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!

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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!

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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.

August, going once, going twice

As life would have it, some months just seem like they are out to get ya. If it’s not a rat race of leaving and going and doing all the time, it’s something emotional churning in the brain. There seemed to be no reprieve in August. I cut out everything I could, but a lot was unavoidable so we plunged head first in.

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We spent some time at Grandma’s in Aug. These girls jumped for the chance to help cook! Grandma was very patient and gave advice.

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One day while we were there, Shady Grove Bakery opened down by the creek. There were flyers taped to all the doors and trees letting us know the hours. We dutifully made a trip to visit and Grandma purchased some goodies. aka: all the junk food they could collect from the ladies living close by. 🙂

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This has to be one of the few places in the world that you come upstairs at 6:30am and they are eating ice-cream for breakfast. I didn’t argue, by all means, just filled my bowl and dug in too. It was leftover homemade from the night before and it may as well be eaten while it’s still good.

Tris had a love of ice-cream like few others do. We all like it, but none so much as he did. I think he would have eaten it for every meal if he could have. Now I stop at Dairy Queen occasionally and buy ice-cream and remember him with it.

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As usual, the bikes came out and they did some ramping. I’m sure when Mom designed their walk-out basement she had no idea this is what it would be used for.
We always miss Tris when they start driving bikes. He loved a good ramp and jump with the big ones or puttering around on the little ones.

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We had a day of fun with the big kids and some friends while we were in IN.
Kennedy stayed with Sarita for the day and we were all happier.

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Home again, home again and we were off to more dentist appointments. While driving through the parking lot at Walmart, Madison started yelling something about a mouse. We skidded to a stop and all jumped out to have a look. Imagine that sight!
He darted around here and there and we finally opened the hood to try to catch him, but he disappeared down into the motor before we got him. I know he looks like he is sitting still in this photo, but he really wasn’t… and who wanted to reach out and grab him anyway? If I was sure of getting the tail I would have, but I didn’t really want to catch that wiggly body in my hand. There is a now a warrant out for his arrest. The next time we’ll have a shoe ready for him.

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Our garden, or rather weed patch, is a sorry sight this year. It is an out of sight and out of mind kind of thing. When left unattended for too long, cukes grow to be the size of zucchini and the only things they are good for is creating veggie people and playing cooking shows. Cheap entertainment.

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We went camping two weekends in a row.
Quite taxing for this girl who likes her comforts of home better then roughing it.
The first weekend could be summed up in a few words, mainly one: rain. We could add “good company” to that to finish it off, but rain was the main ingredient.

Any weekend we go camping in the rain, I always have to think of the one and only time my family went camping. It was either scorching hot or pouring rain the entire weekend. Tris’ tent got flooded and I think he strolled around the campground most of the night, investigating things and completely enjoying himself.

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Our next weekend was full to the brim of fun, games, late night laughs, dog shows, swimming and the works. We always have the best of times with this group.

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Good food was the main ingredient.

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The kids would have spent the entire day in the water if we would have agreed to sit and watch them!

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As usual happens with me, I hit a low and crash at some point. The constant going and stress finally got to me one night and I just stayed home alone.

This grief walking thing throws me for a loop over and over. I like my life neat and tidy with all my ducks in a row. Grief does not ask your permission for an entrance, but just interrupts at any point, making itself known.

Some of these moments I knew were coming, some were very unplanned. Some of the bigger things I was bracing for turned out to be insignificant, other small things brought on a crash of the mental state. It is perplexing to say the least when trying to figure out why you react the way you do to certain things.

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This child!
Much could be said that is better left unsaid.
I fear my questioning of other parents
may have come back haunt me in this small form!

