Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A trip to the local Apple Orchard is a must in the fall. We were able to head out and enjoy a beautiful fall day at the orchard.

The kids always have so much fun finding the perfect apples to take home for a snack. We often get bags and bags of windfall apples off the ground for applesauce but we made so much last year that instead we found some of those perfect ones right on the tree just to eat!

They of course looked for the biggest and best and examined it for any bruises or friendly worm holes.

I turned around and caught Shane right as he was ready to take a bite of the unwashed apple. Not that a little dirt won't hurt anyone!

Then we were off to the train!

We made a stop at the barn to say hi to the "farmyard friends!"

Alexa quickly became friends with this little guy!

Then they were off to the hay for some fun!

I love this picture of the girls running so carefree, just loving life, with the apple trees in the background.

And of course you can't play on the hay without jumping off of it!

A trip to the Apple Orchard is not complete with out a carmel apple ....

and an apple turnover.

Just one of the many things we love about fall .... until next year!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Grammy Sue

Yesterday we had Grammy over for brunch to celebrate her birthday!

The cupcakes were made ....

The table was set and the kids had fun decorating her place with Birthday cards.

The kids were hiding around the corner when she came and made her jump when they yelled "Happy Birthday!" We had a wonderful brunch together and then without hesitation it was time for cupcakes!

We sang Happy Birthday!

Then everyone helped blow out the candle!

Happy Birthday Grammy Sue we are so glad we could celebrate with you !

Grammy Sue has lived in the state of Washington and has done extended mission work in Africa over the years. This meant we only typically got to see her a couple times a year. This year marks a new adventure she is on that we are excited about. She has relocated to Sioux Falls and lived just miles from us. She was here for 2 months and we so enjoyed the time we were able to spend with her. She would take the kids out for one on one dates and they loved their evenings at the park that happened on a whim. We were able to have dinner together during the week as well. Today she is leaving for Africa. She has a new job with SIM that will take her to Africa for 8 months out of the year and then she will come back to Sioux Falls for 4 months next June. The kids were very sad to see her leave today but are excited knowing she will live in their town again during the summer!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Boys Just Want To Have Fun

These three boys are best friends, well actually more like brothers. They see each other and run for a big hug that usually turns into a wrestling match on the ground. The other day we were going to head to the zoo with the boys but the weather took a turn and it began to rain! We decided to try a new place in town that is full of things to jump on. The perfect place to get a little energy out on a rainy day!

They went up the big slide .....

and down the slide!

There were lots of smiles and giggles!

Then through the "mail slot" at least that is what Shane called it!

Into the cars bounce house!

Up the climbing wall and through the obstacle course.

Sara and I both got to have a little fun too as we helped the kids through the obstacle course and down the slide. In no time they were on their own and who knows what happened when they were out of sight!

They sure don't look like they are having fun do they?

Riding the horse in the farm jump house.

What a great day with great friends. These boys were tired out, sweaty and very happy! The day ended with hugs good bye that ended up with another wrestling match on the ground. I think Sara and I may be meeting here more than once this winter to let the boys get some of that energy out!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Crossed The Line

This blog has turned into the family scrapbook of our journey of life. Most of my posts are about the kids or about things we are doing as a family but today I am going to post about one of my accomplishments because it may be my first and last time I cross the finish line of a big race. I also have realized for me it was a lot more than just a 13 mile run.

I have always been fairly active. I played numerous sports in high school and played college basketball. I did run in high school but was not a long distance runner. About 10 years ago, pre kids I had a friend talk me into running a marathon. I started training only to get really sick and ended up having my tonsils removed. So in my mind I always thought about trying to run a 1/2 marathon or marathon but wasn't sure this body would hold up or I wanted to put the time and energy into training. Now 3 kids later, 10 years older and a lot of life that has happened along the way I wasn't sure this girl or this body was up for the the challenge. At the end of June a friend of mine who was going to run the Sioux Falls 1/2 marathon started bugging me about running with her. At the same time Eric encouraged me to try run the 1/2 or set some type of goal. He thought it might be a good emotional release for me. Walking through the death of my best friend has been the hardest thing by far I have every walked through. It is hard work walking the road of grief and the thought of running a large amount of miles was a little overwhelming as getting a workout in 2 days a week was an accomplishment for me since Leigh Ann's death. I did know that I did feel better when I was out and active but it was getting my mind and body to cooperate. So I decided to go for it and see what happened. I told Eric I didn't want it to take time away from the kids or our family since I wanted to enjoy the summer with the kids with out pressure of a schedule or a "to do list!" So a couple days a week I got up early, ok really early for me in the summer. My kids all sleep in until 8 or after and I too love our lazy summer days of sleeping in but on my days I had to get a run in I was up at 5:15 which in my own head I thought was crazy. The training proved to be a really healing time for me and a great emotional release. There aren't too many people out and about at that hour of the morning and there was something so peaceful about being up and running in the morning. I often would be running as the sun came up and would often even turn my ipod off and just soak in God's creation and the stillness around me. I would get home, shower and still have an hour or more to sit outside and read my Bible or journal before the kids got up. I told myself if it got stressful I wasn't going to push myself. But after 11 weeks of training it was race day! I had been sick all week with a nasty cold but was determined to finish the race even if I crawled over the finish line.

