Posts Tagged ‘family vacation’

Family Vacation Extravaganza!

November 5, 2016

My baby sister called me a year ago to tell me some thrilling news but her voice didn’t hold the excitement I felt it should have. A couple from their church invited my sister and her pastor husband (whose rapper name is Big Sexy but that’s not part of this story) on a two week cruise in the Mediterranean with 3-day stops in Venice and Paris. A DREAM vacation! I am pretty sure I was WAY more excited than she was about the cruise! I have taught Renaissance history… there are about 27 million places, buildings and works of art that I would kill to see. Well, maybe not kill, but close. Maim. Yeah. Maim.

My baby sister lamented, “I don’t think we should go because then we couldn’t come home to Arizona for Christmas next year.” I laughed loudly in her ear. A three week trip to Europe or Christmas with the cousins??? Seemed like a no-brainer to me. I felt like asking, “Are you dumb?” but I’m the nice sister, so I refrained. Then I remembered that we were going to Canada for Christmas and wouldn’t even be in Arizona. That encouraged her just a tad to consider the magnificent adventure at her finger tips.

The fervor had not returned in her voice. Still sounding forlorn she asked, “What would we do with the kids for three weeks?” HELLO!? You live in Maui. I WILL COME! Hence yesterday’s blog about Hana, the beach chair, returning joy and cat barf. So they went.

Knowing that we would be staying in my sister’s home, which is the parsonage twelve steps away from the church they pastor, (which consequently used to be the offices for a sugar cane plantation 50 or so years ago) I began to have visions of our own Crosby Family Vacation Extravaganza!  Whooo HOooooo! With some cousins thrown in! Party like it’s 1999.

Mr. Wallet and I discussed the opportunity and we enthusiastically presented it to the kids one night at dinner. Here is how it went down:

Me: (Can’t stop smiling!) Your Auntie and Uncle are going on a trip next November and have asked us to go over and take care of your cousins for two weeks. So we are all going to go and have a blast in Maui together!

(No one cheered.) (Maybe they didn’t hear me?)

Our 17 year old son: I don’t want to go. It is my last state band competition for high school.

(Again, I am weighing the alternatives: band or Maui?) (No brainer.)

Me: We could go the last two weeks so you could do the state competition and then go.

Our 17 year old son: I don’t want to go then either. That would mean I would have to have my 18th birthday in Maui.

(And the problem is?????) (I am pretty sure my mouth was hanging open.) (Well, that just saved us $600!)

Our 19 year old son: Yeah, I don’t want to go either. It would be hard for me to get my jobs covered and I’m driving bus for the homeless on Sundays.

(Since when did ministry come before self indulgence?) (KIDDING!) (Another $600 saved!)

The 12 year old Colombian princess: Do I get to go? 

(Didn’t I say FAMILY vacation?)

YES!!!! Her eyes lit up and a smile spread across her face. That’s my girl.

THEN a few months into the planning, Mr. Wallet counted his vacation days and decided he was going to save another $600 and stay home. What the heck? How can all these men be related to me? I live for vacations! My sons had free food, lodging and flights to Maui but turned them down. I just don’t get it. I am pretty sure when they are 40 they will regret the foolish decisions of their youth.

You guessed it… GIRLS TRIP! Nora and I are having a blast! She hasn’t flown on a BIG plane since she came to America six years ago, so of course she had to tell me all about them…. trays that come down out of the seat for your table… tiny bathrooms… free nuts! So many things to look forward to!

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Oh, you know I’m posting pictures of facebook, snapchat and instagram and tagging my sons. BEST GIRLS TRIP EVER!

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Tours, Tiaras and Two T-shirts

August 8, 2013

Our summer travels for 2013 have come to an end.  For three weeks I have been away from home (2 of those weeks without my family!) and I have learned several valuable tidbits that I feel compelled to share with you, faithful reader.

