Christmas ’16

Christmas this year bounces around in my brain as having hit every emotion in the playbook. There are sometimes in life that words cannot accurately describe and this is one of them.Β  So, it shall stay like that for you and continue bouncing around in my brain until I get it figured out.

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The grandkid status at Mom’s hangs heavy in the 3-7 year range and they are often B-O-R-E-D! We talked Madison into playing a game with a few of them.

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Mr. Jaxon was happy to eat instead of play!

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He is at a fun age right now and Dakota got a kick out of playing with him.

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These two goobers, they found my grandma’s old glasses and tried them on.

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Waiting. Maybe patiently, maybe not.

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A new Jeep shirt! We’re all about Jeeps around here.

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We had Katelyn’s name and about the time we started searching for the perfect gift, Sarita told me she had Reagan’s name and she had just bought her a vest. So with Reagan’s help, we “came across” this vest that was almost too wonderful to behold.Β  We bought it for Katelyn and when it came in the mail, she was just beside herself in love. We were all grinning when we watched her open her own gift to find a matching vest.

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Sometimes people open their mouths and say a lot of things and then get mysterious packages with no name attached. πŸ™‚

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Tristan’s favorite song was “The Old Rugged Cross” and this song came true for him when he exchanged the cross for a crown.

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There were two oddly wrapped boxes with Sarita’s and my names on them. One was heavy and one was light. We had our guessing game going and found out that almost everyone (but us) knew what was in these boxes. In a weak moment, due to some well-asked questions, Nick opened his mouth to tell me but Max shut him off just in time. πŸ™‚

Tys went above and beyond and made both of us something special. A camera for me and a little tricycle for Sarita! He is a welder by trade and it carries over into his hobbies. He turns out some pretty cool things from his imagination.

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The wheels roll, pedals turn and it’s just as cute as can be.

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The lens turns for a little manual focus and the front has a jeep grill and a cross in memory of Tris.

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The chain around the edge comes from a dirt bike and he listed all the other parts and where they came from, but I can’t remember. The flash on top pops up also.

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I don’t know what it’s called, but the round thing inside on the right rolls with a little push. I guess it’s a modern/antique and you use that to wind up your film roll.

Stop in sometime and I’ll let you touch it. πŸ™‚

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I had Tyson’s name and wanted to buy him something in memory of Tris. Anyone who knew Tris knew that Jeeps were his hobby. He often roared around in an old red Willy Jeep, usually loaded with kids. I looked for a little jeep like this everywhere on the www. Everything was either over my price range or not very nice. I was almost ready to give up when this one popped up on eBay at just the right time and price. It felt like God had gifted me with this and in the end, it meant more to me than if I had found it as soon as I started looking.

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Later we all took a splat to the face with a little pie face game.
Well, maybe not quite all of us. πŸ™‚

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We inhaled much good food, had lots of good conversations and all the while dealt with kiddos that kept passing the stomach flu around.
We talked about Tris, retold his favorite stories and missed him so very much!

~~~

My thoughts for 2017 …
“With God’s daily supply of grace, I am able.”

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Of Thanksgiving and more…

 

When you were a kid, going to Grandma’s house was a highlight. I remember many trips to Ohio to see Grandma Yoder and we always had the best weekends in there. We also loved going to Grandpa Stoll’s house with Dad any chance we could get. There was always a piece of candy waiting for you from the corner cabinet before you would leave.

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Now my kids love to go to Grandpa and Grandma’s too. The last year we have spent more time out in IN than normal and so far I haven’t heard any of the kids complaining. Grandpa just added a cherry to the top of the weekends when he bought a little cabin for the grandkids. I declare the last weekend we were there was the absolute quietest Saturday we have had out there in years. We actually had to go get the kids for meals, otherwise, they were cabin dwellers all day.

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I thought Reagan might just move in permanently. There were so many things to do, see, and so much to explore. She is wishing and hoping it will be warm enough to play at the cabin when we go out the next time.

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Grandma and Grandpa stopped in for a chat. Anyone who went for a visit came back smelling like a smokestack. The kids had the fire going all day and I thought they might cook some food for themselves, but they didn’t catch anything to grill. They did inquire about snacks and some hot chocolate a time or two between meals. Delivery service was requested.

As with everything new we do, it brings an ache. Tris isn’t here to see the changes, to enjoy watching the kids grow, to make dumb jokes about the oddest things. He would have been moving and shaking things to get this cabin into place, full of big ideas and plans for what all we could do back there. Sometimes we still look up and expect his jeep to come rolling in the lane.

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Mini Mouse wasn’t in the smiling mood. She so badly wanted to stay at the cabin but it was just a little too chilly for her little size.