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This amused a high number of people on Instagram for reasons I’ll never know.
From here on out, I’ll leave the Kitchen Aid and the baking to Madison.
If the picture is blurry, it was because of her excessive laughter.

~~~~~~

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And last but not least, if you live in Ohio (or even if you don’t), come to the Haiti Benefit Auction on Sat and buy this cute little Penny Farthing bicycle my brother Tyson made.
It is one of a kind and won’t be found elsewhere.

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Late Night Rambles

When life gets exhausting and there are too many things screaming for my attention, I feel this pressing urge to sit down and type. Get the stress or whatever it is, out of my system, venting by the pounding of the keys, you might say.

It’s times like these that it is very dangerous for me to write late at night and post it. The next morning when my regular, coffee-hyped brain is back on duty, I will be shocked with content of my post and wonder how in the world my stressed brain allowed that on the www. It is much safer for me to open Microsoft Word and start venting on that clean white sheet, instead of airing all my dirty laundry here.

The last few weeks have been full!
My mind almost goes in panic mode sometimes when I start thinking about how soon school will be starting. Who in the world invented these short summers anyway? I declare it was only a month ago that school ended. I was wondering what I am going to do without “the help” around here all day, but came to conclusion that with three of them gone all day, the house will should need a little less picking up. hopefully.

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Last week Madison baked cookies for days. The first batch of chocolate chip cookies, intended for someone else, turned out so well that this gang wolfed them all down.
So, she had to make another batch. She made a double batch of Chocolate crinkles and Mr. D was almost besides himself with wishing to eat them. She baked a few other kinds too, but most of these cookies went out the door to other hungry people in case you are wondering if we are waddling yet.

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I made a trip to the big valley to photograph a wedding over the weekend. It was a two fold reason because I really wanted to see a dear friend who lives out there! It was worth the drive to spend time with her, although that drive by myself was no hardship, I tell you.
Peace and quiet for 5-6 hours?!
“Yes please, and I’ll have a coffee on the side, thankyouverymuch!”

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Lois and I go back to the teenage years and no matter how much time we spend apart, we pick up right where we left off. We talked as fast as we could and didn’t nearly get caught up! We have a lot in common, a lot of good memories and have plans to make more memories together.

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This little lady and I became friends right away and she was just the sweetest. It may be the fact that she is the only girl with 3 brothers to keep up with or she may just take after her mother.  She is one week younger the Kennedy and one week older the Kennedy’s best friend Josie. At any rate, Kennedy thought I should have brought her home with me!

~~~

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A stroll on the bike path was in order one evening.
Madison is at camp this week so these kiddos thought we needed to do something a little bit fun while she was gone! That may be due to the fact that their work load has increased with her being out of the house.

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Her latest thing is, “Mom, take a picture of us!” and so we do!

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Any donation, large or small would be acceptable after this trip!
I think we spent about two and a half hours in here filling tiny teeth and we are nowhere near done. I will be selling their teeth on eBay as soon as they fall out.

Please tell me my children are not alone in this matter of teeth. We brush, limit food groups and all that good stuff, but so far it has not helped on one single child of ours. In fact, the smallest child has the most cavities right now, an alarming amount actually.

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This brave one took a chance and went without being numbed while they fixed three small cavities. She said it didn’t hurt. No, probably not because my teeth were over here hurting for her.

Mr. D loves the dentist. No really, believe me when I say, he loves to go to the dentist. He had to have a tooth filled and 4 sealed on this trip. Reagan tried to convince him of all things bad, but he was quite sure about being happy to go. She even whispered about getting a s-h-o-t, but he calmly said, “So! It doesn’t even hurt!”
While he was stretched out on the chair, I heard the nurse say, “Dakota!” and I asked what was wrong? She laughed and said, “I think he was falling asleep because his hand slipped off the armrest and his head started to nod to the side!” This is the 2nd time he fell asleep while having a tooth filled.

