The Yoshi-nator

Someone turns five this month. That seemed like a good enough excuse to write about her.

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Yoshi is…simply put, a nut.  With all the nutty shells that encompass nuts…and then some.

She is our special nut.  With all the problems that special nuts bring.

She is scared of people, dogs and anything that moves suddenly.  I have taken her to doggy school, hired a dog therapist (seriously, I know), and done more research on shy dogs than I care to admit.  She has guarding issues -which turns up in the tune of biting any dog that gets too close to whatever she deems important.

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Oh yea, and she always has allergies.  To just about anything and everything and nothing all at once.

I have narrowed down a lot of her issues and tried to work out some solutions for the others -but there are only so many hours in a day and when it comes down to it, she sometimes has to take the back seat on things.

She has a serious obsession with pigs!

She has a serious obsession with pigs!

I’ve been able to narrow down her guarding issues to a few main triggers: Her space, her bed, her food and her toys.  While this may sound simple enough -that pretty much means anything she calls her own, at any given moment.  Whenever a new dog comes over we have to be careful to make sure that her toys are picked up and there isn’t any food laying around.  Also the pig?  Still around.  Still causing problems.

How 'bout 'dem wrinkles!!!

How ’bout ‘dem wrinkles!!!

Her being terrified of people is a work in progress -and something that I need to work with her on more.  She spends the day with us at the shop in the office so she sees a lot of people each day -her therapist said that she shouldn’t be allowed to hide and that I should make her stand beside me when customers are in the office -but when it comes down to it -I can’t try and handle and customer and wrangle a dog at the same time.

Every so often though, she gets a teachable moment with the right customer.  Slowly.

…and her allergies?  Are still an unknown mystery.  After spending a lot of last year chasing them around and around I thought I finally had them under control with a change of food (from chicken to salmon) and wiping her down every week.

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While I was gone, mom decided to change her diet to a more natural diet -which involved cooking for her.  I wasn’t game at  first, but she had appeared to have lost some weight (because yes, she is also overweight) so continued with it.

This past week she has been REALLY itchy -and by itchy I mean she gets uncontrollable.  She NEEDS to be scratched.  She rubs herself on chairs, desks, the floor.  She runs, she whines, and when all else fails -she lays there with the saddest puppy dog eyes.  She breaks out in red bumps that look so painful.  Sometimes the benadryl helps, and sometimes it does nothing.

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The last time we had her in the vet they said she had flea bites -but no fleas.  They recommended treating her with a $50 flea product, bombing the house and spraying all the furniture as well as treating the cats.  I almost went for it -but mom suggested we wait, considering how we had just given her some flea medication.

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Last night it hit me -the past week I had been feeding her chicken all week long.  Her rice had chicken stock, her protein was chicken.  The past few nights she hasn’t had  chicken -and guess who hasn’t been itchy?

Sniffin' out the pig (I think pig looks slightly terrified here -ha!)

Sniffin’ out the pig (I think pig looks slightly terrified here -ha!)

I told Amanda that every time I yell EUREKA! with her allergies -she breaks out in itchy bumps again, so here is to hoping she doesn’t break out tonight or tomorrow.

...because a good selfie with the dog is almost always, certainly a terrible idea!

…because a good selfie with the dog is almost always, certainly a terrible idea!

Either way, despite all her special issues -we love her and her nutty ways.

 

2015 and Then Sum!

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful, And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful and relax an exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul healing, amazing, awful ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” – L.  R. Knost

I have been working to get a yearend wrap up post done for oh, ever since the year ended. But as life would have it –I haven’t been able to line up brain function and time to work in my favor. Instead I have only had time to think –because even if you don’t have time to do anything else, you always have time to think…and think I have.

2015, I know, was not a favorite for everyone. There were a lot of ups and downs and a lot that happened that for many people that made the year one that wasn’t good at all. I am not ignorant enough to believe that it was a good year for everyone –but for me, 2015 was one of my favorite years in history. Of course, it is easy to say that now that it is behind us. But regardless of the pits and downfalls of the year, it turned out to be a pretty great year.

