Saturday, June 4, 2016

Hopefully the Overabundance of Photos Will Make Up for My Absence, TToT 155


*Picture me waving to you*

Here I am!

And here's what I've been up to these past couple of weeks...

1. Giant graduated from 8th grade! It's a big deal when the school is K-8. It's an even bigger deal when it is the 4th Coop kid to graduate in 4 years. We now have FOUR high schoolers! 

Yup, this is the one we consider the keeper. Get the frames ready.
2. Hanging out with the newly graduated! The 8th graders get out of school a week before the rest of the school (and their high school siblings), so that left all sorts of kids languishing at home by themselves. Giant and I went around picking them up so they could all have a fun day together.

We found a new-to-us miniature golf place. $4 to play all day, even if you leave for lunch and come back later, which we did.

3. Sports! Club soccer (Giant and Buttercup) and baseball (Turken) are in their final weeks, with championship games on the near horizon. The weather has been cooperating for the most part (Baseball on Thursday was perfection!), but we'll see how tomorrow goes. I hear there's to be lots of rain and some storms moving in. High school soccer practices started this week. It makes me all teary to see my three oldest boys walking up to the house, soccer bags slung over their shoulders, sweat dried on their brows, after practicing together. I'm really looking forward to the coming season!

4. Last day of school! Talk about a complete turn-around. The first day of school brought all sorts of emotions and tears as a phase of my life ended. As we all knew would happen, I got used to having the quiet days to myself. I got to enjoy doing errands and lunches and basically whatever I wanted whenever I wanted without worrying about how a child would handle it. And now they were coming back. To be with me all day every day. I'm happy to say, so far, it's been as awesome as always. Summer break is the best.

5. Taking a trip to Washington, DC! Remember when we surprised the kids with a trip to Disney, but Phoenix and I were delayed and had to change our flights? Well, we each had an airline credit that expired if we didn't travel by June 1. Bryan was getting on me to schedule something, but I was dragging my feet for a variety of reasons. In the end, I told him I didn't care where we went, just make sure the new flight costs the same as our credit. Ended up, DC was the destination. Phoenix and I spent a quick 3 days packing in as much DC as we could.

This was not my first trip to DC. I was shocked to see how much security has been beefed up.  No going up to the gates of the White House lawn anymore!

Duck. In the water flowing into the WWII memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the background

WWII Memorial at night.

We went to Mass at the oldest Catholic church in DC.
6. While we were in DC, we were able to meet up with Kristi and Tucker! (Sadly, Sarah was off visiting family in another state and couldn't join us.)  It was a quick visit (WAY too quick), but it was wonderful. We watched motorcycles (I'll explain in the next thankful.), ate ice cream, and cooled our feet in a fountain. 

As I've said before, I never guessed that blogging would lead to making friends all over the world, yet that's exactly what has happened. I've met quite a few in person, and I'm happy to say this is yet another one who didn't end up as a male ax murderer but was the funny, interesting, kind lady I expected her to be.

7. We remembered those who didn't make it back from the Vietnam War. One thing about being in DC over Memorial Day...there are a LOT of people. We waited in long lines to get into every single museum. Even the ones that weren't free. It was worth it, though, just to be there for the goings-on. Friday night, we walked around the National Mall. While standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we saw hundreds and hundreds of motorcycles parked on the street and in the grass nearby. More and more were joining them. We walked down to see what was going on. Came to find out, each year, Vietnam Vets ride in for a candlelight vigil and a "parade". The couple we spoke with said that the last time they attended (2 years ago) 800,000 bikes were there. 

My dad fought in Vietnam. He fought alongside of people whose names are on the Memorial Wall. We stayed for the highly emotional candlelight vigil on Friday night. We made sure to be standing along Constitution Ave. for the ride on Sunday. (The "parade" lasted 5 hours or so. We didn't stay for the whole thing, but we stood, watched, and waved at different points during the afternoon, including a bit with Kristi.)

