Progress Report

Well, it’s been a little over a week now that we have been home from the hospital with our newest family member, and it’s even been a couple days since any of us has been sick. (Not sure which one of those bits of news is more welcome at this point…) πŸ˜‰

Today was a fun day, actually. There were no scheduled visits, which although greatly appreciated and enjoyed, do not really allow for any sort of a schedule to the day. Not so this day. We got a lot of cleaning done (even finally vacuumed) and finished 4 or 5 loads of laundry (and a few loads of dishes). We read library books in the morning before taking a walk up to the library (all seven of us!) and getting some more books! (We read some of those upon our return home!) We even had time to run some errands (the four older kids and me) which included a stop at our favorite ice cream place – CHILL & GRILL – for an end of the day treat!

It was a really fun day. πŸ™‚

We also took a break in the middle of the day (after lots of serious house cleaning) to play a game, just Dad and the three oldest kids. That was fun. I am thoroughly enjoying spending so much time with my kids. I love this part of having a new baby πŸ™‚

There have been a few fun kid moments over the past couple days…

Last night, after a looong day of fun on Easter Sunday (which included your normal easter fun as well as a visit from our friends the Chis and two trips to Chill & Grill!) Alex snuck upstairs to get ready for bed and as I was coming up to put the boys in bed, Alex said, “Wait, Dad! I’m almost done!” He was very happy about it, so I let him finish what he was scheming. When I got up there, I saw Alex putting the finishing touches on cleaning the bathroom for Mom & Dad. πŸ™‚ He said he knew we were tired, and he wanted to do that for us. He cleaned the sink, and even used “just a washcloth and some water” to clean our toilet. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Very cute… a little gross… but very cute.

Tonight as I was bathing the girls (which I remembered that I needed to do after I had already gotten the girls in the jammies for the night…) Kirstie was almost done and she said as I was washing her off, “Dad, when you need me to wash you off I’ll just do it for you, OK?” πŸ™‚ Again… very cute.

There have been many cute moments like that this last week or so, and I am so thankful that though it’s been super hard work (lack of sleep, lots of extra sickness, lots of extra visits, and just being behind already from the 3 days at the hospital) it’s so totally worth it, and there are many fun/amazing moments with my kids that I am definitely blessed to have.

That said… there’s not much time to do the stuff I’m wanting to do (or needing to do!) as is evidenced by a blog post at 1:00am πŸ™‚

Tomorrow we have a visit from some friends in the morning, and then in the afternoon we’ll hopefully be getting our new van seat, which will allow us all to (legally) go somewhere as a family of seven! (Right now, our van only seats six.) πŸ™‚ Oh, and then another friend will be bringing us dinner. Probably a good day for that!

At least we’re not still sick! πŸ™‚

Oh, and Jen and Emma are doing great. Jen was feeling pretty bad at the end of last week (which is why I am still not back in my office officially) but feeling lots better now. Things are definitely progressing.

I may have to post some more Emma photos here pretty soon… Still working on the video, too. πŸ™‚

Die Hard Fans

Chill and Grill is OPEN!
Neither snow, nor sickness, nor brand new baby, nor rain and 30 degree temps could keep us from being at our favorite ice cream spot on Wednesday! Chill & Grill opened on March 19th, and though we didn’t get to take Emma there (nor did I have my traditional one-pound Monster Burger!) we did manage two visits on opening day. πŸ™‚

My favorite part is eating ice cream in the snow. πŸ™‚

We’ll probably go another time or two this weekend. Today it’s 30 degrees… might be up to about 36 by Sunday… we’ll see…

Time for some ice cream!!

Chill and Grill is OPEN!

It’s Fun To Pretend

We made our own Chill & Grill!Yesterday was the last day of the season for our most favoritist ice cream spot, Chill & Grill. (You may have heard me mention them a time or two…)

We have been increasing our visits over the last week or so, just to make sure we get in our fill for the winter shut down season. It’s been fun. Even met up with some friends there Saturday night (first timers!) and sat out in 60 degree weather at night eating ice cream! (I loved it, but everyone else was a bit chilly!) πŸ™‚

Well, the plan was to go up Sunday evening, just before close (which was 9pm) and get a final bit of ice cream for the season. We were even to be joined by a couple different families, but one by one… they decided they could not come. So, when it was just us, I decided I would call just to make sure that they were still open.

