Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer's End

I see the summer coming to a close. I'm almost okay with that. Almost. Tonight the air is fresh and crisp. I even had to shut the window to keep it from nipping at my bare arms. Love these summer nights! We had some family bike rides this weekend.
We went nowhere in particular; just rode around enjoying the weather, exercise and each others company. Mr. A. likes to ride way ahead of everyone deciding the route we take. He likes to be in charge. Must be an oldest child.
C wanted to ride his bike too but we talked him into the buggy so we could go at a faster pace. Later he decided that he was fully capable of pulling the buggy with his bike too. It was harder than it looked so he hooked it up to F's little 3-wheeler.
Success! F thought she was pretty special being escorted around in her carriage.
We weren't all able to ride bikes at the same time. A couple of bikes need some mechanical attention. That was fine. We rode in shifts. Something being a part of a large family teaches a person is taking turns is a reality of life.

Taking turns is a good thing. Especially when it's not your turn for dish washing! Or picking up the living room.
I think it's her turn. We were too busy playing soccer and tag. All kinds of tag; cartoon tag, geography tag (seriously! my oldest even thought of that one!), toilet tag (don't ask), freeze tag, tunnel tag and A's favorite, tackle tag. That one didn't go over too well. I used to think I was fast. I'm not. My kids would stalk me out the way a lion does a wounded wildebeest. They have no mercy.
At least this one loves her mom. She wants to be everywhere I am. I guess this little guy does too.

This is what he does EVERY time I leave and he isn't able to come. He cries and says he'll miss me so much. He has to get at least one hug and one kiss. Then he gives me the "I love you" sign until I drive away. Very sweet, huh? Actually, it is very tempting to just sneak away so I don't have to go through this 5 minute, tearful goodbye. And why don't I just take him everywhere with me you ask. Take him to the store with you one time and you will never ask that question again. I promise. I decided to sign him up for Friday school this year. We'll see how it goes......
That is him ON the desk. You can join me in praying for his teacher. School starts this Friday for the enrichment school. It starts Tuesday here at home. Yep, fall is in the air!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Day in the Life

I was asked to write a short bit on parenting for an online mom's magazine. How scary! How fun! What an honor! I had so many ideas rolling around in my head on what I wanted to say about the joys of a large family. In the end I invited Michiana to spend the day with us doing nothing more than hanging out. The article ended up being in the Sunday edition of the SB Tribune too. (If anyone is ready to recycle it, I'm sure my mom would like a copy! :-) )

You're invited too. Come on over!,0,1784512.story

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Memories in the Making

I love making memories! I love making GOOD memories. Sometimes not so good memories sneak in unwelcomed. Wouldn't it be great to have a delete memory button on our kids? Like last week when I yelled at E and made her cry because my impatience got the best of me. Click "Delete Memory". Bam, I'm a patient, understanding mom again. I guess the problem with that would be our children would have a warped sense of reality. And how could I apologize and show them my humaness if they never saw my flaws? I know we can't decide which memories they save and which they forget, but I can do my best to make sure there are plenty of fun ones to recall. We are chugging our way right along with our summer list. Some things are going to be carried over to our fall list of fun. Unfortunately, we never got to the water park and we can't very well carry that one into the fall. Everything else though, we have had a blast doing and look forward to completing in the next couple weeks. Yesterday we made the last minute (that's how I roll) decision to go to the drive-in movies. I was pleasantly surprised that my brother and his family were able to come along. **Warning: These pictures may be painful for a true photographer to look at. I need my camera fixed! And the blurry-ish ones....I couldn't leave them out. :-)
There was a playground to keep the little ones (and not-so-little ones) busy until the shows started.
I have to admit when I found out what the cost was going to be for a family of eight to watch movies outdoors I almost changed my mind. Plus, no outside food or drinks were allowed. I'm a frugal mom and this was hard for me.
Parked at screen # 3 waiting for Smurfs

