The Tent House

When we were at Grandma’s house for a week,
we wanted something simple to entertain the kids, preferably outside.
Grandma suggested making a tent for them,
I had noticed one along the road just a few days before,
so combining our ideas, the tent house came to life.

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Mom has a 3 stranded wash line so they hung the sheets over the lines
and clothes pins worked great to hold it together.
They even used an extra sheet and added a porch.

We thought we were building it for all the kids,
but the two hippies kind of moved in and took over.
They hauled all kinds of paraphernalia from one house
or the other, and filled the tent!

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The other kids stopped in to take tour of the place.
One tent dweller willingly hopped off her chair to open the door,
the other happily stayed right where she was.

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Their vehicle was usually parked close by
so the walk was not a one strenuous when they left home.

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After awhile they announced, “It’s time for you kids to leave now!”

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“These guys are a little strange!” he thinks.
But they don’t mind being thought of as strange,
life is good.

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Whew, back to relaxing now that the visitors have all gone home.

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Eventually they ventured out to find some food.
This picture sums up their relationship quite well.
One does something strange, while the other watches with interest.

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Unknown to them, when the hippies are away, the mice will play.
While they were out getting food and playing some games,
two visitors sneaked in and took over the tent house.

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These two are the best of friends
and quite enjoy their time together
when we are at Grandma’s house.

Build your gang a tent house,
it creates hours of fun.

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Memorial Camping

Growing up for me,
everything was orderly, on time,
things were planned in advance,
you pretty much knew what was happening when.

Got married and as usual, opposites attract.
You do the math.

This would be the reason the subject of camping
was brought up on Sat and a few hours later,
there we all were, camping in my in-laws back yard.

I won’t lie and say it never stresses me out,
this method of madness,
but it usually works out pretty good
(if I just relax).

If we had all been able to come for the weekend,
it would have been chalked up as “family camping”
for the year, but a few had previous plans.
This just gives us reason for another weekend together.

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Weather wise, it was as if we had pre-ordered it.
It was perfection.

Lots of fishing and swimming happened.
If you look closely, you’ll see that only one man in the boat
seems to be working, while everyone else watches from the shore.

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Sometimes the most simple things entertain the best.

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“How does a fishing trip sound to you, girl?”

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“I would love to but I think our Moms prefer
we sit here and splash in this puddle.”

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For now, they are besties.
We hope it continues.

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The gang on the pond were pretty much the only swimmers.
Anyone older could only think of such things as slime and fish nibbles,
and anyone younger was stuck in a kiddie pool.
But what a party these guys had,
swimming, paddling, and rowing their way around
for much longer than I would have lasted.

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Tiny, the dog, went for a ride too.
I’m pretty sure he was exhausted until the weekend was over.

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This is the life, they say!
They would run half way across the lawn to jump in,
but just as they got to the pool they would stop,
step over the side and carefully sit down.

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When the gang was done in the pond,
Amanda made a water slide for them.
That took up a whole lot of their time and Grandma’s soap.
If the noise from this direction was any indication,
they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

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Grandpa gave gator rides, as only Grandpa’s can.

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They usually started off by driving around the pond
and we don’t know where all they went from there.

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Lots of time sitting around the fire talking and eating.
One highlight was an engagement announcement.

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Of course there were sticky marshmallows involved
if there was a fire. It was camping after all.

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A few hours after this, I would pack up Kennedy
and sneak home to sleep in my nice bed.
Maybe next time I’ll do the real camping thing.
(just give me a little more notice)

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Monday morning the Mama of the gang
babied them all with a big pot of creamed eggs and toast.
I was happy to be the official “toaster of bread”
while they all gobbled up the eggs.

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He managed to do a little fishing of his own,
after all the camping gear and kid’s rod and reels were taken care of.
It’s his birthday today, and we are so very thankful for him.
I think the kids were more excited then he was.

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Off to see if anything will bite, one last time.

