Saturday, July 21, 2012

Two Gs and me: Day 11

Day 11:

The day we have been eagerly waiting for, the day Amy returns to us from her trek to England. But first we had a 6+ hour road trip to complete, ending at Rodger and Connie's, so that we could go pick her and Martha up at Sea-Tac Airport. It was a long trip with a few bumps along the way, both literally and figuratively, but we still made it. The G's were doubly excited because they love visiting Grandma and Grandpa Peterson, as do I. Packing was uber-stressful because I just finshed up laundry last night and the girls were asleep so I couldn't pre-pack. So the morning was a tad hectic as I tried to pack everything, cook breakfast, water the garden and plants, and get the girls ready. But eventually we got it all done and hit the road. Whew!

Ready for the road trip! Sorry for the bright sun Gemma. 

Happy Meal to go! Call child protective services!

Check out Mt. Rainier in the distance. 

G2 colors at Grandma and Grandpas while we wait to go to the  airport.

I know that it won't fully sink in that my wife is finally home for a while. She just flew for 10+ hours and has been up for 24 hours, give or take a nap on the plane. I too am tired. Bring a single parent is very hard work, and those who do this have my ultimate admiration, especially those who also work. I know that this is how my wife feels for the majority of high school golf season. My hours are long, and I'm gone a lot, plus Amy works full time. That now has a whole new meaning to me. The last 10 days have been a great opportunity for me and I've learned a great deal. I've been able to spend lots of time with my daughters. I've been given a chance to realize how much I take my wife for granted, just because I see her every day. I've also discovered that although I strive to help out around the house as much as possible, I know I can do more. I can also do a couple of different pony tails (kinda) and I can make a meal and clean up more efficiently than before. Amy and I have attended some great marriage events, more specifically our favorite is "Weekend to Remember" by  Family Life. In those retreats I learned that marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. It is much more sacrificial than that. We should strive to love, honor, and serve our spouse, and give of ourselves freely. I have learned first hand how much my wife sacrifices for our family, every day of the week. This experience will inspire me to be a better husband and dad.

 I have enjoyed blogging throughout the entire experience and many of you have shared with me that you have enjoyed reading along. I've always had our family blog and have been a bit sporadic in posting regularly, but Amy keeps that pretty active. This blog was meant to be something I can post to with things related to my life interests and experiences, and until this experience has been dormant. My goal is to post more regularly (not likely to be daily) and include reviews of tech stuff, education, running, biking, golf, music, and whatever else life brings my way. Please feel free to follow this blog and our family blog as well at: www.vandalgrads.com

Waiting at the airport

Yay! Mom is home. G2 is happy, really. She just didn't want to pose for another picture. 

The 2 Gs and I are anxious to show Amy how much we appreciate her. We are all very happy, but also very tired.  It has been a great journey for sure. Thank you all for following along, and thank you to those who helped me out the last 2 weeks! Rodger, Connie, mom, dad, Sarah and many others.

Signing off... bring on the Summer Olympics!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Two Gs and me: Day 10

I feel like I've worn out the phrase "what a day!" Certainly I could try to find more creative ways of illustrating my feelings at the end of each day with my two Gs and without my amazing wife, but then again I'm just too tired to muster up the creative energy. So what a day it has been! The girls woke up at a decent hour again today I have to say I've got this routine down to a... well, down to a routine! In fact, the girls were both ready early enough today that we got to Skype with Amy before going up to Camp Aowakiya  for the final day. The girls jockeyed for position and attempted to show mom 1.5 weeks worth of stuff in 10 minutes. It was fun to watch and I just made sure the connection was OK (it can't be good since we are stuck on a 3mbps DSL connection. Thanks Frontier!) and that they shared the front facing camera. Isn't technology amazing? Here were the 2 Gs, talking with their mom, who was a world away, yet seemed like she was in the same room.
Skyping with mom!