Before the vigil, people lined up by the memorial wall.

8. Enjoying simply soaking in the beauty of flowers. Flowers that are actually growing around my house.

9. Beginning a summer of Fun Fridays! High school soccer is Monday-Thursday from 6-8 each day. Add in travel and such, that's a good 4 hours the boys are gone. And those practices are tough. So much running and conditioning besides playing soccer. Going to a state park to hike before practice is just a bad, bad idea. So, we instituted Fun Fridays. Today we went to one of my favorite parks. (I wrote one of my favorite posts after our last trip there. It kind of lays out my parenting philosophy. You may want to click back to it just to compare photos. Kids grow so daggum fast!)

The weather was perfect, and we had a great time.

I have an almost identical photo of this scene in the other post. Back then Turken was too young to do such death-defying exploration.

No fear of heights in these boys.

A giant tree had recencly (very recently) fallen down over the creek we were following. Couldn't go around it, had to go over it. And hang out in it. And climb it.

Before the day was done, they were all soaked through. At one point they broke out into a roaring game of tag in which you tagged the person by kicking water onto him.

10. Playing games and eating together and getting major manual labor done around the house and cooking with Cuckoo and and and many ands.

How have you been? What have you been up to while I've been gone?

Tell me what you're thankful for!

And then...

Have a lovely day!

*I apologize now for any and all spelling and grammatical errors. I stayed up 2 hours past my bedtime to get this sucker done, and I just don't have the energy to reread before I publish.*

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts


  1. Replies
    1. Whaaaaaaa? And i even read first! Isnt kristi fun? So funny to read the ax murderer thing cuz when i met her i was picking her up from her friends who were convinced she shouldn't come with me just in case i was an ax murderer.

    2. Whaaaaaaa? And i even read first! Isnt kristi fun? So funny to read the ax murderer thing cuz when i met her i was picking her up from her friends who were convinced she shouldn't come with me just in case i was an ax murderer.

    3. Congrats on the frist!
      She is loads of fun. I wish we had way more time than we did.

  2. Ohhh FRIST! (am I? AM I?)

    ANYWAY, I love LOVE this post and all the photographs and lovely smiley you, and all your high-schoolers. AND YAY TO YOU MEETING KRISTI AND TUCKER! Aren't they just completely wonderful? <3 I also love that I got to look at your pics of DC and think "I've been there", even if I didn't get to see half a million motorbikes or big celebrations.

    Your flowers are BEAUTIFUL and I'm glad you've been sharing the pics on facebook - they've been very cheering :)

    1. The certainly are wonderful. I was thinking of you as I took the photos, especially the Washington Monument. I almost posted one and said something about being in Chicago or some non-DC place. ;)

      Aren't they gorgeous?!? No thanks to me. All I did was put them in the ground. Each morning starts with a good mood when I look out and see sunshine in my flowerbed.


    1. Seriously, we've been doing this thing for years. You should know by now. :)

  4. Love all the photos, especially the fly on the lily and the DC duck. So glad you got to meet up with Kristi and Tucker. I haven't met Tucker yet, but I can vouch that Kristi is not an ax-murderer (and neither is Sarah). Congrats on the school year ending!

  5. Still crying over missing you. Even if we had tons of fun in NC. Come back!
    Great pic of the duck and Lincoln Memorial.
    We saw some of those motorcyclists heading towards DC as we left.

    1. Me, too. At least you were off having fun. It would have been a real kick in the teeth if we missed seeing each other because of some obligation you didn't want to do. :) Surely I'll be in the DC area again someday. Or, OR you could find a reason to come to Indiana!
      I'm not surprised. They came in from everywhere all weekend long.

  6. I too love meeting bloggers. I'm meeting two more next week. I'm happy about that.

    I love your family. You are just the most happy, well adjusted group of people. Just saying.

    Your trip to D.C. looked like fun. Short, but fun.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. You seem to meet bloggers quite often! It is fun, isn't it?

