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.

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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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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.

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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?

A Galaxy

Right now it seems that every way you turn there are hurting people. People suffering losses, heartache, dealing with fears, worry for the future and so much more.
My heart goes out to you but I also want you to know you are not alone. It may feel as if you are lost alone in the wilderness and no one understands, but fear not, God is watching out for you. He is prompting and sending his messengers to aid you, care for you and assure you of his love. There are times they will tell you they’ve prayed but other times you may never know who all whispered a prayer for you. Just rest assured, you are not alone in this.

 

A Galaxy

The night is so dark.
The moon, but a thin rim.
Only a few stars twinkle.
A cloud passes over.
I lie and look and wonder.
How far does it go?
What is hidden beyond the dark?
What is just out of my view?
I see but such a small space,
a few tiny stars
and one sliver of moon.
What does the realm around me hold?
What is spread across the sky?
What beauty might my eyes behold
if I could only see past the dark?

This road I walk
so dark and lonely.
I look all around
and see nothing but pain.
The darkness threatens to choke me,
sadness, loneliness, and grief
are my companions.
I see only the rough road,
the weariness of traveling it.
Tears fill my eyes
as the pain envelopes my soul.

Yet I wonder,
what is beyond my peripheral vision
along this lonely road?
What is outside the scope of my sight?
What are the scenes God orchestrates
behind the curtains of heaven?
Of people set in motion,
of things set in place,
circumstances long foretold,
just for me.

I wonder if only I could see,
what a sight I might behold.
Knees bent low in prayer,
care-filled thoughts ascending.
Angels descending to lend
strength for my journey,
a hand for the rough of the road.
Neighbors and friends
answering God’s prompting
and whispering prayer late at night.
The Spirit of Comfort descending,
wrapping arms of love around me.
Fellow travelers around
who have traversed this pain,
stop and walk along side,
offering encouraging words.
All just for me.

My view is so small,
so wrapped around me.
How many times do I forget
what is out past my sight,
what is hidden beyond the darkness?
Not just one star or two twinkling,
but a galaxy wild and bright.
And out past those millions,
is Jesus who stands
at the right hand of his Father
interceding for me.
He sends out his Spirit
to prompt and move,
all working on my behalf.
And far beyond my imagination
are plans already in place
by the Father
to carry me through.

I don’t travel this road alone.
I have a galaxy around me,
supporting me.
And so do you.

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May Craziness

Things are a bit wild right now with too much happening, as my neighbor likes to say, it is unbelievable. I would like to think it will slow to the speed of Herbert the Snail once June hits, but alas, one look at the calendar tells me it is not so.