Despite G2 putting on an act that she could barely muster up the strength to get out of the car to go to camp, we had a successful drop off and after that I was back home for a quick run, followed up by some housework. I also was greeted by my neighbor George who promptly took me to his house to give me an army's supply of fresh Blueback and smoked Blueback fish. You see, my 80+ year old neighbor had been up and fishing by 4AM and back home with the freshly caught fish cleaned and soaking in water, by the time we all got up and ready for camp. I'm quite blessed to get to be in the lives of such amazing people.
Camp drop off point. 

I then went into work and got a few more things done. As I said earlier, I love what I do, and I love who I work with. I'm honored to get to work along side such great people who all work together for kids. It's quite the opportunity. Once done there, it was time to head up to Camp Aowakiya again for the end-of-the-week celebration. It's a time of seeing the camp area as well as observing the kids doing some activities and even playing some games and enjoying some treats. It all started out great with a couple of guys from the Dept. Of Lands giving a cool demonstration of their truck and all the cool equipment used to fight fires and keep our forest land healthy. The icing on the cake was that one of my former golfers and all around great kid (not a kid anymore) was one of the Dept. Of Lands guys and it was really cool to see him interact with the kids.

Dept of Lands demonstration

Protective chaps for chainsaw use

How many kids can you fit in a Dept of Lands Truck?

Fire hose demonstration by Justin, one of my former golfers!

What happened next was pretty amazing. The clouds were darkening by the minute and we even heard some rumbling thunder, but it was still pleasant, plus we were protected by the tall timbers and narrow valley surrounding the camp area. However, as we began playing a fun jelly bean relay game, it began to rain. No matter, we were having way too much fun to let a little rain dampen our spirits. (pun intended) However within about 5 minutes, the rain turned to a downpour, and the wind picked up. People ran for shelter, and I ended up in the souvenir tent with a few other staff, kids, and parents. A gust of wind blew through the tent, nearly picking up the entire shelter structure so another parent an I anchored it down while the others trammed the souvenirs to a dry/secure location. Seeing them all getting wet, we decided to grab some items and make a trip too, and about 10 seconds upon letting go of the shelter, another gust of wind picked up the shelter and threw it about 15 feet into the woods! It was pretty amazing. About that time, as we frantically tried to rescue the shelter, a few pieces of hail littered the grass. Wow this is cool, we thought, until the hail got bigger and more frequent. Before long we were being pelted by marble sized hailstones while trying to fold up the shelter. It was really amazing and if you got nailed by a piece of hail it stung! We got things secured and were able to thank the camp leaders before heading down the gulch.
G ate lunch by this creek. She loved it this week!

Some of the hail that pelted us. This had melted a bit too!

G1 and G2 by the Camp Aowakiya  backstop


We then got some ice cream at McDonalds to celebrate and met at Grandma Dee's for our treat. G1 got also got a haircut from Auntie Sarah while I did some family computer work. After that the Gs and I returned home, cooked a yummy pizza and the Gs watched a movie with their dinner while I prepared for our trip to Tacoma. After baths, I let the girls play a bit longer and considerably later than their typical bed time. When I asked them if they were ready for bed, G1 said "I am so excited to see mom I could stay up all night!" So I let them party it up for another hour or so.

Ice Cream celebration afterwards. 

G2 putting her arm around G1 while watching some TV. So sweet. 

My hail made the news! Thanks Kris Crocker!


They are now in bed, and I'm finishing up the blog while waiting for some laundry to finish up so I can pack for our trip. I'm pretty excited too. I miss my wife more than words can say and I also have an appreciation for her that knows no bounds. I remember attending pre-marriage classes, then also attending 2 Weekend to Remember retreats and hearing that our love would continue to grow. I never doubted it but I have experienced it on new levels these last two weeks. Being apart from my wonderful wife has reinforced to me once again how much I need her in all that I do. I enjoy lots of things but everything is simply better with her at my side. I wonder if I'll be able to sleep tonight!

