Monday, April 30, 2012

How do you know when you are well liked? My son-in-law, Bill, found out last weekend. My daughter planned a surprise 40th birthday party for him and he was happy to see all his family and friends. How she did it without him catching wind of one word is beyond me. With three little boys at home, lots of family, and plenty of planning and shopping, one would think something would have been leaked.

Bill is one of those guys that is easy to like. He is patient and easy going. He has lots of friends and helps lots of people. But the most important people in his life are his family, especially his wife, Karin, and their three sons, Aaron, Andrew and Austin (the A-team).

Here are some examples of how special Bill is to those three boys. Karin gave the boys a couple weeks of heads up about the party in case they wanted to make or do something special for Bill for his birthday. She made suggestions such as making a card, writing something for him or singing for him. Austin immediately knew that he was going to make something for his dad. He made a beautiful poster all by himself (first grader). On it he wrote,

I O U one hole day with me.

He then drew a Steelers emblem on the poster and told his mom, "I want to take Daddy to a Steelers game. Just him and me." We got a chuckle out of his spelling above but it makes the poster even more precious.

Aaron, our writer-illustrator-artist, wrote his thoughts about what he liked about his dad. So special and hand picked were his thoughts that he chose not to share them publicly with the crowd. He said, "There are some things on there that just Daddy needs to read." How special is that? There is a very close bond between Aaron and his dad.

Andrew hesitated at first when Karin suggested that he sing for his dad at the party. Then after thinking about it for a short while, decided that he would sing and knew just the song. Andrew is a big fan of Keith Urban. He said, "Keith Urban has a song and it is called, "A Song for Dad". I'll learn that and sing it to Dad.

The crowd including all the children were dead still and quiet while Andrew sang the entire song for his dad. Toward the end of the song he turned completely toward Bill, who had gotten down to Andrew's level by this time, and sang directly to him. You can tell by the looks on their faces how important each is to the other.

Below is one of the stanza's of the song's lyrics:

The older I get
The more I can see
That he loved my mother and my brother and me
And he did the best that he could
And I only hope when I have my own family
That everyday I see
Oh I hope I see
I hope everyday I see
A little more of my father in me 

When Andrew left the floor after singing he was choked up and holding back his emotions. I asked him if he was okay and told him how great he did. He said, "I'm okay. But don't you think that song is a little sad? It made me feel sad." 

That's the kind of Dad and man that Bill is. Caring, gentle, patient and helpful. He has his priorities straight and his head on right. We are so lucky to have him in our family.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Changes at Leisure Lake Campgrounds

It's been a while since I posted. Lots of things have happened.

Just as we thought we were getting our "oasis" together here at the campgrounds, things have changed. Our neighbors across from us informed us they had purchased a camper at another site and would be moving. I told Sue we enjoyed them being our neighbors and would miss having them that close. She then told me about a site that had just opened up near their new site. The best part of it was that this site has woods behind it.

After all the setting up, moving wood, shoveling and paying for gravel, getting the shed put in and organized, I thought Ken would say, "No way! I'm not moving!"

But to my surprise, the first words out of his mouth when I told him there was a bigger lot with woods behind it were, "Let's go see it. That sounds good."

So off we went and checked it out. It is pie shaped, narrow at the front and widening out towards the woods. The lot is quite a bit larger than this one and will be much quieter because it is tucked back in farther from the road and not near the main road coming into the camp like this is.

Although I had just exclaimed in a blog not too long ago about how we were going to fix it up in the back to make for more room, and how we enjoyed the view of the woods across the street and the creek, we are giving it up.

We took vacation this week to move our belongings to the new site. We can't start moving until May 1 when the lot is officially ours. Our lot here has already been spoken for. May 1 is the day yearly membership fees are due and lots of changes are taking place. Some campers are not coming back, some have their sites for sale, others are moving to sites now being vacated. I have noticed several visitors in the campground today and have seen them being shown around the park. Sites go very quickly here because it is such a nice park and is not expensive, has lots of amenities such as the pool and clubhouse, ball fields, comfort stations throughout the park, lots of woods, and lots of friendly people.

Our activity director, MaryAnn, has lots of activities planned all year round. We will be having a Cinco de Mayo party on Saturday. Next weekend she planned a bus trip for any members wanting to go to Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. I don't know how she finds the time and energy to get all the things organized and set up that she does for the park but somehow she does and does a great job of it.