Good thing I did.

They ran out of ice cream, and CLOSED by 7pm!!! πŸ™

As you can imagine, this was heartbreaking to the children, who had been looking forward to ending our day – and the Chill & Grill season – with a last bit of ice cream. It was pretty heart-breaking for Dad, too!

So, that’s when I decided we could just pretend! I set up our little bench at the doorway from our kitchen to our dining room, and made up a little sign which I stuck to the wall next to the door, and pretended to be Chill & Grill! The kids played right along and we all had a great time ordering, serving, and EATING ice cream! Even used the (HUGE) Chill & Grill portions! (I had to finish most of the kids’ ice cream…)

I think Ian said something like, “It’s amazing what you can do with some paper, and a marker, and a little tape!” He’s right! It’s fun to pretend, and we had a grand time doing it last night!

Might just do it again! πŸ™‚

Changing Seasons

Chill & Grill!Fall has begun, and that means that we’re coming to the very end of the ice cream season. It’s been a good one. Many visits from the Chis. My Dad has been up several times for ice cream. Friends from all over the region have met us there – including a surprise visit from our friends the Towners one night! – and we of course did our annual concert there with our friends in the band Sound Mind.

It’s been a good year.

But now, this Sunday (Sep 30)… Chill & Grill will be closing for the season. πŸ™ πŸ™

We’ll be heading up there for sure on Sunday, and maybe tomorrow night as well. Been fitting in a few more ice cream trips this week, knowing it will be closing again for 5 months or so. Too bad. I would still get ice cream in the winter…


If you’re a fan, come out today or tomorrow and grab the last remnants of the ice cream! (Flavor selection is rather slim these days!) We’ll be there Sunday for sure!

Also, be sure to check out the Chill & Grill Fan Page I created on Facebook!

Looking forward to Sunday, and already looking forward to next season!

I do love me some ice cream… πŸ™‚

Visitation Hours Are Over

This weekend, we spent time with so many people!!! And I LOVED it!!!

I actually figured out that we spent twelve straight hours with friends yesterday. From 11am (ish) to after 11pm (ish) we were with three different families! Two of those were planned, then the third was a super cool surprise. And, you could even throw in our neighbors, too! (They were at Chill & Grill with us and our surprise visiting friends!)

You see, there are some regular readers to this blog (who usually don’t comment…) who know more about what’s going on or been going on in my life than I do! (Or, so it seems at times…) πŸ™‚ These friends are some of those people.

So, they knew from my recent blog post that we were headed to Chill & Grill to end our day. Well, the stopped at our house first, and upon seeing our parking space empty (and confirming with our neighbors, who as I mentioned, happened to be also headed to Chill & Grill) they met up with us in the ice cream line at Chill & Grill!

Super fun times. πŸ™‚

Well, we haven’t seen them in over a YEAR, so it was too short to just hang out at Chill & Grill! They came back to our place. We chatted. We chased kids. We chatted. We talked about kids. We chatted more, then had some Skyline. They are very easy people to be with. It was a fantastic end to a great evening. We were super beat, but it was all worth it!

So, when you count up the hours, I believe that we were visiting with people other than our immediate family for at least 22 hours from Friday to Sunday. Even for me, Mr. Social… that’s a lot!!! πŸ™‚ Oh man! And if you throw in helping our friends move on Friday morning… we’re at least up to 24 hours!! πŸ™‚

It was really a fantastic weekend!!! I don’t know if we’ll pack that many visits into such a short calendar space anytime soon, but the final weekend of July 2007 was a fun one for me! If you were part of that whirlwind of visits, thanks for spending part of your weekend with us, and we’re looking forward to the next time!

