Thursday, July 28, 2011

The wind blew and the tire blew. But we made it through. And had fun too.

I think Lake Powell might be a little like childbirth. There's some pain and some discomfort and a lot of hard work, but the reward at the end makes it all worthwhile. And before long, you have forgotten all of the pain associated with the process-hence your willingness to do it all again.

Anything is fun when you surround yourself with people you:
The GoPro was on hand to capture Jill's reaction to...
..this. I think the boys expected her to do a girl scream and run in fear but instead they got...
...The Lizard Whisperer.
Every gorgeous day on the lake ended with a storm. We got really good at gathering everything off the beach and the top of the boat in record time.
We made good use of "together time."
Erick's friend, Megan, shows off the earrings we all made. (Thanks Brittney and Makia)
Little Jilly was crushing on Christian's friend, Nick. After giving him a little squeeze one morning, she commented in passing, " I like that boy. I like his face."
Sunk the ski boat? Not to worry. The resourcefulness my children led them to find friends with ski boats who were on the lake at the same time and beg them to get them out on the water.
Christian got the wakeboard warmed up.

Brittney's friend, Ashley: aka: the boat owner.
With the wakeboard sufficiently warmed up, Nick made an attempt at the flip...

It was a very good attempt.

I think Mom could have cared less that we had no ski boat. This is her favorite form of entertainment: a good book and a stack of magazines.
A boat full of adicts...
Jill poses her willing parents. I'm not sure of the symbolism. Open hands, open hearts?
Just a small sample of Jill's collections.

Since there's no ski boat, we can assume that having a life jacket on means a wave runner ride. I think she's pretty dang cute.
Looking for treasures.
Speaking of treasures...what a cute grandpa he is.

The 's' fell off. It was supposed to read, "Swift." As in "Taylor."
Brittney,Gabe and Makia in the signature jumping pose.
We had to get another one with both of Makia's legs bent. It took several tries. For some reason, one leg always wanted to stay straight.
There is something wonderful about dads and daughters.
My hero. This was not a relaxing trip for him. I dare say, he needs a vacation.
Megan, Erick, Hailee, Makia, Dad, and Brittney catch a little breeze on the top of the houseboat as we head in. Goodbye, Southern Breeze. You've served us well.
When we went to get the trailer to pull the boat out of the water, we noticed it had a flat tire. Erick and Dad made a lengthy trek into Page to get it fixed. We waited. This is the second blowout of a different tire that happened an hour into our trek home. More waiting. While we waited we walked to Subway for sandwiches. I stood in line behind Christian and Nick and listened to them discussing their options. Nick was going back and forth. "Hmm..the BMT or the Meatball?" But he knew for sure he wanted a footlong. When the girl came to take his order he combined a couple of the choices he had been mulling over and told the girl he wanted a "football." I laugh every time of think about it. I'm laughing now. I wish you could've seen their faces.
A parting gift from Mother Nature leads me to believe that we will be back. In fact, already, all I can remember is the good. I'm pretty sure we loved every minute.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We had a fight with the Lake but we made up

Lake Powell is a reservoir of memories for our family. Every summer since I've been married (and plenty before that), Jordan's extended family has spent a week at the Lake. My kids have grown up getting to know their cousins on the back of a ski boat, being whipped around in a tube, getting tips on how to get up on one ski or eventually a wake board, fighting the bugs and heat, nursing a sunburn, braiding hair and eating startburst. Many of those cousins are now married-with kids of their own-some have moved to different states, some to different countries. Many a boyfriend-or girlfriend-has been given the "Lake Powell" test. Many failed. (The ones that passed are married). Needless to say, the trips and the cousins have become more sporadic until finally this summer it was decided that "The Summer Breeze" houseboat would be laid to rest.
Unusual circumstances created an unusual opportunity: My little family would have the houseboat for 4 days to ourselves which allowed me to "beg" my extended family to come along.

Jill got right to work making every second count.
It soon became very clear that we were not the only inhabitants on the Southern Breeze. The rodent population had obviously sent word that a giant family reunion would be held on our houseboat the week we were there. We had little choice but to share but Jill wanted to take it one step further and invite them to join us. The row of fly swatters lined up at the entrance to their hideout was Jill's proverbial "white flag."

Emma and Jill
Yup. That's my brother.
What would I do without this boy?

Jordan looks like he might be suffering with a little heat stroke.
When I first met Brandt (Kelli's hubby) he was at BYU on a swimming scholarship. So it was only natural that he would be trying to pass his skills on to his youngest daughter.
This picture is proof to Nick's mom that there was sunscreen applied at least once while he was in our care. Truth be known...those boys took much better care of everyone else on this trip than any of us did of them.
Nick brought the GoPro to capture all of the action. It was hours of entertainment for these two. Watching them try to strap it to anything that moved was hours of entertainment for me.

Why didn't Nick wear the GoPro?
It's hard to focus on a goofball.

Erick's friend, Megan, has the determined face.

Proof. Proof that Jordan can still ski. Proof that he is still super-hot when he skis. And proof that we got the boat out once before the Lake tried to take it from us.
Jill won the swimsuit competition. For most swimsuits. And most swimsuits worn (or taken off) in one day.
She liked to have someone rinse out her suit in the lake and then lay it on the rock to dry.

Brandt is Master of the Grill. Why does everything taste better when it's eaten outside?

This is usually my favorite time of day on the Lake. I love the serenity and the calm. But that ominous dark cloud on the left of the picture means that on this particular night, the only calm we are going to get is The Calm before The Storm.
There is a sense of mystery and adventure in the wind. It can blow in a feeling of excitement and even fear. Over the years we have discovered that when you are on the Lake the wind is not your friend.
As the white caps began to crash upon the beach they also began to toss and rock the houseboat as it threatened to rip us free from our anchors and smash us into the side of the rock. As Jordan struggled to steady the houseboat, I looked out to see the two rented wave runners pitched and heaved away from the security of the shore and our two 17 year old boys trying desperately to secure them. In a moment, mother nature-in all of her wrath and fury-began to overpower those ambitious, brave boys. There was a brief, but gut-wrenching, cry for help and the forces of family untied to bring the wave-runners (and my boys) on land and to safety. The relief was short-lived, however, when we realized that the efforts of those trying to keep and bail water out of the ski boat were becoming more and more futile. Even with "all hands on deck" we couldn't keep up with the huge surge of water that accompanied each wave.
Unfortunately, we lost the fight. But as we listened to impassioned distress calls over the radio of missing people and separated families, we were immensely grateful that all that seemed lost was a ski boat. A knock on the door minutes later confirmed this as two teenage girls separated from their family and unable to get to shelter, asked if they could bunk with us for the night. As it turns out, one of the girls was Kelli's neighbor who confided that upon seeing Kelli and her family, knew that their prayer to be led to a houseboat where they would find safety and refuge with good people, had been answered.
The morning after dawned so beautiful and clear that it was like a big apology letter from an embarrassed Mother Nature.
There is nothing like sinking your boat to bring people together.
Which was good, because that was just the first day........