Thursday, September 27, 2018

Reliving Our Childhood--Clay County Fair

As children growing up in NW Iowa, my siblings and I have fond memories of the Clay County Fair, or the Spencer Fair as we called it.  It is held in Spencer each year in September.

 For several years my brother, Dean, has wanted us to go, but being in September, and with my teaching job, I just couldn't.  This year with retirement made it possible to finally go. Yay!!

We packed up the camper and headed out on a Thursday and spent a night at Twins Lakes.  We also grew up around Twin Lakes.  My grandpa had a cabin on the lake, so we spent many summers swimming, skiing, and boating, but that's another story.  It was a quiet and peaceful evening.

Of course we drove through our home town, Pomeroy, the next morning on our way to Spencer.  We have such fond memories of growing up there.  But, sadly it just isn't what it used to be.

 We arrived at the campground, also known as an alfalfa field with electricity, and picked out three spots.  Dean and Gay and Kathy and Kenny arrived later.
This is a view of the "campground".  We were at the opposite end.  It has room for about 300 campers. We did not have sewer or water, so we had to be quite conservative with that.  They did provide a portable shower house which was quite nice.  I was very hesitant to try it, but after several VERY QUICK showers in the camper I just needed a good long hot shower. I was happy I tried it.  It had four shower stalls and a sink/mirror area.  Very private and cleaned after every shower.  I believe they travel with RAGBRAI, and I highly recommend them!
A panoramic view of the campground.  To the left of the photo is a road and the fairground is just on the other side of it.  There is also a handy dandy Casey's right behind where I was standing.  What more could you ask for????

Our first activity on Saturdaywas the Chuckwagon Races.  Bud used to go to them when he was a kid.  We went once at the State Fair a long time ago, but they just weren't up to snuff.  It was a new experience for the other four.
If you look up by the trees you will see the campground which was just across the street.

One highlight that Dean and Bud remember is the building that houses the miniature train display.

Monday we went on a short road trip to Okoboji.  Growing up our grandparents used to rent a house on the lake for a month in the summer. (This was before they bought the cabin on Twin Lakes.) So, we went on a hunt for that....The house has been replaced, but we found several of the small cabins still there.
We visited the Arnold's Park Museum.  In the museum there is the old slide, so we had to take a trip down it.  (I will admit I was too chicken to go down the first time.  I was afraid this old butt would get hurt.)

(I couldn't get the video to load, nor could I remove it from this page.  Scroll on!)

When we spent time at Okoboji in the summer we always attended Mass in Milford.  We stopped to visit that church.  Of course, Dean didn't remember it.  He was probably sleeping!

If you've taken Iowa History, which all of us who went to school in Iowa have, you have heard about the Spirit Lake Massacre.  We visited the memorial and the Abby Gardner Cabin.  Google it if you don't know about it. Always an opportunity to relearn something!!

We attended the Oak Ridge Boys/Jimmy Fortune concert on Monday night.  It was excellent! Jimmy Fortune used to be with the Statler Brothers.  His rendition of "How Great Thou Art"  was great!

Gay and I may have contributed to the local economy when we visited several quilt stores!
And we lost a little $$ in Emmetsburg!

Dean and Bud went to the car races Wednesday evening and Thursday Bud went to the tractor pull while I had some sewing time.
We had a great time!  Lots of reminiscing, laughing, eating, looking, and talking.

This is really the best picture.  We took it while someone who will remain nameless (Dean) was trying to get a selfie of us all!

This one is for Mom.....

 "No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family."--unknown

Monday, August 20, 2018

My First Real Day of Retirement

This is the first year in 30 years that I am not returning to school.  All summer people would ask me how retirement was, but honestly it just felt like a normal summer.  It has really been sinking in since the Fourth of July.  The back to school dreams started as they usually do when the summer is winding down.  Then my friends who are still teaching began to go in to work in their rooms.  

But today, the day of the all district beginning of the year meeting, it really hit home.  I was not going.  It was going to be weird.  

