Wednesday, August 1, 2018

End of Summer Break

Missions Accomplished!  

Tonight, we did the last on our List of Goals for Summer. 

The last item on the list was Family Bike Ride. 

Jacob asked for this item to be put on our list since he learned how to ride in May.  So I figured at some point, we'd fix Eric's bike and get us all riding around the block together.  Nope, Eric's bike was toast.  But mine was ok.  So I rode with them once.  Tonight we took turns. 
I had Daddy take my bike off the wall, and I took these cuties around the block after our supper. 
Jake started off sprinting like a maniac.  I had to push to keep up, but by the corner he was slowing down. We kept a steadier pace, and at the end of the street pictured above, he needed to turn towards home. So we came home, Jake and I stopped, and Daddy took the boys around the loop a few more times.  

I love this, with the sun shining behind them.  Perfect. 

Actually, we had a great last day of Summer Vacation. 
We went and Kidnapped Daddy for lunch.  
We took him Mug-n-Bun. 

The kids didn't remember eating at Mug-n-Bun before. 
They wanted to eat outside at the picnic tables, instead of in the car, killing dolphins leaving the car on wasn't going to be an option, and outside in the breeze seemed better. 
So everyone got the sunglasses and looked awesome. 

And then there was the Root Beer. 
Eric's first job was doing dishes at Mug-n-Bun, the frosty mugs, or refilling them for folks.  
Nowadays, only the medium serving comes in a frosty mug, and the large comes in a take home plastic cup.  Our cups died long ago, so we opted to pick up a few new ones. ;)

Jacob with his Kiddie size root beer. 

Sam downed his root beer before his food arrived. 

Chris was open minded enough to try the root beer, but opted for water, a wise choice, since while we were there, the sun finally came out, and it got toasty. 

Mmm... fried with a side of fried. 
My foot long hotdog with sauce and cheese, a tenderloin, and onion bites tinier than the full onion rings, but still awesome.  The great thing we've always appreciated about their onion rings has always been that when we bite in, the onion doesn't come sliding out, they stay together. Mmm. 

This amazing lunch filled me to the brim, and we still took half home.  
Dinner was salad bar at Noble Roman's with E's Mom and Dad. 
What a great way to end our Summer Vacation! 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Jellystone Knightstown Campout, Day 1

This weekend, our family ran away with my Mom.  We began testing out her new Camper. She bought it with her inheritance from my Uncle Ron who loved to go Camping. We may even call this Camper, Big Ron. He was my Godfather, and we always got along well, being of geeky minds.  He loved spending time and camping with the boys and 'unclefying' them.  So this was the first campout we got to try out the new camper.   First we had to meet up at the Camper place, because there were a few things left undone.  Mom wanted us to drive "to get used to it".

I drove to the Camper place.  I hadn't driven with a camper trailer attached before. It was really scary for me.  It kept shifting when I transitioned from 25-40 mph. Mostly that was just exit ramps, but still It gave me a case of the willies.  I've never been so happy to see my minivan. You know how I joke, "I'm tired, I drove today."  I made Eric drive the next leg and get it into the campground.  Putting that beast into reverse was insane.

But Woohoo!  After less than an hour on that second leg of the journey we arrived at the Jellystone Campground in Knightstown, IN.  

As we struggled with backing the trailor in, the Ranger came and backed it in and rescued us.  

As we were dealing with that, I realized it was 12:30, soon it became 1.  We were all Hungry.  
So Lunch was Next. Or During for some. Luckily, we had lunchmeat, chips at the ready.  
No fire necessary.

Our Lovely Campsite! 

Eric and I go on an Ice/Wood run. 
Mom was weirded out that we didn't pack wood or ice, where would we get it.  We also knew it was going to rain soon.
This part we knew, we headed Back Up the hill, for supplies. 
Driving by ourselves. 
It was almost like a date. 
Given that it was a Family Trip, I knew that it would be the only time we would be alone all weekend, so I took this cute picture of us by the Pic-a-nic baskets. 

These pretty purple coneflower was growing outside the bathrooms, which were at the top of the hill.  Luckily, we figured out how to work the bathrooms in the camper, so we didn't use the ones at the top of the hill except for #2 or to shower too. 

Naptime, Ha!
After our adventures, Jacob was getting crazy, and I was toast. 
I tried to get a nap with him, but it didn't work very well.  
He's so cute, and our naptimes are limited, so as it began to spit, I tried to nap. 

Meanwhile, the kids broke out the deck of cards, and had some snacks. 

A little rain became a lot of rain. 

