Friday, July 29, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Fishmas!


Each year we have a big festival in town dedicated to Fish.  The anticipation at our house rivals Christmas.  M woke up at 4:00am 4 of 5 days leading up to the festival.  The festival is big enough that many compare it to Christmas and call the day before it Fishmas Eve!  Fishmas Day was great this year.  The weather was lovely.

We had a wonderful time watching the parade with dear friends.  The kids just love the floats and the characters and the bands.  Such special memories!  After the parade we came home for lunch and naps, even M took a nap.  Brandon decided to work at home and I was able to get a walk in.  Yahoo!!!  Once the kids woke up we walked down to the festival for Fish and Chips.  The kids calls the fries "fish chips" and they LOVE them!  We did our best to support the local Kiwanis with several purchases!  This was our first year not taking a stroller.  The kids were not excited about the hike home.  We ended up carrying them a lot of the way.

We ate true dinner at home and then the kids and I watched Mary Poppins while Brandon worked.  I fell asleep, but they managed to stay awake all the way until the fireworks.  We enjoyed watching them with some friends at our favorite spot and then came home and crashed.  It was a full and wonderful day!

T: I brought a lot of things with me to the parade.  That's just how I roll!

T: OK, I have my thumb and tired and my animal.  Let the parade begin!

T: I love hugging those big guys!

T: I am so happy!  M: I want a hug too!

The bubble truck is approaching!
BUBBLES!!!!

M: I sure do love my J!

M: My buddy Corey came to say hi!

We love celebrating with local friends who feel like family!

M: It is pretty much Christmas!

T: I even saw Smokey the Bear!
T was so excited that she and Brandon had matching Blueberry yogurt for a special Fishmas Day treat!
T: We both have blue-ber-arry yogurt!
T: WE HAVE THE SAME SPOONS TOO!!!!!!!
T: AND Mommy made crock pot beans.  The broth is so good!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Garden and Door Upgrades!

In the last couple of weeks we have done a bit of upgrading at our house.  We have been overlooking some things that are in much need of repair and the time finally came to deal with them.  The tiles around our garden have gotten so warped and rotten and dangerous over the years.  We finally decided to replace them.  The finished product is lovely!  T wanted to be just like Brandon.  She is wearing shoes, gloves, hat, ear protection, and sunglasses!  She is in stripes incase you can't tell them apart!  

T: Twins!!!
T: Usually Daddy works and I talk to him!
T: I look like a real worker!  (Yes, her cheeks are being squeezed in by the ear muffs)
The other recent project was a new storm door on our backdoor.  About six years ago we had new siding and windows put on.  For some reason we didn't get a new backdoor.  It has slowing been getting less and less functional.  A good friend from church came to install it one day.  T loved talking and talking and talking to Will while he worked.  Poor guy.  I actually begged her to watch a movie at one point knowing that he needed to get work done.  He was a good sport about it.  We are so thankful for Will's help and our beautiful new and fully functional backdoor!

T: What are you doing Will?  W: I am trying to figure out how to install the door. 
T: Maybe I can help you!
T: I decided to sit RIGHT NEXT to Will so I could ask questions and take notes.  Sometimes I would put things in his pocket.  I never stopped talking. 
*If you noticed the can of wasp spray... we did find a hole filled with bumble bees right by our door.  Another reason we are thankful to have a door that fully closes!
T: So Will, what is your favorite thing about installing doors? 
We convinced her to give Will a little space, but she wasn't willing to go too far.
T: I decided to make a little nest right by Will so I could keep bothering talking to him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fourth of July Road Trip!


We had a wonderful vacation with Brandon's family over the 4th of July!  We were pretty nervous the week before the 4th as we watched the weather predicting more and more rain for their area.  It looked like it would rain the entire time we were there.  It did rain quite a bit.  Amazingly we were able to be flexible and still do every single thing we were hoping to do!  What a blessing to spend time with family!

Day One: Friday, July 1st

We decided to send M to school in the morning.  He took the first two classes of summer school while we loaded up the van.  We picked him up at school and were on our way just before 10:30.  The drive down was pretty uneventful.  We stopped a couple of times of bathrooms and ate in the car.  The DVD player worked well and overall the kids did well.  We saw no road construction and made great time!

