Saturday, August 29, 2009

Boating is serious business

Of all the local lakes, New Hogan Reservoir is closest to our house. It isn't the biggest lake and it doesn't have the best amenities or scenery, but it's close. That's why it was chosen for our latest excursion.

The purpose of this trip was to sharpen Ben's skippering skills. Being an 8 to 5 kind of person, he tends to miss out on our adventures. We'll put some sea legs under him!

Thomas and Ben were there...

...along with Pops and Jonathan. Everyone else had other pressing matters to attend to.

He's getting the hang of it!

I had intended to center my comments around the topic of boating safety, but many of the photos taken that day do not support the message.

Thomas doesn't really want to drown Ben; it just looks that way.

There is only one possible outcome in this scenario.

I believe that this photo will wind up hanging on the wall in the Hector home.

That had to hurt. The inflatable was doing an estimated 20 mph (17.38 knots).

Thomas' concern was instantly replaced by pure amusement. Empathy was never his strong suit.

The sailboat is serene, the inflatable is manic. Together, they make a great pair. Metaphors abound.

Next stop: Pinecrest Lake and Family Camp!! We can hardly wait!

In life's hustle and bustle, we often forget to stop and drink in God's amazing creation. There are many ways to avail yourself of His rich blessings. Find yours.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Yohoho and a bottle of sunscreen!

Arrgghh matey!
Thar be a Nor'Western blowin' on our quarter! Hoist the sails and make ready!! Put yer backs into it ye scurvy dogs!!
The sailboat has gathered too much dust and Ben has yet to go on a powered ride in the inflatable, so we decided to go exploring. The result is that we have a new favorite lake to sail on (in the State of California).

Union Valley Reservoir is just a few hours from Mountain Ranch. We had never been there before, so this sailing adventure was taking us into uncharted territory. How would the roads be, would the lake have any hazards (remember Clinton Lake?), would the winds blow favorably, will Thomas be able to text, oh and by the way, how are the camp sites?
What about that enormous lake on the right side of the picture? Wouldn't that have been a better destination? Yes and no. That's Lake Tahoe. We originally wanted to go there until it was discovered that Tahoe does not allow two-stroke motors in their waters. Our boat has a two-stroke motor, bummer.
The day got off to a very slow start thanks to a last minute crisis involving one of Ben's work projects, so we didn't leave home until well into the afternoon. The Hectors pride ourselves on our itinerary free vacations, so this wasn't a big deal. Ben bought dinner at the In-N-Out on Hwy 50 as a way of thanking us for helping him with the project. The reason there aren't any pictures of us setting up camp is because it was PITCH BLACK by the time we got to (the prophetically named) Sunset Campground. Thomas is to be congratulated for negotiating the too narrow, too crooked roads at the campground with our 60' long rig. He didn't add a single scar to the many gnarled trees that tightly bordered our route. Nick and I escorted him in with flashlights, but Thomas could only rely on my voice to back the rig into our invisible camp sight.

The temperatures were pretty good and the mosquitoes weren't too bad, so the boys flopped on the mat that night. There is, unfortunately, one thing that the darkness couldn't hide. That would be the outhouse that just happened to be a short distance away on the up-wind side of our camp site. Attendance in the campground was sparse and we found a new site for our second night's stay.

Morning chores at the Hector household include washing up, even when we are on vacation. Houston, we have a problem.

The journey of a thousand pancakes begins with a single, small step.

Nick is more awake than he looks; after all, he's holding a knife. Those of you who know Nick are aware that this is one of his favorite things to do. For those of you that do not know Nick, don't worry, he's harmless.

Ben checks the lake after breakfast. The winds are calm. That is fairly normal for a California morning so no one is surprised by Ben's findings. Let's look for other ways to occupy ourselves until conditions improve.

Hopscotch, Sara style.

Jonathan doesn't want to miss a single breeze, and so he works valiantly to make sure everything is ready to go. Hey Mrs. H., this kinda looks like a variation on you Pictionary drawing!! Would this be a water craft carrier??

Still no wind, how about some backgammon?

Okay, here come the afternoon breezes, right on schedule. it's time to splash the boat. There is a fine line between backing up too little and too much. This is another driving skill that Thomas has mastered. If Nick and I let go of the lines, Jonathan will suddenly be promoted to Captain.

Ben finally gets a taste of what the inflatable has to offer. Yahooo!!

29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 14:29-30

Matthew (no relation to the verse) is an excellent sea hand. "Prepare to come about"!

