Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summer Vacation

There's nothing like summer vacation at Nana and Papa's! Brendan and Wyatt had sooo much fun on our 3 week trip home. The trip started great with a hassle free, pretty un-eventful airplane ride with the 2 boys. As soon as we got to the lake the fun got started. Every single morning Brendan and Wyatt woke up Nana and asked for french toast....which she made for them. They spent lots of time with their cousin Jayden and taught him all sorts of things, like how to run faster, how to push and how to roar really loud (you're welcome, Rachel).
Almost every day the boys went swimming in the lake. It was a shocker compared to the pool we swim in here but they loved it. We even swam in the rain a couple times! No fear whatsoever. They just put on their life-jackets and ran all the way off the end of the dock.....over....and over.....and over again. Up the ladder, off the dock, up the ladder, off the dock. It wouldn't have been so bad, but I had to help Wyatt up the ladder every time! Ugh!
We did a lot of fishing off the dock too! Wyatt got his first catch. It was the same thing Brendan caught his first time a couple years ago....a fresh water clam. I don't know how they did it, but both of the boys have managed to catch clams with their fishing poles. We got really excited and took pictures of it...and then threw it back! :)
We went to the park next door almost every day and went really high on the swings. It was nice for the boys to get outside a bunch and not get burned on the play equipment. Brendan saw most of his friends, especially Bella and he also got to drive a tractor one night at "uncle Ron's" house.
There were several rides in the "big red boat". Did I mention lots of swimming??? We went kayaking and row-boating too. It seemed like a whirlwind of activity. The kids (and me) had so much fun visiting everyone. I had fun watching the boys have fun (even though it was very tiring). Overall it was a great vacation of being together and being busy doing lots of things. For me I was just glad to be with my family, sad but glad at the same time. It was also great to be with a few good friends who were around a lot too.
The kids are glad to be back in Phoenix now.....back with dad. All they want to do is rough house with him. But we are all looking forward to another trip to the lake!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Living Life Large

For the most part I would describe myself as fairly conservative. Pretty simple, not too much excitement or risk. Some might say "boring"....others maybe "safe". I would say, it's just comfortable. Willie, however, was never concerned with "safe" or "risk free". He was about "fast" and "exciting". He was busy doing all sorts of exciting things. He wake boarded, wake-surfed, water skied, snow skied (back country), had motorcycles, climbed mountains, scuba dived, built and flew remote control planes,trucks and boats. I could go on and on about all the things Willie did. He decided he wanted to do something and he went out, learned how, and got extremely good at it. I always admired that because for me that is such a hard thing to do. There are lots of new things I would like to learn or new hobbies I would like to take up, but it is so hard for me to step out of my "comfort" box and learn.
Anyway, Willie's death has inspired a lot of people to try and live life more like him...to the fullest. Not only am I more inspired to learn some new things that have been on my list for years (like learning violin), but I am more inspired to learn some of the things that Willie was into (like riding motorcycles). My trip home was awesome because I got to do some things that I might have shied away from because I might feel dumb doing them because I will probably suck at first.
I got a tattoo in memory of Willie. Willie didn't have a tattoo, but had he lived longer, I think he would have. I think he would be really proud of us for doing something so "edgy" in memory of him. (It's not as big as it looks in the picture, but still, it's pretty big!)
Another fun thing we did was "abstract-watercolor-artnite". Basically, we got together with watercolors and paper and made paintings that weren't supposed to look like real things! Now, normally, this is the kind of thing I like to do.....the artsy-crafty kinds of things. BUT, this was a little different. This time we were painting with a "real life" artist at the table! :) Amy Cooper (Willie's best friend's wife) is quickly becoming our great friend. She is an artist, and although very normal and fun to be around, she knows a lot more than me about colors and painting, and how to put things together into art that other people would pay a lot of money for! :) That being said, it was a little intimidating to be doing art with her, but I got over it. And we had a blast. I even think some of mine turned out pretty good!
Also while I was in Shelton I learned how to ride a motorcycle. I've ridden a motorcycle before, but I really actually want to learn how to do it this time. Our friend Ron Larson invited me and the kiddos and Joanna, Jon and Jordan out to his property in the Skok. Valley to learn. Well, I have to say it was fun. A little humiliating, but pretty darn fun. I sucked at it, but I could tell right away I have serious potential! :) Ok, so I can't totally say that it was a "real" motorcycle, but you had to wear a helmet and you had to shift it, so I count it! The thing was built for a 6 year old (that was the humiliating part), and Ron didn't tell me everything I needed to know before I took off, and I ended up popping a wheelie. I didn't crash, but I did feel a little silly considering I didn't mean to do that. So, I was proud of myself for doing it, because normally I would have chickened out and just said, "no, that's OK" just because I didn't want to feel silly. But now I can say I did it, and I don't regret it, and I want to do it again.

The older you get, the harder it is to change who you are. It's easier to go on every single day just doing the same things you have always done and never grow as a person. I remember learning in all my psychology classes that people change and grow through pain in their life. Most people can pin-point turning points in their lives when they really grew and changed as a person and they are always times of pain and suffering. I hate that I am in the midst of suffering. I hope on the other side of it I can say that I have become a better person, and that I have grown. I think I want to live life more like my brother, with less fear and more excitement, always willing to learn in order to live life with passion.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Shelton Trip!

Well, the temperature here in Phoenix has gotten past the point of no return. The lows at night aren't going below 85 degrees!!! I know, for Phoenix people, this is no big deal. In fact, it's quite lovely going out at night and the weather is perfectly comfortable.....not an ounce of chill. For me, however, I am in shock. I pretty much can't believe how hot it is. Yesterday, I got in the car and outside it was 112. Inside the car it had to have been at least 140. I started laughing because I couldn't believe how hot it was. We turned the car on and that 140 degree air blew right in my face.....it actually took my breath away it was so hot and dry. (Kind of like cold water does when you jump in the lake at the end of April.) I looked at Rand and said, "My body, literally, has never felt this hot in my entire life." How is that possible???
Although I am enjoying experiencing something new :)..... I am really looking forward to my upcoming Shelton trip! On Saturday, July 7th, me, along with Brendan and Wyatt are heading to the Great Northwest for a much needed respite from the heat. The great thing is, we will be home for 3 weeks, which should give us enough time to experience some great summer weather as well as some rain and cold! Brendan is looking forward to seeing Bella, fishing with Bubba and driving Papa's "big, red boat". I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends, relaxing by the lake, going to Alderbrook and participating with the family in things that aren't so fun, but that I usually miss out on or have to do alone (ie. visiting the cemetery, getting our "willie" tattoos, missing a brother/uncle, and just noticing the emptiness of an important missing member of the family). I'm just glad to be able to go home for a while.
In case you were wondering, Rand will be in California during my Washington trip, completing his residency requirement at Biola for his Master's in Apologetics. Also, our church is kicking off its new service on Sunday the 8th, called Resurgence. So Rand's got a lot to do with the whole church/school thing! It's going to be a long trip without him, but there are lots of people who really miss Bren and Wy and I know it's going to go by way too fast.
See all you Shelton-ites in 5 days!!! Be prepared.....I bet I'm WAY tanner than you! :)