We arrived around 4:30.  We were able to get unloaded and unpacked before dinner.  Adrienne (Brandon's sister) and her family joined us for dinner.  Tom grilled a special lemon mustard chicken that is one of my favorites.  The sauce is insanely good (in my opinion).  We all ate well and enjoyed some relaxed time before bed.  The kids played outside and attempted to do every fun thing they could think of that day!

M: Nothing like a game of baseball after a long car ride!


Day Two: Saturday, July 2nd

M was up early as usual.  He and Tom headed down the hill to Adrienne's house and Brandon headed out to bike.  T woke up right after they left so T and I just hung out for a while. After everyone was showered etc. family started to arrive.  The kids were so excited to see each other. We were able to get in some good time outdoors before it started to rain.

M and T: Our daddy even brings his bike on vacation!
M and T: Get us Grandpa Tom!!!!!!

M and T:  We are so happy to be at Grandpa Tom and Grandma Judy's house!
M and T: We love their sandbox!
M: We were so excited to see T that we ran down the drive way! T: I couldn't wait to give him a hug!
M and T: We were trying to impress T with our swinging.
Why yes, I am wearing a fleece in July.  It was chilly.
Crazy cars, bikes, and ball!  Such Fun! 
T: I love Grandma Judy's flowers.  I saw A's clothes and needed my patriotic clothes on too!
Almost all of Brandon's aunts and uncles from BOTH sides were able to be there.  There were a lot of people.  We had a BBQ, but all had to eat inside because of the rain.  We still had great fun.  The little girls were obsessed with painting everyone's nails. The boys played in the basement and everyone played on the footstool.  M fell off it strangely and a second loose tooth suddenly became a whole lot more loose.  He was scared and dramatic and would not talk, eat, drink, swallow.  He just clung to me.  With two dentists in the room, you would have thought he would have felt calm about it, but he was very very afraid.  Finally he walked over to look at something by the piano and came back with his tooth in his hand.  He just touched it and it came out.  Thanks be to God!  We all clapped!!!  Everyone felt a whole lot happier after that!


More!  More!  More!
T: I wish we could do this every single day!

It all started with lip gloss...
T: Your lips look so shiny Aunt Jeanette!
T: A, your lips will look beautiful too!
Then the girls moved on to nails.  They painted almost every person's nails.  We have lots of photos.  Here are just a few.
T: A and I both painted E's nails!
T: We painted one of BJ's nails earlier, but we did all of them later... with rainbow colors!
T: We had so much fun painting Uncle Rick's nails!
So special to see Brandon having special time with his Uncle BJ. 
T: Daddy's uncle is so much fun!  (I know I am biased, but she looks so stunning and so grown up in this photo.)
Meanwhile in the basement...
M: We were pretty hard on T.  He is just so much fun!
T: A and I played with the dollhouse.  We shared a lot!
It was so sweet to see A and Brandon having special time together. 
M: Notice anything different about me?  I lost another tooth!!!!  I am SO happy!
M: I am so glad they came to see me!
After lunch and lots of playing it was getting close to 3:00 and a very weary T still hadn't taken a nap.  The party moved down to Adrienne's and T took a good nap.

M: I just couldn't get enough of T and T!

At about 5:15 we all got ready for family photos.  A lovely woman came and took them.  The rain stopped for a brief time and we were able to get outdoor shots.  The kids were not thrilled with the photo shoot at all.  Starbursts were offered and suddenly there were smiles.  I can't wait to see how they turned out!

After photos we headed inside for our annual family steak dinner.  I make the onions and mushrooms and Tom makes incredible T-bones and there is a lot of other foods too, but I can't really tell you what they are. I focus on the meat and the fixings.  Yummy!  It might seem like I am talking a lot about food, because I am!  We had so much good food!

After dinner we played for a bit and then everyone started to crash so it was off to bed.

This horse has quite a load to carry!

Day Three: Sunday, July 3rd

The morning started off much easier the the morning before.  Brandon didn't bike so we were able to do a fairly typical morning routine. Tom recently began pastoring two churches which are MUCH closer to their home.  We were excited to see the churches and meet the new church families.  We packed up snacks and activities and headed to Tom's first church.  Adrienne and her family and a few other family members also joined us.  It was special to all be there together.  The kids did great in the service.  We then drove to the second church and morale started to fade.  The kids were a bit wilder.  We were very thankful that there wasn't a third service somewhere!

