Memorial Day in Memoriam

3:27 PM

 Unprompted cuddling on the couch. Can't beat that.

 With lots of kids running around and a glass storm door, this sort of thing happens a lot. 

 Brooklyn is the oldest of the cousins and somehow, they seem to gravitate to her. In this instance, she (pantless) is setting a good example for Merrick by merely looking at the many tempting pictures precariously positioned on the fridge with an assortment of state magnets. A few years ago and Brooklyn would be leading the charge of flinging the pictures and magnets from the fridge in glee.

 Kyle told me as he took this picture that Brooklyn was demonstrating her ice skating moves. Just pretend she  is standing on ice, instead of a hardwood floor and you'll get the general idea.

 My grandmother is an amazing woman on so many levels. Just one example of her amazingness is that she lives both in Pine Bluff and in Monticello. She has her house with her 21 cats and 2 dogs in Pine Bluff but she drives down twice a week to play the organ for a tiny little Baptist church very near our Farm.  She also has Monticello cats that she tends to on her twice weekly visits. But not nearly as many as she has in Pine Bluff. As a side note, she also has extremely non-Grandma hair - all one length down to her waist which she whips up in a Barbara-designed chignon. Fancy. She also never ever ever wears jeans or pants. Always always skirts or dresses with hose and heels. I kid you not. The woman is incredible. 

Anyway, where I'm going with this is that typically when the whole gang is at the Farm, we do what amounts to a show and tell at her church. Many of its members have been there for ages and have enjoyed watching us grow up from 5 year olds attending their VBS to adults with our own children. 

But on this particular Sunday, my branch of our family abstained from going in order to watch Tim Lundy, one of our pastors at Fellowship Bible Church, preach his last sermon. Sadly, he's leaving us to go to San Jose, CA to join Venture Christian Church as their pastor. For Kyle and I, this man has been a phenomenal teacher to us and we were heart-broken to see him leave. Thanks to online church, we were able to watch live.
 And where I am, there Dorien is also. 

 Notice my ability to concentrate on the laptop while simultaneously chewing my bottom lip and entertaining and keeping my little one happy. By your third child, you find you have mastered all sorts of little skills.

 I confess to being really happy when he collapsed on me, though. I love when he goes all smushy on me. 

 This is our room at the Farm. At the foot of our bed, we pull out a twin mattress that we make into a pallet/dance platform. What you don't see is the large mirror on an even larger armoire that the kids love to watch themselves in (often while wearing nothing other than their undies/diapers and apparently, curtain ties around their waist). Throughout the day or evening, it is hilarious to see all the nieces and nephews wander down to our room and bounce around on the pallet while watching their reflections. 

 My little boy loves me and it thrills me when he chooses to come snuggle with me instead of riding his mini-4wheeler, swim or play with his cousins.

 Not to be outdone, Brooklyn joined me too.

 Again, Merrick sought out her older cousin, Brooklyn. Could have been because B was eating crackers. Merrick tends to find anyone with food.

 Kyle and Josh bonding with their infant sons. Dorien and Gage are 7 weeks apart. I anticipate some good buddies.

 Lulled to sleep by the heat and the motion of the swing.

 Little Gage. Looks just like Josh as a baby.

 The kiddie pool is always a prime gathering spot. Conversations develop, life stories are shared, friendships are deepened, kids are watched over, time is passed in the filtered sunlight of a summer day.

 Chad and Melissa share their story with Michael and Beth.

 Beth and Michael will be married on July 30th and our family is so honored to add her to our numbers.

 Truly a beautiful girl, inside and out.

 When we all go to the Farm, our dogs come too. That means there are 4 dogs who need lots of water to drink. Hence, the enormous watering pail. Which Merrick was happy to find. Although her overalls were dry in this picture, in about 5 minutes, that was not the case. 

 Did I mention paintball? Oh yeah, that's something we also do. Or should I say the guys do. I have no desire to suit up in hot long sleeve shirts  and pants and get eaten alive by mosquitos in the woods or imprinted with paintball welts like my husband.

 August and Bailey.

 This was actually taken after everyone else left the Farm on Monday evening. Kyle and I stayed the rest of the week and just relaxed.  Well, he and I did. The kids wore themselves out playing. August was one happy little  boy.
Best buddies for sure.

 My husband the artist is so good at getting Brooklyn and August to create their own art. And they love it. 

 Hard at work.

 The finished product. Use your imagination.

 What? 

 It's Hat time.

 Roarrr!!!! 

 Bath time evokes large grins.

 Even from Dorien who was just watching for the moment.

 Ah, now it's his turn. Old school style, with the big foam cushion that takes days to dry out. But takes up much less space than the modern infant tubs.

What? I'm clean! I know, you want to kiss me. Everyone does... Sigh.

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