Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Texans Are Coming! The Texans Are Coming!

Our Houston beau and belles are coming this weekend to stay for awhile. They are right on time to enjoy the Winchester 4th of July Fun Run and all the patriotic activities including the Woodstock fireworks, a display that rivals any we ever saw in Fairfax County. 

So the past few days have been a flurry of activity as we make beds, clean the bathrooms, put out towels in a variety of colors so everybody can keep track of whose is whose, and, of course, filling up the granola jar and the alligator's belly with cookies. (Yes, I have an alligator cookie holder that says, "Mm-mmm, them are tasty cookies!" when you open his mouth.) I have instructions to have s'more fixins on hand for the campfires in the field and little cereals for breakfast. No doubt there will also be animal pancakes, popsicles by the pool, and lots of kid friendly meals.

This is an exciting time of year for us because we only see our Texas families about twice a year -- once when we visit there and once when they come to see us.

Our Austin family will arrive in August and I trust that there will be some overlap with Houston so we can get that one family picture of all of us together, which will be promptly out of date when Baby Bianca is born in September.

Family is what gives Larry and me so much hope for the future. I'm not sure who said it, but it is certainly true that babies are God's opinion that the world should go on. And we rejoice at each new precious little life. It means one more set of hands to raise up in praise of God and to throw rocks in the river. If you are passing Camp Kreitzer drop in and say hi. Maybe a mommy deer with a tiny fawn will be passing through or you can help us catch a groundhog or chase butterflies. There's never a dull moment here at Camp Kreitzer at the foot of the mountain in the Shenandoah Valley.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is Camp Kreitzer a Mini Jurassic Park?

I was sitting innocently at my computer when I saw violent nature in action even here at Camp Kreitzer. An Eastern Phoebe (also known as a gnat-catcher) landed on the hummingbird feeder. He was cocking his head and looking up and, I thought to myself, "how cute." Then he flew up and came back, landing on my other birdfeeder with a wriggling creature in his mouth. It was either a moth or a small butterfly. Well, he made short work of his "lunch." Someone should call PETA and demand that phoebes adopt a strict vegetarian diet to protect smaller species from their disgusting dietary habits. Don't let the innocent look of the phoebe fool you. He is a hungry predator who will eat you if he can.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Junior Cousins Camp

Camp Kreitzer hosted its first "Cousins Camp" of the season with three little munchkins who were out of preschool before big brothers and sisters. It was a spontaneous event when we decided to bring two siblings home from my brother's fundraising event last Sunday. Their cousin asked if he could come too and there you have it -- Cousins Camp. It was just the right length for young ones to be away from Mom -- three nights and two days. That gave us time to swim, jump on the trampoline, play on the swing and teeter-totter, throw rocks in the river, walk across the "scary bridge," ride bikes (and trikes), have a "movie night" with Rikki Tikki Tavi and popcorn, eat popsicles, get a little local cousin to come join in the fun, take tractor rides, and have a campfire with hot dogs and s'mores. We went to Mass one morning followed by a visit to a local nursing home (and a trip to 7-11 for slurpies). We ended each day with a decade of the rosary and night prayers by candlelight and a bedside song with Gramma, a Camp Kreitzer tradition. Unfortunately, I didn't think about pictures at the campfire and some of the other fun events until they were over, so you'll just have to take it from me that everything was a big hit. The staff at Camp Kreitzer is looking forward to the next cousins camp of which we expect there will be plenty this summer!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh, those flying nags!

As we travelled around the Outer Banks we noticed a number of horses with wings. Makes sense, eh -- "nags" in the area where flight began. I was intrigued so I took pictures of the horses whenever I saw them. I wonder how many there are?  Meridian, Mississippi and Winchester, Virginia also have this sort of signature mascot. Winchester has giant apples and Meridian has carousel horses. I wonder how many town in the U.S. do this. It would make a great article in a travel magazine!

Here are some of the flying nags of Nags Head including one who appears to have lost his wings.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Life's a Beach -- Or Don't We Wish?

Our trip to Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks was so much fun. Let the pictures tell the story.

Our first stop is always Grandy's for peach flurries and some fresh produce. Marianna was taken with the pink flamingoes.

Our cottage was on Lindberg Ave. between the main drag and the beach road and a short walk to the beach access. The front porch swing was a favorite spot for morning coffee and just hanging out.

The beach was perfect for watching the waves....

Burying Paka in the sand....

And feeding the seagulls.

Our landmark for walking up and down the beach was the pink (really pink) house.

We hated to see the sun set on our last evening as we rode our bikes along the sound trail the eight miles back to the bike rental shop. What a great vacation!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

#1 on the "You Can Never Have Too Many" List

Here are ten items from my "You Can Never Have Too Many" list:

birds (except grackles and starlings)
fresh peaches
days at the beach
real friends (as compared to thousands of so-called "friends" on Facebook)
nights watching fireworks
good books
waterfall hikes
peanut butter taffy

But the top item on the list has to be grandbabies. And here's our number 20 -- every bit as special as the first, and second, and third, and fourth.....

Who or what's on your list?