August 30, 2016


Happy birthday, Patrick!  It is so hard to believe that you are fourteen already.  

Patrick wanted to go for a hike on his birthday, so we did.  Even though it was one of the hottest days of the year (with a heat index of 105 or more).  We had fun reminiscing about this spot on this trail.  And teasing Patrick about how he'd fallen in here when he was two.

There was some discussion about when he actually fell in.  I remember it being this day in 2004.  Though Patrick and Nathan are adorable here, I think that maybe everyone else is right and that it was a cold day.  
It was good that we got a "before" shot at the trail head because we were so sweaty after this hike it was ridiculous!

The girls still gave it two thumbs up!

 We had intended to do another trail, then the paved loop on scooters.  But everyone voted to go straight to scooters (with a wonderful 3 minutes in the car and air conditioning in between--we are wimps I guess!).  This was a lot of fun and we followed up with a trip to Dairy Queen for a birthday lunch.

 Happy happy birthday dear Patrick!  You bless us with your creativity and your joy.  May you have a blessed year!

August 16, 2016

July Supplemental.

July was a busy month!  It was a doozy in all the good kind of ways.

July always starts off with a bang! Fun and fireworks and celebrating Independence.  Thankful that the weather cooperated for the firework show.

Then there was a wedding!  A beautiful, wonderful wedding...all that a wedding should be: the wonderful union of two beautiful souls.  The first nephew to get married!  Truly an exciting time and we loved witnessing it.

This could really apply to May, June or July.  Nathan has been doing landscaping for his dad's work this summer.  Ideal job for a 15 year old!

 My mom's birthday -66- with her grandchildren.
Ken's mom's birthday! 71! It is always a joy to celebrate the grandparents birthdays.  And funny that the two grandmothers days are less than a week apart.

The blackberries came in and get eaten almost as fast as they are picked.

 Watermelon was enjoyed by all.  And by all I mean even the dog.  She loves the rinds!  She'll also steal yours if you aren't watching.
 There were smores by the full moon..  Peter offered to make one for mom--how could I ever say no to that?  Good think I like my marshmallows burnt.
 There's always pool time.  As much as we can squeeze in.  These three are good swimming buds.
I jumped out of my comfort zone and agreed to go tubing on the river.  I almost didn't.  I'm such a nervous nelly these days and I hadn't done anything like this since I've been married.  Ken is usually the fun guy but this day, I was fun mom.  And I loved it!  I'm so glad I went and I would love to go again.

 Raccoons in trees.  We don't really like that.  Mae hung out watching this one for days.  He finally made his escape when she lost interest.
 July makes for lots of country driving. With views like this, I don't mind a bit.  It feels good to stretch the eyes and take in all of the vivid colors.

 I was really proud of us this year.  With the help of the kids--my garden did NOT turn into a weed infested jungle during fair week.  And we were rewarded.   I only planted cucumbers, tomatos, beans, zucchini and pumpkins.  I haven't found a zucchini yet (which is weird if you know zucchini!) and the pumpkins got ran over by a four wheeler and the remaining vines were getting infested with squash bugs so I ripped them out.

BUT!  The other three things have been in abundance.  Lots and lots of pickles being made.  Yum!

 The end of July brings Lawn and Garden Tractor regionals.  It's an all-day affair and about an hour drive to get there.

 Nathan only came in 6th place which I know he was disappointed about.  However, I really love this photo of him.  If nothing else, we had a great day hanging out together and even playing a little Pokemon Go... ha!
 Last but not least.... we finally celebrated Peter's baptismal birthday.  It falls the week before fair (this year in the height of project turn in) and we just didn't squeeze it in.  Better late than never!  :)

That's a wrap!  At least, for July.

August 10, 2016

Random Fun.

This is sorta the last post concerning the fair.

Fun with the animals.  Thankfully the ones that aren't ours.  It is always a breath of relief when the official "work" is done and no one is scrambling for something.

 Fun with friends on rides and attractions.  None of my kids would go up in the balloon.  We just enjoyed watching it.

 Fun at the tractor pull.  Carrie's first year.  Also a winner for the first time ever!  Nicholas came in 3rd place in the 7yo age group and won an awesome trophy!
Fun hitting up all the booths for the free stuff.  There aren't that many booths but they were all nice enough to let the kids come every night...multiple times.  We were all really thankful for the free water/popcorn/popsicles/cotton candy!
 And then before you know it, you are having the last makeshift breakfast at the fairgrounds before you have to pack up and head home.  It is always bittersweet-- fair week is a blessed week with fun and memories.  Time that you get to spend all hours with friends and your family and cheering one another on.  We are thankful to have such a great 4H community!

August 9, 2016

Chickens and Rabbits, oh my.

Ahhh, these are the memories that we really want to forget.  The most wonderful time of the year: chicken washing day.  Listen, if you've never washed chickens for fair....don't.  Just don't.

Meat birds are the worst.  Ever.  At everything.  They're ugly and they're gross.  They don't care how dirty they are.  Actually, we worked really hard at keeping these birds clean this year.  We had them in the tractor and either moved them every couple of days or put bedding under them.  And for the gross, non-sensical creatures that they are...I think we did pretty good.  In order to be ready for fair however, they must be weighed and tagged and the feet must be scrubbed and shined and the feathers washed to downy white.  

Out of 19 pens or so, Elizabeth's pen came in 6th.  Pretty good, I think, for our second year doing this.

Patrick took Reserve in the English Category, Elizabeth placed third with her laying production comets, Nathan and Jacob both took home first place ribbons for there Exhibition class birds.
 I don't know how but I have very little pictures on my phone from chicken day.  I do have this one: Jacob with his Showmanship award and Liz with her first year trophy.  Jacob amazed us all and snuck right in there and won Showmanship even though he was insistent that he wasn't going to bring chickens much less participate in anything.  Sometimes these kids surprise us all.

 Monday is Chickens.  Tuesday is Rabbits.  I like rabbit day because it doesn't start at 9 am.
 This day was also fun because my mom and her neighbor came to visit us at the fair.  This was the first time she'd ever come to see the kids and their projects so that was extra special.  Her friend wasn't too thrilled at the sights and smells of the fair OR the reality of where her food comes from.  That gave me a little giggle.

Showmanship and the testing for Rabbit Ambassador were the first events of the day.

 This was Elizabeth's and Patrick's first year showing rabbits.  It is exciting to see them try something new!

 Leaving the show ring after the Rabbit Show.
 Patrick and Elizabeth both received first year awards.  Nathan won Sr. Showmanship, Elizabeth won Jr. Showmanship (another surprise for all of us!) and Elizabeth won first place with her rabbit for Jr. Mini Rex.  Nathan won 3rd and 6th place with his rabbits.