We had our van inspected for coolers, weapons, and alcohol. Ok, not really weapons, but they mean business about no outside food! I was half expecting a pat down. (Good thing I wasn't or they would have found F's granola bar. :-) )
I had to mentally let go of thinking what all I could have bought with the $50 it cost to get in. I had to think of what I was really wanting to buy. It wasn't Smurfs or Zookeeper. Or Spy Kids 4 or Captain America.
Van #2 parked at Screen # 4  getting ready for Spy Kids
B and G found a spot as close as they could get
What I was "buying" was memories. And memories are priceless! We had a wonderful, memorable time!
I wasn't able to get lost in the first movie because miss F made sure I knew it was her adventure too. And her entertainment didn't include a movie.
The weather was perfect! Jeans and sweatshirts on a summer night is my favorite! The company was delightful! We sat at two different screens and didn't all watch the same movies but it was fun to be able to choose and go back and forth.
These cousins can't get enough of each other!
Most of the kids weren't able to stay awake for the entire second movie. I think a couple of parents also dozed off a couple times. I sat in my worn camping chair holding my sleeping baby feeling refreshed and content. The evening was a complete success! Even the two "friendly" skunks that came to visit didn't dampen the mood. Though they did make B and G relocate from the blankets on the ground to the roof of the van. Thank you, Lord, for my family! Thank You for memories. I am so blessed!

Monday, August 8, 2011

We Are Family

Lately my blog and dirty laundry have something in common. They both need some attention. Stories and clothes are piling up to where things are getting harder to sort. My days are being spent trying to squeeze out that last bit of summer vacation. The days seem to be getting shorter with the calendar getting fuller. S.L.O.W. down, summer! I'm not done with you. I have been loving the time I have been spending with my family these last two weeks; my family, as in my parents, brothers and sister (their families too!). Unfortunately there was only one day that overlapped the visits of my parents and my sis. Mom and Dad were here for a week; a short week. Then my sister Jody and her family were here for an even shorter week. Time goes way too quickly. I'm having camera issues so I am sad that I haven't been able to capture all the fun we have had together. I can give you bits and pieces though.
Mom and my sweet niece Jo Anna

Dad and Corbin waiting for the pig show.
We spent several days at Elkhart County Fair. My kids showed beef and swine in the open shows there. 
Austin got Reserve Champion for his angus heifer
Court and Ralph helping Austin get his calf ready to enter the arena.
Even Emmaly and Corbin showed pigs this year. It was very entertaining. Annoyed that I didn't get good pictures. (Okay, Hon. I'm ready for that new camera you've been wanting to buy me.)
Brooklyn and Corbin showing their Berkshire gilts.
Cutest little showman I ever did see.
Em showing her crossbred gilt. (Don't mind the glowing eyes)
Showing pigs is tiring work.

Mom and Dad went back to Missouri right after fair week. Since they have grandkids in 2 different county fairs they alternate between fairs every year. I haven't been able to convince them to just spend the whole month of July in IN. 

Jody is actually still here. But not here at my house. As much as I would love to steal all of her minutes, I allow her visit with everyone else who wants a piece of their time. I have been seeing her on and off for the last week. They are on their way to their new duty station in North Carolina. I think I get to see her one more time for a couple of hours before they head east.
Faith found Caleb to be her new best friend
Jody and family stayed at Prairie Camp for the week. We went there a couple times to hang out with them.
Corbin even celebrated his 5th birthday there. He's FIVE! (See, I really need to catch up on the blogging journal!)
It was so good for all of us siblings to be together! It's pretty sad that my brothers and I live 3 miles apart and rarely get together! We should really quit letting busyness get in the way! Right, Joshua and Travis?? And Lana and Tabitha. (Behind every good man is a good woman.)
We had an impromptu picture taken of all of us so pay no attention to the hat heads and ketchup stains.
Thanks for snapping this, Brooklyn! 
My kids are so blessed with family! They have 10 wonderful first cousins on Court's side and 11 on my side! Add those to my six.....can you hear the noise from there?? Rowdiness and all, there truly is nothing better than family time!