(If you weren’t, well, there’s always next weekend!) πŸ˜‰

The Weekend That Was, Is, And Is To Come

Usually I don’t tell about a busy weekend in the middle of it, but I thought I’d make an exception today. I told a friend via e-mail (actually, it was on Facebook) that this weekend was going to be packed full… and I just wanted to write it down so I could remember what a crazy weekend the fifth weekend of July 2007 was. (And I can use this as a sort of “To Do” list for the things that we have yet to do …) πŸ™‚

Last night I stayed up pretty late working on the song set for Sunday morning (read below) and chatting with various folks on the internet. (Why was everyone else on so late??) I was also doing a little prep work for a possible interview with Brian Moorman, the Buffalo Bills punter. All of this while knowing the day today would begin quite early. It didn’t matter… something kept me going. The tasks, yes, but somehow I was just awake.

I finally hit the sack around 3:45 or so, and just felt really awake. So, sometime after 4:00 I finally drifted off to sleep, only to hear the shrill sound of my alarm at 8:00am. It seemed like mere moments. πŸ™‚

I think I hit snooze. πŸ™‚ Then I rolled out of bed around 8:15 or so and tried to wake myself up with some tea and reading emails and blogs. (Yes, believe it or not, some had been updated between 4:00am and 8:00am…) I did a little more prep for the potential interview with the Bills punter, and got a call around 8:50am from our friends for whom I had so early arisen. They needed help moving, so I offered to help before training camp began that afternoon.

Well, turns out they had packed their computers already, but had forgotten to check the emails for where to get the moving truck. πŸ™‚ So, my friend joined me at our breakfast table for a quick check of his email, and then was off to get the truck with his wife. Good thing we were running a little behind, though. I had a few errands to run.

At 9:30 am, I headed out on foot to get the song sheet prepared the night before to the church on the corner. I delivered that, then headed to our library to drop off a video. Off to the post office next (a few blocks away) to check for a hosting payment that has STILL not arrived. Box was empty. (Except for a decent Pizza Hut coupon…) So, scratch that trip to the bank I had planned.

Instead I just headed straight over to our friends’ house to start loading up the truck. Except… no truck. They hadn’t left right when I thought they had, so it was going to be a while. Already 10:00, I decided to walk back and check on Jen. That was probably good as when I got back, I was able to reply to a phone message regarding a meeting later on that day to get our new Buffalo Bills Review t-shirts!

(Are you still with me?) πŸ™‚

So after about 30 minutes at home, I headed back to the moving house and the truck was there! We managed to move a decent amount of boxes and firmly entrenched furniture. So, even though I had to leave around noon, I felt like my time had been at least slightly useful to them. That was nice.

When I got home, I helped get lunch ready (at least helped Jen decide what to warm up from the fridge!) and showered, then checked on the interview one more time. It just felt rushed in the middle of everything else we were trying to do – so I decided to postpone it. I eventually e-mailed my Bills contact and asked to set it up for later.

But we still had plenty to do.

1:30pm, all are fed, most is ready for the trip to BILLS TRAINING CAMP!!! We were to meet our friends the Drakes there (he co-hosts the Buffalo Bills Review with me) as well as that t-shirt delivery guy. That all went off without (much of) a hitch. We ended up even parking in the VIP parking lot, since we looked sort of official. Yes, it was a bending of the rules (I need an official pass to do that) but we were treated kindly by an understanding parking lot attendant.

Bills camp was fun! Weather was decent (not too hot!) and it was just SO FUN to see the Buffalo Bills right in FRONT of us again!!!! It was a relatively light workout, but was still fun to watch. Some good plays made.

In addition to the football, I was there on official business. A friend loaned me his iPod recording device (you stick it in your iPod) and so I went around to various fans asking them if they’d like to be on our show. A few politely declined, but most said, “Sure!” It was a lot of fun. Really perfect stuff for our show, which we say is “The Show By Bills Fans, For Bills Fans”. It even says that on our shirts. πŸ™‚

After camp was over we headed out for some dinner together at a nearby McDonald’s. It has a great PlayPlace, so that was the perfect choice. I had a fantastic Asian salad, by the way. Hadn’t ever had their fancy salads. Marie got one, and it looked good… so I did too πŸ™‚ Thanks, Marie! πŸ™‚

The PlayPlace was a good idea… but… it got WAY too loud. So we decided to hang out a bit more, and finish the afternoon/evening with some ice cream!!! (Yes, in fact, it IS National Ice Cream Month…) We got some Abbott’s custard (a Rochester favorite) at Bill Gray’s (add that to the ice cream list for the month!) and then finally parted ways as all of our children were just about completely exhausted.

