Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Going Private

It has recently been brought to my attention that perhaps I'm not being cyber-cautious enough with some of the stuff I'm posting. For instance, anybody who happens to stumble across this blog knows exactly who my kids are, where I live and when Bob is out of town. I don't think there are many psycho paths that blog surf but it's true, probably not the wisest to have this information available to the public. So I'm going to switch this over to a private blog.
I started this blog as a way for me, a memory challenged person, to keep track of our life!

The idea is that at the end of the year I can print this blog out into a book and have a scrapbook journal of our life in 2012.
Also, its a fun easy way to share a little of our life with family & friends. If you're wondering why I think you would want to know about our life then by all means. STOP READING IT:) Obviously this isn't for you! However if you are at all interested in continuing to follow, please leave me your email address in the comment section or via facebook private message. Once I enter your email address on my 'accepted readers' list you will once again have full access. If I do not have your email entered you will receive a 'permission denied' notice.
I have no issues whatsoever of sharing this with family & friends. Provided of course none of you turn out to be stalking nut jobs!

Morrow County

Bob has been wanting to do a 'Morrow County' trip for quite some time. But because he's gone so often and playing catch up when he is home its been hard to figure out how and when to get away. Finally this past weekend we decided we better get a quick trip in there before pea harvest starts!!
He got home from Canada about 6:30 friday morning, slept for a couple of hours and then we started loading up. The trick was going to be to figure out how to pull the camper, and get the quads up there without having to take two vehicles! So he borrowed a sled deck from a friend and we loaded up. Anybody who knows us knows that when we load up that means we pack absolutely everything we can possibly cram in. I'm always trying to leave stuff behind and talk him out of taking stuff cause for everything we take along, all I see is one more thing I'll have to unpack and wash up when we get home! Of course in doing this, we always forget one or two things that would be really nice to have and it is invariably MY fault that they were left behind!
Finally we had everything all ready to go....Bob was a little worried about his turning radius with the sled deck on the back, sure enough....went to turn out of the driveway and ugh.....stopped just in time, one tiny little knick in the trailer paint. Finally he maneuvered his way out of the driveway, pulled over to the side and sat there running through the route in his head. Were there any turns on the way that we weren't going to be able to make? He figured our driveway would be the worst one so we headed off. Picked the kids up from school and were on our way. 2 1/2 hours later, after driving through some absolutely beautiful farmland we arrived! With no sharp corners:)
As we pulled into the entrance the first thing I noticed was an ambulance, "oh no, somebody must have wiped out good" but Bob assured me that it was ok. The ambulance was ALWAYS there...it belonged to the park! great. just great.  Then Ashley had to point out, "yeah mom look, they're so set up here. The ambulance is parked by the helicopter landing pad"
I guess it was nice to know that we could get a med-evac out at a moments notice.
The weather was gorgeous! The campsite we had was huge and right next door to the beautiful bathrooms and showers. For anybody who enjoys motorbiking or quadding I would highly recommend this park!
Bob has spend two weekends there now and has not even begun to cover all the trails. Some trails have a lot of shale and rock for motorbikes but there are several that would be perfect for them.
They also have trails of all different skill levels. I considered myself a fairly competent rider, and was very impressed with myself that I had even made it down 'that one hard part' until Ashley pointed out that we were still on easy/intermediate trails. sigh....guess I'm not nearly as impressive as I thought I was.
We went out for a 4 hour ride one morning....sticking to the simple trails as we were all doubling the little kids as well. Later that afternoon Bob and Ashley headed out to do some more challenging stuff. They might have taken it a little too far though....apparently one of the front tires popped off, but never fear. Bob goes no where without some extra zip ties! They work well to hold broken rods together on an ATV too!

The lack of rain made things a little dusty!!

A lot of time spent pouring over the maps...trying to figure out exactly where we were and where we should go!

A couple hours in Tyler decided it was time for a nap

Even her teeth were full of dust!

Been a long hard day on the trail

There was also a large rock jeep crawl pit....Tyler preferred to climb around....

This pond was beautiful! Cold, crystal clear, some nice deep spots for swimming & stocked with fish! Note to self: bring the fishing poles along next time.

