Tuesday, October 16, 2018

White Fete Fiesta!

Depending on what is happening in August, Fete Day can get moved around quite a bit, or forgotten entirely. With school starting around the same time, it gets a little squished. And this last August with Lake Powell, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to pull it off. Then I had a brilliant idea: We have game night almost every Sunday. So I decided we would invite the same people we always have over and just ask them to dress in white and bring a gift. Instant Fete Day. It worked like a charm.

Here are the kids getting ready in their white attire.

We took a break from Secret Hitler for the night and played some party games. We played My Team and Share Your Seat and then Four on a Couch. As people came in, they chose a bead and were assigned the white team or the black team, denoted by the stripes under the eyes. It worked very well.

This picture was my only proof that Danja came. She played all the games but had to leave when we opened gifts. But June ran up to her house later to bring her cake and take a picture.

Games were so fun. Four on the Couch was pretty even. The white team won the first game so quickly, but the black team came back to win the second fair and square (with some minor cheating).

Then we opened gifts. We had such fun things. White is an easy color to find a gift in.

Robyn made Secret Hitler socks for Nate. Classic.

My gift was in two bags. I gave Curtis my powdered sugar shaker. It was practically brand new when I washed it out. The joke is on me. I ordered another one, but they don't make the white ones anymore. So it was more of a gift than I planned, but there isn't a better person to have it.

Curtis in turn gave Camie ice cream from Rockwell where he works. That is magical.

In fact, ice cream is always a part of Fete Day. Don't forgot our traditional ice cream cake for dessert. I needed two cakes for this crowd.

It was such a fun Fete Day with such a fun bunch. We are such a random group with different ages, but we all enjoy having a good time. (And who doesn't like presents and cake. Except maybe Jake who we found out was diabetic after we gave him donuts and soda. Oops.)

Back: Camie, Nate, Jake, Curtis. Middle: June, Kevin, Robyn, Maleen. Front: Emma, Pearl, Daisy, Ivory.
 Don't forget the picture taker. Without you Tyler, there would be no proof of Fete Day. I'm really glad you pretended to take pictures for us and took selfies instead so we have a shot of you!

Happy Fete Day everyone. Until next year...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Lake Powell Love

Lake Powell is such a happy place.

Granted, it means a lot of sunscreen and sand and no real showers, but it means sun and smiles, water and friends. It is an experience that is worth having. Camille and Eric invited us two years ago and this time they invited us early in the summer, so we had plenty of time to plan. Even so, things got in the way. We had to leave a little early to get back for Back to School Night and Seventh Grade Day, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's go back to the beginning.

Lake Powell day! We woke up and Tyler had to run out to Salt Lake to fix his Real Estate stuff. Then he came back and we packed the car as quickly as we could. Man, we had so much stuff, with lifejackets, clothes, food, sleeping bags, tent, cot, chairs, etc. But we got it all in there. Pearl practiced her yoga before we left. She thought about traveling like this but I discouraged it. She would have such a headache when we arrived.

We met Camille and Stephanie (and crew) at a Maverik in Provo. They were renting a jet ski. We exchanged walkie talkies and we were on our way. With so many kids, we actually didn’t stop too much. We grabbed a couple of snacks on the way and called it good for lunch. Look at these cute boys on the jetski. They are ready to play.

We drove a different way since Highway 6 was closed because of the fires. We took 24 and went through Capitol Reef. It was so pretty. I would totally drive that way again. I really liked it. I would love to go down and stay there sometime.

We had never been to STAN’S before, but now I feel like we will always go there. It is right by the Hole in the Mountain store and one of the last stops before Powell. Some of us got food but June and I got shirts instead. But everyone shared food with us. Robyn got a strawberry banana shake and I don’t really like those two flavors together but it was amazing. The temp was 104. Yikes, it was hot.