Earlier today I read the quote I posted at the top and had to agree. That quote right there sums up 2015, and well, 2016 so far. We are in the middle of holding on through some of those moments. Even though we are only a short 12 days into the year, things have been somewhat tough. But back to 2015.

The year of my dreams. The thing that made it most awesome, I think can be contributed to the fact that I visited seven different countries this year. I went to one country twice. Did two international road trips. Hung out with some of my favorite people. Made new friends. Traveled with said friends. I also had layovers in an additional country that I didn’t include on my list, and of course –frequented the good Ol’ USA.   I have seen some flat out amazing places. Visited some awesome country and seen things that I never dreamed of seeing.

To sum the year up I would simply use words. Worse such as awesome. Or perhaps names. Names such as Singapore, Australia, England, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Italy (again!), France.

Then of course I had to sort through my billion and one pictures that I took this year, because even though hardly any of them are frame worthy, and a lot of them aren’t even mine –there are some awesome memories summed up in pictures. As I sorted I relieved moments and memories and finally had to narrow my choices down to those which made me feel something. Those pictures that aren’t frame worthy yet sum up the moments, the year, the memories so well that I can take myself back to the very moment and drink it in.

Here are just a few of those amazing, mundane, ordinary and routine images that sum 2015 up so well.

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I miss my red hair!

These peeps made my year too!

These peeps!

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This picture easily ranks as one of my favorites

This picture easily ranks as one of my favorites

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This one made the Christmas card

Oh, this picture.

Oh, this picture.

Yes, 2015 you were good to us

Yes, 2015 you were good to us

This guy is all about the laughing...

This guy is all about the laughing…

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This was from Italy the second time. Venice, to be exact. While the picture itself isn't the best -the location will always be etched into my mind.

This was from Italy the second time. Venice, to be exact. While the picture itself isn’t the best -the location will always be etched into my mind.

The Fam

The Fam

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Carousels were a big hit with me in 2015

Carousels were a big hit with me in 2015

Ireland, Fat Face and Shades all in one photo!

Ireland, FatFace Apparel and Shades all in one photo!

 

A "Man named Earl" lived in a castle that Morgan and I visited. To quote Morgan: "Earl probably died falling down these steps!"

A “Man named Earl” lived in a castle that Morgan and I visited. To quote Morgan: “Earl probably died falling down these steps!”

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Ah, 2015.  You were indeed, a wild ride.  I miss you already!

‘Tis The Season

I got back the 10th of December. Just in time to throw myself haphazardly into the festivities that surround this time of year. It has been pretty much nonstop Christmas since I got back and by the time the day actually did arrive? I think we were all pretty much ready to call it quits. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad. But still!

I started house sitting the night I got back. There was baking with friends. Shopping for relatives. Addressing 305,434,431 cards. Shopping for family. Trying to assemble the dinner, and breakfast…and then there was life, too. Still waiting to be had. And the fact that I hadn’t seen my family here for the past three months and everything was just one big ball of…stuff.

We got our tree up just in time (Christmas eve) and it will probably stay up until all the needles fall off and be haul a bare tree out to the woods.

My motto this year (and I believe last year too) was “Tis the season!” It was my answer to pretty much everything and anything. Computer deleting six months of business data? Tis the season! Let’s all be jolly!

My screen cap

My screen cap

The other day while talking to Amanda across the internet –I stumbled upon Google who was, apparently, all decked out for the holidays as well…but the phrase? “Tis the season!” I found it funny so took a screen cap to send to Amanda –who at the very same time was taking a screen cap of Google over in England. We both sent the files to each other at the same time…

Amanda's screen cap

Amanda’s screen cap

Tis the season indeed!