~~~

My brain feels like it is suffering from an overdose of too much food and sugary goodness over Thanksgiving. Not that I have ever given up all things sugary like some {strong} people, no I just keep tormenting myself and sneaking little bites thinking they won’t add up as quickly as one large plateful. I have no idea where I am going with this, as I said, my brain… it is rather muchly on overload right now.

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Madison doesn’t help the problem by making things like this. I wasn’t tempted with more than a taste or two since I am not a true lover of chocolate.

~~~~

Speaking of Thanksgiving…

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Some of Eric’s extended family was around here for a few days.
They are the game players, I am the roaming one that watches all the games, but plays none. I feel a rash coming on at the thought of being pinned to a seat playing a game for an hour or three. Say the word game and my legs start twitching and I have to get up and move around. I’m glad not everyone is like me and they enjoy a good game!

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Bethany did crafts with the kids. It was most lovely of her to spend her time doing this, although I’m pretty sure she made all my kids an extra big project with an extra lot of extra glitter.

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And more game playing, see what I said!

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This game was called, “See how many guys can fit in the same spot!” πŸ™‚
Not really. It is just that the closer you sit, the better you can hear the other conversations around you.

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This used to be the wild and wooly little gang doing donuts around the room. When did they get this big that they sit quietly and play games?

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“Let’s reconstruct the tower of Babel!” they said.
“Everyone else holds really still!” they said.

And like the tower, all good things must come to an end
and Thanksgiving vacation was over entirely too soon.

~~~

From my Instagram:

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The Amish schoolhouse that I sneakily take pictures of when I see the kids out. One day I was not so stealthy and the little girls held their hands over their faces. It embarrassed my kids which made it totally worth it.

~~~

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Y’all have yourselves a very merry weekend!

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Of October’s Days

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October showed off in spectacular colors this year.
It was amazing to drive around and just fill your eyes with God’s finery.

October was also filled to the brim.
Birthdays, outings, parties, photo shoots, editing, school functions, a funeral, family get-togethers, traveling, and stress. And after all of that, add all the usual “mom things” to fill in the cracks and there were days when I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed.

But I made it, but here is hoping for a calm November.

~~~

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A reason to celebrate in the Hostetler family is when someone turns 60. If it is a sibling, the siblings and spouses all spend a few days together. If it is a sister-in-law, just the ladies get together for a few days.

Now you can all play the Mennonite game and say,
“Oh my word, I didn’t know you were related to them!” πŸ™‚

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The one having the birthday is allowed to invite her daughters and in-laws, so we were privileged to spend a few grand days with them because it was our Mama Carol’s turn. We missed Melissa since she was unable to be with us.

Try this sometime.
Gather up your sisters and your Mom and spend a few days together doing a lot of nothing but eating and talking.
Or spend a few days with your Mom and her sisters.
Or even with your husband’s Mom and sister in laws. πŸ™‚
It will be time well spent.

~~~

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We were in IN one weekend.
They say pictures never lie, well I should beg to differ, but doesn’t this look like the most well behaved little gang of grandkids you’ve ever seen? πŸ™‚

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This little man is about as cute as they get!

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One morning we had Grandma’s specialty, sugar donuts as we call them, on the back porch. They were for special occasions when we were kids and now the grandkids still get them sometimes. Deep fried biscuits rolled in cinnamon-sugar, if you wondered.

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Tim, or rather Reagan, cooked a pot of ham and beans one night to go with our cornbread. She was in her element, as you can see.

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Not all little boys are privileged to have a Grandpa like this guy does.
They have a special bond.

~~~

Our school children took a trip to an Amish farm last week.

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When I walked in and saw this,
I sank into a deep, dark depression
at the thought of all that canning.
I will never let them see my canning shelves.

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I don’t do a lot of selfies, but when you have a friend like this begging for one with you, you must simply oblige. And the light was bad and is making my hair much more colored than they actually are, just so you know.

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We saw and fed a lot of animals that day and the kids loved it.
This is kind and gentle Sammy and he will always be remembered by me. To make a wild story short, he was a little over-eager to get to his food and he managed to get his curled horn around my leg at one point. 10 days later, I still have a rather significant bruise in memory of him.

~~~

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This night was just what I needed in the middle of everything else.
These kind friends blessed us with a concert and dinner.
This song spoke to me that night.

~~~

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Leaves, leaves and more leaves.
My neighbor man says to me, “I heard you blowing leaves more than once, you know that’s useless, right?” My reply to him, “If I wait until they are all down, we would never be able to get through them!”

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If you live in a flat, open, tree-less property and are pining away for a leaf or two, come on over and we’ll fill your cup!

~~~

Get started writing your thankful list!
Good day to you!

Life ‘Round Here

~
Some days thoughts and questions swirl endlessly through my head, so many I don’t know how to start putting them into words. Many of them get scribbled, scratched and tucked away for another time and place. Not many of them make sense, at least not enough sense to be spread across the world wide web.

So instead of scaring you forever by giving you too much to read, here’s bits and pieces of our life lately.