When we arrived at Lake Powell, we took turns going through the gate. My radio got messed up so I didn’t have any instructions and I went to the wrong place. But that is okay. We found each other eventually and headed down to the beach, Hobie Cat. There was the house boat and a whole lot of strangers. Last time it was just the Neilsen's and Stephanie and her kids. This time around there were a lot more of Camille's family that I had not met. Here is the crew:

Leslie and Danny with their kids Zach, Maddie, Katie, and Lauren. Jessica and her son Scott, Camille and Eric and their kids Cannon, Carter, and Bay. Stephanie with her kids Reagan, Camryn, and Hayden. Susan and Howard (the grandparents), and Tyler and Audrey who were the only ones from their family who came. The others stayed at home since their mother, Karen, was expecting. Add to that seven Cazier's and there was a boat full. Oh, and one Pip. I think I got pictures of everyone. So we may as well put them on now, in no particular order. (Tyler went as Stallion because we had two Tylers.)

Once we were on board with all our gear, we took off to find a good location for the boat. It is always a long ride because the boat is slow. Zach and Audrey rode alongside on the jet ski and I think they were so cold. They looked a little miserable. Zach just got back from his mission last Wednesday. He is as fresh as they get. His twin is in Provo and stayed as an RA (resident assistant), so we missed meeting him. Here we are hanging out in the boat, trolling our way to better waters.

We finally found a good spot. There was plenty of beach. June and I had started dinner and we served it up while tents were set up. We did taco salad with chicken instead of beef. It was actually quite tasty and I think it was a hit. It seemed to go down well. All the chicken was eaten. Here is the beach and tents. Ours is on the left.

After dinner it got dark quickly. We didn’t really have time to do much. Of course the kids played in the water but it was soon time for bed. You have to walk into the water to get from the boat to the shore so you always come up with sandy feet. Tyler would often give us piggy back rides to keep our feet clean on the way to the tent. Really, it is impossible to not get sand everywhere, but we tried. If you come to Lake Powell, you plan on taking home five pounds of sand. (In your hair, as Danny would say.)

That night we were all very hot when we went to bed, but it was cold part way through the night. We had sleeping bags down but all the girls slept on one basically and I had the cot. That cot is actually quite nice. I sleep  just fine on it, although I feel bad for Tyler because he gets a little sore on the ground. Probably time for another cot. In the morning, guess who was up first?

First full day at Powell. Everyone seemed to sleep okay. Breakfast was Egg Mcmuffins. They were pretty good. Here are some memories from the day, not necessarily in order.

Tyler took a trip to the Marina. He did Duolingo for all of us who wanted it. Thanks for saving our streaks dad. We just planned on using our streak freeze the next day.

People did tubing and water skiing. I didn’t do either because I didn’t want to mess up my back. If I landed wrong, it could be the end. The girls all took a turn at something. June and Robyn didn’t do very well on the skiing because the skis were a bit big. But Ivory had little skis that were tied together and she did great. (I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of Ivory. She was really awesome.) Here is Camille showing how it is done.

We got Spikeball out. We thought Camille would like it and we thought Zach would be great. But guess who was the best? Danny. June asked him on a whim because he was reading on the beach. And thus began a great competition. Danny and June against me and Robyn. We beat them every time. In fact during the course of the day, Danny lost every real game. He played with Robyn and lost to me and June. He played with me and we lost to the girls. It was crazy. It was so fun to play on the beach. The sand was nice, although the ball ended up in the water a lot.

Everyone loved Spikeball. We would have a long line and rotate through. Most people had never played but they got better and better. Howard was amazing. He is very competitive. Katie got really good. Audrey had these awesome soft shots. Tyler was a crazy spiker. Camille and Stephanie both picked it up well. Even Scott and Jessica played. Eric was funny because he had a bad ankle so he didn’t really move, but he could hold his own. Spikeball was great. I was so glad that I brought it. It really brought the group together and Danny who usually stays to himself spent a lot of time with everyone. He is a bishop and I loved seeing pictures of him when he had a beard. He and Leslie are the cutest. I love their family and they have great kids. Ivory and Lauren hit it off so well. They spent so much time together chatting. Lauren can out-talk Ivory if you can believe it.

There were snacks galore all day. Leslie was in charge of snacks, although she helped with plenty of the food. We brought snacks too because we didn’t know better but it was nice to share.

Dinner was tinfoil dinners. They were so good. Grated carrot was a new thing that I’ll have to try.

