Monday, July 31, 2017

Vacation 2017

We just got back from our Big Utah Trip of the year.  We had been planning and looking forward to this since January, and it was wonderful!  Also exhausting.  But mostly wonderful.

The drive out was great.  Everyone was in high spirits.

(No, of course my children never jump on the beds in motels!  Hee hee!)  

We stopped at Little America in Wyoming for 75 cent ice cream cones.  A beloved memory from my childhood is being passed to the next generation.  I love Little America.  I just wish they still had all those fun penguin billboards.  

They DO now have a playground that was not there when I was a kid, and this is brilliant.  Also, the green dinosaur is brilliant.  My kids adore it.

So, we get to Utah, and I am just amazed at how big and beautiful the mountains are.  You know how sometimes things are never as good as you remember them?  Well, the mountains are always better.  Especially when I have been living on the prairie.  And I always say to my family who live there, "I can't believe you live next to these jaw-dropping-gorgeous mountains ALL THE TIME and you don't just sing and dance for joy all day every day!"  All those Utah people should be capering about everywhere and constantly bursting into song.  Seriously, Utah people.

And then there's the joy of being with family!  The older I am, the more precious that time becomes to me.

We didn't get to see everyone, and we didn't get to spend enough time with anyone, but we had so many priceless visits with our parents, our siblings, and other family members.

Oh, how marvelous it was to be at the Burrow just as the blackberries were coming on!

Here's me and Frog with my dad!  Even though it's not the house I grew up in, whenever I go to see my parents I always feel as comfortable and secure as a child at home.  It's a good feeling.

More to come!  Right now I need to go turn over the wash, make dinner, and take Bean to football practice... (life is full speed ahead now that we're home!)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Trip to Branson

Some good friends of ours invited us to spend the Fourth of July with them in Branson.  They own a home and a boat there, so all we had to do was buy gas and groceries.  Um... yes, please!

We love Branson.  We had a wonderful family vacation there back in 2012, when we lived in Oklahoma.  Ever since we moved back to Kansas I have had my eye on it, since it's a fairly short drive.  And finally, we got to go!  We were all so excited!

Ah, the luxury!  Their guest bed was one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in.

The view from our friends' house is amazing.  I love the rolling hills of southern Missouri, but I completely adore the trees.  They are happy trees and they are friendly trees and speak joyful things to my heart.

On my evening walks I was blown away by the frog choruses coming from the rills.  The whole landscape was so recharging.

My kids had such a good time eating and doing things that they don't normally get to.  Here's Frog and little Miss K eating Froot Loops and Cocoa Pebbles.

Lying in bed in the morning and watching Beauty and the Beast.... the kids watched a crazy amount of TV because there wasn't much else for them to do at the house and it kept them immobilized.  Also, although we got them out as much as we could, it ended up raining quite a bit and our outdoor plans had to be dialed down a bit.

But when we did get out, the cloudy weather made it very pleasant.  We enjoyed an outing to Branson Landing, a lovely outdoor mall at the heart of downtown.

My friend kindly bought all the kids ice cream.  They were so thrilled!

Here's our group at Branson Landing on the river boardwalk in front of the fountains.  My friend is in a wheelchair right now, recovering from foot surgery.   That has been really hard for her, so we all tried to be as useful as we could while we were there and I hope that it was helpful.

We celebrated the Fourth with a hedonistic overindulgence of food.  Boy, was it good!

The Rabbit and her twin (they have the exact same birthday!) worked together and made a delicious flag cake.  

It was a wonderful, happy mini-vacay!

A Happy Place

Peanut took this picture.  It shows me so eager to work in my flower bed that I started working in my pajamas, with bare feet.  I got both my pajamas and my feet really muddy, but I got a bunch of the sedum cuttings planted that my neighbor gave me.  

Sewing Helpers

I often wonder why I even try...

The Quilt Top

Early in the spring I started working on a quilt for Peanut.  I found this lovely fabric line called "Windermere," which had the kind of soft florals I love.  Putting the blocks together was a lot of fun.  Then, when I had to lay the entire quilt out so I could sew the blocks together, I ran into trouble.  Twin trouble.  I did not have a block of time big enough to sew the whole thing together in one sitting, and though I tried to keep the twins out of my room while the quilt was laid out on the floor, it was an exercise in futility.  It was so frustrating to have the blocks tornadoed all over the room when it took me so long to lay them all out.  At that point I just put the quilt away for awhile.  

Finally, I felt like trying again.  

And I got the top sewn together!

Just in time for more mischief and mayhem!

I wish I had noticed the way certain of the fabrics look from a distance.  Some of the prints have so many tiny bright red flowers that even though the background is green or yellow or blue it ends up looking purple or grey or something, and then overall the effect of the quilt is not what I had hoped.  I also wished I had matched background colors on the little side strips, instead of doing them totally random (though that was what the pattern said to do.)  Lessons learned for next time I make this pattern, and I definitely will make this pattern again!

Despite flaws and lessons learned, Peanut loves the quilt.   She can't wait for me to get the backing on and get it quilted and bound.   I can't wait either!

Hide and Seek