Sunday, February 12, 2017

Farmer's Daughter

Daddy may be a dirty looking farmer wearing his bibs and digging in the dirt installing tile along side his crew, but don't let that fool you, he is a pretty smart guy.  He is passionate about plant health and soil.  It is becoming more and more obvious that his baby girl is following suit.

 Here they are working on a project about how nitrogen stays in the soil. Yep.  I can't tell you much more about it, though I have asked lots of questions. I guess I just don't share that passion so it doesn't stick in my brain, but seeing moments like these between two of the people I love the most just warms this mama's heart.
Besides that, somebody has to worry about the nitrogen and the weed pressure and the fertility and the runoff and the levels and the pH and all of that good stuff around here.  These two seem to be the perfect fit.

A Special Kiss

A trip to Oklahoma with four generations  in tow to reunite friends from 45 years ago.  Great Grandma requested we visit. Great Grandma really wanted us to visit.  Of course when sweet Great  Grandma who is 90 years young asks that we travel to Oklahoma to visit a dear family that she and late Great Grandpa were cattle buying friends with from so far back....well you get in the car and you go.

This was one of those life changing trips for Great Grandma.  Her name is Dorothy.  We call her Dorty,  Dorty often spoke of her friends who lived on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma.  How "the boys" visited a few times in their childhood and rode the horses and met the ranch boys.  These "boys" are now in their 40's and have kids and wives and a couple horses, pigs, dogs and cats of their own and run a nice little farming operation together in Illinois.   These boys are my husband and his brother.  I've seen photos of their tiny blonde toe heads horseback in expansive pastures of tall Oklahoma prairie some 30 plus years ago.  Adorable.

The grown farm brothers, well one of them, was able to visit with the ranch brothers on their Oklahoma ranch.  Grandma was over-the-moon happy to have reunited these two families, if only for a weekend.  Four generations now have fond memories of riding horseback in those OK pastures now.  And Dorty was happy. In OK. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Number 66

The boy was 5, but though his body be little....his head is always a step ahead.  Little man syndrome maybe?  Baby of the family who hangs with teenagers more than other littles?  Whatever it is, he wanted to work, so we made him a log in for the time clock. We made it 66, since he was turning 6, just so he could remember it.

He rode his bike to work, see it in the background? And oh ya, he picked out his own shoes. He probably worked 15 minutes and had 3 snacks and likely a potty break.  Love this little man.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mama Goes to Sin City-And Eats it UP

The year was 2014.  Remember it honey?  We picked up and flew to The City of Lights.  

I despise gambling (boring and a painful to lose money.)

It is FREEZING in those casinos.

Nutso, nobody sleeps!! (Remember we met those people we know and they hadn't been to bed yet and it was 10 AM, 10 IN THE AM!!! What the heck?)

But you know was AMAZING!!!!!!!

 Remember when I made you take a million selfies?  Because my make-up was ON POINT!

Remember, the girls got a regular cab ride and the boys pulled up in this dually limo and we were jealous of you boys?  Sweet ride!

Remember I took a few photos of strange men because I like their outfits?  For realsies, that is a good looking get up there! (Actually a little light on the starch and crease, but hey, ain't nobody perfect!)

Remember all those dumb selfies?

Rember honey why we went?  It wasn't to gamble and loose our money or hang out in the casinos or stay up all night.  We went to the NATIONAL FINALS RODEO ON SATURDAY NIGHT BAAAABY!!!  Holy cow I was on top of the world!!  Countin' it as one of the many highlights of my life.  Right up there with birthing three babies, marrying a superman and Piatt County Rodeo Queen back in the day.

Remember when I just wanted to stand in this crowd and listen to the thump of the base and the strum of the guitar and watch the cowboys and cowgirls?  

And how I realized I am one of those people who would lay their body on the sub woofer if I could? 

Remember how we bought alot of boots and like 22 pairs of jeans for you.  Sup with that?

And how we took alot of selfies.  Remember, mama's make-up was pretty twelve o'clock.
Love ya my Cowboy (farmer. whatever close enough.)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Late Nights-Early Mornings and Anticipation

All year these kiddos have been working for something.  Looking forward to it.  Talking about it.  Planning for it.  Snapping about it. Anticipating it.....The Illinois State Fair 2016.

It's our little tradition to pack our trailers and trucks and campers and hotel rooms full of food and stuff, moms and dads and lots of kids.  And lots of food.  Did I say lots of food?  Lots of kids eat lots of food.  We set up shop at the Illinois State Fair!

Yes, it's about showing the animals that we have been working on.
Yes, it's the big crescendo before school starts.
Yes, it's fair food, and 4H milkshakes.
But a big part of it is these 9 kids right here and how blessed they are to have each other in their lives.

See, their moms have been friends for at least 167 years.  There dads were all AGRs (fraternity boyzzzzzz) and friends (2 at ISU and one U of I alum, but an AGR is and AGR:) 

  You see, this crew, we are deep and wide and long.  A win for one is a win for all.  Likewise a tough loss for one in the ring echos through the camp.

These kids rush from the cattle show ring to the sheep and over to the swine ring watching each other do their thing. Each willing to wash, carry or trim or lead the other's animal if needed.  Each loving each other in a genuine, unpretentious way that makes their mamas and daddies proud.  

