Saturday, October 25, 2014

AppleJack Pumpkin Patch

Destination Pumpkin Patch. .
Was the order of the day one chilly autumn morn. .
Twelve cousins (out of 14). .
4 mamas. .
and one grandma. .
Met at a pumpkin patch. .
Where about FOUR HUNDRED other people. .
were enjoying their Saturday as well!
It was a BEAUTIFUL day. .
And it had been several years since any of my kids have enjoyed a place like this!!
I was amazed at all the activities available for the kids. .
The H-U-G-E slide was a big hit. .
But then. .
so was this ginormous tarp that had airflow under it to cause a trampoline effect. .
Even Devin loved it. .
Although, maybe a little bit more when these three cousins arrived!!
In fact, when the older boys arrived. .
We didn't see them for a LONG time as they tromped through the corn maize playing hide and seek!!
They climbed the hay mountain. .
Rode the zip line. .
Giggled their way through this one. .
The RAT RACER!!
We laughed and laughed. .
Even the little ones could make it work!
There were duck races. .
And of COURSE. .
The pumpkin patch!!
It was a lot of work to choose JUST the right one. .
But they each did. .
Eventually!!
After riding the hayrack back to the area where the activities were. .
They started ALL over again!!
Who knew. .
That one lil punkin patch. .
could provide HOURS of entertainment. .
And MILES of ground covered by little feet!!
And the bigger feet. .
That had to follow them everywhere!!
 
We are eager for that ONE night of the year. .
where eating candy AS dinner. .
Is a totally acceptable concept!!
 
Next up. .
The annual Halloween bash!!
Enjoy your weekend!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy Fall, Ya'll!!

I've been missing in action around my blog lately!!
Lots going on for sure!
This one has had LOTS of things going lately. .
He had his senior pictures done a few weeks back. .
Only 60 edited prints that we will have to choose from now. .
Can you spell. .
I-M-P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E??
Yeah!
Me too!
Cami was taking pictures of Becca taking pictures :-)
He and I went to Beloit last week to check out their Vo-tech school. .
We loved it. .
From the program facilities and instructors. .
All the way down to the indoor pool and cafeteria!!
Seems like he will be studying carpentry and heating/air for the next two years!
 
Graduation packets and invitations lists. .
Scholarship information and ACT scores. .
Musical practices and 4-H activities. .
AND. .
social life!!
This guy. .
Is mostly busy with his social life. .
He has been working after school with his dad. .
And studying hard.
He is also starting to think about post-graduation options. .
But mostly is concerned with his girlfriend!
He is our official chauffeur. .
And makes sure his sister gets to her after school church group on Wednesday!
Now he will also be getting Devin picked up after his practices.
Devin has his FIRST basketball practice TODAY. .
We have never engaged in pee wee sports. .
So the opportunity to now get to be a part of that game. .
Is pretty exciting to him!!
He's really been enjoying 6th grade. .
And is on a leadership team as well. .
He is in a close family competition with his oldest brother for the "most extroverted!"
And wants to be a part of EVERYTHING!!
Little girl. .
Has had a very exciting week. .
With lots of things to "count down."
We got to go see her "adopted" sister perform in a college music program. .
We met all the far, far away cousins Saturday. .
at a really fun pumpkin patch (photos will come later). .
And our annual Halloween bash was Sunday afternoon. .
WAY more excitement than one little 6 year old girl should have!!
The younger two had a pumpkin decorating contest at school last week. .
Seemed a little early. .
But glad it is out of the way!
Devin took 1st place in his age group with his carved pumpkin. .the photo isn't great. .
But his jack-o-lantern has eaten the kid who was attached to the leg and shoe!!
This little girly-girl. .
Continues surprising her mom lately. .
With her tomboy ideas. .
She chose her brothers pirate costume to wear for Halloween over her princess dresses. .
And she opted to make a FOOTBALL painted pumpkin!!
She did ALL the work herself. .
And got 1st place in her age group of unassisted pumpkin artists!
TWO happy kids!
Tristan and I have been going through his senior pictures and our family pictures. .
Considering which will be blown up. .
Which will be wallet sized to give away. .
Christmas cards. .
Graduation invitations. .
AHHHHH. .
SO much to think about!!
I can't WAIT to show you all of  my favorite pictures from our session. .
But I need to find a little time to upload them to my computer!!
Hers are MUCH better than the ones I snapped. .
And were a LOT of fun to look through!!
The weather has been DELICIOUS here. .
nice brisk mornings, warm afternoons, and cool evenings!!
I'm picking tomatoes by the plenty now. .
And SALSA day is coming up next week!!
I love spring because of the promises of new life. .
But I LOVE fall. .
for the reprieve in the temperatures. .
the VIVID colors in the landscapes. .
the change over to comfort foods. .
And long, lazy evenings curl up in bed and read and study!!
Wishing you all a FANTASTIC Wednesday!!
More fun photos of our life to come. .
Hopefully sooner than later!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Last Hurrah. .