After church we made a quick Aldi run and headed home for a late lunch.  After lunch T and others took a nap, Judy and other family members went to a craft show, and Brandon and M headed out to Uncle Curt's farm.  It had rained all night the night and morning, but by mid-afternoon the rain had ended.

M: I needed to give a hug to Spot before going to the farm.  She is such a good cat!

T took a while to fall asleep but then took a great nap!  We were so thankful for her nap because it became a late night very fast.

When we arrived at the farm we saw Adrienne and Chris' new blowup bounce house waterslide.  Because of the rain and cooler temps, the skipped the water and just used the slide.  It was fast and huge!  I only went down one time and tried to push my legs out as hard as I could due in my slippery pants.  Whew, it took my breath away.  The kids LOVED it and did it over and over again.

The slide was HUGE!
M: I was in the air!
M: I was just taking a short rest. 
M: I can stick my tongue in the tooth hole!  
T: This GREAT!!!!!  Next time I am trying head first!
AHHH!!!  How do I slow down? 

T: You did it Mommy!  I am so proud of you!
T: Head first is fun too!
The bounce slide is held up by a big fan.  The fan is powerful.  The boys LOVED IT!!!!
M: A that is SO funny!  I want to try!
M: It was blowing my shirt right off!
After the bounce house slide there was some downtime.  The boys got a ride with T!
M: Let me do the key!
The girls enjoyed some new gifts from Aunt Jeanette!  
T:  We were like twins!!!
After lots of playing it was time to roast hotdogs and marshmallows. Curt used a chainsaw to cut a roasting branch for me.  It was long and hard to navigate, but it cooked some very tasty hotdogs.

Thanks for the branch Curt.  I may need something to snip these ends off. 

A walking stick or a hot dog roasting stick??  You decide!
Hebrew National hotdogs over the fire.  Yummy!

We learned that T loves marshmallows, she REALLY loves them.  No one is quite sure how many she ate, but 20 would not be unrealistic.  Yuck!  She likes them un-roasted.  I guess everyone has different tastes.  So much sugar!

T:  "Who's ready to marsh some mallows?"  (direct quote)
M: I am not really sure I like all this sugar!  T: I'll eat yours M! 
T: I was so full of sugar.  Can we do that again next time? 
T: I had lots of energy after the sugar so I decided to ring the bell. 
T: Since I still had more energy I decided to start swinging a bat. 

After dinner we launched the rockets.  The kids love launching them each year.

M: I was ready for rockets with my buddy T!

T: Blast off!!!!

M: I'm going to catch it dad!!
After rockets came the parade.  It is essentially one float that just drives by many times and switches riders.  They also cruise around the property so I guess it is sort of like a hayride in that sense. Everyone was smiling and having fun.  T rode in the front with Uncle Curt the entire time!

M: At first A and I were going to march behind the wagon, but we changed our minds!
M: It was more fun to be in the wagon.  
The 2016 parade!
T: I sure do love Uncle Curt! 
The parade watchers!
After the parade the kids got an additional ride with T. 
Uncle Curt had a new puppy and my kids were both very smitten!

T: He is such a good boy!
T: Awe, so sweet!

Once it got dark it was time for fireworks and glow sticks.  We had a lot of fireworks this year.  The neighbor dog was visiting and he wanted to play with the fireworks after they were lit.  I was so nervous he would tilt one towards us.  We made it through safely.  I don't think I will ever get used to fireworks. The kids twirled the glow sticks around like sparklers and made some great designs.

The Fireworks!

The Glowsticks!
M: Good Night T! I was SO tired!
T: Good Night T! I wasn't tired at all!
It was so late when we were driving home, and close to 11:00 by the time the kids went to bed.


Day Four: Monday, July 4th
Both kids slept in and I was very thankful.  After waking up, M went with Tom to Adrienne's.  Brandon and Adrienne biked.  All the kids must have gone down to Adrienne's and then Tom came up because I know I went with Tom to the office and get my teeth cleaned.

