Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Summer in Summary

So I didn't quite make the "month deadline" but I'm close! :)

What a wonderful wonderful summer we had!! *sigh* We are so so blessed!

 To kick it off, we took part in a couple Canada day celebrations.

A street fair complete with games, bouncy houses, candy, "train" rides...

... a petting zoo... 
(that took us half the afternoon to wait in line for!)

... a photo booth... 

... and popcorn, which we waited the other half of the afternoon for! :)

After the street fair we put on some warmer/more mosquito repellent clothes, packed up our lawn chairs, picked up Auntie Carrie, and made the trip to watch Jonathan at the beloved lawn tractor races!

As in years past... he had a loud and energetic cheering section!

Little Larren sure didn't like the loudness this year... so she went from person to person to have her ears covered!

And again, this year's races proved to be quite entertaining!!

There were close calls...

... smoke (and lots of it!)...

... waves from the top racer...

... more cheering and whooping and hollering than I can even begin to describe!...

... speed....

... snacks and snuggles!

We ended the evening with a spectacular fireworks show and one very proud 5 year old that she got to stay up past midnight!!!

* * * * * 

The older girls and I enjoyed a day of  being "cowgirls" together! We didn't actually ride horses, but we sure watched our fair share of events!

Our favorite true cowgirls were competing in pole bending, barrel racing, and trail classes.

They did great and it was so fun to watch them ride!

There was also a petting zoo, which Larren couldn't get enough of...

... and Mrs. Neufeld impressed us with her blossoming farm girl skills! :)

And because there weren't many kids there Larren got her own personal "barrel car ride!" 

RIGHT before we left there was an unfortunate accident where one of the girls broke her arm (which wow... is crazy hard to see... goodness this mama isn't the medical type!) so I wasn't sure how the girls would respond. But we got home, processed it all with daddy, prayed for the girl who was hurt... and then I looked out the window to see this!

I guess Alia wasn't too detoured from still wanting to be a cowgirl!

Pinto even got extra treats that evening for being such a good boy!

* * * * *

We decided to take a weekend trip to Saskatchewan to visit Jon's aunties...

... and were encouraged to see them in such good health!

A couple highlights were painting their nails, which they had never really done before...

... and finding a cute little coffee shop that served several gluten free things!! 
Who would have thought in small town Saskatchewan?!? :)

* * * * * 

When we got home it was high time to give our verandah some attention! We built it about 7 years ago and have been DREADING the re-staining that would have to take place! It's 90 feet in length... and has all wooden railing and deck boards. After power washing and sanding it was time to don the brushes.

We called some of our top babysitters to watch the girls for the day and Jon and I stained the hours away. Oh my gracious, it's been the project that doesn't end! We JUST finished the deck boards at the end of September and still have the stairs/stair runners/stair railings to go. Which just might get left until next spring, we shall see!

One thing is certain... the new house will have as much maintenance free exterior as possible!!!

* * * * *

We then went south of the border to enjoy a quick camping trip with our best friends!

(This is about 10 minutes south of our place... isn't it beautiful?! This is a canola field, for all my Ohio-ians who've never seen one before!)

Jon, bless his heart, did buy us an old little camper for the event... but after cleaning it and discovering a "soft corner" in the rear, I swiftly decided that we should try tenting it! He sold the camper before we left and we zipped to town to buy a bigger tent. The one from our newlywed days would have been bursting at the seams!

When we got there it was quite chilly... which was unusual since it had been smoking hot during both the day AND night over the weeks prior... 

... but thankfully it warmed up and we could enjoy the pool and the park, which were literally right in our "backyard!"

We quickly realized as we prepped supper that we didn't have a fire ring... so Jon wasted no time in digging a place in the drive for one and had a fire roaring before Holly and I could even get the veggies ready!

We enjoyed a yummy supper, played at the park some more (in PJ's I might add!), took a family pic...

... and spent the rest of the evening around the campfire!

Once the kiddos were all tucked in it was REALLY time to relax. 
Hot tea, all the bad for you campfire goodies we could handle and great conversation till late in the night!

But boy oh boy were we in for a surprise that night! The temps dropped to almost freezing... in JULY!! :) The older two girls were cozy rosy in their warm sleeping bags, but Jon, Caidrie, and I huddled together all night long for warmth! Jon's 70's camper didn't look too bad at that point! We were glad to see the WARM SUN, HOT showers, and coffee in the morning! We did return our tent when we got back due to a malfunction and I'm still trying to convince Jon that a camper is a good idea! I'm losing this battle though! :)

* * * * * 

Once we got home it was time to address a problem in our living room. During a wind storm we had some shingles blow off and then had a leak during a following rain storm. So... insurance took over and the renovations were scheduled to happen while we were in Ohio for a month. Jon wanted to make sure it was done right so he and a very generous friend (THANKS PAUL!!!) tore out all the drywall, lath & plaster, and wood shavings until 2 in the morning... that way it would be ready for fresh insulation and new drywall when the crew arrived! (Jon's theory - once something it tore out it needs to be fixed, right? That way no shortcuts could be made!) PHEW-wee what a mess!! It looked more like a barn than a living room when the night was done!

