Friday, August 21, 2009

A little bit of country...

One of our summer trips this year was out to the midwest to visit the Van Essen side of the family. We spent about a week at my Grandma's house and were able to see all of my aunts and uncles and most of my cousins and their kids. I am one of 23 cousins on that side and Annika is one of 25 great grandkids...5 baby girls under 1 year! Needless to say we had a blast with everyone and were sad to leave...though we were ready to get AJ back in her own bed a sleeping a little better through the night. The JVE initials above are up on one of the hills on my Uncle Virg's farm. The JVE is for my great grandpa Jake Van Essen. One of my grandpa's brothers, Hank, decided to arrange those rocks on the hill one summer over 70 years ago. Later that year he died of a ruptured appendix, so the family has kept up the initials both in honor of my great grandpa and great uncle Hank. I remember participating in the moving and painting of the rocks back when I was in junior high or highschool. It was fun to be able to go up there again with Eric and AJ and hear the story told by my great uncle Wes. For more pictures see my sister's blog..."The Schenks."
Morgan continues to love being around her cousin. Here the girls are "wrestling" with Auntie Lyndsay. Morgan and Ethan were both sick so we tried to keep AJ away from them to keep her healthy...that was no small task. AJ stayed healthy but I think I caught whatever was going around once I got back to San Diego. Summer colds are no fun! Annika is just starting to really like being around other kids (and she can defend herself a little better:)) so I think our next trip up to see the cousins will be lots of fun!
Annika and I love to read and do crosswords together.
My cousins Jer and Kimber have a cabin on a lake where we used to have family reunions. They were very generous in allowing us to come out for the afternoon and play on the jetskis and go for a boatride...AJ loved the ride and actually slept for a good portion of it. We had a great time out there. Thanks guys!
My Aunt Gloria and Uncle Brian hosted Eric, AJ and myself for a night before the rest of my fam arrived. It was so fun to be able to spend some time with them. AJ loved her great aunt Gloria. Hope to see you guys out here again soon!
We spent a couple of lazy afternoons out on my Grandma's front lawn. The boys golfed around the house while we played with the girls. One evening we even got a nice midwest summer rain storm. We all sat out on the porch and watched the was awesome.
Ethan is so sweet with Annika. Its so fun to watch them together.
This picture is for grandpa Jung. We had to take it since we were in John Deere country...but he sells CAT equipment...I'm sure we'll get her on a CAT soon.
Annika's favorite thing to do at Grandma Great's house was to play with these bears and talk to the doll. She spent a good half hour in front of those bears every day.

Here we are at Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Elaine's farm. We got to see lots of cows and pigs and play on the swings and even go down a big slide. Wish I had a picture of Annika's face when she went down the slide with daddy...she wasn't too sure about it!

My Uncle Virg celebrated his 60th birthday while we were there. His wife Fay threw him a big party and lots of the cousins were there. Here eric and my cousin Cory are holding a water balloon sling so that all the cousins could try to shoot water balloons into the opening at the top of one of the silos...they spent a couple of hours trying to do this and had a blast. We all had fun watching them. Lynds and I always talk about how fun it would be to live closer to everyone and to get to see them more often...we are grateful for the opportunities we do get to see them! Hope to get out to see you all again soon. Thanks for a great visit and thanks for hosting us grandma! And also a special thanks to nana for helping with the kids all week! What would we do without you?

Sorry if my thoughts are a bit random on this post...I've had annika on my lap this whole time and she is trying to eat everything on Eric's desk:) For some reason she has decided to only take 30 minute naps since we got back from MN...I hope this is just temporary!


Lyndsay said...

Great post Kara! Bummer about the naps...I hope they get better too! I guess now that she's actually sleeping at night she thinks she doesnt have to take naps;) It'll get better:) Love ya

Tatum said...

Great post Kar! Looks like you guys had a blast out in the country :) miss you guys!