Trip #1 Nashville, Tennessee.  I learned that I really am a jewelry diva…. you may be surprised I didn’t admit this until now, but I seriously outfitted my roommates with GREAT accessories several times!  On this trip to the South, I realized that I love the South.  I haven’t been there for several years and the greenness is intoxicating.  The rolling hills of swaying grass call to me.  The magnolia trees waved in the moist breeze enticing me with their ivory blooms and the brick homes with their neat and tidy yards make me wanna spit at the desert and move tomorrow.  The grand finale of the trip was touring Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s plantation.  Oh, did he spend good money paying an English gardener that is still making women swoon at the aromas of the flowers he chose!

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Trip #2 Southern to Northern California.  This was a high school girl’s roadtrip that reunited five friends after 30 years of separation.  It was non-stop laughs and stories of yesteryear.  One of the roadies brought us all Superwoman t-shirts with hot pink capes and tiaras with pink bling bling.  You couldn’t really miss us…. AT ALL.  It was great fun but tiring for this mama.  By day #4, I was a bit of a party pooper.  I’m still not back to my old self and the car accident was almost five months ago.

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Trip #3 Family Vacation at Lake Tahoe, California.  Please see the last blog as to my dire straights due to my husband’s negligence.  So, here is the REST of the story.  In addition to my light blue ONLY shirt, I ended up purchasing one t-shirt, a pink v-neck that had tasteful Lake Tahoe lettering on the front.  I tried it on in the hardware store dressing room, yanked off the tags and wore it to the register.  The attendant commented, “Oh, wearing it out!  Showing your Tahoe pride!”  I shook my head and blurted, “You don’t know half the story!”  So, I wore each shirt on alternating days while the other was in the wash.  I wore my jeans every single day in Tahoe, save one when it was warm enough for shorts. And my two pair of socks took turns hugging my feet or wiping the insides of the washing machine.

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Thanks to my hubby and parents who had pity on me, I flew home so as to avoid my already painful arm from sitting in the truck for 15 hours straight.  Yes, on the plane rides I wore my jeans and my blue t-shirt.  This was like a flashback to our trip to Colombia where we only had three shirts each for a month!  On the first flight, a neat-as-a-pin 20-something gal sat next to me with her head aimed at her book the entire flight.  She didn’t say a peep to me (and I kept my nose in my current historical novel as well) until she popped open her hand sanitizer and with pressurization it squirt all over my jeans that I have been wearing for nine days.  I thought it comical that they probably did need sanitizing at this point, but I didn’t feel like telling a stranger that I haven’t changed my pants in over a week.

Not nearly as entertaining as my flight from from Nashville sitting next to the narcoleptic man, I was in LAX on a layover and knew my seat number was 5D.  It is a smaller plane with only two seats on each side of the aisle.  Fine.  However, there was a family with two little blonde haired bundles of screams and energy also in the waiting area.  I hoped and prayed they wouldn’t be seated near me.  I mean goodness sakes, I was only 45 pages into an enrapturing tale from Reformation times set in the Netherlands.  Screaming + Reformation = NOT ON MY WATCH!  Right before boarding commenced, I visited the little girl’s room.  When I wandered back to the gate I heard the quite loud mother of the two girlies tell her husband matter-of-factly, “Whoever is holding the baby is supposed to sit in seat 5C.”  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  This was an emergency situation of gargantuan proportions in my mind.  I went straight to the desk to ask to be moved.  The kind lady at the counter asked, “What is your name, please?”  Not sure why she needed the information, I simply retorted, “Crosby.”  She looked down and then handed me a new boarding pass, adding, “I’m sorry, but we had to move your seat to 8D.”  If we weren’t in an airport surrounded by 87 travelers with cellphones that take photos, I would have jumped over the counter and hugged her little neck and kissed her over-rouged cheeks!

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Our story ends with me blogging at our home computer, contented to be in my own house with my two dogs licking my feet, sitting here in my jeans and my blue t-shirt.  :o)  Safe travels!

