Wednesday, August 27, 2008


All five together. That littlest one just would NOT cooperate ...

Emily -- always so thrilled with the suggestion of a photo session with Mom.

Marci -- my sparkly-eyed one! May be the last tin grin we see ... let's hope!
Jared -- A bit blurry -- I'll have to try again tomorrow.

Briella -- last Saturday for soccer with "crinkle hair." We had time to do little braids Friday night. Fun fun.
Briella today with her natural hair :) On the hammock -- a favorite spot.

Titus -- a photo just before we left Iowa -- at the pond near Chip's, Ankeny, Exit 90.

Well, today was the official beginning of our school year. It is also the most unorganized and therefore I feel horrible about how we're starting out. Please do not come over. Maybe that means we will only get better as the fall progresses! I blame it on a busy month of travel in August. I also confess to just not wanting to shuffle books around in my basement while the sun is shining and my garden is calling. So, there, I'm just not the enthusiastic homeschooling mom you thought I was, am I?!? Sigh. Structure and routine is good, once you are resigned to it. I am now becoming more resigned to it and all the growth it produces.

I am excited about our Sonlight books. We are reading our read-alouds and everybody loves them. Well, Titus isn't paying full attention, but that's okay. We've been reading on the sunny deck and snuggling the kitties at the same time. Titus has been riding his bike or playing with sticks or ... stepping in a fresh pile of you-know-what. Sidney doesn't go in the woods, in case you still don't know.

Jared and I picked blueberries this afternoon. There aren't many left, but I bet we have a quart sweetning on the dining room table this evening. We'll have fresh ones with breakfast before I bag them up. I made bread for the first time since June, I bet. We had mashed potatoes earlier this week, so I had some fresh sour dough to use up ... plus the incentive of being totally out of bread and too tired to run to the grocery! Marci had the fun task of kneading the dough for me. I think she enjoyed it and it turned out very yummy :). I timed it -- about 10 minutes to mix the "sponge." Marci kneaded & cleaned for at least 15 minutes. I punched the dough & loaded the pans in 2 minutes -- no kidding! Baking doesn't count, because I could multi-task. Taking the bread out of the oven, buttering it & washing bread pans took about 15 minutes. I think that's at least equal to the hassle of running to the grocery for bread! Well, the superior taste of warm bread makes it worth it! Now ... to have some fresh applebutter next month...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tuesday: Biking at Ada Hayden with the Czizeks

Tuesday morning it rained. It encouraged us to savor a restful morning at the hotel. We watched TV, ironed clothes, and did a load of laundry. I needed the down time! At noon we ventured out to meet our friends for some biking and a picnic. Sue, MaryAnn and Matthew joined us --- ahhh, what camaraderie! Marci and MaryAnn have loved each other since they were in strollers!

Here are the girls, posing for me!

And, the boys doing the same!

Sue and I enjoyed visiting while we walked Almond Bark. We kept an eye on the kids while they led the way around the 3+ miles of bike trails. (a big figure 8) Afterwards we stopped in at the hotel for a quick game of Uno. Then we had to go pick up Daddy and had dinner at the Beckett's. It was the best meal of the week!!! Roast beef, potatoes & carrots and fresh blackberry & cherry pies! YUM. A late night of thought-provoking discussion regarding public school vs. homeschool for the upper grades.

Carol and Me

I just realized I didn't have a picture of Carol in my previous entry. So, here we are ... at the Des Moines River. Ledges State Park. Just so you know, she's ALREADY 40! :) Love ya Carol!!!

Monday we were in Ames, so we hung out with the Becketts at the Ledges ALL day! The kids were so enamored by the sand, mud and water. It was a very restful morning just visiting with Carol and soaking up the warm Iowa sunshine. Ahhhh, the best way to spend a day! I gleaned some helpful advice and wisdom from Carol on parenting, homeschooling and all that good stuff. I sure do miss my good friend Carol!

Emily pretty much became a Beckett from Sunday evening until Tuesday evening. She and Gracie slept in the treehouse, played games like Catan & Monopoly, ate only their favorite foods and enjoyed each other's company. Truly, I wouldn't mind if Emily wanted to live with the Beckett family ... even though I'd miss her tons! I know she had a great time enjoying the freedoms that come without younger siblings around.

Carol knows how to put on a good time for kids. She treated us to a fun lunch around the campfire. The kids got to gather wood, start the fire, and grill all of their own food. This included tasting grilled grapes and even a cucumber! (Jared!)
Jared wanted a picture of the dried mud still on the road from the floods last month. We couldn't believe that the waters were 20 feet higher than in '93 when we were there. WOW! They will have to erect a new post to mark the high water level. The flood left a TON of work to be done to restore the park to its prior condition.


