Thursday, August 10, 2017

Summer Fun

This summer has been filled to the brim with things.  We kicked it off with vacation to Minneapolis, followed by a week of double dance camps, then my trip to Orlando and play dates for the girls, next up was a week of VBS, backed up to another week of dance camp, and finally a trip to Indiana.  That took us from June through July without much room to breathe.  I thought the dance camp weeks and the VBS weeks would be pretty much summer as usual during the day, but I was wrong.  Those things led to later nights, sleeping in, early (or late) suppers, and a deadline for getting somewhere at the end of the day.  While it was all fun for the girls, it did crimp our summer routine of relaxation and play dates. 

Finally, we have about two weeks of time that is a little more laid back before I have to head to the classroom.  (Oh, don’t think I’ve mentioned it on the blog yet… I was hired to be a 7th/8th grade Intervention Specialist this year.  Back on the work wagon.  We’ll see how we transition as a family!) 

So, we’ve enjoyed some sunsets, some beautiful days and evenings to play,

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a random play date or two, a tea party with friends… with “Turkey” sandwiches (can you see it?),

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some bike rides to see the tall corn,

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a little shopping… and mannequin modeling!,

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a few days of swimming with friends… and a giant unicorn creature!

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and imaginary play here at home. 

Oh, yeah, we also went to an event put on by the library about penguins.  We learned a lot about penguins while a live African penguin named Sandy strolled around the room. 

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We also got to touch her!  She was incredible soft and reminded me a bit of a chinchilla’s soft fur.  Crazy!  Penguins in Kidron! 

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These last two weeks have been what I remember summer to be.  I’ll remember that tidbit for next summer, and see how I can tailor summer to be summer!

Raising Money for Good Things

Two things happen back-to-back in our area in the first week of August.  The first Tuesday is the Kidron Fireman’s Chicken BBQ.  This year they did 5200 chicken halves and sold out.  (If you are a vegetarian, don’t think too hard about this.)  We donate money to support the fire department located less than a mile from our home; you never know when you may need that service!  While I can see the allure of the BBQ chicken, it is not what I go for.  What do I go for?  Well, seeing people from the community I know, letting my kids participate in the Kiddie Tractor Pull,

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watching the girls enjoy riding on the horses,

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and enjoying live music.

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This year was beautiful day for the BBQ.  We biked down there and met my parents.  Jeremy was out of town and Gloria had other obligations, so we enjoyed the crowd with the Ediger side this year. 

A few days later, the MCC Relief Sale takes place.  This raises money for the greater Mennonite church to run an organization, MCC, that provides aide throughout the world both with tangible items and with workers.  It is a hands and feet of Jesus ministry of the church.  I would go to this even if it wasn’t necessarily fun; I’d just do it to support the cause… which is also a reason I shop at MCC Connections Thrift Store in town.  But there are other reasons to go to the sale.  There are the egg rolls and lo mein, which are phenomenal.  The last two years, I have helped with the chopping of vegetables for the lo mein.  This food item was originally started by a group of Laotian families that were within the Mennonite churches in the area.  They are training others to continue on the tradition.  This year, I believe there were 4000 egg rolls rolled, fried, and sold!  (At $1.50/roll, that is $6000!!!)  There is other food, too; more BBQ chicken, homemade pies, ice cream, BBQ pork sandwiches, smoothies, veggie burgers, and ice cream.  Many people come for the quilt auction and the wood auction.  Both really cool places to look at the goods even if you aren’t go to be bidding.  There is a quilters corner, live plants, used books, homemade baked goods, and misc items for sale as well.  The girls enjoyed browsing, but the highlight was the inflatable area.  The LOVE inflatables – the slide was a bigger hit than the bounce house.

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T-ball inflatable was a hit, too, but it was a bit tricky.  Ellie missed a number of times before connecting…

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As did Madison…

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They also like the train rides and the frisbee golf target.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

VeloSano

Jeremy decided to hop back on his bike for a long ride for a good cause this summer.  This year, he rode with VeloSano.  The website says, “Latin for “swift cure,” VeloSano is a major community initiative in Cleveland, Ohio in which participants raise money for cancer research through the sport of cycling. 100% of the dollars raised by VeloSano participants advances cancer research at Cleveland Clinic. In just three short years, over $8 million has been generated and is already hard at work in the fight against cancer.”  He raised money to ride, and 100% of the money went to cancer research, which I think is pretty cool.  He rode in memory of his dad, who passed away from pancreatic cancer a year ago in July. 

