Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday

I thought I was being all clever, thinking of a new thing to post on Wednesdays. But then I decided to check instagram to see how many people have already posted pics with the hashtag #wildlifewednesday. There are already over 16,500 photos tagged with it. LOL! Obviously, I'm not as clever as I thought. But I'm still gonna try to make this a regular feature. Please play, too!!

This is a cow elk in Yellowstone. She was right at the road and seemed as curious about us as we were about her. I kept my window shut though. I'm sure she's a lot stronger than me, and I didn't want to chance her being so curious about us that she would be tempted to jump in with us.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Less Hijinx, More Fun

Aside from the one day's hijinx, the rest of the week was a lot of fun. There weren't as many of us, a total of 12 with 6 different families represented.
The other 3 were at their own cabin closer to the lake.

We've got a pretty good routine that we stick with time and again.
Lots of jumping from rocks.

Touchdown fetching stuff from the lake.

Great smiles.

Lots of boys on the boat.
Max and I were the only girls this year.

And of course, smores every night that we weren't so tired that all we wanted to do when we got home was have dinner then hit the sack.

This year we had unpredictable summer weather.

3 of the days bordered on cold. Notice the boys wearing the shirts under their lifejackets.

A downpour cut our afternoon short on our 1st day. No complaints though, we all treasured the rain.

But another evening we had this view.

We had a few new events:
Reggie's old enough to pilot the boat by himself.

And our wrap around deck is finally done!!

We admit that we so very much love it. It was worth the 3 year wait.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

That Time We Flipped The Boat

This year's Camp Retz was a little more eventful than I would have preferred.

As the boys get older and stronger and more adventurous, the harder we (Jimmy and and his brother Steve) have to work at keeping up to their level.
This is their friend catching air.

Normally when you're on a tube behind a boat, the fun is hanging out back there and go as fast as you dare, but for the most part, just enjoying the ride.
It's still like that with the youngest nephew.

But the goal with the oldest nephews, who are now 12 and 14, is to whip them around back and forth as sharply and quickly as possible to try to dump them into the lake, while they try their hardest to hang on.

Reggie is 5'11" now, so it's gotten easier to dump him because he's taller and his weight works against. It's still very challenging because he's an athlete and is really strong and fast.

But Jakee is still nimble and small enough to be able to maneuver himself on the tube very quickly, adjusting his weight to the sharp turns.

This year, we were towing Jakee behind the boat, and did a sharp turn and hit our own wake at the perfectly wrong angle and within split seconds, the boat was upside down.

Thankfully everyone was fine. No injuries at all. My biggest panic as i was under water, was the boys. We had 2 boys on our boat, Reggie and his 15 year old friend. Jimmy was piloting the boat, and I was facing backwards taking photos of Jakee. It's funny the different perspectives we all have. I was sitting on the side that went in first, and it was sooo sooo fast. I didn't even know it was happening because I was concentrating on taking photos of Jake. The next thing I knew, I was in the water under the boat. Jimmy and the boys said it felt like slow motion as their side of the boat slowly flipped over. The boys were in the front of the boat and they jumped/dove into the water away from the boat as it was flipping. Thank God! They were never under the boat, which is such a huge relief to me. Jimmy's side flipped over me, but we never saw each other under there. He said he felt the railing and just pulled himself out from under the railing and was out. I had to crawl my way out from under. I was told I was the last one to come up. I was never worried that I wouldn't get out or drown, but I was definitely on survival instinct because I needed to make sure the boys were ok. That was all I could think of while i was under water...get out to make sure everyone is ok. I'm pretty sure as I surfaced, I took count, saw everyone, and asked "is everyone ok??" And they all were.

Jakee was the safest since he was quite a distance from the boat. He thought he just fell of the tube like usual, and never saw any of the action ahead of him because it all happened as he was falling off. When he looked up, he didn't see the boat and was super confused before realizing the boat capsized.
This is the last photo I took.
You can see the water overloading the front of Jake's tube, which made him fall in. I was snapping photos as the boat flipped.

The youngest nephew was on shore with his mom and dad. They saw it all happen and Steve immediately got in his boat to rescue. I can't imagine what they thought as they watched the boat flip. He was there within 90 seconds. When he got to us, we were laughing and retelling our stories. He was very happy to see all of us fine and even joking around. The boys quickly got onto his boat. Jimmy, Steve and I assessed what might have fallen to the bottom of the lake and what was crucial to recover. Like the keys to the car. Which I thought for sure were at the bottom of the lake because they were in my backpack, but we were relieved to find it floating under the boat.

We hooked our boat to Steve's and towed it to the dock. It was very challenging towing it because of the drag. It pulled Steve's boat in unexpected directions making navigating difficult. But we finally got it there. Reggie, Jakee and their friend went to get Max and Danny and all of our stuff from where we camped out for the day. In the meantime, Steve and Jimmy and 2 helpful strangers tried to upright our boat. It took a while, but they finally got a heavy duty recovery strap, hooked it to the hitch on our car and the far side of the boat, and got it upright.

We did lose a few things, and my camera and cell phone were damaged beyond repair, but the only thing that mattered was that everyone was ok.

And the boys had a great story to tell when they went back to school in August.

Here's a video from the GoPro that was attached to the back of the boat. It was filming the boys on the tube. We don't have any photos of the tow back to the dock, or uprighting the boat, camera and cell phones were both water logged. I was able to recover the photos from the camera card though, so yay for that!

We've definitely learned a lot from this. We had the best outcome for something that could have been so much worse, and for that I am eternally grateful. The boys realize it was a big deal, not just another adventure. It was an actual boating accident. And we'll be piloting the boat more cautiously.
And remember to always wear your life jacket.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Back from Sabbatical

Wow, 5 months!! I never expected that I'd go 5 whole months without blogging. But I'm hopeful that life will settle down since...we've moved to our new apartment.
Well, that's not all that we've been up to for the past 5 months, but it definitely felt all-consuming.

At first, I really hated leaving our old place. When we moved in 5 years ago, I knew then that it was probably the nicest place we'll ever live.
But this new place is turning out to be pretty damn nice now that we're settling in.

We moved 2 1/2 weeks ago, and all of the boxes are unpacked, but we still have quite a bit of things to put away.

It's not a fancy, modern high rise in downtown like our old place. We're only 3-4 blocks away but the neighborhood feels totally different. And we have an incredible view.
There's so much going on outside our windows.

We watch cargo and oil tanker ships come and go continuously.

We found a cool website that shows the location of any large ships and all kinds of information on each of them.

Our skies are constantly busy with helicopters, sea planes, seagulls, pigeons, crows and even...
There's at least 2 of them out there, and both of them have landed on our patio, welcoming us to the neighborhood.
Or wondering if we have any tasty small pets as an offering for them.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Double Slider Card

Last week was my turn to teach a project to my stamp club. I got the idea from Stamps to Die For. She even has a great video tutorial.

Just pull the little tab and the secret panels will pull up to reveal a hidden message. Cute and surprisingly simple to make.