VACATION: Chevy Chase has nothing on us!

Wow, it's been almost a month since I last blogged. I guess nothing exciting has happened here at the Andreasen home. Quite the contrary really! Summarizing a month for me is not an easy task, and probably won't actually happen because I will surely forget something...many things!

The last day of school was May 23rd...the kids went for their token 1 hour, then we came home and just enjoyed the day. Our initial plans were to leave immediately from school for Scottsbluff, but we decided to stay since Jakob had a baseball game on Saturday and would be missing 2-3 others already. Plus, we had lots to do anyway, so staying was a good solution to not being over the top stressed out.

We left on Sunday morning, Jakob's game had been rained out on Saturday, but we did get the chicken coop finished, garden in, lawn mowed, house cleaned, clothes packed, laundry done, bills paid, roof fixed, and got to the store to purchase feed for the livestock...you know, that one horse, 5 chickens and now nine cats. (Stitches, the stray that we took in because we thought it was a boy had six kittens!) Turns out I really don't know how to tell the sex of a cat! Due to the rain, we didn't get the weeds sprayed or the lawn or trees fertilized. There is just a lot to do here! Sometimes I wonder why I don't have more play-dates, and i think I just answered that question...everytime I turn around, we've got a hundred things to do. Or, maybe it is because I have one Benjamin! I know this child is busier than any of the others. Busier, ornrier, he just makes me more tired than any of the rest. Don't get me wrong, Mathilda certainly plays her part in the "making mom tired" department, but Ben is alway the cake, filling and icing! More on him later, I've got to try to stay sequence focused here!

We were in Scottsbluff nearly two weeks...11 days, almost 11 full days. Probably more like 10, and if you're Grandma and Grandpa, it was 10, not 11, because I'm sure that they counted and sometimes savored the days. The weather was not incredibly desireable for doing the things we originally thought about doing...camping, picnics, trip to the lake, hiking, etc. It was not too hot, but quite the opposite. In fact, the day after Memorial day it was supposed to SNOW!!! It didn't, but it was cold enough to warrant the heat being turned back on. We went to the cemetary in Bayard with Great Grandma and Grandpa and uncle Tom. There we ran into George and his family, Julie, and Aunt Lucille, and went to have a cup of coffee with them. This was great for the kids to get to know George and Ann's kids. They invited us for supper later that week, so the kids had the opportunity to play again. Tim was on vacation officially the whole first week we were there, so that too was great. Mom took most of the week off and Dad was in and out but not incredibly busy. The boys got to help with an auction, almost all of the kids got to spend some one on one time with Great Grandma and Grandpa, Tim and Dad did a lot together and Mom and I spent a good amount of time doing things together too. In the end, even though the weather was not what we wanted, it produced some good time together and not a lot of running around. We did make it to the Wildcat hills for a hike and picnic, and then all of us together went to Agate Fossil beds for a day. Both of those outings were fun. The drive to and from Agate lent itself to a lot of ranch land scenery. This of course was much more appealing to Tim and Dad, and of course Jakob. Jakob commented that even if he had to give up baseball and swimming and school at St. Teresa's, he would to live on a ranch. I know he means it, because he talks about it all the time, and what he was seeing was not Dallas's Southfork...this was true out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere ranch land!

We also got a play date in with the Reisigs at the park followed by another picnic compliments of mom and dad's state Farm agent. We went out for dessert one night and dinner another, bought Oreos for a mid-morning snack, slept late, went to bed late, played hard and watched lots of TV and played lots of Nintendo...this is the kids of course...so all-in-all, I think they felt like it was a vacation.

I could have stayed the rest of the summer. I don't mind at all living in a bedroom...I very much enjoy the multitude of help with my six rugrats. I like the slower pace, the not so much to have to do, the time with MY family. I'm not sure if that would all stay the same if we lived there, and of course I won't know unless that happens, which likely won't anytime in the near future. The conclusion though is always the same when we're leaving there...I really miss my family and long for an opportunity to be closer (geographically). We got to see Aunt Kathy because of preparations being made for Tom's guardianship. Really makes the fact that my grandparents are reaching that age of death being a reality. That of course makes my desire to be closer even stronger. There is a very big chance that someday I'll look back on these statements and say to myself, "What were we thinking? We should've just moved." Today though, we have a home, a job, a school, and opportunities that suit us, and we feel like nothing is broken, so nothing needs to be fixed. This is what families do these days, they grow up hundreds of miles away, and visit each other on occasion. I'm not stating my opinion in the least here. My opinion is that families should have dinners together on a weekly basis, that grandparents should be at baseball games and that sons should be available to help their fathers, etc, etc. Still doesn't make our decision any easier...it's not even a decision right now, it is almost at this point a consideration.

All of that said, I am constantly wondering where our lives will be 15-25 years from now. Will we have 8 kids with families all living withing 50 miles of us? I only say 8 because it leaves the door open. :) Or will they all be scattered across the world, accomplished in their vocations and experiencing "more". Maybe they'll all still be living at home and we'll be desperately trying to figure out how to get them out! Hee hee!!! Jonathan has said before that he is going to live with us forever because he doesn't want to make us sad by leaving. I think of this too, and have been reassured that children leaving the nest is just another milestone that God prepares one for.

Now, since coming home, we've continued our to do list. When we arrived back in balmy eastern Nebraska, we entered our house to a thin layer of water over the mudroom floor because our back door threshold leaks, located the few shingles that blew off the roof, frantically tried to find the source of the nasty odor that filled the rooms, and transformed our clean, welcoming home into one that again looked like a repo, all in under 10 minutes! We cleaned up the water, pulled potatoes from the pantry, ran the dishwasher with bleach, turned the air down, plugged the dehumidifier in and slowly got everything picked up, put away, and back in order inside, and then we went outside! We had a good amount of rain while we were gone...and apparently just enough sunshine that the grass and weeds grew, and grew! Tim's folks came and mowed on one of the dry days, and yet we still had a forest of grass. The garden looked great...if it was a pasture. It was plush and green and I had to go out and literally get on my knees and find my rows of vegetables. The tree row was in grass because with the rain before we left and while we were gone, the grass hadn't yet been mowed out there. Two chickens remained in the coop and the others were hanging out in the barn. In almost two weeks we only got 11 eggs from 4 hens. Time to modify that situation I think!

In the week since we've come home, all is back in order again. Well, at least in order according to our definition of organized chaos. I realize at this point that there is no way I can continue to summarize in this blog. It is already too long and it has taken me 2 1/2 hours to reach this sentence. I have been interrupted at least three dozen times...mostly by Benjamin. He has poured gas on the grass, found the wasp spray, stolen the mower keys, sprayed his little brother with the hose, eaten three cookies, string cheese, and three ice cream bars. I gave him one ice cream bar and string cheese at the kitchen table! I found him under his bed with the other food. I have explained to him why he can't go to the pool by himself a hundred times, and because he is not big enough I am a mean mom. He is currently in the bathtub because I went out and turned the hose on him since he thought it was so funny to do it to his brother. He has been inside of the water cooler which i just cleaned out, peed in the swimming pool, changed his clothes four times because something got wet (a drop of water constitutes wet). Whew! He really is a busy child. Thirty seconds is all it takes for him, and when you pair him with Mattie, oh my! Tim says the two of them remind him of himself and Tamera! Well, great! I guess what comes around goes around. We're already experiencing that with myself and Jakob! :)

I really need to continue this another time. My monsters have escaped my line of vision.

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