Yes…yes…that is correct.

On our drive to join all of Buddie’s family for a week-long vacation, Buster and Yessa and I were in one vehicle together. As we drove across Indiana, we passed several fields lying fallow, yet there were still plenty of weeds and green things growing in them.

Buster said, “What’s growing in that field, Mom?”

“Nothing is growing in that field, Buster. Sometimes the government pays farmers not to grow things.”

“Why?” he asked.

I explained very briefly about farming subsidies and what we always called “set-aside.”

After I spoke there was a brief pause and he said, “Mom, I’m going to say something and it might not be right.”

“Okay, go ahead.” I replied.

“Are those things to support economic stability?”

My work here is complete.

Our packed vehicle

Our packed vehicle

We’ll See…

As Monkey and I were driving home from her allergy shot this morning (3rd of 6 in the red vial- maintenance level), she was reading in the seat next to me and I said, “Do you think we’ll have to go through the typical teen stage where you hate Dad and me?”

She looked over at me archly, got a sly grin on her face and said, “Let’s see if we can get by without it.”

This one, she likes to leave her options open.

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Massadoah Time

Buds had the fantastic idea to host an off-site for his team of developers at Massadoah. The kids and I went along both so I could help with logistics for the event, and because we would never want to miss a chance to play at Massadoah.

We left on Saturday and stopped at a hotel, meaning that we only drove about 5 hours each day, making it a very relaxed drive for us.

We stopped at our favorite ice cream stand as we drove through town.

Our first stop at our favorite ice cream stand.

Our first stop at our favorite ice cream stand.

The long locks blowing in the wind.

The long locks blowing in the wind.

We arrived at Massadoah around 3, and the first Juicers drove in around 4. While we waited for the rest of the crew to arrive, Buds and the kids took the first set of tubers up to the put-in.

First crowd ready to go.

First crowd ready to go.

Returning home.

Returning home.

Buds and one of our co-workers, Djam, both had their birthdays while we were all together, so Meghna, another co-worker, brought a delicious cake for them.

It was awesome!

It was awesome!

They each got one candle.

They each got one candle.

The cake was beautiful, and it had a strip of plastic wrapped around the outside to help it travel well. And, the outside of the plastic was decorated with frosting, too. Monkey and Yessa had a few licks.

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On Monday the littles and I headed out to Alamo Drafthouse to see a movie. (Loved this place! I so wish there was one down here.) Monkey stayed at the house, and the adults did their work thing, with a few breaks.

The most computer power ever seen at Massadoah.

The most computer power ever seen at Massadoah.

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Monday night Buds made some delicious chicken, and it rained sheets of rain in the afternoon/evening. This lead to the unpleasant surprise that the basement drain had raw sewage splooshing out onto the basement floor.

After this interesting discovery, I came upstairs, made hotel reservations for all of us, and we decamped like a retreating army. Our co-workers were grateful for the internet, which had been lacking at Massadoah, and everyone got a good night sleep.

The next day I suited up in a homemade hazmat suit, and worked like a trojan.

Hazmat suit donned.

Hazmat suit donned.

Grossest thing I’ve ever done, and that is saying a lot.

The Dev. Team went to the Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns. It’s a “whimsical” space, and it had wifi.

The Yellow Barn

The Yellow Barn

Love the glittery butterfly in the background.

Love the glittery butterfly in the background.

How are they focusing on work with all the whimsy behind them?!

How are they focusing on work with all the whimsy behind them?!

They took a break to go visit American On Parade, the warehouse of floats that feels like walking into a drug-induced dream.

See Buds driving the float?

See Buds driving the float?

'Murica!

‘Murica!

This screams "patriotic!"

This screams “patriotic!”

James dressed appropriately.

James dressed appropriately.

This day also held Michelin Man Soccer-Trademark Pending.

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Love his hip moves.

Love his hip moves.

We start our developers young.

We start our developers young.

Such a happy little man.

Such a happy little man.

She's so good with the babies!

She’s so good with the babies!

Our last outing together was to a delicious dinner. Much laughter and good conversation was a hit with all.

Despite the wrinkles, it was wonderful to be at Massadoah with people we enjoy so much.

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Shorn

The Buster’s hair has never been a problem for us as far as societal parameters, but oh, the rats! The Templetons that boy had living in his hair finally got to be too much. Like his mother as a child, the boy has a very sensitive scalp, so even combing his hair caused pain, and trying to truly detangle all the knots was torture.

This morning he wanted to have it cut, and Buds and I were ready to make that happen.

Before the torture begins.

Before the torture begins.

Good bye, luscious locks.

Good bye, luscious locks.

Half-way done. He was ready for us to stop.

Half-way done. He was ready for us to stop.

The face belies the good spirits.

The face belies the good spirits.

Dad maintains head control.

Dad maintains head control.

Newly shorn.

Newly shorn.

The interesting thing about this particular haircut is that it was reminiscent of his very first haircut. With that first haircut, a decade ago, we had a dramatic age change. Before the hair cut, he was still my baby. After the hair cut, he was suddenly a little boy.

With the hair cut today, before the cut, he had the look of a near-teenager. After the hair cut, our little boy was back.

Haircuts through the ages seemed like a fine way to end this post.

Before the first haircut

Before the first haircut

Some of the reasons for that first haircut.

Some of the reasons for that first haircut.

Snipping off those sweet baby curls.

Snipping off those sweet baby curls.

