Monday, October 21, 2013

Some October Fun

During the Thanksgiving Weekend my brother and his wife hosted us for a family dinner.  We took an opportunity afterwards to enjoy a hike and some photo ops.  
That same day we took a picture that would make any dad proud.  Love my kids.
On October 19th we had a busy day which started with "Halloween at the Mall"  Here the kids chow down on some worms in dirt.  Seth had to remove his costume to eat.
After all those worms the kids needed to expend some energy so we hiked to the Bluff.  This is just one of the photos.  I'm not sure they really liked it up in the tree.
My sister has never had a fear of heights and casually walked to the ledge to get some photos of the rest of us.  I took a second to snap one of her with the wonderful background.
I managed to get one of Seth too but it wasn't easy.  Unfortunately, Shaylee wouldn't stop long enough to get her photo taken.
On Sunday October 20th, after a great weekend we were once again blessed with a wonderful scene.  I managed to take this photo from my front yard.

Lucky Dad

There are days that when its over you simply say "Wow am I ever lucky to be me."  Others might say "Am I ever lucky to live where I do."  Some even say "My family is incredibly fun to be with."  Well for me, today, I could say all of those things.  It was an incredible day where I spent the entire day with my kids having fun and enjoying our great community.

Like most good days, this one had great people that helped build it.  Communities are built around its people, even more so it's volunteers.  The kids and I woke up and they were already anticipating the day despite the fact that their Mom was away on a shopping trip.  They knew there were a couple of Halloween events and they couldn't finish breakfwast fast enough.  I kept stalling our departure and it was killing them, but if I didn't then we would have been there much to early.  I had some chores to do thankfully, so stalling was not a problem.  When I stated that I had to fold a load of laundry I thought Seth was going to throw it down the stairs.  When I said I needed to sweep the floor I thought Shaylee was going to toss the freshly folded laundry onto it in protest.  I have to admit I was having a bit of fun with it, and they knew that and we're giggling along with me.

We finally left the house a little after 10:00 and none to soon if you asked the kids.  We killed a bit more time by stopping at the coffee shop and they were fine with that at least for a few minutes.  By the time we reached the Gateway Mall the kids were bouncing.  They we're so excited I didn't know if their costumes would stay on.  At the back corner of the mall a large group of kids and frazzled parents were getting busy with the various crafts and activities.  The PACK group, organized by Heidi Stephens, did another great job with their "Halloween at the Mall" this year.  It is because of great organizations like this that we have such a great community.  The kids paraded around the mall and afterwards were able to trick or treat from store to store.  It was a great way to spend a morning.

After some lunch we headed out again for another Halloween event.  This time Joan Babineau and Beth Johnston and the rest of the volunteers from the Sussex Corner Elementary School's "Truck or Treat" event need to be thanked.  This event has quickly grown into a big success and the proceeds
will go to maintaining the school playgrounds.  See what I mean about bring in a great community?  
My kids scurried from truck to truck, sitting in every seat, honking every horn, and even jumping on
some beds.  Sorry to the truckers who now have Shaylee's foot prints on their pillow of their sleeper.  When I asked her to stop jumping on the bunk, her response was "I'm just so excited!" after judging a chili contest and escorting the kids around to each truck it was time to go exercise the dog for a while.

Earlier in the day I had arranged with my sister to possibly meet up with her and her boys again to hike the bluff.  We were able to make this happen after only a minor hiccup with my car.  For those who don't know about the Bluff, it is a modest hiking trail in our community that has a fantastic destination, especially in the fall of the year.  Two of my sisters friends joined us for the hike and I was surprised to find out one of them was making the hike for the first time.  

At the trail head it was easy to see we were not alone in our desire to enjoy the great day.  There were a number of vehicles there, including one from North Carolina.  We passed many people on our hike and everyone had smiles on their faces and it was easy to see they were enjoying the day God had made.  When we reached the summit of the Bluff the sun was shining right and we all sat and tried to take it all in.  The scenery was spectacular and you could take it in but the gift of the day was so large my mind is still struggling to comprehend it.  It sounds weird to put it like that, but it's true.  As I sat on the rock face looking out over the Trout Creek valley, my thoughts were not about the physical realm but of the emotional and spiritual influences that I had experienced to that point in the afternoon.

