Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Last of the Farm Wee-ness

Did I mention that 3 generations of us were represented at Farm Day! Of the 7 sibs remaining on my level (Bennett died in 1996), there were 6 of us there: Susan, Ginnie, Nancy, Jim, John and Ruth, in descending order. Nelson had to work that Saturday!

Then of our 19 kids, the next level down, only 5 were present: Todd, Eric, Paul, Lesley and Peter.

From the third generation down, of the 18 kids of our kids, 5 were present: Lydia, Eli and Aden (from Paul and Manda's family) and Audrey and Asher (from Todd and Lisle's family). WHEW! I sure hope I counted right!

Anyway, the 5 wee-est of them all make a good note to end on for the 2007 Farm Day in Michigan at Don and Ruth's!

It didn't take long for the 3 oldest kids to find Lesley and her books: Eli, Lydia and Audrey, from left to right.

Asher is the wee-est of them all right now (2 more are in the oven, so to speak), giving his Uncle Eric the "You can't be serious!" look.

Aden is the comic relief for all of us, here with his G'ma Wilma.

His sister, Lydia, got in with all the g'ma generation to show how it's done. See, it's really quite easy!

Oops. Can't stop showing pics of this fella, the comic-relief guy, Aden.

His brother, Eli, definitely knows what farming is all about.

The girls, Lydia and Audrey, aren't so sure.

They'd much rather splash around with Lesley.

Audrey gets a chance to ride the bike, with Mommy Lisle's help.

And there's that corker, Aden, again, living life to the full!

There you have it. As you see, I couldn't do it justice in one post, so I divvied it all up. Hopefully you now understand a bit more what it's all about when we say we're going to Don and Ruth's for Farm Day!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Other Farm Day Activities

Now we're getting into a mishmash of the entire Farm Day in Michigan, while this, that and the other was happening besides the deadheading, jamming and word-processing (see posts below). This post is mostly from the adult perspective.

First of all, this is Don and Ruth's farm in Michigan, and here's the Chief Farmer, Don!

He does all the farmerly things, of course.

As does Ruth, who takes time out for Bishop, their farm cat, before the family arrives.

Ruth, my sister, is #8 of the 8 Sibs. I'm #3, with 11 years between us. She and I are the only faithful bloggers of the 8, so she and I are blogger buddies, big time. For her, this farm has been a form of therapeutic, inspirational, creative heaven.

Donica and I picked up Don and Ruth's daughter, Lesley, from the Detroit airport when we arrived. Lesley lives in NYC and hadn't seen her mom since April (when we 4 girls were all there together). So they had time for some tender moments before the festivities began.

Lesley and her cousin, Manda (Paul's wife, from the Jammers' session), share some catch-up time. We all had just recently found out that Manda has #4 child in her oven!

Now see Don, Ruth and Lesley sharing family time while the rest of us butt in. Actually, their son, Peter, was also there, with his girlfriend, Caitlin, but where are the pics?? Alas, none are to be found. So sorry, Peter and Caitlin. We ALL know you are definitely part of the family.

Paul (from the Jammers, and Manda's husband) is Mr. Photographer, big time. I've been told that he makes $300-400/month from his iStock photos. Ahem. That's why I'm buying a new dSLR camera. Maybe I can follow in his footsteps, now that I'm retired??

He also plays, with his cousin, Todd (son of my sister Nancy, from the Word Processors, and older brother of Eric from the Jammers). Are you keeping up with me?

Remember my sister Susan, the deadheader? This is her husband, Rodger, doing what he needed to do after a hard week's work...and just driving 5 hours from Chicago to be with us. A few hours later, he drove the 5 hours back, so no one begrudged him his hard-earned sleep.

Wilma (Paul's mom) is my brother Jim's wife. Big time boogie-woogie lady. Trust me. And she's DUTCH! She was in her mom's oven, so to speak, when they came over on the boat to America many eons ago. She'll try just about anything once and end up doing it well. She's also our chief buyer for cottage paraphernalia! Couldn't do it without her.

The big evening meal of the day was the event, of course, since we all like to eat. There's Donica, with her back to you. And Ruth on the right, of course. Sandy, in the middle, is my brother John's wife. John, the singer from the Jammers.

Here's Lesley again, getting the fixin's ready.

And of course, the chief cook, Don, with my brother, Jim, looking on. Yup, so that's how he does it!
And do you see Wilma and Donica shooting baskets in the background? Both of them were guards in high school basketball. But there was a difference in what that meant back then in the Middle Ages (I know, speak for myself), when Wilma played defensive guard with 6 players on the team and Donica played the entire floor with 5 players on the team. Hmm.

