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***Heirs of the Magi News Flash!***

The annual Samshwords Summer-Winter sale has ended! Thank-you to everyone for your support and interest in my books - and for any other Smashwords authors that you may have checked out during July too!

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Happy summer - or winter - reading!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Cassie's Journal - July 5, 2015



This update is coming to you from a tent in Aunt Leanne’s back yard.  No, that doesn’t mean that Michael and I were able to switch a sofa sleepover for a tent mate swap; and that’s entirely because we’re each camping with a group of kids – four boys for him and four girls for me.  My tent buddies are all sleeping now; and that’s the only reason I can do this report now instead of waiting until sometime in the morning.  It’s been a very long, busy day, though; so let’s get to the news of the day.

My morning was yet another crazy-busy blast of non-stop action that started out with good morning hugs and kisses with Michael before Tai Chi.  Our exercising by the river was great, and we’ve had a beautiful weather day too; which was great for the church service in the park plans.  The teen praise team was leading that service along with the usual group of teens helping out with the skits, readings, and everything except the Pastor’s message; so Michael and I also needed to get to the park early for our warm-ups in addition to helping out at our respective homes with breakfast and the rest of the work that needed to get done.

I was on the cooking crew for the meal; helped out with kid control during the meal; and then Mom set me free to go and get ready for the service in time to do that and still get to the park on time.  That meant missing out on the clean-up and some play time with the kids in the back yard, but Michael and I had fun with the other teens, Pastor John, and Stacey; so I’m really only wishing that we’d had time for both again.  Maybe we should just make holiday weekends longer so that we can have time to do everything instead of needing to pick and choose the fun options – not that every choice was fun.

The service in the park was definitely fun, but then it was also getting hot by then; and some sweating was involved for those of us on stage and in the audience.  We had a great turn-out despite the late night that most of us had at the park, so it’s a good thing that we could use the park today; since there were likely nearly fifteen hundred people there.  We won’t be able to fit that many people into the sanctuary at the church until after the addition is completed.  The highlights of the service for me were the music and skits.  Michael and I had a short duet for part of one of the songs that was fairly awesome too, and while we sounded great; I mean the awesome from the perspective of how great it is to do stuff like that with my boyfriend.  I know that our family, friends, and neighbors love our music, but we managed to keep from being in the spotlight for an entire song because we want to make sure that our musical friends all get chances to shine too.

We were definitely out of the spotlight after the service because Michael and I needed to get to the Inn to help out with getting the food ready for the first buffet sitting of the day ready for noon.  I worked there until shortly after the first wave of food went out to the dining room; and then hurried over to Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s to have lunch with the collective families.  That barbeque meal was actually at Uncle Mark and Aunt Grace’s house too; and we were using both yards for that – and the play time that was going on before and after we sat down to eat.  I hadn’t been able to help out with the work before I got there; but did get drafted for the clean-up crew at the Carrington house.

Our afternoon family and friends play time included a trail ride for some of us; and we headed out to the ranch at two o’clock for that ride.  Michael wasn’t able to do most of the fun stuff today with my family because they were doing four buffets at the Inn, but he was able to go on the ride with me; so we picked him up on the way out of town.  The timing for our ride had been partly made because of the break time options for Michael; and the second buffet sitting had just started when Michael left the Inn.  He got to have more time off today than most of the staff at the Inn; but he did have the advantage of being able to bring along extra help when he went back to the Inn in time to help out with the third buffet clean-up and cooking for the fourth buffet.

The trail ride was as much fun as always; and Michael and I rode and chatted with Jaimie and Kaitlyn today.  I have gotten to have a fair bit of time with them this weekend, but Dawn wanted to spend the time with Violet before she heads home tomorrow; and the rest of the college students either skipped the ride for other play options; or were more interested in hanging out with each other – or the parents that were with us today.  Our ride today lasted forty-five minutes because the horses needed the extra rest time between rides; Michael and I went for a swim with a bunch of the kids and teens after getting home; and then we stopped in at our houses to get changed and freshen up before heading over to the Inn to get to work for the rest of the day.

It was hot in the kitchen, and really, really busy as we tried to keep up with the workload.  I still had fun working with Michael, Rebecca, and Jenny; and I switched between the prep line and dishwashing as needed.  The third buffet had been well-underway by the time that we got to the kitchen, so Michael and I started with dishwashing; and I helped on the prep-line when it was time to get the fourth buffet ready to go.  My collective family was doing the last buffet, and with Uncle Mark’s family in the mix; they had nearly a quarter of the dining room seating reserved.  I would have liked to have the meal with them, but it was just too busy in the kitchen; so I settled for a little break when they were having dessert and after-dinner drinks.  There weren’t many empty seats in the dining room; and I ended up having what might be my longest visit of the weekend with Christina, her sisters, and their guys.  Violet and Dillon were at the table next to them along with Chris, Martin, Jonathan, and Dawn; but that table was on the far side of ‘our’ table from me and I didn’t really get to talk with them at all.  I also really did keep that break short before going back into the kitchen; and then it was non-stop work through until we were able to close the Inn at a bit after nine-thirty.

The evening and overnight plans had been set up earlier in the day, and though I wasn’t really in on it; Mom and Dad made sure that Michael and I were included in the camping plans when the tents were set up before they all came to the Inn for dinner.  Adding us to the campfire attendees wasn’t a problem; and there was more than enough room for everyone that came over to Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s house from the Inn.  The fireside fun was already in full swing by then; Dad had been playing music; and the grandfathers were telling the campfire stories.  We were there in time to catch Grandpa Everett’s contribution to that effort; and it was a lot of fun getting to hear an all-new story that was both brought to us from west-coast legend and from the perspective of a big-city hospital doctor.

I’ll guess that he has scarier stories; but picked one that was kid-friendly and more funny than scary.

After two late nights, the youngest kids and parents were ready to call it a night by eleven o’clock; but the teens and older kids were free to stay at the campfire as long as they wanted before turning in for the night.  Michael and I were happy to cuddle together and do that; but we also took a couple of breaks when we needed to get our tent buddies ready for bed and into their sleeping bags for the night.  I have Ehlana, Naomi, Sophia, and Uncle Mark’s niece, Colleen, with me; so it wasn’t tough for me to do that.  Rowen has Leah and Noel with her, and that was more work to get them into bed; but Jessica is their fourth; and helped her out with getting their junior tent buddies off to sleep.

There’s a lot from the campfire that I’m skipping over, but the main information to pass on from that few hours of fun is simply that we did have a lot of fun together.  Whether that was playing and singing music, telling scary stories, or just enjoying the cuddle and chat time; it was a perfect way to wrap up another really great family day.  Michael and I went for a swim as the campfire fun wound down; followed that up with some chat time by the river with Rowen, Tim, and a few of the other teens; and then we split up to get some sleep.

My four junior campers slept through while I got changed and into my sleeping bag; and have stayed asleep while I’ve done my computer and email checks along with a bit of family business work that was just a follow-up to what I’d worked on last night.  I won’t be getting a lot of sleep again tonight, and we still have one holiday play day left to go tomorrow; but that’s really only going to be a half-day before most of our guests head home in the afternoon.  That fun is going to start with breakfast at the Inn in the morning so that the parents don’t have to deal with feeding a gang of kids and teens, and I don’t want to sleep in and miss that; so let’s just wrap this update up with that and I’ll get started on my nap time now.

Until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!