And what a good weekend it was.
Family times are the best.
Here’s to more just like it!

~~~

*Even with all my many trips home,I always forgot my camera
so this is a cell phone photo post.

A New Year Christmas

And one more Christmas post!
We spent some time in IN over Christmas
then came back for some more Christmas at home.
How many times can you write Christmas in the first 3 lines?
Quite often it would seem.

This particular Christmas party has another name around here.
Jammie Christmas.

A few years ago my MIL came up with the bright idea
to buy each of her grandchildren a pair of pajamas for Christmas.
Every kid on the block has too many toys,
needs nothing new at all,
but can always use a new pair of snugglies.
All the moms were happy and the kids were happy too.
This started back when there were only a few grandchildren in the family.
Today, she still buys jammies for all of them,
only now she has 14 to buy for.

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We started Jammie Christmas on New Years Eve here
and moved over to Grandma’s on New Years Day to continue the party.

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It was a full house here Wed night.
Bethany was home and Ervin’s came for the evening.
We had a great time, everyone stayed till after midnight and then tired kids and their parents fell into bed. I wish I could say the kids all slept late the next morning so the parents could too, but with Little One living here, that is an impossible idea.

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Bethany played Bingo with these 3 at Grandma’s.
I guess you could say it was a form of Bingo
with 3 that don’t read big numbers. 🙂

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Sometimes the littles just need Mommy instead of more action.

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We had a fabulous meal.
Shrimp, crab legs, pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, sour kraut,
and all kinds of other things to go with it.
As you can see, we pull out the big guns when we crack crab legs!

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A few weeks ago I bought matching shirts for these 2.
Completely unplanned, they wore the shirts and matching skirts. 🙂
For almost 2 year olds, they play together very well.

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Mr Liam!

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The kids were just itching to get to these pajamas and we made them wait all afternoon! As soon as Grandma had her stack ready, they were closing in on her, waiting for their pair.

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Quite happy.

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Tradition requires that everyone change into pajamas immediately!
It was an accomplished feat to get a photo when they were all looking.

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This is a game playing family.
I am the outcast that doesn’t care for board games.
I get itchy and antsy when I have to sit still for too long.

We gave ourselves a break from each other on Friday
and then got together again on Sat night for pizza!
Bethany was still here so we make the most of those times.
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Liam created entertainment for these guys!

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She was happy with her perch!

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And the last activity of the evening… measuring all the kids.
Stand with your your heels to the board,
your back straight, and give every inch you have!
They make the most of it.

Dan started measuring his children on this board about once a year when they were quite young. I think I saw Carrie’s first mark at 6 months old. He would mark their height, write their age and sometimes their weight. The board has filled up with marks, names and numbers on the other side so there is hardly room to write. He flipped it around now and started marking the grandchildren on the back side. It’s a highlight for them when he gets it out.

It’s fun to compared the kids, and who was what height at what age. Madison was snickering a little that she, at 11 years old, is the same height that Loren was at 15. I told her she probably won’t think it’s so funny when she’s done growing at 6ft 2in or something like that.

If your children are all young this would be a fun thing to start with them.
They will always remind you to measure  and have fun comparing things as they get older.

This was the last of our Holiday parties, sadly,
but who needs an excuse to get together with family.
Anytime will do.

Painting Bird Houses

Now for the next edition of Christmas vacation.

As part of the grand-children’s Christmas gifts,
Grandpa built bird houses for them
and Grandma organized an afternoon of painting.
We all went out to Grandpa’s garage and what fun they had!

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First order of business was to put a coat of gray paint on.
This didn’t go too badly. We were prepared for the worst and were pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went. 🙂
It was a grand thing I tell you, splashing around in that paint.

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Some had little brushes and some had big ones.
It was a good thing these guys had smaller ones,
they dipped often and went pretty heavy with the paint.

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Of course there were others that tried to go heavy with the paint
on things that shouldn’t be painted.
I was kind and didn’t return the favor.
(Mainly because I didn’t want my entire face painted)

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Aleigha wasn’t making very much progress and Mr Fast Lance was done already so he volunteered to help her.

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This one is related to her Uncle in more ways then one.

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Grandma and Grandpa did a bunch of supervising.

After they all had a coat of gray paint,
we let them dry for an hour and then came back to add some color.

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Some painted pretty birds and flowers.

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And others just tried to cover up every hole on their box.

We’re just hoping birds aren’t scared of color.

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This was the most precious thing.
She was painting away and she says,
“See that yellow.That’s Jesus on the cross!”

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After they were all done and were ready to take a picture,
we discovered Madison had already left to take a shower.
So here are the happy painters, minus Madison.

Now don’t you all wish you had grandparents
who built you bird houses to paint? 🙂

Thank you Grandpa and Grandma for your hard work and patience with this gang. These kids will remember this for a long time. We love you.

Christmas Vacation

Defined as:
Not long enough.
Well spent.
Busy. Fun
Memories.
Family.
Lots of good times.
Coffee. Good food.

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We spent a few days at Grandma’s house.
There is just nothing like being there!
Food all the time. Relaxing. Drinking coffee.
Someone is always stopping in.
The cousins come to play every day.
And we are just all royally spoiled.

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Mr Nick and his Mama.
You could say he is giving her a run for her Mama money right now.
Hopefully there are better days to come for both of them.

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Grandma loves to buy and give gifts, so these kiddos were quite blessed this year. We decided they have to take turns opening gifts and make this last longer than 2.5 seconds it did last year. We started with the youngest and worked our way up. It was quite a long wait till we got through 12 of them.

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Sometimes there were so many kids around you couldn’t even see the little person opening the gift. 🙂

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Kennedy just stopped as soon as the first one was opened and started enjoying it. The guys next in line let her know she has to keep moving.

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It was general chaos all around for awhile but we enjoyed every minute of it.

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The girls had these dolls so Grandma spent lots and lots of time sewing some clothes for them. They were quite happy!

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If someone gets a basketball hoop for Christmas,
we use it right in the middle of the living room!
The love only goes one way with the 2 in the bottom picture.

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The overall boys, Max, Nick and Tys.
When the Dad has something, the boys want to be just like him.

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Max had been longing for a pair of overalls, just like his Dad’s, for a long time.
I had Nick’s name for Christmas and got him this little pair.
Max looked at them for awhile and says, “How big are they?” 🙂
Unknown to him, his mom had some wrapped up for him to open on Christmas morning and he was a happy little guy when he came to show us!

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Little boys love Grandma’s house. There is a never ending supply of hot chocolate, although you could call his chocolate milk it’s so cold. There are cookies of all kinds, candy and all kinds of good things to eat.

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There was also lots of this happening.
Guess we’ll just chalk it up to vacation mode
(although it happens a lot at Grandma’s)

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On Saturday morning Grandma made sugar donuts.
I think my kids will switch to calling them “Grandma donuts.”
Take canned biscuits, cut a hole, deep fry, and roll in cinnamon sugar.
Grandma makes them for her grandkids all the time.
My guys say, “Mom, this wouldn’t be too hard to make at home would it?”
I just smile and shrug and think
it’s a good thing to be left for Grandma’s house.

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There was lots of sweet baby squeezing.

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Mr Grant loveloveloves little Libby!

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These 2 are so funny.
She says, “Byyyyyce! No!” Byyyyyce, come!”
Since we’re home she picks up her toy phone and talks to “Byce!”

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Lots of quality time spent with each other
and sipping some bubbly too.

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Kennedy thought this was the grandest thing but as you can see,
Libby was less then thrilled with her ride.
And the toy corner, I wonder how many times it was cleaned up!

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Sunday evening the kids acted out the Christmas story for us.
An angel appears to Mary to tell her she is going to have a baby!

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Mary goes to see Joseph.
She said, “Joseph, I am going to have a baby!”
He said, “Yeah, right!”
Mary wheeled around and replied,
“Well, you just wait and see!”

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Joseph leads his donkey into Bethlehem with Mary on board.

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Joseph inquires with the Inn Keepers, searching for a room.
He finally found a stable, parks his donkey and settles Mary in.

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Angels sing of this baby’s birth and shepherds come to visit and hold the Him!

blog 1-3-14 (35)The little cast of our sweet play!
We are privileged to be able to teach our children this story
and in return have them teach us.

The next morning we headed home to have Christmas
with the other side of the family… now sadly that is almost over too
and we’ll be back to school before we know it.