Vera Wang, Where are You?

August 1, 2013

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Hello from Lake Tahoe, one of our favorite relaxing places on planet earth.  It rocks! Do I look cold in this picture?  I am! Does my sweatshirt look too big?  Does it look like it is a Minnesota sweatshirt that I would never wear?  IT IS!  See my husband?  Doesn’t he look kind and thoughtful and fun.  It’s all a FRONT!  If we post more pictures from our adventures in Tahoe, be sure to notice my jeans…. because I will have them on in EVERY single photo.  WHY? you ask.

Our story begins last Wednesday when I emptied my suitcase from my trip to Nashville, only long enough to wash the clothes and re-pack into a carry-on for my high school girl’s road trip.  My family would be joining me in Tahoe after I flew to Los Angeles for the four day excursion with four of my high school friends.  Us girls had to pack light as there were five of us in a suburban and we needed room for our vintage/shabby/thrift store gems yet to be purchased.  And we used all that space too!

Knowing that I would need WARM clothes in Tahoe, I packed half of the big suitcase to share with my husband, as we have done for 27 years now.  Being the Phoenix girl that I am, I added wool socks, flannel jammies, three more pair of socks, a big Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, sweats, a wind-proof jacket, five pair of undies, my warm fur Vera Wang bling bling slippers, long sleeve shirts, a heating pad, the next book in the series that I am reading, Christmas-in-July gifts for two of our friends, etc. etc. etc.

When our family was re-united (and it feels so good) at the lake, I immediately went to the suitcase to layer up on my clothes and find my slippers.  I dug on one side.  I dug on the other side.  Then realization hit…. like a mosquito impacting the windshield at 75 mph…. MY STUFF WAS MISSING!  WHAT?  I almost couldn’t breathe for a few seconds.  I threw out a few games and a pillow that my sweet husband had packed in the suitcase and then with a slightly elevated voice I “kindly” asked, “WHERE ARE MY CLOTHES?”  His blank look of confusion on his handsome face confirmed that it was not a premeditated action taken to cause me mental anguish.  He replied after a few seconds, “I took out all the stuff that you left in the suitcase from Nashville.”  “IT WAS NOT FROM NASHVILLE!  IT WAS WOOL SOCKS AND A HEATING PAD SO I DON’T FREEZE TO DEATH HERE IN TAHOE!”

He told me that I could just wear the clothes over and over from the road trip…. yeah… NO!  It was a beach dress, shorts and a tank top and capris with a sleeveless shirt.  NOT TAHOE FRIENDLY at all.  I was wearing my jeans, thank God all mighty!  And a blue t-shirt.  And one of my three pair of underwear.  And one of my two pair of socks.  At that moment, I took Rick’s Minnesota sweatshirt from the suitcase and put it on.  He commented, “Well, I brought that so I could wear it.”  Too bad, Bucko.

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My Vera Wang slippers have been temporarily replaced by these handmade Halloween slippers that are four sizes too large that I found in the cabin….  they ARE warm.  I’m almost speechless at this turn of events.  Almost.  OK, not really.  Several comments have been made ALL DAY LONG as to my clothes being the same as yesterday…. the stain on my blue t-shirt that appears to be growing… the outfit that I will have on for ALL the pictures this week…. a Bible verse about how we shouldn’t worry about what we wear…. and how I should really be choosing ONE outfit for my husband to also wear all week long next to me.  :o)  He is lucky that this is not a trip where I needed nice, dress-up clothes with matching jewelry and purses and shoes.  Oh, let me tell you how lucky he is!

Good grief!  Calm down.

ROAD TRIP to Canada Day #1

December 26, 2012

Every five years, our family makes the trek north to our homeland Canada where we met and fell in love with starry eyes and warm hearts.  Crosby Family Christmas was occurring in Abbotsford, B.C. at my brother and sister-in-law’s house.  Three out of the four siblings arrived with kids in tow along with Rick’s folks…. 15 of us in all.

