Monday, December 15, 2008

Blustery Day

Blustery...that reminds me of Winnie the Pooh:) It is definately all that and more. There were several times I thought my large pick-up might just blow off the highway. It didn't. After a short reprieve of 40 degrees, we're back below 20 and snowing wonderfully. Ahhh, that's more like the Michigan I know and love.
So I've had a little bit of writers block - as you can see by the scarcity of posts lately. This is also affecting my ability to write a decent Christmas letter for our family and my business. Do I dare skip a year with no letter accompanying the card? This slacking may just become a habbit if I do. What a dilemma. I guess at least I should get the cards ready, huh. I'm actually way ahead of my usual pace when it comes to presents and wrapping. Maybe I just work better under higher pressure situations.
So since I can't write, I'll post a few pics, if I can locate my camera once again. It has like 8 legs between myself and children and tends to walk to strange and undisclosed locations.

What's been going on lately.

C.J.'s birthday party. He had a baseball cake (I'm sure he'll never have another). I'm a wimp and stripped him down before allowing him to dig in. I'm not very good with stains, so I figured that way I could just toss him in the tub. He was actually quite neat compared with the girls. He would lick his fingers after every bite.

Gabby's birthday - she doesn't like cake, so we get to be creative with her birthday dessert. This year it was apple pie. Gigi was there for the afternoon. She will be 94 in May.

My mom is a stickler for the 4 generation poses.

Gabby's friend birthday party was at Bounceland - a place with a whole bunch of inflatable toys. It was a lot of fun - I even got into the slides and obstacle course.

On another snowy day earlier this month, I went with Gabby's class to the Delano homestead which is like a pilgrim farm from the 1800's. The kids made gingerbread cookies, carded wool, made candles and played old-fashioned games. It was a neat field trip.
Steve's 9 point buck that he shot out at our property on opening day!!! His first Michigan buck! And his mean wife won't even let him mount it for the wall.
So what has Rylee been up to? Well, I put her to work. Someone's gotta clear the snow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Is it REALLY winter?

Yes, the answer is yes, unfortunately. I think I had a post like this last year which would lead one to ask the reasonable question: why do you live where you live? Still no answer. You know it's bad when you're already looking forward to March. The new vet that works for us kills me - I ask him what he thinks of the 19 degree blustery day "Nice!" He's from Idaho and maybe froze some brain cells. We've already had over 12" of snow. Please, someone in charge of global warming, send it to Michigan along with a new governor, an auto bail-out, and some jobs.
Ahhh, despite my gripings, life is good. I am blessed beyond what I can imagine or deserve. This time of year makes that evermore apparent.
I actually have most of my Christmas shopping done, which is nothing short of miraculous. Usually Steve and/or I have to make a Christmas Eve run for all the people we overlooked, but I can honestly say I think I have it covered and December just began. I ventured out semi-early on BlackFriday (6:30). I had to work at 8:30, so I only went a couple places but still found a few things and got in and out of Best Buy in 15 minutes which surprised me. I'll post some Thanksgiving and Birthday party pictures later. I don't feel like uploading.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

She's 7

So we've celebrated our second November birthday now as well. I am really feeling OLD. I think I feel older about Gabby being 7 than I did about me being 30. It scares me to think that the adolescent and teeny-bopper years are really just around the corner. My inadequacies as a parent will be magnified that much more!! AGHHH!! Don't you just wish there was some way to suspend time.
Gabby is doing fantastic. She's a sweet child - a little on the quiet and shy side at first (while little sis does all the checking things out), but once she gets comfortable, watch out! We're still dealing with fear issues on and off, but it has quieted down since Halloween is over. In addition to soccer and horseback riding, she shocked me this weekend when she requested to play basketball. I never would have even mentioned it except for she's done with the other 2 activities for the winter and was asking what she could do. I was pushing indoor soccer since I figured she'd be comfortable with that. But she said no. In passing I said "You could play basketball." She jumped right on it! I may yet have a child who plays! I volunteered to coach her team, but I haven't heard yet if I will. Part of me hopes I will - then I can teach the fundamentals and have good mom/daughter time - part of me thinks maybe it'd be better if not - no temptation to push her for selfish reasons, she listens better to outsiders, etc. We'll see how that one pans out. She got a basketball from Gigi for her birthday. Along with clothes, an MP3 player, books, etc. She is reading really well. I can remember in first grade just starting like the Dick and Jane books. She's way past that and reads with a lot of expression which is really cute. What can I say, I'm a proud mom:)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