Two Gs and me: Day 9

Day 9:
G1 was a bit embarrassed but let me take her picture before camp this morning.

Hey guess what? Today was full of adventure, challenges, and fun, but perhaps a bit more tame than yesterday.  The blog is up a bit late today because our power flickered briefly and for some reason, one of my routers decided to stop working correctly. 2 hours later, I have patched together a setup that should work.

Both G1 and G2 got up right on time, and while they were both eating breakfast, I decided to keep G2 home from day camp. After yesterday's events, I thought it would be best if G2 had a break and maybe had a chance to fully recover. The only problem was that I had scheduled interviews for a position we have open at work for the afternoon. I wasn't sure who to contact on such short notice so I texted Sarah, who wasn't feeling too good either. So, I decided to pack up G2's stuff, including a lunch, and took her into work with me. She was doing OK when Sarah was able to watch her after all. I'm thankful for that.

After roughly 3 hours of interviews, it was finally time to go home and see how G2 was feeling. It was immediately apparent that she was back to 100%. Shortly after getting home, it was time to go pick up G1 from camp and then it would be on to Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner. I visited with the camp director briefly while picking up G1 and he had nothing but nice things to say about G1. He said "She's a very patient girl," which made my heart swell. I'm so thankful and proud of G1. She's been a huge help throughout this entire adventure and she is very patient with her little sister. After dinner, the girls ate some treats and played a little bit and I took some time to go across the alley to help my aunt with her computer woes.

Puzzles with Grandma

Once we got home, it was bath time again, albeit later than usual. I also let the girls eat the pudding G1 had made at Grandma's the night before. The girls loved that treat. After eating her pudding, G2 was rocking a sweet pudding stache. We brushed teeth, and proceeded to bed. I thought G2's prayer before bed was pretty indicative of how she's feeling these days: "I pray... momma... eh-pane (Airplane)... & momma eh-pane... & 5 minute momma eh-pane ... momma & momma." Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel too G2.
Pudding-stache lol She thought I was admiring her iPad Barbie Movie. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two Gs and me: Day 8

Day 8:
Ready for camp day III. 

I'm not sure how to begin today's post. First of all, I'm not even an amateur blogger, nor do I pretend to be. But today's adventure will be tough to put into words. Once again we started the day with an improvement on the previous mornings' regimen. G2 slept in, G1 had to be awakened, and the dog actually slept in too. I woke up to the sound of my alarm, got everything prepared and then woke the  two Gs. The girls got dressed, I prepared breakfast, girls ate breakfast, I prepared lunches for the day. It was like clockwork! I gave them some $ to spend at the camp store and off we were ready to rock and roll. The only red flag was that G2 finished her breakfast, but pointed to her stomach and said "it hurts." Now, Amy and I have learned what this means. G2 has some issues with going #2. She can hold it like no other. If there was a competition for holding a bowel movement for the longest time, G2 would be an Olympic caliber candidate. We aren't sure where she developed this but we have definitely experienced ups and downs since she's been in our family. (Mostly ups)

I dropped the Gs off at the top of Montgomery Gulch for camp and was able to enjoy the moment, unlike Tuesday morning. Seeing my little girls embarking on another adventure that will ultimately create lifelong memories and shape their lives is really a significant experience. G2 still seemed a little but off her game, but nonetheless I was committed to nudging her to explore adventures!

Once again, I went into work. I had to run a few errands first, and while running them, I received a couple calls/texts from a various people I know stating a variety of computer woes. I returned to work and followed up on the personal calls and was even able to help resolve one of them. Once done with those items, I focused on a few key projects for school. You see, I'm not on contract (that means I'm not being paid), but I realize the importance of technology in education and love the challenge. I only mention this because I am really struggling with the scrutiny public education is under. I work with extremely talented, caring, hard working people and I find it really sad that more often than not they are being attacked from all angles. State, Federal, parents, you name it. The "system" isn't broken as the current trending articles would have you believe. Rather the teachers that are at the very heart of education are being attacked. But back to my point, I go into work on my "off" time because I believe I can make a difference. I was able to get a little bit done before getting the dreaded call.....

