Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An Overview of My Summer :)

It happens every time! I publish a new blogpost and then before I know it, another month has rolled by and it's time for another update ;) Alas, time goes by too fast and this past month has been extremely busy for all of us :)
So what is it that's been keepin' our household so busy, besides the normal "trying to stay out of trouble" that goes on around here ;) 

Let's see, first of all...Mom and Dad made a trip up to Victoria B.C. this past month to celebrate their 30th Anniversary :) They had the most amazing time getting to enjoy the beauty of the Butchart Gardens, the Craigdarroch castle, relaxing for a loving evening carriage ride, indulging in some of the finest foods around and just enjoying spending five days of uninterrupted time together! 

For three nights they stayed at the Abbeymoore Manor in Victoria BC. They were supposed to leave for Port Angeles on Thursday and get to Victoria by Friday. Dad spontaneously decided that Wednesday night they would head up to Port Angeles one day early. This would allow them to spend an extra day in Victoria B.C. Completely unprepared, mom rushed to get everything packed that night in only an hour. Leisel made all of the phone calls booking a room for them at the port, moving their ferry reservation forward, and calling the Abbeymoore Manor to let them know that mom and dad would be there an extra day :)

As it turned out, dad ended up taking a "short cut" to Port Angeles, and when they finally arrived at their lodgings at two in the morning, they found there was no one there to let them in to their hotel...so they spent the night in the truck :) 
All adventure aside, they had a splendid time escaping for five days and celebrating their 30th Anniversary in Canada. :)

Only months ago, Chris was a declared bachelor becoming quite content with his single lot in life :) But one woman changed all of that for him in literally "the blink of an eye" ;) For years, we girls have talked about how wonderful Melinda is and how we would love to see her married. At the time though, Chris was completely blind to that fact and had never given her a thought ;) Then one day, in the Lord's perfect timing, (and with a little match-making going on at the church ;), the Lord opened Chris's eyes to see the wonderful lady that He had prepared for Chris.
Chris and Melinda's plans to take their relationship one day at a time didn't last for more then a week. Their first date together was on April 2nd and we are looking forward to their wedding on August 20th :D

We had a very special birthday to celebrate this June...Grandpa's 80th! Friday the 17th, we packed up our van, stuffed everyone inside and headed down to Redding California :)
We left behind the cold and rain looking forward to crossing the border of California and being greeted by sunshine :)

Around noon on Saturday, 40 people gathered together as a family to celebrate that very special birthday :) A wonderful barbecue had been prepared, and the evening turned out to be a wonderful time for everybody! 

For my dear family, this trip turned out to be a whirlwind trip for all of them as they turned around to head home on Sunday. For Leisel and me though, our time there had just begun. We stayed behind to spend some extra time with Grandpa and Grandma after everyone left.  :) 

It's been wonderful having Leisel off for these last few months of Summer! With no work, I've made sure that every minute that she isn't using to do her college work, we are spending together :) 

We always begin our trip at Grandma's by making a shopping trip to Railey's :) Of course, Leisel and I always double Grandma's grocery shopping list and she leaves the store looking like she's providing enough food for an army :) 

We took full advantage of Grandma and Grandpa's lovely porch view while we were there, taking every opportunity to sit out there. In the morning when the sun was just beginning to rise over the hills, we'd take our breakfast plates and our coffee cups and go sit out on the porch and talk for hours.

In the evening, when the day's heat had begun to cool off, we would bring out our second cups of coffee and relax for another while :) Grandpa and Grandma would tell us stories of their growing up or we'd take our competitive games of aggravation out there. Not a night went by when we didn't pull out the game of Aggravation. The oldies music would go on and two intense rounds would be played before we ended our evening. 

