Monday, August 27, 2012

Here, There and Everywhere: July and August

Since I'm not the timeliest blogger that ever graced the blogosphere, this post will sum up our July and August.

In the beginning of July, we picked up Judah in Moline, Illinois. Grandma and Grandpa Merseth drove the grandkids over from Ohio where they had been staying for nearly two weeks, and the parents of said grandkids, all converged at Residence Inn. It's amazing how much those kids seem to grow in the two weeks they're gone from your sight.

About the hotel, I have to say, it was the best hotel I'd ever stayed at. Mainly because it provided entire meals, and even I could eat there with food allergies. We arrived on a Monday night, ate supper there (brats, hot dogs, broccoli, alcoholic beverages!), swam in the pool, woke up to a full hot spread for breakfast, then we left for the John Deere Museum. To say that the boys were excited is a bit of an understatement. Then we picnicked at a park before heading to our respective cities.
Nine grandchildren in attendance
Hey, we're in the Buckin' Gator! (I think.) There were several moments of fear on my part, because Andrew literally was running from machine to machine he was soooo excited. I had such a hard time keeping tabs on him.
Tuckered out baby. He got a bit of a nap, at least.
They had these fun picture-taking opportunities, as well as a play area for the kids to play with small scale tractors, animals, etc.

After my birthday in mid-July, and Enoch turning 9 months old on the 24th, I went to Iowa, by myself with three children. I was headed to a family reunion on the last Sat. of July, but my husband needed to stay home and preach on Sunday. That's the thing about pastors... they're always busy on the weekends. ;-)

I arrived on Thursday night (July 26), Friday night was spent in a hotel (with a pool of course), Saturday was the reunion and went home afterwards, Sunday was church and playing on the farm with Ranger rides, and then home Monday morning. The 6 hour trip there and back went pretty well, all things considered. I was thankful it wasn't as hot as it had been here all summer... 100+s.
Here we are at the hotel... The TV was on, and so my kids had the zombie face on.
Grandpa Allan had the best job of the afternoon. ;-)
The boys enjoyed waving their flags... okay, it wasn't exactly waving...
My brothers and I with my maternal grandmother, Virginia Becker.
My parents, brothers, kids, me, Grandma Ginny. Also celebrated her 87th birthday.
All the little kids there at the reunion.

My husband's birthday was August 6, and I made a birthday breakfast Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake. It was the same recipe I made last year for our birthdays, and I think the year before too. I still haven't put the recipe on here. Maybe soon... My main thing in the kitchen these days has been trying to produce as little heat as possible, so not a whole lot of creativity seems to be going on.
Jeff is 31 years old
Sunday night, Jeff's parents arrived, and we all left after the Monday birthday breakfast and lunch to head to Branson. We finally got to our room and crashed for the evening. We brought all the food we needed and had a great kitchen in our room to fix our meals.

Tuesday we went to the fish hatchery... I never took any pictures there for whatever reason. Also had a picnic afterwards. Came back to our resort and crashed. It was so hot while we were there!
Family picture in front of a fountain at our resort
My little fishes

On Wednesday, we went to Branson Landing. It was a whole bunch of shops strung together along the river. We mainly went to go to a place called Lego Brickation, and it was free. Basically it was a place to play with legos. They had free pirate hats. I am not sure who had more fun... the big boys or the little boys. ;-)

It rained that day, and we ran through the rain to a very expensive ice cream shop... and I couldn't even eat it. But my dear husband is always thinking of me, and he bought me a smoothie from some other little shop along the way.
This is the bear in front of the Bass Pro Shop at Branson Landing. Andrew's giving his bear growl.
On Thursday, we went to the College of the Ozarks, probably my most favorite place we visited. All the students work on the campus to pay their way through college, a really neat concept. We went there to see the flour mill... they mill all their own flour for the students' consumption! And they have a herd of cattle and the milk is used on campus for the students, and they make their own ice cream with it! (And I can even eat it!) There's a restaurant and hotel on campus, serviced by the students. The students even built the chapel, which is beautiful! It looks like an old Catholic cathedral. I wish we could've stayed longer but we needed to head home, and we had some tired kids.

In front of a plaque on the campus.
The water wheel at the mill! Not in use when we went though.
You can't really see it, but it's a glass elevator. The boys with Grandma and Grandpa.

And ever since, I've been trying to pick up the pieces of all the traveling. ;-) It was a fun summer, but now I'm ready for fall weather!

P.S. Andrew is potty-trained during the day! Woohoo!

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