Sunday, September 20, 2009

Where the Blacktop Ends...

Saturday night was the Second Annual Steeple Run Farm Festival. The Mitchell family has a wonderful farm in Waterman, Illinois. It's just about an hour from Naperville. After our first block party Saturday afternoon we put on our "country chic" wear and headed to the west. The night was a blast and included lots of food, fire, friends, night hikes, corn stealing, hayrides, horseback rides, potato guns, and camping.

This is Mere and I on the hayride.
Can anyone (who wasn't at the farm) tell me what is wrong with this picture?

This is everyone on the hayride.
After the hayride we arrived back at the farm in the dark. Bryan and I set up our tent and then ran down to the horses for a quick ride. Unfortunately there are no pictures which is probably for the best because I didn't really know what I was doing on Poco. On the way back from the horses, we stopped to shot a potato gun. It's a really safe (actually, not at all) device that you push a potato into, spray one chamber with aerosol hair spray, and then push the trigger that makes a spark that ignites the hair spray and sends the potato flying.

Many people were trying to knock over a pyramid of cans. How many cowboys does it take to do that?

Apparently five is the answer!

When it was waaayyyy past my bedtime, we went on a night hike. Our journey took us through some cornfields where Mere and I stopped to pick some. We didn't think anyone would notice if two ears were missing. Corn is cool for city girls. We were excited.

When the sun was (much) closer to rising than it was to setting we decided to cash in our chips and go to bed. Just one year away from the Third Annual Steeple Run Farm Festival!

Around the House

Remember this photo?

You (but probably more just me) will be happy to know that it no longer looks like that. My husband put all manliness aside on Friday night and went with me to HomeGoods for some decoration shopping. It's an amazing place. This is our new and improved (at least I think) fireplace.

Is anyone up for a guessing game???

Here is the laundry pile that I had to tackle on Sunday. If you have seen my house, either in person or in pictures, can you guess how I got the pile of clothes there? Let me know in the comments. Be the first and I will write a post about why I like you. :) If you are having trouble posting a comment, make sure after you click on the comment link that you click the anonymous circle to post. Then just include your name in your post. I hope to hear from you soon! GO!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Picture Perfect Weekend

What an awesome weekend we just had! Once we arrived in Cincinnati, the weekend was perfect. I packed up all of our loot including Claire and headed to the city to pick up Bryan. Then the three of us headed to Mom and Dad Clark's. We got in at about 12:30 and Claire was eager to meet Harley. The first night together was rough but after the sleeping arrangements were ironed out, everything was great. Harley and Claire played while the rest of us prepared for Lee and Lea's baby shower. Lea is due on November 18th!!!

I promise we feed her! She's just that skinny. I'm almost certain her grandma was a greyhound.

Saturday afternoon there were about 20 guests for Lea's shower. We had cake and snacks and played a fun game. Lea got lots of great gifts and we spent a lot of time just chatting and enjoying our time together.

This is the happy couple.

After the shower was a Quad One Braggin' Rights basketball game. The guys were shocked that Lee and Dustin won a game. They usually play the best of three and this weekend was the first time a third game was needed. Bryan and Jeremy have won each of the last eight games and this weekend was no exception.

The Quad all dined with their respective parents and we met up that night for some football watching. On Sunday morning I went to church and Bryan went with all the guys for a Broncos/Bengals football game. A day of outlet shopping with the Quad ladies was in order and proved successful. Check for my purchase in a future post about a farm.

It is always sad to leave family and friends but we were happy to be back home again too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Outdoor Education

The Labor Day weekend grew to a close with preparations for overnight travel. Bryan went to New York for business and was also able to visit friends and I went to Lorado Taft in Oregon, IL with over one hundred fifth graders. I left my sweet animals and headed to the wilderness.

