Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer shenanigans

One evening Chloe hosted a 'carnival' in her room.  It was complete with arm bands, Frisbee toss, horse rides, ball toss, variety show, and prizes.  It was quite the show!  She is such a party planner!
Before school started the kids and I went to my grandmother's house to learn her version of canning pickles.  I don't know of a Pfannenstiel being who doesn't love Grandma's pickles. 
They are the best. 
She doesn't trust herself canning anymore as she doesn't want to lift the jar out of the boiling water.  I can't blame her -- it's intimidating!  But I was thrilled when she offered to teach me. 
I video taped her lesson, took notes, and did everything I could to learn 'grandma's' way. 
Even though I'm sure mine will never taste the same.

This tool was used by my great-grandmother. 
Grandma thought her mom was probably using it 80-90 years ago. 

Don't you love recipes from this generation when they just say,
"Add garlic"
"Add mustard seed"
I wrote my own version and made grandma measure her additions!
Once the pickles were made it was time to go outside.  Grandma had scraps for the kittens, along with their daily soft food while they are young.  Grandma said we had to be quiet, and I was in shock when my four loud-mouths sad completely silent while their Great-Grandma called the kitties.

Ringing the doorbell at Gram's! 
Helping mom wash the car!

They had bubbles up to their armpits!

First Days of School 2014

Amelia and Caroline were the first to start school this year.  They started a 3-year old program at Shining Stars Preschool.  They absolutely love it and enjoy every day! 
It's cute in the classroom.  They have to find their cubby with their name on it for their backpack.  The cubbies are alphabetically by first name, so there is an Averie to separate their names.  Even though it's only one cubby between, it's nice that they can't necessarily depend on the other for proper placement of their own 'pack-packs'.  They get so proud when they find their own!

A few days later Chloe and Isaac started school.  They were happy to join their friends back at
Holy Family Elementary again!  It was a great summer but it feels so good to be back in
normal routines.   
Mrs. Paula Beck is Chloe's teacher.


Mrs. Karen Rohr is Isaac's teacher. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Minnesota - Vacation July 2014

Our neighbors and friends, Trey, Rachel, Jace, and Tessa, asked us to vacation to Minnesota with them July 2014.  They had actually already asked LAST July/August after their last trip up there.  So we have known of this vacation for a year and the kids had a countdown on my phone for about 70 days prior.  Everyone was excited! 
As it is a 12-hour drive from Hays we decided it would be best for our family to drive a big chunk of it at night.  I had set my countdown for 10pm on Friday, July 18th and we hit the road after greeting everyone at a family reunion at precisely 10:09pm.  Not bad!  We had our rented U-Haul cargo trailer and we were off!   
The kids thought it was so fun that we were going to sleep in the car.  Actually, I think they thought at first that we were literally going to pull over and all of us sleep in the car instead of getting a hotel room.  When I explained that Royce and I would continue driving through the night I don't think they thought it was quite as fun.  Royce and I, however, LOVED every bit of it!  OH my!  It was absolutely the best decision for our family.  7-8 consecutive, uninterrupted hours of peaceful driving.  The kids fell asleep between Russell and Salina, and woke up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  They missed the rest of Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa!  We pulled into Sioux Falls, SD at 5:30am right as the sun was coming up.  We had a great family breakfast at the Fryin' Pan.  It was very surreal that we were so far already.  Royce was particularly exhausted because he had driven the last stretch, but I don't sleep well in cars period so we were both tired and it was a good break for us.  We had about 4-5 hours left and the kids were refreshed and ready for the trip. 
Another pit stop! 
The nearest Walmart is about 30 minutes from our resort.  Think of Cedar Bluff and Hays, for local comparison.  So we stopped at Fergus Falls, MN to get our final, cold groceries and beverages.  We left Fergus Falls to get back on the highway and POP!  I can see a tire on our trailer going flat!  We drove 11 1/2 hours and get a flat tire within 20 minutes from our final destination!?!  Ugh!  Luckily we had kept the spare in the trailer and my handy-hubby knows how to change a tire.  Within 20 minutes and 5, yes FIVE Minnesotans stopping to see if we needed help, we were back on the road. 

This is what we were waiting for! 
Our cabin was perfect!
It slept all 10 of us in beds and had 4 bathrooms, two full fridges, and so much space.  
The ground level opened up to a grassy lawn, playground equipment, a small beach, and the dock. 
Wentlings arrived a few hours later and we hit the water!
We rented the pontoon boat for the week and it was so nice having a safe boat for all the kids.   

Now -- picture overload! 
Here's what we did all week! 

While Isaac absolutely hated the tube, Caroline loved it!


Your turn, Sissy!

Amelia - my fearless navigator!

I think Cappy was taking a .....

Isaac caught the only Pike from the dock!
Even in his jammies!

More with Amelia!  She really wanted to go "All myself!" but luckily I had better judgment than to stick a 3-year old on the tube by herself! 

Caroline snoozed.

Photo by Isaac!

Lake Itasca -- the Headwaters of the Mississippi River!

Detroit Lakes, MN 

Hee hee hee..... :)

Tessa and Chloe -- snug into bed!

Chloe on Jace's knee board for the first time. 
She got up all the way!

Jace on his knee board.

Jace was fun to watch on the knee board and tube.  He challenged himself, loved the waves, and was up for anything.  These kids made a lot of memories this week. 

Some kids hijacked my camera!?!?! 

 When you aren't a coffee drinker, it's okay to have your 'coffee' look and taste like Malibu and Pineapple Juice while boating :) 

Chloe and Tessa paddled to pick up Jace from his final knee-board outing! 

Walleye, and Pike fish fry, S'mores and fireside charades on the last night at the cabin!

Interpret as you wish....

We stopped in Omaha to go to the zoo on our way home. 
A drunk guy in the parking lot decided to break windows in vehicles that night and we were one of the ten cars he damaged.  I think his punishment should have been riding in the car with all the kids and a flappy window all the way back to Hays....
The only thing that muffled it was 3 pillows pressed against it. 
I do have a lot of pictures at the zoo -- but honestly -- they aren't anything fantastic.  I used my video camera of the kids quite a bit at the zoo so we'll have that to look back at.  This really was a fantastic vacation, even with the book-end vehicle issues.  We rolled with the punches and had a great time.  We are fortunate to have such great friends who understand traveling with four kids (two of them being turkeys half the time) takes patience, planning, and a lot more patience.  We are so blessed to have had this experience together!