Yes, that dreaded call. The call from the camp director; the call that something has happened that requires your assistance. It turns out that our precious G2 had an "accident" and needed a change of clothes. Further, she was doubled over and saying she didn't feel good. "OK," I said "I'm just 10 minutes away so I'll be up right away." I stopped at home on the way (remember "Home court advantage?" Yeah it helped big time here) and got a change of clothes for G2 as well as a plastic bag and a wet washcloth. Amy and I have dealt with this before so I was gonna be prepared. Upon arriving, which included me driving the extra 1/2 mile to the actual camp, I saw G1 sitting faithfully next to G2, who was just sitting quietly. The camp director was there too, so I got out and greeted everyone. G1 really wanted to tell me about the cool things she had done that day, but I had to direct her into the car while I handled G2. I could smell the "accident" from 5 feet away so I knew I had my work cut out for me. Since the facilities are pretty rustic at camp, I took G2 to the other side of the car and began to assess the damage and attempt to clean her up enough to put her in the car. I don't think you need graphic details here, but I can assure you that this was worse than any diaper you have ever encountered. I cannot believe G2 was able to sit in that condition for more than 5 minutes... and she probably endured it for hours. It was all I could to to clean her up without my gag reflex winning over. I could tell she was ashamed and embarrassed. At least we were behind the car out of sight of everyone. Of course that was short lived. A couple of the older campers thought it would be fun to come check it out and offer commentary. It broke my heart to the core for both G2 and G1 as they snickered in the background. I was once again reminded of how cruel kids could be.  Nonetheless we pressed on and I encouraged G2 and cleaned her enough to transport to the bottom of the gulch (Home court advantage!! See!) Long story short, I gave G2 2 baths. She was somewhat confused when I drained the tub and made her take another bath. G1 was once again a complete rockstar. G2 is so blessed to have G1 as her advocate. I even heard G1 in the bathroom while G2 was on her 2nd bath, telling her about going #2. "When you have to go, you should just go Gemma," G1 said. Such a great sister!

After trying to hose off G2's clothes, then wash them, it was obvious that the clothes were not salvageable. I swear I needed a hazmat suit. Yeah, I told you it was bad. So I tossed them in the trash. We then took G1 to Grandma Dee's and since G2 was again upset G1 got to go to Grandma's, I took her to the store and we got some yummy dinner and ice cream for a treat.

It was a day full of triumphs, learning, and challenges. But we made it. I couldn't have done it without the help of G1 and hope/pray that G2 feels better tomorrow. She has so much to learn and experience.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Two Gs and me: Day 7

Day 7:

Well, this morning, getting up and getting ready for Camp Aowakiya was a bit more polished. It was jump-started by G2 getting up at 6AM. (actually 5:54AM, but who's keeping track) This wouldn't have been significant, had I not stayed up late watching Netflix, assuming I could sleep in until 7:30AM. Nonetheless, the day was started and with a little coffee I would survive. Beyond that, nothing too eventful other than getting ready (clothes were all picked out the night before), eating breakfast, and me making lunches. (Again, organized the night before) We were so efficient today, we were ready with at least 20 minutes to spare!
Ready for camp! Day 2. (more time for pictures today!

The trip up the gulch was where the fun began for me. More fun at work was in store. I got about 5 text messages and a few phone calls all within a minute, from various people at work saying "we have no Internet." My first thought was that it was related to the mass amounts of lightning the Spokane area was experiencing. So I figured I'd just go in and see what was going on. This also kinda spoiled my moment of dropping off the girls. See, I'm still an emotional mush ball and dropping off my girls for a day long adventure is still pretty heart wrenching for me. Long story sort, shortly upon arriving at my office, the computer tech and I were able to trace down the problem in under 5 minutes. For some blasted reason, one of our UPS units (think Surge protector on steroids) just decided turn off on its own, and it happened to be powering some of our super-important networking equipment. Thanks Murphy's Law! As I always say, "Tech Happens!"

