What a whirlwind of a summer it has been. Since I'm obviously not going to be able to remember all the vivid details that I know our readership craves, I'll give a high level perspective and stick in any specificity as I remember it. Kim has promised to supplement with pictures to boot. Hopefully the two will coincide, although I don't know that we have any pictures documenting bowel movements and vomiting. At least I hope we don't. Maybe we'll just skip the chronicling of those distinct events.
In early July we took a fantastic voyage to Utah for the second bi-annual Welling Family Reunion. This was quite an undertaking for us, and we tried to squeeze in as many visits as we possibly could because, with $4 a gallon gas, we don't expect to be making that many of those trips in the very near future. The list of people we were able to visit with included:
- Woods Family (Dave, LeAnne, and children)
- Kingsford Family (Kenny, Michele and seed)
- Ricord Family (Clint, Megan, and descendants)
- Young Welling Family (Ryan, Tiffanie, and offspring)
- Youngest Welling Family (Gavin and Kara)
- Fund Family (TJ, Christel, and progeny)
- Barson Family (Ryan, Heather, and heirs)
- Beauchene Family (Todd, Kiersten, and young)
- Varga Family (Bridger, Kari, and brood)
- Rupp Family (Jeff, Julie, and scions)
- Toronto Family (Neil, Amy, and family)
- Grandpa and Grandma Nicholas (together)
- Grandma Welling (alone)
- Emily Borders (alone and looking)
- Nancy Baker (alone and indifferent)
We didn't get to take any pictures of anybody that we visited, so you'll have to take our word for it. If you happened to take a picture while we visited you, please feel free to send it to us. We can post it on our blog! If you find yourself looking at the above list and you don't find yourself there and you live in the Utah area and you find yourself asking why we didn't visit you, we didn't know you care so much. Make it known bucko! We'll catch you on the next ride down.
At the Welling Family Bi-Annual Reunion, we got to hang out with everybody and reacquaint ourselves. I got to introduce my family to The Settlers of Catan, which became an instant hit with the whole family. There were a couple of really late nights and I think I can state that we got everybody hooked.
While at the reunion, my brother Ryan came up with a fantastic competition for the entire family. You see, the day before, during the family picture, we had to put the camera in an adjacent county to get all of us in the shot because we didn't have a wide enough lens. So Ryan came up with the idea that we need to have a Welling Family Biggest Loser competition. Now, for those of you that may want to say that that's a redundancy in terms, nobody asked you. We all thought a friendly rivalry among siblings and spouses would be a healthy way to egg each other on to losing a few pounds. We even set up a webpage for documenting the weight loss each of us experienced. My idea was that we take fat picture of ourselves (shirts off for men, Spandex for women, just like in the TV show). I couldn't find anybody else that thought that would be a good idea, though. I just figured seeing everyone's fat rolls spilling out over form-fitting attire or giant man-boobs sagging from gravity's pull would be a good way to kick-start the weight loss, if not from humiliation then simply because of the vomiting that would ensue because of it. Just trying to help.
We also got to spend some time up at the new cabin near Kettle Falls that Kim's parents have been able to pert near finish this summer. It's in decoration phase: there is furniture and beds and all the trim going up all the time. It's an absolutely amazing place and we're excited to have it only a few hours away for getting away from the headache of everyday life. If you feel so inclined to visit us, we'll take you up there.
Anyway, we got to float the Kettle River and we got all of the kids to brave the water this year. They're becoming regular fish. Everett and Daniel got to spend their 5th birthday up there and they even got bikes this year. They were extremely excited and think they're pretty grown up now.
Which brings me to a subject I know you're all wondering about. Everett has been on and off during the summer with the potty-training, which has been not fun when you're traveling or staying at other people's houses. Anyway, Kim has been pumping Everett full of flax on a daily basis as a means to keep the kid regular. And, I am happy to report that we have finally turned a corner. Imagine my surprise when I was sitting at work one day and I get a phone call from home. I answer the phone and find that it's Everett on the other end. And what does he say to me? "Dad, I just had an 18" poop." Yep, 18". Now, let me just jump in here right now and state that it's not a normal occurrence that we measure our feces at the Welling home. But since Everett has had such a hard time defecating anything larger than a raisin, this turd was monumental. Literally. Okay, figuratively, since it's not actually a monument hanging on the wall. But monumental in the sense of size. You know what I mean. So the moral of the story here: God bless flax!
