Something So Big

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Looking Back

A couple of months ago, this guy was in the hospital.  It sure was good to be able to celebrate his 81st birthday with him back home yesterday! 
As we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him, I could see him looking around at his wife, children and grandchildren.  I could see the gratitude in his eyes, the love and pride in his heart.  Even though birthdays are a day to celebrate the present and future, they are also a time to look back and reflect.
When my dad looks back, does he remember laughing so hard he just shook when this son did one of his impersonations? 
Does he look at his grandbabies and remember bouncing his own kids on his lap? Giving Mom a breather from almost 3 decades of diapers?
 Does he look at the youngest grandchildren and think back to his first years as a new grandpa?  The wooden toys and cradles he made so lovingly in his shop?  The family resemblance on the inside and out?
 When he hears the children's laughter, does he look back to his first years as a new husband and father?  Does he remember the loud household, all of the leaves in the dinner table, the chairs full of family?

 When he watches these kids play ball, does he look back at his own youth and remember the thrill of the game, the feel of the glove, the throw from short to first?  Does he remember taking time out after a long day of field work and chores to throw a few pitches to his kids?    Does he fill up with pride and joy at the memories of old and the new ones being made?
 The last few times I've talked with Dad, I've had a chance to listen to his memories.  I've seen him look at Mom with a precious look that brings tears to my eyes.  He is so grateful for everything, and yet he does not always verbalize it.  I've told him how important it is--especially for us females--to hear it once in a while.  He understands, and yet he forgets sometimes.  Don't we all?

I can see it in his eyes.  Looking back.  Looking ahead.  Gratitude.

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe."--Hebrews 12:28

After the Rain

Several of Mark's family came over on Sunday to enjoy the extended weekend together.  After the rain, there were several games of croquet.  Ally and Shae joined the grown-ups and hopefully did not learn how to be vindictive like their dad/uncles!
 Word to the wise: don't wear flip-flops when you're playing croquet!  (Unless you don't plan on sending anyone into next week.)
Whenever Siegert boys get together, there's a competition.  Spectators pull up a chair!
 Shae went out and played croquet first-thing the next morning, too!
 Even though it started out chilly and rainy, the afternoon and evening were warm and comfortable. 
 It was also cousin Brooke's birthday, with big sister Taylor turning 16 in just a few days as well!
 After eating all day long (literally grazing), the kids still managed to find room for roasted marshmallows.  By this time, my stomach was so full the very thought of more food made me nauseous!
 Mark built a great campfire, bringing out dry wood scraps from the garage.  You can't let a little rain stop the party!

Freedom is Not Free

Lancaster had a beautiful Memorial Day service in Memorial Park yesterday.  The middle and high school bands sounded fabulous, so majestic!

 Veterans young, middle-aged...
 ...and old were on hand to observe the holiday.  Some shared their memories, vivid and painful.  A neat part of the service was when people came up to the microphone to name their loved ones who have served in past and present wars/conflicts.  I thought of my uncles Donnie, Bub, Dwane, and Jupe (Clarice Jr.) Myers and Erv, Paul, & Cal Engelke...all served in World War II.  My husband's grandfather Jim (Air Force) and father (Navy Seabee, Vietnam) nephew Stuart (National Guard, Iraq 2003-04). 
 Aside from the cook-outs and outdoor games, we need to take time to remember why we have the day "off".  Sacrifices were made and are continuing to be made for our country, minute by minute!
God bless America! Thank you to all who have served and to their families!

Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends.--John 15:13

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cute Things They Say, Wynne at Early Five Edition

"How do we get crumbs in our toes?" --Wynne, age 5, referring to the sock lint & dirt build-up between her piggies

"Remember when Mickey went to the vet, Mom?  It was a pee party!" --Remembering last month's heartworm clinic where Mickey and other dogs got excited all over the floor

"I had a bad night, Mom!" --Frustrated at her "off night" trying to hit the ball three days ago

"It's okay; God made us this way, Mom....I will always come every night after college!"  --Trying to console her mother who is lamenting how her baby is growing up too darn quickly

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hold on Tight!

