Over the course of that decade and a half that we've lived here, we've had all of my seven siblings do at least a short stint living in the area.   Four of them have settled down and made it their home.    

My side of the family is pretty tight knit and we see each other pretty regularly.   Glen's family, however, is another story.   When Grandma was alive, we used to get together with them a couple times a year.  Since she passed away a few years ago, it's been a much less frequent occasion and we miss seeing them as much.  So when Glen's aunt hosted a cousins' get-together a couple weeks ago, we  were excited to go!  
↑ This was all the Goold cousins except Glen's five siblings and Stephanie.   

There were kids galore...

and lots of activities to keep them busy 

for the young...

and the old.   

It was fun spending time with some of the younger generation...

There was some serious adorableness going on there...

and I couldn't get enough of this smiley little sweetie-pie!  

My girls were excited to get their fill of baby-loving while they were there!  

Cami's the cousin once-removed in this picture, but Jane and Jill are much closer to her  age than Glen is!

Danny and Jeff had a little impromptu jam-session going on that was fun to listen to!  I knew that musicality ran in the Goold side of the family, but I had no idea how talented they were! 

This little cutie, Tristan, was very impressive!  He is barely two, but can name every single one of the animals in this English and in Farsi!    And I'm not just talking dog, cat, cow...  He says daschund, polar bear, jaguar, etc.  

We all really enjoyed the time we spent together that day and it was great to reconnect.  They may mostly live in the DC area, but we definitely don't see them often enough!  


Friday, August 21, 2015

Scouting Adventures

Adam is well in the throes of the scouting program now.   He's finished several merit badges now and has been to scout camp... 

on longish hikes, and campouts in the cold.    

And why do we have so many pictures of him away from home?  

It's because the photographer is Glen.  

He was recently called to work with the deacons in our ward...

and he will now be at all these fun scouting activities with Adam!   


How am I doing in my quest to create the most boring blog in the universe?   
Word on the street says I have it in the bag!  


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pioneer Day Picnic

One of the things I love about my friend, Rachel, besides the fact that she's an awesome mom, a great listener, someone who also loves photography, baking, and blogging, is that she's good at making things happen.  While I only daydream about planning fun social activities with our friends, she actually goes the distance and makes it happen!

Take this Pioneer Day picnic at the park...

She made the decision to do it in the first place... 

did all the advertising for it...

and planned all of the activities.   

It turned out to be a great way to celebrate our pioneer ancestors' sacrifices and to be reminded why it's such a blessing to have great friends in our lives.


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