Happy, Happy Anniversary Anyway!!

What a week it’s been!! I attended an eye-opening, energizing, and thought-provoking Women Against Alzheimer’s Summit! I’ve done a lot of Seminars and Summits in my time, but not one with more than 100 of the most amazing minds in the world in one place all working to eliminate Alzheimer’s by 2020! The combination of energy and intelligence in the room was astounding. It’s one of those events I’ll never forget, especially going to Congress and meeting with Senators and Representatives to ask for funding to fight this dreaded disease. I was emotionally spent at the end of the two days, but very motivated as well!!

Then it was back to work for a couple of days followed by a very much-anticipated weekend!! I was going to attend a Lego show yesterday, AND our 29th Anniversary is today and we were going to Bobby Van’s Steakhouse to celebrate!! Woo Hoo!! I had been waiting for this Lego show in Timonium, MD for more than a month, because the Lego show in Chantilly, VA in August sold out before I could get tickets.

BUT……..At the end of the Summit on Wednesday, I was not only exhausted, I felt a little sick too…..almost like the beginning of the nasty bronchitis I had in June…. I was concerned because many people warned me that it could return!!!

So what to do???????? I felt bad enough on Friday to determine that it wasn’t going to be smart to go to Lego show. REALLY?? BUMMER!!! I sent a quick text to my girl Jan, encouraging her to go without me, and to take a friend to use my ticket. I thought I was going to be sad all day yesterday because I had hoped to establish some relationships with Lego vendors to buy bricks in bulk. But I wasn’t sad …. I not only have the huge Lego shipments I’ve received since my class in June, but I received another set of boxes this week I hadn’t even opened!! So, I decided to have a Lego show all of my own, which I could attend in my PJs ….I worked with pieces I’ll be using in my classes that I’ve not had practice with, so it was an absolute blast…

I thought I’d be sad about missing our anniversary dinner too, but NOPE we had a Happy Happy anniversary anyway just sitting on the couch together… We watched football, and then Red Zone, otherwise known as the NFL on steroids!! And what did we have for dinner??? Chinese food!!! My favorite chicken and broccoli….

When you’ve been married for 29 years, you don’t have to go out … you can have fun just sitting!! And nobody’s mad I ruined our plans by being sick!! I’m so proud of myself for staying in …… for doing what I could, with what I had, where I was….. I got an incredible amount of computer work done, and laughed like a kid while making Lego creations that had no meaning at all!! I think that’s what life is all about!

This two-day rest should more than prepare me for my mega week coming up with a trip to Chicago, a celebration at church, and then a four day trip to Dallas

And the best part of all??? I think I may have averted the bronchitis … I’m still a little weak and coughing, but nothing like my ten day illness in June. I didn’t even miss a fancy dessert I was counting on at the end of our celebratory dinner because Tim went out to get my favorite ice cream, Hershey’s Cappucino Crunch!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Happy, Happy Anniversary anyway!! Thanks Tim for making our weekend the absolute best it could be!!!

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Thirty-Three hours of Memories!

People rarely count the exact hours that they are together, but from the moment I made the reservations for us, I had been looking forward to our trip to PA so Kendal could experience a ride based on the popular character Thomas the Train. When I originally made the reservations, it included an overnight hotel stay, but once we purchased our travel trailer we’ve named “Memory Maker” it was obvious that it would be the perfect opportunity for us to stay in it as a family – with me and Tim, Kim, Herb and Kendal – for the first time. One of the great selling points for the model of trailer we purchased, was that the two primary sleeping areas were on opposite ends of the trailer, perfect for both families to have some degree of privacy. But as Paul Roberts Abernathy said in his homily for our 25th Anniversary Vow Renewal ceremony four years ago, “you never REALLY know someone UNTIL you go on vacation with them”. Uh Oh!!!! So how would this work out ?? Better than I could ever have imagined!

So from a little after 7am Saturday morning when we left Clinton, MD until approximately 4pm on Sunday when Memory Maker was safely parked in it’s parking space and unloaded, the Lifelong Memories we Made were too numerous to count. .

All you need are a few of the highlights to understand!

Though this wasn’t Kendal’s first train ride, it was her first with a character she’s very familiar with. Of course I had ordered a special package for her with a Thomas the Train hat, whistle and train engineer’s badge all of which she proudly wore and used!

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The train ride was short in terms of time, BUT an eternity in terms of the memories that all the children left that train with. Kendal’s reaction was just pure joy!! She kept yelling “THOMAS THE TRAIN” and then squealing loudly!! It was truly awesome!!

The true highlight of the trip however were the activities associated with Thomas the Train! We were supposed to take two train rides but we were so busy doing all the train activities inside a huge tent that we never did get on the second train!! It was raining quite a bit then too, so we were thrilled to be in the tent!! There were building blocks, little train rides the kids could drive AND musical entertainment too!! Kendal did them all!! There was a really cool singer with a guitar whose job clearly was to get as much audience participation as possible. There were a variety of instruments that the kids could play with, AND a microphone for those brave kids who wanted to try their hand at singing. Do I need to say that Kendal tried them all???? She played the drums AND sang too!! Actually sang isn’t a good enough word!!! That child PERFORMED!!! She swayed, rocked, stomped, and worked the microphone to the hilt!! We laughed sooooo hard at how hysterically she performed to the music, but truthfully she also STUNNED us with her showmanship, and the fact that she wasn’t intimidated in the least by performing in front of all of those people. We took a lot of video of the two songs she performed, including one that Kim accompanied her on with a washboard no less!! Whenever I am having a bad day in the future, I’ll be viewing one of those video clips that will without a doubt turn my day around.

Thomas The Train (54)

When we got to the campground to unhook the trailer (which includes multiple steps and manual labor) each of the Sewards were ready and willing to help out!! It was the PERFECT way to get the overnight portion of the trip off to the best start!!! Then while Herb and Kendal napped, Kim and I took a walk exploring the campground and sharing mother / daughter time. Tim even joined us for a bit of our walk. We enjoyed typical camping fare of hot dogs and hamburgers and laughed and talked about our great day! Even better, after dinner Kendal stood on her little purple stool and helped wash the dishes!! And she’s GOOD at it too!! Could our time get any better????

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YES!! It actually did get better, as Tim and Herb made a fire and we roasted marshmallows for S’mores!! Watching Kendal eat her first S’More was Priceless!! She was a sticky mess afterwards, but isn’t that the point???

Final smores

So what did I learn from this short Thirty-three hours?? I learned that the Seward’s first impression of RV camping was just as positive as ours have been. WE LOVE CAMPING!!! Kim talked about how peaceful the campground was and how relaxed she felt. Herb remarked that he had an awesome time camping in a “condo”!!! As for Kendal, she just squealed with joy a lot!!

More importantly, the mantra that Family is Everything was re-confirmed for me at a time in the world that screams loudly for love, peace and happiness!! With domestic violence headlines, beheadings, kids who are missing as a result of actions taken by their mentally-ill mom, and the somber 13th anniversary of 9/11….. you feel yourself emotionally spent, and in desperate need of a pick-me-up. The thirty-three hours of family time for me exceeded all of my expectations.

You only get one family, and through life’s ups and downs and downs and ups, sticking together through it all is so worth the effort!! There may not be a Memory Maker or a Thomas the Train adventure weekend in your future, but there’s likely some event that will bring you all together for some laughter and joy! Don’t let that event pass you by, Seize the Day! I LOVE my family, and I believe you learn from what you’ve been taught! My Mom Doris and my Grandparents Charles and Alberta taught me a lot about love and family and I pray that I’m passing those lessons on in a way that would make them all proud!