We never leave on time for road trips.  Various circumstances contribute to this, mostly, however, is my dear husband’s tendency toward tardiness.  Day #1 had 12 hours of driving on the agenda, but there was not an impending arrival time that we were aiming at.  This was a godsend because my great aunt and uncle are staying in our house for us and watching the doggies…. which translates to the house needing to be spotless… way beyond the normal “leaving on vacation” level of cleanliness…. causing three of my four children to roll their eye balls at their mother.

Soooooooo, departure time was chosen for 7:00 a.m.  At 9:15 a.m. dusting and mirror cleaning were still in progress.  We pulled out of the driveway at 9:38 a.m. BUT there were three scheduled stops before we could leave town.  Rick had some checks to drop off, his work truck to take to the mechanic and we still needed gas for the trip.  At 10:27 we pulled into Circle K in downtown Phoenix and Rick announced to his wife and four children, “Everyone go to the bathroom because we’re not stopping for a long time!”   Into the gas station we obediently traipsed.

11:01 a.m. we officially left Phoenix and began our trek westbound.  At 11:18 a.m. Rick mousily squeaked from the middle row of the van that he needed to go to the bathroom….. so we turned into another Circle K in Buckeye, AZ!  And thus began our 3,400 mile ROAD TRIP to the Great White North….  only 3+ hours behind our scheduled departure.  Not bad.

In My Absence

November 8, 2011

The lack of blogging is due to a disturbance in the force.  We went camping and didn’t take the computer…. go figure!  Four families made some plans, reserved some camp spots, packed everything including the kitchen sink (but all forgot ketchup!) and headed out to the lake for four days of wilderness survival.  It was hardly wildernessy or survivally, except for the hurricane that hit with 65 mile-an-hour winds on Friday night.  The boy’s tent blew down flat… broken poles and all.  Two of them moved into the boat (with a canvas cover) and two moved into the van.  Let me just add that the wise man builds his house in the van.  By 12:30 a.m. the boat boys were soaked and texted a plea to the RV, “Please help. Wet.”

Our tent was not handling the gales well either.  A nylon strap snapped and rain was coming in on my head….. I was more worried about getting electrocuted from my electric blanket than worried about being wet.  Don’t judge me.  We also were graciously invited into the 5th wheel in the blowing blazes of the storm.

If the storm wasn’t enough, Keeve’s retainer went missing AGAIN.  This is the second camping trip where the retainer was MIA.  Thankfully it was also the second camping trip where the retainer materialized before his father could wring his neck.

AND…. our friend’s golden retriever was profusely sprayed by our neighborhood skunk.  I’ve smelled city kitties before, but not so strong where it burns your throat.  Wow…. brought tears to my eyes as well.

If all those events didn’t add enough excitement…. our car battery died…. deader than a doornail.  So we used the van as a storage unit until my knight in shining work truck went a bought a new battery.  Wow!

Yes, the water level is extremely low in Lake Pleasant at the moment, but it is filling as we speak.  Many a nap transpired by the lake and we ALL enjoyed the lazy time of not being in the hustle and bustle of home life.

Despite the disturbances in the force, a relaxing time was had by all…. most of the time.

Vacations are Underrated!

June 22, 2011

Every year we come to Lake Tahoe during the summer…. it is honestly a little slice of heaven on earth.  The temperature is particularly inviting because we abide in Phoenix…. the Valley of the Sun.  I happened upon the weather at home today and it was a blistering 114.  It was a balmy 76 here at the lake… with a light breeze… and slightly cloudy skies that randomly hid the sun from view. It is sublime.