We started school two weeks late last fall so it pushed us to the end of May this Spring. Tomorrow. Tomorrow it ends. I am so ready for this but sometimes I fear for my sanity. I told my tribe they have a few days to relax and then their Taskmaster Mother is going to emerge and the work will begin. For some reason, they didn’t seem too worried. We’ll see.

~~~

I still find time to snap a few photos here and there, mainly with my phone these days, so, a picture post it is. It’s been a work in progress over the last few weeks.

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As in years past, the animal loving teacher of the 1st and 2nd grade helped her students hatch a batch of chicks. Of course, these babies were the talk of the town and they just loved to play with them. All too soon there was a note saying the chicks need homes.

Well, remembering previous experiences around this farm woods, this Mother was a mean one and did not allow her son to bring his precious little chick along home. The chick was sold to the highest bidder, or rather they drew lots for his feathers, and I think Matt was the lucky winner. Or maybe it was Heidi. I can’t remember.

If you are wondering about previous experiences, go here and here for the Duck stories.

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We had a fundraiser breakfast at school one Saturday.
The sheer amount of sweets could have put someone into a sugar coma.
But they were so gooooood. All you Trim Healthy Mamas just close your eyes.

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The same day was a beautiful wedding!
These old doors! love!

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Mother’s Day happened and we had visitors from the south so lunch together was in order. These little girls were fascinated with little Miss rolly-pollie because our baby selection is rather slim in the fam.

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~~~

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One day I got a text asking if I was home for the day… a few hours later lunch was dropped off for us.  A friend just wanted to let me know she had not forgotten my loss of Tris. It was a beautiful gesture and warmed my heart in ways she has no idea!
Thank you!

Do something for someone today to let them know you care.
Call. Text. Send a card.

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We stop right on the road for a good picture sometimes!

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This hair. every morning.
On Instagram I wrote:
When I hear ladies say they wish their hair had more volume, I’m assuming this is what they mean. 1980 called and wants its hair back.”

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We spent a day watching track and field at the school. I did none of the running/jumping activities but felt I could be sore just for watching them.

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Last night the kids performed a mid-century play and did a fabulous job!

The last time there was a school play a comment was overheard around here.
“I wonder if anyone has ever done a play about Adam and Eve?”
Minimal effort needed for the costumes with this idea.  😀

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When you stand in front of the paint chips too long she says,
“Mom, just paint the whole house pink!”

Now I am going to get back to kicking rolling my paint can around the kitchen in an effort to mix the paint. At some point, I actually need to apply the paint but for now mixing it well sounds like a good idea.

A Mother’s Day Apology

Dear Mom, this Mother’s day I would like to apologize.
There are so many things I need to apologize for now that I have children of my own. I’m so sorry about these things, but why on earth did you not tell me this stuff back then so I would see the error of my ways and be less likely to encounter it these days?

June 82

I’m sorry for fussing about how close a sibling was sitting in the backseat of the car. There were only 3 of us back there, plenty of room, I now know. I don’t know why it mattered if they were sitting a half inch on my side of the seam or touching my dress.

I’m sorry for picking petty arguments with one of the brothers just because I was bored. I know your brain was probably on overload after getting us all ready for church on time and then I had to go and pester one of them all the way to church. And the crying, I’m sorry for all the crying when he would then turn around and pinch me. It was really my own fault, my apologies.

I’m sorry for hiding in the bathroom with my book and pretending I didn’t hear you call, even when you were right outside the door. I know now I should have been at your beck and call waiting for another job.

I’m sorry for making the lunch dishes take h-o-u-r-s with my piddling around. If only I had listened and just hurried to get them done so I could go play, like you suggested. Instead, I whined, fussed and complained about the horridness of the job and how long it was taking. I humbly apologize and every time my children do this with their modern day dishwasher, I repent again.

Grandma chicken
I am also sorry for ruining every photo you have of me.
This must have been when you had to cut the gum out of my hair!

I am deeply contrite for all the times I fussed, whined, complained or wailed about my hair and my clothes. ( although it appears ^^ as if I had a just reason) I should have appreciated the fact that you combed my hair every morning and had nice clean clothing available for me. But no-o-o-o, instead my hair were too tight or too loose, too high or too low and if none of the above, then they pulled up front or felt weird in the back or just looked ugly that day. When I finally forgot about my hair, then my clothes weren’t right. The socks were itchy, they were tight or too loose, the toes of the socks didn’t fit right inside the shoe and I hated how the knee socks felt behind my knee. The dress was either too long or short, the sleeves pinched, the elastic was twisted, I didn’t like the color, or it just didn’t f-e-e-l right. And my shoes, they were so old and floppy, too cold or hot, too tight or loose and not as cool as my friend’s. Then, of course, the Velcro straps didn’t close tight enough or the ties were just not, not, not, quite right. I apologize for crying when the lace loops were not the same length. I am so sorry. All of this and more has come back for me.

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And eating, I’m really sorry about not eating everything you put on my plate without fussing. I know it was all good and healthy for me and I should have just happily eaten away. I now realize how many hours you put into a meal and then to have me sit there and say I don’t like it, well, I really shouldn’t have. Cook for me again and I promise to eat it all without complaining.

I humbly ask your forgiveness for all the wailing that occurred when it was time to pick up toys. As I recall, I was never the one who dumped the toy box, or the Legos or spread the doll clothes all over the room. The mere thought of picking up one toy every five minutes produced copious amounts of tears and now I do regret that. I should have grabbed handfuls and been done in five minutes instead of dragging it out for hours.

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I cringe thinking about all the glares and snappy remarks, and even pinches and hits, over my sibling’s noises, such as chewing, tapping, humming or the kicking of my chair. My bad, I should have just let it slide, especially when they would make a face from across the table, put their foot on the bar below where my foot was really supposed to be or patted my shoulder on their way passed. So many regrets.

And one really big one that I need to apologize for, although I’m not sure if it should be to you or Dad because I learned it from him. The whistling, I am so sorry for all the hours I spent in your hearing trying to learn to whistle. It pains me to recall this as I listen to mine try to develop this trait.

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Apologetically I say this, but I recall sending younger siblings in to ask permission for something because I was quite sure you would give me a job and them a yes for our proposed mission. I’m sure there was work I could have helped with instead of sneaking off to the creek, cabin or the barn to avoid it.

I’m sorry for the grudging way I help with the jobs I hated, like butchering chickens. I should have been happy, cheerful and ready to work. I also apologize for all the grumbling when you made me re-do a job so it would be done right. I vividly remember having to wash the car three times to get it completely clean. Why didn’t you tell me you were teaching me a good lesson for later in life?

Sami wash

And while I’m at it, I really should apologize for the bad attitude about working in the turkey barn, but I can’t because I still feel that way.

This one I do not remember, but I am sure it happened at some point in time. I am sorry for not wanting to take a nap. Why ever did I fight with you about something that now looks so wonderful? I promise to take enough now to make up for all the days I didn’t want one back then.

Why didn’t you explain this to me back then and warn me that a better behavior would be in order because having children of my own would cause a repeat of my childhood actions and I would regret so very many things? Should I prompt my children to read this in hopes of them not repeating this with their children? Or shall I just let them deal with it when their time comes?

Mom & I

I am deeply indebted to you for all you have done for me. Thank you, Mom, for loving me so well and putting such a huge effort forth in teaching and training me as a child. I have come a long way because of your efforts. at least I hope.

 I love you.

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