Making memories

The one with all the eating and relaxing and chasing tumbleweeds

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It was a great Thanksgiving weekend. Although the kids (and their parents) are ready to get back on schedule tomorrow!

Thursday we didn’t have Pat’s family coming over until supper. It was awesome! We stayed in our pj’s until about 1:00, watching movies and just hanging out. Pat ran to the store, for what I can’t remember, but he brought home some flowers for me. Love him!

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It was about 1:00 when Pat said to me, “Should we put the turkey in the oven?”

To which I replied, “I thought you were making the turkey.”

To which he gave me a loving weird look. And then got to work getting the turkey in the oven.

We also got to work on the rest of the meal which was mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, ham, green bean casserole, brussel sprouts and stuffing. All your normal stuff, but it all tasted great and we stuffed ourselves!

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(Wow, that’s a really skinny picture!)

We didn’t get to see Holly, Timothy or Cody, or any of my family. Thankfully Jim, Cleo and Aunt Nellie will be here next weekend and Holly and Timothy will be home for Christmas!

We did get a picture from Holly and Timothy with their new baby:

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Ooops, a little sideways. That’s Darius in the middle making a funny face at us. He’s so sweet, we can’t wait to meet him!

We also got a picture of Cleo on her first Thanksgiving, eating her first real food – sweet potatoes!

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I had to work Friday for a few hours and on my way to work I decided to drive by some of the stores to see how crazy it was. I couldn’t believe it, it wasn’t the least bit crazy. In fact Toys R Us was pretty much empty. Even though I had vowed to not go Black Friday shopping, I decided to take advantage of the empty stores. I stopped at Toys R Us, Target and Lewis, getting through all three stores in an hour and 1/2 and getting most of our Christmas shopping done. (Which isn’t much, but still.)

I went to work until noon and then went home just in time to drive with Pat to take the kids to Grama Barb’s for a few hours. We went back home and watched a movie, picked the kids up around 5:00 and went home to get ready for the Parade of Lights. I wasn’t feeling very well – my neck and shoulders were killing me, I think from all the chopping the day before. I was just a tad bit happy when Caleb decided he didn’t want to go to the parade. I stayed home with him and we had a mom-son date and Pat and Angel went to the parade for a daddy-daughter date and met up with some of our neighbors.

Saturday we did some more vegging out and then we went and got our Christmas tree. We’ve had an artificial one for probably eight years now and it didn’t make it through our last move. Pat suggested we get a real tree instead of getting another artificial one, and we were able to find a real pretty one for only $15!

We got home and put up all the Christmas decorations. I love, love, love decorating for Christmas! I’m half tempted to leave them up all year. Here are a few pictures of our first Christmas decorating in our new house:

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We have a mantel to hang our stockings! So much fun!

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Our soft fuzzy Christmas tree that smells pretty, drinks a gallon a water a day and can’t hold most of our ornaments very well. We still love it!

Today I had the pleasure of singing on the praise team. I’m so thankful the worship director has been so patient with me these last few months, and everyone has been so supportive. It was great to be back!

After church we went on a tumbleweed hunting adventure! You may remember I’ve talked about our tumbleweed Christmas when we were little. Last year we started the tradition of getting our own smaller tumbleweed, in honor of Mom and Dad, and also as a reminder of what Christmas is really about. It’s not about the decorations or the presents or the food – none of that matters if we don’t have Jesus.

We had to drive about 15 miles out-of-town before we found one. Here are the kids running to get it:

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And it’s not decorated yet, but here it is:

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It’ll look much better when it’s sprayed white and covered in tinsel. But still, it’s just a tumbleweed so don’t get your hopes up!

Like I said, we are looking forward to getting back on schedule tomorrow. Which means the kids are ready to go back to school. We are also ready for Jim, Cleo and Nellie to get here and Caleb is counting down to his birthday – 18 days! Of course, we are mostly ready to celebrate the coming of the Christ child!

I hope you too had a blessed Thanksgiving weekend. Even though everyone may say this is the most hectic time of the year, I pray that you will choose to make it the most wonderful time of the year.

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Weekend wrap-up

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We had a very fun-filled weekend. It was supposed to be fun-filled up in Aberdeen with Aunt Nellie, but it ended up not working out for us to go. However it turned out being a blessing as we not only got some much-needed rest, but also made some great memories.

One of my best friends, Liz, called Friday night and asked if she could take the kids for a few hours on Saturday morning. They decided to go to the “goose park” and then out to eat.

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We heard from Angel a little birdie that Caleb was his rambunctious, wild self and we felt so bad for Liz. But I told her she should take it as a compliment because he was treating her just like family.  Not only did the kids get to spend some time with Liz, Pat and I were able to do a little “antiquing” and had a lunch date.  Liz dropped the kids off around 2:00 and then we got ready for the big event of the day.

Fishing!

Both kids have been asking for weeks to go fishing. I’m not sure why they are so interested in fishing all of a sudden. We haven’t fished since the Spring before Mom and Dad died but we get asked often to go fishing, especially from Caleb.

