Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Frog Season

It's becoming pretty routine around here to find frogs on our window screens at night. This is a new phenomenon for us and I'm not sure why there are so many this year. We've seen the occasional frog in years past, but this year it's become an every night occurrence.

Admittedly, these little hoppers have caused some distress. My kids worry how they'll get down from the second story windows. But we haven't seen any casualties yet so they must be managing just fine.

We love frogs and are happy to have them around!



Monday, June 20, 2016

Missionary Spencer

For the past four days, Spencer had the opportunity to serve a Mini-Mission. He lived with a set of full-time missionaries who are serving about 45 minutes south of here.


Spencer talked the talk and walked the walk. He studied and taught and prayed and dressed and ate as if he were a full-time missionary. It was super hot and humid, but Spencer didn't complain about the weather. In fact, he loved his experience and can't wait to serve a full-time mission of his own.

His turn will be here before we know it. He'll be great! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Father's Day Birthday

Today is Jeff's birthday and Father's Day! This doesn't happen very often, but it's fun when it does. (Soren sometimes has a Father's Day birthday, too. In fact, Soren was born on Father's Day.) 

In the past, Jeff and I have gotten into a bad habit in the weeks leading up to his birthday. He'll find something he needs, buy it "for his birthday," and then use it right away. When his birthday finally rolls around, we have nothing to give him. While I did let him have one inexpensive gift a few days before his birthday this year, we still managed a couple of surprises.

One of them was discovered when Soren was putting together a personal first-aid kit for one of his Boy Scout requirements. Jeff got a good laugh out of his gift:


The kids were all in on it and thought this was pretty funny, too. They thought I was a genius for finding an actual iPad box to put it in. In the end, the joke was on them because after we all had our laugh over the "eye pad," Jeff received the new iPad he'd picked out a few days before. :) 

Happy Birthday, Jeff. I hope this is your best year so far!

(I got the best one. Wahoo!)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Milk Wars

The war is on! Two small grocery stores are battling it out for the lowest prices and milk is their battleground. I shop both stores and their milk prices have been dropping for the past several months. 


This picture was taken in mid-April and prices have gone up a little since then. I mean, it's now $1.00 a gallon. I know. I'm not complaining.  I don't think I've paid more than $1.50 a gallon in the past six months. This is great news because we drink a ton of milk around here (at least a gallon a day). 

Bring it on! :)

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Beautiful Storm


This storm blew in the other day after wreaking havoc in the next town over. There were severe wind gusts that caused plenty of damage, but by the time it arrived in my little corner, the wind had died down and all we got were these amazing clouds and plenty of soothing rain and thunder. It was so pretty. I love how you can clearly see the storm clouds overhead, but it's blue skies on the horizon.

It was a beautiful storm!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Turtles

I love turtles.

I've posted before about how a turtle kind of saved me when I was ready to move on from this small town. Ever since, turtles have become a sort of symbol of everything I love about our little corner of the world.

We took some back roads when driving home the other day. Within about thirty seconds of each other, we saw TWO turtles in the road!


Sadie and I convinced this guy to turn around rather than cross the street. It was the least we could do. Honestly, it didn't take much convincing. As soon as he saw us coming, he turned around and headed back where he came from. And he was fast!

I love turtles. :)


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Soren


Just look at this handsome boy! Somehow we have yet another teenager in the family. I really need to stop blinking.

Soren is smart, creative, happy, funny, clever, calm, and hungry (mostly hungry). He is a gifted pianist and artist and a great friend, son and brother. Soren is a peacemaker. The past thirteen years have flown by, but at the same time, I can't remember life without Soren.

Happy thirteenth birthday, Soren!  I hope this is your best year so far.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Use It Up, Wear It Out


Our 12-passenger 1995 Ford Econoline served us very well over the past 11+ years, But as we anticipated our trek west this summer, we knew it would need some major work.  With over 303,000 miles on the odometer, no cruise control, no horn and no A/C, with a tailpipe held on with a piece of wire, a leaky roof, holes rusted through the floor, and a recent mysterious shake, we had our doubts and wondered if it was worth the money it would cost to be road trip worthy.

So Jeff started looking for a replacement. It's not an easy task when you consider we need something that fits all of us, but can also serve as a work vehicle for Jeff. His summers are filled with all kinds of construction/maintenance/fixer-upper type projects and he needs a vehicle that can haul all kinds of equipment. Jeff decided on a Suburban (after all, you can fit a 4'x8' piece of drywall in the back) and then set out to find one. We had great luck on Craigslist last fall when we replaced our 1994 Honda Accord with a 2007 VW Passat so Jeff started there. He found a few possibilities, but he ended up finding a great vehicle listed on Kelley Blue Book when he went there to look into pricing. At a car lot about 45 minutes from here, was a 2005 Chevy Suburban with all the bells and whistles. Leather interior, squeaky clean, great condition, runs like a dream. The price was fair and Jeff was able to get $500 for our van as a trade-in.


We're ready for our big summer trip and the kids can even watch movies on the built-in DVD player. That's a perk we've never had before. :) Jeff calls it his "truck" - it drives like one - and is really happy with it.

The Passat lost a
headlight among other
essential things. Rats!
This couldn't have come at a better time. Within a week of the Suburban purchase, Spencer was in a little fender bender with the Passat (not his fault) that put it out of commission for a while. We rarely ever drove the van anymore, mostly because the A/C was broken, so it's a blessing that we have a comfortable vehicle we can all ride in together.

A couple of the kids had a really hard time getting rid of the van. There may have even been a few tears shed. We've covered a lot of miles in there! But if all goes well, there are plenty of memories and miles waiting for us in our "new" truck.

Let's get this show on the road!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Great Ideas

Sadie and Soren are pretty good little friends. They love playing games together. Sadie is a willing lego partner and even gets in on Nerf wars. They were sitting together the other day, apparently scheming and laughing their little heads off. Then Sadie disappeared for a minute or two. I should have known they were up to something...


Apparently this was Soren's idea and Sadie decided it was a good one. She's been asking when she can start shaving. Do you think it's time?? 

Give me strength. ;)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Sunday was the most beautiful day. Because of the Memorial Day weekend and the perfect weather, we took he kids to a small cemetery a few minutes from our home to explore. If there's one thing Illinois has a lot of, it's small cemeteries. They are everywhere. 

One thing we all noticed about this particular cemetery was the number of young children and babies buried there. One particular headstone marked the grave of a husband and wife. It also showed that each of their four children preceded them in death. Three of their children died before they were a year old. The fourth was only 8 or 9. That was in the early 1900's. It left me wanting to know their story. What was their life like? How did they continue on after so much loss? 


We saw several soldiers graves. One was lost at sea. Another died in battle during WWII. But most served their country and then went on to live long lives.    


It was a beautiful afternoon. We love this great country! 

Happy Memorial Day. 

*Note: The Music and the Spoken Word broadcast yesterday had a beautiful arrangement of God Bless the USA, with special guest Dallyn Vail Bayles. I loved it and wanted to post it here, but it won't be available until a year from now. So after May 29, 2017, you should be able to find it here. :)