My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What a Reunion

Our June felt a little like a last hurrah, a frenzy of activity before I got so huge that traveling became too much to handle! The month flew by, because our feet barely touched the ground. Our big trip for the summer came toward the end of June and started with a visit to Marshall for the Moorse Family Reunion. And what a reunion it was! Even though I barely knew the majority of relatives there (this was a reunion with all of my grandpa's siblings and their families), they sure put on a great day... and they thought of everything to keep our kids busy and entertained!

But first things first: We arrived on Friday in time for dinner, joining my parents and Tony and Catherine's family who had already arrived. We ate dinner at the good ol' Wooden Nickel, the place to be in Marshall, at least for the Moorses (fun fact: after our wedding rehearsal, nearly TEN YEARS AGO, the whole wedding party and family went there for drinks. I've got a soft spot for the Nickel, as well as a collection of plastic cups from that night). We swung by the park near Grandma and Grandpa's house on the way home to burn off some energy before bed, and then Tony and I drove the cars home while Paul and Catherine walked the kids across the park and over the Troll Bridge back home.

Saturday was the big day for the reunion, but we had lots to do before it began in the afternoon. Paul and my parents went out first thing in the morning for a best ball golf tournament, so the kids and the remaining adults decided to go check out the loader! I was so proud of Audrey this year- she still didn't go near the loader, but she didn't hide in the car away from the noise! She was out there cheering on her brothers and cousins... and Edith... who all eagerly climbed aboard and hauled rocks, and even knocked down a few trees! Grandpa claims it was intentional... I'm not so sure.

 Edith loved the loader

Audrey and Edith shared... or tried to share... the stroller to stay out of the sun
Following the loader visit, we stopped by a local coffee shop for some treats to beat the heat on a blisteringly hot day. We came home to await the arrival of the golfers, and then the boys all trucked downstairs for some Super Nintendo time. What a flashback! My grandparents still have the same game that my brothers and I played when we would visit as kids, and now our own kids are hooked on it!


In the midafternoon, we headed out to the reunion site. First was snack and lawn game time, followed by a hay ride to the neighboring family farms to see the animals. I stayed back, thinking heat plus tractor-drawn-wagon didn't sound too appealing to this very preggo mama. But I wish I could have seen the kids with the animals! My mom's cousin told her she planned the hay ride just for the "city kids" to get to see some real farm animals, and I'm so glad she did! Max fell in love with the baby bunnies, my mom told me later, and I could tell from the pictures she took that he was on cloud nine.

Later in the day, after a delicious dinner of roasted pork, a great potluck variety, and a huge table chock full of desserts, an award was given out for best outfit. I failed to mention earlier that my Grandpa and every one of the members of his family wore matching custom t-shirts- and it won us the prize! I think my grandpa was pretty proud.

"Larry's Crew: Made in America, Originated in Belgium"
Audrey's got a soft spot for her Great Grandpa
After Mass and lunch the next day, we packed up the car and continued west to Rapid City for the rest of our trip. We packed so much into the few days in Marshall that it's hard to believe that was only a small fraction of the trip to come. I'll be writing more about that another day, there is so much to tell!

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Little Minecraft Party That Could

Three years ago, my sons discovered Minecraft. For awhile it eclipsed everything else in their lives; every waking thought was about creepers, diamonds, farming, mining, and building. I'm not saying that the game is bad in itself... in fact, it is very creative. But it took over and drove me absolutely bonkers. But over the years I have implemented some major changes in their Minecraft intake, and I'm happy to say that it has turned from obsession to one interest among many.

For Max's 7th birthday, he wanted a Minecraft birthday party. Since his birthday is on Christmas, and we were traveling, I totally dropped the ball and didn't plan any party at all. The next year, he and Lucian requested a joint Minecraft party... and again I totally failed to plan a party. Holidays, more traveling, winter, blah blah blah. Lots of excuses. First I thought I'd plan it for January, near Lucian's birthday, but we took two large trips in January and it just plain didn't happen.

