Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Camping 2012

We only went camping once this summer, because we're saving our money and vacation days for the Disney cruise we're planning in November!
We went to Knoll Lake as usual, but this time some friends from church, the Woodruffs, came with us.  They have 17-year-old twin daughters, and one of them has been spending a couple of days a week at our house with the kids while Rob and I are at work.  They're great girls.

One thing we like about Knoll Lake is that usually when most of the state has fire restrictions, the Knoll Lake campground isn't restricted.  Rob checks the Forest Service website every day leading up to our trips each year, just to make sure.

Well, this year, he checked it early in the morning the day we left, and unbeknownst to us, they placed a fire restriction a couple of hours later.  Oops.  After setting up camp and relaxing a bit, we built a nice campfire and made our hobo dinners.  We were all sitting around the fire when we had the pleasure of meeting Mel.

The campground used to have a caretaker called Mountain Eddie, who we really liked.  But this year, the Forest Service decided to manage the campground themselves, and they guy replacing Mountain Eddie was much less personable.  Mel drove up to our campsite, headlights blazing into our faces, and marched right up to our fire with a 5-gallon container of water.  "I'm going to have to put out your fire," he said and immediately dumped the water on it.

We were all a little dumfounded, and Rob started asking him what was going on and what they guy's name was.  Mel was kind of a big jerk, but he eventally explained that he was away from the campsite during the day because he had to go into town to pick up the fire restriction order, and that he had to make sure all the fires were out.  Fine - we're all about not buring down the forest, and we would've put out the fire if he had asked us, but he didn't have to be a creep about it!  We were scared we wouldn't be able to cook all our meals and we'd have to go home early.  The kids were crying.  Good times!

The next morning, Rob talked to Mel and he sort-of apologized for the way he treated us and offered to let us use his gas camp stove to cook our meals.  It ended up working out OK, but it was kind of a rough start.

The rest of the week was nice!  The weather was great, no rain at all.  The lake was too cold for me, but we went several times, and most everyone else swam quite a bit.  Even the Woodruff's dog, Drew had a good time swimming.  The kids loved having Drew along with us!  She's a very good dog, and Robbie was in heaven.

We played a lot of cards and ate a lot of candy.

We went on a few hikes, and the kids were excited to find this log they like to walk across every year.

We had baseball gloves & bats, so we played catch a lot and we even had a little bit of batting practice.

The first day, before we knew we wouldn't be able to have campfires, Rob had gathered a bunch of firewood.  Since he went to the trouble of getting it, he went ahead and split it all, and we brought it home so we'd have it next time we go camping.  It's hard to see in this picture, but Robbie had the mallet and was helping split wood.

It was a much-needed vacation!  And the next weekend was Father's Day.  One of Rob's presents was a small propane table-top grill, just in case.

Tolleson Ward Building

One Friday morning at the end of June, Rob woke up at 4:30 to use the bathroom and got a text from his mom when he was getting back into bed.  She couldn't sleep and was up watching TV.  She told him to turn on the TV because she thought our church building was on fire.  WHAT???

So he did.  And we stood there in the dark, half asleep, watching our church burn on live TV.

What a weird feeling.  I had to be up in a half hour anyway to go to work, but I felt creepy leaving for work that morning.  I felt like I should be doing something!  Rob, too.  But there was nothing for us to do.  We just kept checking the news/internet for updates and tried to wrap our heads around it.  It's just a building, but it was kind of a second home.  We spent every Sunday and at least one evening a week there for the last 11 years.  Our babies were blessed in that chapel.  We had parties and activities and spiritual experiences there and made friends there.  It was hard to see it go.

The first thing you wonder about a church fire is whether it was done on purpose.  I didn't know this, but every time a place of worship burns, the ATF has to investigate it as arson.  That's too bad.  After a week, the investigators announced that it had been ruled an arson.  So then we knew, but what do we do with that knowledge?  The outcome is the same, regardless of the cause, and as Christian people, we can't hold a grudge against the person who did it.  So that's that.  We try to be OK with it and move on.

It's neat that a couple of schools in Tolleson called and offered up their facilities for us to use on Sundays.  There were three different congregations meeting in our building, so other LDS church buildings found room to work us in to their Sunday and weeknight schedules.  Some congregations had to change their meeting times to accommodate us, and they did it without batting an eye.  So we're meeting in another building for a year or so until we can rebuild and everything is fine.  We do miss our old building!

(image from Google maps)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Robbie Turns Six

Robbie turned 6 last week!  He and Erin spent his birthday at my parents' house, swimming and eating cupcakes and playing with cousins.

That night, he opened some presents at home and we went out to eat.  He was really happy to get a box in the mail from Papa Bob and Nana Sandy in Illinois.

He was super-excited about all his presents, especially his slingshot.  Here's how both kids felt about the slingshot:

Chili's had a coupon for free kids' meals with an adult entree that night, so guess where we ate?  They also brought Robbie a free dessert that was roughly the size of his head.

The kids also get a free meal at Red Robin for their birthday, so that's where we had lunch on Saturday.  Again with the giant free dessert:

On Sunday after church, we had some family over for more presents, and yes, more dessert!  Grandma & Grandpa, Nana & Papa Dan, Kristil and three of her boys, and Scott & Sydnie drove clear over from the east side to see him.  We have good families  :)

Robbie originally wanted a Star Wars cake, but I realized I probably wouldn't be able to replicate my sketches in frosting, so I talked him into a Lego cake instead.  Well, a pair of them, since they were small.

 What a week!

Robbie is a good boy.  He's growing up fast, although he still hasn't lost any baby teeth!  Not even a loose one yet.  Hard to believe he will be in first grade and we won't have any "little" kids anymore.

Robbie is pretty quiet with people he doesn't know very well, and he can be shy in large groups, but he has a pretty wacky sense of humor, and he keeps us all on our toes.  He's also very kind.  This kid is compassionate and can empathize with people, animals, made up characters on TV, you name it.  He's a lot like his sister that way.  He's really into Legos, Star Wars, and anything involving projectiles right now.  He can be a little gentleman and always waits after he gets out of the car so he can walk me into church every Sunday.  He pesters his big sister, but he also completely idolizes her.  He looks up to Rob and wants to be like him, from helping fix things to wearing the same color shirt sometimes.

We love you, Robbie!