Friends since birth.  Through thick and thin.


ISF 2016!!

(Sorry so sappy, I blame it on these photos we shot last year that keep popping up.)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

It's All Hanging Out There

Running Sports....I LOVE to watch them.  Most people don't, but I'm crazy like that.  

You know what's so great about running sports like track and cross country?  If you are into PC, close your ears---or eyes.  Running races are just all balls out.  Just pure, unadulterated, uncomplicated competition and grit.  This is my girl.  Grit is her middle name.  She runs the mile, two mile and 800. She's a tough cookie.  Tougher than me.  Don't tell her that.  Wait, it's probably pretty apparent to her by now....

This is my niece.  She ran the mile and 800. She really likes to run for fun.  Very cool to me, because, well I don't think running is fun, but I wish I did.

And this is my boy.  It was his first year in track.  He ran the 800 and the mile.  I love his enthusiasm and how he strives to improve each meet.  He loves to run too.  

This is my baby at a track meet.  He frequents the concession stand and hangs out under the bleachers with other track sibs and makes stuff out of scrap wood and old tires.  This is their dining table.

And last but not least, this is our exchange student daughter.  She ran some short races like the 200 and 100.  What she likes most about track is hanging with her friends at the meets.  I love that about her!

Now adays, lots of kids time themselves with watches.  Kids these days!

Now, if only I loved to run as much as I love watching these kiddos run the world would be perfect. Well, or if watching these kiddos run burned calories for their number one fan too. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hoosier Homes Part 1

Canada.  My kids think the ENTIRE country of Canada lies right here on these couple of miles nestled on Dogtooth Lake near Kenora, Ontario. When we say we are going to Canada, that means we are going to these two little humble cabins.  We basically ignore the other  3.855 million miles of the country.  This is what we call "Canada" or "Hoosier Homes."  

We aren't Hoosiers either, nope, not from Indiana.  But my husband's dad is a Hoosier, and thanks to a group of hoosiers dating back several generations, we get to enjoy this gorgeous, remote setting year after year.  It has been passed down several generations in his family and now our kids are the 5th generation of our family to lay their heads on the pillows in these sweet cabins.  

I plan to do a few posts about this...but Justin has gone here nearly every year of his life.  I've been going now for maybe 16 or 17 years of my 20 years being around this clan. The kids have gone every year with the exception of the last 2.  So, it was DIRE that we go this year.  We made some adjustments in our schedule, missed some stuff we like to go to, sucked it up and.....ahhhhh arrived in the Northwoods for a week of awesomeness.

These are the kids that ran the show with us this year.  Ages 6-17. We had 8 kiddos in these little cabins along with their parents and of course Mimi and Papa.  That was a party of 16! A marvelous, fun, energetic, giggling, planning, fishing, wrestling, talkative, silly, glorious party of 16!

Everyone got along for the whole week.  In close quarters.  I mean CLOSE.  Like sleeping inches from one another in a dark cabin with no electricity and very limited (no cell service) electronics. Poor Mitchell (the biggest of our brood) snoozed his nights away on a cot nestled at the end of two cots shoved together where the big girls slept, right at their feet.  This bed was inches from bunkbeds housing two more kiddos. Not a single complaint.  Not one from anyone.

These kiddos LOVE this place, "better than Disney" is what they say!

Our week was filled with sun glorious sun! See that tan (um burn) line on the little one there in front? We got burned, we got toasted, we got wet. Alot. 

After settling in and tidying up our accommodations after nearly a year of vacancy and stillness tucked in the bush on this island (think, sweep, check for spiders and mouse poop,) we headed over to Moose Bay.

A quick boat ride and we docked  in Moose Bay ready for a hike.  A for real, sometimes it's touch climbing the rocks, no trail, no park rangers, deer flies bite hard, bears are real, HIKE. 

Blueberries, brambles, vines, fallen trees, carpets of moss covering rock after rock, fallen trees and all!

This year we struck gold.  Blueberries were plentiful and the bear poop in the berry patches made it obvious that the bears were in on the secret. 

We collected blueberries forever and had to pull ourselves away. I don't think if the 16 of us picked all day we would have picked them all!
Cole and Jace climbing rocks.  These kids were troopers on the hike up the rock.  They could scale about anything with ease!  It wasn't quite that easy for the rest of us!

The girls stuck together all week.  Love to see their friendship, just like their mamas so many years ago.  Hope they stay BFFs forever.

Papa Mike on the ascend.  I wonder how many times in his lifetime he has made this trek? 

We made it!  Just look at that view!!!!

We have many photos over the years of ourselves and friends and family on this rock, it just never gets old.  It also doesn't get much less scary, I mean, what if one of my babies went tumbling down that drop off?  Snap a quick pic and get away from the ledge!

 Mimi and Papa on top!

I know it isn't untouched, I know a few people see this spot every year, but NOT MANY!  This is pretty remote, pretty secluded and that is fascinating and awe inspiring to me.

After breathing the fresh air, filling our lungs with the smell of pines and scarring our legs from the brambles on the way up the rock, we are rewarded with this beautiful view.  And we are thankful for the opportunity and inspired by the grandeur of God's creation.

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