Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Rendezvous

It’s been an exciting week for us.  The Looper Fall Rendezvous took place and with over 200 participants, plus vendors and staff, it was very busy.  The marina and hotel were at full capacity and having so many people together that share the same dreams is amazing.  We met a lot of people that have done the trip and some planning to make the loop.  We opened our boat for the “Looper Crawl” so others could see how we live.  I had more than one group say that we were the most organized boat they saw (but you have to be with kids!). 
We were interviewed by two magazines, “Life on the Water” and “Heartland Boating.”  It seems we are the only family doing the trip right now.  It was fun to share our story as it seems everyone’s story is so different.  The Great Loop can be done in so many ways all with different goals, routes, timelines, etc.
We also attended a cocktail reception and thanks to Aunt Shell, the girls had pretty dresses to wear (oops, no pictures though)!

Craig found this piece of driftwood on a hike and made a fun mask. 

Morgan had fun with an orange (although it looks like a lime?)

 We had fun making our costumes and decorations this year.
Jaxon took time to hang out in a box and catch up on some reading.  I have a video of him reading Dora Books to himself (he insists that he can read)!
When the sirens went off, schools closed and tornado warnings filled the media Craig was doing laundry J while we weathered through the storm. This is what we watched off the aft deck.  It came as fast as it went and all was back to normal. 

 My three little pirates really had fun getting into character!

Our friends, Bill and Cynthia had us over for an evening of delicious homemade pie, drinks, cookies, candy and fun!  We don’t have opportunities like this and we enjoyed it very much! 
Bill is a professor at Penn State, but that night he enamored the children with getting into pirate character, a green laser light display, drawing a silhouette of Ryann on his boat, etc.

Our friend, Leslie Marsh from “Amalia” took the kids for an art lesson by the pool.  She brought out several fun crafts for them to make Trick-or-Treating bags. 

Thanks to our friend Joan Gehrig from “Windsong” the kids had the most memorable Halloween ever. She spoke to the event planners of the Rendezvous and coordinated time and candy for a trick or treating event JUST for my three little pirates! EVERY looper boat participated and since boats are closer together than houses, they received a lot of candy fast!
Everyone seemed so happy to celebrate. So many of them commented that they love Halloween, seeing the kids dressed up, etc. and this would be there only opportunity this year to have that. Needless to say the kids were photographed on many occasions and felt so fortunate to have so many people that care about them.
It was more than just miniature candy bars this year…..flashlights, stickers, pencils, cake rolls, glow sticks, necklaces and an assortment of full size bars and candy galore made it tough for Jaxon to hold his bag at the end of the night. However, he was worried the bag would fall into the water, so he took the liberty to make sure it was safe.
John and Carol from “Seas 2 Day” were our wonderful slip mates for over two weeks.

Greg, Barbara and Vanilla Bean (dog) from GonCruzn

Bruce and Chris from “Bade Boomer” showing me that they loved giving each kid a huge handful of candy!

Jim and Cathy from “Merried with Her”

Joan with her dog Molly gave the kids several fun Halloween treats (and made this event possible)! What a great friend she is to me and gives a ton of love to my children.

Pete and Anna from “Blue Yonder” were fun to hang out with. A very fast friendship was formed and we enjoyed good conversation and cocktails on our aft deck for a few nights. They are 37, which is the next youngest people to be doing the loop right now!

Skip and Barb from Moor Stuff. Skip was in full character and made the kids really laugh as always!

Greg and Leslie from Amalia had this cute little table set up with goodie bags by their boat. So sweet of them to put so much time into making it so special.

Posing for the paparazzi happened at every boat. They always gave their best pirate faces! We were overwhelmed by the participation and we fun we had!

Friends that have accepted our family like their own. Special people that we’ll enjoy cruising with for a long time to come.

Jim and Gloria from Crawdad

Sue and Darrell from “Present Moment” started their trip from Holland, Michigan

Look at the “booty” treasure we brought home!!!

Wes and Jean from “Miss Ruby”…we’ve been drawn to them since we met…my grandparents names are Wes and Jean and he has this huge smile and blue eyes like my grandpa. Craig has loved talking with them about their boat as it has gorgeous interior cabinetry they built entirely.