Time to clean up, pack up and head home

The Redneck Traveling Circus!!

A definite repeat trip is in order. All the kids thought this would make the perfect 'Groeneveld family camping trip' if only it were a couple hours north of us instead of south!

Happy Birthday Oma!

Oma had her 70th birthday last week!
 As usual we had a lot of stuff going on, with the school year drawing to a close and having 4 kids in 4 different schools it's pretty much a guarantee that somebody has something special going on every day! Kendra had her 'play day' a trip to the park and pool in tri-cities, that she really didn't want to miss. I really didn't dare to pull Ashley out of school again, plus she had her year end FFA banquet Thursday night. And Brandi, well Brandi has a B in one of her classes! Oh the horror!!! And the idea of missing something important and possible having that B drop to a B-???? well that was way too much stress for her. So Bob and Tyler decided they would go with just the two of them and wish Oma a happy birthday on our behalf. They grabbed a change of clothes and a toothbrush and hopped into 'big red' & hit the road! May not be the most 'manly' of cars but it was kinda hard to justify taking one of the gas guzzling trucks when 'big red' would get them there and back for under $50!

They left here around 8 Thursday morning and pulled back into the driveway around 6:30 Friday morning.  A very quick short trip but worth every mile!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Toppenish Livestock Fair

Welcome to the strange world of competitive livestock 'showing'.
 A brand new experience for us as we've never gotten into the 4-H stuff. The kids were always too busy with sports! But now that Ashley is in high school she has joined FFA and so we come into this world as complete novices! Most kids by the time they get to FFA are old hats at this stuff as they've been doing it for years through 4-H.

There are a few things in the world of 'livestock showing' that have completely taken me by surprise.

1 - It is mind boggling at how seriously some people take this.
2 - There were a lot of wranglers, romeos, and belt buckles.
3 - It is a LOT of work
4 - When you put  400+  animals in one place. There is poop. A lot of poop.
5 - Farmers/ the agriculture community are a pretty neat group of people. (for the most part)
6 - IT WAS FUN!!

Ashley absolutely loved it, and even Brandi - my one and only full fledged girly girl who cringes in the face of mud and animal poop - wants to join 4-H next fall!

They put a lot of work into getting their animals prepped and ready....they are required to have worked with the animal for a minimum of 60 days before hand.
All the campers/motorhomes come rolling in and everybody just finds a spot to call home in a big open field. Not just any field, but a field liberally speckled with horse poop.
The kids have to be up and at em bright and early to have their pens cleaned out before the judges come around and grade them on their 'herdsmenship' So when they're getting up at 5:30 and mucking stalls, then cleaning and caring for their animals and going into the ring to 'perform' it makes for some long tiring days.
Brandi helping get some dinner ready

Securing the sheep onto the stand to do some last minute cleaning

Ready to go into the ring to show off all the hard work...
This is where the nerves start to kick in....

There's  a very specific way the sheep has to be set up.....

The judge....watching for little tiny mistakes

They are judged in two different categories. The first day is "market' This is where the quality of the sheep is being judged. Apparently they are not all as similar as they appear to my untrained eye. Ashley got 2nd place in her division in that category. (thank you Denise)

Then the next day they are judged in 'fitting and showing' On how well they are able to work with, set up, & show their animal. Ashley got the gold medal in her division!! Which would be a lot more exciting if she weren't the only FFA Novice there:)
She really did do very well! (thanks to Jusin for all his coaching)

The third and final day is sale day. This can be a very traumatic emotional affair. Each kid leads their animal into the sale ring where they are sold...mostly to butcher. A few for others to keep and raise. And there's always a few tears from those who have become a little too attached to their animal.

John and Audrey decided to come join us at the fairgrounds for a couple days. They found a nearby hotel and came and joined us during the day. Was great to have some family there!

