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Ranch camp

For the last five summers, Sidney and I have taken the kids down to her parents’ place in Florida for what we now lovingly call “Ranch Camp.  Ranch Camp is one of the highlights of our summer!  My kids don’t think that summer can happen without it.  This year we were able to squeeze it in right before school started.  As usual, we played in the pool, went to the beach, and then went somewhere special for a day or two.  This year, we had two “special” trips. One was to a natural spring where we could tube in cold,crystal clear water.  We couldn’t take any pictures because we were in water the entire time.  I think the one thing about that day that the kids will always remember is the water snake that swam by.  Yep!  A snake.  Wilson wouldn’t put a toe in that water after he saw that snake.  It was a frightening few minutes, but everyone else just kept swimming and tubing like it never happened.

During our “stay at home day” the kids swam in the pool a lot.  The fun part about Ranch Camp is that my kids see G-Daddy and Yibbie as another set of grandparents. In this picture, Miller is riding on Yibbie’s back while she swims around the pool.  It was sweet to see him be so comfortable with her and for Yibbit to let him do it.  :)  It warmed my heart, for sure!

A Faith and Jesse selfie – the best of friends!!

Our beach day this year was a beautiful day!  The kids boogie boarded, swam, dug holes and played games.  We were there all day until we could take the sun no longer!  My kids even got their first sunburns!

Sidney and I finally got a selfie as well!  After 5 Ranch Camps, I think that this is our first.   The moms rarely get in the pictures!

On our last day, we took a boat ride on the river.  We saw many birds that I had never seen.  I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

A Ranch Camp group shot (minus Tom/G-Daddy).

My favorite part of Ranch Camp?  The conversations with Yibbit and Sidney each day.  I love sharing a bottle of wine (or two) with them each night, talking about life with interesting women, and being able to relax knowing that my kids are having fun and are entertained . It is such a blessing to have this experience each summer with these special friends!

Chicago

Because Tom frequently travels to Chicago, we decided that our family vacation would be to Chicago this year.  That way we could mooch in on his free hotel, per diem, and one paid for plane ticket.  :)  The kids had never been on a plane before nor had they ever been to a big city, so they were super excited to go on this trip.  I was a bit nervous because I was going to have to entertain them for four days while Tom worked (and that seemed like a lot of work for me).

Thankfully, my long-time friend Nikki, lived in Chicago and had four boys the same ages as my kids.  She also had the whole four days planned out for us, which was fabulous!  She made my vacation actually feel like a vacation and not just a “relocation”.  The first day we went out to Morton Arboretum.  This place was great!  It had numerous playgrounds, trees to climb, water to play in, a giant hedge maze, and then we went to find giant trolls that someone so creatively made out of wood.  It was so much fun!  I was completely exhausted by the end of the day. 

Me and Nikki in front of a troll….

The next day, the kids and I took the water taxi down to China Town.  I wasn’t sure how the kids would like it, but they loved it.  We ate dumplings and then had some rolled up ice cream.  They enjoyed it so much that we took Tom back down there on Friday.

On Wednesday, we went to the zoo with Nikki and three of her boys.  After the zoo, we headed back to Nikki’s and hung out there for another THREE hours!  I thought that the kids would get tired of each other, but they never did.  It was such a blessing!

Thursday was beach day.  I had never put my feet in Lake Michigan, so this was a first for me.  The kids swam in water and played in the sand.  It was like a beach at the ocean, but better…no sharks, jelly fish, or giant waves.  :)

Friday was Tom’s birthday!  We took the water taxi back down to China Town for more ice cream. 

One great thing about being away from home was that the kids hardly ever fought or argued.  They loved being together and were super silly most of the time….especially in Uber rides.

For dinner we went to the Rainforest Cafe.  We had a great dinner and got some silly hats to bring home. 

Saturday was our last day.  We went to the top of the Hancock building to have a drink and enjoy the view.  I am not a fan of heights and this actually made me a bit woozy.  It is amazing how high up one building can be.  If you ever go to the Hancock building, go into the ladies bathroom, it has the BEST view!  