A mighty fine day of sailing, says the Captain!

Ben is happiest when his little friends, the golden hexagons, come to visit.

We are on "Port tack", it is our job to yield to another sailboat. Fortunately, there weren't any. The lake was ours for the taking.

The Lady of the Lake (a.k.a. Sara) rises out of the water to provide Nick with a sword with which to slice his melon. Okay, I totally made that up. Work with me here, this is supposed to be entertaining.

We sailed and we sailed until our bellies wouldn't let us sail any more. As evening approached we beached the boats near our (new) campsite for a splendid evening meal, a campfire and a good night's rest.

The ducks heard the dinner bell and were quite bold in their search for a hand out. Finding none, they were just as quick to press on to investigate our neighbors.

Today's youth are conditioned to solve modern problems with ease. Ancient dilemmas sometimes require a little more effort to resolve. Breaking up fallen limbs for a campfire is an excellent example of how we have failed to instruct the next generation.

After his body weight failed to break the limb, Ben got the bright idea to wedge it between two trees. Puuushhh!


Grunt, snort, heave and sweat, all to no avail. Who needs a campfire now that we are over-heated from exertion?

Neanderthal Ben discovers a stone age solution for a stone age problem. Somethings gotta give!!

Success. Me Tarzan, you Jane!!

Dinner is done, the fire is ready to light, Pops is fading fast. Matthew makes one last check of the boat before darkness falls.

Good morning!! Breakfast and devotions are done, this would be a good time for Nertz.

We have decided that two nights and a full day of sailing are enough. Because this was an observance of Nick's birthday he is given an extra vote on the day's agenda. He votes for an air conditioned movie theater. Moved and seconded, all in favor? Weigh anchor!!
Houston, we have a second problem. The inflatable refuses to start. And the solution is...

Sing with me, folks!! Row, row, row your inflatable, half way across the lake. Terribly, terribly, terribly sore, life is but a dream. We offered to tow him behind the sailboat, but he said something about exercise and getting back to nature. I think that log splitting operation did something to his head.

Someone once said that no kid remembers their best day of watching television. You don't have to go sailing to have a wonderful family adventure, but you have to do something! What can your family do that you will never forget?

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Friday, August 14, 2009

Birthday Tea for More Than Two

Laura and Becky, like Ben and Thomas, have birthdays that are just three days apart. As I learned years ago, it never quite works to have birthday gatherings a week apart. Therefore, the sisters usually share (joyfully) any birthday events we have for them. This year, Sara had begged for a birthday tea, for herself and her doll. Unfortunately, Sara's birthday falls right when we take our Presbytery trip every year. So, this year Laura, Becky and Sara celebrated their birthdays together with an August Birthday Tea.

Special thanks to Mrs. R for the wonderful photos, since the Hector photographers were all busy in the kitchen.

As this was a Birthday Tea for Ladies, Girls and Dolls, our boys and any others who attended were recruited for kitchen duty. They all did an excellent job and we were very thankful. Here, Joseph joins Thomas and Dave in making a large fruit salad.

Here's Anthony preparing the vegetable tray. He looks a bit sinister, like someone out of Ratatouille.

Our youngest kitchen helper, Joshua, works diligently peeling the cucumbers. Well done, Joshua.

Our smallest guests were having a grand time visiting with each other. Don't they look cozy?

One of the events was the "Treasure Hunt" with clues. Here some of the girls head down to the pond. Oops, no clue there.

A few of the guests with their lovely dolls...Mercy, Eva, Katelyn R., Sara, and Becky.

The first group back from the Treasure Hunt... Hannah, Katelyn B., Becky, Eva and Angela.

My wonderful husband preparing to pray. We can now eat.

Mr. R and Joshua join in the prayer.

The backyard was quite pleasant, not too hot, not too cold. Well, maybe too cold for Mrs. S! Here is one of the ladies tables.. Mrs.S, Lindsey, Rachel, Angela C. and Kellie.

The lovely girls at their lovely table. Sara, Hannah, Katelyn B., Eva, (Mercy hiding), Katelyn R., Kelsey, Angela, Becky, Karis and Laura.

The other ladies' table...Mrs. C., Mrs. B., Mrs. T., Mrs. R. and guess who?!

Mom and Daughters with their Birthday Cupcakes. We were so thankful for all the families who attended, it was such a blessing for our three sweet daughters.

There were a few people missing and you know who all y'all are.

The Lord continues to bless our family. We are thankful.

Signed, the thankful Mother of this Brood