Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lakeside Marina Camping

Jamestown, ND is the closest "big" town to Gackle.  It is about 45 minutes away, with a population of about 15,500.  It is where we go to church, grocery shop, visit the library, swim (when the Gackle pool isn't open yet) etc.  Last summer some friends of ours camped at Lakeside Marina.  We were in Jamestown one of the days they were there so we stopped by.  It looked like a fun little campground, so we put it on our list of places to visit this summer.  Jason called last week and they were full for Father's day weekend, he had us put on a waiting list and then later in the week he got a call saying a spot opened up.  We left Friday after Jason got off work, ate at the Tastee Freeze, and headed over.  It was nice camping so close.  It stays light here in ND until after 10pm.  While Jason got everything set up the boys and I rode bikes around the campground.  The campgound is set up in a loop so we just rode the loop over and over and over...they loved it.  Ollie is good enough on his bike that he could ride around himself, but Max needed supervision.  

Having a snack before bed.

We let our kids stay up super late, because at this point it is way more fun when they are awake. We regretted that decision the next morning when they were both super cranky.  We decided naps were going to be a necessity that day.  At the marina they serve a hot breakfast so Saturday morning we headed over there.  The guy who made the breakfast was dealing with a camp issue so while we waited we went down and checked out the water and the pontoon boats (we considered renting one).  
Max had a great time throwing rocks in the reservoir.  

They also had games there, so while we waited for our breakfast we played a game of Yahtzee and Memory.

 The reservoir has a little island and we had hoped to ride our bikes around it after breakfast.  Ollie does fine, but Max is SO SLOW.  He is two and likes to take his time and look around.  He can keep up when he wants to, he just doesn't want to very often.  I took Ollie for a little bit while Jason started back to camp with Max and then we met up with them.  I guess the catfish in the reservoir have some kind of virus right now so there were tons of dead fish, and it stunk so bad.  Needless to say we didn't hang out there long. 

Here is our little family of bikes.  Max is doing so well on his balance bike we are contemplating getting him a pedal bike so he can better keep up with his brother.  

After that we just hung around camp, kicking the soccer ball around (Ollie is signed up to start soccer in the fall).  

Jason set up the awning for me.  I feel like the awning makes your campsite more homey (I'm a dork).  We really didn't need it on this trip and it was actually more of a nuisance, because it was so windy.  

After lunch, we finally got the boys to sleep.  It took us an hour, because they insisted they "weren't tired".  

After naps we took them to the Jamestown Municipal pool.  It was really windy that day, but the pool is heated.  We had a good time, but our skinny boys were freezing when we got out.

 We came back and started getting ready for dinner.  Ollie took it upon himself to be the photographer.  He loves taking pictures with the camera and does a pretty good job.  I love seeing what he comes up with.

I made broccoli salad on Friday for us to eat on Saturday so I would have less to prepare. 

After dinner we rode our bikes some more.  We visited with some people from Gackle who were also camping there that weekend.  They had a camp fire and Max became obsessed and all he could talk about was us getting some wood and building a fire.  When we got back Jason and Max went to the marina to get some wood.  Ollie and I stayed back and just hung out together.  He is such a fun boy.  Jason and Max came back with no wood.  I guess you buy it at the marina and they deliver it to your campground, or you can buy it when she comes around.  Good to know for next time. 

 While we were waiting for the wood to be delivered, Jason heard the sound of racing engines.  He got on his phone and found out that there was dirt track racing going on at the fair grounds near the campground. It was getting late so we didn't want to go in and watch for long, so we found a place and parked.  Jason put the boys on the top of the car so they could see better and we watched for a few minutes.  We even got to see a crash!

When we came back our wood was there, but it was time for the boys to go to bed.  We ushered them in the camper before they could see the wood (which they had forgotten about with the excitement of the races).  We donated the wood to our friends.  All that wood was only $5, and it was delivered to our camp site, we definitely aren't in CA anymore.

For some reason we had a medicine syringe in the bathroom.  The boys had a great time with it during their bath.

 Baby girl is very active.  She is kicking hard enough that the boys can feel her.  I love it.  We make up dialogue like "Hey brother stop pushing on me, I'm already super cramped in here"and then she will kick.  Or, "hey brother I can't wait to meet you, we are going to have so much fun together".  The boys get a kick out of it.