I wanted to call Tris on the way home so badly. One of the things he hated the most in this old world, was going to the dentist! It was a literal terror for him to have to sit on that chair and have a tooth filled. I could only imagine his response to Dakota falling asleep. I’m happy for Tris that he no longer needs to face the dentist chair!

~~~

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A long river ramble was good for the soul one day.
If your kids are about to drive you out of the house or make you wish for school to start, find a river and turn them loose for a few hours. They will think you just spent a hundred dollars on them!

Are you ready for school to start?

Morning edit: not too bad for so late at night! 🙂

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June Days

Is it getting close to the end of June already?
I’m afraid I’ll wake up one of these days and school will be starting next week. Some days I would welcome it, I tell you. The amount of noise and squabbling  around here is deafening. Advice welcomed on this issue.

Other days, this summer life is quite nice.
I have lots of help, but the poking, prodding and prompting to get the jobs done swallows up all the extra time I should have from them helping. Other days with the promise of a beach trip, they can whip things into shape quickly.

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//- This child keeps life interesting. Her emotions are all over the place in true female fashion. We go from falling on the floor howling over the smallest thing (yes, my kid does that sometimes) to catching, holding and laughing at her favorite animal!

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She was very impressed with this guy!
“I found a new fwiend. He’s my biggest fwog.”

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//- A few weeks ago we met and spent hours eating and talking.
It was the best of times and just what I needed.
It’s been long enough that I now I need another night like this.

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//- On one of those beach trips …
these two, they rarely fight, are always so glad to see each other, but this day, this day they fought. They fought over the absolute, most ridiculous thing to fight about at the beach. Sand! Yes, sand. They fought over sand!

Aren’t our “adult fights” usually over trivial issues too?

//- The other days Reagan says, “I would kind of like to learn to mow.”
My reply, “The thought of you on the mower makes my liver quiver!”

However we did give her a few driving lessons in the lane.
Nothing close to the house though, to be sure!

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//- The garage … is coming along at its own pace. It’s a little farther along then when this photo was taken, but it’s the last one I have. This is the only time the kids helped since the roof was fairly flat back here. Me on the other hand, not much help at all.

I will not be disappointed if this project is completely finished in the next 5 years, or maybe I should put that out to 8 or 10 years. I am not complaining, just telling you so you don’t expect it to be done in 2 months.

//- Swimming classes every morning for two weeks. The son/fish is the only one in class from this family, so it is going well. Most of the time he doesn’t hear what his instructor is saying because he’s under water doing donuts .

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//- When you are traveling and come around the corner to this!
And then you look out to your right and see this!
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Most of the traffic was parked along the shoulder and all the passengers had their phones out. I joined them.

//- This house of mine. The insane amount of clutter that can build up in no time flat is simply amazing. Who are these people that drop it and where in the world does it come from? It seems like I could spend hours every day putting stuff away. Or if I had my wish, throwing stuff away. sigh. We have too much stuff I do believe. What is your clutter spot? Or shall I say “spots” because we have a lot more then one here. The end of the table, the island, the desk and every end table in the living room.

After the Rain

//- It stormed one evening a week or so ago. Eric left when it stopped raining and texted to tell me to go look at the sunset. Going to look at the sunset here does not meaning stepping out onto the porch, it means leaving our circle of trees. So, I grabbed my camera and drove down the road … it was worth it!! While I sat there and watched, it was constantly changing, the clouds, the colors and the beauty.

It has a profound meaning for me after thinking about the last eight months we’ve been through. Will there be beauty after our rain? It doesn’t seem like it is possible, but God has a way of doing what we think impossible.

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//- Most of the time when you have a birthday, you want someone to bake you a cake. Not so here. She couldn’t wait for this, or decide which cake to make for herself.

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We have a teenager in the house.
I distinctly remember her being born yesterday!

Look closely, the braces worn for three years are now gone!!
I told her that was her birthday gift. 😀
Happy girl, even happier Mom!

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The chosen cake was not of my choosing, to be sure.
Chocolate fudge with coffee, chocolate cream cheese filling,
topped off with cool whip and a splash of coffee stirred in.
Whew!

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//- Mothers of sons… a question. The teasing, tormenting, aggravating, pestering, laughing, wrestling and picking on sisters … will it ever end?
If you say it will continue to get worse, I may just leap out of the screen and grab you!

His quote of the day a few weeks ago.
We were traveling and he was B O R E D again.
I asked if he had looked at all his books?
“Y E S – Y E S –  Y E S”
said in his best robot voice.