~~~

There was one activity on Saturday afternoon that didn’t make this post but that’s because it deserves a post of it own. Look for it next week.

A Family Weekend…

…and what a weekend it was.
Full of all things fun.
Laughing. Talking. Arguing.
A little crying by the babies.
Kids games. Kids yelling.
Lots of eating.
Did I mention talking?

As it goes in a family
there are siblings that have the same personalities,
and some so very opposite.
In our family, we 4 siblings are split, 2 and 2.
Get us all in public and 2 enjoy it,
visiting with people all night.
The other 2, enjoy themselves
but are a lot more reserved.
(I know you are all dieing to know which one I am. ha)

Now cram us all into a house for a long weekend,
along with the parents, our spouses
and our endless line up of kids,
we all talk, we’re all loud,
and we all have a jolly good time.
Almost makes me cry thinking about our fun together.
Ever feel like that about your family?
You love them so much it almost hurts!

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Tim’s and Mom came on Wed night already.
We wanted to make sure the weekend was long enough.
Mother promptly got started entertaining the grandkids.

Fam wkend (2)The little pirate who couldn’t play the game with the others
played his own game.

Fam wkend (3)We had one tree in the back yard that was dead and had the potential to hit the house if it fell. Thursday afternoon Eric and Tim gave it a bit of help falling in the right direction while the kids watched.

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Thanks to our overly zealous dog, nothing is safe outside.
The little lawn chair Madison is oversizing,
got his attention in a not so good way.

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I love to see her all bundled up, not that she loves it or anything.
Right now she is anti camera so looking passed me
was completely intentional.

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We worked and worked that afternoon to take this guy’s 3 year old pictures
with not a smile in sight! Now look at this, a few hours later.

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Dead tree be gone, warm us with your heat!

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Tys and Amanda and company of boys arrived Thursday evening.
Grandma read to the twins while we finished up the food.
They technically aren’t twins since he’s 6 months younger
but he’s a bit taller and probably a bit heavier then she is.

