Unfortunately for me, my friend Marsha was gone to Arkansas that particular week so I spent day after day alone, cleaning, putting things away, cleaning again, doing laundry, (because every single thing had to be washed free of sheetrock dust). I was tired by Friday, I'm not going to lie.
However, on Saturday morning, people began to arrive with hugs and smiles and parcels of food. I found some new energy. As you know, we have two brand new babies since January, so family dynamics have shifted a little. The other kids have reached the ages where they love to run off and play or explore together and are old enough and know enough to take care of themselves. M and Z tear around like their pants are on fire, discovering new things or having pretend adventures (or real ones), while the two littler boys are content to play at more simple endeavors, rocks and sticks, walking around looking at things and the like. Those two are paced much slower than M and Z. B is old enough to be a helper on just about everything now. He helped hide half the eggs, so he could hunt the more difficult ones. He walked right past easy finds and helps E and R find some tricky ones. He seemed very happy.
There was lots of handing the babies around, as usual. Here are Audie and Kari with the babies, although not their own, oddly. But while that was going on inside, this was going on in the woods: Grandma's Big Adventure. The five bigger kids and I hiked through the woods in single file, littlest boys at the back so they could make it through the smashed down tall grass. I was in the lead. There were tons of Botany Badge plants and Z and M used them to self-decorate, as you can see. These two to not subscribe to the less-is-more theory on....well, on anything, if I'm being honest.
There was a huge, important moment in the woods. This is how it unfolded: We were marching along and I stumbled down into a weed-filled ditch that had branches in the bottom of it, and then couldn't get out of or through it without help from B. After helping me out, I asked him if he would like to toake the lead, since his balance was probably better than mine. He was happy to do so. He also helped me stumble down the steep, muddy bank to the creek AND he helped me life-guard while the younger kids went swimming. (Yes, swimming in the creek in their underwear.....in April. They said it wasn't cold at all. Right.) Don't even try to be smug and tell me you've never gone swimming in your underwear...or in nothing at all...we all know better. And if you haven't, it's high time you did.
So.... we switched leadership roles and I loved B's confidence in his new job. He calmly took it in stride...because he's 10 and it's time he took over, I guess. A big corner. No one drowned and, when they got out of the water and put their dry clothes back on, the younger kids all got to walk back to the house commando style because I had all the wet underwear in my hands. Cool!
Once we were back and had taken some warm showers and found clean clothes, Zach set up the Korenak's new tent, practicing for the upcoming Cub Scout camp-out.We had dug around in my cedar chest earlier and in this pic, Z is wearing Able's old Cub Scout uniform...thus the salutes, I guess. Maggie is wearing Abbey's Mexican dress from when she and Audra had matching dresses for Audra's 5th birthday party.That was the birthday when Able and Jamie Graber trekked upstream and around the bend and floated little wooden boats with candles in them down the creek while the rest of our two families watched and ate homemade cookies from on the bridge. Good Times.
MJ also found her mother's uniform and sash from Bluebirds. Abbey wore this when she was exactly the age M is now.
Here is Able, camped out on the first landing of the still awesome tree house. Yes, he's back in full beard mode.Baby Alice loves it because she can get her tiny little fingers into it and hang on for dear life, keeping her daddy close. Ouch.
The next picture is the grownups watching all the kids playing in the new tent. Sadly, they had to take it down before Mass because it was going to rain that night. I predict there will be lots of camp-outs this summer.
Sadly, Abbey and Brent's family had to go back to OKC before Mass that night so they missed out on being part of the Creation Story at Bison (we took a snake) and also missed the first official snake hunt of the season the next day. The weather was perfect and the hunt was a huge success: 9 snakes were caught; 6 brown rat (counting the one from Saturday), two Garter snakes, and one little ring-neck. Zane and Zach both sustained snake bites this time but were fine.
Here is Zane (the snake guy) doing a little fancy-shmancy snake handling for the camera. Notice he has his gloves on here. A few minutes later he took them off and zing! a snake tried to escape the jar and bit him. There's a lesson in there somewhere.
The next picture is of Ro (the toad guy) posed with the snake catcher. He did manage to find two toads on the hunt. They were brought back to the house and observed in one of our several 'snake jars' and then released back into the wild. Look how full the pasture pond is this year! This pond has been dry for several summers so this is great to see.
And that wrapped up the week-end. Everyone but Grandma headed back to the city that evening. We managed to work around the not having a sink thing, with people taking turns doing the dishes in a big bowl in the bathtub (making memories). I am happy to report that I do have a kitchen sink again as of today. Hooray! I'll do a little blog with some pictures of the remodeled kitchen soon. There are still just a couple of details that need to be tacked down before the camera starts clicking.
Oh, here: I'm tossing this adorable picture into this blog just because it is so cute and I wanted to share. Happy Easter! Baby A was 2.5 months old when this was shot, and little T was only 2 weeks at the time. They're going to love this shot when they're both twenty. Ha!