Of Much To-do About Cleaning

And lo, there came a day in the year of here and now that the mother of the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan sent a message unto this household saying,
“Prepare, for we are about to begin on a journey to see thee and thy kinfolk and our children’s children. Do not kill the fatted calf or dust the webs and sweep dungeons for though the voyage be long, our stay will be but for a short while. Our caravan of camels, servants, and kinsmen will be arriving on this given day and will rest and enjoy a short stay within your house.”

But when the message was delivered, the mother of the children of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan heeded only to the first sentence of the missive, the part about the coming of the tribe of Owen, son of Enos where upon she commenced into a frenzied state of affair.

With much weeping and wailing, she did cry unto herself and her children,
“Why ever was I so slothful in the affairs of cleaning corners? Make haste at once children and bring me the brooms and rags of all shapes and sizes, and many of them, for we will need them all. Run son, with all thy might, to the barns and sweep the floors, daughters, scurry and grab the mop and attack the corners at once!” And so it was that the war on dirt and dust bunnies did commence with furry and vengeance because the kinsmen were coming.

Small eight-legged creatures building webs trembled in terror and the dust bunnies did make much ado and billow about. Her children while working, did moan and wailed and cried, “Mother, please do not torture us so with all this cleaning and bustling about. Do you not suppose our relatives have dirt and webs of their own and are accustomed to such things?” But the Mother harkened not unto their cries and relentlessly tore into her household with haste, for her kinsmen were coming.

And so it was from dawn until dusk they did labor, busily scurrying about, preparing for the guests to arrive. Much to the joy of the mother of the tribe, her daughters were home for an extra day from their place of learning, and so the much more did she torture them with work to do.

And picking up her cellar device she did place a call unto her husband and said unto him, “My kinsmen are coming, buy and kill the fatted calf with which we might feed them well for they are special and worthy of honor.

So he harkened unto her voice at once and bought and prepared the meat with spices and seasonings of his kind. And while it was yet dark, before the dawn broke the sky, he arose and did place the meat upon the grill in preparation for the feast.

When finally the day arrived for which they had all been preparing, the mother of the tribe scurried about with more preparations. But the son and daughters of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan, happily escaped hither to their place of learning with much joy and happiness at the thought of escaping their frenzied mother.

Hours past with much haste and when all was prepared and the time of their arrival was at hand, the mother did flop her body onto a chair and sigh, imagining that all had been accomplished and all was well. But as she surveyed her work, she saw that much to-do had been in vain, for it seemed as soon as one room had been mopped and fluffed, the eight-legged creatures and bunnies of dust did promptly make their way in and set up residence, happy to reside in a room that smelled fresh and new, just for them.

And upon seeing the weary faces of her children and examining and finding grouchiness in herself, she purposed in her heart that the next time kinfolk were coming, they would surely do just fine in a house where dust bunnies and eight-legged creatures do reside. After all, it seemed the bustling about with much to-do had accomplished next to nothing because the creatures had not moved out at all, but were merely rearranged.

And so it was with much joy and rejoicing they welcome the caravan of family upon their late arrival and a wonderful weekend was had by all, bunnies, webs and all.

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Two Years

Two years ago the shrill ringing of the phone
broke the silence of a peaceful night.
Quiet words were spoken and heart-wrenching sobs
came welling up from deep within.

Two years.
What are two years in a lifespan?
A minor drop in the bucket.
What are two years grieving a death?
The feeling of a lifetime.

T 3-07

Tris, we miss you still, we always will.
So much remains the same,
so much about us has changed.

We still congregate at Mom’s
because we love to be together.
We still sit around the table and talk,
catching up on each other’s lives.
We still sit around the fire outside,
but now we watch the sky, the moon,
knowing you are somewhere out beyond.

T 5-14

We still speak your name,
in a good memory, a loud story
or something we know you would love.
We laugh more, cry less,
but miss you just the same.
The ache in our hearts is still there
because you are still missing.

T 4-12

The children are growing, changing,
getting taller without permission.
They miss the kickball games, roasting marshmallows,
playing in the shop, and long bumpy jeep rides with you.
Tyson has a little girl now.
I know how excited you would have been for him
and all the advice and comments you would have had.
Your two girls are growing up, tall and sweet,
becoming beautiful little ladies.
And your son, He is so much like you in so many ways.
I know you would have laughed
and loved to see him in action like we do.

T 7-14

In the middle of missing you,
we are so grateful and thankful.
It was our privilege to have you
as part of our lives, our family.
We are so thankful to be the ones
who knew you best, the real you.
We smile when we remember your laugh
and are thankful for all our conversations.
Our lives would be so much less
if we had not had almost 33 years with you,
and for all those years, we are grateful.

