Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring!

Wow...I am not sure where the time has gone.  But, I am sure, that somewhere in this crazy winter, we have all suffered through, we have been lost in time...or maybe, we have just been in hibernation. But, non the less, I have been off the grid with not much to blog about!

So, with Spring in the air...it makes me feel like new beginnings...so I thought this would be a good time to find my way back on the grid. But, while there is no way I could even begin to remember everything that has happened since my last post...and, even if I could, I think all you would hear about is how we tried to stay warm...yes even in South Texas. So, maybe, we can hit a couple of high points of past, present, and future.

Time in the past...and the spot where I last blogged!

We, returned to Texas after our great summer vacation with the grandkids in Colorado where we hung out for the remainder of the summer and early fall.  We always enjoy the family time at home!

And, talk about where does time go, in September, we celebrated Andrew's 16th birthday.  Oh, my, how he has grown up...all the way to 6'5".

All the grandkids are growing up right in front of me...In October, we celebrated Zachary's 13th birthday.

By this time, Poppa decided it was time for us to head to South Texas for the winter...little did he know, that to be warm, the Rio Grande Valley was not going to be quite far enough South!  But, if I had gone any further South, I would have had to use my passport to get there!  But, we survived, and it was a lot better than any point to the north!!

Once we were there and settled in, it seemed like we had arrived home.  Catching up with friends and neighbors at Retama is like catching up with family. Mark and the guys picked up right where they left off.  And, they already had lots of projects in mind to spruce up the gun range.  They made some new target stands and did some general maintenance to the grounds.  In spite of the weather, they found lots of nice days to spend at the range!  Then, on those not so nice days, they always seemed to arrange for a day trip to a gun store, pawn shop, or a trip to Bass Pro or Academy...and it always included a trip to Rudy's, Willies, or Firehouse Subs.

Mark took on the project of draining and replacing the antifreeze in the motor home.  After recovering from that little job, he decided it was time to replace all six house batteries and the two start batteries.  Think we should be good to go!!

I kept busy with a few projects of my own...

I taught a generic Weight Watchers type class.  We call it WOW for watching our weight.  It kept me on my toes preparing lessons for our weekly meetings.  We took a look at the approach of Clean Eating.  As a lifetime Weight Watcher, I was surprised to see just how close the clean eating plan is to WW program.  My Fitness Pal, an app for your smart phone or computer is a great way to journal.  It has a great food database, and is super easy to use.  The class became a great support group and we were able to congratulate one of the members for a 50lb weight loss!  And, as you all know, when you put a bunch of RVer's together, all socializing is surrounded by food.  So, a weekly meeting to help keep us on track was a welcome addition to our activities.

Leaving the motor home in Mission, we traveled home for Christmas and New Year's, and, again enjoyed sharing time with the family.

After returning to Mission, we were in for a real taste of winter.  It seemed there were more not nice days than the usual beautiful warm winter days we go there for!  In fact,  I think I could count on one hand the number of days I actually got in the pool and enjoyed it!  So, we found other ways to pass the time.  There were always the afternoon games of Rummikub with the girls, a few shopping trips, and like the guys, we could always stop for lunch.

One of the highlights of our girl time, was the day we went to the club house kitchen to make Potica.  This pastry was a favorite of Sue's when she was growing up.  So, she had the recipe and we tried to duplicate it...

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There was close measuring of all the ingredients...

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lots of hands on mixing and

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letting the dough rise!

Once the dough was risen, we

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got to work rolling, and

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rolling, and

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rolling!  Then came the

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filling...yummy honey, and sugar, and pecans, and more pecans!

Once the filling was spread, the dough was

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rolled up like cinnamon rolls and placed in a pan to rise one more time.  Then it was off to the oven.  The final product

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was then ready to enjoy!  Yummy!!!  But, caution, don't try this by yourself...it is definitely a group project.  But, just for fun...Goggle, Potica!

Thanks Sue for sharing both your recipe and your memories...so much fun!

Before we knew it, days and weeks had passed us by.  It was early, but, with other obligations in our future, we had to start thinking about leaving Retama behind us.  And, shortly after the first of March, we were heading back to Fort Worth. And,

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this is where you find us today...parked in the barn at Karen's.

But, don't get me wrong...things are never dull here and we are busy every day.  We had a great spring break with all the grandkids except Zachary, who was having a great time at baseball spring training in Arizona.  While most of the family is Texas Ranger fans, Zachary is a diehard Angels fan and loves every minute he spends with the team during spring training.

Now, that everyone is back to school and work, we are busy unloading all the unnecessary items from the motor home and reloading and rearranging for the next several months.  We have just a few weeks until we head out and will be gone for the next several months.  First, we will make our way to Goshen, Indiana for the the 54th Escapades.

