Something So Big

Saturday, August 25, 2012

12 Years of Happiness

He's going into 6th grade.  Middle School.  People say middle school is/was a tough time, and I suppose it is.  But how can you NOT have some fun with this age?  You can talk and joke with them, use sarcasm with them, strangle hug them, laugh with them, cry with them, pray with them, pray for them.  Today is his birthday and all week he's been saying "12 years of happiness, Mom."  Now here's a guy that has a passion for life!
Speaking of passion....that is something he and I definitely have in common.  When we like things, we really, REALLY like them.  When we dislike things, we really, REALLY dislike them.  We laugh hard.  We cry hard.  We love to create.  We go full-speed ahead sometimes, trusting that everything will turn out alright...and it usually does, thank God.  But sometimes, things don't go our way.  We make lots of messy mistakes.  We get hurt.  This picture does not show you the birthday gift he gave himself yesterday:  7 stitches on his forehead.  That's what you get when you & your friends are tickling each other in the wee hours of a sleepover in a very dark basement.  (Should have left a night light on!)  Ah, but it was worth it.  The fun, the friendship.  No going slow for this guy.  It's been that way ever since he was born.  (This is the 4th time he's cut his head open.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CYRUS JAMES!!  We love you and are so proud of you!! (But please, God, help us to keep him safe and sound in our care for many, many more dozens of years!!)

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."--Psalm 91:14-16

Thursday, August 23, 2012

22 Years of Campin' Out

Cheers for the Engelke Camp-out!
Wynne & Shae toast their campsite
The 22nd Annual Engelke Camp-out took place a few weekends ago at Blackhawk Lake.  This was the Siegert campsite.  You can see other branches of the family tree at their tent/camper-sites in the background.
Wynne let Paige sleep in her little tent, as she opted to sleep in the big tent with her mom and dad.  (Thanks to my mom for letting us borrow theirs!! Not sure if we would have had room in our tent for all of those little varmints.)
Dan and Tammie were the hosts, and this was our main gathering spot.  

Stuart and Faye get the award for Most Organized Campsite.  They had an awesome tall tent (Cabela's), a screen tent for the children to play, a camp stove, and awesome activities planned out for their little darlin's (Arek and Leila).  Wynne was a frequent visitor to their site!
Early morning fishing with the cousins.  It was not easy to catch fish with Gabe's LOUD talking;)

Cy caught some plant life!
Claire managed to snag an actual fish!  I think it's a blue-gill but I am so unversed in the ways of the angler.  You'll have to ask someone else for sure!

Besides the lake, there are great trails (very challenging, steep ones included!), a beach, volleyball, shelters, and a miniature golf course.  I took the kids mini-golfing after the fishing bug wore off.

a truckload of cousins
The course was challenging.  For many of the kids, it was the first time they'd ever mini-golfed.  I was impressed that we lasted over an hour at this!
Wynne, Shae, Catherine, Paige, & Garrison
The "Big Kids" (I can't believe they're old enough to call them "Big Kids" now) took on the whole course with gusto.
Gabe, Cy, Claire & Ally

The "Even Bigger Kids" were playing beach volleyball when we returned to the lake!

Do you have any snacks for us, Uncle Brian??
Saturday afternoon brought rain.  RAIN!!! You know, that water that falls from the sky?  We hadn't seen or felt it in several weeks.
The cousins gathered under a canopy for some Monopoly........

....while the older cousins and uncles played Poker, which is usually reserved for late nights at such events.  But what else can you do when it's raining at your camp-out?
Clockwise from front left:  Jared, Nick, Mike, Dan, Stu, Ken, Kaleb & Brian
Another fun year of getting grimy and campy with family........thanks Dan, Tammie, Dani, and Rheann for hosting!

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?--Isaiah 40:12

Friday, August 17, 2012

Another Trip, Another Pool!

