Sunday, July 27, 2008

Holden Beach Fun

If there was a theme for our family reunion at Holden Beach this week, it was wildlife. We have never seen anything like this before. I thought I'd give a little synopsis for those of you who weren't fortunate enough to be there....

Russ had to work on Monday, and came late after picking up Mahon at the airport. The kids & I left Monday morning & arrived at Holden Monday afternoon. There was a turtle nest about 3 houses up from our house that was supposed to hatch at any time. There was another turtle nest about 10 houses down that was also about ready to hatch. Monday night about 11:30 someone came running in to say that the turtles in the closer nest were hatching. By the time we got out there all of the turtles had already crawled out of the nest and into the water. There was one lone straggler and we got to watch him make his way into the water. We later found out that that was an unusual experience. For some reason the turtle patrol people had gone home at 11pm, thinking that nothing was going to happen that night. When the turtles hatch with the turtle patrol there, they run things a little differently. The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol is a very energetic operation here. There is a waiting list of people wanting to be on it, and they are very vigilant. Every morning a turtle patrol person rides a 4 wheeler down the beach looking for turtle tracks indicating that a turtle has laid her eggs during the night. The turtle patrol then relocate the nest above the tide line because sometimes the turtle isn't careful enough, and if the tide gets the eggs they will be pickled. So they dig up the eggs and rebury them closer to the dunes. They measure the width of the flipper markings so that they will know how deep the turtle could dig and how deep to bury the eggs. Then they keep track so they will know about when the baby turtles are "due." Every nest is cordoned off with bright orange tape. When the due date approaches they dig a shallow trench from the area of the next almost down to the surf. The turtles are an endangered species, and the trench helps prevent them from wandering away from the water instead of towards the water. Only 1 in every 1,000-10,000 turtles will live to be a grown up turtle. The rest will be dinner for our friends the pelicans. And various other sea creatures. There are 32 turtle nests on Holden Beach this year, with 100-130 eggs each. So we figured that at best only 3-4 turtles from the 3000+ eggs will survive to be adults.

Tuesday morning early someone (I think Margaret?) came running into the house and said that another turtle had crawled out of the nest. We all ran down to see. Much to our surprise the turtle had two heads! Later one of the turtle patrol workers told us that the person over all of the turtle conservation operations in the state said that they've never had a report before of a 2 headed turtle born in NC before, and that there is only one in captivity that they know about--in Mexico. So we are feeling kind of cool, having seen this. Tuesday night we walked down to the nest that was farther away to see how close those turtles were to hatching. The turtle patrol people were all excited because there were several signs that the turtles had hatched out of the eggs and were beginning to dig their way to the surface. We were very excited. After a while we got tired of sitting on the sand (well Russ & I were tired of it--the kids were running around being crazy.) So I decided I'd walk back to the beach house to get some chairs.
I knew that it would be a little bit challenging because I'd misplaced my glasses and so everything was a little blurry. I walked, and walked, and walked. I realized that I'd not really been outside of our beach house at night looking in before, so I didn't really know what it would look like. As I passed each house I stopped & looked, trying to decide if that configuration was the right one. At one point I was sure I had passed it and was ready to turn around and walk back to the turtle nest, but I decided to press on. Sure enough, about 3 houses later I found it. It was a little bit disorienting. I grabbed the chairs, waters, licorice (energy food ;) ) and a bunch of glow stick bracelets. When I got back I gave all of the little kids in our group and a couple of strays 4 bracelets each. Most of them put one on each wrist and ankle, and then danced around the beach. It was very dark at this point, and without my glasses I couldn't see the kids at all--just the moving glow sticks. It was very entertaining. At about 11pm Russ decided that even though it *would* have been a great family memory to see a boil of turtles hatch, (yes, that's the right term) we weren't waiting anymore.

Wednesday brought several things we did not expect. Unfortunately we don't have pictures of any of them. But they're still worth telling about.

1)A HUGE rain/thunder storm. Rain that blew sideways--parallel to the ground, and hurt like hail. (If you say that out loud you'll sound like you're swearing in Southern!) When we went out to swim after the rain and lightening had stopped, the wind was blowing so hard that the boogie boards were flying like kites. Or if you held it right in front of you it would just stick to your body.