Challenges with my car.  Frustration with getting the kids out the door. Pride, in the way Seth handled not winning a prize at the "Halloween at the Mall"  by simply looking at me with a smile and shrugging his shoulders.  Joy, as I watched Shaylee smile and laugh as her brother helped into another truck.  To often I think I have let many days like today go by unnoticed.  To often I think I let my own stress and anxiety get in the way.  Today I had the patience I needed and the attitude I needed to see it all and recognize it for the gift it was.  So this is sort of a "Lesson Learned." One I hope not soon to forget.  I'm a lucky Dad and I'm glad I can have these days with my kids.  

Sorry I have no pictures to post but I only had my phone and they all seemed to turn out blurry today or the people in the photos had funny faces and likely wouldn't appreciate me posting those on here.  Hopefully you get the sense of the day by my writing anyways :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thanksgiving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Truly I think this is one of my favorite holidays.  Not because of the food, not because of the long weekend, but because of the fall setting and family.  The crisp fall air seems more honest somehow and it encourages you to be closer to the ones you love, if for no other reason the warmth.

My life, as you might see through my blog, is great.  God has given me so many blessings to be thankful for.  By far the biggest is my family whom give me love, inspiration, comfort, and security.  Another blessing that I think gets overlooked a great deal is this great place we live.  A stable environment that is expansive, relatively healthy, and provides us with all we need.

I'm guilty of sometimes wishing I had more but maybe one other thing that I should be thankful for is God's patience with me as I relearn to be grateful and content with what I have and His guidance as I remember that everything I have is through him.  My community, my church, my job, my all comes from him.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall Fun at Poley Mountain

I have seen the post on-line a number of times "Cousins are our first friends."  Looks so true here.
What a beautiful fall day!  Wow.  The kids and I made the best of it while my wife visited family in Saint John today.  Poley Mountain is typically considered a winter destination but from what I saw this afternoon, they should expand their marketing strategy.  The view from the chair lift and from the trails was astounding.  I met my sister and her two boys in the parking lot and at that time was uncertain what to expect.  I didn't need to worry, we were outdoors and the weather was sunny with a light breeze.  What more did we need?

After exploring the facilities a little, including a brief stop at the cozy "Fireside Lounge" we purchased a lift ticket for a reasonable $5 fee.  I know I have paid $5 for a lot worse experiences.  We then made our way to the chair lift.  Now might be a good time to mention that I haven't been to Poley Mountain since I was a kid about 8 years old, so I guess about 20 years ago (wink, wink.)  I was a bit nervous about getting on the chair lift as the last time I was there, I struggled riding the t-bar to the top.  The chair lift is much easier.
Getting on the chair lift was easier than I anticipated and the kids loved the leisurely ride.

The kids and I sat nicely into a chair, pulled the security bar down, and enjoyed the slow pace ride to the top of the hill.  Numerous times we would crank our necks around to see the view back down the hill and across the Trout Creek Valley.  The Bluff, which is usually a dominate land feature from the valley floor looked tiny from our perch high up on the mountain and in the chair.  The various shades of yellows, oranges, and reds, expanded your imagination as you would never have guessed how many shades there were.  As we got about half way up the hill the drone of the lift turned silently and the ride became very peaceful and even the kids were able to enjoy the whole situation.

When we got to the top we excitedly jumped off the chair and before I could say a word the kids were running back down the hill.  I'm not kidding, the boys ran off, leaving Shaylee, my sister Becki, and I behind.  When they realized we weren't running to catch up they slowed down.  We finally convinced them to come back to us so we could snap a photo.
The view from the top of the "Mountain" was impressive and full of fall color.

The whole way down the hill the kids laughed while I let my eyes explore the surroundings.  I noticed a mountain bike trail that would add another great activity to the hill.  I had a fantastic time throughout the day but I was left wondering...why don't they open the hill up more often for this type of event?  They could even have hike in tent sites available there through the summer months.  Since I may have some time this winter to partake in new events, maybe we'll have to try skiing.  Regardless, I hope to visit the slopes again sometime, even without snow.

Thanks to my sister for sharing the pictures she managed to take on her phone.  I have been terrible lately at taking my camera along.  Thanks too Becki for sharing our fun adventure.  Love you.