In fact, Mark has been busy getting ahead on a few

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of the decorations that we will use for Escapades.  We are looking forward to a great time there and seeing lots of old friends and making new ones along the way.  Hope we see you there!

After Escapades, we are looking forward to spending the summer in Alaska.

So, now that

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Spring has officially sprung, and, we are officially out of hibernation!  We are looking forward to the next adventure and the places it will take us!!  Hope to see you somewhere along the way.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Up, Up, and Away!

Today was a day for Andrew, Lauren, and Zachary, and they chose to go to the Cave of The Winds and do the

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Wind Walker Challenge.

They didn't want to waste any time, so, it was on with the

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harness, and with a little instruction, they were

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off.  It took them all a little while to gain some courage

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and get the feel of the course, but, first thing I knew, Lauren

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was way up in the air and out over the canyon some 600 feet from the bottom.

Now, the boys were still

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being a little

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cautious about their footing, and neither one was too anxious about going out over the overhang.  I somehow think they kept avoiding it.  But, not Lauren...every time I looked she was

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up and out or

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swinging on a rope...she was being a real monkey girl today.  In fact, she told Poppa she wanted him to come to Colorado for the whole summer next year...just so she could come and get her a job here.

Now, I know the boys

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had fun

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too, but...Lauren is one that got her money's worth of entertainment today.

The little ones were really disappointed that they weren't big enough...oh, excuse me...they weren't tall enough to do the Wind Walker, so we had to settle for taking a tour of the cave.  Not quite as impressive, but they had a good time. This might mean, I have to come back when they grow taller!

This day like all the others was priceless!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pikes Peak or Bust...

 

Pikes Peak was our adventure for the day.  It is recorded that this is the most visited mountain in North America and the second most visited mountain in the world just behind Mount Fuji.  We have visited it many times, but, today was just one more journey to take Caden and Kourtney for their first visit and for Andrew, Lauren, and Zachary to revisit this famous mountain.

When we left Woodland Park this morning, the clouds had almost

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covered the view of the mountain.

Our drive to Manitou Springs took about 30 minutes and we arrived at the Cog Railway in plenty of time.  The kids had time to make themselves a

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souvenir penny.

When it was time, we all boarded the

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Aspen Train and waited for the conductor to come by to collect

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our tickets.

Our trip of 8.9 miles by way of the train took us past

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big boulders,

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flowers growing above the tree line,

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sheep in the clouds, and even the

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work train coming down the mountain.

When we were high in the

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clouds, we still continued to climb until we finally reached the

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summit at 14,115 feet.

We headed in to get what is labeled

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the world's famous donuts.  Now, there is nothing really spectacular about this donut, except that making a donut at that altitude is pretty unique.  The one thing that you have to do it eat them at the top or they will be flat when you get to the bottom!

After treating ourselves to the Pikes Peak Donut, we headed out to the

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observation tower for a few pictures.  However, the

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the clouds just wouldn't allow much view today.  We did pick out a few

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sheep, but that was all.

So, with just one last

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picture, we loaded back on the Aspen Train and soon were making our way down hill!

We didn't get much passed the

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lake until all the fun for the day

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caught up with Caden!

I think Pikes Peak is a must for everyone and I never get tired to seeing it.  It is no wonder the song

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America the Beautiful was penned and named for these beautiful mountains...they are indeed a purple mountain majesty and America's mountain.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Busy Days

I know, I promised to be more faithful about this blogging thing, but...it just hasn't happened.  So, now, I find myself having to catch up one more time.

When I left you hanging, we were on our way to Gillette, Wyoming, to join the Advance Team in preparation for the 53rd Escapades.  We did just that and spent the month of June helping where and how we could.  Although,

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Bob and Molly, Wallace and Wanda had already been hard at work, there were last minute things we helped finish.  However, some days I thought all we did was dodge the

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storms that kept rolling through.  I don't think, I have ever pulled in the slides or lower the satellite more than I did while we were in Gillette.  We even weathered a

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hail storm that left the ground looking like a snow storm had come through.  We are still thinking that we will have to contact our insurance regarding our air conditioners.  We have lots of little bent fins.  But, no time to think about that at the time.

We continued our work, thinking about how we would

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decorate the 147 tables for the big banquet and how we would do this or do that, and putting the finishing touches on a lot of different things.

We did take a day out for a little fun and headed to Kaycee, Wyoming, to

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the Chris LeDoux Days and Rodeo.  We saw some pretty amazing

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cowboys ride some pretty amazing horses.  It was a great day.

Soon, the days passed us by and before we knew it, it was time to get really busy.  There were 597 rigs due to come in and they were all expecting us to be ready for the 53rd Escapade...we were and what a great week it was...

