Home. Farm. Beauty. Peace. Work. Country. Family. Church. Friends. Animals. Guests. Gardens. Canning. Cooking. Hosting. Summer. Hot. IOWA.
That would be our August in a nutshell. I will give a few pictures too!
Carson arranged a very fun welcome home party for us on Monday noon. (August 1st)
He grilled lunch for us and invited over our hired guy, our grandma, and a group of other random friends.
Let the party commence. Er, the mount “Never-Rest” of after-tour laundry!
The gardens looked rough. That is putting it mildly.
But never fear! The Bontrager Weeding Army is now near! After an intense + quite sweaty weeding period, onions + leeks + other things of an edible nature began to emerge from the forest.
All hands on deck! Project: find the herbs hidden beneath somewhere in this wilderness.
Rebecca with one of the “summer babies” at our church. This little lady is absolutely precious-such a doll!
The hard-working mechanic, Carson, working with a friend on a project.
Butterflies in our flower beds.
Part of the summer crop of…everything you can imagine. We are so blessed!
There’s never a dull moment on the farm, and you never know what situation you might find yourself stuck in. Literally.
An impromptu swim, er, mud party for the five littles.
Wednesday night church friends.
Liz babysitting a group of littles while mom did a Bible Study with their mothers.
Denver painted two of our stairways and was a huge help catching up on all sorts of maintenance projects around the house and farm. So great to have him out of school + on the farm employee crew with the rest of us older ones!
Time + wealth may pass away but….music practice + haircuts shall FOREVER continue in our home!
We got some major rain and our creek flooded.
Everything was lush and green and SO BEAUTIFUL.
Allison babysat this adorable little lady for a few days in August, and Liz filled in for her a few additional days when Allison wasn’t available.
The little girls LOVED having a baby girl in the house.
We determined back in July that our Monday nights in August would be practice night.
That way, we wouldn’t be having frantic practice on Labor Day. (this has happened before, unfortunately)
Thankfully, nearly everyone worked with the schedule and we were mostly consistent with making this happen.
Yellow kid sunglasses and all. =) =)
Back home to all the favorite babies. I’m probably the only girl in the world who kidnaps people’s babies and takes them home with me on Sundays. Well, kidnaps with permission. =) Fun times!
We have been wanting to take family voice lessons for YEARS, since our vocals is an area we really struggle in and have been wanting to work on. We weren’t able to find a good teacher in our area to teach our whole group, so we ended up doing four Skype lessons with a friend of ours from Ohio, who majored in voice. It was definitely a little interesting to attempt this via Skype and a sometimes sketchy signal! But in spite of the difficulties we learned SO MUCH and were so grateful for this opportunity! We are hoping to take more voice lessons in future and we HIGHLY recommend this to any other bands out there who are looking to work on improving their vocals. It was definitely a good investment.
A gorgeous sunset from the hotel lobby. Allison took this picture when she was there working one night.
While at the creek, Rebs apparently had a little run in with some kind of a weed. At first we thought it was poison ivy, but the reaction was different that poison ivy. (and we ARE authorities on poison ivy, with Allison being allergic to it and getting frightfully bad cases a number of times) Thankfully we finally discovered a remedy that WORKED and the swelling started going down.
Garden veggies for daaaays…
Multi-tasking and wearing the babies is just the most brilliant thing ever.
You just gotta remember to keep an eye on those chubby little hands that are always on the reach for something interesting. Or else you might lose your bucket full of apple peelings. =)
We LOVE wearing all the babies! They love it too!
Company time with Iowa + Arizona friends. How we love to cook up a feast and fill up all the spots around our long table!
Just after we returned home in August, Carson left for Arkansas and spent some time down there working for a mechanic friend in his business.
Carson established some pretty stellar cooking skills over his bachelor summer, so one morning he cooked breakfast for the friends with whom he was staying.
He got to go out flying with some friends one night.
And those were the only three pictures he took. Flying, food, and friends. I guess the rest of the time he was too busy working to remember about getting pictures!
Allison took Liz on a surprise one-day getaway to Des Moines for shopping. It was ended with a grand surprise dinner at the Cheescake Factory with one of their mutually favorite people. =) They had a lovely time!
We oldest five went on an afternoon canoe trip with our church ABF class.
Don’t race against these two, just saying…they are a force to be reckoned with!
The whole group!
Someone had the idea to tear down our swings/treehouse, which was erected when yours truly was three years old. It has definitely served its purpose and successfully delivered thousands of hours of fun to literally hundreds of children…but the poor thing was just worn out.
After some strategizing, it was decided that we needed to ask Dad FIRST if we could tear it down. The only way to build a new one would be to get that old one out of the way. Once it was gone, we would HAVE to rebuild, because we really just have to have a sandbox/treehouse, with the amount of little people traffic we get. =)
So a committee of one (ahem) was elected to make the phone call and as soon as Dad have given the “yes” the cry went out, “Tear it down NOW before he calls back and changes his mind!!” =) =) =)
Down it goes! Progress!
(come back for the “September Recap” post in a few days, to see the new one being built + finished!)
Tomatoes forever! So thankful that even though our tomato crop was sadly affected by a killer (no pun intended) dose of weeds + blight, we were able to purchase boxes + boxes of seconds for a very reasonable price and continue in the salsa/tomato juice/pizza sauce/hot sauce/etc traditions.
Our hired guy is the best around. In addition to all of his many other skills + duties, he even takes time to tear around with the younger ones. (much to their delight) They are quite a wild sight, careening around our yard and driveway with much shrieking + merriment. =) On this particular day, they enjoyed a ride in his buggy. He also taught them a new game, AMISH HORSE, which involves baler twine and an interesting set up of one person (him) as horse and the rest (them) as riders.
There is never a normal day on the farm. We are provided with plenty of entertainment, and plenty of opportunities to give grace + learn from mistakes.
Some days the tractors stay right in their line of duty, and other days they decide to wander from their assignments.
Or their drivers get slightly distracted.
Or have too much on their mind.
Or take the path less trodden.
Or something like that. =)
We got to watch this girlie while her parents were out of town for a few days. We had such fun with her.
Little people love big people things. =)
Sibling cooking team!
The summer Bible Bee competition was the first week of August. All five of our participants (Denver, Taylor, Liz, Hudson, + Rebecca) qualified for nationals!!
Which means….here we go again on the fall marathon study + verse reciting! (above)
Little, er, big brown boy, hard at work! =)
Trash burning crew!
With the knowledge that the first two weeks of September were going to be slightly insane, we decided to celebrate Rebecca’s 9th birthday a few weeks early so that we could all be together and have a relaxed evening of fun!
She choose “The Big Sandwich” for the menu. Made with Allison’s artisan bread and then layer upon layer of meats, cheeses, tomatoes, and yummy mustards + mayos and then wrapped in tin foil and baked on the grill…SO GOOD.
Finished product, hot off the grill.
Birthday cake of CHAMPIONS. Presented by our cake master extraordinaire, Allison.
The big, loud, wild, and altogether entertaining gift opening session.
And a little scenery….
Sunrise on the farm. (that’s our diary barn faintly outlined on the far right, and our neighbors silos/barns outlined on the left/middle)
There’s nothing like this view. We’ve seen sunrises and sunsets from coast to coast now and everywhere between, but there’s still NONE like Iowa’s!
“HOME is the nicest word there is.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder