Well, July is over and school has started again - booo. We made the most of the last few weeks and packed in as much fun as we could. All the kids managed to earn the points they needed from the Super Summer Challenge (Charity pulled it out at the last possible moment - earning 45 of her 200 points in 4 days) and are now looking forward to the family trip to Holiday World in beautiful Santa Clause, Indiana over Labor Day weekend. We're hoping for a great school year for all the kids. Joseph has been dying to get back in the classroom for months. Mom is apparently not a great teacher, well - not a patient one anyway. So here is the month of July in captions. Now that school is in session the photos will be fewer but hopefully I can update a little more often. There is something about seeing mom on the computer that makes my kids DESPERATELY need my attention.
Our vacation started out on a rough note. The brakes on our van decided that they were on vacation as well - in fact they were retiring. So, while Eric was at the local Rotary meeting, the kids and I hung out in the auto repair shop until my friend Beth could rescue us. It ended up being a great afternoon somehow - hanging out with Beth, Jubal and the George clan. I'm so glad it happened in a place where we had friends to help us and where we knew a reliable and honest mechanic. Thanks to our friend Chris and to Dave's Automotive in Valpo for fitting our repair in so swiftly.
Michael and his buddy Jubal. We were able to help celebrate Jubal's (half)birthday while we were on vacation. We had a great time hanging out with these faithful friends and reconnecting with others from our church during "law school days".
Jonathan managed to get in on the bowling fun as well. He managed to beat both his brothers the first game, of course he had bumpers and they didn't but we aren't going to discount his victory on that technicality.
Burying small children in sand is a favorite activity of Eric's. We had a great time on the beach - it was a little chilly but the "under 10" crowd didn't care. The look on Jonathan's face here tells you exactly what he thought of being submerged in grit! It makes me laugh out loud everytime. I'm telling you - we are NOT nice people!
I said that the kids didn't mind the chilly weather - well Charity was the exception when we made her go wash off all that sand. Lake Michigan is REALLY cold. I don't blame her for being a pansy. It think I might have spent a total of 30 minutes in the water all week (but I got a lot of reading done and my tan was fantastic!)
Eric and his baby brave the water. I can't believe how brown Jonathan got this summer. I really thought that he would be a burn risk all summer but he has tanned up quite nicely. Granted - we were constantly putting sunscreen on him but still, I don't think he got the least bit pink all summer. Yeah me, for once I did it right!
Look at my handsome boys! It doesn't get much better than this.
Going for a spin in Mr. W's Porsche. This car is the definition of a "sweet ride"!
Last day at the beach. I have a picture of Michael and Charity like this last July. It is at times like this that I am struck again by just how much life has changed in one year.
Our last indulgence before returning to real life. There is a large dairy farm off of I-65 that has incredible ice-cream. Eric and I are normally really good and get kid size cones for everybody but this time he and I splurged and got the waffles. Ugh - my stomach was protesting the whole way home but I refuse to regret eating every bite of that cone!
I looked back at one point on our drive home to find my two oldest looking this cool. Rest assured that this picture will resurface when they are about 17 years old!
The day after we got home from vacation we dropped Michael off for a week at camp. I missed him like crazy and life was more than a little weird without him around but we made it. He had a blast and loved spending the week with Mr. Josh and a bunch of his buddies from church. He learned so much about what worship is and we have had several reminders since camp to keep applying what he has learned to real life. He made the decision to follow Jesus about a year or so ago but has been struggling with the idea of being baptized in front of our church. Many people do it in private (Eric and I did) but I really think it is important for Michael to follow Jesus' example and take this step of obedience in public. We are going to let him meet with our 1st-4th grade associate and bounce some of his fears off of her but my guess is he will be getting baptized sometime in the next few months.
Aaahhh fair time! Can't you smell the blue ribbons in the air? Or maybe it's the funnel cakes mixed with the unmistakable odor of the pig barn! Joseph loved working on his Mini 4-H projects. He is a little handy-man in the making and loves to work on stuff so this was right up his alley. I'm not sure he loved making cookies but his pillow was excellent and his model was above reproach!
Hanging out on the golf cart with Little Papa and my favorite niece (yes she's my only one but that is just a minor detail!) Jonathan had had some issues so he didn't GET to go to the fair - this also meant Eric didn't HAVE to go to the fair.
Jonathan did get to join us the next day and decided that he would like to snuggle up with one of the babies. Aren't they sweet!
Michael really enjoys working with the dairy animals. I think he will have a great time in his first year of "real" 4-H next year.
Charity and Hannah (my youngest brother's girlfriend). We LOVE Hannah as is evidenced by the fact that my two youngest yell her name at the top of their lungs EVERY TIME they see her. She seems to love them anyway, what a patient young lady!
I love this picture because this is how I spent MANY hours at the fair when I was a kid. Granted - they aren't playing euchre like I did but still.... Ah, memories!
We did take a break from the fair to take in an Indians game with Eric's family. (Jonathan took turns snuggling with everybody. Here it is with Aunt Laura.) It was a "dollar menu" night which works out well for our family. My kids feel like we spoiled them with ball-park food and Eric's wallet feels like we got out for cheaper than we could at McDonald's! Win-win situation folks!
Oh look, Aunt Teri got in on the action as well. That's okay, she took him home with her after the game so he could eat all the sugar he wanted that night as far as I'm concerned!
I know I'm slightly biased but I just might have 4 of the cutest kids on the planet.
The three older kids took part in the fair's jackpot show on the last Saturday of the fair. They each showed a calf. Charity's heifer was acting crazy but she managed to keep control of her in the ring and came out with the all important ribbon and bag of Skittles.
Joseph and Michael did a great job as well. They are both pretty mild mannered so not much phases them but Joseph's sweet smile caught the Judge's attention and he got second place in the class. This of course annoyed his sister to no end because, "he's never even showed a cow before and he didn't even know what kind of cow she is!" I'm sure what she really meant was, "wow! I'm excited for you, Joseph, and am very proud of your accomplishment and not the least bit jealous that you got $2 with your ribbon and Skittles."
Jonathan played baseball the last 4 Friday's of the summer. He got to play on the major league diamond at the park which made his older brothers jealous. He actually can hit the ball off the tee pretty well. Fielding is another story but he had so much fun and loved getting to do something the other kids had been doing.
This picture cracks me up. We spent the evening at our town pool celebrating the birthdays of 3 of the boys' friends. Jonathan scooted from the kid pool to the sprinkler area and left his version of "foot prints" along the concrete.
My two favorite 2nd graders after a night of swimming. I don't get very many of the two of them together so I nabbed the opportunity!
The end of summer signals the beginning of football season - Michael's favorite time of the year. Michael and Joseph enjoyed football camp with their friends Cameron and Aiden. They are so tough!
The last activity of the summer was a trip to the state fair with some of our friends. We don't get to spend nearly enough time with these great people and so this day was ideal. The weather was beautiful and the kids were behaving, making it a great day!
Little farmers in the making. This area of the fair is my kids' favorite every year. They love walking through each area, collecting their harvest, selling it at the market and then going to the store to "buy" a snack. The lovely green Pioneer Seed hats are just a bonus!
Jonathan and Lucas getting up close and personal with some baby dairy steers. I can't decide who's cuter - the kids or the calf!
This is my favorite picture of the whole summer. We will call it "Back to School Blues". The kids and I had spent the morning buying school supplies and they were exhausted and hungry. I was in line at Subway (conveniently and ingeniously located at the exit of our local Wal-Mart) and looked over to see these happy campers. I don't know why I had my camera on me but I'm so glad I was able to capture this moment for posterity's sake!