 Sunday morning we laid in bed for a long time having family cuddles.  We finally got up and started putting everything away.  Then we went to church.  After church we finished taking down camp, stopped at the dump station and were on our way.  It was such a great weekend.  I look forward to the other camping trips we have planned this summer and I am really thankful for a husband who plans them.

I love this picture of the boys. I just wish the ugly hookups weren't in the background.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Life in North Dakota

Here are some pictures of what we have been up to since we got to Gackle.  It takes me a couple days to remind myself how to slow down.  There are days when we don't do anything but hang out around the house and go on walks or bike rides around town.  It seems like we would get bored, but we don't.  The days fly by.  

Once in a while Papa comes by on the "Red Devil" and takes the boys to get fresh water from the spring.  They love it.  I love that they love it, but don't love picking the ticks off them later.  The ticks here are out of control.  I have probably picked 8 ticks off of our family...yuck!  Every night when we bathe the boys, I conduct tick checks.  Something I've never done in CA.
I made a homemade Pizza Margherita the other night.  It was divine.

Self portrait by Ollie.

Jason's dad had a porch built on the front of our house this winter.  I bought a swing the first time I went into Jamestown.  We all love sitting outside enjoying the nice days and watching the comings and goings of Gackle.  This picture is courtesy of Oliver.

 I've wanted to put Ollie in gymnastics for a while now, but life is too busy (and expensive) in CA.  I knew once we got here there would be more time and we wouldn't be paying for his preschool every month so I signed him up.  He's only had one class so far and he was apprehensive at first, but by the end he loved it.  I love that I only had to pay $35 for the month of lessons (1x per week for an hour).  If he likes it I will sign him up for a longer, all boys class next month.

Oh my little Max.  He is just the sweetest/cutest thing.  He jabbers all the time. He also hums while he eats, which is really cute, I need to get a video.  He wants to play with brother and his friends, but is just a little too small to keep up.  Here is a pic of him hanging out on my bed with me, just talking.

 I think I mentioned last year about auctions in ND.  I love them.  The first weekend we were here there was one in Gackle.  I bought a box of games for $12.50.  It had Operation, Electronic Battleship, Deluxe Yahtzee, Scrabble, Dominos and a few others I'm not familiar with.  I was pretty excited.  A little about the auction.  This is the first one I have been to where the house didn't sell.  They started bidding at $15,000 and no one bid.  So the auctioneer went down to $10,000, then $7500, still no one bid and the seller wasn't willing to go lower.  Isn't that crazy??  The house did need some work, but still $7500!  My friend Sam also had a yard sale that day and I got lots of cute clothes for our baby girl.  They are the first clothes I have bought.

Jason humored me one Saturday night and played Scrabble with me. He isn't a big game person, but he especially dislikes Scrabble.  What a good sport! 

 One Sunday afternoon after we returned from church a couple of boys we know (Hunter and Eli) came by to see if Ollie wanted to play with them.  They are older than him, I think they are 7, he is almost 5.  I probably wouldn't have let him go anywhere else, but in Gackle I felt ok with it.  I was just really sad, because my boy is growing up.  I had a slight meltdown thinking of how he doesn't need me as much and he is growing up.  We talked with the older boys about making sure they brought him back since he doesn't know his way around town yet.  When it was dinner time Jason just went and found him.  Ollie went out with them the next two days as well.  Each time I would find him when I went out for a walk or he would just show up at home.  This must be what parents in the 50's felt like :)

When brother leaves I have this little guy to keep entertained.  This day he looked so melancholy without his brother. 

 I took him for a bike ride that day.  We got half way down the street and he told me he was too tired to ride. We came back and I put him in the wagon.  I looked back and this was what I saw.  Poor tired baby.  I brought him in and he continued his nap on the couch.

This was a yummy Thai coconut soup I made one day.  We have cool days here where soup is a perfect "supper".  

Last winter our house was rented to some construction workers and hunters.  One day Ollie pulled this out from under his bed and said "Look mom, a jug of water".  I told him that was not water and then dumped it out.  I was a little disappointed when I found out that there were a lot of things I could do with this besides drink it.  I shouldn't have dumped it!

Father's Day weekend we went camping (which I will blog about next).  Here are some pictures from Father's Day.  Of course I didn't take a pic of Jason with the boys :( 

They asked me to help out in nursery while we are in ND :(  I want to be helpful, but I am not going to lie, I was not excited about this calling.  I have a nursery aged child all the time and I teach sunbeams in CA.  I was looking forward to going to Relief Society, but I will help where they need it.  I do enjoy spending nursery with Max though.  During music time, the kids each wore an animal mask while we sang Old McDonald.  Max was a pretty cute cow.

