Friday, July 31, 2015


July has been a full month! Rachel headed back to high school today, beginning her sophomore year. In some ways, that means summer is over. At least the rest of us have one more week before we start our schooling.

The month began with a trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art with some of the high schoolers from church for a picnic and tour.

Mom came along and, as always, got the young kids going on fairy houses:

The gardens always help me to feel a million miles away:

This was a new flower to me:

Everywhere you look there is beauty:

Then came the Fourth of July and the town's parade:

And a picnic in our backyard:

 The kids had a fabulous time and had some sort of game involving shields going on:

Andrew and Michael made it up to the roof to make some repairs. This was a fun adventure for Andrew:

Laura is my little tag-along. She loves to be out in the garden with me. Here's the garden at the beginning of the month:

James had the privilege of taking a week-long art camp. Every morning I got to drive him through adorable Zionsville, oohing and aahing at these houses all the way. James made pottery and used all kinds of mediums to make art creations throughout the week. Definitely a highlight of the summer for him.

We had lots and lots and lots of rain! We tried to visit our secret beach and instead found this: (and the kids couldn't understand why I wouldn't let them go in!!)

College Park VBS is a family tradition. Like last year, I spent most of that time shopping at Goodwill Outlet. It's the best chance of the year for me to do that. More on my finds in another post.....

Andrew and I spent hours and hours on genealogy, getting ready for 4h. This is our fourth year to do this and, of course, each year gets more and more involved. This year we made the surprising discovery that Michael and I are seventh cousins once removed!!! Who could have guessed! Our mother's both descend from the same set of Cady grandparents in Connecticut in the late 1600's! (This is a picture of Gen. William T. Clark):


Cousin John went to VBS too and at the end of the week we went up the street to mom's for lunch!

We also ended VBS week with 4h project turn in:

This was David's first year in 4h proper:

James entered his adorable muskrat painting:

And that same day Michael and I celebrated our 16th anniversary:

The next morning we were back to 4h to turn in James' medieval knight:

The following week we celebrated mom and Davids' birthdays with a picnic at Eagle Creek:

Laura had her yearly MRI and the report looks good! She can repeat it again next year.

James cleaned up the boys' room. Too bad I don't have a before picture. It was epic. This room is where all their creating takes place.

One evening we headed out to the 4h fair to have a look at all the kids' projects and to be amazed by Galaxy Girl who climbed up 127 feet without any safety devices.

Oh yes, we were all amazed and quite scared.

Andrew was excited to win Reserve Champion on his genealogy

Milkshakes at the fair:

And the horse pull -- we never cease to be amazed at these incredibly powerful horses:

And we made it back to our secret beach. Quite a transformation from two weeks previous.

Our last week was spent at Covfamikoi, our church presbytery's family conference, held in Kentucky. It's a great week of fellowship (without having to cook!), good teaching, classes for the kids, and lots of sports activities.

We always love the talent night and the funny little extras that get added in, like the "churches challenge":

The best part of all is forging friendships for the children which will hopefully continue on into adulthood. This volleyball court is one of the favorite activities for the kids!

Here is Laura with her class:

And this is how everyone feels at the end of camp week:

And now that July is nearly over, you can see the amazing progress the garden has made! I think I better get out and pick beans!

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Scotland: Dunblane

Dunblane was the first place in Scotland that we connected with our family history. My mom grew up hearing stories about her grandmother, Christina, and having Christina's two sisters, the Scottish aunties, come visit for lengths of time (taking my mom on very long walks each day!).

Here is a picture of Christina and her childhood home known as "Pitcairn" in Dunblane.

One Saturday we stayed put at Melville Lodge to catch up on schoolwork and housework and spend a lot of time with the farm animals (next post). In the evening we piled in the van and drove north to Dunblane for dinner. 

Dunblane is an ancient town with a very large, medieval cathedral. It is directly north of Stirling.

First stop was the family house, Pitcairn, which is now a rental property.

It is semi-detached and this shows the length of the whole building. It is situated on Old Doune Road in the new part of town.

Then we drove across to the old town, towards the Cathedral.

The old town has narrow streets and lovely old buildings.

And of course the Cathedral dominates the scene. You can see the color change in the lower bell tower -- it dates to the 11th century.

View from the cathedral to the surrounding buildings:

I love this door and how OLD the stonework looks. It is old -- probably 15th century.

View towards the front:

Although this cathedral is not huge compared to others it seems quite large set in a small town.

Lovely flowers nearby:

Picturesque places everywhere you look:

The kids brought their capes for a little imaginative play:

Christina's parents attended St. Blane's which, during those years, was a United Free Church. In fact, I believe William Winton was an elder in the congregation. 

More house pictures:

And little narrow streets:

Christina's parents, William and Georgina, and her two sisters (my mom's visiting aunties) are buried in the cathedral churchyard.

After a good walk around the cathedral grounds we headed to a restaurant across the street. Here is my appetizer: salt beef and apple salad.

Michael had steak:

I had roast lamb:

And Rachel had fish and chips:

Eating out as a family is such a rare treat. Because of the grant, it was possible for us to eat out regularly while we were in Scotland. Boy was that fun! Although it was quite an education for the children and provided a whole new training ground -- how to order, what to choose, how the whole system works. Special memories!

In just a small way our trip to Dunblane, on an ordinary sort of day, with no rush, made it feel like we were going home.