      Aw, thank you, Sandee. I'm thinking you would fit right in. :)

      It was!

  7. Wow! I wondered where you were, now I know :)

    So many photos too - love the family one and all the flowers.

    Giant is growing up so fast, as probably are all the kids. Where does the time go??

    Glad you were able to use the airline credit and you and Phoenix had a good three days in DC.

    Love the game of tag idea, kicking water at each other sounds like my idea of fun :)

    Where have I been and what have I been up to? Had a birthday on Thursday but thankfully don't look or feel any older, had a few days on Anglesey last weekend - see my latest blog posts - and was thankful for some really fab weather. I'm going back there again tomorrow for a 10-day holiday so I'll be disappearing off the radar for a while, but there'll be loads of blog pics to come when I get back.

    1. I couldn't help myself with the flowers. I've never had so many growing all around the house before. It makes me so happy, and I couldn't leave even one out!

      While the boys were playing their water tag game, Turken stopped and said to me, "We just stop and make a game out of nothing!" Love those boys and their ability to do such things. :) I was kicking myself for not bringing an extra set of clothes for myself. I would have been in there playing with them. But an hour drive in sopping wet clothes would have been miserable.

      Thanks for letting me know where you're going. I'll be catching up with missed posts asap!

  8. I love this post so much - all the joy of graduation, four high schoolers (yikes!), growing kids... It's interesting to see how your perspective shifts like you mention from wondering how to do days with no kids to finding you like it just fine. I found that transition from in the classroom all day to home alone all day a big shift in my life but I think I've settled in to a routine that works pretty well. Right now I'm a little nervous about getting work done with Zilla home all summer, but I'm also really excited because we have such great things planned.
    I love your Fun Fridays - very cool idea. Hoping David gets to have a few Fridays off this summer so we can do the same. We love our hiking spot any time but on a weekday when most people are still at work is the best. It's so quiet.
    Congratulations to all of you and happy summer!
    Oh, and I am DEFINITELY jealous of all the people meeting because I so haven't been able to do any of that yet. Crying.

    1. Aw, thanks, Lisa. Yikes indeed!
      We're adaptable. Good to know. And a good thing to be. :)
      With the kids' schedules this summer, it looks like we won't be able to take a vacation like we always do. Field studies and mission trips and summer classes and senior prep for freshman orientation is giving us precious little time to get away. Looks like Bryan will be taking some Fridays off to join us on Fun Fridays/maybe turn it into a long weekend away. Cause we're adaptable. :)
      Seriously, you gotta get out and meet some of them. So much fun. How far of a drive is DC from you?

  9. as always excellent photos! my favorite was the one of the Giant Duck attaching the Lincoln Memorial (no! seriously! that visual came into my mind right away.)
    major props to your child-rearing philosophy of Road Trips (I can think of a bunch of reason why this would be good for kids, without even resorting to 'well, road trip!' v cool
    hey, come on! "male ax murderer(s)' are people too! lol ok, maybe not the ideal

    1. Thanks, Clark! Ha! I'm not surprised that the thought jumped into your mind.
      Road trips are cool. My kids make fun of my no plans trips I take them on, but they will thank me some day when they are telling awesome stories about their childhoods. :)
      They are people, but they aren't people I want to meet up with on the street!

  10. DC is one of a few places I wish I can take my kids when they were little.

    1. Funny you should say that. I was talking about just that thing with someone else. DC is not the place to take little kids for a vacation. There is so, soooo much walking. And lots of things to simply look at or read about. It's much better for older kids/teens.

  11. What a great list of thankfuls. Can't imagine four kids in high school simultaneously. Adventure time! The DC trip looks amazing. I would love to visit that church. And I can never get enough of the memorials. Visually stunning and emotionally moving. I love them all. Your flower garden is gorgeous. I hope you are finding lots of time to "stop and smell"! And that brook? I would love to spend an afternoon wading in that clear, cool water!