In the middle of the day there was a huge wind storm. I had just put June and Robyn on the jet ski with me and we were headed out to see Tyler. He put his hammock up in some trees in the water. I guess Robyn had been out there earlier visiting him.

We went out there, but it was hard to get close because of the wind. June tried out the hammock briefly and then we left. But it was so crazy in the water. I didn’t feel I could go fast or we would tip. When we were going in a certain direction, the jet ski plume sprayed all over us because of the wind. We were soaked. It was crazy. Luckily we got back okay. We all went inside to wait for the wind to pass. Luckily our tent didn’t blow down. I was worried, but Danny had let us use some other spikes that were doing the trick.

We played some Mau. I kept winning, which was not as fun. And we were interrupted a lot, but it was a good game. Stallion came and chatted at us. Camille said the funniest thing. I think Stallion was bragging, and Camille said, “We’ll just get you a shirt that says ‘You’re a loser.’" meaning Tyler would wear the shirt and other people would read it. But it sounded like she was calling him a loser. It was so funny.

Pip was pretty miserable. It was super hot. (Many sunburns that day.) She wouldn’t really drink so Ivory would pour water down her face so she would lick it off.

At night we had this cool campfire. Some people roasted s’mores. There was lots of singing and some testimonies. Leslie talked about her experience with cancer. She is so amazing. Zach bore his testimony in some Philippine language. I’m guessing that was not easy to learn.

We finally went to bed and it was so windy. It made the tent so loud. I thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep, but out I went...

I'm sorry I don't have pictures to go with most of these memories. We had the camera out a bit, but not that much. Such is the life with water and cameras...

Wednesday dawned. Pearl got up twice in the evening to go to the bathroom. Tyler walked her across the water to the boat both times. What a great guy. Breakfast was crepes. They aren’t nearly as good when they are frozen and then thawed but I won’t complain. Food is food. It was really cool because first thing in the morning we went out and looked at animal tracks. You could see so many different kinds in the sand. We saw several birds, some coyote, and maybe a snake.

Everyone got in the water early. We went out on the paddle boards while some people skiied. Maddie is pretty good. She was dropping a ski. Zach is amazing. He was doing slalom almost the whole time.

We spent some time letting Eric and Zach swirl around us on the jet ski while we tried to stand on the paddle boards. The wind was really going and it blew us all the way to the sand bank. Then I rowed us all the way back. I was so tired by then that I didn’t really feel like staying on the water.

I know we played more Spikeball and Ivory did more skiing. Did I mention she was awesome? She got up on those small skis again and again and stayed up quite a while.

Powell is so chill. You play and eat and do whatever you want. People would nap when they got tired. Even teenagers run out of energy after playing in the water and sun.

Pip did better. It wasn’t so hot and she would even sit in the mud by the waterline and drink from the lake. The little kids loved the mud. They built sandcastles and mudbaths and dug holes to their heart's content. Reagan made this epic sand castle. Often if it got hot we would just hang out under the canopy. It is surprising how many people you can fit under there.

I really feel like the day was a blur. I do remember in the evening, Tyler found some places to cliff jump. We took a group over to jump. I went as well. Might as well be cool. And be a good example for Ivory, June, and Robyn. The rocks we went to had a tiny jump you could do. We all started there except for Maddie and Zach who jumped off the big one first.

The rest of us went to the small one. It was not even ten feet. It was perfect. But for some reason, it got in Robyn’s head and she couldn’t do it. I sat there for over 20 minutes trying to talk her into jumping. She finally did, but I really wasn’t sure if she was going to. Then we went to the big one. It was maybe 20 feet. Katie had done the small jump and that was the first one she had ever done. She wasn’t so sure about the big one and actually, neither was I. But we bonded and both said we would go together. I’m so proud of us. We jumped together and it was a great moment for us. Audrey and Tyler had no problem. June was nervous since the first jump gave her a bloody nose, but that didn’t stop her. Ivory was a crazy girl. She jumped off that thing over and over. I wasn’t even going to try to convince Robyn, but then she said she would so it was the waiting game all over again. Zach stayed in the water without a life jacket and said he would wait for her. I was honestly getting really worried about Zach. I thought he might lose strength or sink, but he kept on going the whole 20 minutes it took to convince Robyn again. But she did it. Good job Robyn. Way to overcome your fears.