“Did you find everything in your I SPY books?” I asked.
“Yeah, but they forgot to put some stuff in!”

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//- Life lately … let’s just say there are okay weeks, and then there are ugly weeks. We are on an ugly stretch right now. The struggle is real. It is daily.  The waves come and go but the surf never ends.

Grief is like the ocean;
it comes in waves,
ebbing and flowing.
Sometimes the water is calm,
sometimes it is overwhelming.
All we can learn to do is swim.
-Vicki Harrison

Father’s day weekend spent with three fatherless children is tough. There just isn’t much more to say about it. It brings a heartache like I’ve never felt before.

At times like this I just want to go out and scream, “WHY?” I know in my head that I need to be okay without knowing why, that God’s way is best, but it’s just taking my heart a lot longer to get to that point.

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Part of my problem right now may be due to the fact that I have a birthday coming up and I am kicking and screaming on the inside at the thought of having a birthday without him. I have had a few without him, three to be exact, but it was the three I don’t remember. All the other years he was around to help celebrate or give me a call.
He would call and after my hello, he would clear his throat and begin his wild amazing rendition of “Happy birthday!” No matter how much you interrupted or tried to get him to stop, he continued belting it out all the way to the very last note, and then he would laugh and want to know what’s happening today!
I will miss that this year.

 

You can’t stop the waves
but you can learn to surf.

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That Time We Cat-Sat

Once upon a weekend, the little owner of Miss Kitty went on vacation with her family. Since kittens do not do well when left alone for a long period of time, we were called upon to cat-sit. When asked, this Mother replied, “Not a problem, as long as we don’t have to get a cat till the weekend is over!” And so Miss Kitty came to stay a few days.

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The Little One living here was suppose to be the cat-sitter … but, well, that didn’t go so well since she was quite frightened of the little fur ball. Miss Kitty seemed to know it too, because the little claws came out every time Kennedy tried to hold her. When asked, Kennedy would say, “I can’t hold her, I don’t have my jacket on.” meaning she needed something to protect her arms. So, Mr D and Reagan took over, quite happily.

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No sooner then Miss Kitty was here, Reagan ran down to the sewing machine and whipped up a little “mouse” for her. Stuffed with batting, it even had little ears and eyes, which Miss Kitty promptly tore off from all her swatting. She also made a little pillow and stuffed it with cat food so Miss Kitty would have something good to smell while she slept.
Hmmm, what can I stuff my pillow with to sniff while I sleep?

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Miss Kitty had quite the adventures while staying here. She played with her mouse for hours, she toured our entire house and had to be dug out from under Mr D’s bed. Reagan fixed up a ‘cute’ bed instead of her old box, which you can see behind her and Miss Kitty kindly obliged by napping in it frequently.

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When I say ‘toured our entire house’ I do not mean that lightly. She was even placed on Kennedy’s bed, but Kennedy was quick to rescue her precious blankie before the Miss Kitty could even sniff it.

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Having a little chit-chat about the claws she likes to use.

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Kennedy finally got brave enough to carry her to the back yard. I felt sorry for Miss Kitty when I watched them go for it was not a cuddly carrying, but she didn’t seem to mind.  The dumb brave little cat just sat directly under the swing where she was placed, more then likely too tired to move.

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Miss Kitty was also given multiple rides down the slide. I wish you could have heard her laugh. The girl, not the cat. I fear Miss Kitty was not laughing in the least until it was over. No cats were injured during this affair. She just has mad jumping skills that caused the laughing.

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After all that exercise, she was ready to sit and let Kennedy pet her, claws in.

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Mr D even sat and held her for awhile so she could take a nap.
(I didn’t know he could sit still for that long)

And when Reagan finally finished her work, she took over cat duty.

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Out came the pillows, pink and all things fluffy. One would have thought this was a princess instead of a cat.

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They happily laid out in the grass together.

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Reagan amused herself by turning Miss Kitty into other animals??
This was a mad, crouching Bobcat.

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A dog? A bunny? I’m not even sure.

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As you can she was given the royal treatment while residing here. She even dined on steak scraps one night, but we skipped the wine and opted for water to go with her meal.

Miss Kitty was finally returned to her rightful owner and things calmed down around here. I am now able to get something done other then being called to come see what Miss Kitty did now.

And now, I know what you all are thinking.
No, we don’t need a kitty.
We have one.
Old stray Jack makes a lovely, lazy mouse catcher!
We shall keep him and be happy indeed.
At least I will.

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Life of Late

The mind whirls, the brain spins,
yet nothing intelligent comes forth.
Is that anything new?