T 6-15

Time keeps moving along,
often with us dragging our feet.
Some days it feels like we never move,
others we look back to the beginning
and see the far distance we have come.
We would not be where we are today
if it were not for Jesus.
He gives us grace to face each day,
courage to rise on the next,
and strength to put another foot forward
to keep walking this journey.

T 11-12

Two years ago our hearts were broken,
never to be the same again.
As we knelt at the side of that upturned dirt
we whispered, “Good-bye for now,
we’ll be there soon!”

Tris, we miss you still, we always will.

Crazy September

September! What a month.
Is this becoming a pattern?
One month of craziness following the next.

One would like to imagine cool tempts and crunchy leaves for the beginning of Fall. Well, there may be leaves crunching, but we are back to the warmth of summer.
I sent my crew outside to play for the afternoon. This one set up a hut for them and they had all the details from drying berries to … Um, I’m not sure what all.

The first weekend in September, I headed to MD, our old stomping grounds to photograph a wedding. It was beautiful driving through the mountains again, almost like coming home.

Miller Camp is history for another year. It was a good one, calm, relaxing, and a lot of conversations around all the games they played. And as always there was food, good, good food. Fresh tuna, steak, hot apple turnovers, grilled chicken and a whole lot more like that.

Tell me, has this ever happened to you? I used the oven for about 2 hours and had just turned it off. I pulled a pan out and bumped the edge of the oven door slightly and WHAM!
I’m telling you the glass didn’t just drop and shatter, it bounced and flew also. The entire kitchen had sprinkles of glass and I’m still finding it three weeks later.

One camping weekend followed another. Look at us all bundled up in sweatshirts. One would think it was cool at that time. And so it was. The kids tried to swim and nearly lost a pound shivering.

More good food… does anyone wonder why I am always on a diet? Like Monday – Friday of every week I diet and then there is the weekend again and all the good foods. My willpower is level 0 so eat I do and deal with it later.

Homework. I tell you, by the time this child graduates from high school I am going to be able to walk the plank, I mean stage, right with her from all this studying we do.

And finally, the cutest little niece ever, Emma Beth, made her debut. She is so adorable and we all spent all weekend fighting for her. I really can’t believe that Kennedy was once that size. Where has my memory gone?

Well, we didn’t hold her quite all weekend because she didn’t attend the cabin sleepover like the rest of the grandcrew did.
12 kids vs 2 adults.
We lived to tell but our eyes were half closed the next day. For the next overnighter being planned, we are taking volunteers. If no one will raise their hand, we will be pulling names out of the hat.

They completely missed the memo that you sleep in on Saturday mornings! I declare that within 5 minutes of the first one opening one eye, everybody in the cabin was wide awake.
Grandma soon arrived with much-needed coffee, bacon for the fire, a hot egg casserole, and donut holes. We really loved her that morning.

Later that day this gang cooked apples and brown sugar and when that was all they started some persimmon stew. That endeavor stalled shortly after finding out how sour their fruit was.

And beautiful little Emma Beth.
Such sweetness that one really cannot believe it when her Mom says she actually cries.