He's 1

In 365 days, Casey Jared has grown from a little 9lb 4oz pip squeek into a ~25lb lovable, soon-to-be monster. His first year has been unlike the girls' in that I've actually had and taken the time to enjoy it. It's been so fun watching him go through all the various stages. At this point he's just starting to walk, a few steps at a time. He prefers crawling because then he can cruise. He has 7 teeth which he will occasionally use as mini-weapons. He's already learned where all the good toys are - his sisters' room. He likes all foods, except Jello which is too complicated. We're having a little family party for him next weekend (couldn't be this weekend since he's a deer season baby - everyone's in the woods once again). Can't wait for year #2!

Monday, November 3, 2008


So I'm feeling obligated to post the always-popular Halloween photos. Despite the fact I'm feeling rather Scrooge-like towards said holiday. I feel like my mother, but honestly what's the point? Cute pics, yes; stealing kids' good candy, oh yeah; pumpkin carving, fun enough. But I guess I just don't get that into it. I bought C.J. a dragon costume which was pretty darn cute and the girls were both cowgirls since we had stuff around the house. Gabby survived the middle school costume parade again. She pulled her cowboy hat way down over her eyes and I basically guided her through the halls. No trick-or-treating for her. She has no interest. Rylee went for a little while with some friends.
Check out C.J.'s pumpkin on the right - 4 teeth on top and 3 on bottom. Like the eyes? Rylee actually carved her own pumpkin for the most part with one of those pumpkin knives. She did a great job!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Survivor Plainwell

Yeah, I'm back in survival mode. I'm playing the single parent thing...again. Military wives, I give you major props because it's only day 5/10 and I'm getting irritable. I don't know how you manage for months-years. Or moreso, how single parents can do it.
Steve is gone hunting to Wyoming for antelope and mule deer. He actually got an antelope today. Yes, he had the courage to call and no, I did not bite his head off even though it was oh so tempting. It's just a busy week - lots of kid activities, boss is gone so I'm in charge at work too, and plenty of fall clean-up stuff left to be done around here. Lawn to mow (mower is broken, so I had to get one from friends), garden to clean out (I've started a little), I just found a very leaky roof down at the barn, house is close to being put on the national disaster area list (thankfully housecleaner comes tomorrow. I love her!), a nagging slow leak in my truck tire that requires air every day or so, etc. Needless to say, I really haven't done any of the clean-up stuff - I've been lacking the motivation completely. Maybe on the weekend, but I doubt it because I've really been having an outlet mall craving that I may have to fix. Wow, great priorities, huh!
So this post was just to make sure no one had the false impression that I have my life all in order. I guess if you know me well enough, you're just laughing. Me too!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

She's Home

Just for those of you who follow my blog but don't follow my cousin's CaringBridge site, I forgot to let you know that Chloe came home last weekend! She's over 5 1/2 lbs and off oxygen and all other support. She's doing excellent! This is not to say that her caregivers aren't already exhausted, but it is definately a miracle. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. Keep them going.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Hubby

This one's for you Stevie. Congrats on your team making it! Don't forget how the Tigers helped make this happen for you. You can show a little love towards them for being an utter embarrassment and failure considering they have one of the highest paid rosters in the MLB. Now you can also resume happiness since you decided to get progressively grumpier last week as your team tried very hard not to make the play-offs. (I know you are insistent that you were in a perfectly great mood, I respectfully disagree:)) I do find it interesting how we allow circumstances that we have little or no control of to have such impact on our daily moods. Like how our sports teams do (Spartans and UofM both won Saturday - a great day!), politics, the current economic "crisis" or lack there-of, traffic, the line at the grocery store, weather, etc. Why do we let these things have any control of our attitudes? My day can be ruined by a traffic jam - how petty is that! Or I can be on cloud nine because I hit all the traffic lights just right and got somewhere early (oh wait, I'm never early. just less late). Our Bible study group has been studying "JOY" for the last 5 weeks and it has been a great lesson for me not to look to my surroundings for happiness, but to have an inner joy that is so intense (due to my relationship with Jesus) that even in less than ideal circumstances where I may not be happy, I can be joyful.

