Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

The last couple of days have been fairly quiet around here. But it's a quiet that follows a long, busy, and very fun weekend. As usual, with long, busy, fun weekends, we didn't take many pictures because we were so busy having fun. So here's the rundown along with a few, mainly non-descriptive, pictures.

As Friday, May 22, dawned, so also dawned the fabulous idea that we should have a family of 10 stay with us for the weekend. A couple of phone calls later we were hurrying around the house to get it ready for an Englund invasion. However, as late morning approached, the eldest daughter at home (that would also be author of this post), bowed out for several hours having been previously invited to an afternoon of visiting and volleyball at the Beatty farm. So off I went on my little excursion leaving my family to do the rest of the work on the home front. Pictures of volleyball? Nah, I didn't even bring the camera with me! But, if you are really very curious, you could skip over to Dawn's Blog and check out her pics of the day.

So, around 5:30pm I arrived back home, in time to watch Joanna get the last pizzas through the oven, set the table, and enjoy dinner. Then the guests started to arrive. A number of the married couples, and a handful of the young adults, in our church have been going through a video series on child raising. I know that might sound rather dull, but I've certainly enjoyed the study - as well as the discussion times before/after each segment. Last Friday night, was one of the evenings to get together to watch the video, and the usual crowd arrived. But accompanying the regular selection from the Englund family were the rest of the Englunds. And thus, the weekend was kicked off!

After our study time was over and those returning home had done so, the rest of us stayed up rather late visiting. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that in addition to the Englunds, we also had Ethan and the three young Del's here for the night. Saturday morning during the breakfast hour a prodigious number of pancakes were consumed by the 21 residents and guests of our home.

The morning hours sped away as we cleaned up, practiced music, and headed outside for volleyball, croquet and visiting (I really wonder how many pictures of us playing volleyball in our yard have made it onto this blog - but in case you don't remember what it looks like, here's another!).

The morning and early afternoon passed along pleasantly enough, but there was a marked change around the time the clock struck 2pm. Suddenly sports equipment, picnic supplies, first-aid items (just in case), and various other perhaps seemingly random items, found their way into various vehicles and were soon transported (along with a host of human cargo) to our nearest favorite park. Why for, askest thou? Why, what could it be but a Christ's Church Saturday Special, organized and hosted by some of our favorite people: Josh & Abbey.

2 divisions of "Home Run Derby", relays, puzzles, water balloons, kickball, softball, an "air show," picnic dinners, live entertainment, and more, made up the fun of the day! Oh, yes - the tug of war... we broke the rope on the first tug, leaving both teams sprawled on the ground wondering what had happened. But in the end the split rope came in handy for jump-rope, and its inspiring variations. Well, "inspiring" may be a rather lofty word, but if you have ever attempted doing push-ups while jumping rope, you may have found the exhibition to have been inspiring...

If you're interested in seeing more pictures, you can turn to the ever-reliable blog of Dawn to find some more!

But I'm only to Saturday, so I must move this along. Saturday evening the Englunds were back at our place, so despite the activities and exertion of the day we again stayed up into the later hours of the night, talking, laughing, singing...

Sunday morning arrived quickly, and we were all off to church! But this was no ordinary Sunday - this past Sunday a couple of the men were installed into the office of Deacon. So after the service we said goodbye to the Englunds, and headed home to host a couple of other families at our place for dinner (along with our own extended family crowd), and spent the afternoon visiting. I will only add that nobody stayed up late on Sunday night.

Then came Monday. And with Monday arrived a few little blonde Erbers to spend the day with us. We also received an invitation from the Hills to come over for volleyball and Memorial Day dinner at their place. So, not having had quite enough social life for one weekend, we of course accepted and headed in that direction - the little blondies along with the rest of us. We had a wonderful time - thanks, Hills! The Blondies spent that night with us, Tuesday was cello lessons and errands, as well as laundry and cooking. Wednesday we packed up the guys and they hit the road west for the first major RV event of the year (thus the pictures of the crew heading out in the last post). In case you want another picture, here is one of them pulling out of the driveway:

And that just about brings us to today. I wish I had pictures from yesterday, but I don't, so you will just have to imagine a couple of photos of lovely plates of food - I went to a gourmet cooking class! Among other things, we made some really yummy Grilled Asparagus and Chocolate Chip Cannoli...

Right now the house is quiet, and we anticipate it remaining somewhat so for the rest of the day, but of course, you never know what grand and wonderful idea might enter one of our heads!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Presbytery 2009

Last weekend we had a wonderful time meeting with families and leaders from our sister churches in the CPC. Yes, it was Presbytery 2009 - this time hosted in Tennessee. We failed to take very many pictures, but here is a glimpse at our weekend. The camp that we met/stayed at had a wonderful lodge with a wrap around porch with 73 rocking chairs on it (Stuart counted them)! It was a favorite place to sit and catch up with old and new friends from around the country - especially on Thursday.

The camp also had another hall that served as the main social area - for meals, the "barn" dance, basketball games, and more!

Lots of visiting time! The men, of course, were occupied in meetings almost the entire time, but the rest of the families enjoyed various work and fun activities together.

As most of us were not yet adapted to the high humidity of central Tennessee the indoors was the preferred place of occupancy, however, there was some football and volleyball that took place outside!

It was wonderful to catch up with CPC friends we had met during the year that our church has been part of the denomination. Of course, it is always encouraging to meet new friends, and build deeper relationships with those who were simply acquaintances. How grateful we are to be connected with this extended family!

One of the smaller business matters that the men addressed during the weekend was the location for Presbytery 2010. However, it became a bigger matter to us personally as our church was chosen to host it! Plans are already in the making and we are definitely looking forward to welcoming everyone here!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Middle of May

Well, here we are! It's the middle of May and not one post here yet this month! The fact is that we've just been busy enjoying life, family and hard work lately. Not much that would be of interest to the outside world has been taking place around here. But, here we are and here are a few pictures that we have taken in the last couple of weeks. As you can tell in the photo above, spring is finally here in all its green glory, thanks in part to the numerous downpours and thunderstorms which we've experienced lately. We've been wishing we could share some of them with Santa Barbara!

Spring also means chickens! They are fattening up in good order...

And Spring also brings recitals! Jonathan and I had a joint recital for our piano students, but the lighting was odd and the pictures didn't really turn out. The next day, Josiah had his cello recital. We may be prejudiced, but we think he did pretty well! Here he is with his teacher:

(BTW - Josiah performed Elegie by G. Faure)

Ahhh, yes, music. Though music for our family generally means "classical", lately there has been a bit of bluegrass/country/cowboy music being played. Toes are tapping...

Mother's Day! We had all the family here for an enjoyable, relaxing, outdoor Sunday afternoon.

There was sittin' and chattin', there was wiffle-ball with the little ones, volleyball with the older ones... Uncle Josh and Aunt Abbey found a swing at a garage sale that they hung in one of the trees for the little ones. The only problem was that the chains were too short, so the kids had to be hoisted up about 5 feet to get to the swing. After getting over the "fear of heights" jitters, they kept begging for more swing time!

Camille checked out and approved the current status of our chickens.

Did I mention volleyball? Fun to play with the old married sibs again. :-) Oh, I think I did forget to mention "King of the Stump" which seems to be at play here, as well.

King of the Stump, again, and a bonfire that was lit as the sun set.

Of course, as we approach warmer weather, we girls always have to think about putting our hair up... and as Isabella is a big sister now, it is only appropriate that she move up from infant hair-dos. :-)

Speaking of big girls, this little darling has her first birthday tomorrow!!
Happy birthday, Gracie girl! We love you, deary!