I was getting there, too!

But one of the coolest parts of the day happened AFTER all of the other cool stuff! As we left the restaurant, it had just finished raining, and the sun was coming out again. Looking toward the eastern sky, there was a humongous FULL rainbow from one side of the sky to the other. Even a bit of a double rainbow on the left side. It was just fantastic!


As we drove home… another rainbow appeared in the Eastern sky… this one WAY more colorful, brighter, or whatever the proper description is. It was a full rainbow across the sky in front of us. It as quite bold, and just really amazingly beautiful. There was definitely a double rainbow this time. In fact, the double was almost complete! Simply incredible! I think the best rainbow I have ever seen. Certainly none top it. Could only equal it.

After the spectacular shows in the sky, we finally were home… and just got everyone ready for bed. We watched a quick episode of the Little Einsteins, then did baths/showers/etc. Once everyone was in bed, it was time for Dad to make Skyline for tomorrow’s lunch, so, Jen & I spent a little time in the kitchen, listening to this week’s God Journey podcast as I cooked and cleaned up a bit.

Oh yeah.. did the laundry in there too… πŸ™‚

Whew. Glad Friday is over. But there are TWO MORE DAYS!

Quick preview…

  • Our friends are bringing their girls over tomorrow so they can have a kidless day to get some final preparations done for a trip to the Dominican Republic coming up soon. We can’t support their trip financially, but we can make their prep a bit easier by taking their kids! Plus, we love having them come over and visit… πŸ™‚
  • Speaking of visits… our friends the Falkes will be dropping by for lunch (SKYLINE CHILI!!) in the late morning. They head to Canada fairly soon to begin working with a church there… so it’s one last good-bye before they head about 3000 miles to our west. πŸ™‚
  • After a day with our friends’ girls, we’ll head over to Chill & Grill together before they all go back home. Haven’t gotten to do that all Ice Cream Month with them, so that will be very nice. πŸ™‚
  • Sunday morning we’ll be providing the music for the “Worship In The Park” service put on by First Baptist Church in Palmyra. They asked us if we’d do that, and we happily agreed. Nice folks. Will be kinda cool singing outside and stuff. Plus… they’re feeding us, so… it was pretty much a no-brainer. πŸ˜‰
  • Sunday afternoon we’ll be meeting some clients/friends of mine who are on a tour of the northeast from their home in Texas. It’s a New England vacation, and we are one of the stops! πŸ™‚ It will be great to meet them, even if it’s only a brief visit. I designed the site for them. It will be nice to finally meet them. πŸ™‚

Oh my goodness golly this is long! I think I will stop for now. I’ll of course share any stories that deviate from the planned activities listed above. πŸ™‚

Chill & Grill x2

Our friend Chi reminded me that I never shared the story of another “food fest” day (with food (mostly) provided by Chill & Grill) just a couple weeks ago. June 16th, I believe. It was certainly akin to FOOD FEST I, detailed below.

The Chis arrived in time for lunch, so they got their pugs out, we got our kids in the stroller, and off we went on the 1-mile trek to Chill & Grill!

We went all out. Chi & I got Monster Burgers. There were lots of fries. Some chicken. Probably some other greasy stuff…. it was fantastic! AND THEN, the Chis treated us to ice cream afterward. Chi ordered a Large. Only the second person I’ve seen even ORDER a large. And he finished it. AND this was after a 1-lb Monster Burger. Nice job, Chi!

BUT there was more!

We went back home and just hung out for the afternoon… even got to play a round of the Hulk board game! I won! HULK SMASH!!!!

As it was getting toward dinner time… we decided to make a nice waffle dinner! It was awesome! Waffles fresh off the grill. It was rather surprising we had room, after our big Chill & Grill excursion.

We hung out in the yard a bit more… but even more surprising… we decided we hadn’t had ENOUGH ice cream… so the Chis treated us to ANOTHER ROUND of Chill & Grill!!!! Ha! And yes, Chi ordered ANOTHER LARGE. And finished it. He is an eating machine!

