Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Project, Part II

In real time, we just said goodbye to John and Don this morning as they headed back to Alaska.  The past two weeks have been a series of goodbyes to some of the kids' favorite people.  However, in blog time we just started cleaning out the house so we will pick up there.

While we were working on the house, the renters (well, now owners) were great about the kids roaming around the property.  They have chickens around and my kids had a love hate relationship with them.  Catherine was supremely interested in them, but always wanted a supervisor around.  Luckily the kids had 2 grandparents, 1 uncle, and 3 surrogate grandparents at their beck and call.   Catherine just has to stick her hand out, make a grasping motion and say " 'mon" (i.e. Come on) and she had someone ready to go protect her or investigate whatever she wanted to see.
 Though sometimes the chickens still got too close so she just needed a kiss from Amma:
Or if needed, Uncle Matt was always up for a ride on the shoulders:
 Matthew had a fantastic time with his cousins (or technically third cousins) who were able to visit for a bit as their parents and grandparents looked around for their treasures.
 The new owners even let the kids feed the chickens and horses:
 And if there weren't animals around, the kids had plenty of dirt, water, buckets and trucks for a good time.
 Which worked out well because we had some very serious show-and-tell games to play in finding new owners for all the things.  I can only assume both Sharon and I were trying to sell Carmen on taking our  respective antiques, and I'm sure Sharon beat me!  She is quite the saleswoman :-)
 The first weekend we were there was Memorial Day weekend so we all headed to the cemetary for a small ceremony and to pay our respects.
 Afterwards the Ladies Auxiliary hosted coffee and donuts in the town hall.  Our not-so-little clan took up a good half of the tables.
After an entire table of grandparents and uncles and aunts etc. filled our kids up with donuts, juice and patriotic sprinkles (apparently these folks have forgotten how to say no) we took the kids across town to the park to run off (okay, maybe spin off) some sugar. 
This weekend was also the weekend before the big pig roast, so our cousins invited us over for some trial roasts.
 Jerry had picked up this roasting box and it turned out excellent.  Meanwhile we tried to get a picture (this will be one of many attempts) of the cousins:
 And they of course were all curious about the results:
 Catherine had a ton of fun with Papa:
And around their property:
 And Matthew continued to give JJ his death grip hug goodbye:
 Meanwhile back at the property the kids took a popsicle break with their cousin:
 Catherine clearly worked hard modeling hats with Uncle Matt:
 While Uncle Matt worked hard stealing beer money from Matthew by encouraging him to deposit more and more of his change into the creepy hand bank.
Here's an internet image of the creepy hand bank.  It basically winds up and then a hand comes out and drags your quarter from the green circle into the bank.  
There was very important cuddle time with Teta (behind her is the "green house" we were cleaning out:
 Chillin' with Uncle Don:
 We put Matthew to work using the magnet to pick up nails like he was "fishing".  It kept him amused for a while:
 And he helped haul things down from the chicken coops with the wagon:
And everyone has to visit the outhouse (newly redecorated by the renters) once in a while:
*Please note he was not actually going in this picture, lord only knows why he is making that face*

In the evenings we took turns hosting dinners between grandma and our cousin's houses and then it was time for stories, cuddles and nights.
 Teta Sharon brought us some more fun books from Alaska, including a great one on bear safety.  I referred to it many times when camping and in Yellowstone with the kids, especially since they are not naturally careful about dropping food.
 Since Matthew's still a bit young for cribbage and I was over "Go Fish" we tried to teach him Chinese Checkers one night.  He did well but holy moly is that a long game!
 Catherine "helped" papa by rearranging his marbles.  Turned out it wasn't so helpful! :-)

 Catherine had asked to read this Nursery Rhyme book for nearly 3 weeks straight before we left so she and Matthew were ready to present their piggies when they got to "This Little Piggy".
While we were at Grandma's we pulled our camper into the backyard for the two weeks.  It was a good opportunity for the kids to "learn" how to sleep in the same room, though I would never say it went swimmingly.  For example, one night Catherine started fussing as I shut the door to leave and asking for cuddles.  Matthew offered to give her cuddles:
Which as you can probably guess was this cute for all of 3.5 seconds before chaos erupted :-)  They got a bit better but we still have a ways to go before they go to bed nicely in the camper with James and I in there to supervise.  

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