I was eventually able to get in a good ride, followed by a few hours of yard work consisting of trimming and mowing. A couple more errands and it was then time to pick up the girls. Although I could tell they were tired again, I had filled up the pool at home and it was still hot outside so G1 and G2 could not resist. They played in the pool, then moved to the trampoline, then to the pool. Whew. I was tired watching them! It was then time for some gourmet mac & cheese, which was requested by G1. She's been such a rockstar in Amy's absence that I could not deny her.

Picking up the Gs from camp.

Water meter, water shmeeter...this cool water feels invigorating!

Pool party

Trampoline session between soaks in the pool. 

Goggles! 

Goggles + Trampoline!

Picking some strawberries after bath. 


After dinner consisted of bath X2, G1 doing a little strawberry picking, and a little bit of quiet time followed by traditional books and bed. I think I'll try to get to sleep a little earlier tonight in anticipation of another early wake up call from G2. Either that or I'll plan on a nap tomorrow instead of yard work! I'm tapping out. Whew.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Two Gs and me: Day 6

Day 6:

Well, give or take 12 hours we are at about the halfway point. I was even pretty well prepared (at least for me) for today as the girls would be attending Camp Aowakiya all day. My only minor err of judgment was wake up time. I'm so used to the girls getting up between 6:30-7:00 that I estimated 7:45AM would be a good target wake up time to get the girls dressed, fed, and prepped for camp at 9:00AM. Remember Camp Aowakiya is up at the end of the road up Montgomery Gulch so it's only about a 10 minute ride max. We have definite home court advantage here! Well, it turns out that 7:45 was cutting it pretty close, at least for the first morning. I'm used to making breakfast as that is one of my normal duties, but making breakfast, packing lunches, and making sure the girls are dressed, teeth brushed, etc was a good challenge! Factor in getting the dog outside for "duties," and it was a pretty high paced hour! I merely imagined myself as a contestant of Chopped as I prepared scrambled eggs with melted cheese, fresh fruit, and yogurt while cranking out some ham & cheese sandwiches and sides of apples, carrots, chips, fruit snacks, and Gogurt! OK, it wasn't quite Chopped level performance but to me it was every bit so. Not only did the girls get fed, clothed, teeth brushed, repellent applied... oh and dog relieved, but we made it to camp with 10 minutes to spare. And thanks to my uber-organized wife, all paperwork and medical info was in order. Signature... picture... Goodbye!
The Gs on their first day of Camp Aowakiya

Checked in!



After that I got in a run before it was too terribly hot, and then it was off to work to catch up on a lot of business that had piled up in the last 10 days. Yes I'm officially off contact (AKA Vacation) but a tech person's job is never done. Although I'm officially off the books, I still love what I do and know that we are facing some significant challenges to keep technology thriving and relevant at our schools and departments. I'm also very blessed to work with some of the best in the EdTech business too. So that makes me want to work even harder. It was a very productive 6 or so hours and a lot was accomplished. Unfortunately it was only about 20% or so of my substantial "ToDo" list. Nonetheless, I feel good about getting some things done.


The "After" shot. End of a long day G2? 

Next, I picked up the girls and the ride down the gulch was a good indicator that both Gs were tuckered. Gracie shared a moderate amount of stories from the day, but G2 was too tired to even muster her normal 2 bits. We went to the store to get some essentials and I rewarded the girls with a cold orange smoothie, G1's favorite drink of all time. Once we got home the girls sat at the table getting their digital fix while I "cooked" dinner. I put cooked in quotes because I merely had to warm up a batch of Amy's epic red sauce and fire up some pasta and garlic bread. Again, I was able to imagine myself in Iron Chef with the secret ingredient... CARROTS... left over from lunch today! Easy enough. You don't eat your lunch carrots, you get them as a "side" for dinner. Problem solved. However, G2's fatigue continued to show as she barely touched any of her dinner (she loves Amy's sauce) and said "I'm ty-luhd" (tired) a few times.

