Sunday, August 18, 2013

Going down summer's memory lane...

We made so many memories this summer. Here are my favorite ones.

On the drive to Indiana
+++We got out at a rest stop to use the restrooms and stretch a bit. The boys went directly back to the car, but Mark and I saw water and a little covered bridge so we took a walk.  When we spotted a couple frogs, Mark was absolutely sure they were not real--they were not moving a muscle.  He found a stone and tossed it in the water just as one of the frogs jumped away narrowly missing getting thumped in the back.  We were tired and probably found this funnier than it really was.

In Kettering, Ohio with Dan and Gwen
+++We had such a fun couple days with Dan and Gwen.  We'd never been to a swim meet before, so that was a new experience for us and fun to see the kids swim.  It was so hot that day.  The frozen grapes that Gwen packed as part of our picnic supper, were a thing of beauty to me.  Also, at that meet was a family seated next to us with a young (but not small) Down's boy.  Watching his mother patiently watch over him with kindness and gentleness was almost more than I could stand!  It was much more beautiful than those cold grapes, but just as refreshing.

+++The boys and Jake have such a fun time together

+++Lydia, Claire and I have a little "tradition" of doing manicures and pedicures together. Sometimes we are not together more than 5 minutes when Claire tells me she wants to do nails!  This time she painted mine!

Once in Indy
+++My parents so graciously open their home to us.  They don't even seem fazed when we barge into their peaceful, quite space with oodles of bags, over-sized suitcases, sports equipment, and excited voices. Thanks for letting us interrupt your regularly scheduled program.

+++One day, we started talking about movies and my dad described one that he says he could watch over and over.  I think he was getting choked up just describing it.  They couldn't believe they had never shown The Ride to us before, so we had a movie night.  Everyone enjoyed it.  Watching my dad get emotional over certain parts got to me maybe more than the story did.

+++Sam really wanted to join a gym this summer.  We found one that gave us a great deal, was close, and open 24 hours.  Sam and I spent a lot of time there, usually really late, after almost everyone else was in bed.  I appreciated having those moments with him in the car on the way to and from mostly listening to music, sometimes chatting between yawns.  Sometimes we ran on the treadmills side by side, sometimes we did our ab workout together, sometimes we laughed at the loud groaning coming from a certain bench.
+++We celebrated my mom's 72nd birthday on July 2nd.  At supper, I told the family that they each could ask The Birthday Girl one question about her childhood, or other birthdays, etc., but that she could turn around and ask the same question of them if she wanted.  It was really fun to hear the stories that came out of that little game.
This is not a great picture, but I'm using it because I love how Joel is looking at me here!
+++Our nephew, Bryce, played Little League this year and we had the occasion to watch some of his all-star games.  These were Billington family gatherings as everyone came (grandmas, aunts, great-aunts, grandpa, uncles, cousins, and supportive friends) to cheer on the team.  Joel got the baseball bug this year and even arranged to stay with Grandma and Grandpa B next year in June without his family (finishing school was not really a concern for him) so he can play baseball with Bryce and Chase.

Joel and Grandma Peggy
Jack, Sam, and Grandpa
+++July 4th we met up with good friends Troy and Leanna and their girls.  It seemed at first that everything was going against us as our original and even Plan B failed.  In the end, we had supper at a nice restaurant and went down to the circle to watch the best fireworks display I've ever seen.  It was such a fun, relaxed, easy night.  The games and pistachios I stuffed in my bag at the last minute came in handy, too!

+++One evening, Joel and I had time to kill at a park between dropping off a friend and meeting more friends and the rest of our family for a picnic supper.  Joel ran down to a port-o-let. When he came back I noticed one of his hands was black.  When I asked about it, he said that he saw a license plate that was dirty so he just rubbed off the dirt to be nice.  