We are anxious to move but will miss the friends we made at this site. We will still see them of course, but probably not as often. We are closer to the clubhouse but at the end of a street, far enough away to not have as much golf cart traffic as we have here. We know our neighbors already, having met them last year when we first got here in September. Wonderful people and I am looking forward to getting to know them better.

I'll try to keep you posted on how things are going this week at the new site.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Best thing that happened to me today

I got a text first thing this morning from my youngest brother, Gene. I hadn't heard from him in a while and it was the best thing that happened. I called him back and we talked for a short while, with plans to get together soon.

Thanks Gene for the one bright spot today!

After that, the rest of the day so far has been downhill.

Why is it that when a day starts off lousy it seems to just escalate? If I were to sit down at a blood pressure machine right now, I think I'd blow the thing apart!

I plan to do some walking at lunch to get lots of endorphins flowing through my body to reduce  my stress level.

Friday, April 13, 2012

To Pose or Not to Pose?

Isn't it fun to look back at old pictures? Remembering where we were when they were taken or what took place at the time? Pictures even when taken randomly create memories.

I have lots of pictures of my grandchildren taken without them knowing it. They didn't even have to be doing anything special at the time, just being themselves. As time goes by and I look at those pictures, I see how much they have changed or how innocent they were at the time. Maybe a tooth missing, their hair needing cut, a scrape or a bruise showing. The pictures are still wonderful, whether a little out of focus, a blurry background, whatever. I still have a picture to look back on.

But then there are those people who hate to have their picture taken. Ken had an aunt, now deceased, who always covered her face when we tried to get her picture. I have several pictures of the back of her hand and a portion of her face or body. Not long ago I tried to take pictures of my mom at her house and she did the same thing.

How sad that these people would not be willing to allow us to have those memories. Do I always look great in pictures? Heck no! But then, do I always look good when I am not getting my picture taken. No again. I am who I am, take it or leave it. Sure, I'd love to have some pictures like the ones taken in galleries where they touch it up to make you look flawless. But in reality, that is definitely not me.

When I get a picture album out, I could spend hours reminiscing while looking at them.

When you hear of someone going back inside their home during a tragedy like tornado or fire, one of the things they usually are trying to retrieve are their photos. Pictures are important. Don't be shy of the camera. One thing I can tell you is this....those pictures you hated 10 years ago will look pretty good to you today.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not Only a New Season for Us!

We started our new camping season recently. But for our son, Kenny, his new racing season starts at Deerfield Raceway in Deerfield, Ohio this Saturday, April 14.

Saturday night was a free night for guests to watch while the drivers tried out their cars for the first time this season. We watched lots of practice runs by all divisions.

Kenny's car looks fast and he had it painted over the winter so it looks like a new car. Kenny kept the number 27 (Marissa's birthday) on it but he painted the car white with red and blue. Very nice job.

Deerfield is a family oriented track and they have lots of events to keep the children occupied during the night. Luckily, it is only a few minutes from Leisure Lake so we should be able to attend more races this year. Last year Ken was hosting at Mosquito Lake Campgrounds and worked several weekends in the check in station and we were not able to see Kenny race as often as we would have liked.

Pic of Kenny last year after a win
 Good Luck Son. I hope you do as well and even better than last year so I have lots of things to brag about this year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Things are looking better

Our campsite is looking better. Our woodpiles made it through the winter and we added a third last weekend...and the best part is "They are all still standing!"

We got our picnic table painted last weekend. It matches our shed. Kenny, Karin, Bill and the A-team (grandsons), and Barb and Jerry came to Easter dinner to try it out.

The waterline break behind our camper is now fixed and the hole is filled in. No more pond in our backyard. This past weekend we transformed that area into the first phase of our new oasis. We leveled the dirt and put a platform (one piece of our deck we couldn't use) over the area where the hole used to be. We put two chairs on the platform and felt like we were in Heaven, enjoying the solitude and the view. Our platform is not much to look at now, but we envision a larger platform coming out from this area behind our camper to add more "living space." Our site is at the top of a hill which gives us a great view of the creek and lots of woods.

Ken is holding my beer while I take the pic

Tempation was too great! He's drinking them both!

We filled the bird feeder and put it in this area also and the birds are starting to find it. I can watch them from the kitchen window in the camper.

Our view from here is facing east, so we will get to watch the sunrise and also over the weekend we saw the full moon gleaming above.

I think I am going to love it here. This will be the first full season here for us but each day I am feeling more at home.