It was now time for bath as both girls were pretty grubby from camp all day. Since G2 didn't finish dinner she didn't earn dessert. So I told Gracie to take a bath 1st so  she could have her dessert while G2 was bathing. After the bath shuffle, I sent both girls downstairs to unwind for an hour or so. I watered the flowers, and cleaned a bit and I thought I heard some strange wailing sound in the distance. But couldn't make it out. I passed it off as the girls next door playing outside. A few minutes later, I heard this faint wailing sound but it was identical to the sounds I heard earlier. Upon going downstairs I found G1 and G2 both clutching to a large red ball both crying at the top of their lungs with G1 shouting "I had it first! I had it first! I had it first." The louder G2 got the louder G1 cried and increased her will to get the $1.97 red ball from Walmart from G1's death grip. After getting over the shock of such a G1 meltdown (remembering they were both super tired) I calmly walked over took the red ball of magic and removed it from the room. I was officially calling it a night! We ended up with only a minor whine/whimper during teeth brushing and mustered a book before both Gs were fast asleep... WHEW!

It is fascinating how being tired really manifests itself with kids. I hadn't seen G1 that hysterical for months. And G2 was clearly sleepwalking because I know red $1.97 Walmart balls are cool, but it's not like they are unicorns or rainbows or Yo Gabba Gabba in HD. Anyway, after 6 days of splendid behavior, I guess we were due for a little frustration. Hopefully the early bedtime will help for tomorrow!

Day 6 in the books. In the words of G1's prayer before dinner tonight "please let the days go faster until Mom comes home..."
Looks like someone else is tired too!

Two Gs and me: Day 5

Day 5: Another day in the books. Today was really the first day we had to meet a time commitment. Because we had some different stuff happening at church with our music, I needed to be there early. So it was a little more important to get both girls up, feed them, and get them ready in time as opposed to a more leisurely pace. It was also a tad more challenging because I had regular laundry as well as laundry from the 1 day excursion to the lake, both clean and dirty. To make matters even more fun, some of G1 and G2's clothes are so close in size I can't always tell them apart! Since I don't have my wife's knack for fashion, I chose a simple ensemble for the Gs!

G2 debuts with the worship team!

I can't say enough how great the girls were before and during church when there were periods of time I was preoccupied with other duties and couldn't directly supervise them. They just went about their routines and in fact, at one point I went up to the pew where we often sit and there they were just coloring and playing away! Once church got started, a friend stepped in and helped a bunch too! Another cool thing that happened was that during music practice before the service Gemma told me (on one of my trips back and forth) that she wanted to go up on the altar. She is usually so shy so I figured I'd take her up on the challenge. She became instantly shy on her way up as the worship team was playing/singing, but I found a tambourine in my drum stuff and showed her how to use it. She stayed up there the whole song and played along! It was cool for sure.

We followed up church with a Skype session with Amy which the girls loved. G2 asked Amy if she was still on the "Eh-pane" (airplane) to which Amy replied "no, but I'll be home soon." G2 followed up with her famous "5 more minute?" It was pretty special. Anyway after an unsuccessful attempt at a nap for G2 and then the girls got to visit Grandma Dee and Grandpa Jim. I was able to join them for yummy Tacos later that evening. Once we were all home again it was baths for both and preparation for Camp Aowakiya tomorrow, our 2nd timed prep! But after today I'm confident we can continue to build on our success. I even helped G1 put her laundry away, clean her bedroom and pick out something to wear at camp. G2 will have to wait until tomorrow morning.
G1 and G2 skyping with Amy


Skype!