Her proud Daddy! I’m pretty sure she’ll have a pink dirk bike before she can talk!

~~~

Enjoy the rest of September!

 

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Of August

August, the month when we imagine everything will be hot and sticky.
Not so this year, the windows have been open most of the month.

August, the month when moms of all shapes and sizes flip flop back and forth in their brains on any given day, at any given moment.
They go from, “I can.not believe school is starting soon. I don’t want the schedule. I will miss my children!” All the while secretly thinking, “And who will help me work?”
Or at any other given moment, you might find them scrawling notes to the teacher saying, “Thank you thank you thank you for rescuing this child from my hands!!”

August is when you squeeze in one last day of swimming, one last trip to the park and think of all the things you were going to do but didn’t get done.

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August is when all the moms of toddlers think,
“It will be years before my kids are old enough for school.”
(insert loud buzzing noise here) 
Wrong. It will be tomorrow.

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In the photo above, Bryce is holding his ears because I believe in reading a book the way a book should be read. With all the noise and enthusiasm that is portrayed in a book.  He did not care for Bear’s loudness in the library!

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August is when you chop and dice everything in your garden, throw it in the pot and call it good. Tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, plus a whole lot more from the store!
It’s so pretty I actually wish I liked it.

August is for so many cherry tomatoes that in a fit of rage, you actually rip the plant out and toss it, much to your children’s horror. Hey, there are three more plants too many!

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August is for peaches. Combine angel food cake, a pudding mixture, a peach mixture and you have an amazing combo. Much better than the previous photo.

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August is for squeezing one last vacation in before school starts.

In the name of keeping all things honest and upright here,
no my children do not always appreciate having their photo taken.
Especially the little one.

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When August is as cool and cool can be, you sit by the fire and catch up.

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And when August pulls off a stunning solar eclipse, you tell the kids they will not miss this, they will go outside and take turns watching. And lo and behold, it turns out to be a whole lot more interesting than they thought it might be.
Or maybe it was just cool to use the welding helmet.

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And of course, the number one thing August is known for, school!
All three were ready to go back whether they admit it or not. One may have been slightly more excited than the others and one was very sad to be left behind.
But she and I, we are really doing great.
That thing called silence is just ringing in my ears!

Miss You Tris

August brings back memories,
the last time I saw Tris,
the last time I waved goodbye
and watched him walk away.
If only I had known…

Quote of the day:
“Did you know my Bible said Jesus undied himself?”

And for that, I am very grateful.

My Ohio Family

Growing up in southern Indiana meant traveling to Amish Country Ohio to see my mom’s family. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles and of course Grandma and Grandpa Yoder. Growing up in Indiana also meant weekend visitors in the form of all those mentioned. Whether we were in Indiana or Ohio, when we were together we had a fine time that was not soon forgotten.

I have good memories of going to Ohio for weekends. There were always get-togethers in someone’s backyard, a cabin or a park. After much good food, the old(er) ones would sit and talk while the young ones played old gray wolf or kick the can. Cousins were the best playmates and after we had worn ourselves out we would lie in the grass and catch fireflies after dark.

As we got older, married, and moved around, our times together grew less. We got together on occasions, but it was never long enough. Talk kept circling about having an actual reunion, but it just never happened.

And then Tristan died.

Our cousins came through the line at his viewing and said, “We knew him, but we hadn’t seen him much the last few years, we feel like we really didn’t know him well anymore.” I hated that they missed that part of his life after spending so much time together growing up. They missed the years of him with his wife and kids and knowing his big heart and laughing conversations.

So, when I heard talk about getting together for a weekend, I was happy.
And a good weekend it was.

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Yoder Reunion (2)

There was a host of conversations, catching up on life, renewing friendships, amazement at children grown up and new babies to meet.
Lots of memories were discussed and laughed over. Early morning wake up calls with Aunt Irene, sleeping in Grandma’s basement, cookie baking days, visiting Grandpa in the nursing home and much more. We listened to the Aunts and Uncles recall memories from when they were young and all that happened back in their days. The conversations were rich and full of life.

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We have spread around from here to there across the globe so there were immediate families reuniting and much catching up to do. There were only a few missing and miss them we did.

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The children had a blast. Train rides, bounce houses and games galore, they were never lacking for something to do.

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Dave’s children went all out with the games. There was something for everyone and much, much laughter from everyone watching.

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There were two teams and one person from each team competed against each other to see who completed each task the fastest.

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The kids and big kids rolled and bounced around in these things for hours.
I heard tell that it made for some very sore muscles the next few days.

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In between all the activities, there was a constant display of food. If there is one thing I missed from the Yoder gene pool, it would be the love of all things chocolate. Madison made chocolate cupcakes filled with chocolate mousse and frosted with chocolate ganache. They were well received.

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Family, the ones you grow up with, share laughter and sorrow, heart and soul, and a bond of memories. No matter where you live or how long it’s been, when you gather again, the bond is still there.

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Version 3

On Saturday night we scrolled through a huge assortment of photos my cousin Melody put together. It spanned the time from Grandpa at CPS to the youngest of the grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

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It was a great weekend, but we missed Tristan fiercely. He would have loved it, the conversations, the games, reuniting with family and just being a part of it all. He would have been the first one up in the morning and the last one to bed at night, I am sure. I missed him all weekend.

If you have family, gather them together and spend time with each other.
They are a blessings many do not have.

Summertime Goodness

It’s a cool summery morning. Plenty of birds chirping a song to go with my coffee back in these woods. I sat on the porch for awhile and then opened all the doors to the house. My children don’t appreciate that and crawl under blankets as if it were wintertime.

I love summertime. I like a cool morning but I also like a nice warm day. I know, if I worked outside for 8 hours I might change my mind, but being at home means the option of AC on those nice warm days so I still want them.
I’m also waiting for a summer that is not crazy busy. Maybe one that lasts for at least 6 months and has about 2 days a week with nothing to do but stick my feet in the pool. How long do you think I’ll need to keep waiting?

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This is some of the finest food ever.
Sweet and simple! Summertime at it’s best!