~~~

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And then there was this one time that they got along so well they read a book together.

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These two.
The big one doth mucho mucho spoil the little one.
I think it’s all to hear the little one say,
“Madison is my faborite!”

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Somehow when I wasn’t looking, Mr D grew up and was old enough to go to school. I declare he was just born the other day. We thought we weren’t ready for him to go, but my oh me, these days of peacefulness sure are a beautiful thing. In his very own words, “I bet there will be not as much screaming around here when I am in school!”
To be sure, he is correct.

~~~

We went to FL for Spring Break the first of March
and it was just what the Dr ordered.
Days of swimming, sand castles, and eating.

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This sky spoke to me.
It is the closest thing I’ve seen to the light of heaven.

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On an evening when photos were suppose to be perfection,
this Mother had a healthy dose of reality dumped on her once again.
She then remembered other years and the outcome of
photo-shoots with these very same children.
Why did she get her hopes so high?
Will she never learn her lesson?
Tune in this fall when she tries it again.

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I sat on this pier mornings and wrestled questions, thoughts and tears into subjection.
Or I tried. I’m not sure any progress was made. Coming to grips with certain things takes a long, long time and a lot of question asking of God.

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One morning the waves were madly beating all around me
and it felt very much like life at the moment.
As I sat on the pier, it didn’t budge an inch,
and I was reminded that I must rest in the only One
who is firmly anchored in the storms of life.
Nothing will shake Him, nothing will move Him,
He is in this with me for the long haul.

~~~

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We were in Indiana a few days.
Grandpa landscaped one day with a lot of help.
Or rather he tried, but it turns out some help is overrated.

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Jaxon is getting b i g so fast.
He has the sweetest of smiles (when he feels like it).

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I played hide and seek with Libby and her blanket.

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It was just good to spend time with these people again.
These are the ones who just ‘know’ without words, what you are feeling.

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Sunday Mom made deviled eggs for lunch. The rule of the day was anyone who ate an egg had to put the whole thing in their mouth and eat it in one bite. This was in honor of Tris’ method of eating deviled eggs, one gulp and it was gone. For some it was no problem ^^ while others struggled a bit, but they sure were good.

“`

One morning Dad called Mom and said to go out and look at the sky.
There it was, the Easter message so big and bright,
hanging right over us, just for us.

Cross

When we are in the middle of the storm, fighting fear and despair, it is then God gently reminds us, “Yesterday I died for you, today I live for you. Hold on to me, I will be here for you, because I love you.”

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.

Revving up Memories

Childhood memories …
Are there certain things you see or do that sparks a memory?
Maybe something you eat or hear?
Something triggers in there and you start thinking about
all the fun you had doing that when you were a kid.

One weekend in June we were in Indiana to see the family.
The ladies (and all the kids) were off doing their things,
and the guys (with not a child in sight) were off doing theirs.
No, we’re not bitter or anything but let’s just say
maybe next time they can see how that maxi van rides.

Anyway, getting back on track.
We both arrived home about the same time
and there on the back of their truck was a little dirt bike.

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When we were kids we practically lived on
a dirt bike, 3 wheeler, jeep or something like this.
Someone asked Tris when he learned to ride.
“Um, I don’t know. When I learned to walk!”
That’s about when I was thinking too.
I don’t remember learning to ride a dirt bike
or drive a jeep. They were just part of our life.

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(I may or may not have been begging for the first ride)

Now backing up a bit.
The guys were in town and found
a bike on Craig’s list, looked it up,
combined their cash and bought it.
On the way home they stopped to check out another one
that was leaning against a tree with a “For Sale” sign.
“We don’t have the cash right now, but we’ll be back!”
And they were.

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They came home and dropped off one,
asked Grandma for some cash and were off to buy one more.

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So now 3 guys are part owners of one bike
and Grandma is the proud owner of the 2nd one.

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Sat. afternoon and evening were pretty much a race track.
If you didn’t know how to ride before, you quickly learned.

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There were races on the road and laps around Grandma’s house.

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If you weren’t old enough to learn, you hopped on with someone for a ride.

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Sometimes the little bikes were on overload.

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They made a few rounds and stopped for the next guy to take a turn.

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On Sunday Tyson and his boys brought the two they have.
Now there were four, which meant much less time wasted waiting in line.

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Since I grew up riding, I thought my girls should learn also.
They loved it.
Problem is, now they have a short lists of “needs.”

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That Sunday was Father’s Day.
Since the guys took care of the dishes on Mother’s Day,
the ladies were generous and offered to do them for their day.

The guys looked out the door and almost offered to wash the dishes.
Kids of all sizes were waiting to start the bikes.

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But since it was Father’s day and all,
these guys went out and took the first ride.

