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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Today's Laugh ~ It Wasn't My Kid For Once...

So, I had to laugh when I was in the check-out lane at the grocery today. A woman with twin boys was behind me and the boys were pushing each other. Apparently twin #1 was causing the most trouble so the Mom looked at him and said "Do you want a spanking?" Immediately twin #2 blurted out, "yes, he does"!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Indiana Beach Recap ~ 3rd Time is a Charm, Right?

Two weeks ago, as our laid-back carefree summer days wound quickly to a close, we tried to take one last family outing to a great little amusement park just a couple of hours from home.  In fact, this was our 3rd attempt at Indiana Beach this summer....2nd attempt in just one day! 
Confused?  Well, let me explain.  In previous years, my Dad's company has hosted a company picnic at this park along Lake Monticello.  Dad & Mom would graciously buy tickets for all of us kids and grandkids so that we could enjoy a day of fun as one big family.  This year, his company moved the picnic to another location, but the grandkids have enjoyed themselves so much in the past, Dad decided to go ahead and buy tickets again this year.  We would just pick a Saturday that worked for all of us and head down together.  This year, that day was set for early July.  Unfortunately, although we all made the drive down under the dreary clouds, it started raining shortly after we arrived so we decided to save our tickets and try again another time.  We ate lunch together and then headed back home.  Some of the family set up another time to try again.  Noel and I knew we weren't available on that next date, so we decided to take our family down during the week since Noel wasn't back to work yet.  And that is where our 2nd attempt comes into play.  We got up and got dressed.  We all wore tennis shoes and comfortable clothes.  We packed enough sandwiches for lunch and dinner.  I remembered to bring the iPod so I could take plenty of pictures.  We brought extra diapers and a change of clothes for Nolan.  And we set off. 
AND. THEN.... when we were only 20 minutes from the park, I remembered something that I had forgotten.  The most important thing.  TICKETS!  Seriously, I felt sick to my stomach.  How could we forget the very thing that would get us into the park?!  Let me just say that this became a HUGE teaching opportunity for our girls who were disappointed that we'd now have to drive all the way home again.  (It takes two hours from our house to get there in the first place and now they had to make that long drive all over again?!)  Plus, they were a bit scared that after driving all the way home, we'd just change our minds and stay there.  BUT, Noel just quietly turned the van around and drove us back hom to pick up the tickets.  He didn't yell in anger.  He didn't give the cold shoulder.  He didn't pass blame.  He just drove.  And then when we got home, we grabbed the tickets and turned around once again to head for a day of fun.
3rd time is a charm...and we had a GREAT day!
When we got there, the first ride we rode was the giant ferris wheel.  It's a great ride to ride all together and to map out your next destinations!!

Second ride?  Taking the sky ride back across the park.  Here is Noel and Laynie....

And then Morgan and Marissa.  Since I had the stroller, I pushed Nolan along the ground and met up with them on the other side.

Marissa was so excited that she was tall enough to ride the Double Shot this year.
I'm not sure that she still felt so fortunate after it was over...

Morgan did ride it again with Noel.  None of us remembered it being so "jerky" last year though.  Maybe we're just getting too old?!  LOL

Then Morgan and I tried out this new "spinny" ride.  Not only did the ride spin you around, but you could turn a wheel in the center of the car and spin your car around individually as well.  I tried to get it going at first but quickly realized that I couldn't handle it.  I had to focus on one spot in front of me until the ride was over before slowly getting off.  Morgan ended up riding the ride by herself just so she could spin it around.

While Noel and the girls took off to ride a few coasters, I took Nolan to the kiddie land.  He was old enough to ride a few of the rides by himself so I set him on to try them out.  He started crying at first, when he thought I was going to leave him there, but when he realized that I was just standing off to the side, he seemed to settle in and enjoy himself.

Oh Marissa, you sweet girl!  The things you do to make your little brother smile!

Riding the roller coaster again.  In the front seat!!

These two crack me up!  All. Day. Long!!

Since it wasn't as busy during the week, we were all able to ride the "Steel Hawg".  It goes upside down two separate times, which Marissa wasn't sure about at first, but after she saw Morgan go and survive, she decided that she would give it a try.  I thought she was going to hyperventilate at first, but when it was all over, she decided she liked it!!  I think Morgan actually giggled through the whole thing.  I live with daredevils, I tell you!!

We ended up staying close to the park's closing time, riding rides and laughing and just enjoying ourselves.  It was a great end to a fantastic summer!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

THIS Boy!!