We ended by reading a book and our daily note from Amy. After that I had some time to clean the litter, do some laundry, dishes, and dump the garbage. Another great day and much to be thankful for.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Two Gs and me: Day 4



Day 4: Today had so much action, it seems like multiple days are blending together! After getting up and making the Gs breakfast, Sarah relieved me again so I could get another run in. Oh, and for any of you runners, or maybe bikers, I recently got one of these because I use my phone and a GPS app to track my mileage and also to listen to music/podcasts while I run/bike. This thing is great and is much more effective than an armband for me.

After the run, we focused on whether or not to the lake for Saturday and Sunday. It was cloudy, but warm in Kellogg so I began to pack up for an overnight trip. Now, I said this before but I'll repeat it: I've always appreciated all the "behind the scenes" work my wife does for our family. But as I began packing clothes, toiletries, and entertainment for both Gs, food, cooler, towels, Dolly's stuff, and all the other miscellaneous items, I stopped and was in total awe of how well my wife does these tasks and how organized she is! Just as I was feeling as though I had it close to ready, (it was too hot to load up the car gradually, so I had to stage everything inside) I realized I hadn't even packed any clothes or supplies for me! So I finished that up, loaded up the car, rounded up the girls (including Dolly) and off we went.

My brotha-from-anotha-motha

After arriving, we were eventually joined by Ken Lagerquist. We spent the first hour cleaning/sweeping/scrubbing/spraying off a freakish amount of goose poo from our dock. Evidently a flock of geese made our dock their meeting place the last week and aye carumba they left a heck of a mess! The girls swam while Ken and I washed the dock. Soon after that we did a little bit of lounging and noticed some weather was approaching. We fired up the BBQ and had some epic steaks Ken got from Sonnenberg's Market in Spokane. Within 5 minutes of eating the skies opened up and unleashed a rainstorm of rainstorms. It was unreal. The girls actually enjoyed the sheer magnitude of the rain, lightning, and thunder. But it was daytime and I could see the concern in G2's eyes about the thunder. She still doesn't like it. I could see the writing on the wall and made the decision to return home, despite all the packing and preparation. I could barely get the car loaded it was raining so hard, but eventually we got in and returned to 2 Engdahl.

Movie Night!

The girls were so good, that we celebrated our warm dry house with another "Movie Night," to which G1 said "Dad, we have never had 3 movie nights in a row." I've been letting them watch a movie each night since we got home. Tonight I popped popcorn and also let the girls eat the treats they picked out originally for the lake. They were giddy with excitement as they watched "Barbie As Mariposa." I finished up the evening by watering, and cleaning up around the house. More ways to remind me how amazing my wife is.

I haven't taken too much time to explain how much being away from my wife, Amy, has really impacted me. The idiom "Absence makes the heart grown fonder" really has hit home for me this week and although I'm really enjoying the time I can spend with G1 and G2, I really miss my wife. It has been interesting to see the little ways that we take one another for granted in the hustle and bustle of life!
G1 took this picture before Amy flew to England!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Two Gs and me: Day 3


Day 3: OK, I've had some backup from TBILE (The Best In Laws Ever) the last few days, followed by a full day of travel and retail therapy, so today was the first actual day we've been home without Amy. Things went particularly well, thanks in part to my sister, Sarah, who came over in the AM to relieve me so I could go for a run. She watched some cartoons and helped with a sweet floor puzzle. The girls love their Auntie Sarah (Miller) and I sure appreciate her helping me get a little workout in!

The afternoon was pretty good too, as we ventured out to the KSD391 District Office for a meeting. The G's took full advantage of our new Guest Wifi on their iPads and were soon spoiled by popsicles from Terry and Cindy while I had my meeting. Air Conditioning, iPads, Popsicles... what more could you ask for? Once my meeting was over we stopped by the "City Park," as G1 calls it, and scoped out the pool. Gemma Lu was immediately ready, but I said, let's go home first. Once we got home, the girls begged to put on their swimming suits so I relented and off to the pool we went; We even had free passes from the Kellogg Public Library so we were in business! Great job reading girls!

