Hang On & Enjoy the Ride!

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Wow! What a summer. It’s been better ‘un a…, a…, well, I’m not too good at similies (though the fact that I’m not makes me lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon wheel rut! That’s the only one I know. Sorry.), but I did come across a list of hilarious ones while looking, just not one to fit here. Anyway, it’s been real fun, but feels good to get back into a routine again. The next few weeks will be declutter & reorganize time around here in hopes of having everything neat again by September 4th.

Today was the bookshelf & toy box in the north room. Along with that, we are starting back up on nutritious eating again. You know how is when you are traveling & trying to make home repairs, etc. The quickest meals get thrown on the table & nutrition goes out the window! But no more. The fat stops here! I hereby declare war on clutter & flab!! (Wish me luck.)

As far as why I’ve neglected to blog these last few months, I’ll give a quick rundown review of the local happenings to catch you up to speed if you’re interested…

June started out with graduation parties, an open house at church (which I was in charge of), & VBS beginning. We do VBS differently at our church. It meets every Wed. night all summer long. This year we have been teaching the ten commandments & are doing a musical to wrap it up. To end June, Nate & I took a week long tour of DC with my mom to visit my brother & his family there & see the sites. We saw pretty much everything… Smithsonian museums, all the monuments, where Lincoln died, Arlington Cemetery, the White House Visitor’s Center & the toured the Capital building, saw the National Zoo as well as the National Cathedral. It was filled with fun times with family… swimming with the cousins, BBQ, a Korean restaurant, visiting work & school with them, etc.

While we were away, Keith took a history class & Mom watched the kids a few days. Afterward, Keith had assignments to finish up for the class as well as another large assignment to work through for another school project, so he was pretty much computer bound until the day we left on family vacation. When the desktop “blew up” the last day of June, that left me with no means of “computering”, so I took that as a sign to let it go for the summer.:)

The first half of July was devoted to house repairs. The kids’ rooms were in dire need of re-doing, & there were various items around the house that needed to be touched up. Nate’s birthday, July 15th, made a good target to shoot for to get all that stuff done. We enjoyed a neighborhood camp-out in honor of his turning ten, took a couple days to pack & tie up loose ends before the trip, then took off.

We drove to MN July 20th, stayed over two nights to visit Grandmas & work on the “honey do” list a bit, then headed out for the west! The first night, we camped in Walnut Grove, MN. We heard Plum Creek babbling by our tent that night. This was a dream come true for me, a hard core Little House fan! We toured the town, saw the pageant that night, etc. Keith had picked up the audio version of “On the Banks of Plum Creek” for us to listen on our way up to MN, so the kids knew all about the story & were excited to recognize the scenes in the pageant. Okay, I’ll move on & spare you the details!

The next day, we drove on to the Badlands. That night we camped literally nestled in the middle of that awesome landscape (see the picture at the very top). Beautiful! Even though it was 110 degrees, it was dry so not as bad as you might think. Then we drove on to the Black Hills to settle for the next six days. There’s so much to see & do there. We went to a real rodeo in Deadwood, SD, panned for gold & toured a gold mine, saw a couple archeological dig sites, visited a giant reptile zoo, did a drive through zoo with bears & elk, actually drove through a herd of 1500 buffalo! (quite a site), saw lots of prairie dogs, toured an old homestead complete with dugout home, saw the saloon where Wild Bill Hickcok was shot, visited Wall Drug where Anders finally found something to fear – the roaring dino,… Oh yeah, saw Mount Rushmore! (or Mount Mushmore as Anders likes to call it. Every time we’d stop & hike along the way before we got to Mt. R., which took us a couple days, he’d look all around & ask all disappointed like, “Where’s the heads?”), and Crazy Horse, toured the Minuteman Missile site, stopped at the Corn Palace, drove Needles Highway, went through Wind Cave, took the moonlight tour around Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, went up into Montana just to say we were there – had to – we were so close!, visited Dinosaur Park & Storybook Island, stopped by the Center of the Nation (note: nothing there but a cheap flag & pathetic sign in the middle of nowhere), stopped in Iowa on the way back to visit Daddy’s family’s old vacation stomping ground, Lake Okiboji, complete with an amusement park – Arnold’s Park, & headed back to Grandma’s house.

When we landed back in MN, extended family had come in from NC & Texas so we got to have a good visit with Keith’s aunts & uncles. We played lots of cards & talked old family stories (one of the uncles is the family historian). Mexican Train Dominoes & Polish Poker were the games of choice this round. And of course, we played a few rounds of Skip-Bo with Grandma Jensen. It is getting fun with the kids being able to join in on the games. Anders is the lone hold out. Give him a year or two. The men folk took out a GPS & did some geocaching one night. And we just had an all around great time!

The day we returned, early August 7th, my brother & his family were in from DC to visit, so we put unpacking on hold to enjoy the family. Then my other brother came in from PA to join in. All this with my other brother having baby #6 the day we drove back & moving in next door this week has made for plenty of excitement around here! I’m getting a lot better at relaxing & enjoying the moment even if the house is trashed. That was hard for me, but I’ve learned it will all work out after the family gatherings! Enjoy the day!! While family was home, we had an extended family gathering complete with pool party & hog roast. Then we took all the kids to a Donut Man concert & to The Blueberry Patch to do some blueberry picking.

It has been non-stop fun for our family for literally a month! This week has been the start of bringing them down & into some sense of normalcy as well as my getting the Club stuff hashed out on the computer for the next year. The teachers all have their curriculum handbooks & the verse cards are printed up & ready to go. I’m so excited about next year! But first we have the last couple weeks of VBS & a program to perform. I think we’ll be ready! It always feels that way.

Well, that pretty much brings you up to speed around here. Keith is going to be teaching sixth grade this year in a different building, so he’s working on getting his stuff all moved over & set up for the year. All Nate & Callie’s books have come in for their classes next year – I am surrounded by boxes here in the study room! My job is to get the bookshelves reorganized, send off the old books now that the school sent our list, shelve all the materials for this new year, & set up the computers (this year we will have three!) for school to start. Looks like we are in for a great year!

Thank You, Lord, for the great memories we’ve made this summer. Bless this coming school year & all the changes that come with it. May we throw out old habits & start new ones as this new season comes upon us, for Your glory. Thank You for seasons. You sure knew what You where doing when You made them!


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