Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our Week Away

We had lots of fun, putting lots of miles on our van this last week! We left here Saturday morning, way too early, and went to a workday at Altamont. Very nice to see everyone. I feel like I didn't do much while I kept track of kids, but hopefully we helped somewhat! Than on to Dana and Marilyn's, and Sunday morning breakfast on the patio!

Evan and Dana left Sunday evening to come back here to work, but we stayed until Tuesday. Marilyn let the kids do one of their favorite Grammy's-house activities-- painting!
She gives them paintbrushes and a bucket of water, and her gray porch or rocks become dark gray! The windows got a little attention, too...

Tuesday was quite the day. Since we were driving right past the cottage where Owen and Ashley are staying this summer on our way to Vaughans', we planned to stop in and say "hi" and see their place. I had a few bags of things for Bet, so we just stopped by there real quick... Then they just had to play with Orianna and Co. for a bit... then it seemed silly not to see where Cody, Justin and Owen work, just a few miles up the road, so we took them chocolate milk and donuts. So it was quite a while before we got to Ashley's! The only Vaughan family members we didn't get in were the Alaskan ones... but I did draw the line at driving to Alaska with small kids! Anyway, Owen and Ashley have a cute little cottage-- quite tiny, but nice and cheap for the few months they'll be there before they head back to Maine for Ashley's college.
Cheyenne stayed at Bet's for the night Tuesday night, and Bet came up Wednesday. It had been a while since the cousins had been together, so very chaotic and fun! Bethaney helped the kids make sugar cookies one morning-- we quickly found out why it's usually a Christmas activity and not a 4th of July activity-- no matter how long we chilled them in the fridge, by the time they were rolled out they were too warm to hold their shape. They still tasted yummy, though.
Tori modeling the dress I made her all by myself! Well, except for the fact that Marilyn watched my kids for me while I worked on it and helped explain the pattern, and Mom watched the kids while I finished it. It was so much fun to sew! I just started learning this winter, helped along by the fact I couldn't find any decent maternity clothes. Then, Dana and Marilyn bought me a sewing machine for my birthday! Since Rilla's birth, I haven't had much time to play with it, so this was fun.

It's Olivia's turn for a week down here, so we left Mom and Dad's Friday morning. Our poor van (with over 186,000 miles on it) must hate these trips. Olivia's knees were rather crowded. We had: a second-hand bureau I'd bought for Elliott (I've been storing his clothes in diaper boxes, so this is good!); two suitcases (one for Olivia, one for us); Marilla's swing; the Exersaucer we're inheriting from Lillian; two strollers, one of them a double stroller; my sewing machine; a laundry basket and Rubbermaid full of sewing supplies, my large diaper bag; two garbage bags of Salvation Army clothes (Mom and Dad don't have a store up there); a laundry hamper of our dirty clothes; assorted toys, comic books, blocks, etc.; our meeting bag full of Bible bags; and other small bags. Plus, three car seats and five passengers. Since I'm a worrywart about things flying around if we got in an accident, everything had to be packed in just so. I was quite impressed with this feat of engineering!

We were glad to be home and see Daddy Friday night. Bet and Justin were also here Friday night, on their way to fly out to Colorado for a family wedding. With all the unpacking and playing, the house definitely looks like a bomb hit it, but it should be fun week with Olivia here.

Our basement is still coming along. Evan spent Saturday finishing up hanging drywall and building new stairs with risers and all. It's going to look pretty spiffy!

Marilla is experiencing major seperation anxiety if I'm not in the room, preferably holding her and focusing on her exclusively, so I think we'll just surgically attach her to me for the next couple weeks. I'm kind of hoping it passes before convention! I go around saying, "She's probably teething..." -- the excuse mothers use for fussy infants months before they ever show a flash of white in their mouth!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Great Outdoors in Suburbia

Some of our friends from Alaska sent me beautiful pictures of their hike on the 4th of July through scenic wilderness, including a bear sighting. Well, we do miss Alaska, but we do have wildlife here, too-- witness the majestic Groundhog! (Actually, I'm not too clear on what he is, besides fat, because I've never understood the difference between groundhogs and woodchucks and other fat rodent-y animals.)

We also have beautiful scenery out our back door. (Little lawn care tip-- don't spread out your roof-size tarp out to dry on a warm Saturday afternoon-- even for a couple hours. Wow! Instant destruction of a lawn!)

Alas, I have to admit Alaska wins this round. However, we do have beautiful children scattered around here...

Mr. Overalls.
Pushing Marilla around the driveway. I was so worried she was going to put her feet down and scrape her toes, but she never did, and she sure did seem to love the ride! This, of course, is Elliott's forte-- rides.
Pretty girl with long eyelashes after her bath.

Tori is down visiting for a week. Not that Cheyenne is excited about this, of course.
Beautiful summer girls.

We were rather disappointed this weekend to have to cancel our long-anticipated trip to Almonte, Ontario convention due to Cheyenne having an inexplicable fever last week for several days. I hadn't been to Almonte for 15 years, and I was really looking forward to catching up with the folks up there. We were even all packed, quite an accomplishment! It is NO fun unpacking from convention when you didn't even get to go to convention. Oh, well, maybe next year.