The pool was great. G1 immediately donned her goggles and began swimming in the "Big" pool. G2 scoped out the little pool and played for a good hour before wanting to go see G1. So what the heck, I let G2 walk down the stairs in the 3' and see how the big kids rolled. She did just great, but my hesitation is that G2 knows no fear. She goes 100% until she either gets hurt or worse. So I watched her carefully. Soon after hitting up the BP (Big pool) G2 was joined by one of her BFFs from school, Sing Sing. After that the party was on! We were later joined by Grandma Dee (Gratta) and Auntie Sarah while the girls swam like there was no tomorrow. Both G1 and G2 swam hard until 5 bells when it was time to get out of the pool.






We returned home and had time for a quick change so we could go to the store to get some groceries for a possible trip to the lake Saturday/Sunday. While commuting home to Montgomery Gulch, I noticed it got a tad quiet, so I peered into the rear view mirror and noticed that G2 was sound asleep! Less than a 5 minute car ride and she was sawing logs! We had to wake her from a deep sleep to have dinner and a bath!


So here I am, 11:00PM after another wonderful day with my girls. I miss my wife terribly, but I know that she is having the trip of a lifetime so I'm able to keep on keeping on. It has been a very full and rewarding day. My girls are so amazing! Again... blessings abound.

Signing off.

SM

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Two Gs and me: Day 2

Touring the Washington coast Wednesday in Rodcon's new Honda Pilot! 

Day 2: As much as I would love to stay with my In-Laws for a few more days (weeks), it was time for me and the girls to return to K-Town as we have some laundry, watering, and other commitments to honor in the upcoming week. Have I mentioned that I have the best In-Laws in the whole wide world? What an awesome stay at Casa de Rodcon we've had the last few days. I must say, although there are too many for me to name, if there was a single reason for me to believe in God, my In-Laws would be exhibit A. In 1989, they gave up all they had and left their lifelong home to come to the Silver Valley and they brought their daughters, which happened to include my bride-to-be, and began another chapter in their lives. Long story, short... they eventually returned to Tacoma, but my wife remained with me... and I'm still in awe; What a God send. 

But I digress! Day 2 was another success primarily because I have 2 of the best daughters ever. OK, the travel treats from their Grandma Dee, the iPads, and the Nintendo DSes don't hurt either, but still! Both the girls were angels and Gracie stepped up her game, once again. She helped me the entire trip, including taking Gemma into the bathrooms at all of our stops while I waited outside. Yeah they are both still young enough to go into the men's bathrooms with me, but it is becoming a bit awkward, depending on the setup of the bathrooms. None the less, G1 rocked it all day long. She was my little helper in the car and out of the car. One time I heard G2 struggling with something, probably couldn't reach her pile of M&Ms or some #firstworldproblem like that, so I said "Hey G could you help Gemma?" Gracie immediately said "OK," and I heard her resolve said issue. I looked in the rear view mirror to confirm and I caught a glimpse of Gracie rolling her eyes at G2's helplessness. Ha ha. It was hilarious. Our Gracie Faye is quite the 8 year old!

As the miles added up, the girls continued to dominate. We miss Amy to the extreme, but we are holding our own. I'm extremely blessed to say the least. Gemma's English progress is simply astounding to top it all off. We are glad to be home, but we miss Amy and we also miss Grandma and Grandpa Peterson! 

I'm finishing off the day by putting away some dishes, watering what the thunderstorm didn't get, and doing laundry from our trip. I'm also typing this blog on my laptop while tethered to my phone which is propped up in the front room window, since our Frontier DSL connection went out right in the middle of the only chat I've had with Amy in 2 days! C'MON Man! Thankfully I'm a tech ninja. I'll get this blog posted if it is the last thing I do! 

Signing off, 

A blessed Dad/Husband