Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Ballet

This past month of July Shianne has been taking two summer classes: Musical Theater and Ballet.
We thought the Musical Theater would be a "fun & carefree" class, and it was! She had so much fun. Dancers are truly actors anyway, because they're always telling a story. This class was right up our little "Drama Queen's" alley. They learned 3 little dances, the main one to "Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend". Yet they didn't do them for us on the last day. Instead they got to watch pieces of old musicals - most of which were LONG before her time!
Originally we signed her up for Advance Beginning Ballet, but it got combined with the Beginning Ballet. Since it was a different teacher, our hope was that maybe she'd still learn something new. The class started out with 11 girls and on the last day there were only 5 (3 of them I know were at camp/on vacation). They learned a sweet little dance in only 8 - 45 minutes sessions. Shianne is really starting to enjoy ballet a lot more than last year, and is progressing nicely. Can't wait to see what the coming year brings, as she'll start Level 6 Ballet in the fall.

Chewelah Creek 2009

Star-gazing and snack before bed

Dustin playing us some campfire music

Me and Brian chillin' around the campfire

Shianne and Madison putting on a show for us (and no, her foot is NOT on fire....)

Our SMALL campfire. Even with the rain during the day, it was pretty dry, and I'm always nervous about some little spark flying off and starting a forest fire. Call me paranoid, whatever...

Our Glamour Girls ~ Madison & Shianne. We got enough sun on Saturday for them to soak it up!

Hunter and Emily ~ Best Buddies

The men soaking their feet in the creek (and Justin soaking his buns!) lol....

This is what I do, and what camping is all about for me: relaxation.

The game of Washoogles: best fun for the whole family!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Warning: Storms ahead

This past weekend we headed up to Chewelah Creek for our first "normal" camping trip (the reason I say "normal" is because this is our regular type of camping - vs. the beach camping we did over the 4th). We were very excited to get out of town late Friday afternoon and relax in the wilderness. The weather was forecasted to be HOT all weekend - suits, suncreens, beach towels, sunglasses and books were packed. We each tossed in 1 sweatshirt each for late at night. We knew a campfire was probably out of the question due to the red-flag warning for the hot, dry conditions - and the forest can cool off quite a bit once the sun goes down.

As we headed up Highway 395 on Friday at 4:30pm, we were staring right into the face of HUGE storm clouds that looked to be settled right over Chewelah. Oh boy.... We thought perhaps they were just for show - we heard there MIGHT be lightning storms, but probably no rain reaching the ground. The closer we got, the bigger they became, and sure enough, once we hit Chewelah, we could see that it had POURED right before we got there. Oh goody....

Half an hour later, we reached our campsite to find our good friend Summer and her kids wet and cold - it had rained all day! The temperature dropped 20-degrees on our way up the mountain. They were freezing, but excited that we had brought a little sunshine with us.

The night brought constant lightning, and the dog - and I - didn't sleep at all. All my worries about wildfires kept me up all night. Luckily, Saturday brought some sunshine and an afternoon of basking in the sun trying to get tans, but it wasn't what we expected. Overall we had a great weekend and didn't let the early storm put a damper on our spirits.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fourth of July @ Lake Roosevelt

Our Snake Story

We got an invitation to go camping up at Roosevelt with some friends over the holiday weekend. It was our first trip out this year, so we were all very excited. For those of you familiar with Roosevelt, we went up just west of the Wilbur-Keller ferry.
It was a long hot drive there but the most exciting part about it was taking the ferry across the lake. At first the kids were a little spooked by it, but once we got going they thought it was pretty cool.
At long last we arrived at the campsite and joined several other trailers already there. It was beautiful to be camping right at the top of the beach. However, this was VERY different from our normal camping experiences. We're typically the "backwoods" type of campers, where there are forest trees, shades, streams, etc., while this was hot, dry camping - in rattlesnake country. Yes, I said rattlesnake.....
Our friends have been camping here MANY years and have never seen a rattlesnake. Leave it to us to be the first! The first night there the kids were all running around exploring and getting to know each other on the beach as most of the adults were gathered around the campfire socializing. I soon realized that I hadn't seen Hunter in quite a while - he finally showed up with his Nintendo DS in hand. I told him he couldn't have that out on the beach - that it was for in the trailer only. So we walked back over to our trailer (where he had been just minutes before) to put it away.
Just as we were approaching the trailer, we heard a "rattle" RIGHT in front of us. Now it was dark and we had no flashlight, but we could see where we were going because the moon was very bright. As soon as I heard that "rattle", I could see him too - right in front of us less than 2 feet away. I grabbed Hunter's hand and immediately backed-up and turned and high-tailed it outta there!! Once back at the fire, I said "there's a snake!" and someone said "no it's just a grasshopper". I repeated, "no, there is a snake", so the men set off with flashlights in hand and came back 5 minutes later with.... a rattlesnake. It was 4 feet long 9 years old (based on his rattles). They eventually killed it.
I was in shock after this, and just wanted to go to bed. The kids were freaked so we stuffed towels in the sink, etc. This was not the best way for me to start the weekend - with a near death experience - and I hate to think of all the other ways it could have turned out. I constantly was thinking of all the "what if's" and other questions... What if Hunter had set him off earlier? Would he know what to do? What if it had bitten him? What if he's bitten me? Will there be others? Will they get into our trailer? Do they come out during the day too?
The next day I was reassured that they do NOT come out during the day - they typically only come out after dark to warm themselves on the hot sand. Eventually we were able to relaxe as the weekend progressed and to have some fun. But once night fell, the kids and I were in bed. Some may have thought that I was being a party pooper, but seriously, I never go to bed that early - especially when we're camping. It was the fear of future snake encounters that sent me packing to bed once the sun went down.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hunter's 6th Birthday "Pool Party"

It just so happened that Hunter's birthday weekend was also our first weekend without any dance events, thus our first free weekend of the summer. We discussed this with Hunter - "Would you like to stay home and have a party? Or would you like to go camping for your birthday?" His response was, "Can we go to that place where there's a jump for my bike?" "Yes, we can try" "ok, let's go camping!".

So we planned on doing a fun "camping birthday" for him. As it turned out, this was not a "free" weekend for anyone else to get out of town, so it would have just been our family. Again, we discussed this with him - "We can still go camping, but it'll just be us" "That's ok" "There won't be any presents" "Can't you buy them all??" - lol..... "NO". So we negotiated with him to just stay in town and have a party, that way his cousins and friends could celebrate with him.

We threw together a last minute "pool party" the week before. I figured if all of his friends were in the pool, maybe he'd finally get in too. WRONG!! The boy wanted NOTHING to do with the pool! Regardless, he eventually got wet, just not to his liking....

This boat is from Grandpa Dennis. He gave it to us last fall, before he passed away, for us to give to Hunter. We hung on to it until his birthday, which gave it even more meaning - for him to have a gift from "Grandpa in Heaven". He even said that he knew Grandpa was watching him drive it....

Hmmm.... someone seems to be getting an attitude!!

Hunter thought it was fun do go around blasting everyone with his new super soaker, but finally got what was coming to him ~ a quick dip in the pool!! He was NOT very happy about it either!