~~~
We went camping once. I’m good with that but my children think otherwise.
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It felt like a 10-day camping trip but actually only covered parts of 5 days. It was full of relaxing, good conversations, floating down the river, campfires at night, some rain, and of course cookies and hot chocolate early in the morning as you can see!

I was expecting to go home with Mt Rushmore of laundry but it wasn’t too bad. It probably helped that Dakota wore his swimming trunks all day long and then would carefully lay them out at night so he could put them on again the next morning.

The perfect s’more consists of a chocolate covered shortbread cookie, peanut butter, and a marshmallow. Try it if you haven’t ever.

~~~
No sooner than camping was over, my sister and her family came to visit and we had a busy weekend with them. Cooking, eating, beaching, bubbles, taking care of kids, settling fightings, talking, cooking, eating and having a good time.

Let’s just say after this trip….
kids & the beach
Yes! Pretty much sums it up! 🙂

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When I was a kid we spent hours riding around on something, bikes, dirt-bikes, 3-wheelers or whatever had wheels… our kids are starting out right.

~~~

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If you know of anyone who likes to play ball, my girls would probably even pay to have you drop them off to play with this kid!

~~~
We pretended to be a tourist the other day.

Now they want goats!

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And then on Sunday, we were at the neighbor’s for lunch and after a trip outside they decided they want goats AND sheep! Their Mother is not cooperating so very well! Running to the neighbor’s for a visit sounds like a good deal to her!

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After not getting her way in the game little one says,
“I wish we had never buyed this game!”

~~~

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So, tell me what else is on your to-do list for this summer?

~~~

This morning I read,
“So be careful how you live…
make the most of every opportunity.”
Make today count.

Today!

Today is my birthday.
Today I am privileged. I have things many do not have, privileges many wish for and today I have chosen to be thankful for all of these things.

I am staying home all day, a place I love and something I love to do. I have the privilege of spending the day with my four children. These children of which I speak do not always get along so very well, but how can I complain? Some people only wish for children to hear pestering each other and arguing. Now I did send these children to pick raspberries for a few minutes of peace and quiet, lest you think I am supermom.

My husband is home from a week of fishing and he is working in the office today. I had the privilege of making lunch for him and the kids, something some ladies long for the chance to do, just one more time.

I was also able to clean up the house, sweep and mop the floor and watch Madison bake my birthday cake and plan supper. Today my laundry was washed in my new laundry room, so much fun. The room isn’t finished but the washer had to be moved out there last night due to a water leak. Who cares if it isn’t done, I have a laundry room.

And I am thankful for friends! So many friends wishing me a happy birthday, showing me they care. I am so rich in this area of life while some people long for just one friend.

I am thankful for all these things today, to live another ordinary day, to celebrate another year in an ordinary way. Not everyone has this privilege.

~~~

June was crazy busy.
I had two weddings to photograph, two weekends in a row and both were in IN. Eric then left for the North with a fishing pole and we stayed at Grandma’s for awhile. I think my family had enough of us to last them awhile.

June 17 (1)

Who among you is able to photograph this many kiddos and get them all to look and smile? Not me. You can see my attempt in the bottom photo. The top picture was Sarita, lining them up by age.

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The kids just had a blast playing together, or at least my kids did.

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Ice cream. We love ice cream. Tris was especially a fan of ice cream, all hours, any kind, big bowls full or even right out of the bucket. We had the ice cream machine again and used it about 3 or 4 times a day. The kids would come running and line up in a fighting mess to pull the lever and make themselves a cone. Good times, good memories and I’m sure Tris was smiling.

Madison had a birthday while we were at Grandma’s.

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And we celebrated Miss Aleigha’s birthday a week early.
I found the perfect little gift for her this year.
Do you recognize this family?

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We went swimming one day and taught the city-slicker children that a pond is just as good as a pool. Maybe even better if they would just admit it.
On the right, Grant was spraying Libby with his water blaster and she loved it. She would stay right there and wait for him to come back with another load of water.

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Little people chasing fireflies in Grandma’s garden.
On a side note, I need some lessons on gardening from my mother.

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This cat is thee most patience cat I have ever seen! The kids can do anything to her and she seems to love it. Grant named her Sandy-Clete. ? 🙂

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We were happy to spend Father’s Day with this man. He has invested hours and hours into our lives and now he is doing the same for his grandchildren.

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Tys cleaned up Tris’ old truck.

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And while we were busy at Grandma’s, he kept himself entertained tossing a line in the water and reeling it in. It is beyond my comprehension that this could be called fun, but he claims it is.

~~~

Now my friends, I am off to sit on my porch and enjoy this beautiful, sunshiny day while ignoring the spider webs. Why don’t you do the same?