Sunday, September 28, 2014

Relaxation Station

Greg and I were long overdue for a few days away. The last time we took off kid-free for an overnight was for our ninth wedding anniversary, eleven years ago. Within a few hours of arriving to peace and quiet, we wondered why it has taken us so long to plan a trip.

We craved solitude and sought a cabin rental in Brown County, Indiana that would be off the beaten path. The Relaxation Station did not disappoint. We passed through Gnawbone, cringed through Nashville and hoped we weren't in for that level of congestion the entire weekend before coming to Bean Blossom which was as exciting as one would believe a town called Bean Blossom could be. There was one small store, a tiny diner and several churches. After we crossed train tracks on Railroad Road (the names were amusing) and a one-lane bridge that makes our local one-lane bridge look like a fine piece of architecture, we found ourselves on dirt and gravel roads. We encountered one other vehicle on those back roads one time throughout weekend. It was glorious.

Our cabin was surrounded by thirteen acres of woods. The only noise we heard was the sound of acorns dropping. We called them scattered acorn storms because they happened in waves of noisy intrusion. It was hilarious at times as we had to convince ourselves no one was on the roof.

The light filtering through the leaves was beautiful. Acorns polluted the entire area and our kids were the lucky recipients of the only souvenirs gathered. We were pleasantly surprised to see areas already ushering in fall colors and drove around a bit to check out the scenery and also a few other local cities. We had no agenda beyond being together and relaxed. The area is lovely. We caught ourselves commenting on things the kids would enjoy and hope to someday take Kate and Ty to a similar location so they too and appreciate the wonder of nature.

We had access to a private pond and dock with inviting red Adirondack chairs. I found myself lingering by that pond often. It was so peaceful.

There was a clearing half way down the long driveway where we ventured with a flashlight late Friday night to see the stars. It was the most amazing night sky I have witnessed since camping with my parents as a child. The Milky Way was so predominate as were countless bright stars. It was stunning. Saturday morning, I wandered back down the lane to capture a view of sunrise while Greg slept in. It was the prettiest dew covered morning. I was later busted relaxing on the dock with a cup of tea and good book. And by busted I mean that Greg found his missing wife and commented that losing me in the middle of nowhere was not on the agenda. Smile.

The evenings were beautiful with incredible sunsets. God really does show off if we just take some time to notice. We ended each day in the hot tub but opted to not photograph those relaxing and wonderful moments. You are welcome.

As it turns out, Saturday night offered Greg an OSU football game. I planned accordingly. Life doesn't get much more perfect than a good book, a quilt and a fire.

We are so grateful to my parents who drove to our house and spent the weekend running our chaotic lives while we escaped. Ty and Kate enjoyed exploring a cave, checking out a local festival and lots of sweet treats in our absence. Grandma and Grandpa are awesome.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Greg and I requested a conference with Kate's teacher this week. She willingly met with us, fully prepared with several samples of Kate's work and a lot of encouraging things to say about her personality and character. We appreciated her thoroughness and honesty about the test prep work being done in the classroom. Philosophically we are on the same page and it was refreshing to hear from her. She shared Kate's latest writing sample and it touched my heart. She wrote about the day she and I worked with her new sewing machine to make a quilt. She documented the frustrations we had with the machine as it repeatedly broke down on us. She talked about the final result being a cozy blanket she slept with that night. The ending was awesome. "That day with my mom was the best day ever!" On the hard days when I pray my best parenting is enough to keep my kids out of therapy, it does my heart good to hear how much they appreciate my efforts.
She has a charming tendency to start conversations mid-thought. She wanders in and out of subjects as she recounts her day and I have to pay close attention to follow along. Her bubbly enthusiasm for life is contagious. These photos were taken this week because Kate discovered flower girl dresses from Uncle Brad's wedding in the dress up bin. It was as good a reason as any to celebrate and document the occasion. Who knows, maybe we've created another "best day ever".

Friday, September 19, 2014

This Week

We celebrated Brutus' birthday on Tuesday. Our big guy is now ten years old. The kids insisted we have a steak dinner in honor of his day so he could get the meaty steak bone as a treat. I seriously doubt as much consideration will be shown on my birthday but they could always surprise me. Anyway, Lauren then went and got him a small order of fries and a package of dog treats. Brutus was as spoiled as he should be.
Hope For Harper

Our entire town went gold for Harper today. Harper is the little girl I referenced in this post. We all wore our Hope For Harper tee shirts and either gold or pink accessories because Gold represents childhood cancer and pink is Harper's favorite color. Please keep this sweet family in your prayers.

Fourteen is hard. Each and every time. I should be an expert on these hormonal moments by now but they simply don't get any easier and each daughter tackles fourteen their own unique way. Mom could use a break.

And while we're on the subject, three is also full of challenges. This time around, I get to send said three year old home at the end of the day but long days are certain when the three year old is determined to rule the world.
This is trouble.