I made Jason Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Mango Basil Salsa and Coconut Lime rice for Father's Day.  It is one of his favorites.  

Jason also requested that I make him some chocolate chip cookies.  Ollie heard this and came back with this drawing.  I thought that was so sweet.  Sometimes I think he feels like the only thing he can do for people is draw them something so that is what he does.  

We got Jason this jar of peanut M&M's. 

And this card that I thought was hilarious.  We also got him a pair of slippers that he wanted.

For Mother's day at preschool Ollie filled out a little questionnaire about me.  Jason had mentioned that he wanted one for Father's day so I made this for him.  I asked both boys the questions and listed their answers next to each other.  Jason really liked reading their responses.  

California to North Dakota

Our plan was to leave for North Dakota sometime in the first week of June.  Oliver's preschool graduation was scheduled for May 31st, and Jason and I planned on seeing Les Mis in Sacramento that evening.  Jason's grandma has suffered from Alzheimers for quite a few years now and has been getting worse.  We knew that she probably wasn't going to make it long and that we may need to pack up early and head to Blackfoot.  I really wanted to make it through the end of May because Ollie had swimming lessons everyday and a few other things going on.  We made it through that week, had a fun weekend with friends and then got word on Sunday May 26th that Jason's grandma had passed.  Even though we knew it was coming and had been wanting it (she really had no quality of life anymore), it was still really sad.  The funeral was scheduled for Saturday June 1st.  We decided (since we were going to miss the preschool graduations etc) that we would leave Wednesday after Ollie's last day of preschool, drive part of the way, spend the night in our camper and then get to Idaho on Thursday.  

The really crappy part about the already extremely long 26 hour drive to ND was that we would be driving separate vehicles.   Miller Honey needed another 2 ton truck in ND and our Flex has a hard time towing the camper that far.  So, Jason drove the truck and I drove the Flex.  The DVD player we had for the boys in the car had been on the fritz so we ordered a set of individual back-of-the-headrest DVD players.  Jason ordered them from Amazon on Sunday and upgraded to one day shipping.  Monday was Memorial Day so we knew they wouldn't ship then.  They still weren't there by the time we left around 2:30pm on Wednesday.  I was slightly annoyed, but luckily Jason's dad was leaving Thursday for ID so he brought them up with him.  Those DVD players were lifesavers.  

We drove to the beautiful resort town of Winnemucca, NV the first night.  We stayed at a little RV park that had a a pool and playground.  Unfortunately, we got there too late to swim and the playground was locked up the whole time.  We walked (the kids ran) around a lot and then put them to bed.  We got up and headed out around 9am the next morning.  The second day of driving was quite a bit longer.  We got into ID around 6pm.

Our caravan.
Idaho was so awesome, even though the circumstances were sad.  It was great to see Jason's family and the boys had the best time.  After we got there Thursday Jason's Grammy Miller brought dinner over.  There was SO much food the whole time, people were so kind and generous.  Eric, Michelle and Taylor arrived late Thursday night.  On Friday morning Jason had a couple Miller Honey meetings/things to take care of so the boys and I just hung out.  That afternoon Michelle, Jan and I went and got mani/pedis.  Jan was so busy with funeral preparations she just got a mani.  Michelle and I got a soda and then some onion rings at Rupes, we are wild and crazy.  That evening was the viewing.  Jan arranged babysitting for the kids which was really nice. It was nice to stand around and talk about Dallas, and to see so many friends and family members.  Jason has a LOT of family in Blackfoot since both of his parents grew up there.  Every time we go anywhere in Blackfoot we run in to cousins/aunts/uncles etc.  

Mike, Jen, Jeff, Ezra, and Jonah got to Blackfoot Friday evening.  The boys were really excited for Ezra to get there, and I couldn't wait to meet baby Jonah (the worlds sweetest baby).  Saturday morning we played outside for a bit and then got ready for the funeral at 11am.  Jason's grandparent's ward arranged babysitters during the funeral. The hour before was another viewing.  Jason took the boys in (which I wasn't sure about, but they did fine).  Max really wanted to know "who killed her" and if they used a knife, I am definitely a mother of boys.  Before the funeral, we had a family prayer in the room with Dallas.  It was really special.  The funeral service was so wonderful.  Jan, Jen and Jason's cousin Megan did a life sketch, there were four beautiful musical numbers by Emily, Sharee and Carley, Uncle Mark and someone from the ward.  Jason's uncle Scott spoke and did a great job, as well as their bishop.  Tears flowed freely, but mostly it was a great tribute to Dallas' life.   We picked up the boys from the babysitters and took them with us to the cemetery.  We had just been at a cemetery for Memorial Day so my boys knew the drill.  Max picked a dandelion and put it on Dallas' coffin.  It was a sweet moment (and the only pic we took).