As a homeschool mom, you would assume that my life is somewhat lackadaisical with relaxed schedules and leisure time at hand.  Not so.  Imagine the pressure of your four children’s education resting solely on your shoulders.  It’s A LOT to think about…. and more so than not, why I completely appreciate our time in Tahoe.  I do not bring one iota of school with us. OK, that was a lie.  I did bring two audio books from our literature list next year.  OK, AND a small reader.  After being away from our home for approximately 35 minutes, I realized that the audio books were useless because we no longer possess a functioning portable CD player.  My driving shift started at 2:30 a.m. ….. when I was not afforded the luxury of using the car stereo for my American History literature choices…. simply because four other people wanted to sleep at 2:30 am.  How selfish.

The 1850s novel I’m reading purely for pleasure has been cracked open but once during the past three days on the lake.  How have I been busily spending my time, you ask? Relaxed in the sand I stared in a catatonic state at the crystal blue water for several hours.  Perched on the couch I gazed at the aqueous goodness beyond the patio doors for long periods of time.  Parked at the kitchen table I played game after game after game after game. Today we all walked into town.  TWO whole miles one way… uphill… in the snow (well, it would be snowing in January, but we are here in June.)

Somehow the cerulean water calms my spirit.  Surprisingly, breathing is easier up at 7,500 feet due to lack of stress.  This scenery allows me to collect myself and ease off of the pressures of home.  Vacations are WAY underrated in my humble opinion.

Take Me Home, Country Roads

July 18, 2010

Our trip to Bountiful has proved to be much more of an adventure than I was prepared for. For ten days we are relishing in the somewhat cool mountain air twenty miles south of Flagstaff at Munds Park in Northern Arizona. Yes, it’s still been 90 degrees but that is a welcome luxury compared to the 115’s of Phoenix. Can’t say that I’m missing home right now. At all. I thought for a moment… and it’s true. Not at all.

Reading, sewing, relaxing, game playing and napping were all high on my list for this trip. I did manage to accomplish the finishing touches of one Bag for Zaza while here, and I’ve started the hand-embellished fancies for a cute little girl’s denim purse. One book down, two to go. Game playing has picked up with the arrival of the game-obsessed family members. :o) Naps have been plentiful as well. What I didn’t account for was the toll on my poor body.

Ice cream sandwiches were calling our names from the country store, so we ventured off for the 1.5 mile walk down the hill….. knowing the ice cream sandwiches would be a necessary fuel for the crawl back up the hill. Only ten or twelve houses down the sidewalk-less street, I noticed my 11-year-old son skid on some gravel. One house later there was a cement driveway covered in small black stones and I told the kids, “This is the kind of rocks that slip easily on pavement…..” and then I proceeded to demonstrate just how easy it was to slide on the small stones. My left leg slid down the hill and I gracefully, in slow motion, went down as my right knee kissed the gravel. Blood followed. Ouch! And drat it all, I ripped a hole in my favorite black Capri pants! We turned around and hiked back to the cabin to find the well equipped first aid box. Ouch! Ice cream sandwiches were calling more loudly at that point… so we drove down.

This cabin comes fully stocked with two quads for offroading adrenaline rushes. Helmets, goggles, gloves, etc. etc. etc. My husband and I took our eldest and youngest out for a tromp through the pine trees. We took turns riding and driving and bumping along the not-so-smooth paths. I knew I would be sore the next day simply from holding on! One particular tromp, my 16-year-old daughter was driving and I was on the back, holding on for dear life. Now I understand the phrase “holding on for dear life.” Anyway, we somehow got off the trail and were making our way through virgin forest when she spontaneously ducked to avoid being stabbed by tree branches…. and I did not. Just below my right collar-bone a branch stabbed me and I screamed out. No blood followed, but I do have a highly tender spot, a quality bruise with some good scratch marks. Ouch! Quadding is the dirtiest sport I’ve participated in throughout my entire life, I’m quite certain.

We have five more days of cool mountain air. I’m praying that I make it out alive. (I refrained from sharing my “slam my head into the A-frame beam story” …. but it did bring tears to my eyes.)

(New bag up for auction at www.BagsForZaza.wordpress.com!)