+++Our friends, the Mayhaks came by for lunch bringing their old Mustang with them.  Everyone enjoyed taking a ride in it, most especially Joel.
+++Mark taught on a Sunday morning in a FBCBG worship service.  He meant to lead the church in this song at the end, but due to technical difficulties, he ended up singing a solo.  I was proud of his quick adjusting and ability to just confidently share the song, convinced of the truth.  It was truly beautiful.
I was lost in the song and did not take a picture,
but here's one of him earlier in the service as he joined the worship team.
+++Jack got to go with the middle schoolers to King's Island for Spirit Song.  He was so excited about it, and about hearing certain groups in particular.  He ended up getting sick, spending time in the nurses' tent while the rest of the clan went about enjoying themselves.  This was sad to me, especially since he had looked so forward to it for such a long time.  He's a trooper, though, and shivered through the concerts anyway.  Their group (and I'm pretty sure it was the kids' initiative) decided to sponsor a child with Compassion International:  5-year old Danilo from Colombia.  Very neat!
I think he might have been sickly here, but I can't know for sure...he has this look for pictures sometimes
+++Sam got to go with our church's youth group to Lifefest, a Christian musical festival in Wisconsin.  Pictured below is a part of the group that went.  When Sam came back...
he had a lot to talk about.  It was so much fun to listen to his stories and to see the rest of the family so interested in him.  We laughed so much that night, tucked away in "our" bedroom, trying to be quiet so my parents wouldn't be disturbed.

+++We made a couple trips to the library, which has to be one of our #1 activities!

+++I found a book called "Do Hard Things" by a couple teenage boys.  I read the first chapter and knew I wanted Sam to read it, so gave him a reading assignment.  When he finished it, he told me that it was really good and that Jack should read it too!  I asked him to tell me about it. He said, "Oh it was just all the things that you tell us all the time, Mom.  To work hard and to have initiative!"  I'm not sure if that answer was a smooth talkin' way to not have to give me a book report.  Yeah, now that I think about it, it might have been that.
+++Spending time with Little Grandma is always a delight.  Her 17-year old cat was on her last leg when we arrived in Indy.  I don't know that I've ever seen any creature that looked more miserable with chunks of fur missing and her almost lifeless body.  There Rosie was sitting on the couch beside Grandma that first day. We all looked at her pitifully.  All but Jack, who walked up beside her, sat down and said, "This cat is awesome!" She died a couple days later.
It is a fact, that our family has the hardest time making normal faces...good thing I wasn't in the picture because then there'd be one more!

Washington D.C.
+++We went for our mission's Enrichment conference.  It's the first time we've taken the kids (except one year when Sam was not yet 2).  They loved it, and we regretted not taking them the other times. 

+++It was a very good conference, but my very favorite thing was meeting up with a lady who had been in our candidate class with us back in '93 and whom we had not seen or heard from since that year.  She is inspiring, beautiful, and encouraging and I felt our hearts were knit together in the too-short moments we had to talk together.  She and her husband had been in an undisclosed area, but now will be moving to India (working with women and children who have been trafficked) where they can communicate freely. I'm so glad for the encounter with Carmen.  It was a most valuable gift!

+++Our view of the city from our hotel in Arlington was incredible.  We fell asleep with the curtains wide open so that we could soak in the view.  The Washington Monument, with it's scaffolding all lit up, made it spectacular!

Virginia Beach
+++We left DC for a couple-day trip to the the beach.  We made some mistakes that cost us time, and we were disappointed a bit with a couple things.  All in all we had fun together and made memories.  That's what family vacations are all about, so in the end it was all okay.  

+++Watching these folks was delightful.  I had a head-full of questions and would have liked to have had a little chat, but I settled for taking some pictures.  

Sam is "Breaking Amish"

Back in Indy...
+++Spending most of one day with our friends, the Blackburns, was really good.  We hung out at Mark's dad's house because they were gone for the day.  We went to Beech Grove Bowl, took the kids on a little walking tour of our old stomping grounds (like all good parents are wont to do).  There was a backyard baseball game, an amazing sighting of a cicada emerging from his shell, and lots of talking and laughing.  We ate supper at Egg Roll #1 (I got kind of sick that night and Mark, finding himself rather clever, told friends we had Egg Roll #1 yesterday and Jill had Egg Roll #2 all night,)

Jodie told Sam about her trying to get get her GPA up by taking a bowling class...the rest of the story was FUNNY!

 someone looks a little bored

+++Dan and Gwen and the kids came to Indy to spend a couple days together.  We missed Rich, Aracely, and Noelani, but a trip to Florida was not in the stars this summer!