Brother Sister biking 2016!
M: Nothing like a morning snuggle with my buddy A!
T: A has the best princess gear!!!

It is so fun that Brandon and Adrienne share a hobby.  Brandon was able to do some general maintenance on Adrienne's bike. 
Late in the morning we decided the temps were warm enough  (in low 70's which is cold for Missouri)  to attempt going to the lake.  We let the kids swim around the boat in the water for quite a while.  Then Brandon and his cousins T and T did some wild tubing.  Brandon almost fell off but managed an amazing recovery.  Another time T fell off and somehow Brandon's tube was in the air and went over T's tube.  It was wild! M really wanted to try and finally got brave enough to do it.  He rode with Brandon and started off VERY slow, like no wake at all.  Ever so slowly he would ask to go faster and faster.  It was the best imaginable way to start a new tuber.  He was loving it. After just a few minutes on the tube we decided to take a bathroom and food break.  We went to a little cafe place and ate.  After lunch M tubed quite a bit more. The smile on his face with priceless.  There are few time I have seen him this happy.  It was getting late.  I knew it would mean a late bedtime again, but I just didn't want to leave.  He was with family and so very happy!  A day I will never forget!


M: I was so excited to go to the lake with the guys!
M: I love driving the boat.
T: Tired needed to come.  He really did.  We hooked him to a floatable strap so we wouldn't lose him.
T: Sitting next to Grandpa Tom is a good place to be.
M: The water was pretty chilly. T: I just stayed on Grandpa Tom. 
T: Hanging out with my great dad is the best!
M: Just relaxing on top of T!
T: A and I were looking at makeup and snacking.
I didn't escape the nail polish party either!  I got to have this bright shade for church! The water and time wore off much paint, but I promise you my toes were pretty covered during church!  

M: Go REALLY slow Grandpa Tom!

Both kids with Brandon on the middle tube.

M: A little faster!
After the snack break A wanted to get on too.  He wanted to go VERY slow.  M was not impressed. 

M: Can we please go faster? 
M: It was really fun!
M: Mom, look Daddy let go!
M: Pretty soon I didn't even need Daddy.  I just hung on myself. 
T: I had lots of fun driving the boat with Grandpa Tom. 
T: Is the a horn?  Can I touch it? 
M: I guess we wore T out.  He did a lot of tubing.

Once we got home we said good-bye to a lot of extended family and ate random leftovers.  T wanted to make a fence to keep the cat on the deck.  After dinner M had so much fun changing the different sounds on the keyboard while Grandma Judy played.  Some were soothing.  Some were silly.  Some were very strange.  They had such a special time together.

T: I am pretty sure this fence will work! 

Ignore the crazy boat hair.  Yes, I am dipping the watermelon in the lemon mustard sauce.  Yes, it tasted a bit strange.  No sauce will be wasted.  It is just that good. 

M: We had so much fun!!

M: Thank you Grandma Judy.  I loved making fun music with you. 

After the kids went to bed I got a lot of great packing done.  It felt good to go to sleep a lot more organized than typical.

Day Five: Tuesday, July 5th
Our packing was very relaxed.  Tom and Judy were there to play and we knew we didn't want to get home to early so we just went at a slower pace.

M: I never get tired of sticking my tongue through my new bigger toothless hole. 
M: We have fun playing Air Hockey!
T: Grandma Judy and I had fun playing too! 
We left their home around 11:00.  Things were smooth sailing for the first hour, and then we hit so much roadwork.  The highway was a parking lot.  We took an exit and drove through a bigger city with all it's stop lights but still felt it was worth it to be moving.  Eventually we got back on the highway only to find more roadwork just a few miles down the road.  Yuck! It took us 90 minutes to go 25 miles. This is not a fun way to START a long drive home.  Thankfully everything was quite uneventful after that.  The snacks held out.  They kids had new movies to watch.  We got home a lot later than expected, but ate some quick leftovers and headed to bed.

Even though we had late nights and long drives it was a great long weekend.  We made new memories.  We laughed hard.  We ate A LOT!  I think it took me a week to get back to the weight I was before the vacation.  I need to have a bit more self control next summer!  What can I say, chips, grilled foods, and amazing sauces and sides are my weaknesses!