2)Water spraying IN the windows during the rain like a waterfall. We all assumed that the windows weren't all the way closed at the top, but they were. And still the water poured it. It came in so hard & fast that it sprayed out 18 inches from the window/wall. So yes, the sofa was quite wet. This particular duplex is for sale, and we decided that they're probably advertising the "indoor water feature" as an upgrade. ;)

3)This is the one I most wish I had a picture of. You know how pelicans normally fly parallel to the beach? Well we saw pelicans flying SIDEWAYS--with their wings parallel to the beach, but still flying parallel to the beach. It was a strange looking thing.

Thursday afternoon Andra's kids found a Portuguese Man-o-war washed up on the beach. They dug a hole & filled it with water and put the man-o-war in it, with two little fish a nephew had caught for shark bait. It was wild to watch. The man-o-war grabbed the little fish with its poisonous tentacles, then the fish started getting kind of wobbly & finally laid down on it's side like fish do when they're dead. Then the man-o-war grabbed it again. It's longer tentacles are the poisonous ones, and the shorter tentacles digest the fish. The Man-o-war created a house divided--between those who wanted to kill the man-o-war (they're very dangerous to people too) and those who wanted to release it into the wild. Fortunately for family harmony it died in the night and was given a proper Christian burial in the dunes...


Friday morning was calm, calm, calm. It was so calm that Ramona even decided to get in the water. While we were out there floating the pelicans were flying near us, diving to catch fish. It was beautiful. After we had been out for a couple of hours someone on the each started yelling, whistling, and waving us in. We couldn't figure out what was going on. When we finally went in we told that 4 of the neighbors had just seen a shark! So much for our peaceful swim! We never did see the shark, but no one was in too much of a hurry to go back in.

Friday night we went back to the closer turtle nest to see if all of the turtles had hatched. It had been 3 days since any turtles had come out of the nest, so it was time for the turtle people to dig out the nest. They know how many eggs are in the nest, and the count the broken shells, see how many eggs didn't hatch, and release any turtles that haven't made it out of the nest yet. There were a few little turtles left and we got to see them crawling down the trench. The little baby turtles were so tiny & cute--especially when they tried crawling up the sides of the trench and flipped over on their backs and got stuck.

Saturday the ocean was calm & beautiful again. The little kids thought that was great because it was so calm that all of them could go out and float--even the babies. Unfortunately our swim was cut short when someone noticed a jellyfish floating near them. Sure enough, they were all over the place. Fortunately someone told us that they weren't jellyfish, they were jelly balls. Since they didn't have tentacles they didn't sting. So we all touched it and are still alive to tell about it.

Cindy Lynn got a monster sunburn coming out to play with the moms during gator time without putting any sunscreen. Ouch!

When we got out there were a lot of people gathered by some people that were fishing near us. So of course we had to go see what was going on. And one of the fishermen had caught a sting ray! He caught 3 in a row. This is a picture of the 2nd one. The 3rd one was just a few minutes later and had a wingspan of probably 3 feet--but it was too heavy to be pulled in close enough for a picture.

Saturday night we went back down to the other turtle nest and they were digging it up. They had seen a crab crawl down into the hole and so they needed to get any remaining turtles out before the crab ate them. They found 18 turtles in the hole so we got to watch them too. By this point we were very famous as people found out that we had seen the 2 headed turtle and found the man-o-war.

The last morning at the beach is always a bit stressful--trying to pack everything up and clean everything out before leaving. I had taken a break from cleaning and was getting an adjustment from Grandpa when Jeff came in the room. He said that it was looking stormy outside and that we had better pack up faster. Sure enough--right as we walked down the stairs to get into the cars it started POURING again. I'm sure the special water feature in the houses was activated again--we just weren't inside to see it.

Well there you go--our week of wildlife at Holden Beach. I can't imagine we will ever have one like that again!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


So, Em and I went to IHOP last week...
We were shocked when we ordered our food , and it appeared in less than 5 minutes. The restaurant was quite crowded... so i began to think of the great tip out waitress was working on...
Then I ran out of my beverage.
Then we finished eating.
then we waited for about 30 mintues more for our waitress to show back up... (she also said she'd get maple syrup, but i won't be petty...) so we could get our check and continue on our activities...
I finally gave up...
After we had made our flatware into a statue.
I decided to go up and ask the check stand for a copy of the check so we could leave...
This is the first time I have not left a tip.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

While in Vermont

I think it is fair to say that in our everyday lives, Bob and I are not known for having oodles of fun! But while we are in Vermont, we have fun the way Vermonters do!

Apparently, Matthew's new kind of fun is being the new family pet!

Now you've seen it

To all of you who wil be flying across the country for this trip, I thought we would share some of our trip with you so you won't feel as if you have missed out on the very very very long trip.

