Thursday, September 18, 2014

up north - August

In August we were able to go back up north for a week and enjoy some relaxing times with family and friends. It was a week of extremes. Extreme laughter, extreme bonding, extreme sun, extreme rain and wind, extreme chill. About half way through the week I realized I sorely miscalculated the weather. We needed less sunscreen, sunglasses, bathing suits; and more raincoats, umbrellas, pants, sweaters and coats. BUT we still enjoyed the week and had fun inventing nature/photo scavenger hunts and having warm conversations by the wood stoves.

At the end of the week we gave the teenagers a round of applause. They were fantastic with the children; playing, reading, and including them with everything. What great examples they are and we really appreciated their selflessness.

Josh and Mark kept us entertained with their homemade water skies duct taped to rubber boots!

We haven't had a picture of the cousins and family for a long time. All of these boys!!! and Olivia
It is just astounding.

My parents took the family out for icecream and we celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary with them. We love how well they grandparent all of these boys (considering they only had daughters). They have embraced the rowdiness and at times even encouraged it. They understand how boys think and act and love them for it. I think that their example of has helped my sisters and I understand the world of boys. Olivia handles herself well with all of her boy cousins and never complains.

Intense games of kick-the can and relay races.

It is great fun to see your aunts every day for a week. When I come home I go through a "aunt" withdrawal.

Off for a time of fishing and talking.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

scenes of summer

Summer started out lush and cool allowing breeze to blow through the house. It was a gardener's dream watching plants and vegetables thrive without standing there with a garden hose.
We were ready for school to end and the non-routine days of summer to begin. 

We enjoyed visiting with company from Holland, family and friend get-togethers and having lots of people stop by. 

We were able to host a family picnic and it was wonderful to catch up with  aunts, uncles, and cousins that we haven't seen in a long time.

Frog catching with a fun friend/cousin is a great memory for a four year old!

This spring Adam built me raised boxes for the vegetable garden and it was GREAT! For years we  battled clay in the garden and now with the help of  top soil, the vegetables have given  us a rewarding bumper crop.

We spent a week working on the pond. It was drained and then dug out some more with the excavators. We lined it with fresh clay to stop the leaking and rebuilt the rock wall. The boys loved the action and the noise.

What can I say? The boys are now riding the is like watching a scene from the Swiss Family Robinson with their hollering and cheering. I can hardly take a picture from laughing so hard;)

Andrew started his "Lip-smacking Egg Business" at the beginning of summer and showed us his budding salesmanship character. He made his own badge and with confidence delivered his eggs to the customers.

At the beginning of summer I watched this baby robin climb out of its nest and settle on the top of the evergreen tree. Three little birds continued to chirp away as this daring robin took in the sights of a new world awaiting him. The robin did not rest long but instead plunged forward, furiously flapping its tender little wings. I was surprised at how well the robin did on its first try, eventually making its way into the safety of a tall bush. During the whole ordeal the mother bird chirped and hovered close by cheering her baby robin on. As she flew around she stayed  close by,  keeping her eyes on her young one.
I felt deeply for that mother robin. Its hard to see your little ones grow up and let them step out on their own. The temptation to "do it for them" instead of cheering from the sidelines is strong, maybe even lasting. I am just thankful that we were given another summer together as a family with my young ones still in the nest!