Go Sox!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Soccer Chicks

Steve finds it funny that I very commonly call girls "chicks." I'm pretty sure I picked up the term and usage from my dad. Be sure, coming from me, it is in no way derogatory. It's just a fun word. And I've got two little chicks who are tearing it up on the soccer field. All of you with little kiddos, this is when it starts really getting fun (my opinion). Take that with a grain of salt from one who is a huge fan of organized sports. They can understand the game and play it pretty darn well. Rylee has scored 6 goals in 3 games, and Gabby just scored her first last weekend. That is quite a feat for her, since she plays in the older and more competitive division. She really likes playing goalee because "then I don't have to run so much and I can just wait around." Rylee is actually "playing up" too, since her birthday is past the deadline, but she would have either been super bored or killed the younger kids. I'm very proud of her for last week's game when she had a sweet pass for an assist. She tends to be a little of a ball hog if left to her own devices, so I keep having to instill passing into her brain. Here's a few action shots - I need to find my good camera, because this one is too slow and I'm way behind the action. This was before this camera got soaked and now doesn't take pictures....DUH!

Number 1 Fan

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shhh...Don't Tell My Grandmas

The littlest Bennecke has recently joined the middle child in devious behavior. Like her, he always does it with a grin on his face and a little giggle. His grandmothers might be less than proud at the pictures below. But mommy can't help but love his "boy-ness" and curiosity.

Last post I described the "jail break" where C.J. bolts for the stairs and climbs like crazy. Here he is mid-break, again with the silly grin.

This is a classic picture of what happens when mommy has to go to the bathroom. I left him unattended for like 3 minutes. I come out of the bathroom and things are just too quiet. At first I figured he'd done another jail break, but then I heard the giggle. I rounded the corner in the kitchen to find him sitting next to the bread drawer with a bag of bread open and dumped on the floor. He was mid-slice and giggling again. He had taken a good sized bite out of each piece!

Yesterday, I finally got out in the garden to start fall clean up, which may end up being a major digging job. My garden is a disaster. I never realized how invasive morning glories can be. I left things alone for a couple weeks and they are overtaking everything. So C.J. wanted to come help. Lets just say he likes dirt. Pica would be the technical term. I told you you'd be proud, grammy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whining, Wonderful Kids

This past weekend, it rained like over 10 inches thanks to Hurrican Ike. I was unaware that in Michigan we had hurricanes, but now I'm a believer. Thanks to this great weather, we spent way too much time indoors and in close proximity. My children nearly drove me out into the rain in search of solace.
Gabby has this newfound obsession with tornados. This began last week as a result of a tornado drill at school. Since that time, there has not been a night that she hasn't gone to bed either crying or very concerned about what we would do in the event of a tornado. She's even asked me several times to watch the news so she can check the weather. (This coming from a girl who barely knows there is anything on TV besides cartoons, Zack and Cody, and Hannah Montana). So I've tried to be the comforting, reassuring mom. I've shared with her about my fear of a house fire when I was her age. I've explained that tornados are extremely rare in our area, and there hasn't been a big one in Kalamazoo since before I was born. We've discussed our emergency plan in the very unlikely event of a tornado. I finally feel like we're making headway. Then Saturday evening Steve was watching football. All of a sudden, the meteorologist breaks into the game with those loud beeps and dramatic music of a weather update. You guessed it, we're under a tornado warning. Two twisters have touched down about 30 miles from us. Gabby is freaked! I hate it when the weather people are so darn dramatic. There was really nothing to worry about, the storm had already done the main damage by the time they even made the warning. So now it's back to like square one with Gabby and her fear. Tonight I probably did a bad thing, but I got really annoyed by all the whining and constant referrals to tonados. I told her I don't want to hear another word about it! I swear the next sentence out of her mouth went like this, "I'm not talking about you-know-what, but if one comes, will the roof come off of my room too?" Arrgh! Any other ideas from smart parents out there?
Then there's Rylee. Ah, my dear girl, you too may drive me to drink...a lot. I did not realize it was possible for a human child to talk back to every sentence or even sentence fragment that their parent or other adult speaks. She spends so much time retorting to things I say, that she never takes the time to actually listen and comprehend what it even is that I'm saying. It's fun that she's a hundred-mile-an-hour type of person, but ya gotta listen, too. I actually feel like I'm a very patient parent - Steve says too patient. I have a feeling her current stage may require some behavior modification. Time outs are not working real well at bringing about change. Privledge removal is more of a burden on me than her. Spanking I feel I want to "save" for larger misbehavior. So I'm thinking vinegar - a.k.a. sassy spray - that a friend told me about. I tried it tonight and it may just be brilliant. The only downfalls are consistency on my part and having said spray on hand all the time. I have a feeling this would be frowned upon in the grocery store and other public establishments. From most parenting things I've read, the consistency thing is the most important in breaking bad behavior, so the ball's in my court.
My final whining child is poor C.J. Actually, he's just bum out of luck as he has like 6 teeth coming in all at once. In the past 2 days, 3 have actually come through. That brings his total to 5. He's pretty much a trooper about it. I think he tries to communicate his discomfort by playing in my mouth and pulling on my teeth. Either that or he will be the family's next dentist. He's getting around like crazy now, too. His favorite (my least) is climbing the stairs. He does it every chance he gets. We call it jail break. He sees the opening, plans his course, and crawls at break-neck speed over to the stairs. Then he begins climbing one by one. He looks back at whoever it is he's escaped from at each step and laughs as if to say "Ha Ha, look at me. I'm climbing the stairs!" He also figured out how to climb out of his crib already. Yeah, 10 months and the other day I'm in the kitchen and hear the thud-"Whaahh!!" combination. What's that? The girls are in the basement, dogs outside, Steve napping, C.J. napping. Upon investigation, there was a very surprised baby on the floor next to his crib!! Great, this should be fun!