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It was just a little bit like watching a circus.

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Madison said, “This is like watching all those little
cars in the parade that go in circles!”

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They stopped to line up for a race.

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There may have been some cheating involved
since the smallest bike was the first one off the line.

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They were kind enough to come back after awhile
and give their kids a push start.

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Eric decided Dakota is quite old enough to learn to ride.
And so he did!

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He was one proud little guy.
Only problem was, he learned on Sunday afternoon,
just a few hours before we were ready to leave for home.
Now it’s not just 2 begging, it’s 3.
(or maybe 4)

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Grandma generally has a nice looking lawn.
After that weekend, it was more of packed yard/race track.
We hope it recovered.

~~~

Dirt bike riding wasn’t the only thing we did that weekend.
It was just the only thing we did after we bought them.

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They had a lot of rain and the creek was just perfect for playing.
We spent hours playing in this creek when we were kids.
Now when we go back, my kids always hope for a little rain
to make the creek just right for a good splash.

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This gang created a body dam to stop the water …

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… from filling these guy’s bathtub.
One of them yelled,
“We don’t need a bath tonight since we took one in here!”

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We also filled up on ice cream that weekend.

Ice cream was pretty much a staple growing up.
We had home made ice cream parties with the cousins.
We ate it before bedtime, for dessert, a snack and just about any time.

When Tim bought an ice cream machine from a restaurant
going out of business, we had it up and running in no time.
Grandma bought every kind of cone, candy and cookie crumble
you can imagine to pile on it and the kids
thought they were in ice cream heaven.

~~~
Suffice to say, a weekend at Grandma’s is never dull.
Lots of memories for the next generation, coming up!

Of Going Home

Recently a Facebook friend and her family moved to another state.
Last week she commented about being excited about going “home” for a visit.
A few people wondered why she is referring to her previous community
as home. My comment to her was,
“It will always be home,
no matter how long you have been gone!”

When you have moved away, you’ll realize
that sometimes you just need to go home.
There is a pull there that you just can’t explain.
I’m always glad to come back to my house and my people,
but occasionally, I just need to go home.

And so it was that we went “home” last weekend.

We rarely get to Indiana for Mother’s day
because there are just so many things happening
around this time of the year
so it was special to be able to be there this year.

Blog 5-12 (1) Madison wanted Grandma to teach her how to make pie crust since her Mother seems to be a failure at such a thing.

Blog 5-12 (2) I watched and listened too, hopefully between the 2 of us we can make something edible next time the pie craving hits.

Blog 5-12 (3) She’s such a good grandma to take the time to teach with patience.

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She was happy with the finished product and it tasted good too!

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Miss Libby and her Mama.

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These 2, were one is you’ll be sure to find the other.
They have so much fun together.

Blog 5-12 (7) ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans’ applies to Grandma’s house.
When at Grandma’s do whatever you want, Grandma will say it’s ok.
As in, let’s all drink a juicie right before lunch.

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Never been happier, this little chip muncher.
Grandma knows her first love, which explains the extra large bag of chips.

Blog 5-12 (9) A perfectly fine Sat night on the back porch.
Family, food, fun and laughter.
In the name of being honest, it included quite a lot of kid fights too.
What else can one expect when there are 7 kids, 4 and under.

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The cutest little stinker ever.

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Bike riding fun.
Try as she might, she could not make this thing go
so “Push me!” was the name of the game.

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Mr Grant, a busier little guy you will not find.
Just watching him makes me tired,
and thinking about chasing him all the time
makes me even more tired.

Blog 5-12 (13) It was each man for himself when the roasting sticks
came out for marshmallows.
And then it was another grabbing mess
when the marshies were opened.
I see my daughter scored 4 when 1 or 2 was the limit.

Blog 5-12 (14) Some like them burnt, some like them cold.

Blog 5-12 (15) I see she managed to eat all 4 too.
Mr D had a lot of trouble with his roasting technique
but the marshie went down the hatch anyway.

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And when all the marshmallows are roasted away,
you just go ahead and roast the carrot your aunt
jammed on the stick when you asked for one more.

~~~

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Mother’s day morning with my littles. (or not so littles)
I am blessed.
Many years ago I cried all morning one Mother’s day
because of not having my child to hold.
Today I have 4 and am so thankful for them.

Blog 5-12 (18) It was special to spend the weekend with my lovely mother.
There is so much to be said of her that words cannot describe it all.
For her, I am so very thankful!

Blog 5-12 (19) So glad my girls get to grow up spending time with their Grandma.
They love going to her house.
Madison was scanning the summer calendar
to see when they can go for a whole week.
Get ready Grandma.

Lest one would think we are all happy as pie while smiling so sweetly,
not to be missed is the blurry little foot of the smallest one.
She seems to think swift kicking helps when you are mad.