Sunday, December 5, 2021

September Blessings and Bugs!

So... I do a lot of driving...
As you can see, I have a lovely attitude.
And I meant it when I took this pic.
All of these kids are amazing and truly such a joy,
(almost all of the time)!

But we are feeling like we need to get going 
and get some drivers out of this crew!
We currently have 3 kids that are 16...
and three more that will be 16 within 6 months!

It is much harder than I thought it would be.
Finding the time to do A LOT of driving with just one 16 yr old...
just doesn't happen often in our family.

It is however...
our (Hubby and my) new hobby,
whether we want it to be,
or not!

We are in awe of our girl, Gracie!
She was born with Spina Bifida and has difficulty with balance.
Some leg muscles don't work while others have to work over time.

Grace has been riding a bike with larger training wheels for the last few years.
It's her main form of exercise other than swimming.

This fall... with the help of a few sibs,
Grace learned to ride a 2 wheel bike!

Look at her go!

This is nothing short of a miracle!
We are so proud of her and how hard she worked to accomplish this!

This is her larger bike without training wheels!
She moved onto this bike within 2 days!
Wow! Just Wow!

The driveway to our home with leaves beginning to change!

Church outside!
It was a beautiful warm autumn day for the Fall Festival!
These kiddos chose not to sit with us...
I don't know why?
It's not like we embarrass them or anything... (LOL)
by taking pics of them in the middle of church... 

Here are the brave souls,
that will still sit with their parents!

Thank you Fr Steve for another great mass!

Food trucks were there for dinner choices!

And tractor rides for the real little kids!
which none of us fall into that category anymore...

Last year this event, like so many others 
was cancelled due to Covid.

I guess she didn't want her picture taken?
Oops! My bad!

Hi Ava!
We can still see you!

The older teens volunteered at the festival 
to run games and give away prizes!

Bennett feels bad for Ava because her jeans are torn...
He wants Nana to fix them!

Great apple this year at the Apple Orchard!
This is our second trip there to stock up on more 
Honey Crisp Apples!

While some were at CC practice,
the rest of us hung out and had fun!
Sometimes it's nice to have a smaller group!
We had lunch and apple treats there!

Katie's first birthday celebration at home
in over 10 years!

It was so much fun to go out with the adults and celebrate!

Beautiful sunset over the lake!

All amazing daughters!
Feeling very blessed!

But why stop there?!

The party must go on!
All of the children were so incredibly kind and thoughtful!
We love how they love their big sister!

Ali made her mom a beautiful picture of a cat for her bday!

Emma loves to "make presents" for the birthday person!

Mia and Melissa got a gift certificate for Katie!

I often say...
don't sit on the table.
But of course you can lay on it... hahaha!

Jenny and Ava went in on a gift, too!
It was so thoughtful of the younger sibs to do!

Our Birthday party crew!

It's your birthday!

Such a beautiful family!

It was such a treat celebrating Katie...
for the first time in 10 years!

Sometimes mom's just need help,
blowing out all those candles!

So along with the gorgeous fall weather and no sign of an early frost
came droves, flocks, bundles, swarms
or whatever they are called...

of these critters, boxelder bugs....

They were absolutely everywhere...

We sprayed, we swept, we vacuumed, we sprayed, we swept, we vacuumed
over and over and over again...

Hubby and I love to walk!
Especially outside, when the weather is so nice!

We have beautiful trails just a couple miles from our home!

It's a wonderful time for us to get caught up
 on conversation and to relax and get some exercise!

The fall colors make it even more delightful!

Gorgeous sugar maples starting to turn!

The afternoon sun shining through the maple forest
is a bonus!

Lil Dude goes to benastics!
Now your kids might go to gymnastics
but he does not...
and don't try telling him, he does...
bc he goes to benastics!

I decided it's time to take control of the screen time...

So I went into settings and set limits!
Good for me!

A couple kids needed the phones at school.
But after one minute the screen time shut down...

Oops! I probably should have given them 
a little more screen time throughout the day!

Anyone out there need tech support?
I'm available!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Wonderful Neighbors and Friends/ We are into the CC Season!

Our wonderful neighbors 
wanted to experience a large family cookout!

A couple weeks prior to this, 
they took Hubby and I out to dinner!
Dinner was amazing and we loved our evening with them!

So before the weather changed we wanted to do
 a cookout, with Luellen and Neil!

Luellen particularly enjoys talking with the kids!
She takes an interest in them and they enjoy conversing with her!

It's always a bonus when our big kids can join us!

And these guys...
they like to talk about GOLF!
When Billy was in High School he caddied for Neil!

It's so good to see so many of our bigs together again with the littles...
that aren't so little anymore!
The new littles are the grands!

Looks like Lil Dude is taking control of the bags game!
Who da boss!
Lil Dude!

I think Emma is getting hungry!
Smile honey!
We will eat soon!

Nothing better than your uncle pushing you 
while you're on a swing!

A little "one v one' soccer!

Kelly and Ellie!

I haven't shared yet...
These photos are from mid September
and now it's almost December!
Kelly and Billy are having a December baby!
We are all so excited!

Love this tree swing 

and love this girl!

It's football season!
Some of the kids have a family fantasy football league going!
It's actually late November right now as I post-
 Abby, Johnny and Sam are tied for first.
Ben is fourth,
Hubby is fifth and
Mark is in sixth place.

We love our cookout food!
Brats or Hot dogs with the fixins'
Baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, fresh greens salad
variety of chips, watermelon, s'mores
and extra desserts brought by our guests!
You can never have too many desserts!

It's relaxed and casual
and everyone makes their own food...
unless a younger kiddo wants to make yours (or mine)!

Our circle is getting bigger
and more welcoming to family and friends!

It warms my heart!

The grands LOVE their Aunts and Uncles!

Hey Joe... are you sure that's a good idea?
That's a lot of baked beans you have there?

A pick with our awesome neighbors!

And one with... okay, maybe it took more than one...
with Hubby and I in it!
This one made it into the Christmas card (back side)!

S'mores are soooo good!
(and so sticky and messy and oh so, worth the mess) 

Gathering, relaxing,

visiting, cooking and anticipating the food!

Four out of five bigs joined us for the fall cookout!

And we have a photo bomber!
Look at her mother's eyes!
They say...
"What are you doing?"
Just a slight amount of stress in her eyes!

Second try!
I think the photo bomber may have had too much pop!
BTW, in Minnesota, it's pop, not soda, not coke!

Everyone LOVES Uncle Johnny!

And back to Cross Country!
Run Abby, run!
This is Abby's first season of CC.
The other 6 kids did it last year and enjoyed it.
Abby had moments of not being so sure she wanted to do it
but then stuck with it and loved it (okay, really enjoyed it, also)!

Go Melissa, go!
She is so happy to have lettered this year in CC!
And what I love even more...
is that her sibs are so proud of her!
Honestly, they have such good hearts!

Way to go Jenny and Anna!

Keep on truckin', Madeline!

You can do it Ava!
As you can see... it's really hard work!
But she did it!
No stopping!

Our kids started training in late June through July,
with a summer run for fun.

Then captains practice in early August.
The season began in mid august and went until late October!

The boys team came in 4th in the state!

Everyones time improved significantly!
And they met a super nice group of kids!
They have awesome coaches 
that are encouraging and that challenge them.

The kids always come home feeling positive and energized!
It was a blessing all around!