Nice work, Chi. But next time you need to eat two Monster Burgers, too! Whoohoo!

Alex is Broken & Other Weekend Tales

I spent about 3 hours at the hospital last night. It was not where I intended to spend that time, but then, I suppose hospital visits aren’t usually planned. Somewhere around 7pm last night, Alex and Ian – in their typical physical wrestling/play fashion, got a little too rough, and Ian fell on top of Alex. Alex cried, a lot. But that wasn’t unusual, as he is often frustrated and angered by his bigger, stronger, faster older brother. But it persisted, so I checked on him… and all seemed normal… so I went back to what I was doing. A minute or two later, Ian came back in and said, “I don’t think Alex was just mad… I heard something snap.”

Oh boy.

So we probably took an hour or so testing it out. Nothing was visibly broken, but the little guy was definitely tender. It became evident that something was probably broken, so Alex and Dad headed off to the hospital. It’s about 25 minutes away, so, the journey is not embarked upon lightly… πŸ™‚

We stopped at Uncle Paul & Aunt Laura’s along the way (it’s right on the way there) to drop something off, and they gave Alex some ice cream, a few hugs, and an empathetic story or two. That was nice. πŸ™‚

I’ve done this before, so I wisely loaded up the laptop with a few movies before we left, and boy did I need them! We actually sped through all the preliminary stuff. Even got a visit from the doctor within maybe 30 minutes of being there! BUT… for whatever reason… it was the night to break stuff. So the X-ray folks were WAAAAAY behind schedule. Oh my goodness. We watched an HOUR AND A HALF of the movie Cars before we got to go get the x-rays taken! Then it was probably another 30 minutes after that before we left.

Alex has a slight – very slight – fracture in his clavicle. They gave him a cute little sling. And he can’t do any sports until he’s “cleared” by the doctor, or something. Do you know Alex? What in the world is this boy going to do???? That’s ALL he does! πŸ™‚ I guess he’ll be doing a lot of reading, playing chess with Ian, and maybe a video game or two. (But he just can’t replace all that sports time with video games. That would be ugly!) πŸ™‚

We stopped at Wendy’s on the way home (at 11:30!!) for a frosty with Oreos, at Alex’s request. Dad got a burger and fries! Ha! (That’s odd… I’m usually the sweets guy!) πŸ™‚

So, the rest of the weekend included some of this:

  • Cleaning out the remaining weeds from our flower beds. And, planting some flowers! That took a majority of Saturday. Was a beautiful day. I mean, fantastic! So it was lots of fun. The whole family was in on the project!
  • Jen had a baby shower to attend with some friends – which ended up being just a dinner, as the guest of honor decided to have her baby that day! – so she spent Saturday night there, while the kids and I enjoyed a Skyline meal (the real stuff, from the can!) and then walked up to Chill & Grill for some ice cream! We had a blast! I think Mom did too, but we probably had more fun! πŸ˜‰
  • Sunday morning we all went to the mall for a little “cooking” class from Williams-Sonoma. They were demonstrating home made ice cream. It was great! Tasted great and was a blast! Learned a few pointers.
  • Sunday afternoon/evening we just played outside – even had a picnic lunch and dinner! It was a warmer day, but fine in the shade. Our neighbors returned home as well, so the kids played a bit together. Annnnd… then we went to the hospital. πŸ™‚
  • Before we left for the hospital, I moved our trailer off of the parking spot it has been in for a few years… a friend of ours is coming today (here now!) to make it a parking spot again! We’re going to spend the morning making it a gravel driveway instead of a dirt spot with a recurring (giant) puddle! Cool!!!

So… now that Al is here… πŸ™‚
More later…

What A Day!

Today began rather early, for a Sunday.

I woke up at about 8:30 or so… and everyone was sleeping, but I wanted to get up for two reasons. First, I needed to mow, and I knew it was going to be HOT… so the earlier the better! Second, our neighbors were shipping out at 9:30, and I wanted to be there to say good bye. πŸ™‚

So, I got up, threw on some grubs, grabbed the iPod, and headed out to mow at about 8:45. (If you know me, you know how insane that is.)