Tyler was doing ok that first day but then that night they started hauling in loads of sawdust for the show pens. It was all downhill from there. Any time he got anywhere near the sawdust it triggered his asthma. Aunty Audrey picked up some dust masks hoping that would help. It definitely did help but I think it was too little too late. Even though the poor kid spent most of his time in the camper after that we just couldn't get on top of it. Monday night it got bad enough that Bob took him to the hospital.
After that he couldn't come back there so our wonderful friend/neighbor Deanna kept him for the next couple of days.

Been a stressful day:)
Hanging out in the Olmsteads motor home

Love my visitors!

My baby sis Cheryl & her little boy Kaden & 'minnowmay'  decided to come visit me. She had planned on coming next week but then when she heard Bob was going to be gone again this week she thought it would be nice to keep me company. LOVE it when she comes. Not only because she likes to clean...(although who am I kidding - that sure doesn't offend me:) but its just really nice to have another adult around to talk to!!
And sometimes we do REALLY exciting stuff....like both fall asleep on a couch watching American Idol. Of course that's only because we were both exhausted from the trauma of our little waxing party!
Kaden always provides a lot of great moments, It's hard for Kendra to have to go to school while he is here. She just doesn't think its right that she should have to go to school when Tyler gets to stay home & play with Kaden all day. I will admit, I may not be a teachers favorite parent as I'm usually pretty quick to let my kids take a day off, but this time I made her go to school since she had just taken 3 days off for the Toppenish Livestock show.
The weather was wonderful and the kids enjoyed some time on the trampoline with sprinklers....the next best thing since the pool isn't going yet. Kaden really enjoyed running around in complete and total freedom in the sprinklers but to protect his dignity I won't post those pictures:)
Maybe trying to explain to mommy exactly why it was not necessary to wear shorts...
Some great relaxing time in the sun....nothing like that bright red glow you get from the first sun exposure on the nice winter white skin:)

I think Tyler was trying to teach him 'the wink'

We had 6 little boys 6 and under in the house that day....wish I would have taken a picture of all of them togather. Yep. Had a glass of wine that night....maybe even two.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Een snelle trip naar het moederland

Bob headed out Monday morning for a 7 day trip to Holland. He went with 2 other guys from work to go visit the Ploeger company over there and try to learn a little bit about the equipment they'll be dealing with up in Alberta this summer.
The first couple days has been a bit rough for him as he basically lost an entire nights sleep due to the flight times. He flew monday afternoon our time but arrived there in time to start the day on Tuesday.
The guys seem to have this idea that Bob is dutch enough that he'll be able to help them out with communication and culture while over there. Little do they know if he actually started using the dutch that he knows it probably wouldn't end well for any of them. They definitely wouldn't be making any new friends!
His first meal over there he ordered some croquets...he said both the guys that are with him decided to be adventurous and follow his lead and were surprised when they ended up actually liking them! But for tonight he's just hoping for a place where he can find some chicken wings and fries. What a shock.
The kids gave him strict instructions to bring the back some gestampte meijers & some chocolate sprinkles. He can leave the klompen at the gift shops as long as he brings them some meijers!
I'm just excited that he's been gone for half the trip already and we've had no break downs here at home! Every time he leaves we end up with a string of breakdowns.
Last time my toilet broke, the fridge died, I lost water supply to the house (a broken pipe next door) and I got pulled over for having expired tabs. The previous 2 week trip my freezer died, my wash machine puked, and I got pulled over for a burnt out headlight. None of these things in and of themselves are really that big of a deal. If Bob were home he would simply tear them apart and fix them. But with him gone, even changing the dumb burnt out headlight took me about 15 minutes of research on google and 20 minutes of dropping screwdrivers & scraping knuckles! not to mention the cracked plastic piece behind the headlight that I haven't yet  told him about. But hey, the light got changed.
Last time when everything was breaking down, I was feeling sorry for myself & I was venting to one of my sisters. In an effort to be positive I commented that, oh well, these were just things that were breaking. My kids were all healthy. A couple days later Tyler ended up in the hospital due to asthma issues. BUT...there was another poor little baby that came in at the same time that was in much worse shape than he was. So I know we are supposed to be content in all situations and not compare our plight to others, but I've come to realize that even when things seem kinda crummy......look around you. There's always somebody way worse off! So instead of counting the problems we'll count the blessings!!