I love getting to spend time with my family! Over labor day weekend we did just that, spent time with family. After a very busy Saturday; Sunday afternoon meant naps. I've never been much for naps (my poor mom) so Gracie, my mom and myself decided to spend some time outside on a beautiful summer afternoon. We headed downtown and our first stop was the sculpture park.
1-2-3 JUMP Next stop the fountain. Gotta love camera timers :) although my pants got very wet.
I love hanging out with this girl. It was so cute as we rode in the car she sat in the back with her legs crossed - window down and just smiled. LOVE IT!
I think there was a sign that said do not touch - so Gracie decided to "ride" instead.
This daily devotional is both inspirational and encouraging. John Maxwell does a great job of bringing many of his concepts and scriptural meditations into this daily devotional/journal. He hits on topics ranging from leadership, success, mentoring and stewardship, all topics that leader's have close to their hearts. I really like the way this devotional is set up. He provides scripture to start with, unpacks that scripture with a short teaching and follows up with space to journal. Each day has something a little different. Some days encourage, others challenge but they are all Biblically based.
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I just finished reading Praise Habit Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi, by David Crowder and I have to say it is fantastic. David digs into what it means to give God praise and he does so by unpacking the Psalms. This book is full on tangents and hilarious stories from David's own life that I could relate to. At times, I was wondering "Where is he going with this story..." but then he would tie it together with the Psalm and it would open up new understanding of God. David does an excellent job of pointing out God in our everyday lives. I am already a big fan of David Crowder and his music, this book didn't disappoint me! David Crowder is a great writer and a good example of a man in love with GOD as a follower of Jesus Christ...and look at that hair, how can you not laugh!
The Pella Vande Lune's stayed at our house and Nathan remembered that I have a few electric guitars and he thought that he should give one a try. He has been practicing his own acoustic guitar at home, so this was a good chance to try his hand at an electric. He didn't sound too bad and his little brother Aaron thought he was good enough to dance to!
Every Labor Day weekend, Dayton Iowa holds their annual rodeo! The Pella Vande Lunes stayed at our house and the OC Vande Lunes were in town staying with the Stroud's, so we all made the trip to catch the rodeo. Before we left, Nathan and I practiced being cowboys by shooting my b.b. gun at a cat running through our backyard. ...with a little help, he is a good shot!
We were all dressed up in our western wear...Nathan was looking sharp in his cowboy shirt and hat!
Heather and Addy were excited to be at the rodeo. We found a pretty good spot on the hill and had a picnic dinner.
...you can't have a rodeo without a bag o' beer!
...and some bucking broncos!
Two city slickers pretending to be a cowboy and cowgirl for a night!
We even managed to get a smile out of Brent!
The intermission show had two buffaloes running around the arena!
...and the cowboy wrangled the two buffalo up on his trailer and then he rode his mule to the top and stood on his back...amazing!
Nathan and I enjoying the rodeo...giddy up cowboy!
We had a great time at the rodeo. There was plenty of action to watch and lots of culture to take in! It was fun to watch the kiddo's watch the rodeo and all the cowboys. At one point, Gracie noticed that the cowboys have to take turns going into the arena...just like the kids at school have to take turns sharing their toys, a great lesson learned!
Heather and I have a bit of tradition around our birthday's, we don't work on each other's birthdays. This year Heather's birthday fell on a Monday, so I was more than happy to take the day off! We started off celebrating with some breakfast pizza from Casey's and then headed to Gray's lake to test out the aqua bikes! The bikes were actually easier to pedal around the lake than paddle boats!
Heather and I having a blast as we pedal around the lake!
...and we got to wear some stylish life-vests!
After we pedaled around the lake we headed home to get ready for an evening out (or at least that is what Heather thought). The week prior, Kim, Joni and Dawn contacted me wanting to set up a surprise, so while Heather was getting ready the gals were in the basement waiting. Before we left, I asked Heather to let Riley out in the backyard, she went downstairs to find her surprise! They took her out for dinner and then back to our house to watch the Bachelor Pad.
To celebrate Heather's birthday the Stroud's, the Pella Vande Lune's and Heather and I headed to the new Ankeny aquatic center for some fun in the sun! The aquatic center has what I call the toilet bowl slide. It is a steep drop into a big bowl that spins you around then dumps you out the bottom, flushes you out the bottom. Brent and I thought it would be worth a try. If that little girl in the purple swim suite can go down this slide, we can too!
The slide was fast and it whipped me around that toilet bowl and before I knew it I was flushed out the bottom...you can see me getting flushed out the right side of the bowl!
Nathan wanted to try his hand at a slide so he and Grandma Doreen went down the big blue slide!
Papa Brent's turn next!
Chad and Nathan went next and by their smiles, the blue slide is awesome!
Papa Brent and Aaron are cool hanging out in the shade.
Nathan was showing me how well he can swim in the deep end of the pool...so much fun!
Papa Brent and Grandma Doreen took Aaron on a trip around the lazy river.
...while Chad showed us his best cannon ball!
Shay and Heather enjoying the sun poolside.
Heather and I took advantage of a pool break and tested out the big blue slide...and sure enough it was fun!
Group picture at the pool!
Nathan and I took a break, he told me all about life in the "4's" room.
Chad and Shay are all smiles as we wrap up the afternoon at the pool.
Heather and I enjoying a great day at the pool!
We had a ton of fun swimming and soaking up the sun and celebrating Heather and her birthday!
As tradition, Heather and I spent a full day at the fair and this year it was Thursday that we headed to the fun! We met up with the Pella VL's for a fun filled day at the fair! First stop, the horse barn. Nathan and I were both excited to see all the horses. I would ask Nathan what each horses name was...more often than not it was Bronto. They were getting the horses ready for the competition, Nathan thought it was cool until the horse stomped his foot and startled him a little bit!
Outside they were getting the miniature ponies ready for showing too!
Nathan and Aaron were taking in all the sites.
Heather and the Big Bull
Outside the horse barn there was a one man band!
At the varied industries building we checked out the quilts...this one was done by my boss at work...nice job Eric!
Heather was really impressed with this dress and it's puffy sleeves!
I was really impressed with this needle point version of 3 wolf moon!
This years sand sculpture was Star Boars...
We also saw a replica of the world record corn stock standing 32 feet tall!
And as always...the butter cow!
We then headed up to some bubblers to cool off!
Shay and Heather enjoying the cool water.
Aaron wanted to check out the water as well.
Nathan showed his brother how to cool off.
After we cooled off we were just in time to catch the high diving show, it was amazing how they dove into the water from all different heights!
...not just regular diving, acrobatic diving as well!
...and the finally, a 85 foot dive!
Chad and Nathan headed down the giant slide!
All the way to the bottom and laughing the whole way!
The Pella VL's headed home around 4-ish and Heather and I headed over to catch the 5 o'clock news featuring Vocal Trash, a percussion based band.
We also sat and watched the horse show, the Percheron horses to the Shelton ponies.
...all decked out in their finest!
It was funny to watch the Shelton ponies trot next the the big Percheron horses and compare their sizes.
We did see a little excitement, as the ponies were warming up one of horses got scarred and took off running with the rider and chariot in tow. Despite the riders best effort, she couldn't get the horse to stop, it ran through the barriers...unfortunately they didn't make it back in time for the competition. As we were heading out I saw this Farmall M tractor for sale...my dad grew up driving a Farmall M and has always wanted to get one.
We had a great time at the fair this year! We took in all the sites and sounds that the fair has to offer and we can't wait for next year. We had a ton of fun with the Pella VL's and enjoyed watching the boys explore.