Monday, August 15, 2011


I have been very fortunate in my life to have known not only all 4 of my grandparents (all into adulthood, no less) but also my Great-Gramma.  I know several people who have never known a grandparent, or maybe only 1 or 2 for a short time.  My life has been so full of family and love from day one.  Unfortunately, as time goes on, people get older.  My Great-Gramma passed away when I was about 10, dad's mom passed away in fall of 2001 and my mom's dad passed away in early 2005. Now, my dad's dad has also passed away.

Grampa and I have always had a great relationship.  As a child, I remember anxiously waiting for him to get home from work at the saw-mill when Gramma would watch us so he would play with us.  There were always puzzles to work on their huge dinning room table.  Grampa would always have a smile and a playful joke or story to tell us.  When we would go to Great-Gramma's house, Grampa and I would "race" eachother on the sidewalk in front of her house--me about 6-10 yrs old and Grampa in his late 50s.  He was always one of the biggest men I knew, he seemed so tall and commanding.  When I was older, he'd always ask about school, or my horse, or my job.  Once I had the girls, he was quickly one of their favorite people.  They loved seeing Great Grampa, who would always greet them with a big smile, a huge hug and listen intently when they told him all the random things that kids do.  At his 80th birthday party just last year, he was running with the girls in the church basement, as they pretended that the nursery was full of spiders, bats and dinosaurs.  He lived on his own until just a few short weeks ago.  He's always been so strong and healthy and lively.

And now he's gone.  Grampa battled cancer early this year and we all thought he'd beat it, though we were apparently wrong.  The cancer resurfaced in July and he lost his battle yesterday.

Grampa--We love you and will miss you dearly, but we know that you are back with Gramma.  Just like I know Gramma is always with us, I know you will be too.  And when I smell woodsmoke or sawdust, I will forever think of you.  Thank you for all the years, memories and love.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I'm not sure which fore/four/for is used in golf, but we're going to pretend it's FORE because that's what I want to use because we went golfing!

This past week has been a very long one.  Andy worked 10-12 hours each day, not including his 1.5 hr commute each way, and 6 hours on Saturday.  I had extra daycare kids because my very good friend Karla had her baby, so I watched our friend's girls that Karla also watches.  We had late evenings and early mornings with extra kids and no Daddy.  Our family was in some desperate need for family time.

We started the day yesterday with church.  Not only was it great to see our new pastor in action, but the lessons and sermon were all about storms and how God is with us through them and will always be there for us.  Yeah, we needed that.  Mikayla was very talkative during the Children's sermon, relating how we need the rain for plants to grow, not all storms are bad, the lightning makes the grass green and the thunder is God bowling and/or telling us he's there.  Oh yeah, she's been listening to us while we try to calm her and her recent storm anxiety.

After church we came home to nap, clean and hang out to watch the Brewers game.  Then we brought the rest of our calves (8 of them) over to Andy's parent's house so we can make some improvements to the barn and hopefully get it cleaned and dried out (darn rain, again!).  When we got home, we headed in to town for dinner and mini-golfing!

We had a lot of fun.  Mikayla was starting to get the hang of it after the first few holes--it was hard for her to see us stand one way and then have it feel uncomfortable for her to stand the same way.  Andy and I are both right handed and Mikayla is left, but we tried our best to help her and by the end of the evening she was able to hit the ball pretty well.  It wasn't pretty, but it worked.  Alayna and Lilly had a great time golfing and were old pros--Alayna even got a hole in one!  After we were done, we had dinner at Dairy Queen, one of the girls' favorite places on earth!  It was a great, low-key day that we all needed to recharge for this week.

It's another girl!

One of my closest and oldest friends, Karla, recently had her third baby--a little girl they named Lydia.  She is just cute enough to eat and has those adorably smooshy baby cheeks you just want to kiss all day.  When we went to visit in the hospital, we were all shocked to see this baby who in the face looked so much like her older sisters, but had long, jet-black hair!  Both older sisters were almost bald for quite awhile (into the second year for the middle one!) and they have almost white-blond hair!  Lydia looks like such a contrast but I just love it and her.  I am so excited for their family and the new addition!