By the time we got the poles ready, everything packed up, stopped to get our fishing licenses, worms and snacks, it was about 3:30. We went out to Wall Lake which is about 15 minutes west of Sioux Falls. It wasn’t really even that hot out, but man it felt hot. But the kids love it. At least for the first ten minutes or so.

All ready to go! Seriously, how cute are they!

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They each found their spot and settled in. .

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Angel did a great job of casting. She was determined to get it right, which isn’t unusual. She’s always very determined. : )  Caleb did pretty good with casting, but couldn’t quite get it out more than a few feet. Angel actually got a fish on her line, reeled it in, and then just as I was going to grab it, it came off the hook! That was the only action we saw the entire time.

Although the “entire time” ended up only being about an hour. After that the kids were ready to call it quits and were begging to go to the beach.

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I don’t think I’d ever been to the beach at Wall Lake and it was so nice. The water was a little green, but that didn’t bother me as I laid out on my blanket watching my kiddos and enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

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Of course the minute we left, the kids were asking to go fishing again. They were pretty traumatized to learn that “going fishing,” doesn’t always mean that you actually get a fish to take home!

As wonderful as the time with my family was on Saturday, the best part of the weekend was another date I had on Sunday. A lunch date with these three wonderful ladies.

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They are my accountability and encouragement partners, and I don’t know what I would do without them!  We ate. We laughed. We cried. It was wonderful. We haven’t been able to get together in a very long time, but hopefully we will be able to make it a regular event!

We also got to spend some time with Holly on Sunday. Her and Timothy are in town for just a few more days before they pack up all they own and head east to Detroit. We are cherishing this time with them, and were able to enjoy a very special evening tonight as all FIVE of our kids were home. I can’t wait to share pictures with you tomorrow!

That’s about it for this weekend wrap-up! Hope you had a memory-making weekend too!

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Life in the big city

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I think it’s safe to say that we have completely adjusted to living back in Sioux Falls. Every once in a while I’ll think about my chickens or the beautiful sunsets or the sunrise coming up over the cornfields. But then I just have to turn my head and I see beauty right around me here too. Funny how that works, huh?

I feel blessed beyond measure as we absolutely love our house and our neighborhood. It’s safe to say I might even enjoy sitting outside in the evening more here in the city, than I did on the farm. It might have something to do with the smell – or lack there of (we lived right next to a large cattle feedlot out on the farm.)

My amazing husband has been spending his days putting the last of the packed things away, cleaning, playing with the kids and cooking. Have I mentioned he’s amazing? He is thoroughly enjoying this time with the kids and they are loving it even more I’m sure. He might be getting a little possessive with his house-keeping duties though. The other night I started to do some laundry and he gave me a lecture about that being “his job.” Whatever makes him happy, right? I guess I’ll go back to watching Scooby Doo with the kids. Or maybe I should find myself a job.

Oh wait, I did. I started a new full-time job this past Monday. My official title is Internal Communications Coordinator. Basically I’m on a team with 3 other people and we oversee the editing, updating and storage of over 70 manuals and over 900 policies and procedures for the company. There are other tasks our team is in charge of including overseeing the company’s newsfeed (blog).

You could probably say I’m totally head over heels in love with my new job. But that sounds kind of weird.

The kids are loving their summer. As I mentioned before we have some great neighbors. We have already become close friends with the neighbors right across the street and they have a little girl who is one year older than Angel. They are best buds and are inseparable. It’s hard being a 6-year old when your parents won’t let you spend every waking minute with your friend. Goodness.

The other day we had to explain our “rule” about having supper together. Our rule is that for the most part we have supper together as a family every night. We can have guests over or we can be guests at other people’s houses, or they will sometimes have supper at Grama’s house if we go on a date. However if the kids get invited over to supper at someone’s house by themselves, we are probably going to say no.  I know, we are weird and mean and you would have thought the world was coming to an end when we had this conversation.  We are also weird and mean about having sleepovers and I’m afraid that topic is going to come up real soon.

Other than job loss and new job and moving and unpacking, our first month of summer has been packed with lots of fun.

Fun with friends.

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Fun with fire and s’mores.

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Fun watching bats. And squirrels. And rabbits.  And meeting all the neighbor dogs. I’m pretty sure we have more wildlife in our neighborhood than we did out on the farm!

Visiting the falls.

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Visiting the goose park.

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Swinging.

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Going on walks and bike rides down to the park that’s 3 blocks away, and also venturing on to the bike trails. We even did a little geocaching and are looking forward to doing more of that.

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Life back in the big city has been good and we are extremely thankful for how God has provided for us through this transition.

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The road trip of crazy people

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We had quite an eventful week a few weeks ago.

The second week in June we had the amazing privilege of attending my sister’s graduation from DUI Court.  It was a difficult week as Monday was June 9th, which was the day that we believe Mom and Dad went home to heaven. And then the same day of my sister’s graduation, June 12th, was the anniversary of us finding Mom and Dad. What an amazing coincidence that it would be on the same. Except it of course wasn’t a coincidence but God demonstrating His power in our lives to make all things new, to make beauty from ashes.

