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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Oh July!  How I love it!  I have realized it is my favorite month of the year.  
I used to think December was my favorite month, with the family and all of the things centered on Christmas, celebrating the birthday of birthdays for Jesus.  But as the years have passed, I have discovered how much more I love July.  All the things I love about Christmas, but without the added pressure of gifts, and decorating, and cold weather so we can’t go outside without coats and hats and gloves.  Now July, well, July also brings in the family, but there are so many more activities we can do outside, places to go together.  The weather is warm.  The days can start with the doors wide open.  We have the food, the desserts, but now we get to have it outside at tables under umbrellas or circled around a fire, with watchful eyes on flying flaming marshmallows.  Kids can run and make all the noise they want.  Parents can relax.  And Grandma?  I hardly notice the extra cooking and cleaning. In fact, I look forward to it.  For weeks in advance, I plan out menus, do the baking and stock up the cupboards.  My home is full, my heart is full.  Life has changed, and it is for the better.  I miss my little children, but now my 3 have been replaced by 7.  I see my children as adults with their hearts overflowing with love for their own kids as my heart is bursting with all the additions they have given me.  Nothing beats wandering around a corner and spotting your son with his Bible in his lap, his head bowed in prayer or your daughter off in a corner with her little one all cuddled up in her lap or your teenage grandson repeating to you something his Dad said.  He really looks up to his Dad.  I love knowing that no matter what I did wrong in raising my kids, that God took over and fixed all the mistakes and made them into the most amazing people and I get to be a part of their lives.

 It has been an extra warm and nice summer.  July especially.  It started out with the usual 4th of July activities.
 I saw this really great idea on Pinterest making cupcakes look like burgers.  I thought it looked so easy, but once they were done I realized I should have read the directions. It looked like I could just pour the chocolate right on top of the white then top off with more white, slice them and decorate.  WRONG!  Jessi showed me that it was actually baked separately and layered up afterwards.  Oh well, we all had a laugh as we munched them down.  Can you see which is mine?

 I went with Jessi and the kids to the Mountain Days bike race.  Lina decided she would rather run, but since it was not a run, she was the only one running.  Arianna won 1st place in her division.  It was so cute hearing her giggle and giggle as she was nearing the end.  Josiah was 5th in his division, and so proud of that.  We realized his tire was flat as we loaded it up.  I am sure he would have been first if we had noticed that before the race!
 And then there is Blue Lake. I am so happy we lived so close and discovered it a few years ago.
 I am almost positive MY GOOSE came up to me!  I mean, those geese don't just come up to people.  This goose family was just standing around and when I called 'Come on, Mamma", it just headed right towards me!  It didn't come and eat from my hand, but she stood there looking at me and waited around.
 The sunsets have been amazing!  Well, so have the sunrises, but I see them from my bed and only think about getting up to take a photo.  5:30 sunrises are meant to be enjoyed, and I sure do enjoy them...for a few minutes as I fall back asleep.  I will wait and capture them in the winter, when the sun rises later.
 Bonnie and I took a drive up to Hood River to shoot the cherries. I could not believe how loaded those trees were!

The teepee has been a fun addition to the yard.  I keep books and colors out there and they lay on the pillows and draw.  They have had a couple of picnics out there, but are not too thrilled with eating in it.
 Jessi has been training to do a half marathon.  I have gone biking beside her as she runs.
 Not a whole lot of wildlife around here this month.  Squirrels, chipmunks, a baby eagle and of course moles.  I think the count is up to 6 that John has shot.
 The yard is still so beautiful!

 I have noticed that as the sun is setting the light settles on the barn across the canyon in such a pretty way.  I have tried and tried to capture it, but failed over and over.  Finally!  I got it!
 Good morning Sun!  I may not make it up for the 5:30 sunrise, but as I sit on my morning deck, this is the most peaceful sight.
another morning...
There is a little glowing light at the base of the mountain in the evenings.  I zoomed in on it and discovered it is the ski lift.
 another sunset.
last month it was the foxglove blooming as I sat in my new sitting spot.  This month it is the trumpet plant.
I love spider webs that are wet and full of drops.

We ended the month with Dennis' family coming for a week.  Which meant that John and Jessi showed up with their families.  It is indescribable to have them all 'home' with me.  
Completion.  Fullness. Joy.

 We drove up to Frog Lake because Jessi heard that the tadpoles had turned to frogs.  And boy, had they!  There were frogs everywhere!  At first you walk along trying not to step on any and then after a  while you just give up.

We had to have Dairy Queen on the way home to keep Lina awake.  What a sacrifice, right?
The next day, Dennis and Abby had work things to do in Portland, so I got to spend the day with Gabe and Daniel.  We went to Dodge Park.  This shot is looking up from the teeter-totter.  It was too heavy for them to do together, so I put them both on one end and the three of us made it work.
I hid a surprise in the teepee every day.  This day they found their water tanks.  Grandpa got the hose and they all had a blast!

Bubble wands were another teepee find, with one super bubble maker for the older two.  I have my eyes open for more of them, they made the best and biggest bubbles ever.
 I told Dennis that we had seen a rope swing at Dodge Park, so we all loaded up for a trip there.  He, Josh and Emily swam across and dropped into the water, but that was after he first climbed the tree to untangle the rope.  He then tried to shimmy out on the branch to drop into the water, which he the branch broke!  He ended up with a cut in the side of his head!  But did that stop him?  nope, he took a couple of turns along with Josh and Emily.
 I made their favorite dinner, ribs and cheesy potatoes.  My parents and John's parents joined us.  My sisters too.
 Three legged race.  Arianna and Gabe won. Daniel didn't want a partner, but he ran anyway.

 So I may not be good at Pinterest burger cupcakes, but the rice krispie water melon was a success!
So I got this great idea!  I decided that the 5 little ones should camp outside with Grandma!  I gave them each a job to get it set up and they took it all so serious.  Josiah had to get the batteries for the lantern, Gabe was in charge of pumping up the air mattress, they all had to hold a pole while I raised the tent.  When it came time to carry the air mattress to the tent, I told them they had to get it out there.  It really was so cute to watch them figure out how to lift it and move it along. Teamwork.  The 5 of them struggled their way through it but somehow, they all managed to get it up and out back to the tent.  Before I had them put it inside I told them they had to lay it down and jump on it.  They had a riot with that! 

So we got it all set up, brought in some tent snacks and water.  We sang some songs, told some stories and laughed. I have never heard a sweeter sound than the 5 of them singing 'Jesus Loves Me' together.  I did start to panic that maybe none of them would actually go to sleep, but one by one, it happened until I was the only one awake.  I might not have slept all that great, as I was afraid that they might get cold, so I kept waking up and covering and tucking them all back in.  It was so hot when we first started out, nobody had shirts on (except me of course). Sometime in the middle of the night, Daniel woke up and wanted his shirt on, I was like, it is too dark!  But I fumbled around and found it and got it on him.  His comment was 'its wet'. Sure enough it was...dew.  I told him it would be ok once he was under the covers.  He laid down.  I laid down.  Next thing I heard...'its backwards'.  oh so funny!  I told him I would fix it in the morning and he fell back to sleep.  At 5:30, he woke up and took it off and threw it across the tent.  He fell right back to sleep.  
 At 6:30, I woke up.  They were all still sound asleep.  I laid there enjoying the moment.  But it was way too short.  Soon enough they were up and ready to roll!

 We took Dennis and Abby and the boys to pick some wild black berries.  Once they picked enough, Gabe and I made a blackberry crisp.

 I wonder how life can get any better than this!