We have lived two miles from the drive-in movie theater for the last 8 years and I am taking the kids for the first time tonight. It is the drive-in's 63rd birthday so admission will be 63 cents per person. That price point is right up my ally, even if it is for a movie we already own and lose brain cells watching.

Five year olds are very literal people. I teased Lauren at the doctor today about being a good girl and not crying should she need an antibiotic shot. I laughed and said she'd get ice cream if she was a good girl. Ty over heard me and on our way out of the office excitedly informed two year old Anna we'd be getting ice cream next. It was ten o'clock in the morning. Of course we ran into people we knew as I ordered ice cream for small children at 10 am.

As we pulled in to pick up Lauren's prescription after getting ice cream, she pointed out a new truck she'd like to have. Once again, my sarcastic approach to this motherhood gig got the best of me and I casually mentioned letting her take my debit card to buy a new truck this afternoon.  While waiting on the medicine, Ty told a stranger in line we were buying a new truck today. I cracked up. Clearly, I am a slow learner.

Kate attended a "bring your friend for free" dance class with Gleason Wednesday. Kate appreciated the opportunity to wear her ballet clothes and see Glea who is often only here the hours Kate attends school.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Counting Blessings

Saturday Kate, Ty and I went "shopping outside". In other words, we walked around our neighborhood yard sale. Ty is now the proud owner of a pogo stick, Lord help me. Kate scored two new dresses for next spring and I enjoyed chatting with neighbors and friends. Afterward, Makenna and I hit my favorite consignment shop and we each came home with two new sweaters. We were living the bargain hunting dream. That evening, our sweet Colby stopped by with his family for dinner. We haven't seen them in six months and it was six months too long. We miss them immensely. The teens spent Saturday evening at a local festival and all returned with stories of good food and lots of laughter.

Rumor has it, chocolate brownies were served.

This morning Lauren was in a minor accident while driving Greg's truck. She hit a man on a motorcycle. Praise God there were no injuries. It was tough to come upon that scene and know all too well how vastly different the ending could have been. In the end, even the responding officer was joking around with all of us and the owner of the Harley gave Lauren a bracelet and a Christian tract about salvation since everyone involved was on their way to church. Lauren is wearing the bracelet proudly stating she is now in a motorcycle gang. I am just relieved that not only was no one hurt but that it was a Christian biker she hit! He looked rough to say the least but was beyond friendly about the incident.

This afternoon, Greg's parents joined us for a few hours and also stayed for dinner. Greg scored points across the board this weekend for incredible grilling skills. Our visit was pleasant as was the weather.

We ended the day at the park. It was the perfect way to release another perfect weekend.

This is Erin's "I skipped a rock" celebratory face. She's cute.

Ty giving the big kids a ride on the merry-go-round. Joy.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Autumn Arrival

The day was overcast, damp and cool. We didn't see temperatures above 60 degrees and a sweater was needed as I watched Kate board the school bus this morning. Chili and beer bread were served for dinner. Endless cups of hot tea and comfy jeans were appreciated. Our first fall like day has made it's appearance and I couldn't be more pleased.

Kate had a long, weepy week and needed a little note of encouragement by Wednesday to get over the mid-week hump. I slipped her an invitation to do something fun, just the three of us Friday after school since I wouldn't have extra little ones. She was delighted and frankly, I was too. We visited our favorite orchard to pick apples. Sadly it was our only visit this year as we missed strawberries and peaches due to the unusually busy summer. We had the place to ourselves and relished the experience.

A benefit to being the only customers on the "traptor ride" is the driver's insistence we stop for a photo in the pumpkin patch along the way to the apple orchard. Ty loves "traptors" so for him, it was the highlight of our afternoon.

Ty thought to bring bread for the geese and thoroughly enjoyed feeding them until they charged at him. Screaming ensued and we made a very noisy exit. Despite my best efforts to stay composed, I cracked up as I carried him to the parked van.

But they're pretty.

Kate and Ty were playing a board game in the living room. Their laughter was contagious. It had been a rough evening, full of less than well feelings and strong emotions. My kids are the best medicine. Of course, at times, they are also the reason I should consider medicine too. Perspective is everything. 

Ty is always wearing a much so that I am either washing costumes or character pajamas exclusively for him. Putting something into the shirt drawer is rare. Today though, Spidey stole Ironman's mask and created a bed for himself. I guess even superheros need a change every once in a while too.
Spidey holding Spidey

I sent this shot to my sister. She was surprised. Her little girl hasn't ventured out of the living room yet and she doesn't get into trouble. Wait! What? I have been duped.

Oliver will conquer one Spidey or another but seriously, do kittens wear eyeliner?

Last night the kittens decided to make themselves at home on my bed. I put them on the floor countless times but they relentlessly returned time and time again. I gave up and went to sleep. I woke this morning to kittens on my pillows. As I stated earlier, I have been duped.