Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pre-Wedding Activities

Once we arrived at Grandpa and Mim's house in Michigan our objective was to try to stay out of the way while everyone prepared for the main event - Aunt Nikki's wedding!  But there was plenty of time for fun beforehand, including wet and wild silliness on a new Slip 'n Slide given to the 500 Babies by their soon-to-be new Uncle Justin.

Pure awesomeness! The kids didn't really get the hang of the run/dive/slide so Billy had to swing and throw them down - kind of like bowling balls!

Since Billy was doing a reading for the wedding ceremony he needed to be at the rehearsal.  It wasn't until we were all driving to the church for the rehearsal that I wondered why we were bringing all the kids with us.  Wouldn't it have made more sense for me to stay behind with the kids?  The feeling increased once I realized the kids were NOT sitting quiety for the rehearsal even though we brought a ton of snacks and "quiet" activities for them.  I spent the entire hour chasing, shushing, and generally feeling I had lost all control.  One of the activities I brought for the kids to do were sticker folders with little scenes like a castle, jungle, etc. It wasn't until later that I noticed what the folders were called: "Make-a-Scene".  Ha.  We made a scene all right! 

It all turned out to be a blessing in a way, though, because after the way the kids behaved at the rehearsal, I knew without a doubt that there was no way I was going to attempt to have them sit in the wedding service...and the fact that they wouldn't sit still for pictures beforehand confirmed this even more:
I couldn't get a single picture with all 4 kids looking at the camera.  Even the ones with Baby A. looking forward have one of the other kiddos looking away. No worries, though.  I say these pictures show personality!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Prayers Needed

There is a family in our congregation that has suffered an unspeakable tragedy and is in desperate need of prayer right now.  Please, please go to Jamie's blog for details and read how you can help.  Thanks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

More Scenes from the Great 500 Babies Road Trip: Days 2 and 3

So here we go, on to days 2 and 3...
We left our mark in Arkansas.  Would you believe it if I told you Joe spelled out "TEXAS" all by himself? No? Fine, but he still looks as proud as if he had done it himself.

Running with sticks.
Impossible group shot.  For blog purposes these kind are ok because technically I can't show Baby A.'s face yet.  It really pains me because those of you who've never seen his smile will never be completely fulfilled in life until you do.  I mean it.
Most of you will not be surprised to learn I am not necessarily a fan of Elvis.  But we were in Memphis, the giant statue was there, and it seemed like the touristy thing to do.  I don't know why I look like I'm in pain.  Wouldn't have anything to do with being stuck in a car all day with 500 Babies.  Nah. (Kidding, kidding.)
Kentucky Dan.
The trio eats lunch.  The line of trucks in the background should tell you why Billy and I could never completely relax during any of our stops.  To their credit, the kids usually followed directions fairly well. At this particular stop an older couple even came over and complimented them on their good behavior!
Baby A. loved playing with sticks at every stop. And tell me who doesn't enjoy playing with sticks??
Next up will be scenes from our destination, including a wedding, a farm, a zoo, botanical gardens and more!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

500 Babies Great Road Trip: Day 1

Well, we're back.  Twelve days, 10 states, and over 3000 miles later we are finally home.  The trip was all that we hoped for and more and now all that's left is to do laundry, unpack, do more laundry, put the house back in order, and do more laundry.  And sort through hundreds of pictures to pick the ones to share with you that best represent our journey!

The hardest part was explaning to the kids that it was going to take three days for us to get to Michigan.  Every time we stopped they'd ask if we were at Granpa and Mim's house, and every time we'd get back on the road they'd ask if we were going home!
Here's how we all fit in the van:
We did our best to stay organized: I packed each child's daily outfits in separate ziploc bags and they each had treat bags that we periodically added new activities and snacks to throughout the trip.  But by the end of the trip my organizational systems and the van were completely destroyed. 

Our first major stop was for lunch in good old Waco, Texas.  (Our plan was to eat packed lunches along the way.) I convinced Billy to follow the signs to the Cameron Park Zoo because it seemed logical that Cameron PARK Zoo must have a park nearby.  I think he was a little nervous because we didn't have a map and didn't really know where we were going, but sure enough we found a park with a playground AND restrooms.  So everyone got to stretch their legs and have some fun!
These lunch containers came in very handy!  No plates or plastic bags needed.
Me and my crew.

After lunch we got back on the road and continued our trek through Texas and on to Hope, Arkansas where we stayed the night. We were amazed (and a little creeped out) by the size and quantity of insect life in Arkansas. But it proved the perfect opportunity for the kids to use their dollar store bug finders in a field conviently located right outside our hotel door. 
The hunters disperse:
Mikea had the best discovery of the evening: a giant stink bug! (It flew away before I could get a picture.)
After the hunt we cooled off inside and went to bed. 

Thus ended Day 1 of the 500 Babies Great Road Trip.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grapes Grapes Grapes!

Last winter I became very discouraged when I discovered that our grapevine had withered away to nothing more than a stick in the ground.  It had been planted by the previous homeowners, and I felt that I had let both them and the vine down by not giving it the proper care.  So you can imagine I was cautiously excited this spring when the tiniest of leaves began to grow from the "stick".  I was beyond thrilled when itty-bitty flowers appeared in the formation of a cluster of grapes and then newborn green grapes developed from the flowers.  Much to my delight, last week the grapes finally matured into these plump, purple beauties:
The kids had been eagerly awaiting the day when the grape harvest would begin and this Tuesday we all trooped out to the garden to pluck the firstfruits of summer (not counting the 7 or 8 strawberries and 3 blackberries we've picked, also courtesy of the previous homeowners).
We discovered that the family of swallows who nested on our front porch had beaten us to the harvest, but there's plenty of grapes for both of our families.
The grapes do have seeds, but if you pull them off the stem just the right way the seed comes out, too.
You just can't beat picking your own morning snack straight from the garden! 
Fresh, sweet, and juicy!