Who ever thought being a parent was so much fun and so challenging all wrapped up in a bunch of love!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Invisible Woman

If you have a couple minutes, check out the video clip below. (Thanks Jess for passing it on). There is a purpose in all the mundane stuff we do as moms. Packing yummy lunches, making their bed even after you've tried to tell them 30 times to make it themself, soccer, gymnastics, horse-back riding, vacation Bible school, reading stories, making breakfast lunch and dinner, laundry, bath time, playing Old Maid too many times, more laundry, teaching to ride a bike, going on class trips, picking berries, bedtime cuddles and prayers, taking walks, watching movies, helping with homework, the list could go on. We do it for a great reason, girls!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Growing Too Fast

Ahh, school has come again. I remember when I was a kid I was always so excited for the first day of school that I couldn't sleep the night before. I'd go over in my mind all the cool new stuff I had packed in my new Strawberry Shortcake backpack and and the great stuff mom would pack in my shiny new lunch box. I pretty much knew all the people in my class b/c our school was so small we only had one class, and maybe we'd get one or two new kids each year if we were lucky. I remember my first bus ride - or what was supposed to have been. My mom drove me to the bus stop (which was actually quite a ways away, but the school was pretty far away). There were quite a few of us waiting there for the bus. Some of them were "big kids" like in 7th and 8th grade, a few middle year kids and then I was the sole kindergardner. We're talking 1983, so you can imagine the hairsprayed bangs on the girls and longer greasy-haired guys. I vaguely remember some terrible bold plaid prints. This was even before pegged jeans, stirrup pants, and MC Hammer pants! We waited and waited, but no bus ever showed up! There were enough adults there that they had to carpool us to North Christian. I ended up being like 1/2 hour late for my first day of school!! It wouldn't be my last time being late for something. Maybe that's where I learned it.

So fast forward to 2008. I now have two children in elementary school! I really can't believe a) I'm this old b) my kids are this old. Gabby is in first grade which means she finally goes to school all day. Rylee's in kindergarden in the afternoon every day. I'm not like one of those traumatized mothers who weeps when her children get on the bus, but I did feel a few pangs of sadness in realizing that stages of their lives are gone forever and they are growing up so fast. Both of them were pretty excited about starting school again. It's a whole new world compared to my elementary years. There are 5 first grade classes and 4 kindergarden. They send out a teacher request form in the spring, and I filled out our top 3 choices, but apparently this is just a formality to make parents feel like they have a say. I am now aware that this is a ruse and I have very little say which is not a good feeling. We didn't get any of our 3 choices for Gabby, in fact, we once again got the new teacher. This may turn out to be just fine, but last year it took her teacher a couple months to get settled in, and this year, her teacher only found out last week that she was switching schools. I was annoyed, but another mother in the same boat called and got the scoop on the newby and found out she's supposed to be really good. Gabby was relieved to find out she's in the same class as her best friend, that's all she cared about. Rylee has the same teacher Gabby had last year and is very comfortable living in her sister's footsteps. For the first day Gabby wanted to be taken to school and Rylee wanted to ride the bus. So I accomodated for both. My girls are growing up. There are times I really wish I could stop this process. But it's also incredible to see them mature and gain independence. Rylee didn't even wave good-by to me as I left her classroom (yes, I did put her on the bus, and then drove separate so I could see her to her class too:)). I'm so proud of you, girls!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer's End