I got the back yard done just as our neighbors emerged to pack their van to leave. They loaded up very fast… said a quick good bye (they were VERY excited about this trip! I think they have been packed for three months…) and drove off. I got back to my mowing – and sweating… – and finished a bit before ten o’clock.

I came inside a bit confused. So many possibilities for the day… but which to do? I needed to seed many parts of our yard. I had a few flower beds to spruce up. I needed to clean out our van. Bad. And beyond that, I had a few fun ideas, like going to visit a nearby waterfall! Or, going to lunch with Jen’s brother and family, and some other friends before spending a little time at the Apple Store in the mall (and other shopping errands). SO MUCH TO DO… SO LITTLE TIME.

After a brief – albeit heated – conversation with Jen, I settled on just cleaning out one flower bed (out front) and calling it a day on the work side of things. It just felt like it needed to be a family day.

After cleaning up, and just hanging out with Jen for a while (that was SO GREAT!) we checked out that lunch plan with friends and family. Found out that wasn’t going to be just what we though it would be so… we decided on plan B for lunch. Reheated burgers and hot dogs from yesterday’s party! Whoohoo! πŸ™‚ I did make fresh home-made french fries, though…

As we were eating our lunch, I heard a pretty rare knock at the door. I quickly jumped up to see who it was, and was a bit surprised to find our neighbor, Mrs. Button, standing there with a smile on her face. I opened the door and invited her in. After a brief chat she asked if I might help her move a couch into her apartment. “Absolutely!” I said.

And the adventure began.

Since my neighbor, Matt, was gone, I needed to find another capable young man to assist me in this furniture moving. I knocked on the door of one such person … but to no avail. They were gone for the day. Then I tried the other side of our house… but alas, no response to my knock. I called up a friend who loves to help with stuff like this. He was headed out the door for a business trip. So I walked up a couple houses to another neighbor’s house to see if he might be able to help.

Petr came to the door and after a brief reintroduction (we have had many more chats with his wife than with him… so I decided to introduce myself again) he said he could certainly help. Yes! Finally someone is available!

I went back to tell Mrs. Button that she would have her couch in about 15 minutes or so, and ended up spending most of that 15 minutes talking with her about all sorts of stuff. She seems a bit lonely. She was happy to talk about anything and everytihng. And I was happy to listen. πŸ™‚

Petr was now available, so we began moving the couch from two houses down to Mrs. Button’s apartment. It was around 90ΒΊF, and VERY humid, so after 5 steps we were both sweathing profusely. And, Mrs. Button is … “a collector”. πŸ™‚ Her apartment was quite full. Even more full than my Grandma, who is famous for being a pack rat. πŸ™‚ So we re-arranged, jostled, and squeezed in this fairly large couch.

When our work was done, we said good bye to Mrs. Button, and headed to our homes. Petr stayed a bit at our yard – tossing the football with our boys – and just chatting about what he does, what we do. We haven’t gotten to do that in four years of living just around the corner from each other. It was very nice.

As we were chatting, Mr. Anderson drives up with his two girls. I excuse myself from the football-tossing conversation to say hello to the Anderson clan. Petr says good bye, and we pick up a chat about computers, kids, and ice cream with Mr. Anderson and company. Turns out I should be able to help them with a Mac purchase. And… after comparing schedules, we figured out that we would be able to take their girls to Chill & Grill for some ice cream later that evening. (We had been wanting to do that as an extra thank you for being awesome baby sitters for us!) πŸ™‚

We said good bye, and as I walked back to our house, I said to Jen sitting on the porch… “I feel like a neighbor!” πŸ™‚ What a great day of connecting with all of the people around us… helping each other out, and just enjoying each other’s company!!!

And it wasn’t done!!!

A storm rolled in, so we thought it would be fun to play a game or two out on the front porch while listening to the thunder and rain. Turned out to be a bit of a dud, but the games were fun! And on one short break where we went in to get a snack, I realized that if I was going to make pizza for dinner… I better get started! Well, I also realized that it might be early enough to invite someone to join us for that home-made pizza dinner.