* * * * *

The next morning it was time for the long and highly anticipated trip to Ohio!! 

We were welcomed with wide open arms, our favorite pizza, and family to help us unpack! 

Oh how we loved just "being" with family!

And helping with jobs where ever needed!

We savored play dates with best friends...

... and our ever growing crews... 

... gorgeous Ohio sunsets from inside and on the porch of my parents new house... 

... snuggles and reading with a soon to be "official" auntie...

... playing the day away...

... secret hideouts with cousins...

... visiting with friends that are more like family...

... spending the day with Auntie Erin and Uncle Josh on their annual zoo trip...

... and the main event of the month! Auntie Angie and Uncle Joel's wedding!!!!!!

All three girls were flower girls, Jon was a groomsmen, I read scripture, and we all helped out in the many details that go into making the day PERFECT!

The three girls practiced going down the aisle...

... but when the big day came only the two older girls actually made it down to the front! :)

What a treat to meet Joel and Angie's friends... they are an incredible bunch who love the Lord, are willing to help with anything, and treat us as though we've known them all our lives!

(Wedding pictures from Snap It Photography)

The wedding was GOR-GEOUS!! Wow!

It was a fairy tale wedding and reception... no other way to describe it!

We couldn't be happier to have Angie as part of our family....

 ... oh. what a blessing to have such wonderful sister-in-laws join our clan!

I took a whopping THREE pictures the whole day... so here is one courtesy of my Auntie!

Things slowed down a bit after the wedding but we still got lots of visiting in!

Here is Alia and I out for lunch at my FAVORITE restaurant (my mom joined us too!) for our first annual school shopping trip!

The girls have quickly figured out that the States has lots more "goodies" to buy at their stores than we do in Canada! :)

We stopped at our infamous local ice cream shoppe as often as possible too!

And all too soon it was time to say goodbye. 

We took some family pictures...

... then did the dreaded "see you next time" hugs. 

Oh my gracious... we can't make it through those times without bucket fulls of tears. We keep thinking we're getting better... but nope, we still all cry like babes!

There was the normal vacuum packing, box fitting, cram into every inch of space packing... and then there was the NOT so normal packing!! :)

But Grampa found the girls a kid sized snowmobile and there was NO way they were going to leave it in Ohio when we have winter for 6+ months of the year!

We managed to fit MOST everything in, but still have a few goodies waiting for us the next time we go!

* * * * *

We arrived back in MB just in time for our town's big festival and took in as much of it as we dared! The temps were off the charts hot...

... but when it only comes once a year...

... ya do what ya gotta do!

The kids loved the rides...

... but I was once again reminded that it is a gluten world!

Trying to find things for our gluten free family to eat was less than exciting, that's for sure!

Jon had some family visiting from Ontario and BC during the festival... and OH what a treat! They loved on our kids like they were their own.... we are SO blessed to have such wonderful Aunties and Uncles on both sides of our family!

(This is the only picture I got of family over the weekend, but this is Jon's auntie from Winnipeg, who we get to enjoy lots of time with!)

* * * * * 

Next up was a special "adopted family" wedding!! 

The girls Auntie Christal  got married and once again they both got to be flower girls!

It was an outdoor wedding in our little community followed by an outdoor tent reception. Ohh, just SO BEAUTIFUL!

The girls "cousin" was also a flower girl and they made quite a cute trio!

* * * * *

To "end" the summer we made one last trip to Tinkertown before school life began!

What a great day of riding rides.. enjoying friends... and delighting in the joy of children!

Alia drove on the classic old car ride, and boy oh boy... she takes her job seriously! Drivers ed will be quite the experience when the time comes!

Caidrie and I just chillaxed and refrained from being backseat drivers!

Waving to our friends as we "passed them on the highway!"

The daddies got wrist bands so they too could enjoy as many rides as possible! :) All in the name of "it's for the children" ya know!

The swings proved to be one of the biggest hits of the day, and since there was barely a line up they got to ride them over...

... and over...

... and over again!

I will say though, pregnancy has lowered my "ride tolerance!" The tilta-whirl about did me in!! :) I used to be able to ride ANYTHING... but now the superslide is definitely a safer bet!

We squeaked the Ferris wheel in as the last ride of the day only minutes before the park closed... and what a treat!

 It makes a difference when there are no dads, brothers, or husbands scaring the day lights out of me by rocking the seat the whole way around! :) 

Camping and Tinkertown has went on our yearly must do list with Brad and Holly! We all had a blast!

 And there we have it... a super long, possibly not so informative :) update of the summer! 

And now on to the anything but lazy days of fall!