Same thing, same time

Same thing, same time

Christmas day was {mostly} uneventful. We had coffee, presents and all the holly jolly we could muster.

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Yoshi unwrapped a stuffed groundhog toy that sounded like a pig -she loves her some pigs.

It took her about five minutes to have the thing unwrapped and un-stuffed…

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But she hopes everyone got a groundhog to un-stuff!

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Mom pretty much has the best reaction ever when she opens presents.  It doesn’t matter what it is.

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Say what?  I was scared to open any more gifts after this one…worried that the second part of “Our” would pop out from under the tree.  Thankfully mom said she hadn’t seen the words -only the penguins.

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You can’t really tell from the pictures -but there is about ten inches of snow under Yoshi.  She took one look at the snow and turned and ran for the office.  Girl doesn’t like the snow this year!

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Yoshi and pig making a break for it.

…and now? It is all about trying to find that happy middle ground somewhere beneath ten inches of snow and ice. Trying to regain my footing here without losing my mind and trying to remember just what it was I did here before I left nearly four months ago. Ah, indeed.

‘Tis the season!

 

Rainbird Soccer

Morgan invited me to see her soccer game this evening -and I invited Nik along…

Me and sports don’t really get along.  Anytime a ball comes flying my way I tend to scream and duck…I played Volleyball earlier this year -that is the closest to playing sports as I have ever gotten.  I sat in the bleachers and attempted not to scream when the ball went whipping through the bleachers (because yes it did!)

I didn’t really know what I was looking at, but it sure was impressive…

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The last soccer game I was at were a bunch of three year old’s running around.  This game was a bit different!

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Even though I really had no idea what they were doing (I was doing good to remember whose goal was whose!) It was quite amazing to watch all their fancy foot work…

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I am not a big fan of watching sports -but if I had to pick one to watch it would probably be soccer.

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Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that I knew over half the players…but still!  The game was fun.

This was one of the few shots where a majority of the players were actually facing my way…of course it was also somewhat nerving because they were all running towards the bleachers!  Do I duck? Run?  Snap?

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I originally went to watch Morgan play (green team) but I knew half the players on the other (pink) team too…

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Of course it was also fun to watch Morgan get into it!

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In the end, the score was 5-1 with the pink team coming out on top.

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Well played, green (and pink) team!

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Rockin’ the Mustache

Sometimes,  you step into a random photo booth armed with a paper mustache and an empty popcorn container.  You don the popcorn container as a hat, put your ‘stache on and smile -you give it all you’ve got…and then you laugh for days to come.

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Upper left: The teeth.  Oh.  The teeth.  I will laugh for years to come. 

Upper right: That horrible moment when your popcorn hat falls off minutes before the camera snaps the picture.

Lower left: We got this.  We can behave.  Mustaches and all!

Lower right: …and then your sister’s popcorn hat falls off moments before the camera takes the picture, but she is more graceful and managed to prop it up while you dissolve into a pile of laughter because her hat fell off just like yours did.  

I think we rock the mustache!  The paper one, that is.

Bike Ride!

“We want to go for a bike ride” they said “It won’t be muddy at all!” they said.

It was a beautiful fall day -with the leaves blowing and all.  It wasn’t raining.  They secured a babysitter and away we went.

It was a little muddy -because that’s what you get the end of October!  There were some cows, some nettles (blasted things) and some conversations.  There was a quick lunch at a garden center -and then the dreaded ride home…because apparently -what goes down?  Must come up.  At least when you are biking.

It was a fun ride, however.  Yay for bike rides in the country!

See?  Not muddy at all!  Ha!

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Amazing views!

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Great place for some autumn portraits!

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Pulling some dangerous stunts and taking selfies while riding!

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Biking pictures

 

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And those blasted nettles…I rolled my jean keg up so it wouldn’t get caught in the chain.  It didn’t get caught in the chain, but I rode past a patch of nettles -and got a bunch of stings.  Eeks!