Congratulations Karla and family!  Lydia is just perfect in every way!

Monday, August 1, 2011

4H, Fair and Fun

This past week/end was our county fair.  It's something that we all look forward to each year.  The girls do projects and work with their animals, us adults help them and get things like decorations for the barn ready This year our house was command central for new barn decorations for 4 nights before we were finished with the new decs--red lattice cut and framed with white boards and a wooden 4-leaf clover on each panel.  They were a lot of work but looked great!  And I neglected to get a picture.  :-(  Anyway, it's a lot of work for everyone, but we all love the fair and it's so worth it.

ALAYNA took a lot of projects this year.  She didn't get her photography done, but she made a pillow, bulletin board, jewelry (bracelet and matching earrings) knit a scarf, made chocolate chip cookies.  She also showed 3 calves and her horse.  Alayna was a busy girl, but she did a great job and we're so proud of her!

 Judging her blue ribbon cookies

 her blue ribbon jewelry

 Alayna and Chloe--they got 1st blue and a trophy in Showmanship, 1 red and 1 white

Judging her pillow (red), bulletin board (blue) and knitting (white) 

Alayna showing her beef cross bred steer calf, Doof (blue in fitting and grooming, red in finishing, and first blue and trophy in showmanship--my camera died so I don't have pics of this but others took lots of pics for me!) ((I don't know why this is on it's side and not rotating...grrr)) 

Showing Ferb, her jersey steer calf (1st red) 

Showing her cross bred heifer calf, Isabella (against another in our club--she got 2nd blue)

LILLY is a Cloverbud, which means that she's a junior 4H member.  (The youngest 4H kids are Cloverbuds from K-2 grade.  They have a set catalog of projects they can do for their age but cannot show animals.  They get participation ribbons but aren't actually judged and don't get premiums.  The summer after 3 grade they are an Explorer, which means they can bring a few more projects and 1 animal exhibit.  Explorers are judged, but not as strictly as older ages, and they can get premiums, though they have a set project catalog as well.  After 4 grade, they are a full 4H member and can bring up to 23 projects total.)  She brought a plate of 3 cookies, 2 key chains she made in the arts and crafts division, and a drawing of an International tractor in a corn field.  She did so well with her little interview from the "judge" asking her about her projects.  We all had to laugh when the judge asked how she knew when the cookies were done and Lilly responded, "When it dings."  She also showed Alayna's calf, Doof, for Little Britches.  Little Britches is for kids too young to show an animal, so they can show an animal by leading them in the arena and answering questions about the animal to a judge.  They ask things like how old the animal is, what it eats, etc.  The kids all get a participation ribbon and a free root beer float at a stand on the fairgrounds.

MIKAYLA isn't in school yet, so she's not able to bring projects to the fair.  However, she is able to show in Little Britches, so she showed Alayna's heifer, Isabella.  She was so excited to show and did a great job.  She had all her information down perfectly and was very confident in answering her questions and leading the calf.  Even when Isabella got a little stubborn, Mikayla threw her entire 37 lbs into it and got her going again.

It was a great fair.  We are all exhausted, but it was a very busy week.  We were at the fair from Wednesday afternoon to Sunday evening, with each day in the 80/90s and high humidity.  We had some storms on Saturday, including a particularly fast forming one in the morning that took us all by surprise and was horrible for Mikayla, but we all survived.  It was her worst reaction yet and since we were in the barn, almost our entire beef/dairy crew from our club witnessed it.  Needless to say, few people adult and kid alike had dry eyes.  It broke my heart and we're praying that this stormy summer is soon over and the time winter affords us helps her to forget and get over her fears.  But besides that moment, it was a very fun and successful fair for the whole family!  Oh, and we bought a new camper last Friday and it was GREAT!