Friday, October 31, 2014

October Walking Wars

When you live in an RV & you're not travelling, the walls can start to close in on you!  In an effort to help keep morale up and also just get out & get some fresh air every day, Steve devised a walking contest for the month of October.  The RV park we're staying at has a half-mile loop around the perimeter, so Steve decided that everyone should walk a minimum of 100 laps, or 50 miles, for the month.  And by everyone, he meant everybody but Jake & Katie.  If we all meet the minimum requirement of 100 laps, he promised we could go out for doughnuts at the end of the month. The winner, the one who walked the most laps, could get as many doughnuts as they wanted.  Of course, we all knew that when you don't eat doughnuts very often, you can't eat very much at once!  (And that's a good thing!)

The circumference is exactly a half mile
The good news is that we all met or exceeded our 100 lap minimum, and Jake managed to complete 50 laps!  Three year old Zavockis notoriously have whining issues regarding walking/hiking.  The same boy who hiked Delicate Arch at two with no complaining dreamed up a million reasons why he couldn't walk any more for this contest. ;)  Although Steve is a staunch competitor, he was unable to stir up that competition amongst the girls.  Mostly, he just stirred up bad attitudes, at least initially.  Nonetheless, everyone ended up doing well, and it was a "win" for everyone for various reasons.

Alyssa pushing Katie's stroller on one her laps
Genna, at the age of six, competely rocked the competition!  She loved going for walks and often ran, swinging her arms like a windmill, and chattering endlessly!  She always had the best attitude about going, hardly ever passing up a chance to get just one more lap in.

The long back stretch of the walk around Eagle's Landing RV Park
Shanan & Alyssa had some time management issues to work out.  Between chores (dishes, trash, etc.) & school assignments, they would periodically get behind, but there were some benefits they gleaned.  Shanan discovered that an easy way to catch up was to go jogging with Steve....and, she discovered that she is actually pretty good at it & really enjoys it!  Definitely a win!

Alyssa discovered that her natural strength may lie more in the area of gymnastics & other strength, flexibility & agility type sports as opposed to distance running...but, she is such a persistent, determined girl, & I love that about her.  She pushed herself & jogged some, even though it wasn't easy for her!

As we headed out for our final celebratory lap before heading out for doughnuts, Katie insisted that she walk with us, instead of riding in the stroller.  I couldn't believe she walked the entire lap, a whole half mile!  She was ecstatic to be doing what everyone else was doing!  She is one super cute little girl, growing up so fast! :)

Katie was just learning to walk when we arrived at Eagles's Landing

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sweet Seasons Farms Corn Maze

RV life has heightened our awareness of fun things to do together as a family. The importance of getting out each weekend for family fun has proven itself time & again. Each work/school week goes much more smoothly when we devote attention to this detail! As the weather is becoming less swim-friendly, the beach & river are beginning to lose some appeal!

Katie's first cow train
Jake was scared
The cow train is off
Fortunately, Steve found out about this corn maze & was able to get discount tickets through his work. The weather was perfect (if not exactly fall-like)--warm & sunny! We arrived later than we planned because it became apparent that Jake desperately needed a nap (he's been staunchly refusing to fall asleep 75-90% of the time that I put him down), & despite the fact that the address for this place is Milton, it's pretty faaaaar out!

The maze from the sky
Katie enjoyed the Zinnas, some as big as her
"This way everyone"
We did the corn maze together as a family, solving the Bible clues as we went. Since the car ride to get here was pretty far, Jake was completely convinced that we must have gone all the way to South Carolina & he asked several times in the maze, "Where's Grandpa Frick?? Where's Uncle Glen??" Can you tell this guy is all about the boys?

Bike races were lots of fun
Mom just got passed by a kid
Alyssa trying to hold off Shanan at the finish line
Steve & the big girls waited in what turned out to be a long, veeerrryyyy slow-moving line to shoot the corn cannon. While they were waiting, I took Jake to play on the slides, & wow, he had! He must have gone fifty times in a row without a break!  Living out here in Holt, there are no playgrounds close-by! And I miss them. A lot! This little guy of ours is completely normal in that he has oh-so-much-energy to burn, so that he has less energy left over to harangue me. :)

Genna shooting the corn canyon
The cannon shoots actual corn cobs
It was debatable whether the long line was worth it.
Thanks to the corn cannon line moving at a snail's pace, we were scrambling to fit as many of the other activities in as we could before closing time.  We did well!  We finished our time on the jumping pillow, which they graciously kept open past the official closing time.  Jumping pillows will forever bring back fantastic memories of Small Country Campground in Louisa, Virginia & our friends the Hubachers.