On our wild week of water adventure, we zipped on down to the Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark in Dubuque.  Mark's football team had given us a gift certificate at the end of last season (which was very very nice of them!), so we figured we better use it before it expired.  It was a fun little getaway, and always good to go to such places in mid-week when the crowds are low.
 I didn't take many pictures in here because I was also swimming and getting very very WET!
We hit Little Caesar's and Dollar Tree for supper...

 and watched the Olympics.  I love how the Olympics bring us all together, rooting for hardworking athletes from around the world!
On the way home, I realized I had left my beloved memory foam pillow at the hotel.  Good thing we were only a few minutes away when I had this realization.   Can't sleep very well without my memory foam pillow! I know; I'm getting old. ;0)

Recent and Ancient History

The Putnam Museum has a wonderful floor filled with its community's (and our country's) origins.  I love local history!
Look who's homesteading!

 Time to check out the artifacts collected from the Orient!
This museum was truly for all ages.  Interspersed with the exhibits were interactions for young and old.  Shae wrote her name in Egyptian hieroglyphics.
 This was our first-ever look up close and personal with REAL mummies.  Very, very cool.
 B.J. Palmer (Palmer Chiropractic College) was a world traveler who somehow purchased such items at auctions.

 The one on the left is a false canopic jar.  See how it has no lid?
 Over in the ocean exhibit.....
 ...complete with a macramed coral reef!  It was really very colorful and realistic-looking.
 How many pictures have we taken with Cy and his beloved Nockeruses?? Too many to count.
 I agree with Wynne, this part of the museum was much more fun than the dinosaurs :)


YIKES!   Get out of Jurassic Park, people!! 

No need to's the dinosaur exhibit at the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa!
Cy was in heaven with the T-rex.  He moved his forearms and head when a car passed by him.  Pretty darn scary if you ask me !!

See what I mean?  Does this look like something you'd like to see out on your daily stroll in the park or woods?
There will be no pictures of Wynne in this post because she was hiding behind me the whole time.  I had to carry her most of the time.
The pictures make them look more cartoon-like than they really were.
Small but vicious!  I really didn't blame Wynne for not wanting to enter this room.
Okay, there's Little Bear in the that we are past the animatronic dinosaurs and into the bones area.

A short post, but my poor blog needed some company so here are the photos.  One day I hope to return to more meaningful writing, but for now - enjoy our day trips with us!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Swimming & Green in the land of Moline

Last week was our ONE WEEK OFF from school.  Summer school obligations were over, so we took a little trip down to the Quad Cities and stayed in the Stony Creek Inn of Moline, Illinois.
Our hotel room was fabulously large enough for all of us, and it was decorated in the hunter/fisher motif.  It only took us 1 hour of driving around the Quad Cities to decide on this hotel, as we were looking for a waterpark resort (which they do not have).  We were all so glad to get back to this place, which was the first place we had stopped!
 Our kitchen for one night.  I made a trip over to the local Hy-vee for supper, and we enjoyed watching the London Olympics, too!
The next morning it was over to the John Deere Pavilion.  The history of it was my favorite part, of course.  It all started with John Deere's invention of the steel plow.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Then came the tractors....

...and the BIGGER tractors!  I mean, look at the flight of stairs just to get up into this combine!!

The neat thing about the Pavilion was that it was VERY hands-on, as Shae demonstrates.  
Many people think of John Deere Green (agriculture), which is just one part of it.  There are also the construction and forestry divisions.  And probably some divisions I haven't even learned about yet.
Check out the autonomous tractor.  No, there is no seat for a driver...because as the name suggests, it is driven by ITSELF!  And yes, it is already out in the fields in some places!!
The Discovery Zone was fascinating for kids young and old.  Did you know that corn is one of the ingredients in glue, or that soy is in toothpaste?  I didn't. 

 This tractor/insect/thingie is a forest harvester. (Sorry Mark B. for my shameless description/title!!)  Pretty neat, though, huh?

 Cy tried his hand at operating (via video) an excavator.  Not as easy it might look!

All in all, a great place to visit!  (Even though they're probably Bears fans.)

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.--Genesis 8:22