Why not our neighbors from around the corner? πŸ™‚

We’ve tried a couple times to have a meal with them, but has never worked out with their schedule… but today was different! They could come!!! So I popped the pizza dough in the oven to rise, and we tried to finish our game before they came.

The next hour went quickly, and we saw them pop around the corner, and start heading for our house. I went in to get the pizza started and everyone began filing in. (They are a family of 6 also!) We made some great looking pizzas, had some great conversation, and really had a great time connecting with these new-ish friends. There are some fun connections. They have a son born just a few HOURS before Julia was. At the same hospital. And, they were due the same date as well. Crazy. Also, Petr’s wife was the daughter of a preacher man – just like my Jen. πŸ™‚

So, we had a great meal with them… and then shared some ice cream sundaes that they brought along. It was a great evening shared with new friends.

As they were getting ready to go, we were too. Turns out… we weren’t done! We had made ice cream plans… remember?? πŸ™‚

(Yes… we still went, even after having ice cream with Petr and his family…) πŸ™‚

So, we headed up to the Baptist church to meet up with the Anderson girls. We were a tad early, but headed inside to see what was going on. They weren’t quite done, so we stalled a bit… until I felt almost “rude” just standing outside their building, not coming in to join them. So, Ian and I went in and sat down to listen. They were talking about big faith in God, like David vs. Goliath. One guy shared a story about how (at God’s leading) he was able to provide financial help to a family he knew – even though he was not in a financial position to do so – and how God gave that right back to him within a couple days! When they were done, I told a similar story of how God had done that for us! He’s so good when we trust him, and do what he leads us to do.

We headed out with our babysitters to Chill & Grill. The skies were ominous… rain was surely coming. But, we went (on foot) anyway.

It was a nice walk, filled with many foot races between several different runners. There were also multiple winners. Lots of fun. Mr. Anderson (baby sitters’ Dad) joined us after we were most of the way there, as he had noticed that the rain had begun, and well… he’s a good Dad. πŸ™‚ He ended up driving everyone but me home. (I walked back in the rain, looking for a dropped baby shoe…) πŸ™‚

The ice cream was great. The conversation and connecting with friends/neighbors was even better. What a great day of that!!!!

After finishing our game from earlier – which DAD won!!! – we showered up… then Mom & Dad watched a little TV… and then Mom headed to bed!

And then I wrote a blog or two. πŸ™‚

Looong – but INCREDIBLY FUN – day. Thanks for sharing it with me on this virtual page. πŸ™‚

Campbells of the Woods

Well, not really the woods so much, but we sure did spend a LOT of time outdoors this weekend!!!

I had really two goals this weekend. I wanted to clean out our van, which was just disgusting after a whole winter of not being cleaned. Then, I hoped we could get all the sticks and other random junk out of our yard. We have about a quarter acre, so it’s not a huge task, but it did take some effort.

Add to those tasks the goal of having burgers on the grill for Saturday and Sunday’s evening meal (hopefully with friends!) and we had a full weekend!

  • The Van
    Saturday morning began relatively early for a Saturday. I was outside around 9am getting to work on the van. I had to take out all the seats and worked for about 30 minutes just pulling out all the stuff so that I could get in there with the ShopVac. It was really nasty. I think I finished around 12:30pm with all the cleaning… so a good three and a half hours to clean just the inside of our van. Whew!
  • The Back Yard
    Meanwhile, Jen and the kids picked up sticks and raked up the rest of the junk in our back yard. Jen really does not like any sort of yard work, so it was a struggle for her, but she helped a LOT. We stopped for lunch around 1pm or so (a nice Sub from Breen’s, with carrots and potato chips… very summer-y) and took a break till around 3pm when Grandma arrived and the boys and I ended up back outside to finish the back yard job. I must say, they did a great job sticking to it, and we finished in pretty good time! The yard looked great, and my boys helped make it that!
  • Cookout #1
    I mentioned Grandma came over… she took the kids to the park for a while and then we all shared a fun summer meal from the grill. We had some fantastic burgers, including a Greek Burger (tomatoes, onions, greek dressing and feta cheese) among others. We even had a few stragglers join us… πŸ™‚ Our neighbor and his dad were hanging out outside as I was coming in and out from the grill, and so I offered them a burger πŸ™‚ (One of my favorite things to do is provide food for people…)
  • The Front & Side Yard
    Sunday morning we got a bit of a later start (had waffles for breakfast!) but that was OK, cause the front and side yards are a lot smaller job. We all went out and picked up the piles like the day before, and Mom & Ian worked under the porch, clearing out a bunch of junk that has collected under there over the past four years. We finished up pretty quickly and then headed inside to get lunch ready…
  • Picnic In The Park
    As we were working outside, I thought it was such a nice day that we should go up to the park and have a picnic in the park! Everyone agreed, so we started packing up our sandwiches for the trip. When I got all the sandwiches made, and the other food collected I said, “Where’s our picnic basket??” I forgot we didn’t have one anymore… So a few seconds later, Kirstie comes around the corner holding a little basket she had emptied of its contents saying, “Here’s a basket, Dad!” πŸ™‚ Very cute!