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…and of course, a crazy video…

Brighton, Take One

September 12, 2015

We went to Brighton twice!  The first time was with mom and dad…it was an especially windy day!

We spent the day on the Pier watching the waves, eating fresh waffles and doing a little bit of shopping.  We also went on a few rides -something Amanda and I feel compelled to do every time we go there.  Thankfully this time, the ride was less traumatizing than last time.

See?  Brighton!

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The waves were so big!

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Crooked horizon and big waves together

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Good hair gone bad!

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Making friends with a lobster!

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…I have a SLIGHT obsession with these.  I admit.

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Is it bad when you can’t tell if you or your three year old nephew is having more fun?

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It felt like the paparazzi was there -Amanda was on one side, dad was on the other…cameras flashing everywhere!

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Ahhhh!  Love them!

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Some random views

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We also had some fish and chips on the Pier.  My face pretty much sums up how I feel about them.  Don’t get me wrong -I love me some fish and chips, I just don’t like the fish and chips here.  It’s what happens when you grow up on Alaskan fish and chips…cod just doesn’t cut it!

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Good-Bye, Brighton!

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London, Take Two

October 2, 2015

When Morgan came over for a month we had wanted to take her to London to see all the things (you know, the big sites such as Big Ben, the bridges, etc) the only problem was trying to get everyone into London was proving to be difficult –since ½ the sites were in one part and ½ were in another. We had to use the underground a few times –something that is difficult to do with two kids. Instead, we decided that I would take Morgan to see ½ the things, then we would all meet up together in a few hours.

The only problem was…I had never been to London alone, let alone –changed trains, used undergrounds etc. Everyone promised me it would be “Easy!” and since Morgan was game, we went for it.

It turned out to be a great day. A busy, action packed, wild but fun day! We saw everything (and then some!)

The first part of the day consisted of seeing the Buckingham Palace –there was a huge crowd of people and I was convinced something big was happening –like the queen was going to appear.

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Lots of people must mean something big is about to happen!!

Not wanting to miss out I drug Morgan through the crowds and up to the gates where we saw, not the queen but this…

The changing of the guards. I wasn’t impressed (haha) but Morgan was excited. I casually mentioned that I was the best tour guide, like, ever –planning out to see the changing of the guards and all :)

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

From there we went to visit Big Ben (which is when my camera conked out). Rode the underground to see Piccadilly Circus -a popular site because of the big TV screens?  I guess it is sort of like New York…I’m not entirely sure.  The area has never impressed me that much, but we also heard there was a big M&M world so of course we had to go.  After hitting up M&M world we grabbed some lunch then continued on.

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Big Ben

Flash back time…Amanda and I in 2010 -first time meeting Big Ben.

Naw, look how young and clueless we looked!

Naw, look how young and clueless we looked!

 

Being brave!

Being brave at M&M world!

After seeing those sites, we where we met up with the rest of the gang.  Amanda was nice enough to bring my other camera so I could take pictures again.  Yay!

We took another ride down the Thames river to see the sites from the river.  Much like we did with mom and dad.  The great thing about travel cards (the type of ticket we need to take the train from Caterham to London) is that they work on every form of transportation, including the underground!  You also get a discount when riding the river boats.

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Morgan on London bridge looking at Tower bridge

Morgan on London bridge looking at Tower bridge

I had wanted to take Morgan up The Monument.  Something we did in 2010.  Once we got there, Judah decided he wanted to go up as well.  I agreed to take him -so long as he walked up himself.  There was no way I was going to carry him up all those stairs!  He made it all by himself -up all those 311 stairs.  Both up and down!  I was impressed.

View from the bottom:

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Yay!  We made it!  As soon as we got up -he was ready to go back down.  Don’t think he really understood why we went up to begin with!

DSC_0046Awkward!

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Trying to be all artistic

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…and then we saw it.  A carousel.  I have a slightly weird obsession with them, and the undeniable need to ride every. single. one.  Thankfully, Morgan was happy to oblige and we rode off on our big horses.