THIS boy!!  Oh my!!  THIS little boy has just stolen my heart!  Every day I look at him and wonder what new thing he will attempt today.  Always growing.  Always changing.   Always trying something new.
For instance, THIS boy will now sit down or stand to pose for his very own picture.  He usually tries to push the others out of the way so it's only him.  He might smile nicely or he might try out a new cheesy grin.  It just depends!!
THIS little guy is becoming quite the climber.  He has recently learned how to climb up on the barstools in front of our counters.  (Unfortunately, he's not always very stable once he gets up there, resulting in an occasional fall).  He has learned how to jump as well.  (I think he set a record high of jumping about 1/9th of an inch off the ground, but it's a start!)  LOL 

THIS guy is finally starting to add a few words to his vocabulary.  I am not sure how much others will understand him, but he says "date-du" (thank you), "peeeeeese" (please), "mom", "da", and "ba" (ball) and "aman" (amen).  It's cute to watch him at the dinner table when he knows it's time to pray.  He will close his eyes really tightly, hold hands for about 1.5 seconds, quickly let go and say "aman" before trying to dive into this food.  It's a start, I guess.

THIS boy!!  What can I say?
THIS boy is a joyful blessing to THIS house!!

GROSS Moments in the Morning!

  • Nolan & I's first "gross-out" moment on our bike ride this morning: Grabbing the handle on my bike (which felt slimy), I realized I was squishing a frog that had wrapped himself around the handle. Oh Gross!
  • Nolan & I's second "gross-out" moment on our bike-ride this morning: Coming home, I saw a skunk lying on the road in the lane we were riding in. Assuming it was dead, I planned to hold my breath as I rode past it. Only the skunk wasn't dead! It tried to get up just as I came up to it!!! Talk about almost causing a bike wreck!!! So thankful it was too injured to spray us again... Oh gross!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

1st Day of School Pictures

We tried.  We tried hard.  We still could not stop the first day of school from arriving.
  Okay, so let me modify that statement.  I tried.  I tried hard.  I still could not stop the first day of school from arriving.
Thankfully, all three girls were excited about starting school this year.  No matter how much I am going to miss them during the day, or how quiet the house suddenly seems to me, I am so thankful that they enjoy their school days and happily head out the door each morning.
This morning, all three of them were up and dressed before their alarms sounded.  They danced and sang and skipped around until it was time to leave.  I asked them to head outdoors so I could take their pictures and then they all bounded into the van, calling for me to "hurry up or they'd be late".  (We were 30 minutes early at this point...) 
So, here are the traditional "First day of school pictures" for each of them.
Morgan ~ Entering the 4th grade this year.  She must have grown at least 2 inches taller over the summer and her feet jumped two whole sizes!! 
Marissa ~ Heading off to the 3rd grade.  She met her teacher last night and is pretty confident that it's going to be another good year. 

Laynie ~ 1st grade, already!!  I think this is the 6th or 7th picture of her this morning and the most serious one out of the bunch.  She just kept dancing around and raising her arms like an opera singer.  This girl is craaaaaazy, I tell you!!

And this guy....  he's not even going to school but he wouldn't leave the porch until I took several pictures of him.  Each time the girls tried to pose with him, he would push them out of the way in order to have a picture just by himself!! 

My, what a precious gift these kids are to us.
I pray for them to have joy this school year.  And use those individual gifts that God has given to each one of them.  And to be courageous, even when it means standing alone.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day at the Beach

After Nolan had a quick nap on Sunday, we all loaded up and headed to the beach.  We haven't had as many beach days this summer because the weather has been cooler than normal.  But on this day, it was pretty warm and seemed like a great way to relax and spend the day together.  Along with swimming, we also took turns taking kayaks out and paddling around the lake.  Melayna let Noel paddle the entire time when she went with him, but Marissa and Morgan both tried it out on their own and did well. 

Noel and I saw Morgan caring for Nolan and we both looked at each other.  "Wow!  When did Morgan get to be so grown up?"

All of the kids were on a mission to build the largest sand creation of all time!!

This little guy suddenly decided that he loved the water and didn't want to get out of it.  Seriously, I couldn't turn my back on him because he would either purposely put his face under the water to get a drink like a dog, or he would just jump in the air and let himself fall in under the water.

Morgan was helping work on the sand castle so she had her back turned to Ross.  He ran up behind her and put his cold wet hands on her back.  As you can see, he's pretty happy about it.  Morgan was not!  LOL


After we got home from the beach, we cooked hot dogs and marshmellows over a fire before cleaning up and putting eight tired kids into bed for our final night.  We all had so much fun talking and playing together...none of us really wanted to go home.  But that's the best part about saying "good-bye", you immediately can start talking about the next "hello".