Snuggles after the cut.

Snuggles after the cut.

The outcome.

The outcome.

Sweet curls always grow back.

Sweet curls always grow back.

The locks looking flowing.

The locks looking flowing.

After one haircut.

After one haircut.

Newly shorn after Yessa is born.

Newly shorn after Yessa is born.

Photo above by Gina.

Including this one just to show the shiner.

Including this one just to show the shiner.

Looking dapper on the day cousins were baptized.

Looking dapper on the day cousins were baptized.

Thick-haired brothers are fun!

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Notice Buds with the goatee in the background.

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I obviously perfected the bowl cut.

I obviously perfected the bowl cut.

The face of 16 y.o. Buster shows through.

The face of 16 y.o. Buster shows through.

And a buzz cut from long ago.

And a buzz cut from long ago.

And now we’ll let the hair grow again for a year or two.

And I’ll still always love this face.

Taken by Sweet Gina.

Taken by Sweet Gina.

Mom’s Most Recent Visit

I came across some fun shots of Mom’s most recent visit in April and thought I’d post them so they don’t get lost.

One last fire

One last fire

Final snuggles

Final snuggles

Enjoying the deck.

Enjoying the deck.

Yessa trying out the piano.

Yessa trying out the piano.

Monkey was exhausted before her music lesson.

Monkey was exhausted before her music lesson.

Loveless Lunch as part of our good bye.

Loveless Lunch as part of our good bye.

It’s always so comfortable to have Mom here. Thanks, Mom, for everything!

Florida in May…Totally Worth It…

It had been way, way, way too long since we had played in person with our Beloveds in Florida. April and I managed to find a couple days that worked for both schedules, and even though our crew knew there were several long driving trips in their near future, when asked if they were game for the long drive to Florida to hang with our buds, it was a resounding “YES!”

The girls were nervous about seeing their friends after not being together for so long. The Buster wasn’t nervous about that, but he snuggled in with us at 1 a.m. on the morning of the trip because he was nervous about the drive. Everyone has to work through something.

We hit the road at 5 a.m., and the drive was easy peasy by our standards. Lots of music, games, books, and Starbucks stops. Rolled into their subdivision around 4 p.m. and all nervousness was quickly forgotten as giggles and stories and games rang out throughout the house.

The value of friends that you can slip back into easy conversation with no matter how much time and distance have passed…one of life’s amazing blessings.

I tried to convince April we could have more private time if I brought the Cone of Silence, but she was not intrigued.

Cone of silence.

Cone of silence.

Thanks to the wonders (or intrusiveness) of Facebook, I discovered that some of our best friends from our Nash Church were vacationing in Florida only about 30 minutes from us. We were all able to meet up at the beach to hang out, and they altered their plans so our two families could drive north together at the end of our vacations.

I love when friends get to meet friends. One of April’s crew said, “How do we know we’ll like these new people?”

April replied, “Because they are friends of Ms. Jennie.”

Child responded with a nod and shrug.

Taking 10 people to the beach is a process.

Taking 10 people to the beach is a process.

They have a beach "system."

They have a beach “system.”

This is before Matt burned off the bottoms of his feet walking the paraphernalia down to the beach. He’s such a trooper!

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Digging for treasure.

Digging for treasure.

Our beach compound

Our beach compound

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No words necessary.

No words necessary.

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Everyone together.

Everyone together.

He looks good in my glasses.

He looks good in my glasses.

Serious face

Serious face

Testing the new fire pit.

Testing the new fire pit.

Trampoline was a huge hit.

Trampoline was a huge hit.

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Snuggled in the reading nook.

Snuggled in the reading nook.

The "homeschool hallway" that inspired us to put up more posters.

The “homeschool hallway” that inspired us to put up more posters.

Hanging out and playing.

Hanging out and playing.

Attempting to rinse off the sand.

Attempting to rinse off the sand.

Friends and beach...heaven.

Friends and beach…heaven.

Hanging...

Hanging…

Loving good bye hugs.

Loving good bye hugs.

We didn’t manage to get a stairwell shot with all the kids as we generally try to do. Suffice it to say everyone is a little taller (except for the adults), a little older, a little wiser, and just as wonderful and comfortable as ever.

It’s tough to describe in words how happy it made me to hear my crew, especially Monkey, crying from laughter and chatting and giggling and just generally loving life. To have J and S snuggle in next to me to show me a game or tell me a story, it made my heart swell. We absolutely love this family, and being together was just perfect.

Now that we know the drive for us feels so short, we plan to make it happen again in the new year. (Yup, already making plans for 2016.)

Thanks, Florida Friends, for a fantastic gathering.

Evolutions

Finally got back many of the digitized photos. Prepare for many historical posts, but two funny sets of photos and one sweet memory before I finish packing for a trip.

Apparently none of my boys own shirts:

Circa 1994:

Like Father...

Like Father…

Sweet face, demon eyes:

Nobody likes shirts.

Nobody likes shirts.

And hair evolution:

Mostly red:

Sophomore year of high school.

Sophomore year of high school.

Recent perm:

Junior Year of High School

Junior Year of High School

Big, bold, and blond:

Senior Year...

Senior Year…

I obviously got contacts since the solar panel glasses are gone.

I’m kinda’ diggin’ this hair. May go back to it.

And a sweet photo of my dad teaching some of my young nieces and nephew how to loud whistle:

Teresa's figuring it out!

Teresa’s figuring it out!