Feburary? That's not too far from birthday season. But now there was morning sickness to contend with. No party.

March... still sick. No party. I told the kids we would try for a Minecraft Spring party.

April... May...  running out of excuses, but life just seemed so busy! I couldn't find the energy to make it a priority.

Finally at the end of May, I sent out an email to a few friends with a possible date for a party. Amazingly, everyone was able to make it! I got to work on the cake (the number one priority in my boys' minds), bought a bunch of food, and planned a few silly Minecraft-related games.

The day of the party arrived and the boys were ecstatic! They decorated the house with Minecraft themed drawings, they set up all of the games, and they both dressed up as Steve (the main character in the game). Their friends came with their families, and it was actually fun and fairly relaxing, even for me! There was a pinata, Pin-the-Sword-on-Steve, and Enderman Tag. There was Lava to drink, themed snacks, and The Cake. My normally impossible-to-please eldest son told me that the cake was absolutely perfect. I can die happy now.

Max was so excited, he had to capture the making of the cake
My cake
A Minecraft cake... see the resemblance??
I'm pretty sure the kids had a good time too, snacking and running around and snacking some more. And now, after what seems like years, the party that has been hanging over my head is in the past, checked off as complete! No more worrying about when the Minecraft Party will finally happen, it happened! And it was a blast. 

Lava to drink, redstone (strawberries), experience orbs (green grapes)  and much more!

A Princess Turns Four

We have a princess in the house! A far cry from her Thomas the Train party for her third birthday, this year it's all about FROZEN. Princesses, tiaras, swirly skirts, the whole shebang is what she wanted. What she got was a homemade Frozen cake, which she helped to decorate, and a plastic tiara to wear while swimming at her pool party. Good enough? Good. 

Audrey's fourth birthday was on a beautiful Friday in mid-June, and we celebrated by making a cake for her party the next day, opening one birthday present from her brothers, and having McDonalds for lunch. Paul was leaving for the Grandma's Half Marathon in the afternoon, so we were on our own for the evening and most of the next day. The kids played outside and we had a relaxing day... and I think we probably watched a movie in the evening. Probably a princess one that Audrey chose. (I'm not going to apologize for my lack of memory!) 


In the morning we got up right away and went out for donuts at our favorite stop, Granny's. We walked into the donut shop and what did we find? A clown making balloon animals! Now, if you're not familiar with Granny's, this is about the last thing I expected in this little hole-in-the-wall hidden gem. But apparently just for Audrey's birthday, they pulled out all the stops! She was in heaven. 
We then got all packed up and headed down to Grandma and Grandpa's for the big birthday party! When asked who she wanted to invite, she told me, "Gianna and Josie and my cousins and all my grandmas!" which is (almost) exactly what she got! Gianna and Josie, her two little friends, came with their families, her cousins came, and so did two of her great-grandmas! The only grandma missing was Grandma Yantes, but thankfully we got to celebrate with her in Rapid City a few weeks later. And Uncle Patrick did an OK job of filling in the gap.  

It doesn't sound like a long list of attendees, but when you count up all the children in all of the families, we had 13 kids at the party! It was a little crazy... especially seeing as Edith decided that that day she would suddenly become completely fearless around the pool. And decide not to nap. I spent much of my time trying to keep my youngest child alive, and my mom had to take over a lot of the meal preparation that I had planned to do while my afraid-of-the-water two year old was napping. Ah well. She's a saint, and she took it in stride (thanks a million, Mom!)

Paul arrived with Patrick and Anne in the late afternoon, just in time to grill up hot dogs for the hungry masses. Everyone piled out of the water to eat, and then piled right back into the pool after cake. Audrey was super brave, tooling around with her life jacket and a pool noodle... I think she wanted to be in on all the action, but she's still a little small to play water games with the big boys. She made a rule that there would be no battling at her birthday party, so her brothers and the boys had to put aside their Star Wars games for the day. 

All in all, it was a successful party! Audrey had a blast, and that's all that really matters in the end. My sweet little girl with the big personality is getting bigger by the day! I'm so thankful for her.