Monday, August 13, 2012

A Day at the Beach

 Literally, a day was spent on the beach. Even though we rented the cottage for a week, the weather did not cooperate and our timing was off, but a day at the beach is still a day away from everything. Well, except in dear husband's case where he was still working every day. But phones can be answered on the beach and your home office can be set up anywhere so we worked around his working, and had a relaxing time.
 We found this cottage on Craigslist, one of those last minute deals where they rented it super cheap because someone backed out of a contract. The house was the cuteness thing except of course I was itching to decorate it. All white walls, linoleum floors, cast off furniture and 70's decor - beggars can't be choosy! but it had so much potential. If only I could have picked it up and plunked it down at my farm. Oh the potential!
 The girls came along a few days later and we enjoyed their company - wished Andrew and Laura and Mike could have been there too but I guess someone has to have a real job (Just kidding, dear) Kayla kept us up on what to watch in the Olympics and both girls kept the Qwerkle tournaments going. Highest score of the weekend goes to me, I might add!. Since the weather was uncooperative, we hit the shops and outlet mall and of course ate seafood on a number of days.
 Kayla does not care for the beach but she hung in there and got sand in her toes and even a workout with the waves. No one capsized this year - at least in the water.
We call this her Africa tan. She got it three years ago in Africa and it has never left.

 Good conversation while bobbing in the waves

 Bike rides are always fun. Except at Bethany Beach it has gotten very crowded with both cars and people. I had a little accident but my pride was hurt more than my body, so all is well that ends well.
 I could sit for hours and just listen to the waves
A beach picnic with friends, followed by bocce ball until it was too dark to see
 A sandpiper having his dinner

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Real Farmgirl

As shared in previous blog, I made my way to Iowa for a special time with extended family. We had a blast and mom did not let me down! She sang her Iowa song one more time as we crossed the line from South Dakota into Iowa. (We flew into Sioux Falls) More about the reunion later.

We were disturbing their peace
One thing that I knew I wanted to do was spend some time on my cousin's farm. She is the "other" Mary in our family (or maybe that is me?) but in any event when we get together we are inevitably called Mary Anne and Mary Helen so the aunties can get the correct one's attention. Mary and her husband George are farmers. REAL farmers - not wannabes like us who enjoy it as a hobby. Mary and George raise cows (cattle) and pigs (hogs) and even bottle feed baby calves. It was an eye opening tour and made me appreciate meat even more! On a tour of their busy farm, Mary told me that they have 2,200 hogs, over 700 head of cattle, 34 cats, 7 horses (or was it 5?) and 1 big dog. She explained to me all the common misconceptions about farming and raising livestock, and it was rewarding to see how it is really done. They also farm corn and make hay and I am sure do a myriad of other things that I am not thinking about at the moment - this was 2 weeks ago and I'm 50, people!

Meet # 505 - this one was born in May

getting my hand licked

this one got out of his pen and played a game of tag with us

checking you out

why do they like to stand on top of the pile? Is it King of the Mountain?
It was fun to experience a few hours of "real farm," and even more fun to get up close and personal with the baby calves. What a lot of work is involved!

1 dog and 1 cat = 2 friends

Now on to the reunion. Over the weekend there were three main events planned and I saw about 78 aunts, uncles and cousins. Only about 50 were present for the family picture and we should have thought to take one the following day as so many others were present.
Boy cousins in the 1930s
Girl cousins in 2012 plus 1 aunt = 4 generations of Vanden Bosch women

Coffee time at the Dutch bakery

My oldest uncle and his new bride

The aunties root for all teams

2012 (about 2/3 of total attendees representing 7 of 9 families)
The requisite ball game was played with friendly rivalry, a family worship service was held and picnics and coffee times were enjoyed. I ate more dutch pastry than I care to admit, and had so many good dishes at the picnic potluck. Stories and memories were shared, friendships renewed and thanksgiving given to God who is the author of this heritage.