Thursday, March 13, 2014

Summer Rules

 We Oregonians are currently wallowing in the gloom of an eternal downpour.  These dream-like pictures of our summer past saturated with sunshine, blue skies, and swimsuits seem so realistic! Did this really happen?  All these pictures point to yes and I optimistically draw the conclusion that clouds will part again and the sun will re-emerge as a welcome member of the solar system.

These pictures happen to be in Montana.   At a pool at a condo on Flathead Lake, which I happened to frequent as a child myself.  I think I mentioned this formative experience in  a previous summer-related post. When I draw the summer trips to the condo from my memory bank, each detail evokes joy.  The late afternoon drive along the lake. Burning hundreds of uncounted calories replaying scenes from "The Little Mermaid" in our own little ocean.  My father burning hundreds  of counted calories repeatedly heaving us out of the water, into the air, and back again (see above picture).  Replacing those calories savoring a delicious fudgesicle from the local corner market.  And finally a dream-like ride home belting out every word to Whitney Houston's single tape, "..and I-ee-I will always looove you, oooh oo oohh and I will always love YOU."

And here we are, a generation later, perpetuating the beloved memory.  The only thing that tops experiencing this myself, is watching my children live the dream.

Robby almost got his for free with that charm.

Another dream was made reality as Robby got to sit in a really real race car.  My childhood neighbor had, in his very own garage, a Camaro and it was green and was really fast.  Robby even got to start the engine.

These are precious pictures as my neighbor, Len, passed away just this last year.  What  a wonderful last memory I have watching him treat Robby to the time of his life.

Len also happened to have an old buckboard in his backyard.  This is just the kind of thing people have in their yards in Montana.

Ryan flew in to Montana for a few days, yahoo!  Sharing summertime Glacier park with my family was a-okay.  No, no, it was spectacular.  And glorious.  It was just fantastic.

This snapshot of Ryan tops the charts for me.  Doesn't he look like someone you'd like to get to know?  Lucky me.

We saw bears.

And parades.

The face painting was some of the best we've had, and free.  The amount of free things in a small town blows me away every time I go home.  Plus the fact that we arrived 5 minutes before the parade, got a great spot and enjoyed the whole thing with a comfortable amount of breathing room.  Unheard of .  So lovely.  Plus I saw a handful of childhood friends: every one of my elementary school teachers, my soccer coach, and my girl scout leader.  Okay, I didn't see all of those people, just most of them.  The close-knit feeling is hard to get over.

We enjoyed fireworks of all sorts, most of them illegal in other states.  One of the most persuasive arguments for a move to Montana, in Ryan's book, is the legitimacy of all sort of pyrotechnics to any layperson who so desires.  And Ryan does.

This is an ironic photograph, not to mention choke-me-up precious.  Let me explain, Kate and Grandma DeAnn share a remarkable attribute. In each of them is a deep desire to nurture the very most of any experience or person, often described as insatiable energy for life.  But this is far more than a misguided pinging of random energy.  I used the word nurture rather than push, squeeze, or bombard because they both have a refined sense of how to lead and teach.  They both recognized each other's possession of this characteristic at a very early stage of Kate's life and, zap, they linked up.   Usually this nurturing is very active and energetic, thus the irony of the photo.   These two people are invaluable assets in this world. Residing squarely between them is one of my greatest gifts.

We did some kayaking on the lake.  Thank you to Grandpa Pat for loading us, unloading us, showing us the ropes, and patiently teaching us how to not scratch your boats!

As we returned home, Ryan commenced a brand new job at Nike. So we made him a Nike cake.  That is a Nike swoosh made out of strawberries.  As if I needed to point out that obvious depiction.  But the thought was nice.

Now I got to enjoy some girl time with Ryan's sisters in Utah!  Aren't they lovely?

We were visiting for a Stampin Up! convention.  We even got to visit the distribution warehouse, it was like watching my favorite episode of when Mr. Rogers visits the crayon factory, but in real life!

There were some pretty sweet games, which I usually tanked at.

But I did win one time!

We took a trip down memory lane and visited one of our 4 dwelling places in Utah.  My leg did not get amputated at the knee, by the way.  We happened to share this apartment with a crazy number of black widow spiders, spooky.

Kate turned 6 and had we had a ball celebrating her new number.  She requested a flower birthday and I happily responded with the flower-licious party of the year.

Robby obliged all the ladies in attendance and stepped up his charm.  

Even one of Kate's favorite people, Aunt Kaitlyn, traveled all the way from NY to be there!

And she brought Kate's other favorite person, Will.

Grammy gave Kate the dream of most six year old girls when she gifted her an American Girl Doll of her very own.  Thank you so much Grammy!  Kate was, and is, thrilled.

We made another showing at the beach with wonderful, relaxing trip.  The Morgan family reunion was indeed a success.  We enjoyed many tasty meals, great company, a priceless opportunities to make some memories.

I think Kate, Will, and Robby watched Cars 2 about 10 times.  They loved it.

Kate and Robby felt the rejuvenated and energized by the vacation as well!

We visited the famous Seaside aquarium and fed the seals, that was pretty fun.  And pretty stinky :)

Have you ever tried to build a fire on the beach with incessant wind blowing sand in your eyes?  It's a challenge.  But we conquered and enjoyed some pretty delicious hot dogs by the ocean.  Thank you Ryan!

Last, but not least, Seaside inspired Robby to master the art of the two wheeler.  He took to the bike like a pro, not to mention it was Kate's bike, two sizes to big.  Great job Rob.

Okay, I think that wraps up summer of 2013.  I wish I could go back, it was a great summer!