Our Outdoor Ed adventure started on Tuesday morning. My fourth graders had a sub for two days as I had volunteered to help out with the fifth graders for camp. The kids all came to school with their luggage and we left from there. We boarded the buses and then a sweet (sometimes) little guy shared some yucky news with Mr. Mitchell. "I think I just had diarrhea in my pants" is never a good thing to hear, especially when you were supposed to have already left for an hour and a half bus ride. The little guy went home sick from school and sadly missed this fun trip. Once we arrived, the kids were immediately busy. We ate and ate and ate and had some great classes. The kids all went to five classes in small group rotations. They were Native Americans, Games, Water Ecology, Compass, and Survival. We had a campfire with a lot of singing. There were a couple boo boos and one that was pretty bad. It turns out that playing a tag style game and falling face first on a tree root can knock your front teeth loose. That guy left on the first day and had surgery Wednesday morning to make sure he didn't loose his teeth.

Night time arrangements are always the scariest for the kids. I had a couple girls from my class last year that felt much better about going since I was going to be there with them. I ended up sleeping in the main room with all the girls so they could sleep a little easier. I am most impressed that we got about 15 girls showered and ready for bed in an hour with only three showers. They did a great job. Lights were out at 10:00 and they fell asleep quickly. Here was our group.

We had two classes on Wednesday and then rode the bus back home. I picked up Claire from camp and she, Lily, and I all napped in the living room for a couple of hours. I never thought the day would come when I could close my eyes and trust that she would be in the same place when I opened them. That calls for a celebration, I think.

By the way, I know a couple people said that they tried to comment and it wouldn't let them. I think I fixed that. I would love to hear from you if you are reading this. I can share a lot more about what is going on in our lives with friends and family by blogging but I miss the other side of the conversation. What's going on with you???

Sunday, September 6, 2009

When the Campgrounds are Full

I love camping. Bryan does it to appease me. Our friend Kyle loves camping. Meredith had never been. Even after Saturday night, she still really hasn't. We had a plan to go to Starved Rock State Park over Labor Day weekend but so did a lot of other people. Enough, in fact, to fill the campground. And every other campground we tried too. So, we did what all people should do in this situation and we set up camp in our backyard. We had a fire, brats, s'mores, a night hike, and slept in a tent. We had a good time and I'm sure the neighbors were entertained. Especially since they moved in that day. That's right! On their first night in their new house, their neighbors were their yard. It's okay. We're cool like that. And here is the proof.

This is the tent all set up.

On our night hike we found a playground...that closed at dusk. It was an "attractive nuisance" as Bryan called it. It's lawyer talk for "It looked too fun to leave alone".

This was where it all went down. A good game of Truth or Dare. Or Truth or Truth.

It started raining in middle of the night so we carefully draped the rain cover over the tent. My dad would be appalled but it worked like a charm.

Fun times were had by all!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


This is Bryan's Idea of decorating. It would be pretty cool if it was in our basement but right now they are prominently displayed in our living room. I didn't have the heart to make him move them before our guests came because he was so excited for the big Mizzou game. I'll have to let the friends coming tonight know that I am aware that it is a bit much. Eventually the MIZZOU letters will make their way to the basement.

Claire likes her spot on the fire place too. She thinks the hearth was made just for her.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

That Dog

As everyone knows, Claire came into our lives last October and we have never been the same. Though the days of crying and buyer's remorse are over (mostly), she still leaves us scratching our heads at times. A couple weeks ago I dropped Claire off at PetSmart for boarding while we were away for a friend's wedding. I dropped her off on Friday morning and by noon I had a message on my phone. The message let us know that this might be Claire's last stay because she kept playing in her water bowl and it was corporate policy that she have water available to her 24 hours a day.

We began problem solving mode almost immediately. One of the sweet ladies at PetSmart suggested that we use a Guinea pig water bottle. Brilliant. It will surely work, we thought. I dropped her off on day one, so giddy that we had figured out a plan. When I went to pick her up, they gave me the water bottle and let me know that I was going to have to get a better hook to go around the bottle and attach to the wires on the kennel. On day 2 of the water bottle experiment, I took her with her water bottle and a metal clip that seemed fairly indestructible. This time when I picked her up I was given a baggie with the "remains" of her water bottle clip. She chewed through the metal and stretched the spring hook to three feet long. Silly girl.

Our first glimpse of success came tonight. I got really creative and rigged up my own version. Claire now goes to camp with her own water bottle, a dryer hose clamp, and her own screwdriver. She never ceases to amaze me.