The girl enjoyed rolling these huge pipes
It wasn't easy to stay upright inside the tubes
Alyssa catching some major air on the bouncing pillow

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Lindholm's Visit nearby Destin

I was delighted to learn that my oldest sister and her family would be coming to Destin in October! My oldest sister Hope is fourteen years older than me and was definitely my second mom when I was a small child. Now that we're both "all grown up," that age gap seems much narrower, but I love that she has nuggets of wisdom from having traveled further down the road of parenting and life ahead of me! Since she lives in Minnesota with her family, and we don't and never have, it's always such a treat to get to hang out together!

Genna loves her cousin Hannah
Our girls enjoyed meeting other girls their own ages
While the Lindholms were in Destin we soaked up as much family time as we could while enjoying the last of the really great beach weather of the year. I enjoyed lots of sister time, such a treat! And, it's always heartwarming to see my kids bond with and strengthen relationships with their cousins.  It is so neat to see my nieces growing up into such beautiful ladies, inside and out! They are such a great influence for our girls! With our rather chaotic life of the last several years, it is always good to see my big girls enjoy girl time. Nadia is just a few months older than Alyssa, and they bonded over cartwheels and such on the beach. Hannah won Genna over in no time at all by playing with her one-on-one. Hannah also showcased her impressive makeup skills by sacrificially donating her time to give the girls makeovers, and Alyssa manned the photo shoot after. Jake and Kaden were two peas in a pod, really, getting along fantastically. Genna is pretty adaptable and had fun playing with the boys, too.

A lot of girly things happened in this room, makeup, nail polish, wrestling, etc
When they left Destin, they drove through Holt & treated us to a farewell dinner at Wings of Fire in Crestivew. Ice-cold Angry Orchard on tap and phenomenal wings paired with even better company was a fitting end to a great visit! We were sad to see you go, Lindholms, but oh-so-grateful you visited and blessed us with your generous and fun-loving ways! Till next time...

Hannah giving a ride to Alyssa and Nadia
General Sillyness before saying good bye 
Katie and her cousin Nadia
Lindholm Family Portrait minus Andrew
The Zavocki Crew 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Deep Sea Fishing

Written By Shanan age 13:

While we were visiting with our cousins in Destin, Uncle Tim graciously offered to treat Dad & I, (really anyone who really wanted to go--he's one generous guy!) to a day of deep sea fishing! Fishing is something I really enjoy but hardly ever get to do, and time with Dad & no siblings is also a rarity, so I jumped at the chance!

Our day began very early as we had an hour drive from Holt to get to the pier in Destin by 7:30. Mom dropped Dad and I off while the rest of the family continued to the Lindholm’s condo, where they would spend the day hanging out with them.

Uncle Tim
Leaving the Destin Harbor
Not long after arriving at the pier, it was time to board the fishing boat, the Swoop 2. The first thing I noticed once I stepped foot on the ship was the smell; the odor of fish – lots of it. The next thing I saw were the huge buckets of chopped up squid. Now, I’ve put earthworms on a hook before, but the idea of using real squid made me feel a bit squeamish, to be honest... I put the thought out of my mind as Dad and I set our cooler down in the inside cabin area. We found an empty spot on a bench in the bow of the boat and sat down, despite the wet condition of the seat.

My cousin Caden rested his head on my lap
It took a good hour and forty-five minutes to arrive at the fishing grounds, and by then it was shortly after 9:30 am. During the trip, we saw some flying fish! It was super cool, as I had never seen them before. There were also a few jellyfish floating in the wake of the boat. And once we reached the fishing grounds, I even spotted a pair of dolphins! They were really amazing to see.

When the boat stopped, despite my misgivings, I baited my hooks (there were two of them -- just my luck! ;D) and dropped my line into the water, per the instructions. It took a while, but I caught two Red Snappers, one average-sized and one large one, along with another small fish I had to throw back. Meanwhile, Dad reeled in a HUGE fish called an Amberjack, which unfortunately we were not able to keep, as it was not in season :( He also caught a few more Red Snappers to add to our catch.

The huge fish that Dad caught
These are all the fish I caught....actually these are what our whole group caught :)
To my dismay, it appeared that I had inherited Dad’s seasickness genes, because I felt rather queasy when the boat was stopped. But I managed to get my stomach settled without ever once throwing up over the side, thanks to liberal use of peppermint oil & nibbling on candied ginger (Uncle Tim went above & beyond providing everyone with all kinds of ginger to quell our queasiness). Despite this setback, I thoroughly enjoyed the day on the water, and would happily do this adventure again! Thanks for an awesome time, Uncle Tim!