Click to play August 2008
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It has been such a bittersweet summer. I have cherished these days of playing outside, warm weather, pig roasts, catching fireflies and watching the stars, swimming, camping, and ice cream cones. There's been sadness, too. Steve and I are traveling to Portland, OR this weekend for Bridget's memorial service. Emotions are so close to the surface these days for both happiness and sadness. Usually I'm pretty good at being a tough guy. This month has definately led to a lot of growth.
At the beginning of August, Steve, the kids, and I traveled to the upper penninsula with friends from our small group Bible study and about 25 high schoolers. The trip was a biking trip with service projects interspersed. Going into this "adventure" both Steve and I were skeptical at best that this would be a positive experience. But God blessed us beyond what we could have dreamed. We camped at an amazingly beautiful and secluded location called "A Solitary Place." With only one shower and two toilets (one being a 5 gallon bucket in an outhouse) for about 35 people, we all had to learn patience and graciousness quickly. I would have expected a lot of complaints about the ruggedness, but I can honestly say there were none. Maybe we were silenced by the beauty that surrounded us. At night, there were "fireworks" in the sky without any bangs. The sky is so black that the stars litterally dance. One of the youth shared a devotion stressing that God knows each star and placed them in their exact locations, and this same God knows each of us by name and loves us so intensely.
There was lots of biking going on. Steve rode about 101 miles over the course of 3 days, with 66 miles being in one day - out to Whitefish Point which is on Lake Superior. Not having trained at all for this massive trip, he didn't figure he'd make it, but he did!! It was definately a test of perseverence and he learned to lean on others to make it. I rode the final 17 miles alongside him to draft and give him encouragement (that was the extent of my biking, I'm not a big fan:)) It's a great life lesson to realize how difficult it is to travel along alone, but when someone is riding by your side, holding you accountable and encouraging, you can do more than you imagined was possible. In between biking trips, we cut a lot of wood - many people and churches up there use wood as their sole source of winter heat, dry-walled for a handicapped man, helped with some projects at a crisis pregnancy center, and weeded a random business.
Being with the youth group kids was a ton of fun, too! I forget how much energy and intensity I had back then. They were great to interact with and watch as God worked on their hearts as well. I was so impressed by their servant hearts and their lack of complaining even when they were physically pushed to every limit.
So then you come home from this high experience and it's so easy to get caught back up the the daily grind and forget the amazing lessons learned. Steve and I both heard the Spirit's leading with such clarity on this trip, but then back at home there is so much noise I think we often miss that "still, small voice." It's a challenge to keep that roaring fire from becoming a smoldering ember. When Bridget passed away a few days after we got home, it was a test of faith and continues to be. I'm so thankful for those special days up north where God felt so close, so that when these difficult times pressed down, I can reflect on that trip.
In the last couple weeks, Steve and I both read the book "The Shack." It is a fictional book, but a unique and breathtaking view of the character of God, why He allows suffering, and His amazing love for us. This book was actually recommended to me by my aunt and uncle, who read it after Bridget had read it this spring - before even being diagnosed with cancer. It seems ironic and amazing to me that so many things have come full circle. But then maybe it's not just irony, but the hand of God at work in the world around me. I just want to have eyes, ears, and heart open to hear that "still, small voice."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Last night Bridget defeated cancer. She is now enjoying that eternal victory in heaven with Jesus.

Let me tell you, this is not without a lot of tears. Her fight touched my life in ways I wouldn't have expected. Although I was never super close to Bridget due to the fact they lived so far away, she had this amazing effect on those she came in contact with. The VanderMeulen clan has historically been pretty reserved and quiet - a perfect example of the Dutch Christian Reformed heritage we proudly carry on. But when Bridget joined the family several years ago, she brought dancing to the family - literally! I fondly remember her dancing round and round with Gabby singing and laughing with joy. She has now given our family an amazing legacy of her faith and courage through one of the toughest battles I could even imagine.

