Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just Pinch Me






We just returned from a weekend in Bend, Oregon, filled with family, fun, and sunshine. There have been many times since we moved to Oregon in June, that Curt and I look at each other and say, "Just pinch me. Is this for real?"

We spent the weekend with my Dad and his wife Marcy. Grandma Marcy is hooked on antiques and has a passion for family history which translates to family heirlooms all over her home. The kids think it is fantastic that everything they pick up has a story behind it and Grandma loves to tell those stories. They watered flowers with great-great-Grandpa's Charles' watering can, had a tea party with great-Grandma Bernice's tea set, pulled each other around in Grandpa Don's wagon, took great-great-Grandpa Charles' cow bell, tied it around their neck and pretended to be the cows he used to farm, marveled at great-Grandpa George's 80 year old toddler pants, and rolled an antique wheel around the yard that belonged to some long-departed family member whose name I can't remember.

Grandma Marcy made the kids flower pot pudding complete with cookie crumb dirt and gummy worms. Paige, our 2 year old, thought it was real dirt and said, "Oh - doht is good." When we let her know that she shouldn't eat "real dirt," she revised her statement to "Oh- pretend doht is good. I eat pretend doht." For their dessert at dinner, Grandma Marcy made them "banana boats" on the grill - bananas carved out like a canoe and stuffed with marshmallows and chocolate chips then grilled. WAY too much work in my opinion, but the kids dirty faces and oohs and aahs made it seem like it was worth all the putzing.

Grandpa Don loves working outside and he taught Grant how to pull nails out of boards and run the log splitter. They worked together for a good part of Saturday afternoon and Grant earned a pocket watch that clips to his pants for all his efforts. I lived in Scio, Oregon, for a good chunk of my growing up years, and I made every Scio-ite proud by splitting some wood myself. It only took me an hour to bust through 4 chunks...

A weekend to Bend isn't complete if the boys don't golf at least once, so Curt and Dad got in 18 holes first thing on Saturday morning. While the boys golfed, Marcy and I took the kids to a park in the Mill District in Bend. It ran along a portion of the Deschutes River and had a cool play structure, climbing rocks and a bridge out over the river for close-up views of the ducks, geese and fish. I'm sure it was fun, although I spent the majority of the time ferrying our potty-training Paige back and forth to the toilets by the play structure. Somehow in my 18 trips to the john, I never timed it correctly to get the poop actually in the potty and not in her undies! And since she's 2 1/2 , she has to do EVERYTHING by herself which adds an extra 10 minutes to each trip! She blew through (no pun intended) 5 pairs of underwear on Saturday!

We watched Ohio State get slaughtered and celebrated the Ducks double-overtime win while the kids had a Curious George movie and popcorn night with Grandma Marcy. By the time the credits rolled, 2 of our 4 kids were zonked in various locations of the family room.

This morning we worshipped God at New Hope Church and then dashed off to the Duck Race at Drake Park, an annual fundraiser for local Central Oregon charities. The park was set up with a live band playing 50's cover songs, bounce houses, a few carnival games, boothes representing each charity that benefited from the proceeds and of course multiple food vendors. Papa Murphy's had a bean bag toss and to win some free cookie dough, you had to get two bean bags through the holes on the pizza slice. Grant got his first two bean bags through to be a big winner. We were all so proud! We got free balloons, danced and wandered around the park.

The big event was the duck race though. There was an adult race (which we didn't stay to watch) and a kid race where 1,000 rubber ducks are assigned a number. The first 1,000 kids register to race one of the numbered ducks down the Deschutes River. Event organizer insert bumpers into the river that narrow to a small opening at the finish line where volunteers waiting in boats, pluck the ducks out of the river in finishing order. Prizes are awarded for the top 100 finishers. You had to be present to win a prize, so we suffered through the first 40 or so prize announcements, each time listening to groans of disappointment from the 999 kids who DIDN'T get their name called. And then it happened: "Number 53, Kalie Stilp." We knew they meant Katie and we threw a huge party, hooping and hollering and creating quite the ruckus while she went up to retrieve her Blockbuster prize package: candy, popcorn, movie coupons and a free DVD. We were commenting on how unlikely it was that we would win a prize, when the announcer said, "Number 51, Paige Stilp." Again, our fan base created an unprecedented amount of celebration for the free Happy Meal coupon she won! Since our most-competitive children (number 52 and 54) weren't as lucky, we were forced into a great teaching opportunity about what it looks like to be a gracious loser and to celebrate with other people, even if they won what we wanted.

We packed up and headed back over the mountain pass, enjoying the warm summer day, the breeze through the windows, the gorgeous views and the quiet in the van. And at one point, we looked at each other and said, "Just pinch me."

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