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We sent the kids to the basement to play since almost all the toys are down there. That didn’t stop them from dragging things up stairs to be with us and to make sure we could see their fights and settle them!

If you are counting, we are up to 7 adults and 9 kids here so far
with more coming the next day.

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In the middle of all of this,
Mr D had a birthday!
This year the girls decorated their own cake
and he was bound and determined to decorate his own too.
We traded in a cake for cupcakes and had a little
decorating party on Friday afternoon!
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Use your imagination for how this went.
We may have swept up as many sprinkles as actually stuck on the cupcakes.
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When they were done,
I suddenly had no desire for cupcakes.
Thankfully, there was a nice cake hidden that no one was going to spit upon when blowing out candles. That’s called 2 birds with 1 stone.

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This is a Christmas card winner because the small son is smiling.

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By Friday night we added 3 more adults and 3 more children to the mixture and we were nearly bursting at the seams but having a good time.
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Time for cake and ice cream for a birthday boy!
We haven’t been in this parenting game for 11 years for nothing.
I knew that 1 candle for 1 boy was not going to go over well,
so we pulled out candles and passed out cupcakes
and everyone had a jolly good time blowing out flames!
Lest you think the birthday boy was cheated,
notice that he has 3 cupcakes with candles in each.
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He looked forward to this for the longest time.
It’s not often you have a birthday on a weekend when all the cousins are here to help you celebrate all weekend long.

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opening gifts… wham. bam. and we’re done.
There was help from all sides.
The pieces flew and in no time it was all over!
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He was quite pleased with his loot.
I told him I’m saving our gift for his actual birthday (Sunday).
He was rather concerned that there would be no gift from us because
he knows that Mom did not go to Walmart without him anytime
and he knows there was no gift in the cart when he was along. 🙂
The miracle of the internet and plain brown boxes from UPS.

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Sat morning was more food and chaos.
The chaos was mainly organized
but how well can you keep the noise level down
and the kids all in line with that many people?
Plus it was colder then cold that weekend and the boys couldn’t go out.
Grandpa did usher them out for a bit
and made them run a few laps on the porch to get some energy released.
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Grandpa would lean back and squeeze her and she would squeal so he would sit up. If he didn’t lean back soon enough, she would reach up and pull him back again.

Saturday afternoon we left all the big kids with a very capable babysitter and went to the wedding. We felt a bit bad for her since we only took 3 babies but she claims all was well!

Now one thing you would think we all would have learned, growing up together and all,  is that you don’t pick on Tys, because whatever you do comes back 150%.
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I missed that life lesson I guess, because when an opportunity presented itself, I took it. I do claim this one as a victory because he did not accomplish what he set out to do to me!

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Sunday lunch brought more candle puffing since it was the actual birthday.
Little one loved it too.

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You can’t tell me you don’t eat all the frosting off the cupcake first.
We know you do in secret.
Now what I do in secret is scrape all the frosting off into a pile,
and then eat the cupcake and leave the frosting.
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The promised gift that he had been waiting and waiting for.
Unwrapping was much like a paper shredder,
hands reaching in from all sides
and in less then 2.5 seconds it was over.
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He thinks he has the world by the tail….
And all the mom can think of when she sees Lego’s
is stepping on them in the middle of the night.

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These 2 just go ’round and ’round.
Relentless arguing and teasing.

And when lunch was over, came the sad part.
They all packed up and went home.
Following a few tears, the kids dumped the Legos
and the Mother passed out in her bed.

What a weekend it was!

Good memories make for good dreams of the next time together.

A Sweet New Bebe

When a sweet new niece is born,
it calls for a trip to go see her.
And the rest of the gang too, of course.

We had a good weekend,
stacked to the brim with things happening.

IN 2

There was the meet and greet of the little one herself.
And a lot of time was spent saving her from other small people.

IN 1

There were swing rides with the new big brother.

IN 2A

And sand box time.
Kennedy tasted it, of course.

IN 3

Big cousin met little cousin.
He loved her.
And Miss Little eats M&Ms after a nap.

IN 4

There were swing rides and buzzing bees.

IN 5

There was fresh corn on the cob…
with more then one way to eat it.
Left to right? Right to left?
Around and around?
Or with no hands?

IN 6

There were golf cart rides and jeep rides.

IN 7

The Clampett’s came to town.
They had the wave down pat and everything.
Someday we’ll go visit them in Hollywood.

IN 8

There were tractor rides and ice cream bars.

IN 9

There was more baby holding
and cousin love.
He is 6 months younger
but a little bigger all around then she is.

IN 10

And there were pictures of the sweet bebe.
She peaked open an eye to say hello
and then went back to snoozing.

In between all these things,
there was just a lot of action,
just like it always is at Grandma’s.

It’s a good life.