But as you see, there really was a lot going on that one day on the world's map in that one tiny speck in time. I guess we can call it an eternalized moment!

Next I'll do the same thing from the kids' perspective, when they weren't driving the tractor!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Wee Farmers

Remember the Sexy Tractor from last year's Farm Day in Michigan? Sadly, it was a bit under the weather this year and had to stay in bed for the day.

However, not to be outdone, John Deere came in just as handy and did his thing, saving the day for all the kids one year older who needed their tractor fix.

Don started it off with a bang. Or maybe I should say Eli did. He was the first to start the ball rolling, so to speak.

See how serious he is, especially as he takes on passengers!

Okay, then. I can just hear him saying, "I've got this down pat!"

Then it was Audrey's turn.

And finally, the wee-est farmer of them all! If you wear the hat, you're bona-fied, even if it still looks suspicious.

I don't know about you but it doesn't get more wonderful than this when you watch the kids having so much fun. I can't imagine what it would be like to have these memories at their age, year after year.

A HUMONGOUS thank-you to Don and Ruth for this experience at their farm! It definitely has become a tradition!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Word Processors

Yup, we're safely back in Amsterdam. And Yup! Back to Farm Day!

Sister Nancy (on the right) had a deadline to get some word processing done by Monday for printing. She was condensing a 1000-page HUD handbook into a more manageable 250-page book, simply by reformatting it. That's Wilma, my brother Jim's wife, trying to help her with a formatting hitch.

No amount of finagling could get those @#$@*& columns to line up in the Table of Contents!
So, enter Donica, the Word Processor guru.

Nancy tells Donica exactly what she wants and what the blasted program isn't allowing her to do.

And listens while Donica discovers that the original handbook was mixing Word Perfect and Word in it's document. UGH. No wonder!

Wilma comes back to get in on the action.

And even my brother, Jim, acts like he gets it! Nancy says that what Donica did saved her hours of time. So, thank you, Miss Microsoft guru! (Don't get Donica started on Microsoft!!!)

BTW, Jim and Wilma are the parents of nephew Paul in The Jammer's post. And Nancy is the mother of nephew Eric, the lead guitarist.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Blending Kids

Hold the Farm Day thought for a minute. There's still more to show but you'll understand why I just have to take a break.

Dennis (Amy's fiancé) flew into Atlanta from LA with his two girls this weekend. It was Donica's and my first time to meet the girls. Nicholas had just spent a week with them at the beach in CA back in July.

Straight from the airport on Thursday evening, we all met up at Kobe's for Japanese, followed by this photo op outside afterwards. (There are 75 of these turtles, BTW, all over Atlanta, kinda like Berlin's Buddy Bears.)

Then on Friday morning, I was invited to join Dennis and the kids at our GA Aquarium, while Amy and Donica worked. Nicholas was already in his first week of second grade but his teacher gave him permission to miss school. When Amy left it up to him, his first response was that he'd rather learn than walk (he is totally loving school)! But as the days passed, he got very excited about showing the girls his aquarium.

So introductions are in order. You already know Nicholas, my 7-year-old one-and-only grandson. This is a spot at the aquarium he always runs to and then says, "G'ma, this is a perfect spot for a photo, remember?!" It's serious stuff!

And of course, now everyone has to have their picture taken there!

But wait. More introductions!

Here's Daddy with Noelle, the eldest. She's 13 and in 8th grade.

And Daddy with Brooke. She's 9 and in the 4th grade.

Okay, I did some Tom-foolery to get this pic like this (my first experiment, to blur everything but the girls), but here they are together, the two girls. I understand they can squabble with the best of them, but I guess that means they're ALIVE. I saw lots of TLC throughout the day between them and fell in love with them.

And now blended! It's good Nicholas is a boy, I think, because they have quite taken to him. No sisterly competition, in other words!

That's pretty cool to have a big sister who can ride you piggy-back, don't you think?!

Even Deepo thought it was all pretty darn-tootin' cool!

So, Dennis and Amy have their parenting skills cut out for them as they blend this family! The girls live with their mother in LA, so they won't be together all the time. However, both before and after the wedding, June 1, and once Dennis moves to Atlanta, they will make sure there are lots of blending times together.

The world keeps getting smaller and smaller, doesn't it! I find it quite amazing and...thrilling!

On Monday afternoon, Donica and I both fly back to Amsterdam for a short stint until the 31st. I'll go back to Farm Day pics once over the pond!