Morgan said she was going to be “lady like” and ride side saddled.  Me?  I don’t know what I was being.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t very lady like!!!

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Oh, I do love me some flying horses…

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Cheese!

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England: Week 1

Someone asked me earlier tonight what I had been up to this week. It caught me off guard (as do all normal questions –ask me anything but normal questions!) and so I stumbled around with my words for a few seconds before landing on a very wide eyed look and the answer of “Recovering.” Thankfully because of accents and noise my answer got lost and I had a chance to redeem myself. Which I did. Very smoothly with “My friend left.”

In all honesty tho, this week has been all about recovering. Because the past two months have been nothing if not a whirlwind of adventures.

Adventures that I just recently realized –have gone without mention. I guess that’s what happens when you are busy having fun.

To make up for the lack of postings, however, I am going to attempt to recreate some of the past few months. And you know, hopefully not just disappear for three weeks at a time.

Dad and I flew over the end of August to meet up with mom (and the rest of the fam). We had originally decided to stay for three weeks as opposed to two –which is normally the amount of time we stay together for. This turned out to be a good idea –we had one week in England, one week in Italy –and then finished up with another week in England. However it didn’t seem like nearly that long. Thanks to the week in Italy –it ended up feeling like we were only together for about a week!

We decided to make the most out of the time together and see as much as possible!

Week 1:

I think this picture would look great as a silhouette.  Unfortunately my photo editing program is back home so this will have to do for now.  The force not to be reckoned with, The Fam:

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Cheese!

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We saw the sites, via boat!  Something we haven’t done since 2010:

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Just for fun, a 2010 shot of Amanda n I from the same location

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Back to the present, with mom and dad!

DSC_0201Ah, yes.  Selfies.

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Back home in Alaska!

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These next pictures crack me up.  The first is from 2010, the next is from 2013, and the final is 2015.  They were all taken at the Royal Observatory.  I did a whole thing on it in 2013 here.

2010:

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2015:

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I am kind of liking this auntie business!

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Of course it helps that Baby E is just as cute as her big brother (just don’t tell him I said that!)

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Thorpe Park

One of the things we had wanted to do while Morgan was here was go to a theme park. We originally had decided on a smaller theme park –but after looking into things, we decided that Thorpe park had more of an assortment of rides that would give us all a better time.

We chose the date, bought our tickets and headed out for a day of fun.

Amanda and I were originally a little worried since we always feel compelled to go on all the rides (especially the scary ones!) even though we usually end up getting sick.

The day started with this gem:

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While it doesn’t look that scary (and it really isn’t) it was a bit sickening. The seats went up then dropped. The dropping always does me in. You can see Morgan and I in the above picture (between the people with their hands in the air). Morgan LOVES such rides so she laughed while I busied myself by screaming. Ahem.

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The next rides were a combination of fun and entertaining –nothing to scary, but nothing to boring either.  Rides like this one:

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Mr Judah wasn’t impressed with this ride.  I failed to mention that this wasn’t a ride, but rather just a seat.  After he sat in it he told me I “Tricked him” because it didn’t do anything.  Woops!

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One of the favorite rides of all of us was the log ride. Since the park wasn’t that busy –they let us ride again and again. We told stories –while perfecting our southern accent (since the ride narrator had a southern accent) and collected money (you would be amazed at how much money was lost in those logs!)

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We came prepared with our swimming clothes -underestimating just how cold it would be!  We were pretty much the only people in shorts!

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Another ride Amanda and I were (thankfully!) smart enough not to go on since it looked really scary! Morgan and David went together while Amanda and I discussed the more important things in life: such as ice cream.

The scary ride:

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We then hit up another ride that was a good combination of scary and fun –it was so much fun in fact, that Morgan and I decided to go again (without even getting off!) This proved to be a bad idea, especially just after eating lunch and Morgan got sick.

It was a great day out!