I am so thankful that we were able to have such a fun week together. We spent lots of quality time together doing new and exciting things.  Tom wasn’t with us during the day, but we did see him at night for some Corn Hole, Shark Week TV, snacks in the hotel lounge, dinners out, and fun on the weekends.   I am also thankful for such a fun and carefree friend like Nikki.  She made the vacation so much more fun for us all!  Thanks Nikki!

All in all, a fabulous Dressler adventure!

Taylor Swift

I had been considering taking Faith to the Taylor Swift concert in Atlanta next month. I looked into buying tickets and they were super expensive. This is problematic because I am at the age now when I refuse to buy nose bleed tickets. If I am going to go to a concert, I want to actually see the singer and not watch it on a big screen, hence the expensive ticket price. I decided that T.swift may not happen at all for us this summer. Then I realized, on July 9, that she was playing in DC on July 10 and that tickets were much cheaper because people were trying to get rid of their tickets.

I decided that we HAD to go! Within an hour and a half, I had arranged child care for the boys, packed up our stuff, called my brother to let him know that we were on our way to his house, and hit the road with Faith for our seven hour road trip. I was so excited!! I was excited to give this gift to Faith and to experience it with her.

We made it to Doug’s house in record time (it is amazing how quickly we could travel with only two of us in the car and only one 15 minute stop). We saw Doug and Erin for two hours that night, which was very nice. The next morning Faith and I woke up and saw a little bit of Washington DC before the concert. Our tickets were fantastic!

Here we are before the concert….

We took a picture of all of the people behind us!

The show had fireworks! What an amazing first concert for Faith. Of course, she had nothing to compare it to and had no idea what a great first concert it was. We had such fun together and I am so thankful that we could share this memory. I almost cried twice during the show because seeing her sing the songs and smile constantly truly brought me joy. I am very blessed to have such a wonderful and fun daughter.

Family fun weekend!

Life has been pulling our family in different directions lately. Tom travels almost every week to either Chicago or Atlanta for a few days (however, he did just spend 10 days in India as well).  A week ago, I was chosen for jury duty which will last about 2 weeks.  The kids have spent their mornings at home but their afternoons are full of swim team and gymnastics.  Of course, now that I am gone everyday for jury duty, they have spent a lot of time at my parents’ house or at playdates.  Because of the busy-ness of our lives, we decided that we need a weekend that was solely committed to our family being together.  We were in desperate need of some quality family time.

We had our usual Friday night “movie night” at home.  We decided to watch Sherlock Gnomes together but it was such a terrible movie, and Tom and I were so tired, that the kids watched the movie while Tom and I slept through most of it.  (Tom sleeps through most movies so it wasn’t quite uncommon. haha.)

Saturday, however, was a great day!  We slept in and then went to see the 10:00am showing of Incredibles 2.  It was such a cute movie!!  We loved the original Incredibles movie and kind of feel like it is what our family would be like should we be super heroes.  When Wilson was little we always called him “Dash”.  He looked like Dash, moved like Dash and even had a shirt with a picture of Dash/the name “Dash” on the shirt.  Incredibles 2 did not disappoint!  Go see it!

In the afternoon, we went to my parents’ house to visit with Grandmama and my Aunt Rebecca who was in town visiting from Colorado.  I don’t get to see Rebecca very often and so it is always a pleasure to see her, catch up and laugh a little together.  I was named after her and I have always felt that I am a bit like her in some ways – we love other cultures, traveling, taking care of others, and of course, we both love the mountains of Colorado.  It was a wonderful visit and I am so glad that she came to see us.

Sunday afternoon was probably the best day out of the whole weekend.  After church, we ate lunch together and then spent the entire afternoon outside by the pool.  The kids’ favorite game is when Tom runs around in circles in the pool and creates a “whirlpool”.  The kids can hardly stand in place when the whirlpool gets moving.  It is very fun and they all laugh the entire time.  I rarely get into the pool, but that day, I had to!  They were having too much fun for me to miss out on it.  While the whirlpool was swirling, we played tag in the pool.  It was such fun!  We swam together and laughed together for hours.  I even jumped into the pool in order to catch a football that Tom was throwing to us. I caught not only the ball, but also got about a gallon of water up my nose.  Ouch!  That was the end of that game for me.  I can’t believe that I can now use the term, “I am too old to be doing that!” (when did 45 get “too old”?)