Gregs birthday celebration included a yummy cake with a candle that, once lit, opened up, shot sparklers in the air and played the tune of Happy Birthday!

160 bobbers have been found here at Joe Wheeler on our hikes and hidden in coves.

Jaxon fell asleep on a very long paddle ride back to the dock after the dinghy motor stopped working.

The finished Halloween bags!

It’s been a treasure hunt to find these fishing lures, but each day this kids get excited to get our there and search some more. 67 is the current total. Jaxon is collection old lighters, we’ve found two turtle shells, small old glass bottles, etc.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Alabama fun

Week three at Joe Wheeler and we’re having a good time. The town is a hilly bike ride and 5 miles away (our 75 lb. bikes and weight of the kids make it a bit unfavorable to make the run in for groceries).  However, there’s plenty for us to keep busy at the state park.
 The kids made us a delicious cherry pie.
 We made it known how much the kids loved dogs and while fellow boaters were away on day trips, we were entrusted with their care.  Our friends Joan and Jay have three nice labs.  Morgan loved Marley, Ryann with Rosie and Jaxon with Molly.  The girls were quick to clean up messes without a question (almost to prove that they were responsible enough for their own dog).

Gloria and Jim from Crawdad (and Fenton, Michigan) have two dogs named Buddy and BooBoo.  We’ve met up with them periodically on the trip and love playing with their well behaved boys! 
Morgan with Buddy threw tennis balls around for a long time and he never tired of the game.
 Ryann loved talking with BooBoo about all of the fun we were having (really cute).
We catch grasshoppers each day for baiting catfish.  Jaxon is holding a huge one that really tickles your hands.  He calls it “bite” instead of bait.  The kids have found tons of lures left behind from fellow fishermen.  It’s become a bit of a treasure hunt now to find them each day.
Grandma Debbie, Alexander and Emily came for a weekend visit!  It was fun to spend time with them again. 
We had only stepped onto the boat for a minute and Alexander reeled in a big catfish! 
 After driving for over 12 hours the kids were excited to be together again and had lots to catch up on. 
Hot cocoa on a cool morning warms your belly. 
Catching grasshoppers was top on the list for the morning and everyone participated. 
 Nothing better than doing everything possible with our cousins…including swinging.
 Alexander wanted to go swimming (in the chilly pool) so bad that he dunked his head in for a refreshing moment.
 We took a long hike through the woods around the park.
 We stopped off in these cove areas to do some treasure hunting for fishing lures.  We came up with a lot of other need finds too. 
Together again!
 Fun time with Grandma Debbie!  She was looking for a diamond ring treasure, but settled for some floating golf balls.
 Alexander and Morgan made a fishing pole and tried catching a big fish by the log.
 The kids could have went tubing all day. 
 We shot water balloons out of a sling shot and even made it to our moving target which was Craig and Jaxon on the dinghy or Morgan and (either Alexander or Emily) on the tube.  It was a roar of screams each time! 

  It was a fun day complete with grilled cheeseburgers on the bow of the boat, kids swimming and jumping for the aft deck and the time just flew by. 

Even Grandma Debbie took a turn with the sling shot. 
In the evening we attended a shrimp boil with the huge group of Loopers that have gathered for the festivities.  The kids played on the grass, enjoyed the potluck of food and cracked acorns…it didn’t matter as long as they were together. 

A few rounds of “family drawing night” was a hit.  I love how creative everyone gets. 
 Jaxon loves his Nintendo DS….even upside down.
It’s amazing how full the marina is with 70+ boats and the lodge is completely booked.  People that are doing the loop, want to do it or have done it before are here.  Vendors have booths set up, speakers and presenters on topics each day, AGLCA staff and everyone alike. 

 We met a cat named “Miss Kitty”….that’s what we call our friend Carrie back in Grand Haven. 
 Morgan still loves playing with her hermit crabs that she purchased in Michigan before we left.  There’s been a few nights that they were left outside and thankfully the raccoon didn’t get to them.