In the midst of these turbulent times, we hold tight to the Rock of Ages!  God is still God, and He still loves us and cares for us!  This past Sunday marked our last day of Sunday School for the year, and we see God's hand at work in all of the children! 

It's hard to believe that these little ones can grow up so quickly...

Sara, Bianca, Kate, Wynne, Malaina, Abby, Brie (Nolan, Brady)
and turn into BIG kids who are "graduating" from Sunday School already!!
Ally's sixth grade promotion into Confirmation
I told Ally that she has to come back and be a helper next year.  Poor kid; she has no choice ;)  But wow, to think that she will be entering confirmation class with Pastor Mark -- I remember that time of my life so vividly-- it's hard to fathom that my daughter is old enough for this type of thinking and faith.  I am very excited for her, and she is really looking forward to working with Pastor Mark on the whole venture!
Rex Hanson is a brilliant man who is not afraid to share his faith.  He writes, directs, and creates the entire choreographed show (with a professional soundtrack) for No Strings Attached Puppet Ministry.  He and his wife Debbie have an amazing ministry, and we were blessed to have them come back and lead worship for us once again this year.  Thanks to you kids and the parents involved from Hope Church in Dubuque!
No Strings Attached Puppet Team, Hope Church, Dubuque
This year's production was a full-length musical called "Creation Investigation".  The writing was good, the characters and voices were hilarious, and the message was clear...God made the world, everything in it, and He loves each and every one of us.  He has a plan for your life!
"You can't make a chicken from soup!"
After worship several families gathered in the park for a potluck and fun!  Some children inSISTED on performing the gunny sack race all by themselves :)
Hanna, Devany, Mark, Nolan, Kate, & Wynne
It's always nice when the dads take turns spinning the kids around.  Nobody puked, so it was a successful day!
Cy & the gang, Nate D.
Hold on tight!

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.--Isaiah 41:10

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Acquisitions

It was a busy weekend at the Siegert ranch.  One new acquistion was a garden in the front yard.  Mark planted it, and I helped just a bit.  Not much, but enough for him to say, "I appreciate your help"!  Lots of tomatoes, a row of peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and room for peas, beans, carrots and potatoes when we get to them.

May 21 - 2011 garden in its infancy (before weeds)!

The kids get to plant whatever is left over from the "big" garden in their clubhouse garden spot.  I call this Planting in Pajamas...a great way to spend your early Saturday morning!
Later that day, the boys took the truck and brought home two more little boys!
What would we do without Craigslist?  Oh yeah, actually we probably would have used Radio Exchange.  Does anyone remember those local radio call-in shows where you phoned in with your For Sales and Wanted to Buys?

Meet Butch...

...and Sundance!
The kids don't get the movie title connection, but Mark and I thought it was cute.  Cy named Butch right away, and the natural counterpart seemed to be Sundance (or Sunny).  Butch is a 3-week-old Jersey/Holstein bull calf, and Sunny is a 2-week-old Jersey.  To be most accurate, the boys brought home FOUR more boys, not just these 2 guys.  The other 2 little guys were cousins Garrison & Gabe.  Cy was needing some boy play time.  Gabe wanted to name Sunny "Ripjaw" for some reason, but that name just didn't do the calf any favors.  Garrison said, "Where did you get the deer?"
It's been a while since we've had to bottle feed our calves.  Of course when you only have two of them, it's a fun novelty ;)
'Tosi & Chieftain had to come over and say hello before they were shuttled out of the paddock... did our other weekend acquisition, the neighbors' 12 rams!
We had an offer to graze a few fainting goats, too, but had to turn that down due to the possible hoof disease that can spread between sheep and goats.  There for a while we were getting to be a petting zoo!

Oh well, you can always come and pet the kids in the house.  They're pretty much a zoo all by themselves;)

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.--Job 12:7-10

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful that we live close enough to my nephew and his family that we can help them when their babysitter is unavailable.  Hi, Hollie!
I'm thankful for my friend Mary and the awesome middle school youth group that we meet with once a month.  Wish we had time to do it more often!  Hope that God's Word and His love are permeating their hearts!

