2014 – Day 239 thru Day 286 – August 27 thru October 13

WOW…  hard to believe that it’s been well over a month since my last blog update!  It’s definitely been a busy fall around here.

Saying G'bye to the girls at the Orlando airport
Saying G’bye to the girls at the Orlando airport

So, the highlights…  last I wrote, Doodle was visiting Nana and Grandpa for a few nights.  K-Cat joined her up there that weekend, and Hubby and I headed down to Orlando to visit Jay Pea and Loo Hoo.  It ended up being a fairly eventful visit – first, the minivan (Jay Pea’s primary transportation) decided it was the perfect weekend to give up for good.  It wasn’t actually beyond repair, but the estimated cost to repair it was over $1,000.  We decided we had put enough money into the van and, while it had been a great vehicle for us for several years, we chose to donate it instead of having it repaired again.  That meant that Jay Pea and Loo Hoo would be down to only one vehicle between them.  Next, we learned that Loo Hoo’s employer was closing their doors for six weeks for remodeling.  They offered her a temporary relocation, but it was to a place over 30 miles away!  Additionally, Jay Pea learned that her hours were being cut back severely as fall is off-peak at Disney.  So, after a lot of long talks and serious dream and goal evaluation on the girls’ parts, we all decided that their best move would be to move back to Minnesota.  They also really missed being a part of Doodle’s and K-Cat’s lives, so this was absolutely the right move.

Hubby and I flew home on Wednesday morning and I caught an afternoon flight to Connecticut for work.  Hubby picked up the girls from Nana and Grandpa’s on Thursday and, by Friday afternoon, we were all back home safe and sound.

Doodle pretending to be a giant hamster at Family Fun Fest
Doodle pretending to be a giant hamster at Family Fun Fest

That weekend, we focused on helping Ukraine and her family get settled in and spent Sunday at Family Fun Fest at Grace.  The next week, Doodle and K-Cat started gymnastics, and Hubby and I settled back into the routine of work and school.

K-Cat shows off her jumping skills at Family Fun Fest
K-Cat shows off her jumping skills at Family Fun Fest

Awana started mid-September; we had a quick round of lice (just K-Cat this time, and, now that I have practice picking nits, we were able to get rid of them immediately and did not have any recurrences!).

We had the chance to connect with The Gamers again later that week, and, on Saturday, September 13, Hubby and I took in a Crown College football game and a late-season demolition derby – talk about a dream day for Hubby!  The weather was nice, and the demolition derby was a lot of fun.  The football game was fun (we had great company with us – met up with The Gamers there), but it wasn’t exactly a high-quality, competitive sporting event!

Hubby loves a good demolition derby...
Hubby loves a good demolition derby…

The next week, we were back to gymnastics, Awana, and we added some babysitting as we got to know our “new” family members better.  That next Saturday, K-Cat, Doodle, and I met Gamer Girl and her daughter at Grace for a Girls of Grace event.  It was awesome to spend a day worshiping with friends.  On Sunday, we had The Boss and his family over for dinner; it had been a long time since we’d gotten to just hang out with them, and it was fun to catch up – I love spending weekends surrounded by friends!

Great end of season demolition derby
Great end of season demolition derby

As September came to a close, we took some time to visit The Godfather as he was recovering from knee surgery; we continued gymnastics and Awana, went to BW3 a few times, and spent a weekend volunteering as a family at the Grace Senior High Retreat… well sort of as a family – Doodle went as a participant!  Hubby and K-Cat went North for camp a day early to visit Nana and Grandpa to help them celebrate their anniversary; Doodle and I stayed behind as I had a big work event on Friday and Doodle really wanted to ride the bus to camp with her friends!

On the church bus with Doodle
On the church bus with Doodle

K-Cat auditioned for fall outreach dramas and earned spots in a couple of skits, and Jay Pea and Loo Hoo finally left Florida for a three-day drive home!  They arrived Tuesday night, and we celebrated with Late Night Apps at Applebee’s – a family favorite.

Fall colors in full bloom at Senior High Retreat
Fall colors in full bloom at Senior High Retreat

That Friday, they left again – this time to visit Mema and PawPaw in Denver – luckily for them it was a plane ride this time and not another road trip.  K-Cat and Doodle had a sleepover at Minecrafter’s house so Hubby and I had a quiet night at home.  Saturday, the younger girls were back, and we had a backyard campfire complete with S’mores with Ukraine and her family.

Ready to get our worship on!
Ready to get our worship on!

Sunday, October 5, was the start of drama rehearsals for K-Cat and me.  That means we have to stay longer at church every week, but it also means we get to have lunch dates on the way home every week.  Have drama, K-Cat, Doodle, and I went shopping for Halloween costumes at Goodwill and then K-Cat and I went on a date – dinner at Jimmy John’s and shopping for fall shoes!  Hubby and Doodle snuck in a date also; I hear they had a yummy dinner at Chipotle.

Jay Pea and LooHoo got home on Wednesday; Jay Pea learned that she had in person interviews scheduled for Monday afternoon, and she and the girls started planning a “sister sleepover” for Friday night.

A beautiful Fall day at Valleyfair
A beautiful Fall day at Valleyfair

Saturday, we went to Valleyfair with Braids and Legos (Ukraine’s two older children) – it was fun to ride rides and do some trick-or-treating in the park.  Sunday was more drama practice and then Jay Pea and LooHoo took me out for a late birthday dinner (60 days late =P) at Biaggi’s.  The food was great, and we even got to witness a wedding at the restaurant!

It’s been great to have everyone back together again, but time is definitely flying with a houseful of people and so many things going on all the time!  I’m looking forward to a busy fall as the next couple of weeks promise to stay full…  even in the craziness, life is full of little blessings and small peaceful moments that I’m learning to grab onto and enjoy!

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