Last week we went to Silverwood Theme Park with the Borders family. For those of you not from Washington, it's pretty much just like Lagoon in Utah. We went because Gabriela won a free ticket for reading at school, and Kim got a free ticket for volunteering at the school, and I've wanted to go ever since we moved to Washington. Gabriela was adamant that she wanted to ride some roller coasters, so after hitting a couple of kid rides when we showed up, Kim and I took Gabriela, Everett, and Daniel to Roller Coaster Alley to rider on Tremors, which is a wooden roller coaster that goes 60 miles per hour and goes above and below-ground. Now, let me preface this by saying that Kim has never been on a roller coaster before. This was her first amusement park ever, which is pretty amazing in and of itself. In addition to that, Kim hates heights and hates extreme speeds, so the fact that she was willing to go on this ride and be brave in front of the kids was pretty awesome. It took us a little over an hour, but we finally got up to the front of the line. When we got up there, they told us we needed 1 adult per child (since our kids were under 4' tall. A nice man in front of us with his 2 kids said he would ride with one of our kids. Gabriela said she would do it and so she hopped on the ride just before us. As they left, Kim and I looked at each other wondering how in the world she was going to react to her first roller coaster with a complete stranger. When she got back, about 90 seconds later we could see we didn't have anything to worry about. She had the biggest smile on her face getting off the ride. Once she got off, it was our turn to get on. I sat next to Daniel and Kim sat next to Everett. And now, who better to tell the rest of the story than Kim herself.
I put on a brave face for Everett, but inside I kept thinking what have I got myself into. The first steep incline was not too bad...until we got to the top and went straight down into a tunnel. I thought I was going to die. It was so fast and we kept going up and down into tunnels. I laughed the entire way because if I didn't I probably would have burst into tears. After what seemed like an eternity we pulled to a stop. I unbuckled my seat and with my wobbly legs and heart racing I stepped out of the seat....I had survived. I am glad that I did it...but I don't think I will do it again...until Aaron drags me to Disneyland or someplace like that.
Okay, let's be honest. She loved it and she knows she loved it, she's just afraid to admit it. In all actuality, of all the roller coasters we rode the rest of the day, that one was probably the scariest, so she's really braver than she thinks. So we got to ride on a bunch more rides. The kids liked the log flume ride the best, although the one that was probably the most fun to ride for me was Thunder Canyon. It's one of those rides where you ride in a big round raft and you get to watch everybody else's faces as they get drenched with water. We jumped in line and Madeline promptly fell asleep in her stroller. After a 45 minute nap, she woke up just in time to jump on the raft. Needless to say, she wasn't completely awake and not exactly ready for a water ride. Once we got everybody strapped in, they sent us off. We hit the first rapid and, of course, it washed over Madeline. She proceeded to cry during the remainder of the ride. And it didn't matter how much the rest of us were laughing and getting drenched, Madeline just kept crying. And at the very last rapid, the biggest wave I had seen the whole ride washed right over the top of Madeline and drenched her from head to toe. And there she sat with these big wide eyes, looking like a drowned rat, dripping wet, shivering and crying. I don't think I've felt that bad in a long time. And what made me feel worse was I kept on laughing because it was so much fun.
All in all, it was a great day, the kids had lots of fun, even Madeline, and it was a great weekend to end the summer with. On Wednesday, Gabriela started second grade and Everett and Daniel are going to be doing a home school program with Kim (best of luck to her). So, we're back to regular schedules and enjoying the cooler days and cooler nights. We'll try and be better the rest of the year at the blogging thing now that we're back on the schedule.
Talk to you again next week!