Luckily, we have this wonderful camper to hang out inside. 
Nana made this super excellent chex mix.  It did not the survive to the end of our adventure. 
It was Yummy!  
Who knew Chex mix would be such a big hit with everyone.  I'd forgotten.

Meanwhile, my sister sent a peace offering. 
Kani Salad. 
At least I thought it was a peace offering.   She knew I loved this crab/cucumber/spicy may salad that she makes.  And I do.  I knocked it out for my snack, and finished it off with Charlie for dinner. ;)

An Advertisement! 
Thieves- the Bar of Soap. 
I packed this as a last minute idea, thinking we might want some soap with us, as it's Camping. 
Remind me that I need All the Thieves Every Time we Camp! 

Charlie couldn't take being cooped up in the rain, so she and Jacob both were ootsy, they wanted to go for a walk.  We let them go for a walk in the rain.  As the rain was ending. 

There they are, as the sunshine broke through, the littles headed to the park just around the corner.
They are walking in the street in this shot.  

Charlie slid on the slide.  
After a rainstorm.  
She was a mess. 

Jacob followed suit. 
Jacob slid on the slide, and he got his djibooty all messed up. 

All the kids got mad and soaked when a second round of storms rolled through. 

This one was even harder rain than the first round. 
Uh Oh. 
We thought our chairs would be protected under our 'porch roof'. 

There's no protection outdoors from That. 
This was my favorite rain shot of the weekend.  

We eventually sent Eric back out to the park after the kids, to bring them in from the rain. 
Lightning was our limiting factor.  I was ok if they played in the rain, but with lightning and thunder, they needed to come back in. 

Meanwhile, our porch flooded. 

Inside, the kids all played Crazy 8s with the Original! 
Nana taught me Crazy 8s, and I taught them, so we all had epic card battles. 
I'm so glad we packed two decks of card. Nana and I resumed our old Gin tournaments of old.  I'd forgotten how to play gin.  But we taught Eric, and we had battles all day, all weekend long.  No points, no gambling, just cards.  Everyone usually cleaned my clock, but I had fun. 
When Jacob won, he was the most cheerful kid ever.  When he lost, he was not. 
We needed to teach him how to be a gracious loser. 

After getting soaked in the rain, the kids were happy to come in and get dry for a while. 

Dinner prep.  
Hot dogs in the microwave for the kids, and leftover pasta for us. 

It seems silly to have hot dogs without being grilled out on a campout. 
Cooked in a microwave seems like a cop out.  But when there's so much rain, there was no hope of fire for dinner.  The kids were happy though.

Mom and Lisa and made this yummy pasta casserole.  Lisa tends to just throw in whatever she had, so there were all kinds of veggies: zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, yellow squash, onion, in a light marinary with parmesan and penne pasta.  It was kind of like a primavera, I think Giada started it, but my family mutated it.  And I ate the crap out of it.  It had been a long exhausting day, lots of work, my back was Done.  And so I was glad for some yummy home cooking without having to cook much. 

The closest we got to Smores on this campout. 
This was a Smores flavored stout, beer, that Eric and I picked up at the Wine and Table next door to the Kumon place.  So Yummy!  
And since there was no evening fire, this worked for improvising.  

Once the sun went down, the kids were Toast. 
My bunkmate was out cold as soon as I laid down and held his hand. 
Our neighbors (who were very close) were noisy until like 1 a.m., so I slept crappy. 
He's so beautiful when he sleeps. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Backyard Camping

It only got up to 80 degrees today. 
It's actually a lovely temperature outside. 
So at the last minute, we decided to open up Nana's camper, and 'air it out'. 

By air it out, I mean, we don't turn it on, no air, no water, just people camping in it with pillows and sleeping bags.

Jake and I shared one end. 

Chris and Sam got the other end.  

We weren't planning on opening it up all the way, just enough for some boys to enjoy a reasonable temperatured evening.  Which it really is!  

But we aren't the only ones out enjoying the evening.  

Somewhere to the south of us, people were blasting off fireworks until just now.  
We watched for a while, until we couldn't see anymore.  
Then the kids conked out.  
But Mommy stayed awake, because our neighbors who don't talk to us are having company.  
They were out back yapping, cheering for some sport on tv.  What sport is on at 11pm?  I don't know. 
But it was obnoxious.  The kids managed though.  They are superchamp campers.  
We're going to go actually use the camper in a couple weeks with Nana, and they can't wait! 

We'll just call this a test run. ;) 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Glorious 4th

Why is it we call it the 4th of July, but we don't do the same for 25th of December or 14th of February?

Just more random thoughts that occur to me today while we were resting together.  Ahh, Freedom!  Freedom to sit around and watch a parade, or be in it, or have a cookout, or just stay home and appreciate all our Blessings.  And we have Many. 