Jeremy has wanted to make two lake trips during the summer for a few years now. .
And I have always wanted to go down to see the pelican migration.
SOO. .
This summer when we got home mid-July and he started harping about going back. .
We decided to do one last long weekend. .
That would appease BOTH of us!
It was a FANTASTIC choice!!
We found a different place to stay that was on the water (our place this summer wasn't).
A place that we could leave the boat docked on the water and be able to just sit and watch life.
We got the kids out of school a couple hours early. .
And took off on the 5 hour trip.
We were hoping to get there in the light. .
especially since we didn't know where we were going and the roads tend to be hidden, narrow, and winding. .
with clusters of homes that you have never seen before
Out of which you must choose ONE house. .
Preferably the one that you already paid for!!
We didn't make it. .
It was pitch black when we found the place. .
with only one minor wrong turn. .
that wasn't even wrong. .
We just thought it was.
And THIS was the view out the window the next morning. .
Cami came in and woke us up yelling. .
Get UP. .
Come and look at this VIEW!!
And this one had his pole in the water before we had even made the coffee!
A cool part of this house. .
Was this little game room fixed up out in what would have been an attached garage.
they played pool for a while. .
and then figured out how to flip the top and turn it into air hockey. .
Which was a RIOT!!
It was quite cool in the morning. .
But after lunch there was the typical water sports on the boat. .
Along with a little swimming. .
And dancing. .
"What does the fox say!!"
I knew. .
that if my HUSBAND said the water was cold. .
That the water WAS. COLD.
So I didn't even attempt it. I just can't tolerate it!
As it was. .anytime the boat was moving. .
My sweatshirt was on!!
Of course. .
The main reason that we came in September. .
Was so I could spot some pelicans!
We looked and looked Friday afternoon. .
And I was finally convinced that we wouldn't ever see them. .
We finally spotted some BIG white birds on a little landing that had a small light house on it.
As we drove closer. .
We could see. .
That among this huge group of ring necked gulls. .
Were THREE big 'ole pelicans!!
Woo hoo!!
Devin and Cami were snacking on some Cheez it mix. .
And threw a few pieces into the water. .
Those gulls lit into the sky like no one's business. .
And quickly we were surrounded by them as they tried to get the crackers. .
It was  little bit like being in a weird scene from a scary movie!!
That fueled a throwing frenzy from my kids. .
And I bet they had tossed half or more of the box into the water before I had them shut down!!
I would have been only mild disappointed if we didn't see any more the rest of the day. .
We had been so close to them and they were just incredible to watch!
BUT. .
when my husband sets his mind to something. .
It just gets done. .
And HE wasn't finished looking for pelicans yet!
He continued cruising around.
And the rest of us just resumed our relaxed and lazy snacking and watching.
Soon, I recognized the huge bridge that goes into Grove which they call Sailboat Bridge. .
I KNEW that pelicans were usually sighted near there. .
It was on the map. .
From far off. .
we could see them. .
The MOTHER load. .
of pelicans!!
We were unable to get as close to these pelicans due to the shallowness of the water. .
Which was actually why there were so many there! They prefer shallow water to feed in.
So we watched them for a while. .
Jeremy circled the boat around all the sides of the little island. .
For our viewing pleasure!!
After that. .
It was easy to spot them flying and far off on the lake in little groups of 2 or 3.
Devin even noticed one Saturday morning flying through our little cove as he fished.