The

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stage was decorated and set the scene and mood for the week.

Wanda and Wallace

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were always on the move taking care of seminars and making sure all the other golf carts were on the move.

One of the biggest highlights of the week was Tuesday when we raised

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lots of money with

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donuts for care!  We even had some great

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cheerleaders to encourage the sale of the donuts.

Great job everyone!

The days passed quickly, and soon we were to Thursday, and preparing a birthday banquet for almost 1,200 people.  I was so busy that day, I didn't even get one picture!  So, just take my word that it was a big success and everyone had a great time.  But, the banquet meant that the 53rd Escapade was coming to a close and it was time for us to say good-bye to lots of old friends and to the new friendships that were made during the week.

Then, with a big sigh and a second breath, it was time to

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pack up the big red truck.  And, all that left of this story...is to say...see you next year in Goshen, Indiana.

We then had a couple of days to relax and catch our breath before we headed South, out of beautiful countryside of

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Wyoming and into

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Colorado...hello Rocky Mountains!

After wiggling through

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downtown Denver, we arrived at Diamond Campground in Woodland Park, Colorado.  We settled into our site and did a little regrouping.  Then this past Wednesday, we were up early and headed back into Denver to the airport to pick up

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four of our grandchildren. They are spending a couple of weeks with us here in the mountains.

What started off to be a great day ending up being a very trying and tiring day for us all.  As soon as we left the airport, we stopped and fed a very hungry bunch before heading back for the mountain.  We drove through a couple of heavy rains and were soon stopped on Hwy. 24, turned around, and sent back down the mountain to Manitou Springs.  The heavy rain had caused a mudslide and washed three cars off the road.

Okay, now what?  We drove around for a little while, then decided to stop off by the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to purchase tickets for a future day.

By this time it had stopped raining, so we decided to take a drive through

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The Garden of The Gods, one of my favorite spots.  We found a rock to

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climb through, and

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pose for a sassy picture before we tried once more to get up the mountain.  No way...every entrance was blocked.  Soooo, we did a little more sightseeing, took in the

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crazy sculptures up by the Broadmoor Hotel, found a place for pizza...because, by now, we are all starving again!  After dinner, we decided to give Hwy 24 another try.  And, just to keep this story straight, we are now going on almost 12 hours since we left Woodland Park.  Finally, the road was open, and we could make our way back to the campground.

On the way up the mountain, we saw

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where the mud had covered the road.  The snowplows had been there clearing the roadway.  No, wonder it took all afternoon to clear the cars and the mud.  We were just thankful, we had stopped to have that lunch after the airport or we might have been in the middle of that mud.

We had a better day on Thursday, and Friday, we celebrated

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Kourtney's 6th birthday.

She chose to go to Santa's Workshop.  My nephews and great nephew joined us and we had a great time with them.

The kids all had fun

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riding the

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many rides and Kourtney even got in an

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early visit with Santa. 

After a long day in the park, we enjoyed a mini family

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cookout back at the campground.  Kourtney said, it was her best birthday ever!

Saturday was a day to regroup and do a few

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of the necessary things.

Yesterday, we were up early again, and off to pick up Zachary, who flew in to meet up with us for a few days.  Now, we have five grandkids...just missing the 2 year old!

The older kids were excited to finally be all together for what they have always known as summer vacation with Poppa and Moppa.  Caden and Kourtney are learning and learning quickly!

Last night they made a great

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campfire, made S'mores and watched the

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deer come through our campsite.  And, when the cool air and light rain ran us inside, they

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all resorted to games on their ipads. Lots of competition and gaming going on!

After a great night's sleep through the rain and cool night, they were all up, ready for breakfast, and an adventure!

We decided to take in the

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Olympic Training Center.

They all shopped and shopped,

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played around, and

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lifted weights.  All of which made them hungry...

So, we were off to make a plan over lunch at Rudy's.  The decision was a trip to Seven Falls.

They were off...and

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headed up 185 steps to the top.   They made it to the

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half way mark...caught their breath, and

made it

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to the top in record time.

We saw

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Poppa, who waited on us at the bottom...smart man!

Once we were back down, they had a fun time

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meeting the local residents of the park.

This one got real friendly with

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Lauren, while

Kourtney

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wasn't real sure she wanted the little guy in her space.

Caden

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just wanted them to come to him and

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Andrew and

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Zachary couldn't keep them away.

Well, enough of those

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fat faced little guys...and they were off to climb

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more steps.  This trip, I stopped at the first level and let them

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go all the way to the top.

We all had a fun afternoon at

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the falls.

All those steps today have worn them out and they are all tucked into bed.

And, now...I am thinking those busy days in Gillette have prepared me for these busy days.. but, oh, my...what fun they are!

See you after our next adventure!