Big Wheel Races...keeping ourselves on the right track!
I'm thankful for the combination of salty & sweet...kettle corn, chocolate covered peanuts....and this new recipe I found for peanut butter chocolate chip pretzel bars.   Scrumpdilly-icious!!
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.--1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The County B Circus!

Ladies & Gentlemen!  Boys & Girls!  Step right up and watch the show!  Introducing the One...the Only...Wynne the Magnificent!
Lion taming
The pretend center at preschool was a circus two weeks ago, and Wynne really got into it.  She hearkened back to our family's visit last June to Circus World Museum and turned herself into a tight rope walker/contortionist/animal tamer/all-purpose circus performer.  I played a few circus ditties from Youtube, and we were in business!
I took the role of ringleader (along with providing all other sound effects--crowd applause, drum rolls etc.) as our Daring and Talented Performer stood high atop the head of Annie the Elephant (the slide).  Wynne giggled nervously as she stood up there on one foot for a while, then crouched and lay back on Annie's forehead! 
All good circus performers have to wear fancy tights.
Then we oohed & aaahed as Wynne the Magnificent slid down Annie's trunk and landed on her feet, beaming and bowing!  Next up, our Daring and Talented Performer climbed onto the back of one racehorse and jumped to another horse running right beside her!  Precarious indeed!
If you think THAT was scary, just wait!  There's more!  Ladies & gentlemen, I encourage you to look high up into the rafters of the Big Top, where Wynne the Magnificent will attempt to walk forwards and backwards across the tight rope!  Silence, please....this calls for concentration.

That is one crazy, curvy tight rope!

She made it!  Whew!
Wynne sings "Entry of the Gladiators" as she twirls the baton...
...and last but certainly not least, scarf juggling!  Ta-da!!!
Bravo!  Bravo!
This calls for an Encore Presentation when Big Brother & Sisters get home from school....and then an Encore of the Encore for Daddy, too!

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.--Psalm 100:1-2

Little Bear Goes to the Zoo

Last Tuesday was preschool field trip day

Our last one. sniffle.  Here is our Little Bear (another one of the many names that her daddy and I call her)!
Eager preschoolers ready to enter the Henry Vilas Park Zoo!

Guess who had a baby?  The lion couple!!  You can see the cute little guy in the back.  (My close-ups kept focusing on the chain link fence instead of the lions.  I'm sure there's a way to fix that, but I don't know what it is.)
Wynne studied this giraffe for quite some time.  She said, "It looks like it has big boobs, Mom."  I believe she was referring to its front hip bones. ??
Springtime is always a great time to visit the zoo.  It isn't too hot, so the animals are active--even this ancient tortoise! 
Wootsie hopped on for a ride ;)
Wynne's teacher let us all experience the zoo individually with our children.  It was so nice for me to be there with just one child.  I had the luxury of letting Wynne decide where we were going, how long we were going to be there, and to discuss what was on her mind. 
We spent almost two hours just strolling through the first half of the zoo.  To me, the halfway point is the children's area.  Wynne was so proud of herself for climbing up into the big tree all by herself!  "Mom I wasn't even scared this time!" (referring to a year ago)
She even climbed up the big rock without any help from me.
The trip back down, however, was causing her some anxiety!  I made her pause for a picture before letting her jump into my arms.
On the bus ride up, Wynne mentioned how she was looking forward to seeing a porcupine.  I think we were both surprised at how big a porcupine actually is!  This picture shows its back and length of quills (with some additional quills stuck in a trunk).
Bonus:  a great view of the Red Panda!  Isn't it cute??
 My favorite photo taken:  the meerkat :)
After some lunch, we had a little over an hour to explore the rest of the zoo. We got lucky because the bears were out (grizzly and polar), and I bet we stayed with the river otter for a good ten minutes!  The water looked very refreshing by afternoon, as the temps rose into the eighties! This guy could back-flip like nobody's business.

I felt so lucky to be able to spend the whole day exploring with our Not-so-little-anymore-Little Bear!

How many are your works, LORD!

In wisdom you made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.--Psalm 104:24