Saturday morning, we decided to go into Grove to watch the parade. It was their annual Pelican Festival, when they celebrate the migratory birds.
Devin and Cami caught plenty of candy. .
And enjoyed seeing a huge number of Shriners and their crazy little vehicles!!
The afternoon found us back on the water. .
All the people over age 11 complained about how C-O-L-D that water was. .
Devin and Cami. .
Not. A. Peep!!
They came out of the water all of 65 degrees. .
Not one complaint!!
It was also a little bit nice. .
To be home, showered, and fed by the time it got dark. .
THIS. .
is one of my favorite parts of the day!
Have you ever seen anything more serene?
The qualities of the photos are going down as it got darker. .
But, truly. .
I just could NOT help picking up my camera. .
Each time the colors changed!!
The last unexpected thing that we did over the weekend was this. .
A carnival!!
Cami has never been. .
Devin was very small, but brave. .
Grant rode A ride. .turned green and wouldn't speak to me for hours. .
And, although we could NEVER see Tristan's face in any carnival photos (because his head was ALWAYS between his legs as far as he could get it). .he maintains that he loves them!
They loved EVERY minute of this small carnival!!
For a kid whose last experience was sickness that he thought paralleled death. .
I was surprised that Grant went on the worst ride FIRST. .
And enjoyed every second of it!!
I talked Devin into going with this stranger because I felt bad that if he couldn't find someone to go (cause his girlfriend was having NO part in it) he would have missed out! I knew that Devin would likely do quite fine on the ride. .and I was right! He loved it too!
Cami rode this little dragon roller coaster about 15 times!! I know it is blurry. .
But I laugh every time I look at the guy under the guitar on the billboard. .
and then look at her expression!!
I was nervous about how she would do on a bigger ride. .
So we all went on the Ferris Wheel. .
I figured if she didn't freak way up there, it would be a good start.
She actually did great. .
So Tristan and Devin took her on a twirling, swirling, G-force-that-moves-your-face kind of ride. .
And she was totally and eternally HOOKED!
They definitely got their money's worth out of the ride wrist-bands. .
I've even had to copy off some of our photos. .
So Devin could take them and show his buddies what he had been up to!!
Sonic ice cream completed our night out!
Pretty cool stuff for these "small town" folks!!
Sadly. .
We had to head home Sunday. .
I guess my proverbial "bucket list" concept has caught on. .
Because I got a text from Grant on the way home (they followed us in our old Lincoln, as we no longer have enough seats in our pickup for everyone!) that said. .
"Well, I can check vomiting out of a high speeding vehicle off my bucket list now"
Turns out the stomach flu came to visit!!
The particular strain in our area right now causes you to feel bad. .
but apparently you really don't know you are going to throw up until RIGHT before it happens. .
Grant punched Tristan in the arm and flew his head out the window that was already opened to get extra air.
Tristan said he slowed down. .
but as it became apparent that Grant was doing just fine while puking out of the window. .
He just sped back up and kept right on going. .
And Grant leaned back and went to sleep. .
Never dull here. .
EVER!!
It's hard to believe that. .
At this time next year. .
We will be down 1 full time body in our crew. .
These memories become more and more precious every day!!
We enjoyed an AMAZING weekend!!
surrounded by AMAZING serenity!!
filled with AMAZING peace!!
 soaking up God's AMAZING beauty!
making AMAZING memories!
Simply. .
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!