We started our holiday participating in the Brownsburg Community Independence Day Parade, which as it turns out, is the 2nd largest local Parade in the state, 2nd only to the Indy 500 Parade!

We got Spirit, yes we do!  

OK, this is the 1 picture I did not take today.  This is the Boy Scouts from Troop 396 that led the Parade, holding the starting banners.  Note the nutty one up front with the wild hair and goofy glasses.  Yep, that one is mine. 

Meanwhile, the Cub Scouts from Pack 396 all wore their Camp shirts so they could ride in the Parade.  

Sam and Jacob sitting in the truck, ready to ride! 

The big kids walked it and the littles rode.   My kids both rode.  I had fully planned to walk it, but at the last minute they needed an adult in the truck back with the littles, so I hopped up.  Eric had parked the car and hadn't caught up with us yet, we caught him just as we were turning from Williams Park setup to the street to just starting, and he hopped up with me.  

The Littles in our truck waving their flags! 
There was a trailor behind us with hay blocks that the other kids sat on, and a couple coolers. 
As we got moving, they started passing out popsicles.  I had no clue we'd be handing those out.  
No doubt we'd run out!  We ran out of popsicles just after crossing 267. 
But right before we'd run out of our own, we got stuck at the light, and some citizen came up and handed us handfuls of popsicles for all the kids... and a couple grownups.  It was hot out, but this was the most fun I'd ever had doing a Brownsburg Parade!

As the Parade progressed, Jacob wanted to snuggle. 
Only the Best Daddy in the World would hug this hotbox on the hottest most humid day in IN.

  After we got home, we recovered. 
We got home and showered, as cool as our bodies would tolerate, and Jacob made us all put on our Mickey flag shirts.  

Eric cooked out, brats and hot dogs for lunch, which were Awesome, as usual.  We ate with some Grippos chips we'd gotten from down South, and after which we still all were tired, so we sat and chilled out watching 1776.  This is my Favorite 4th of July Musical. 

We paused for naps, and dinner, and Kumon, and stopped just in time to go outside as the sun set.

All three boys discovered and worked the beauty of Pop-its!
They dropped in unison.  
It did my heart good. 

They love stepping on them too.  

They ran through a good few boxes of Popits, each.  
Then we broke out the big guns. 

 We had been telling tales of last year when Chris discovered 'sparkulars'. 
I think it moved them to curiousity. 

Then we offered a sparkler to Jacob.  
You'd have thought we offered him $1000. 
His jaw dropped in shock. 

And he took the Sparkler!

He didn't do much, just watched it burn down.  Fascinating.

 Chris felt like he was the old pro with them, since he'd begun last year. 
But he was very cautious.  Comfortingly so. 

This was mine.  
I was playing around with my camera, trying to get some 'action shots'. 
This one turned out fun!

We asked Sam if he wanted to try a Sparkler this year too. 

I think he overcame his fear by giving them a try this year.  
He just held on and didn't move. 
He was the last holdout.  
And he Loved them! 

Next thing we knew, they were lighting them off of each other. 
Getting braver with each sparkler.  
I was so proud of them!

Trying to capture my happy Patriotic jamberry nail wraps.  
I used Kaboom and Born to Sparkle, with a blue polish I had covered in the holographic Independence. It's one of the happiest combos I've done in a while. 

More Sparkler Action!

And Drop another round of Poppers!

Jacob started getting a little more feisty with his Sparklers. 
See?  He makes more faces than just angry. 

He started to spin, but he zapped his finger.  
We had to tone him down.  
Still, he was happy.  

Then the kids let me challenge them while I played with my camera!

S for Sam. 

C for Christopher.

J for Jacob. 

E for Eric.
The kids felt the need that Daddy and I get in on the action too.  

C for Cathy. 
Christopher took this for me!
What can I say?  The kid has a good eye. 

With the last round of letter sparklers, they went crazy.  

Then we went in to try to find some fireworks on tv. 
We've got too many trees around here to see much other than the occasional high spark. 

We watched the Macy's day Finale, to which Chris felt the needed to dance. 
We caught part of Capitol 4th, with them playing some John Williams.  That thrilled all the boys. 
We tried to watch the Indy ones, but the news was just showing snippets, and all the fireworks were interfering with our reception of live tv.  Youtube worked best as it turned out.  From youtube we caught Disney's 4th Celebration from last year.  They liked that, and then NYC was the perfect note to end on.  I love a good fireworks finale.  
Meanwhile, we decided to go to a baseball game later this month and catch some live fireworks there.  We'll let the party continue all month long. Hope you all have had a Glorious 4th too.