Friday, July 21, 2017

Family Vacation {As in...the WHOLE Family}

Mid-July found us in Branson, MO, with most of my entire family - my siblings and their families and my mom.

If you want to do the math, that's 11 adults and 21 kiddos - 32 people total! Sadly, my youngest brother and his wife weren't there, but they had a good excuse. My SIL gave birth to their first baby the day after our reunion started!

As always, it was a blast to vacation together with family (although we always miss dad tremendously). Usually when we're all together, we meet up at home in Kansas, and while there are logistics involved in those family gatherings, that's nothing compared with the logistics needed to take 32 people on vacation! My SIL Krista worked wonders in organizing everything with mom.

This is the second year mom has gifted this reunion to the family, and it was our first year to take C. I plan to write another post about that!

So, before I inundate this space with pictures, the recap goes like this:
  • Wednesday night we all arrived in time for supper and swimming
  • Thursday - Silver Dollar City all day
  • Friday - boating/tubing/kayaking all day
  • Saturday - more Silver Dollar City during the day and Moses at Sight and Sound Theatre in the evening
  • Sunday - water park / buffet supper at Golden Corral (seriously the biggest highlight for some of those boys!)
  • Monday  - the long trek home (long for us Michiganders - we were a little jealous of the Kansans' shorter drive!)
The trip begins...lots of stops on this leg of the trip.
The condos we stayed at were beautiful - very close to the pool, lake access, completely furnished with anything we could need.
Here's the whole gang at Silver Dollar City!
 C liked watching some of the water rides.
 He was a pretty big fan of amusement park food!
 Don't worry...a lot of sharing happened with these funnel cakes. Each kid didn't get a whole one!
 J and one of the cousins
 Matt and J ready to tube
 Tweety tubing with a cousin
 Mom and me

Mom with all the grandkids - just missing the newest one!
Sometimes, after a long day in the sun, a little Tolkien in movie form is in order!
Ever since he saw a commercial, this boy has been dying to try Mac 'n Cheetos at Burger King. Since friends from church gave the kids some treat/travel money, we told him he could get his wish! We stopped at a Burger King on the way to Branson, but they were sold out (who knew they were so popular), but on the way home, we found a Burger King that had them in stock. He was happy!
 When Tweety travels, her menagerie of cats tags along!
We had an amazing time and are so thankful to mom for such a fun family gift! The only downside is that these vacations make me miss  mom and the rest of the family so much!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

J's Favorite Time of Year

Any time soccer season begins, it's J's favorite time of year! He loves playing soccer!! Tweety likes playing soccer, but you probably wouldn't call it love! They both are so fun to watch on the soccer fields!

And of course J's favorite time of year is also C's because there's nothing better to him than spending hours watching kids chase a ball around a field!

Tweety scored her first goal this year! Yay!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ending and Beginning

Finally, nearly a month after the Kansas cousins got their summer break, we finally have ours! So I'm wrapping up the end of the school year and diving into the start of summer with this post.

Last day of school this week...
J had his final band concert this month. He was so happy to keep his first chair status all year long! He definitely has his daddy's talent with the trumpet. C didn't like this concert quite as much as the Christmas one. The song that was supposed to portray the chaos of a fire was a little too modern for his taste! But he made it through the whole concert - so proud of him!
Matt and I have birthdays a week apart, and within the span of about two months we have four of our five family birthdays, plus Mother's day, so there's been a lot of good eating and celebrating going on. Jenna made me this awesome, homemade carrot cake! It was the best I've ever had!
 C took me out for breakfast for my birthday - and ate all my pancakes! He makes me so, so happy!
Matt's parents spoiled us by grilling steak (my favorite!) for our birthdays, and then the old racetrack in the basement provided loads of entertainment!
And now it's time for summer! We have lots of fun things planned, as well as plans to enjoy the restfulness and mundane elements of summer! J said that when he thinks of summer, he thinks of the library. Yes, yes, he's definitely my child!

Trips to the UP, yard work, trips to the library, seeing Kansas's going to be a good, good summer!
And then, there's these two guys
Today celebrates 15 years of love, marriage, and life together with my Matt! It also marks 13 years of missing my dad. God's goodness covers both anniversaries. In love, in life, in death - great is God's faithfulness.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Annual Gift We Love

I don't think I've said this on here for a long time, but we have an amazing church family! We've been here for nearly 10 years! Wow!

We're not perfect; they're not perfect (close though!) - but we are growing together, and we love our family in Christ.

Every year our church gives us an amazing gift. Well, actually they give us lots more than one, but the one we just enjoyed is so, so awesome!

Every year they send us to a conference...can be a pastor's conference, Bible conference, etc. We get to choose, and they send us!

This year we went to Chicago. Matt attended Moody Bible Institute's pastors' conference, and I tagged along to enjoy the city! We love going back to our college-era stomping grounds whenever we get the chance.
These conferences and time away always do so much to refresh us, give us new ideas, provide lots of uninterrupted time together, etc.

Maybe it's because I never stayed in a hotel as a kid, but I get so excited to stay in a hotel as a grown up! This time around I tried to save money and book our hotel on priceline.

When we arrived, we were informed we had the petite room! Gulp! What did priceline give us?
It was definitely petite, and to be honest, it had a crazy smell, but the rest of the hotel was full, so we stayed in the tiny room, and the smell wasn't noticeable after a few minutes. Next time I think we'll try Airbnb! We did have an awesome location right on Michigan Avenue, so that made up for the cramped quarters! Unfortunately, our room looked out at the air conditioning unit, so not exactly picturesque, but the fitness center had an excellent view of the city!
While Matt went to the conference sessions, I went to coffee shops, or sat in the hotel lobby when it was raining, and got to write to my heart's content! Such a nerd but that's my ideal vacation! Oh, and I read some, too! Perfection!
It was so nice to have hours and hours together to talk and reflect on ministry and go over the sessions Matt had just attended and try new restaurants!
We were gone for five days, and Matt's mom stayed with the kids. They all had a great time (although I got lots of I-Miss-You emails from Tweety!), and we're so thankful to mom for keeping the kids in their normal routine. Aunt Jenna popped in a lot, too, to help the kids not get too lonesome for us!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mother's Day Procession

The kids are old enough to actually come up with their own plans for Mother's Day! Their tradition now always includes breakfast in bed for me (with instructions for me the night before not to get out of bed because I'm not known for sleeping in!)

Here comes the breakfast-in-bed procession!
J made me scrambled eggs (complete with M&M garnishes around the edge of the plate - his trademark). No suprise that the minute he put down the plate, C helped himself to all the garnishes!

Tweety made me oatmeal, toast, and coffee, while Matt supervised the event!

Once the food was delivered, the procession turned into a pile of kids on the bed! Amazingly very little food was spilled and the coffee survived!
They were thoughtful! I got spoiled!! Good, good day!