Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A family trip!

It's been sooo long, but here are some pictures I think you might enjoy.  I was able to visit the fly-in in Missouri this August, and then we had some extra little visitors on our farm in September

But first, the fly-in.

Look at these handsome fellas.  There's a Stinson back there, for those who have eyes to see.

Everyone who's been to an airshow knows that it's never just an airshow.  It's a car show, scooter show, pavillion tent show, and what not.  Well, Chillicothe was no different, which made certain young men very happy, as you can see.

Here's Noah, dreaming big. 

And Seth, from his position of authority.

 We also did some birthday celebrations for late spring, summer, and early fall birthdays.  Audrey took the occasion to sport her new shoes for school.

Mom, Dad, Sam, and Katie.
Wonder what Katie's thinking about?  And why is Sam giving Dad that look? 

Matching teapot and flowers.  Anybody guess who orchestrated that present?

 Sam perched next to Nana on the swinging bench.  He makes a small space look larger and cuter.

Slater, our special guest, kept most of us--especially Packer and Dexter--on our toes...

...or off our rockers.

Shifting gears, this was taken the morning of John's first class at HBU!

Amadeus was so proud of him (as was I).  

I mentioned some little visitors at the farm.  We were delighted to have Ryan, Joy, and fam pay us a visit early in September!  I still can't believe that they were actually here!

Some time ago, John's mom had bought me the most random Noah's ark ever from an antique store.  It's a mix between a castle, a pirate ship, and a farmyard.  The kids loved it.

Well, two of them.  Sam preferred to stand on the breadbox.

As well as to stand on the kitchen chair, supervising Amadeus from afar.

 Our little guests also enjoyed trying on cowboy hats.

And of course, touring the nearby Bluebell factory. 

Here's Caleb, lamenting with Darth Vader Goofy on the way there.  In the foreground, Joy and I are talking about Mexican food, but it's worth the effort to hear Caleb's voice.
 The family about an hour before the sugar rush.

A minute before the sugar rush...

Mid-sugar rush...

 And entering the sugar daze.  

Yes, life is good in Bluebell land, where they give out free hats and paint elevators to look like barn doors.

Having explored the ice cream belt, we opted for some protein in the form of chips, salsa, and enchiladas.  And Aggie gear.

Ryan, Katie, and Caleb all came out strong in their maroon.  That's saying a lot from some die-hard Mizzou fans.  I guess since we're all in the SEC together now, it's all good.

As we were driving into the restaurant, Katie remarked on a common site down here but rare enough in Missouri.  Here she is in front of her first palm tree!

And in front of her second palm tree!  
(Notice the arms spread wide in the traditional Disney princess mode.)

While Katie admired the trees, Caleb was more interested in statues of alligators.  I didn't catch it on film, but at one point, he actually reached out to pet its spiny back. 

John and Katie had a particularly fun time that Friday, as is evidenced by John threatening to throw Katie into a fountain several times over.

Then they made bignets (French funnel-cakes) for the assembled.

And even indulged in a game of chess.  

Caleb, meanwhile, helped me wash dishes.

 The Saturday they left, we had lunch at Tom and Kay's.  But Sam hadn't taken an effective nap for three days, so he didn't have much to offer in the way of conversation.  

A sub-text to all of this is that Katie discovered her inner photographer.  The following is her portfolio.

 We call this "Pig 'n' Vader."

And this one, "The Boat Caleb Can't Touch"

"Dwarfs in Motion"

"Shoe on Pink"

Caleb's contribution: "Vader Vanquished."

 The sad time came, however, when they had to go.  It was very sad.  But wait!  Where's Sam?

Obviously dragging his feet because he doesn't want to leave.  I understand, Sam.  I understand.

But we mustn't end on a sober note.  Let's end instead on some "Jive Talking."  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Although this post is overall pretty happy, I have a sad thing to report.  The historic bottling plant in Dublin, Texas will no longer be producing "Dublin" Dr. Pepper (made with real cane sugar)--or any Dr Pepper at all.  It is a part of John's life that will now be in the past, as he and his friends used to enjoy finding old bottles and getting them filled with Dr. Pepper's original formula.

So here's a brief photo tribute to the Dublin Bottling Plant:
Cases of empty bottles, waiting to be filled.

At the Dublin Bottling Co., you can get either a Frosty Pepper or DP served hot, which was surprisingly good!

Rob joined us on our last trip to the plant.  It was bittersweet, but mostly sweet.

On to Christmas!  Here's Amadeus enjoying his Christmas present:  a real dog bed!

We celebrated Christmas Day in MO this year, and all the family descended on Mom and Dad's house for appx. a week.  Here's a picture of how calm things look at the beginning of the holiday.  Don't Jerilyn and Jackson look cool, collected, relaxed?  
Don't worry, by the end of the week, children will be abandoned in hallways, dogs will be masquerading as pillows, and exhaustion will have struck us all.  Bring it on!

To start out the festivities Steph arranged a ginger-house decorating party.  It brought out cheesy smiles and creativity, neither one of which lurk far below the surface in our family.    Here are the houses, like little canvases waiting to be filled.

The troops at work.

The camaraderie level is high.

The attention to detail. . .meticulous.

The discipline. . .uh. . .lacking.

But the finished result was electrifying!

After such hard work, some R and R was necessary.  New Apple Shuffles were (almost) standard issue.

After decorating houses, time for the gift exchange!  Some of us were so excited, we had to bust out our disco moves.

But some of us decided to play it a little tougher.  After all, you  must look intimidating when modeling your school's hoodie.

The day after Christmas, we were excited to celebrate with Ginny and Gary as they tied the knot, aided by an assortment of beautiful junior bridesmaids and flower girls.
And congratulations, other happy couple, for looking so stylish and coordinated!
Congratulations, happy couple!  (That beautiful cake was made by Steph.)
After the wedding, back up to the villa for some cousin time.  The rest of our CA family came in, but as you can see, their youngest member declined to have her photograph taken.

Jackson enjoyed perching on high places.
And Natalie enjoyed intellectual conversation with, well, whoever it was that she was talking to.

On Thursday, many of us trekked up to our local Amish settlement to get some homespun groceries.
Katie had a great time looking through all the goodies, some of them very, very tempting.

After the grocery store, we toured a wood shop that also had some charming little cabins outside to play grown-up in.  Ty does such a good job playing grown-up.  
And Adirondack chairs to climb on.

But as might be expected, things started to get a little frenetic toward the end of the week.
It's not that children were misplaced, exactly.  More like observed from a distance.
Bedding ran short.  Dogs jumped in to help. 
But as always, peace descended in the form of sleep.  Granted, for Ryan and Joy's children, this is an under-appreciated commodity.

I had an epiphany that week.  Our family has been having hard times, but as day after day of family togetherness passed, it settled into my soul that we are so, so blessed.