The long-awaited Holiday Photos

Here are some highlights – my favourite things:

Time on the deck. My friends live in a forest, surrounded by these really tall trees and they have a great deck at the back of the house with twinkle lights, and a hammock, and stunningly peaceful views. I saw deer virtually every day. Real live deer – we’re talking Bambi and his mumma. Amazing. I loved hanging out here. Rachel and I had some of our best talks out on the deck and I have decided I definitely need me a deck one day.

Speaking of the deck…it was also the place for:

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Fire pit s’mores! This was on my last night. David and Rachel went out to celebrate their 14th wedding anniversary so Blake made a fire and we sat round with the kids making these absolutely ridiculous and totally American treats. (The top centre picture is my taste test comparison between American Hershey’s and British Dairy Milk chocolate…Hershey’s won for melt-ability but Dairy Milk won for taste)

Fire Pit shenanigans however led to…

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A visit from the Corvallis Fire Department!! Fortunately David and Rachel were back by this time, but absolutely no kidding, real fire fighters came to the house. One minute we’re all in the kitchen catching up and telling them about our chocolate comparisons, the next Elijah comes in to tell us that there is a Fire Truck on the driveway! No fewer than 3 Fire Fighters came to check out our fire pit, since we had not realised there was a Burn Ban due to the dry weather and fire risk. (They said our fire was totally fine, and gave us stickers then left)

The photos above are from a spontaneous and random trip that David and I took down the mountain after the fire-fighters had left, and we realised that we missed a photo opportunity!  They were completely willing to oblige and even let me sit in the truck. As a fire-fighter’s daughter, it’s not my first fire-engine-sitting-experience, but it was very cool. I also liked my sticker and I’ve kept it “somewhere safe” (that means I can’t remember where I’ve put it)

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Rummikub!! Rachel and Alicia taught me to play on Sunday afternoon. We were total Grandmas, sat there all cosy in our slouchy clothes, drinking Gin and Tonic (which I have discovered I really like – thank you Alicia – just talking about life and playing Rummikub for hours. So much fun. We played so many times over the rest of my trip and I am on the look-out to buy it for home. Ebay here I come.

Never fear though, I am not a total Grandma yet… and to prove it, here’s the wild and slightly rebellious thing I did while I was away!

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Yes, it’s a real tattoo – done by a real tattoo’d, scary-looking [but not even slightly scary] Biker tattoo artist man. His name is Joey and he was so cool, while he was ‘inking me’ he talked us into helping with a ‘charity’ project to bless a local lady whose husband had recently died. Such a genuinely nice guy.

But my tattoo… it seemed very spontaneous to everyone back home but I had actually been planning this since June when Rachel and Alicia got their tattoos. I have almost always been against tattoos, mostly because I have never really seen one I liked, but when Rachel suggested that I get one on my next visit, I said yes! I knew virtually right away what I wanted to get, and where I wanted it. I took it as a sign from God that it was a good thing to do. I was completely sure and certain. I just told David & Rachel not to tell me what day we were going for me to get it done as I was worried I’d freak out and flake out and I did honestly really want to get this done.

So, one day we went out for lunch (where Rachel and I had the most amazing salads and I have it on my list to make it one day) Rachel asked me if I was ready to go get my tattoo and off we went. To my surprise, I didn’t a) throw up b) faint c) swear. It did hurt, but in a way I hadn’t expected (i.e. less, rather than more) and it only took about 3 minutes since it’s teensy.

1 month on and I still love it and every time I look at my wrist I feel joy. It’s a good thing.

Here’s something else that makes me feel joy… but because I look totally goofy.

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This is my face before and after dropping a crayfish on my foot. A crayfish which I caught. With barbecue tongs (pictured) because I could only use my left hand since I needed to keep my newly tattooed right hand out of the river.

Explanation: We went crayfishing about an hour away from Corvallis, to celebrate David’s birthday. It’s a total hick thing to do (his words) but I loved it! We had two cars full of people (yay girl car vs guy car) and about 10 other people drove up to join us for the afternoon. I spent a lot of the afternoon floating in a rubber ring, tied to Alicia and my fun new American friend Anne, but at the same time I really wanted to catch my own crayfish so before we left I went hunting and managed it! Then, during the photo-for-posterity moment, the little blighter escaped and of course, Rachel managed to snap this completely wonderful photo of my face!!

(Her friend Vera caught this snap, which I much prefer…)

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What else did we do…….. we watched a lot of the Olympics, although the US commentary is not the same as the UK. It’s just not good – many adverts and they only seemed to show events that the USA was going to win. Not sportsman-like in my humble opinion.

There was a lot of colouring going on- these lovely girls can COLOUR. Some of my best mornings were chilling with them, colouring and listening to them share about their sweet and lovely little lives.

This trip was so fun, I really enjoyed spending time with my friends, getting to know more or their friends, relaxing so hard that I completely forgot how to do my job when I got home, and I can’t wait to go back!

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