HOLLYWOOD

April 14, 2009

As Mr. Bang-His-Head and Coach Rick crashed in the hotel room in Anaheim after the 7 a.m. game, Larisa, Keeve and I ventured off to Hollywood.   We have never been there despite our many trips to L.A.  Can I just say that if you’re looking for weirdos….. they’re in Hollywood… particularly at Starbucks on Hollywood Blvd. just East of the Chinese Theater.  WEIR-DO!  Oh, my goodness.  I didn’t bother telling the kids to stop staring with their mouths gaping open because I was busy staring with my mouth gaping open.  Our favorite, hands down, was a little shriveled up man with long dyed-black hair looking rather spookily like Howard Stern in his 90s.  He had a little too much black eye liner on… and he accidentally used the black eyeliner on his lips too.  But I could tell he had realized his mistake because he tried to correct it with shiny silver eyeliner outlining his black lips.  Remarkably creepy.

Anyway, we were the typical tourists walking slowly down the street of the stars and reading all the names aloud, whether we knew them or not.  I just made it sound like I was excited to find each and every one.  Larisa finally figured out that I didn’t know who half the people were.  The only star we were in pursuit of was Elvis, for Rick of course.  Well, they have moved Elvis’ star three times and we finally asked enough people and were pointed in the same general direction about four times when we came upon the king of rock n roll’s star.  It’s by itself and the Beatles’ star in a large median, so as not to get too many people stopping up traffic in front of the junk souvenir shops.

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We got sucked into a souvenir shop and bought the $7 map showing the homes of the stars.  So off we drove to see if we could find any famous people’s houses.  The one that I got most excited about was the Brady Bunch house.  So cool.  Just like the show!  Except it’s orange now, not olive green anymore.  The ordinary people who live in it must be sick of people like us in minivans holding the $7 map and taking pictures of their home because their house number was nowhere to be seen.  Larisa said, “I can’t tell which house it is because there’s no number on this one!”  I didn’t need a house number.  I grew up watching that house.

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Keeve asked if we could see Ben Stiller’s house, so off Hollywood Blvd. we drove to Ben’s place.  Well after Larisa has successfully navigated me up these winding, narrow, falling-apart roads we find the house number and Larisa says, “Oh, …..this is Drew Barrymore’s house.”  So we enjoyed her amazing view for a few moments before finding the correct house for Keeve.  And keeping up with our tradition of saving one famous line for posterity from each of our family vacations, the rest of the trip we kept saying, “Oh, this is Drew Barrymore’s house,” when we pulled into Taco Bell, Huntington Beach, Free Chapel, Chevron, our hotel, etc.

Old School Music

February 15, 2009

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I don’t know if other parents are battling the same thing as us, but our kids hardly know any of the old hymns of the church.  Solid hymns like Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Blessed Assurance or Standing on the Promises.  We’ve done our best, short of torture, to get these songs of faith into them.  We bought a hymns cd that has all current artists singing the songs with slightly more upbeat rhythms than when we were kids.  We play it most Sundays on our 30 minutes drive to church.  This has been going on for maybe a year now and they actually sing along these days.

It was around 1980 when my parents bought a station wagon with tasteful wood siding that only had an eight track tape player included.  There was also a solo eight track tape…. of The Statesmen, a gospel group from the 50s??? maybe early 60s???  I’ve mentioned this on MSJ before, how my siblings and I can sing every part to every song on that entire tape.  It brings back happy memories of traveling the I5 from California to Canada each summer.  OK, I HAVE to share the names of the Statesmen…. they are hilarious…. Rosie Rozell; Jim “Big Chief” Wetherington; Jack Toney; Doy Ott and Hovie Lister.  Nope, no typos…. Rosie, Doy and Hovie….. what were those mothers thinking???  Here’s one of the songs embedded in our brains: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkWpNdo-syU&feature=related  Not only can you hear them, but you can see their sunny faces as they hit notes as high as Hercules’ half-goat friend (remember THAT cartoon??)