Dinner was delicious and ready when we got back. My head hurt a bit so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. But it was still great. Beans and rice and sausage. We celebrated Cannon’s birthday early. Camille made this cool cake out of hostess cakes. Ding dongs, cupcakes, zingers. It was cool. There was something for everyone. They have like six birthday songs they sing. It takes forever to blow out candles. But it is a tradition.

In the evening, we played some night games with glow sticks but it was crazy with all the little kids. Eventually some of us went and talked on the beach. It was really fun. It was Tyler, Audrey, Camille, Stephanie, Zach, June, Robyn, and me. And I think Camryn was there and Hayden. We told Spider stories and everyone cringed. Zach told about some missionaries that played with a spider that turned out to be very deadly, but they weren’t hurt. We watched for shooting stars and finally saw one. The bats were flying so close. It was really scaring some people, but I thought it was cool. One even flew in the kitchen later. They really do get very close. It was such a fun night talking in the dark. Those are the great Powell moments. Stephanie said we should take off the rain fly to stargaze from inside the tent but I was too tired.

Good thing I was exhausted, because it rained while we slept and everyone talked about it and we were the only ones it didn’t affect. The Neilsen’s had to put their rain fly on their tent in the middle of the night and everyone else just slept in wet bedding on the boat. But we didn’t have any problems.

I got up a little early to get breakfast ready. I cut up all the strawberries and got all the food on the table. Everyone loved the yogurt parfaits. They were a perfect breakfast food. They are so easy so I’m glad everyone was happy. It went over very well and they said they were going to add that to the menu permanently.

Most of the morning was spent packing and getting all our gear in order. Danny is probably the most helpful person I know. He was out there helping us strike the tent in the blazing sun. So we rewarded him by playing one more game of Spikeball. We hoped this would be his big victory, but Robyn and I beat him just barely. It was bittersweet, but it isn’t in me to withdraw. And I don’t think he wanted us to let him win.

We saw this really crazy big weird looking wasp. We took some pictures to show Glassford later. That same evening we saw Glassford at back to school night and this is what happened: We told him we had a picture to show him from something we saw in Lake Powell. He said, “Was it a wasp?” yes. “Was it black?” yes. “Did it have orange wings?” yes. How did he do that?? It was a tarantula hawk wasp. The kind that lay their eggs in tarantulas. We are very lucky it didn’t sting anyone. Although not very venomous, the THW sting is one of the most painful in the U.S.

Then we had a brief awards ceremony. Camille gave awards to everyone. My award was honorary Davis sister and party mom. I sure love all the people in Camille’s family. I’ll be an honorary sister anytime. I sure love all the kids and all the parents.

After awards, it was time for us to go. We got all our gear in the speedboat and Howard took us over to the beach. It was about a 20 minute ride. I held Pip because Ivory was worried someone else would drop her. We unloaded into the car, said goodbye to Howard and we were on our way. Goodbye Lake Powell. It was the best.

We stopped at STAN’S burgershak again and got some grub. They have such good shakes. June got Strawberry Banana again. I got raspberry.

Then we drove for a long time. This time I made the girls take some pictures as we went through Capital Reef.

We barely got home in time for Back to School night, but we got everyone in to visit teachers and try lockers. It already seemed like Powell was a million miles away. (Or at least 260 miles.)

We were some of the first to leave Powell, but eventually everyone trickled back into our area. The Davis family all got together for a picnic on Saturday and asked us to come. They also needed to return Spikeball since we left it at Lake Powell for them to play with. June wasn't able to come, but the rest of us went and had a great time. We met a few people that didn't make it to Powell.

Karen (cute pregnant mom) and Josh (Zach's twin).

Of course, we played Spikeball until it got dark and even a bit past then.

It was such a fantastic week. I'm so grateful for Camille and her wonderful family and the time they shared with us. And we'll end with cutie Bay. This is how I felt all week...like I was swinging with a smile. :)