I wasn't sure what to expect and had some nerves as I attached the running number 503 to myself. As I walked into the stadium and there were 1200 runners plus spectators I did soon realize that I wasn't heading out for my morning jog.

The kids were up bright and early and ready to cheer their mom on!

This is my friend Rebecca and she has been a huge encouragement to me. We met 6 years ago at MOPS and was the one who encouraged me or maybe even pushed me a little to do the 1/2 marathon. We spent quite a bit of time at Wild Water West together this summer so not only was she my running encourager but she has also been a huge encouragement in life and on my journey of grief. She too has walked the road of grief in the past year. I am so thankful for her friendship and encouragement!

And we are off! We are somewhere towards the middle of this mass of people. Now this is where the adrenaline rush comes in!

Eric, his mom and the kids caught us at mile 5 at Falls Park. We are smiling and look like we are having fun yet!

Those of you who follow my blog from other cities and states I though I would throw this picture in. These are the falls. Aren't they beautiful. Yes this is why our city is called Sioux Falls!

They caught me again at mile 7 and I was still moving along and feeling great!

Alright so this is mile 9 and this is where I started to feel it! This was the last time I saw Eric and the kids until the finish line. I had a great run, was actually enjoying the race, had a nice pace and then I hit mile 10 and hit a wall or maybe was just plain tired from running 10 miles already. I think it was from mile 10 -13 that I questioned myself and wondered why in the world did I want to do this. I also knew I had run 10 miles already and only had 3 left. I could do it. Those were the longest 3 miles of my life but as I turned the corner and saw the finish line I knew I would make it!

And there it is ... crossing the finish line! I finished the 13 miles in 2:03 44 seconds. I was happy with my run, my time but most of all that I crossed the line and chalked it up as an accomplishment.

Here we are with our medals and we are still standing. A little sore and a little tired but standing and smiling non the less. Now the big question has been if I will do it again. From mile 10-13 I was telling myself there was no way I would do this again. One time is good for me but maybe it is kind of like having a baby and the pain fades in time. I do know that for me it was so much more than crossing the finish line and saying I ran 13 miles. For me the 11 weeks of training was such a positive thing for me emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Now I just need to figure out how to stay in that "training" mode for life in the days to come!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One Of Those Days

Wednesday was one of those days that you wish you could crawl back in bed before the day even starts. It also is one of those days that makes you thankful for those normal days when you feel like you keep doing the same things over and over again as a mom.