Windmills in Wyoming. Who knew there were so many of them? New game in the van: Write the names of 11 - 14 of the major cities you will be traveling though, then tape them to the roof of your very long vehicle. Have the kids look for the corresponding highway signs and give them treats or fake money for finding them.
Because we no longer have a tv in our kitchen, Evan has never seen baby eienstein. On one very hard (14 hour) drive day, I finally turned his carseat forward facing for about 20 minutes. he zoned right into baby eienstein and then fell asleep. Finally. Ahhhhhhh
This is what happens when a stinky big brother sock ends up in a little sister face. Must remember to change socks in hotel rooms.....

Would it help if We brought POTS?

I was just thinking about the Beach and wondering how we all are going to cook? Imagine someone brings pots and pans? If not let me know and I will bring our 2 skillets and pot. Not nearly enough if no one else brings anything but I suppose it would be better than nothing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Andra's twin girls!

Andra finally has her twin girls! Yippee!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Elaina's Baptism

Here's some pictures we took at Elaina's baptism. Doesn't she look adorable?

Of course she's in good Karate form!

For Jeremy's Sake

Jer, The BOY you're not recognizing is Eason, son of my daughter, Erin. We were tending him for a couple of weeks while Erin and her husband were in Europe touring with their singing group. He has spent some time with Andra's and Ben's kids and absolutely LOVES playing with them. Since he has no sibblings, he really looks forward to being able to be with his "step cousins!" Mystery solved!

To me, these people look remarkably happy, and not nearly squished enough! We have just finished 3 days of....... Anyway, this is a family site, so I will not write how I really feel right now. We arrived in Vermont at about midnight last night and Evan is already awake and ready to go for the day. Each of our traveling days have ended right around midnight which makes momma a happy camper (NOT!). Hopefully, I will get a 15 hour nap today and all will be well.
As for the beach - We cannot pick up the keys until 4:00 pm. I guess anyone who wants to sit in the driveway until then is welcome to. Rooms will be available upon floor space needed for little sleepers. Jeremy and Maria - prepare to sleep in a closet! We had issues 2 years ago with this, so here are the playing rules. Anyone with more children has the right to run into a room and yell TRUMP to the family who is already setting up stakes in that room. Then the smaller family will pull up stakes and run to find another room. This should make things fun and interesting at least for the first afternoon. Bob and I, of course, hold the most trumps, so we may just run from room to room yelling, just to see the rest of you scurrying away for the next closest room. NOW I remember why I had all these kids!
I have not heard if Ben and Jenny have found plane tickets yet. So at this point, we will all need to be responsible for our own dinner on Sunday and breakfast the following Sunday

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How much of a difference will it make?

Is it going to make a big difference? Bonus points if you can read my writing.

(P.S. Same with the left side)

Needful Info

Hey again. After Ramona asked for this info I thought everyone may want it. IT may be helpful next Sunday :) The first is the address to the beach house and the second is a link to one side of our duplex.

Alan Holden Vacations
128 Ocean Blvd. West • Holden Beach, NC 28462
800-720-2200 • 910-842-6061

I am pretty sure check in is early afternoon, like 3:00.

Jeff and Amber, have you planned on how you are getting to the beach house?

And it has begun! Andra was supposed to be leaving her house early this morning. I cannot wait until next Sunday when the majority of "all" of us are meeting together for another Watson reunion at the beach. I hope that someday everyone will be able to come for one, whether at the beach, or somewhere else! I hope this picture make everyone as excited as I am!! It is actually a picture of Holden beach I found on the internet. Have I mentioned that I CAN NOT WAIT!
Upon seeing airplane ticket prices, Jenny decided it might be better to see how well children fit into suitcases. She says if all goes well, she, Ben, Cali and Cole may just hitch a ride in our luggage! We'd have no clothes, but we'd be happy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fun in Smithfield

While it is definitely not Wood Dale Drive, it DOES have a "pond" down the road and it also has 2 rope swings attached to trees that the kids really enjoyed. Those who were too young to swing tried really hard to fill the canal with rocks, one at a time. Thanks, Dad and Ramona for making our visit so enjoyable! May the babies sleep better next time we come visit!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Prom pics from Paces. . .Jessica

As I tell you later during Levi's prom pics, the important thing here is to notice my cool flowers!!!! I think the flowers are ultra important. This boy is named Brandon Todd. He is a super nice boy in our stake who went with Jess to Prom.

