Thursday, August 16, 2012

What we did with our summer.

We went camping. All summer long.

We needed to find a new place to rent and after looking around and finding very few suitable places, Matt suggested camping in our RV for the summer. So we looked around, found a fantastic RV park and pulled in.

 I was excited about this because I've been trying to convince Matt for a few years that it would be fun to pull an RV across the country and then up and down the East Coast through historical sites. He always said that it would be too close quarters and I maintained that our family could manage the closeness just fine. This was a chance for both of us to see how it would work.

And, oh, it's been fun. The park has a pool which Ainsley immediately said she'd swim in every day. We've only missed two days in the three months we've been here.

The park has a little playground, and a fish pond, and river front access.

The park also has interesting visitors. We've met so many interesting people pulling through here. It's been an amazing education for my girls - meeting such a variety of people in our 'everyday life' would take some serious thought and planning, but here it's just what happens.

Like the couple traveling the country with their two Amazonian parrots. Or the 80-year-old couple with a tent that was manufactured 60 years ago - by the wife - when they first got married and they still use when they take trips. Or the grandparents taking their Hawaiian grandson on a trip through the mainland. Or the little girl whose mother wouldn't leave her trailer so she wanted to live at ours. Or the couple with dachshunds. Or the 50-year old lesbian couple that was so open and willing to answer my children's questions. Or the man who had throat cancer and now speaks like a robot. Or the man blacksmith who travels to different festivals selling his iron works.

Or the family who travels in a school bus painted blue and has kids just the right size and temperament to mesh well with ours. I could go on and on. 

We've eaten a lot of ice cream.

 We're so lucky to have friends who are keeping our pony only a mile from the RV park, so Ains gets to ride whenever she wants to.
 We visited a local air field that has some old vehicles on display.

(picture by Hannah)

We've gone fishing so many times, but the fish do love us if you know what I mean.

We're enthusiastic, but not very good is what I mean.

We've made hula hoops.

 And played with hula hoops.

Zander's done everything he can to convince us he's one of the dogs.

We've done everything we can to convince him that human food is better.

To that end (and just because I really, really like fresh kale and basil) we sourced out a fantastic little farm to pick fresh veggies since we can't grow our own here.
 We're still discussing the dog food, though. *sigh*

Hannah put together a dog show for the RV park and talked other campers into participating.

We went to the fair and Ainsley had me take a picture of her in front of the award picture backdrop holding the invisible lead to her invisible winning animal. Still not sure what animal it is.

 We discovered Pokemon.

 We played with friends on beautiful summer evenings.


We've only had a few days of bad weather, but we've used those to explore new games that have been big hits.

And one of the best things is this -

 Crashing. Hard. Sleeping deep. Every night.

We're not planning on being here past the summer, but it's been a wonderful summer.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Competing in a dog show.

It's fair season! This year the girls really wanted to go to the 4-H dog show at the fair. It was exactly as exciting as it sounds.

Hannah decided that she needed to host her own dog show. When we got home she and Ainsley sat down at the picnic table and made approximately 237 ribbons - blue, red, white, and purple for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places and for 'honorable mentions'. She explained the purple ribbons to me this way - "They're for people who try really hard, Mom. So if Kaylee doesn't do well then you can get a purple ribbon that says "We're glad you came. I'm glad you're optimistic. Maybe you should be a bit more pessimistic." or "We're glad you came. You tried hard. That's always a good thing."

She also made a sign-up sheet and took it around the RV park to recruit competitors - and she got two!

She assigned her dad to be the judge and assigned her brothers to be 'ribbon boys'. Then she demoted Zander to 'head grass eater' because some things just aren't worth fighting.

I was rather impressed with Kaylee. I was less impressed with the judge who made me do a 'sit-hold-hold-hold-hold-a-little-longer' until the park's sprinklers soaked me. He gave himself a purple 'Best sense of humor' award.

Ainsley worked with her puppy a lot leading up to the show so she won first place. You have never seen a prouder little freckled redhead holding a dachshund. And the judge didn't get a picture.

The judge did, however, do a great job of giving out awards that made all of the contestants feel fantastic. A little girl who competed with her loud, boisterous puppy won 'most talkative dog' which made her giggle for the next 5 minutes.

It was a fantastic show for one put on with only a few hours of preparation. And Kaylee and I took home three - count them, THREE!! - purple ribbons.