The ward put on a delicious luncheon after the funeral for all the family.  It was so nice.  After that we went back to Jason's grandparents.  The backyard at his Grandpa's house is unreal.  The yard is huge and the grass is perfect, like run around with no shoes on and never step on anything but soft, luscious grass perfect.  My kids have the best uncles.  Eric (Michelle's husband) plays with them non-stop and Ollie just adores him.  Uncle Jeff (Jen's husband) always brings and initiates tons of fun games.  This time he brought stomp rockets, bocce ball, dodge ball, kites, etc.  We spent the whole afternoon outside having the best time.  That evening without planning, tons of family just started showing up.  Kids played, adults sat outside talking and laughing, everyone ate exorbitant amounts of food, it was awesome.  I know Dallas would have been happy to see her family together enjoying each other.  

Here we are driving to church.  We did a lot of driving like this, kids sans car seats.  We are really good parents.  

Taylor is so cute.  Pretty blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes.  Her parents are going to have to keep a close eye on her!

Uncle Mike put his #provoallstar shades on Max.  Max knew he was hot stuff. 

I'm really sad this picture is so dark.  This is grandpa playing with Max.  Max's face says it all, he was having the best time playing cars with grandpa.  I don't think my boys realize (they are too young), how lucky they are to have such awesome grandparents AND great-grandparents.  

Jason's grandpa was watching The Lawrence Welk show one night and my boys really liked it.  I'm going to start making them watch my favorite musicals.  

We left Monday morning around 8:30am.  I wanted to stay another day, but Jason was anxious to get out to ND and start working.  The boys actually did really well on the drive. One would drive with me and watch a movie, while the other rode with daddy in the "big, big truck".  After that they would both get in with me and nap (the carseats in my car are a lot more comfortable for napping).  After naps we would swap and the boy who had been with daddy would come with me and watch a movie, while the other rode with Jason.  I was definitely the least favorite car to ride in.  They LOVED riding in the truck.  They could see everything and would just talk and ask Jason a million questions (which I guess is payback because Jason was an annoyingly curious child).  That night we stopped in Billing, MT.  We had stayed there last year on our way back from ND.  Instead of the same campground, we tried one a quarter of a mile down the road.  It is the first KOA in the United States.  Ollie overheard me talking about the pancake breakfast that they serve in the morning and decided that is what he wanted for dinner.  We went to Denny's and it was the best my kids have eaten in a long time, they ate everything!  Since Denny's was not our first choice for dinner, we were pleasantly surprised .  After that we hit up the last Costco we could (no Costco in ND).  We stocked up on paper products and some of our favorite Costco staples.  Then we went back to our campsite and went swimming in the heated pool and hot tub.  It was cold that evening with misty rain and strong winds, but the pool felt awesome.  The next morning the boys and I played mini golf while Jason packed up camp.  

Along the way we stopped for gas and lunch in Glendive, MT.  It is a GHETTO town, but we needed to stop.  We ate at this seriously shady Chinese restaurant.  It had good reviews on Yelp, so we took a risk and ate there.  Was it the best Chinese food I've ever had?  No (that title is reserved for Lincoln Chinese), but no one got sick...whew.  As we were driving away we decided we had to have a picture of the place.  I can't believe we ate there.

We couldn't decide if we were going to stop in Bismarck (2 hours from Gackle) and camp, or just push through.  The weather was pretty craptastic (windy, rainy and cold) so we decided we didn't want to get the travel trailer all set up in the cold.  We stopped in Bismarck, got some groceries, and had dinner.  I had both boys from Bismarck to Gackle and we were all DONE with the trip by that point.  Needless to say I was SO happy to see the Gackle water tower, and drive to our little yellow house off Main Street.  I've had a couple people ask to see more of Gackle so I have been taking pictures around town and plan to post them soon.  

I took this pic of Ollie at a rest stop, he needed an emergency bathroom break.  Both the boys only needed to use the bathroom when they were with me, and at the most inconvenient times.  The area behind him is called the Painted Mountains.  It was really pretty.