Here Jessica is torturing Brandon. But we hear that there is a contract out on Brandon by Mike (who is jessica's scottish missionary)'s best friend. They have plans already to dispose of and dump the body of anyone who dates jess.
This would make a wonderful wedding announcement photo. I can recreate it any time in early june that anyone would like.

This prom stuff is really fun! I didn't think I would be one of those moms going nuts with the camera! But it turns out I totally am!!!!

Prom pics from Paces

I am the photographer here, please notice my flower garden in all of the shots. I love my plants very very much. I love the kids too. This was the first time Levi rented a tux. I felt very handy that I was able to help him rent it. I learned a lot from sticking at renting the tux for Nathan for my wedding.

But Levi totally loved it and wore it every day that he had it including to church, Super Saturday, and every day in between just around the house.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

If you don't clean up the horse poo!!!!

So this was really wierd! I found out what happens when you don't clean up horse poo in the summer of Western New York! You grow SHRUMES!!!! These freaky looking flowers are mushrooms I found growing in the horse poo in the barn. Ick.
The first thing that happens is that the poo gets nice and moldy. I was used to that, but when I came out and saw the mushrooms I had to get my camera! Aren't they creapy looking?

So I had already thrown these in the poo pile outside when I was talking to Levi about finding the creapy death flowers in the barn. He made it all creepier by telling me these were SHRUMES. And you could sell them to druggies for a lot of money. They like to cut them up and put them on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and eat them. And it causes ireperable brain damage. I asked the girl who is boarding her horses here right now, and she said yes it is true, druggies go out and scour the cow pastures to find them. to eat. Even though they grow from horse or cow POO!!!!
Mucho congrats Jeremy. I am so tickeled for you I can't believe it!!!!

Dad's New Toy

He's a happy camper! Doesn't he look cool in his new helmet? He's begging me to ride it to the beach, but 2500 miles is a VERY long ride on the back of a motorcycle! We took a trip yesterday just to see how far we could go on a tank of gas. The bike has no fuel gauge, so it was just a guess as to how far we could go.

Grace, Idaho is a tiny town about 60 miles north of Smithfield, through some of the most gorgeous farm country on the earth. We were entralled by the beautiful surroundings, and completely forgot to check the gas tank. After we had run about 112 miles, we hit a down-hill run into Grace and pulled into the only gas station in town. We checked the tank, and yup, we were running on fumes!

Dad reached into his pocket for his wallet and yup, he'd left it home! So here we were, two old people on a motorcycle we had no business riding, 100's of miles away from family and friends, in the middle of no where, without gas nor money! Not a happy place in which to find oneself!

So your Dad goes into the gas station office to tell his sad story, and I rack my brain to try to remember our credit card number. Thankfully the God's were smiling on us (as the 100 degree sun beat down on us), and the lady entered the numbers I spouted off the top of my head, and TA DAAA! It worked!

We put a whole 2.8 gals of fuel into our tank and headed back home. We were terribly paranoid, however, fearful that we would be pulled over by a policeman. Since Dad already got a speeding ticket a couple of weeks ago, he really didn't need another for driving without a license. He'll end up in jail if he's not careful!

Anyway, we had a blast, and he's getting pretty good at starting up without stalling. Yippeeeee!!

Come see us and he'll take you for a spin!

Rub -a-Dub-Dub

Just a glimpse into the fun we had when Andra and Jenny were here!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Global warming

Hey everyone. Brent wanted me to post this article about global warming. I haven't read it yet, but he says it is really good. Happy reading.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


This week, one of my customers (a repeat customer, if you can believe that) came in to inquire about the location of an under hood component.
He opened his laptop and what he was searching for a place to make a connection for his home made hydrogen production facility.
I kid you not, this guy told me that he got 300 miles on his scooter on 1/2 a gallon of fuel, + his hydrogen producer. this up from 75 stock.
I got the book he's working from.
My question is this: With all the inteligence that surfs this blog... Who believes it's possible? and who will be in line if it does work?
(in the voice of the Next Weeks Narriator:) Will Sam make his jeep get 30 mpg(current 20) will there be an explosion???
Now, seriously... is there any science to this? could it actually work?

BEACH info needed, So freaking EXCITED!!!!

Ok, so i'm excited beyond all reason to see everyone who is coming!

1st question- When is Checkin aka. When do we arrive and does the fun begin

2nd question- When do we need to send the check for the 2nd half of the room and to whom?

3rd question- who is all coming?

4th question- COULD I BE ANY MORE EXCITED!!!!!

love you all.