While accompanying Dan on his business trip, the kids made the best of a simpler life with fewer toys. They did such a great job with their stuffed animals in making up games :) I just had to take this photo as a reminder of how grateful I am for my awesome children!

On the other hand, I took full advantage of the luxury of the television! We enjoyed "Curious George" for the third time. We also took in as much of the Olympics as we could without depriving ourselves of too much sleep. Well, I take that back. Dan was never in bed before 1am. Jared fought hard to keep up with him! At least they don't get grumpy when sleep-deprived like I do!

Briella and Anna, Jared & Titus drive the little fire engine!

Emma and Briella in the bumper car war!

Wow! What an exciting airplane ride :)

Benjamin & Titus, expert pilots.

Sunday after church we were very excited to visit Adventureland -- not so much for all of the rides, but because most of Dan's family drove over from Nebraska and met us there for the day! Wow! How exciting to see most of their cousins!! It was cool to hang out. I regret not taking a group photo!

Sunday morning we visited Christ Community Church which we attended while living in Bondurant. It was good to see familiar faces. My, how the children of grown for those other couples! We would not have recognized their kids at all! Here are some family photos from our visit to housechurch after the morning service:

The Masons hosted our study and lunch. It was soooo good to see them again. How I miss my good friend Kayla!

The Heggens welcomed us in their home and set us up with great accomodations in their basement. Beth is such an inspiring mentor for me in hospitality and how she fosters relationships, particularly with her daughters. She ALWAYS has company :). Stacy & Natalie are amazing young ladies -- so cool to catch up with them and what they are doing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Then we hit the Iowa State Fair Saturday late afternoon. It was hot & sunny!

We stopped by to see the baby pigs, cows, chicks, etc. That was a hit -- in a new, big air-conditioned building with clean bathrooms! It was cool seeing the chicks hatch out of the eggs. They didn't let the kids hold the piglets, but they still got to pet one. Oh, here we are after a really fast ride down the yellow slide. A fun memory from years ago when E & M were little!

Then we visited the butter cow. This year she also sculpted the gymnast from Des Moines who is starring in the Olympics, Shawn Johnson. We enjoyed lazy evenings watching Olympics in our hotel room.

Here are the Roses at the Iowa State Fair! Several peopled mentioned that they liked the cool Veggie Tale shirts. It sure made it easier to keep track of everyone by having them all in purple. Thanks Grandma Jody -- we love our t-shirts!

After we parted ways with all of Daddy's co-workers we got some special "fair" treats!

The biggest bull! We HAD to see both he and his counterpart, the biggest boar.
Here's The Why Company crew just before saying goodnight:
Thanks for a great evening at the fair, Mark!!! Some fun memories :)

After horse camp, we left at 7:30pm and drove ALL NIGHT to reach Iowa for breakfast. I won't include those photos! We brought our bikes along, so we looked like ... well, I won't put that into words either. Anyway, after breakfast and hair cuts for the boys, we stopped in Bondurant to visit Carrie's grave. Briella had lots of questions this time. Ten years ago ...

The family back together ... finally!

Girls riding for the end-of-the-week show.

Girls with their instructor for the week.

Last Friday we drove to Spring Creek, PA to pick up the girls from their week of horsemanship camp at Miracle Mountain Ranch Missions. They had a great week in all aspects. As I listened to the "sermon on the mount" at the end of the week, I had to fight back tears. When I was younger I envisioned myself as a horse. I'd be so obedient to my trainer. I wanted all of my energy harnessed by my master. I could do it, I thought. Now I realize how very difficult it is to be yielded to God in all of life's circumstances. He likened having the yearling trust him over the tarp to us, as believers, trusting God with whatever we face in life. It's one thing to know it in my head, but to really trust God with what I perceive as impossible -- that's hard! Ahh, what a picture indelibly stamped upon my heart by horse and trainer. May I be so yielded and willing to trust God with my future today!!

Here's a quick photo of Titus after he was stung by something. It happened when we visited the Mitchell's pool for a swim one afternoon. We weren't there more than 5 minutes! I hated to leave for home, so I stuck around while his face slowly swelled! I couldn't believe his reaction, so I called Jenny. She recommended I get home & get some Benadryl in his system ... so I did. Oh well. So much for a relaxing afternoon at the pool!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Weeding is a daily chore here at the Rose home these days. It takes a group effort at times to get rid of those BIG ones that have been neglected for a couple weeks. Here are the kids happily working together!

The tomatoes are growing, but all we have right now are green tomatoes. I suppose I could fry up a few...

And, check out this zucchini. Picking is always a welcomed task after all the grueling weeding is completed. (Actually, it's never complete. But, once the timer goes off, we're done!)

Tomorrow begins our soccer season! All five kids are playing this year! Wooo-hoooo!