If you have the time, I really encourage you to check out Steve's journal page (the link is in my contacts list). Throughout this whole time, their desire is to see their trials be used to glorify God. Glorify God - what does that mean? I always kind of equated it with honoring Him or a form of praise/worship. But a couple weeks at church I was struck with the literal translation of the term glory/glorify and it means to reflect or shine a light on something so it can be seen more clearly. Bridget and Steve have definately been this kind of reflection. How can I live my life in more of a way that would make others see a reflexion of Christ through/in me? God has been doing some amazing things in Steve (as in hubbby not cousin) and my lives in the last few weeks. I'll get more into that at a later date.

I'll wrap up this tribute post with the song that is hopefully playing. I was driving to work this morning at 6am with tears streaming down my face. Why God? Couldn't you have used her more in life than in death? What will poor Steve do with no mommy for his little girls? How do you tell a 2 1/2 year old her mommy is never coming home? So many tough questions. But lately I have been reading through the book of Job. His sufferings were comparable to what Steve and Bridget have gone through. It wasn't because he was a bad person. In fact, it was due to his faith and love for God that Satan wanted to test Job's faith and God allowed it to occur. Job lost all his worldly possessions, his entire family, and was afflicted with terrible sickness. But through all these struggles he was able to say "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

So as I switched the radio station, this is the song that came on.

I really like the chorus that says "You give and take away. You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be your name." God doesn't make us think one way or another, we have a choice. That's the beauty of a relationship with Him, we have to choose to enter it and make daily choices to follow Him. So even though it is extremely difficult and against my human nature, I am choosing to say: Lord, you gave us a beautiful woman in Bridget and you allowed her to be taken away. Blessed be your glorious name!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


If you have a weak stomach, procede with caution. I've been awaiting the opportunity to describe some of the nasty stuff I deal with and one just popped up.

I just did one of the grossest things I've ever done in my life. For something to gross me out, you know it has to be pretty bad considering I make a living playing in cow crap, stinky uteruses, and relish finding the biggest and ripest abcesses to pop.

So what could gross me out? Not the smell of a calf that's been dead in utero for 2 days and it starting to fall apart. Not a prolapsed uterus (that means the cow didn't quit pushing after giving birth and pushed her whole uterus out the back end) that is covered in manure and you have to literally put the whole thing in your lap and feed it back in that "small" hole little by little - think something about the size of 2 40lb bags of dog food into a hole about the size of a medium pizza. I am fascinated by trying to find large abcesses. I think my record is probably about 4 gallons of pus! I can even stomach doing a necropsy (autopsy) on an animal that's been dead and sitting out in 90 F heat for a day.

But tonight I was happily going through the garden minding my own business. I've been really irritated that something is destroying my 4 tomato plants. I was informed it was a horned catipillar. Well, I caught one of these SOB's in the act of eating my plant. I was so horrified and angry that I swatted it to the ground and quickly went STOMP!!! ARGHH!! It exploded with such force that all the green guts flew through the air and landed all over me! My arm, shirt, FACE, legs! I momentarily felt the need to hurl. This ranks right up there with maggots, which are another thing I really don't like.

So here's a pic of my victim. Imagine him like 3 times this large (due to the fact that everything was shot out of him). Too gross.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


One of our favorite times of the year is July. First, there's the Fourth, which Gabby said this year is her favorite holiday. It was always mine, too. Funny that so many kids love this holiday and it's not even one where presents are involved. We spent the morning at the parade, then at my parents, and then went to the fireworks on the lake. They were great! Usually they light one and then you wait a minute til the next. They finally figured it out and it was a great show!
The next great thing about July is blueberries! My family loves blueberries and picking them. It's much easier than strawberries, too. This year we were joined by our friends Steph and Jacob. The kids ate a TON of blueberries, but didn't seem too ill afterward. We actually picked 10.6 lbs of yumminess between the three of us, and Steph and Jacob picked around 6lbs. Then we enjoyed "Blueberry Grunt" for dessert that night. It was a new recipe and was pretty good, but not to die for. So here's to July and all the fun times we've had so far.