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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Spring Days

The dogwoods are blooming, tree buds are opening, and flowers are showing up overnight. My ferns are starting to unfurl and things that I have no name for are popping up in the flower beds. We here at the little house in the little woods are quite happy to see that nature is closing in around us and we are no longer able to see the road. All that to mean, the people on the road are no longer able to see us!

April was a triple hitter with things happening, but May is going to knock it right out of the ballpark. I don’t know if my brain will be able to keep up with my body. Sadly, June is shaping up to look exactly the same. Slow, lazy summer, where art thou?

We were in IN for Easter.
It was a good weekend and we enjoyed spending time with family again, but we all missed Tris. There is just a big empty spot in all of our hearts now. Everything we do reminds us of how much he would have liked it or something he would have said or done.

I was thinking about Easter, the resurrection, our situation and what this day represents for those who have lost a loved one. Because of this resurrection, we have hope and believe me when I say hope is a beautiful thing

Grandma and Grandpa put a little cabin back in the woods, “for the grandkids'” they said, but we all like to spend time back there. We roasted hotdogs for lunch on Saturday.
And I heard you thinking the word redneck. What in the world would make you think that? Perish the thought! 😛

This little guy can’t wait for the day he can drive his Dad’s jeep.
The rest of us can hardly wait either because we have a good feeling about him.

Of course, there was a lot of this.
Big guys teaching the little guys.

~~~

This guy has been dreaming of ball games day and night. He will beg and plead endlessly for someone to play with him.

Once upon a time, I baked bread frequently… lately, um, not so much. The other week Eric found a big batch of morel mushrooms so I decided to make some fresh bread to go with them. I forgot how good it is.

Do not take this girl to a store such as this. If given permission she would empty your wallet before you could turn around.

~~~

These girls, when their Sunday school teacher’s birthday was coming up, they planned a party to surprise her. Or maybe it was just an excuse for them to have a party.

Sadly the night turned quite chilly but they wrapped up and had a good time.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about making the dessert with my in-house baker.

~~~

Our neighbors have a rooster.
The little chicken living here has learned to call to him and he will often answer.

~~~~
A few questions:

If you were painting a mudroom and laundry room, what color would you paint?
What do you have, or wish to have, in either of those rooms that is most important?
What is a good organization system in the mudroom so it doesn’t look like a shoe store just threw up?
And any other good things about either of these rooms?

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.  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.  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. 🙂

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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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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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. 🙂

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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!” 🙂
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!” 🙂

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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. 🙂
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? 🙂

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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.

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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.