When life gives you lemons...

Last published on July 23rd...more than a month ago. Everyday I think about how easy it would be to just jot down a couple of things that happen in a day and boom, it's 6 weeks later! I guess that probably is very significant of my life right now. First, I'm a super procrastinator anyway, so I'm not surprised that blogging isn't the first thing I do in a day.

The best way for me to handle a break of this length is a summary:

1. Jakob and Tim went to leadership camp for a week at camp Kateri and had a great time. Jakob was challenged to read the bible for 5 minutes a day and has done so since coming home. Tim volunteered to lead an added session of camp next summer.

2. We (6 kids and I) drove to Scottsbluff for a few days and then to Greeley for the Stricker family picnic. There weren't many family members that came, but it was great to see those who did.

3. Our garden did pretty well until I was gone for several days at which point the squash bugs and weeds consumed it. We froze 18 qts of green beans, 20 qts of corn, canned pickled beets and pickles and froze zucchini as well as made some beet jelly. All of it was fun, but the garden still seemed to be too big to stay caught up. We're currently getting tomotoes and a few cantaloupe and honey dew. Those squash bugs really wreak havoc though and have destroyed all of the other squash. We also got a few carrots, lost the onions in the weeds and a little lettuce and spinach. There are peanuts that are ready to pull, so we'll need to get that done. I think as fun as it will be to have these veggies in the winter, a small garden may be more realistic next year!
There are raspberries that need picking too, but the kids have been picking and eating, so there aren't too many that make it in the house.

4. The chickens have stopped laying eggs for the last two weeks...not sure what we're going to do about this yet.

5. We toured Memorial Stadium and Jakob is determined that he is going to play football for the Huskers. What a place...that would be fun for everyone to see Jakob play there.

6. Football started the second week of August. The night that Jakob brought his pads and helmet home, he couldn't stop smiling. He was and is soo excited to be playing. He had his first game on Sunday the 30th and won 18-0. He played tight end and safety. He had an interception, punt return, and a couple of blocks and tackles. We've challenged him to hit harder because he can, but he tends to catch the player and hug him instead of tackle him. He has 7 total games this season.

7. We've finally begun tearing out our nasty carpet...YAY!! The wood floors will start on September 14. We have opened up the kitchen to the living room by removing the pantry and adding an L shaped counter and breakfast bar and to the once office, now dining room. It is wonderful and I can't wait until it's all done. It has been a little challenging to not have a pantry or cupboards right now and to not have a mudroom. We're tiling in the mudroom, so it is empty for the time being too. The tile we took on ourselves to save some money which is getting applied to a stainless countertop and two benches for the dining table. The wood floors are being laid all the way through the main floor, so all furniture is slowly being moved downstairs.

8. Joe got his first real tractor ride this summer with Grandpa since he is potty trained. He went out to bail with him. The first day he was super excited and all decked out in his cowboy shirt, jeans, and hat, carrying with him the lunch cooler which was almost as big as he was. He was petrified in the tractor though and just sat like a rock with his stoic look on his face. The next day though he was thrilled and enjoyed the ride. The kids "swam" in the horse tank and thought this was such fun...gross! I can't believe we used to do that!

9. Amelia is growing and growing and growing. She cut her first two teeth the first weekend of August at just over 4 months! She is currently up on all fours rocking and she rolls and scoots around all over the floor. She is starting to sit up by herself a little. The poor little girl spends lots of time in her car seat going from here to there, but she's pretty used to it too. She weighs 16-17 pounds and has lost most of her hair. She is still a joy, even when she's fussy!

10. We've rearranged rooms in an attempt to nurture some different relationships between siblings. We're still in the "want-to-pull-my-hair-out" phase though. Jakob and Jonathan are sharing a room. This is the most challenging as Jon really doesn't like Jakob at all. After the first night, he came downstairs and said, "We got along great last night and made up, so now i can room with Josh again"...sorry buddy, this is not going to happen! Ben and Josh are sharing a room to help Ben transition into being one of the boys. He and Joe were fighting to the point of trying to kill each other...biting, pinching, hitting, kicking, screaming at each other. That hasn't changed yet, but Joe goes to bed much better now by himself. Mathilda and Amelia are sharing a room which so far has only meant that Mathilda turns her light on and plays with Amelia when she's supposed to be asleep or is trying to go to sleep and has trashed the only cute room in the house. I'm not so sure Mattie is any better than the rest of the boys in the area of being destructive. She has disassembled the roman shades to the point that they no longer raise up. (I have to sew new rings on the back and put new rods in the folds). The curtains are cut and have marker on them, the crib that Tim and Todd made has her name written and carved, there are screws and nails in the walls about three feet up without a purpose, the white painted dresser now has her rendering of a self-portrait in Sharpie on the top and side and the carpet is incredibly stained with who knows what. Good thing we're getting rid of it! While I am on this route, I am still trying to figure out why my kids collect trash in their rooms!!! All of them...yuck!

11. The first day of school has come and gone. The four older ones shared Thursday the 20th as the first day and Benjamin went on Monday the 24th. All were excited to start...6th, 4th, 2nd, K and pre-K. Mathilda goes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Friday. (Since this is her second year of Kindergarten, her reply is usually "I'd prefer to be in first grade" when asked what grade she's in.) I am convinced we made the right decision to send her again based on her unwillingness to listen to anyone and her determination to whatever she wants despite consequences. This hopefully will be a temporary behavior. Ben goes M,W,F mornings. We established a short lived routine of going to the YMCA when Ben is in school which was great for a week and a half until Joe and Amelia got sick...this happens each time we go to the Y...and yet we keep going back when they're well!!

12. Mattie's birthday was on the same day as a friend's wedding that Tim was in, so he told her that he was going to get really dressed up for her birthday and that we'd go to a big party. :) The DJ even played a happy birthday song/dance for her! She thought it was great.

13. The grass has turned brown and now green again with the cooler fall weather and rain. I love the fall. We've spent less time outside this year I think because of having a new baby. Hopefully we'll be able to get back on the bike trail before it gets too cold.

Overall, it's been a great summer. It has gone too fast and we didn't fit some of the things in that we wanted to do. I'm sure I've forgotten some things. We didn't camp once as a family, but maybe there is still time for that. I think that we only had one episode of illness the whole summer and it was brief. Baseball took much of our time until after the 4th of July. This was great fun for everyone and we're all looking forward to it again next year. I think Ben and Mattie will both play next year!

The saying is when life give you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, this summer, I would brew a pot of coffee daily, looking forward to having a cup, and I never poured that cup until it was luke warm three hours later...so when busy life gave me cold coffee, I just made iced coffee...now I brew a pot of coffee and pour it over ice whether it's hot or cold! Just one of my many modifications to try not to skip a beat in a very busy life.