We're back from two weeks at our beautiful lake retreat deep in the middle of nowhere. As it is every year, this is a family vacation that soothes the soul.
The weather wasn't the best, but there were still plenty of days to swim in the lake, dig in the sand and take a few bike rides and hikes.
This sort of spontaneously turned out to be the summer of "pushing the envelope," challenging ourselves a bit, going outside of the box, facing a little fear.
Tink, who was a total wimp when it came to simply walking down the street is now challenging herself with some "big girl" hikes. All three girls rode their bikes all around the lake, braving the steep hills that rendered them to tears last summer. Pink, in fact, wouldn't get OFF her bike which was a huge difference from last year when she refused to get ON it. She was also fearful of the lake last year and stayed ashore. This year, every day she was like a fish. Tink, fearful of the final hill on the Fourth of July parade route, conquered it with quiet confidence.
Fourth of July in this small town is a throw-back in that "Dirty Dancing era" sorta way with a parade you'd miss if you blinked as it marches down a quaint little Main Street. The most fun is that all kids decorate their bikes, wagons and selves and join in the parade!
If you take note of the Lake's festivities for Fourth of July you'll see there was an Egg Toss, Pie Eating Contest, Sandcastle contest, Greased Watermelon contest in the lake, and other wholesome fun.
How cute does it get?
Another "big event" was the highly anticipated building of the Gnome Homes - a very popular summer activity that can sometimes draw close to 100 people!
We also celebrated Pink's 9th birthday while up on the mountain.
She's Nine, people. NINE. Where or where is the time going?
We were up for Sports Week at the lake which is a week of fun activities. They range from the more challenging "Swimming the Lake" event (about 2 miles across) and the Road Race around the Lake (about 2 miles also) but mostly it's just stuff like dodge ball and tug of wars and chin up contests and capture the flag for all ages. It's very low-key with a focus on fun over competition.
Pink, who is usually very self-conscious and reserved, participated a bit and placed third for her age group in
*drum roll please*
The NAIL DRIVING competition!
Yes, folks. Pink can apparently hammer a nail in like a champ. Who knew?
The girls also entered the bike race around the lake. This was a BIG deal for them. I can't stress how HILLY it is around this lake. Hills that make my own legs burn.
When Pink crossed that finish line she was all screaming like "I can't believe I did it Mom!! I just can't believe it!" with a smile that lit up the entire world. It was probably the only time the pride on her face eclipsed the pride on mine.
Tink crossed the finish line last. She was actually passed by the Ambulance that was supposed to be pulling up the rear but I guess she was so slow that they didn't even realize she was still racing. But, as you always find in any race, there are two people who get the loudest cheers in a race - the person who comes in first, and the person who comes in last. And boy, did she get some cheers.
Sometimes it's just about having the heart to finish.
Most of the vay-cay was just relaxing, eating candy at noon, ice cream every night, bike rides and walks, reading, running a few miles with my husband most mornings, and general lazy awesomeness.
Of course, no vacation is complete without our annual trip to Knoebels, the sweetest most retro, manageable, affordable and kick-ass amusement park ev-a'.
And it goes like this - Tinkie the tiny thrill seeker goes on everything. The more dangerous, heart pounding and most likely to induce a panic attack in her mother, the better. Pink goes on nothing except the carousel and even then she selects the horse that doesn't move. Rella is right in the middle of the two.
Watching her sisters and cousins on the smaller roller coaster
Rella's sort of freaking out, but she survived and they didn't have to stop the ride.
Yet, in the spirit of going outside the comfort zone, Pink did go on The Whip with her Dad and the joy on her face made my heart burst.
She might not be a wild one, but she is exactly who she's meant to be and I simply love that kid.
When Rella freaked out on the roller coaster and was a bit shaky afterward, who was there to comfort her? Big Sis Pink.
And who went on the gigantic restored wooden rollercoaster which has been under construction for a million years and this was the first year it was re-opened? Only Tink braved it and of course deemed it her favorite ride ever.
Yet try to change her earrings, clip her toenails or take off a bandaid and she goes ballistic like a cat being thrown into a tub of water in a moving car ballistic.
Don't even get me started when she sees a drop of blood or needs a shot at the doctor.
She's an enigma, that kid.
Pre-Ride - all smiles
Post-ride - bigger smiles and her biggest fan celebrating with her!
So, you're all caught up now and I'm back to the real world. CB is back home, her Summer program started, and we're back to morning swim practices and tennis lessons and parties and no more sleeping in but it's still way better than the school year so I'm not complaining.
Read about our past vacations in the Endless Mountains (or just look at the photos and see how much they've changed!)