    So we rounded up everything and walked just around the corner to our Village Park. It was just us! They hadn’t set up the picnic tables yet (!!) so we ate on the steps of the pavillion at the center of the park. The kids were kinda distracted by eating outside, but I thought it was fun still anyway πŸ™‚ We stayed and played in the park for at least an hour afterwards. Swings, slides, that spinny thing. Ian fell off of that once. Not good. But Ian also made some fantastic catches of football passes from Dad! It was definitely a highlight of my day! πŸ™‚

  • Relaxing Afternoon
    When we got back, the girls took their nap, and the boys and Dad watched the rest of Around The World In 80 Days that we had started a week or two ago. It’s THREE HOURS! But we did finish, and we liked it. After that we watched the third period of the NJ Devils vs Tampa Bay Lightning series. Well, I napped for a good bit of that… but I was in the room. πŸ™‚ The Devils won, so the Sabres will now play the Rangers in round two. That’s cool…
  • Cookout #2
    To finish off the weekend, our friends the Stupins came to join us for cookout #2. This was a bit more adventurous for some reason. When I put the burgers on the grill, on low flame… the fire just erupted! The flames were shooting out of everywhere on the grill at least 2 feet in the air!!! Somehow, the burgers were still edible, but man that was crazy!!!

    We had fun just playing in our yard (they have three young girls, our kids’ age) after dinner for a while. We were also joined bu our neighbors. It was a nice way to spend the evening.

  • Ice Cream!!!
    But we weren’t done! Everyone else had to go home around 8pm (bedtime??? crazy!) but we decided to head up to Chill & Grill to top off the weekend with some ice cream!!!! Well, as we were just leaving our house, we saw our babysitter heading home on her bike, and invited her to join us for some ice cream! She agreed, and we had a nice walk up there. (She rode slowly on her bike…) BUT THEN… as we got closer, we noticed there was no line out the door at Chill & Grill… and the OPEN sign was not lit!!!! It wasn’t closing time yet… so what’s the deal????

    We went up to the door and the sign said they were “out of inventory”!!!! NO!!!!!!! We just walked about a mile for their ice cream and they were all out!!!!!! πŸ™

    So, Kristin went home (the babysitter) and we ended up getting some ice cream bars from Breen’s (which is just across the street) and eating them at the employee’s picnic table behind their store. πŸ™‚ Not quite the same, but still kinda fun.

  • Late Night Hockey
    We were pretty exhausted when we got home, but we watched the end of the first period of the Detroit / Calgary game and then put most of the kids in bed. Ian got a special treat of some late night hockey watching with Mom & Dad. But at the end of the second period, Mom couldn’t even make it anymore so… just Dad remained.

    I had to take care of the financial things (paying bills, balancing check books etc) so I did that as I watched… and watched. πŸ™‚ The game went into a second overtime period before they could decide it. Unfortunately, Detroit won and ended the series. I was at least hoping for a game seven. Calgary pretty much gave all they could though. Detroit is just better. Will be interesting if Buffalo faces them in the final.

And that was our crazy weekend. We definitely enjoyed every last moment of it. I have the tiredness and the SUNBURN to prove it!

I think I’ll have some more iced tea now. πŸ™‚