Monday, June 29, 2009

Welcome to the Midwest

In the Midwest thunderstorms and tornadoes tend to become a regular part of life. For those of us who have lived here most of our lives, we become a little callous to the realities of that. Sure, occasionally you here of a tornado that devastates a town, you might even go help with the cleanup, but then you move on. We find ourselves having little parties in the basement two or three times every summer, often Mommies and babies are down there listening to the radio while Daddy is out on the porch watching the storm go by. But then this happens.
This is where Kevin's brother, Todd lives. That mess in the middle was a great big machine shed. That cement slab across the front of the photo used to have another grain bin on it.
See the grain bin now? That's it in pieces, all across the field. That mess stretches for about a half mile.
That's the neighbor's machine shed. Oh, don't you see it? It's in pieces scattered amongst the overturned machines.
That's the neighbor's grain bins. The one smashed to the ground was in Todd and Michelle's front yard Saturday night. Right in front of the door.
Thankfully, the house is fine, except for a few broken windows in the attic and the front storm door. The trees on the other hand, did not make it. But we are all convinced that God had his hand on the house. All the trees on the north side of the house are snapped. The big maple in the back snapped at the ground and we've already seen the buildings that were demolished on the south side of the house.

The storm came on so fast that there was no warning at all. Shelly said she and the kids were on the landing to the basement when she heard a loud crash that was either the shed coming down or the grain bin landing in the yard. If the tornado had hit the house, they wouldn't have made it downstairs in time.

We are all so thankful for God's protection over them. The cleanup will be tough, but it'll get done. Todd had lots of brothers and friends cutting up trees yesterday. I'm sure there will be more days like that in the near future. Abby, my niece, is still a little shaken up by the whole thing. She told me yesterday that she's afraid to sleep at her house. I'm not certain how last night went for her, so please pray for her and her family to have a return to normal quickly.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A very long weekend

I have to say that this was a particularly busy weekend for me. Father's Day weekend is always a little hectic around here, as it often coincides with Chloe's birthday and Kevin's family reunion is always held on Father's Day. The Rodie boys also play in a Sunday afternoon softball league that often causes us to hustle off from the reunion as soon as lunch is over.

Of course I had to complicate all of that with my own busyness this weekend. I shot a wedding at 3 on Saturday, and then I had the dumb idea to agree to do a class reunion at 7 the same evening. In my defense, it was very difficult to turn down a job which required about 20 minutes of work and several hundred dollars worth of print orders. Especially since I was driving right past it at the exact time I was needed. Really, who wouldn't have taken it?

Anyway, the wedding was fine, despite the oppressive heat. It was actually a little better than either the day before or after, so I was very thankful for that at least. I also drank about a half gallon of water in addition to eating a half a bottle of Tums. I really enjoyed the shoot I had with the bride and groom before the reception. This is my absolute favorite shot.

The groom's sister is also a photographer, so she took over after dinner at the reception so I stopped for a quick bite to eat and high-tailed it over to the lake for the class of 1954's 55 year reunion. Who knew that this many people would show up for a reunion 55 years later?

I can't say I really enjoyed shooting the reunion or the wedding as much as shooting kids and families; I certainly wouldn't want to do it everyday or even on a regular basis. But it sure is a great way to supplement your income a little.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Grandpa

My Dad sent me an email this morning. My Grandpa fell twice yesterday and was found the second time by his neighbors who called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. My Dad lost his Mom at the beginning of the year so he seems to be pretty broken up.

The kids and I were just talking yesterday about how blessed they are to have 4 living Great-Grandparents. Hopefully, my Grandpa will recover soon, but he's got some pre-existing heart problems. Anyway, we'd appreciate all your prayers for my Grandpa and my Dad. Thanks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Party...

Well, despite the terrific thunderstorm that had our entire family in the basement a mere 12 hours before Chloe's birthday party and without power just 8 hours before, the party was great! We started at 4 and at about 3:58, the power went out again. But just for a few minutes. We had planned on having the entire event outside, but my husband made the decision to move all 46 of us into the house because of the 90 degree heat outside. It turned out to be a great decision.

My SIL, Megan had the idea to tie dye at Chloe's party. I had not tie dyed since the '80s so she was kind enough to help with that part of the party. The night before, Chloe, Megan, Ellen (my MIL) and I did some practice shirts for our family to wear at the party and so Ellen and I could learn how to do it. So yesterday morning we set up the basement for the tie dye station. It really helped to keep the chaos to a minimum and the kids had so much fun! The older kids (the fab 5 and older) did most of their own work on their shirts. The mommies got to do the shirts for the littler ones. I think most of them turned out really cute!

Unfortunately, this photographer mommy got so caught up with helping the kids, I completely forgot to get out my camera! We'll just blame it on my pregnant brain. I did get it out after the party for some of the stragglers.
Here's the finished product. We actually had 25 kids and all of them got at least one t-shirt. My girl and a few of her cousins got to use some left-overs to make these after everyone else was gone. We even did one for the baby.

Here are some cousins in their tie dye fun! (fyi: this is only half the cousins)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chloe is 7!!

In honor of her seventh birthday, Kevin took Chloe out fishing tonight. He kinda spoiled the dinner that we had planned, but she seemed pretty okay with that.

So how about a look back over her last seven years instead?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2 wheels... or 4?

Yes, I know. I've been rather inexplicably absent recently. While I have plenty to blog about, we've been rather busy doing all the things I have to blog about. Kind of a catch 22 don't ya think?

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, Micah had been begging to get a bigger bike. He's been distraught about the fact that all his cousins and his sister have bigger bikes while he's still riding around on his little 12 inch bike with the training wheels. So Kevin made a deal with him, as soon as he learned to ride on 2 wheels, we'd get him a bigger bike.
So on a Saturday afternoon when Kevin was home with nothing to do, they went outside to do just that. It took him a while, but he finally caught on. Every time he got a little tired, they'd take a break, and Micah would come back a little while later doing a lot better. He did so well that when I went out on my girls' night out later on, I got a phone call that Micah had ridden all the way to the park without any help(that's just a little less than a block away)!
Last weekend, I happened to drive past a yard sale with a boy's bike out front. When I stopped they said they were asking $5 for the bike. It was a really nice bike and it was in great shape, so of course we bought it! Micah is not quite tall enough to get on by himself so Kevin or I have to hold the bike up for him, but he's learning to get it going. And he loves being on a big bike now!
Chloe and Micah spent this evening racing up and down the street on their big kid bikes!

Jadon was not going to be left out!Jadon is definitely enjoying the fruits of Micah's labor because now he gets to learn on the little bike. Four wheels is just fine with him!

Mom to four beautiful blessings including a brand new little guy. Laugh and cry with me as I navigate the joys and perils of motherhood and homeschooling.