I would like to think so,
but then again, I wouldn’t know
because it seems this brain has taken
a siesta from it’s body as of late.

Funerals attended.
A week in Indiana.
Good times with family and friends.
A health crisis with Mom.
A wedding.
Back home.
Calling hours of a friend’s Mom.
A bridal shower.

And in between all that,
there is all the usual here at home.
I felt the lawn tickling my knees
while tomatoes call to me through their rotten spots.
Zucchini the size of pumpkins crawl from the garden,
begging for attention. I am deaf to their cries.
Girls continue to grow, with no concern for what they will wear.
Photos cry from their spot, hidden away in Lightroom.
People continue to send wedding invitations,
all pretty and pleasing to the eye.
I gaze longingly and wish to attend, relax amid the beauty,
and maybe take a nap while I’m there.
Children continue to roam freely,
building towers of toilet paper rolls, while chewing 5 pieces of gum.

These are the days, they say.
You will miss this some day, they say.
Until then, here’s a few of my Project 365 photos of what’s been happening.

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I did attend to the zucchini’s cries one day
and chopped it into relish.

8-8
This my friends, is the newest leg killer in town.
It is out to get you, just begging to be climbed.
Not hard at all, just a few 200+ steps.
5 days later the legs were still swearing on the way downstairs.

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“How many pieces of popcorn can you catch with your mouth?”

8-10
“I think I can, I think I can!”
And he did.

8-11
Watching Grandpa’s new Tv in their tent!

8-13
Visiting Grandma in the hospital after her heart attack.

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We were reminded to cherish each day with our loved ones.

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My quiet traveling companion.

8-17
There was no time to drink coffee that morning,
but whooo could resist drinking with this guy.

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We celebrated the pretty bride to be.

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And one last shopping trip with this gang.
All the school supplies are collected and waiting for next week.

School and next week should never be in the same sentence,
especially when it feels like it is still July the 4th.

Wild Weeks of Summer

Sometimes summer life gets so crazy,
you just long for those boring days of winter.
Did I just say that?
No, I’m not wishing for winter by any means,
just a little less on my agenda
and a little longer summer.

This summer has just been knock-me-out busy!
I am not one that does well with this kind of life,
so after a few weeks of constantly running,
I am getting snappy, as my family can attest to.
Don’t stop in until I’ve had a few days to recuperate.

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Once upon a time, a long time ago,
we manged to hit the beach for a day.
Cousins and friends and all kinds of good fun.

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We stick Madison in her happy corner
any time we are home for a bit.
She is now taking donations for a Kitchen Aid.
I don’t know why she thinks she wants one,
we have a perfectly good Bosch.

Life takes unfair and unexpected twists sometimes
and we got the call one evening that Eric’s uncle had passed away.
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Since we were heading West for this,
we made a pit stop at Mom’s to drop off the kids and help with corn day.
There were 3! Yes 3! trucks beds full of corn.
We thought we would never get done.
500 some bags later we finally did.

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On the way home from MO, in the blazing heat,
something quit on the truck.
Thank you Jesus for Auto Zone and brothers that stop to help!

The day we arrived home,
our future brother-in-law’s Dad passed away.
One’s family should never be left to grieve alone,
so we made plans to head south.
We had a few days at home between trips to smash some things in.
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Such as, tormenting small sisters.

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Hitting the library.

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A Dr visit for some out of control poison ivy!

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The south gave us a warm welcome indeed
after many hours of sitting.

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We may or may not have made more than one a pit stop here
in the 42 hours we were gone.

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And these guys solved the worlds problems
while we drove and stopped and drove and waited,
stopped, drove, stopped and drove.
Suffice to say, until all the traffic jams were conquered on the way home,
the “two round fleshy parts that form the lower rear area of a human trunk”
were quite numb!

Thankfully Grandma was stopping in for the night
and rounded up the tribe before we got home.
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Of course she brings things like chocolate cupcakes for kids.

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She says it was quite good.
I will let her be the judge of that.

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Mom also brought gorgeous flowers from the wedding they attended.
They were begging to be photographed.

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Little One came by for a sniff test.
She said, “Deese smell nummy!”

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So what do her hair remind you of? 🙂
This morning the horns would have been quite appropriate.

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Late at night, she ate popcorn to put off bedtime.
Of course the entire bag got dumped and I made her sweep it up.
That turned out to be quite a lot of fun she thought,
much more fun than sleeping.

Quote of the day:

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“Oh my word, Mom, look!
A Mommy ice cube is gonna pop out a baby ice cube!”