He invited the girls and I and his mom up for the evening kick-off in Cleveland.  Because Cleveland is close, but kinda far, we decided to make a little more out of the trip.  The girls and I headed up about noon so we could explore the Great Lakes Science Center.  It was a neat place, that we could have spent more time in, but not nearly the amount of time we spent at Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  The two are not really comparable, but neither are the cities they reside in. 

We sat in a replica of a space craft,

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saw a pretty cool science demonstration, made music, made a light sculpture,

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and played in the kids’ area.

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Then, we met Jeremy and his mom for a movie in the Dome theater about the National Parks.  It was a pretty cool experience.

From there, we went to the big kick-off event.  We joined many other riders and their friends and family on a beautiful night outside.  The girls petted potbelly pigs,

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had a virtual reality bike ride, got their hair “colored”, had their face painted, and grabbed some freebies from the many booths.  We also ate some delicious foods.

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We said good-bye to Jeremy and his bike.

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He left at a delayed time due to severe weather the next morning.  He rode successfully for 100 miles.  After which, he enjoyed a massage, more food, and a shower before returning home. 

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We are proud of him.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Goshen Trip

I wanted to visit my college roommate, Rachel, and her family. So, I planned a date for this summer to travel to Goshen with the girls.  (I figured Jeremy didn’t want to waste vacation days hanging out with my friend!)  On top of what felt like a go-go-go kind of month already, we packed up and headed out July 24th.  (Yep, July, not August.  Just posting a little late.)  It is about a 4-1/2 hour trip, so I thought a stop along the way would be a good idea. 

On the way to Goshen, we stopped at the Toledo Zoo.  A zoo had been on our summer bucket list, and it hadn’t happened yet, so this killed two birds with one stone.  It was a beautiful day for the zoo!  In fact, we actually had to wear jackets to start the day; this following days of killer heat and humidity!  The girls love the statues that many zoos had.  While I took a few photos, I declared a moratorium on pictures on top of every statue!

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We saw seals and a really active polar bear playing with a barrel… and we saw him (her?) dive in the water!

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We saw more cool animals – birds, penguins, tigers, grizzly bears, etc.  Most of the animals were pretty active because we were there in the morning, and it was cool.

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The girls loved the (man made) stream they could play in filling containers, building a dam, wading, and exploring.  We could have stayed there a lot longer, but we had a deadline of when we needed to leave, so I cut it off a little early.  They also had a fun looking splash pad, but we thought it was a little cool to get wet.

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They had a chance to paint each other’s faces, touch sting rays, and see a diver in the aquarium.

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It was a fun stop along the way.

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We arrived in Goshen Monday night to enjoy supper with Rachel, Tex, Josiah, and Oliver.  We also went to a pretty cool park to play that night.

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From then on, we played.  On Tuesday, we tie-dyed shirts, which worked much better than anticipated!  The afternoon was spent at the pool.  Strangely, the kids were complaining of being COLD!  It was a little breezy, but sunny.  That evening, we went to the local ice cream spot (similar to the Dalton Dariette).  Madison, Ellie, and Oliver (Josiah was out farming with Tex.) played among the trees some hide and seek.

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On Wednesday, we went to the Elkhart County Fair.  It was a fair, and it was fun for the kids.  It was kids day, so there were special activities going on for the kids – an obstacle course, performances on stage, ga-ga ball tournaments, special booths with freebies, and free coupons for ice cream at the dairy barn!  The kids could each chose 5 rides to ride on top of all the other fun. It was neat to see what rides each chose for their level of “daredevil-ness.”  One unanticipated benefit of tie-dying the day before is that they wanted to wear their shirts to the fair; this made them easy to spot in the crowd!

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We went home tired – or at least Rachel and I did.  After supper, we went to bed early and clean.  The next morning, we were headed back out. 

On Thursday, we returned home via Bluffton.  I wanted to stop and see my friend, Molly, and her two boys, Chase and Colton.  This stop was full of tired kids and a lot more chaos.  But it was still worth stopping to catch up.  When you are good friends, you just talk over the din and reconnect.

We made it home that night in time for supper.  It was good to be home and see Jeremy again.