We were planning to go up on Wednesday night, but on the morning of Tuesday, June 10th we received word that a good friend and employee of Danelle’s was killed in a horrible car accident. What car accident isn’t horrible, right? However, this accident was just beyond comprehension. Here is a link to the article about the accident. [Please continue to keep this family in your prayers!]

As you can imagine, having this happen during the worst week of our lives was devastating. And so we decided to head up to Aberdeen on Wednesday morning so spend some extra time with Danelle. Wednesday we just hung out and let the kids swim and it was really nice to just have that time together.

[Pat braving the water slide with the kids.]

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Thursday was the big day of Danelle’s graduation. The local paper did an amazing article on her and the DUI Court program. Here’s the link to that if you haven’t seen it. Many people don’t understand the complexity and strictness of this program and so we were really happy that they did such a thorough job of explaining it.  The following day the newspaper also wrote a powerful editorial. Here is the link to that.

Since the graduation was on a Thursday, it was really hard for out-of-town family to make it. However we were so blessed to have our Aunt Joanne (Mom’s sister) and our Uncle Bob and Aunt Bev (Dad’s brother) come for it.  Danelle didn’t know Bob and Bev were coming. They are from Montana and so it was a wonderful surprise for her when they walked into the restaurant when we were having lunch.

Another coincidence, or not, was that Joanne and Bob were the first two people Danelle called two years ago on June 12th. It was so amazing that they both were able to be here with her on her graduation day, and another example of God working in her life.

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After graduation we all went back to Mavericks and had a little party for Danelle, and then we spent the evening visiting with Joanne, Bob and Bev. It is seriously so amazing when we are together with our family. We love them so much and they are such an encouragement to us all!

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We headed for home on Friday, June 13…with a little detour thrown in the mix just for fun.

When we moved out to the farm, Pat sold his Jeep and bought a pickup. When we left the farm last month he was able to sell his pickup and has been looking for another Jeep. He’s very particular about his Jeeps and the kind that he wanted is hard to find. Especially one in our price range (next to nothing!).  There were a couple up in the Cities and so we decided that we would go through the Cities on our way home from Aberdeen. In case you aren’t familiar with SD and MN, this isn’t really on the way home. But we decided to make the best of it. We stayed at a hotel that had a water park and so that was super fun for the kids.

Unfortunately the three Jeeps he looked at up in the Cities weren’t anything he wanted to buy. We headed for home Saturday morning, stopped in Mankota for a little break and got home Saturday late afternoon.

He then proceeded to find a couple Jeeps down by Omaha. They were all a little more than we had to spend, but we kept them as options. He then found one in Rapid City that was pretty much exactly what he wanted. And the price range he wanted.  Sunday morning came and we packed up again, this time leaving Molly at Grama Barb’s house, and headed for the Hills. We decided to make this a little bit more of a vacation for the kids, since we ended up not being able to really do anything in the Cities.

It was the first time for us to drive through Chamberlain since selling Mom and Dad’s house last summer. We stopped at Al’s Oasis for lunch and drove up to Mom and Dad’s house. It was hard, but also a good thing as the new owner’s have done a lot of upgrades to the house. It’s nice to know that they will take care of it and love it as much as Mom and Dad did.

We stopped at Wall Drug and reenacted some pictures from when we were out there last, 4 years ago!

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Wall Drug 2010

[2014]

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We visited the dinosaur.

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The dinosaur ate Caleb.

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And then he ate Angel.

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Hahaha. I guess I’m not as funny as I think I am.  Poor Caleb was traumatized!

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We stayed at a hotel in Rapid with another water park. This one was much better as it wasn’t as big as the one in the Cities and the lazy river wasn’t too deep for the kids. They also had a fabulous arcade and we might have spent all of Pat’s severance pay on arcade games.

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But hey, we have 4 balls, 3 stuffed animals, a bunch of junk toys and these cool pictures to show for it.

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Pat went and looked at the Jeep and it was perfect (or so he says.) He ended up having to tow it, which unfortunately meant we weren’t able to go see the new Mavericks restaurant in Deadwood, or visit our good friends Lisa, Gunner and their boys. The kids were super bummed about that, as we were.  We did make it to Bear Country and that was so much fun.

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On our way back to the hotel we decided to go see Dinosaur park. And then proceeded to have a heart attack. Goodness, I need to get myself in better shape! But the kids loved it.

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We spent more time swimming Monday night, and then left for home Tuesday morning.  But first we had to stop and see some more bears!

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It was slow going since we were towing the Jeep. We stopped in Murdo to see the Pioneer Auto Show. Neither Pat nor I had ever been there and it was so interesting. We both love antiques and of course he’s a car/truck/motorcycle loving guy and so was in his element!

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The kids got a kick out of all of the caricature boards.

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It was also super fun to learn that the American Pickers were filming there!

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Our crazy road trip ended Tuesday night as we pulled in to town late.  Pat is a happy camper to have a Jeep again and to be able to find one that was exactly what he wanted!

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As crazy as our crazy road trip was, it was also a lot of fun, and we made some great memories!

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