There was some consolation, though... Because I was home Sunday morning instead of at convention, I was here to answer a phone call asking if I minded providing lunch for four of the workers on their way to Freedom preps on Monday! That was a wonderful privilege that sorta made up for the missed convention.

Tori was supposed to just come home from convention with us, but instead, she hitched a ride down with Amy Wise on her way home to Georgia. So Amy ended up being here for lunch on Tuesday, which was as fun as it usually is when we get to see a Parker kid!

The next week will be busy, too. We're heading to work day at Altamont Saturday, then on to Dana and Marilyn's for a few days. I'm taking Tori home and staying there for a few days, then hauling Olivia home with us for her week!

Vaughan Reunion in June

I never got a chance to post pictures from when we were all up at Mom and Dad's the weekend before the wedding. For many more, see the before-referenced Bet's Picasa page, or check out Lisa's blog--
Marilla celebrated Flag Day by rolling over. After Elliott taking months to progress from rolling tummy to back to back to tummy, it was delightful when Marilla did both the next day!
Dirty, happy kids!
The tree that fell on Mom and Dad's house didn't stand a chance that Saturday with Tyler, Justin, Evan, Cody, Owen and Dad. A few months of wood there, all stacked up and ready for winter!
Sitting around the living room-- the "new" addition (four years old now) sure comes in handy when everyone is home.
We had to supress this photo until after the wedding-- if Ashley had seen this photo of Owen snuggling with a gorgeous redhead with tousled hair first thing in the morning, she might have jumped to the wrong conclusion and called the whole wedding off.
Very responsible Cousin holds Marilla.
They all got dressed seperately-- and we could have hardly picked more complimentary dresses for them to all wear together.
Red, Blonde and Brunette-- and all gorgeous.
All dressed up.

The chess titans, Cody and Tyler, have lots of kibbitzers.

Mr. Social Life catches up with someone.

The happening spot on a Sunday evening.
Breanna standing on the swing. She has the most well-developed leg muscles I've ever seen on a kid! All that playing!

Orianna with her beautiful tousled hair.

The gearhead gets a motorcycle ride from Uncle Owen. Despite Evan being fairly indifferent to most motorized things, Elliott is obsessed!

Two boy cousins, ready to be farmers in their overalls. (Levi overalls, of course! :-)
Levi with the assist.
A rare moment of silence, as they all tuck into their homemade Kraft Dinner!

All the Cousins in the grass. Impossible to really get a group shot of 7 kids under 5, especially with a baby, but they are beautiful kids!

The White Kids.
The next week will be busy, too. We're heading to work day at Altamont Saturday, then on to Dana and Marilyn's for a few days. I'm taking Tori home and staying there for a few days, then hauling Olivia home with us for her week!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4 Months on the 4th!

We've had a wonderful weekend-- so nice to just be home for a while!

I was taking pictures of some excess baby paraphernalia to try to sell them on Craig's List, and little Marilla was hanging out in the cradle watching. Such a white little baby in the midst of the green! She is growing so nicely, and just last night, she actually slept 6 1/2 hours! Hallelujah!

Cheyenne all dressed in red, white and blue for the 4th of July!

We started out the 4th with a visit from Owen and Ashley-- they were traveling through on their way home, and they stayed the night (or morning!) at our house. They had to drive until three in the morning to make it, they were really wanting to be up North for the potluck at Crafts'. We had a wedding present waiting for them from us, Mom and Dad, and Bet and Justin-- and Old Town canoe! Since they're living in the Adirondacks this summer, hope they'll have a lot of fun with it.

In the evening, after a lazy day at home, we went to the county fair. It was a tiny one, but it did have fried dough, merry-go-rounds, and ice cream, so what more does a fair need?

Elliott rather enjoyed the car merry-go-round. He was his sister's chauffeur!

Elliot takes a test drive in the John Deere at the fair. He's been into tractors for a while. I had bought him some John Deere t-shirts cheap last month, but he still loves the International model Uncle Leon gave him. Not a tractor snob yet! Just loves them all.

Evan, Elliott and Cheyenne had some sort of stomach bug this week. Evan had it so bad one day he didn't even work a full day! When you're self-employed, it seems to be harder to admit you're sick and go home! Elliott was hit the worst-- but he kept his cars close by him through the worst! Poor little guy was pretty out of it for a couple days.

Cheyenne won a free scooter and helmet at a field day we went to last Monday. Marilyn was with me, and she saw them dig around in the slips of paper until they saw Cheyenne's name! Guess she is a little charmer. She's been having fun with it! Elliott is wearing her old, bright pink bike helmet now-- quite the fashion statement.
Evan finished installing the window for the basement bedroom. Note the spiffily trimmed out window! We (meaning mostly my husband) hung sheetrock on Saturday. I am way too short and weak to really do it, but Evan compensated for my inadequacies, and I helped him sheetrock the ceiling and a couple of tricky wall pieces. It isn't finished, but it sure put a big dent in what needs to be done!
We're having another busy week this week, with Lisa coming by for a few days, as well as Dana and Marilyn. That's the kind of busy we like, though!