Dad's 7th grade teacher
Leisel and I tossed aside any thoughts of eating healthily while we were there, promising each other that when we got back home, our diets would begin ;) When that had been decided upon, I collected the ingredients for a Bailey's Cheesecake and that was the end of it :)

While we were there, we had a chance to visit our favorite spot at turtle bay's sundial bridge where we had a lovely view of the sun setting over the Sacramento River. Grandpa made sure that we got a ride in the rumble seat of his Mottle A as well :) We even had the opportunity to attend a local Redding baseball game :)

The house dad grew up in 
Grandpa also took us to the home where our dad grew up and the man that now lives there let us take a look around :) One of my favorite things that we did there was look through a very old box of Grandpa's. There were notes that he and his parents had written, letters from my dad when he was a boy, and so much more history :)

Eaten-house museum
We tried to be a little productive while we were there too so that we didn't spend the whole time playing around :D Grandma had us sort through some family pictures and attempt to organize some of them :) 
Finally, Monday morning, we began the eight hour car ride back to Washington :) 

We've had quite a few birthdays to celebrate over the summer months, resulting in an over-indulgence of cheesecake :)
Birthdays are no small matter here at the Spafford household. You will usually find the birthday
menu turns out to have at least five large courses, and the preparation starts early in the morning :)
(not that the birthday is centered around food and eating or anything like that ;)
We celebrated Charae's birthday right after returning from Redding, and mom's celebration followed soon after that. I knew it was time to get my cooking apron on...I had another full day ahead of me in the kitchen prepping for the birthday meal :-) Leisel and I worked together to prepare pork roast, crinkle cut fires, fingerling potatoes, and vegetables.
Jonathon contributed the bacon wrapped filet mignon. A coconut chocolate cheesecake was the finishing touch :-) 

The 4th of July is a large event in our family as well :) We have two picnics to get ready for that day and it's always a wonderful time to thank the Lord for the freedom that we enjoy here in America! 

Our celebration began the night before the 4th when we kids all sat down to watch "The Patriot". That night, the sky looked like it had been painted red, white and blue :) I think the Lord prepared that specially for the occasion :)

The next morning we prepared lunches for our church picnic and got the house ready for the barbecue that would follow afterwards :)

Eighteen people gathered with our family to celebrate this special day :)

We potlucked it with the meal :)

Following the meal were games of Frisbee, volleyball, corn bag toss, and boccie ball all going on at the same time :) 

Our evening ended with what has now become our annual 4th of July walk...we have our own little firework display going off in our neighborhood coming from all directions. 
Those who didn't participate in the walk sat out on the front lawn enjoying Portland's firework display :)

Annalise, Austin and Ania officially finished their school work at the beginning of May. We lost a little incentive at getting our "end-of-the-year presentations" completed :) Finally, one bright and sunny day, I got them all together and over the span of two days, we put together this little music video :) We try to have something fun to show the family after the kiddos have finished giving their poster board presentations :) Now, it's up to their teacher to prepare their after-school tea party ;) 

This Saturday, we took a 9 mile hike up to Hamilton Mt. The weather was perfect: cloudy and crisp :) It was a well rewarding hike when we reached the top, and even more rewarding when we all collapsed at Twilight Pizza for some well-earned pizza :)

Then of course, there are the happenings of last night....you may have wondered before, what would a crazy redhead have on her bucket list? Well, how 'bout "sleeping in the back of a truck under the stars" for one ;) Last night, at 11:30, Leisel and I lugged two sleeping bags out to dad's truck, pulled the truck over to the perfect spot and set up camp :) It was all cloudy when we first came out, but as we laid there a little bit longer, the clouds rolled back and the sky lit up with the twinkling of the stars. Pretty soon, Leisel and I heard what sounded like music coming from Dad's window. Sure enough, Dad was holding up his phone to the window playing "God Bless the USA" and "I Drive Your Truck" :D ...it added to the perfect atmosphere :)
Cinnamon, our little cat, kept guard over us all night ;) I think she was wondering what her crazy owners were up to :)

It's already the middle of the summer! I can't believe how quickly these last few months have sped by! And we have a crazy busy last few months of summer ahead of us. First on the schedule is our annual camping trip to Mt Rainier :-) Already, the food preparations have begun, the camp supplies will soon be taken out again, and the Spafford van loaded up for another great adventure:-)
Of course, following soon after that is our Summer Family Camp. We're looking forward to Pastor and Mrs. Huggins flying out from Japan to join us for that special time! Hope y'all are having a completely marvelous summer :)