Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Dad/Grandpa! We love and respect you, and are so grateful that God gave us all to you!

For Father's Day we had the whole family over - Dad's parents (Great-Grandma & Great-Grandpa), Aunt Jill & Uncle Don, N&J, CW&C, J&S, CW&G, J&A, &?, JJJJ&J - and Tom D.

Aside from a scattered shower that blew through, the weather was very nice and we spent most of the day out on the back deck.

Even with Uncle Josh feeding her dessert, she still got chocolate all over her face... :-)

Entertainment... later....

And look who has started smiling!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Look who stopped by...

His shell measured approximately 10" x 15" - his tail was about 9" long. And, yes, he did snap when irritated...

He just visited for a little bit on Friday morning, and then when we went out later he was gone. We've never had turtles in our yard before (and we've been here 10 years, remember), but this spring (perhaps because of all the rain?) we've seen quite a number of them around - usually crossing the road.

Oh, and we only have three of these left... so if you want one, call now to reserve yours!

Friday, June 13, 2008

10 years ago...

A lot has happened in the last 10 years.

10 years ago, we were smaller, younger, and starting off on a new adventure. 10 years ago, today, we moved from the city to the country. 10 years ago we moved into our current beloved home.


After 18 years in this little house in the Chicago suburbs, in December of 1996 we moved out...

...and moved all 10 of us into this little 600 square foot apartment above our grandparent's home where we lived for the next 18 months while we built our new home.

This picture was taken June 12, 1997 - exactly one year before Dad talked the county inspector into letting us move in to the house.

I'm not sure when this picture was taken... Summer of '97, maybe? We really have almost no photos of the house building process - but we have a VERY LONG home video that covers every aspect very thoroughly.

We did most of the interior work ourselves ("We" being primarily Jeremy & Joshua - who were 17 & 12 during most of the building time - with direction from Dad & Grandpa E). Since it was a bit of a drive from where we were living, Jeremy and Josh would often load up on plans, orders and food, and drive out to the house and spend a couple of days working on their own before coming back to restock and figure out the next step.

Finally on June 13, 1998 moving day arrived. The West family spent the entire day helping us load up, unload, drive back and load up more, unload again, set-up beds, unpack the kitchen... and do whatever else they could to help us 'settle in' on that hot muggy day. Other friends stopped by to help for part of the time, too - though certain ones timed it really well! :-)

A lot has happened in the last 10 years...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

William's Birthday

William is two years old!! Happy Birthday, big guy!

On Sunday after church the whole family (N&J, J&S, J&A) plus Tom D, and Luke VH, came over for the afternoon/evening, dinner, cake, games, and just talking and having fun together. It was the first time we played "Pin the tail on the donkey" with the little people - and I think they had fun, but we bigger people certainly did! :-)

After first arriving at the wrong destination, William placed the tail almost perfectly!

Everybody had to try it...

That looks very comfortable, Abbey... :-)

Winston sat in the living room for awhile all alone, just reclining and eating his popcorn. I'm sure he was contemplating something deep...

But after all that popcorn, he needed to go work out a little bit.

Oh, yippee hurrah!! Cake & Ice Cream!

We closed the evening singing some hymns around the piano, after which the little people were taken back to their homes.

Camille & Grace - even at their young age, they know that babies are for kissing!

Happy Birthday, William!

Picture time!

Before the storms came through on Friday (and sort of between the milder storms that morning) we Erber ladies had a photo shoot. Mom is speaking at a ladies tea down in Peoria in a couple of weeks and Mrs. McDonald asked for some pictures... so we thought we'd take some updated ones of the girls!

This is what a picture with all the Erber ladies used to look like. Our numbers have grown a bit over the last 5 years!

Sisters, sisters...
Did I mention that it was windy?? In fact, it took quite a bit of work to get this picture snapped between gusts of windy and raindrops...

Mama's and children...

The little boys thought it looked like so much fun, they wanted their pictures taken, too...

Friday, June 06, 2008


No, we don't have any pictures of the storm itself, but we do have pictures of some of the damage. The picture above was taken some hours after the big event of the day while we were cleaning up.

Our yard just isn't going to be quite as shady as it used to be... Some of it, we actually wanted to come down and were just waiting for time to cut down those trees, but that one big hickory we really liked... Oh, well! The pictures don't really show how much our property was changed over the course of the afternoon. But we had three large trees come down very close to the house/driveway and several more large branches/trees down further out.

Jonathan & Mom both witnessed the storm come through - Jonathan from an upstairs window, Mom from the main level. We really had no warning that it was coming (it's been storming on and off for the last couple of days). N&J's little ones were spending the afternoon at Grandma's house, and Dad was stuck in traffic a few miles away without a cell phone watching with concern the dark clouds over towards home. Jeanine, Jessica, Joanna & Abbey were out running some errands, but happened to be on the phone with Mom when the storm hit... though she quickly got off to hurry the little ones into the basement. Jonathan, Joseph, and Josiah, on the other hand, stayed by the window to see what else would happen. By that time, though, the worst was passed.

A few miles away, Sara and her little ones had been warned by tornado sirens, and were in their basement listening to the tornado as it passed their house. Again, they sustained no damage aside from some branches down - but one neighbor has a tree on their house, they have some of another neighbor's debris in (and on) their home. Another neighbor had a camper in their yard (immediately next to J&S's) and it is no longer there - at all. In fact, they don't really know where it is, other than that the awning is in J&S's yard.

Amazingly, of all the trees and branches that came down on our property, none hit the 4 vehicles or 2 trailers in our driveway, nor the house, the garage, the decks, the pool, the shed, or even the BBQ grill... God is very gracious. Humorously, a couple of years ago a kite got stuck a branch of one of our trees. Today the entire tree came down - except the trunk up to that one branch. The kite still is stuck in the tree.

Clean-up time! I think we'll be having a nice big bonfire soon - albeit a smoky one with lots of wet wood and leaves...

We did get some nice firewood for Winter '08-'09, though!

We worked at clean-up until dark and got much of the accessible damage taken care of, but it was hot, sweaty work on a warm, humid evening... so a late evening swim was in order!

The skies are clear now, the stars shining, the breeze gentle and cooling... I think everyone will sleep well tonight!