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Warrior Dash 2014 ~ A.K.A "Birthday Bash"

Quite a while ago, back when I was actually running pretty consistently, I started looking into a few of the mud runs that are being hosted around the country.  I thought they looked like a fun, muddy alternative to the traditional 5K's and would be a great motivator to keep me running and in shape.  Noel's college roommate and dear friends of ours (Hinnerk and JeriAnn) had run a Warrior Dash out in their homestate last year and I remembered them talking about how much fun it was, so I suggested to them that the four of us all run it together.  Not only would it potentially keep me motivated, but we could make a long weekend out of it and get a visit in with them as well.  They accepted the offer and signed us up and then we all waited and trained hard, errr, did what we could around our busy life schedules!  The fact that it fell the day before my birthday was just an added bonus!  It was promising to be a fun time with great friends!
We got up Friday morning and made the drive out to their house.  Unfortunately, we hit road construction for over half of the 6 hour drive making the trip longer than we had expected.  We did arrive safely on Friday night with plenty of time for the girls to get reacquainted with their boys and to spend time climbing trees and shooting homemade bows and arrows.  I think Morgan even made a trip over to the pig farm with Troy so that he could show her his show pigs.  Then the kids went to bed and the adults stayed up too late catching up on all that has taken place in our homes over the past year since we last saw them.
Saturday morning came around all too soon, and after watching two of the boys playing in their soccer tournament, we met up with Dirk and Sarah and the six of us made the drive up to the Warrior Dash.  I think it was about a two hour drive to the event and because of the soccer tournaments running until 11:00 a.m., we knew we'd be pushed for time.  Our heat was suppose to start at 2:00 but we had to park a longer distance from the starting line, plus pick up our registration packets, wait again in the bag check-in, and then wait one last time at the portajohns.  We ended up missing our 2:00 run time, but they apparently didn't time any of the later heats in the day so it was okay to just jump in for the 2:15 heat.  Since we were running late, we jumped in at the tailend of the long line and had to weave through a lot of slower people to break free from the crowd.  Basically, the race is a 5K through corn and wheat fields with 12 obstacles scattered along the course.  It started off pretty dry as we crawled under barbed wire and up over three feet walls, but the further you got into the race, the muddier and dirtier it got.  There were cargo nets and a line of fire to jump over.  There were walls to scale and water to swim through, which felt really refreshing since it was pretty warm outside.  We finally came out of the water to a mass of people just waiting at the mud pits where you had to scale three or four hills made completely from mud while making your way through the muck and slime in between each hill.  With so many people standing, climbing, and falling back into you, it was impossible to make up any time.  I think Noel and I ended up standing there almost 20 minutes waiting for our turns.  After making our way through that, the end was in sight.  The last obstacle was the best.  You had to climb up a tall cargo net, walk across a balance beam while water is spraying at you, then climb another cargo net before sliding down the "Goliath" slide into a HUGE pit of mud at the bottom.  The water / mud was deep enough in the pit that I saw almost everybody going completely under before resurfacing and swimming out.  Noel went down with a hollar and whoop and I quickly followed.  (Not before holding my nose and closing my eyes though!!)  We climbed out of the mud and slipped across the finish line to grab our medals and horns! 
Picture courtesy of the Warrior Dash website

Picture courtesy of the Warrior Dash website

Picture courtesy of the Warrior Dash website

Picture courtesy of the Warrior Dash website
Picture courtesy of the Warrior Dash website

This isn't me but just an example of the slide...
Picture courtesy of the Warrior Dash website
Hey!  Whether we made it quickly or more slowly than others, we all made it across!  And we were pretty muddy to prove it!!

After the run, we made our way down to the pond to "clean" off.  The water there felt pretty refreshing and clean, but when we got back to the truck to change into other clothes, we all realized that we weren't as clean as we thought we were.  Oh well!  We did the best that we could before making our way into Madison and eating dinner together at an excellent Italian restaurant.  In our Dash t-shirts and shorts and mud-caked hair, we were certainly the most casually dressed in the restaurant, but they allowed us to stay and eat anyway and a good time of fellowship was had by all.  We did need to get home to relieve the babysitter (who bravely watched all 8 kids all day!) so we made the drive back to the house where I could put my tired and sore body into bed!  LOL
After church on Sunday, we grabbed some pizza and then Hinnerk and JeriAnn blessed me with a DQ ice cream cake and a personalized Coke that Hinnerk had picked up at the gas station the night before.  Pizza, ice cream, and soda.  What more could an old woman need on her 41st birthday?
Photo courtesy of http://www.morehugsandkisses.blogspot.com/.  Thanks for letting me steal it!
Take a quick look at the ice cream cake now, because it was devoured in record time!!!  After a quick clean-up from lunch, we changed clothes and zipped off to the lake for an afternoon of swimming and kayaking.  Thank you "W" family, for making my birthday a fun and memorable one!