    1. We've been imagining the 4 kids in high school thing for years. I can't believe that it is finally upon us. I'm excited for it. Based on how it's gone when each of the other kids joined the older ones in high school, it's going to be loads of fun.
      It is such a pretty church. The pastor looked to be as old as the church. He was a hoot.
      DC is an emotional place, but my word, it had me in tears this visit!
      I am definitely stopping to smell! Almost daily I take a walk around the house and soak in all the pretty.
      It is a great park for hiking. Most people don't know there are such places in the land of corn. :)

  12. Ahhhh... the beauty of flowers and graduation and MEETING YOU AND PHOENIX in PERSON! EEP! I'm so glad it worked out and that your trip was wonderful. That trail though? I'm not sure I could handle it. I can jump out of an airplane but heights like that freak me out completely. Come back. We'll see Sarah.

    1. I am so glad you took the time and effort to get into the city. I know it wasn't easy, but I hope you think it was worth it. It was awesome. And only makes me want to spend way more time visiting with you.
      Ha! I didn't go up on the cliffs with the boys. I stayed in the creek with Cuckoo. :)

  13. So much good in this post! I am glad you adjusted to having all the kids in school; I knew you would, but it is an adjustment. But now you get to have SUMMER--and it sounds like you've started it out in a big way. Friday fun days are a great tradition!

    1. I knew I would get used to it, but I knew it would be a rough adjustment at first. It was. I'd say I'm completely adjusted, but Phoenix leaves for 2 weeks of summer field studies in the morning. And when I made him clean out his room I said, "You will be moving to college next year. If you won't want to take it then, you probably don't need to keep it now." Adjusted, but still much more adjusting yet to come.
      I'm really looking forward to Friday fun days. Looks like Bryan will be joining us on some of them, too, which will make them that much better.

  14. Your plants are looking so pretty, but that trail is amazing, exactly the type of thing my guys would have loved doing for an afternoon.

    1. It is a great park to explore. Always another cliff or cave to discover.

  15. Good to know Kristi isn't an ax murderer. Glad you could confirm that for us. But in seriousness, so wonderful when you get to meet bloggers you love online in real life and they are just as lovely.

    You have had a very full week - and the photos are lovely. Congrats to your grad - I LOVE the photo of the duck - and the flowers are gorgeous. Event at the memorial sounds very moving.

    1. Ha! Now you can feel comfortable meeting her in person. :) I have had nothing but fun meeting my blogger friends.

      Weeks are usually busy, but this one was extra full with big things. I'm trying my best to slow down at each one and take some mental notes and photos and just enjoy the moments.
      Thank you!

  16. Sounds like a lovely trip to Washington and an even lovelier meet-up with a blogger friend, in person for the first time. I read Kristi's post and she spoke of the fun you guys had, just as you've done.
    I went to D.C. back in 99 and I think we got right up to the White House fence. Ford's Theatre was memorable for me. I'm sure it is meaningful when you've got family who fought in a war, but I'm from Canada and I had nobody like that. We did visit Arlington though. I wanted to see Helen Keller's gravesite. It is there, but I was feeling unwell at the time we were close by and so it never did happen. Guess I'll have to go back.
    Glad summer is looking bright for you and time with your kids.

  17. You always have so many wonderful things to share and this post was no exception!! Looks like a fabulous trip to DC and the photos of flowers are just gorgeous!

  18. Giant graduated! That is wonderful. He looked so handsome!
    I am jealous that you and Kristi got to meet. That must have been fabulous and you must've squeezed each other so tight that your heads popped off!
    Those flowers are simply stunning. I'm a huge fan of flowers. My peonies just bloomed and I was super excited about it. Probably too excited about it.

  19. I'm so glad to see it looks like you all are doing well! Your flowers are just gorgeous. We planted a bunch of flowers this year and it seems like coaxing them into actually blooming is harder than one might think! Maybe I am just a rose and zinnia girl only lol.

    What a fun trip to DC... hubby and I have always wanted to go. It's definitely in our plans for some day!


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