So, what did I do today, you ask?  I spent the day with these five!
I got up at the crack of dawn, picked up Clara and Aela, and headed to CR in the rain.  You see, Evalie wasn't feeling well, and it was the day for the all district meetings for Trina and Tanner in their new schools. Being newbies they didn't feel that it was a smart thing to stay home with a sick kid already!  

We played cards, did some reading, watched a little TV during rest time, played outside between rainstorms, and overall just had a fun day!  Evalie actually felt pretty good all day, so she joined in the fun too.

Being able to help out is one perk to retirement! 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

BuNana Camp 2018

 (WARNING--Picture heavy AND I haven't blogged for a while and Blogger did not work the way it used to.  Or at least that's my excuse!  They layout is funky, I know.)

                                              BuNana Camp 2018 is in the books! 

 We enjoyed a great time camping once again.  We started off on Friday morning with some play time on the play equipment which was just behind our camper.  Maybe just a little of that sand made it's way into the camper! :)
After lunch we had rest time...
 Thank goodness for rest time!  I"m not sure how I will make it through once no one needs a rest!  Grandpa took the opportunity to get some alone
time by fishing.

Then it was time to hit the beach!

Evalie enjoyed the "pool" Aela built for her!
Maddux enjoyed playing on the alligator.

The kids had fun getting dumped out of their inflatables!
Grayson goofing around!
Grandpa even ventured into the water...just a little!

Grayson and Clara having fun on top of the ropes.


The sand is always a good time too!
Payton brought Nate out in the evening.  Payton sat around the campfire with us for a while. After supper Friday night we tried a new kind of S'Mores.  We put our ingredients into a waffle cone,
Nana giving directions for S'Mores.
wrapped it in foil and put it over the fire.  Everyone enjoyed them, but would rather do the traditional S'Mores.

                                                               SATURDAY FUN!!

Saturday started off with a TV time so that Nana and Grandpa could have their coffee!! This was at 6:30 a.m.! It was followed by breakfast and then a 2 mile hike which took us to Fossil Gorge, and then on a trail that runs along the river.

Maddux and Clara standing on an outcropping. 

Evalie was trying to teach Grandpa how to jump!

Heading down the trail.
Evalie teaches Nana to jump over the cracks!

Stopping for a snack and a drink.  

Taking a break!

And then we ate......and ate.....and ate..........

We toured the Visitor's Center where we saw more fossils, animal furs, and watched the movie that tells about the dam and the two big floods.
The animal furs were fun!

Clara and the coonskin.

Evalie examining the fossils.

Aela loved scaring Nate with the racoon.

Maddux scaring Nana.

A Talent Show!

Everyone was asked to prepare to share a talent.  
Aela is a good singer!

Clara's talent is magic!  She cut
her fingers off and they reappeared.

Grayson showed us how good
he is at paper folding.

Nate shared some magic by making
a truck disappear.

Nana's talent was teaching Aela
to read, so Aela read a book to
Evalie showed us a trick...
over and over and over.....:)

Maddux showed us how good he
is at bike tricks.

And then there was fishing!

Clara's Fish!

Evalie caught a fish by herself!

A Movie and Popcorn!

After showers we always watch a movie outside on the big screen.  Everyone looks forward to the movie AND Grandpa's popcorn!!

Payton and Cael joined us for the movie!

Sunday Big Foots

Sunday Morning after breakfast our first snack was Big Foots.  This is a family favorite, so the big kids joined us as they came to pick their children up.  Big Foots are basically Fry Bread with frosting.  They got their name as our local restaurant made similar ones shaped like feet when our kids were young.  Everyone got to roll theirs out.  

And once again BuNana Camp is over for the year.  We REALLY missed Chance and Colby!  More than once the kids mentioned missing them.  Each year as I think about changing things up some the kids ask about things they are used to doing, and that they enjoy doing.  We were so happy that Payton, about to be a senior, still joined us for some of the time.  And that Cael, about to be a freshman and who just started a new job, got to join us for some of the time too!  

We are blessed!