My kids were getting off easy with the updated version of hymns until my husband happened on an Oakridge Boys hymns cd at Tuesday Morning.  It must have been close to free…..  anyway, he put it on in the van this morning.  None of us know any of the songs at all, so we’re all enduring bizarre harmonies together.

One song came on and the guy was seriously singing higher than I can…. REALLY high for a guy, and Rick told the kids, “Hey you guys, this is a man singing.”  No response from the back except for a couple of snickers.  A few songs later featured the bass singer from the group soloing.  Our 12 year old son said in a mockful tone, “Hey you guys, this is a girl singing.”

Why so sassy????

Long live Martin Luther and A Mighty Fortress is our God!

?#15 from My Sister’s Jar – Ministikwin Lake

August 18, 2008

OK, I realize this blog is called My Sister’s Jar… and I haven’t pulled a question from the jar in three months.  Either I had to go in WordPress and figure out how to change the name of the blog OR open the jar and get with the program.  Even though I’m reading the book Do Hard Things, I chose the easy route this morning.

Tell about a time you accepted change and how it impacted your life.

It was the Christmas season of 2004 and my sister’s family had arrived from Washington to spend three weeks in Phoenix with the rest of our extended family.  They only come every other year, so we were all looking forward to games and food and fun, especially the nine grandkids.  About a week before Christmas, my dear husband told me that he had a Boxing Day surprise for me.  (That is a Canadian holiday on Dec. 26th.)  Anticipation and glee filled my heart, as I LOVE surprises.  Not knowing makes my mind go WILD with wonder and it simply causes life to be extra exciting.  That was all blown to bits when he told me that my surprise was a family road trip to Ministikwin Lake, Saskatchewan…. an 1890 mile ONE-WAY trip straight north from Phoenix to Canada’s frozen tundra.  Rick’s parents rented a teeny log-cabin on the frozen-solid lake and his brother’s family was also going.  Now, Crosby family get togethers are filled with fun, laughter and frivolity, but keep in mind it was December…. AND MY SISTER’S FAMILY WAS VISITING.

I’d like to report that I smiled and said, “Sure, honey!” but it didn’t go down that smoothly between us.  In fact there were several lively discussion behind closed doors.  With tears in my eyes, I found my carefully prepared Christmas list in Rick’s wallet.  I crossed out everything on the list, wrote PARKA in big letters and handed it back to him.   (This was the ‘accepting change’ part of the story.)

Anyway, we drove for three days through rain and sleet and even snow to a 700 square foot cabin where 13 of us stayed for a week.  It was cozy, to say the absolute least.  Did I mention that it was MINUS FIFTY DEGREES? An “arena” was cleared on the lake and the men and kids were captivated with hockey the entire week.  I did a puzzle.  Pictured below are five cousins from three families and Jennie, my sister-in-law, the black scary-looking-bank-robberish one from www.bagsforzaza.blogspot.com   NEW BAGS up TODAY!

There are about 27 blogs that will eventually be written from our time on Ministikwin Lake (a claustrophobic attack at 3 am, the Canadian candy bar taste test, the faiwwies, THE trek to the remains of the EP club, the missing tooth, the frozen blanket stuck to the wall, the tip jar, the garage sale on top bunk #2, just to name a few), but onto the second part of the question: how did it impact my life?  Well, we’re still married.  The forced trek north did go down in the family history books as “the maddest I’ve ever been” but, like I said, we’re still happily married.  Sometimes you just have to give in and do what you DON’T want to do to keep the peace. It’s like my momma used to say, “Do something you don’t want to do every day.  It makes you a better person.”

This is Aus right before frostbite set in.  His face was frozen like this.  (kidding)  The moral of the story is “when life hands you snow, make snowballs with rocks in them and annihilate your opponent.” (It really does make you feel better.)  Great family memories were made… and I have a really nice parka out of the deal.