The day started fairly early. I had a nasty cold and knew we had a big weekend coming up so knew sleep was important to try get my body to recover. Eric had a long day of meetings and was driving home. He didn't get home until 1:45 am which means I didn't fall asleep until he was safely next to me. From 2-5:30 Emma came in our room about 4 times complaining that her tummy hurt. At 5:30 the day began as Emma began throwing up. You know the drill ... get her in the bath, strip the bed, get the laundry going and then cuddle with your sick, sad little girl. I got Alexa up and ready for school and we headed out the door to bring Alexa to school with a bucket in toe. As we drove to school Emma began throwing up again. Luckily it was all in the bucket. We got to school and Alexa got teary and wasn't feeling good. She had had sinus drainage and a cold and wasn't 100% yet. So I proceeded to try to talk her in to staying home. She cried harder because she had her first 2nd grade field trip on the bus to the bison farm for the day. It was one of those mommy moments that you just don't know what to do. So I finally told her in the next 20 minutes before they leave if she wasn't feeling good to go to the office. I drove home with mommy guilt. I kept thinking I should have just kept her home she would have gotten over missing the field trip. What if she is miserable all day. Well we pulled into the garage and got in the house only to get a call from school that Alexa was in the office. I was relieved she had made the decision to stay home so we got back in the car, Emma was crying because she didn't want to drive to school again. She proceeded to throw up again on the way to school the poor thing. We spent the rest of the morning laying low. Now the women that read my blog will understand my next disappointment. I was supposed to get my hair cut and highlighted that afternoon. It had been 12 weeks since I had anything done with my hair and it takes weeks to get into my hair dresser. I always look forward to my time with my friend, a cup of coffee, some magazines and a new head of hair. Eric so kindly arranged his schedule to work from home so I could get my hair done. I sat down only to be told by my friend that something had happened to my hair and it was fried. I am thinking it is my new hairdryer that gets really hot, or maybe a lot of sun and pool this summer or maybe the fact I hadn't had it cut for 12 weeks. Needless to say I had to have some rather short layers cut in my hair. I was a little bummed but it is hair and it will grow back. So back to just enjoying my time in my chair. I look down and in shock notice my large diamond in my wedding ring is missing. So now my nice relaxing time in the chair turns to hot flashes, sweating and wondering where in the world is my diamond and when did I lose it. My hair was finished and I proceeded home to hunt. I put a new vacuum bag in and began spring cleaning. The furniture got moved, the furniture got vacuumed. Every inch of the house was going to get a good cleaning. Then I saw what I thought might be a diamond in the girls closet. I picked it up and wondered if it was one of the girls play jewels. No, it was my diamond. I couldn't believe I actually found it. The jeweler said it doesn't happen too often that the diamond is recovered. Thinking that was a great end to a not so good day I decided to call it a day. I still wasn't feeling great so fell into bed that night hoping round two of the flu wasn't going to hit the house. I woke up in the middle of the night to a crunch sound and realized I was grinding my teeth and one of my "new" teeth fell off. If you have followed my blog you know I had extensive dental work done about a year and a half ago. Well one of my verniers popped off and that is how my day ended. I just have to chalk it up to one of those days. I did want to record the day so on those days that I feel like life gets boring or I feel like I am doing the same thing day after day I will appreciate those what seem to be "boring" or just plain normal days!

Thursday proved to be better. The girls were back at school at noon and feeling better. I brought my ring in and $150 for a new head didn't seem too bad when at one time I was wondering what a new diamond would cost. I had my tooth put back on and was fit for a lovely night guard so my teeth grinding won't cause anymore teeth or jaw issues.

A Nice Long Weekend

We had a nice and relaxing Labor Day weekend. I am going to have to write about it rather than post any pictures since I am a little bummed I don't have any to show. I downloaded my pictures at the end of the weekend and they were gone. Eric tried the "rescue the pictures" software but didn't have any luck. I have to idea where they went! You have to love technology some days!

On Friday I went with Emma and all the other 80 1st graders monarch caterpillar hunting. This was my favorite field trip of Alexa's last year. I thought I had taken some great pictures of our day away but we'll have to just remember them. We headed down to Lake Vermillion. When we got there the kids were able to play on a playground for a little while and then we sat down for lunch. We then headed out to look for caterpillars. If you didn't know where to find them you look on milkweed. We didn't have as good of luck as we did last year. It seemed like the milkweed was about done for the season but we still were able to find 2. My four little hunters were pretty excited. They then got to play in the lake up to their knees and in the sand for the rest of the afternoon. It was fun meeting other moms and watching the kids enjoy time with friends and having fun in God's beautiful creation.

(This picture was from Alexa's field trip last year)

On Labor Day weekend Life Light Festival is always another highlight. It is 3 day, very large, free, Christian music festival that is minutes from our house. It is out in a large field and we grab our lawn chairs and blankets and head out to enjoy the music. The kids love dancing the night away. On Saturday morning we headed out to grounds and Eric participated in his first 5K race of his adult life. He ran a great race and met the goal he had set. We headed out to the festival on Saturday afternoon.

The highlight of the night was Lincoln Brewster.

Today Is the Day, Lincoln Brewster

On Sunday we were planning on heading back out to the festival but Alexa and I started to feel a little under the weather. We ended up relaxing and hitting an afternoon movie in the cheap theater. We went to Karate Kid. It was fun since it was filmed in China. There is a little Karate going around in the house now. The kids were wondering if their brother is learning Karate in the orphanage.

The Karate Kid

Monday was pretty low key as Shane ran a fever, I was feeling pretty miserable and spent most of the day in bed and Alexa felt crummy so laid low too. I was bummed our last day of a long weekend was spent in bed but at least we all had a day to rest and relax.

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