Our pool is small, but it is still better than no pool at all! I am so thankful for our time together this past weekend.  We needed some family bonding time and we made it happen. I am very grateful

Annual beach trip

This year we had our eighth family beach trip. I am amazed that we have gone to the beach together that many times. It is a trip that we all look forward to every year and this year was no different. The only thing that was different about this year’s trip was that Doug’s new wife, Erin, and her two kids joined us. They were such a great addition to our week and are a great addition to our family! The kids all played so well together, and so did the adults.

Each couple usually gets one date night at some point during the week, and this year we decided to all go out together…twice. :). We had such a fun time together playing pool, having a few drinks and laughing almost non-stop. (I wish I had taken at least one picture).

One new thing that we did was go to the Pirates Voyage show. The show has a giant pirate ship in it and the pirates do some amazing acrobatics throughout the show. The kids said that they liked it better than the Medievil Times because there was more audience participation, and they were right. Tom, Erin, Doug and I were asked to go on stage to compete in a bucket filling race. The kids were shocked to see us up there which made it even more fun.

The rest of the week was filled with fishing, swimming in the pool, boogie boarding, beer drinking, and Banana-gram playing. What more could you want!?!? Another successful beach trip.

Short school days

Summer is rapidly approaching and our school days are getting significantly shorter. All of our “out of House” activities have wrapped up for the year which is giving us so much more freedom. Until a few weeks ago, we went to two co-ops and a Thursday morning Bible study each week. It is amazing that we got any school done! Anyone who says that homeschoolers aren’t “socialized” must not know anyone who homeschools. We are rarely home.

I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the last week and half with the kids. We have played hide-and -seek, baked cookies, played board games, and listened to books on tape. My favorite activity was hide and seek. At first I was strictly the counter/seeker, but then decided that I wanted to hide too. It was so much fun. It reminded me of the stellar games of hide and seek that we used to play as children with Sidney and Tommy.

Another nice aspect of school wrapping up is the lack of pressure that I now feel. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself for fear of someone accusing my kids of being “uneducated” or “behind”. Now the kids are only doing spelling, math and reading. Phew!! What a joy homeschooling can be without all of that self-induced pressure!! I plan to remember this when school starts up again in September. :)

Taking it easy through May and June is awesome! We are all enjoying staying at home, spending time together and learning about what truly interests us!

This is the boys rubbing “war paint” on themselves….

Above is the picture of our picnic in the backyard while I read “Danny, Champion of the world”

Below is Faith baking cookies all by herself…

Doug and Erin are married!

Our family, and many others, traveled up to Ellicott City, MD to celebrate and witness the marriage between Doug and Erin. They were getting married at a big, old, funky house in Ellicott city. It was the perfect venue for a weekend together and a wedding celebration. The theme was “cinco de mayo” which meant that we drank margaritas, ate Mexican food, and danced with a flaminco hat (even though that isn’t really Mexican). Haha

We spent Friday evening setting up for the wedding, eating together and socializing until late into the evening. On Friday night, the girls all got to spend the night in the “castle”. Faith and Elise were very exited to be staying there with us. I felt honored to be involved and staying as well.

The wedding was outside on Saturday afternoon. Rain was in the forecast and it did rain off and on. Thankfully the rain held off long enough for the wedding to be done outdoors. There were umbrellas being used by some but no one seemed to be bothered by a little rain. We weren’t going to melt!

The service was beautiful. I found myself tearing up while walking down the aisle as a bridesmaid. I was so happy for Doug and Erin. I know that God has brought them together and has redeemed them and their family lives. They are great together.

It sprinkled off and on all evening it we didn’t care. The bottom of the dresses were wet and muddy but we wore them anyway. Erin’s dress was completely brown with dirt but she danced and didn’t slow down. I wish I had a picture of it! It was a great weekend and I am so excited to have Erin in our family. I know that she and I will be friends, and sisters, for many, many years.