We will start off with a picnic and swim at Sibley State Park. After feasting on the usual summer time picnic fair, we roasted some marshmallows and had some s'mores.

roasting marshmallows

When their appetite was satisfied the kids hit the lake. Here's Nora cooling off.


Rosa has officially gotten over her fear of swimming, and joined right in.


Anna mostly stuck to the beach and practiced writing her name in the sand with a stick.


Here's Caleb, Corbin, Nora, and Rosa splashing about.

the 4 swimming

Where are Alex and Ella? Ella was a bit chilled in the brisk wind, so she wanted her favorite person, Alex, to snuggle with her.

Alex with Ella

Here are some around the house shots. Ella turned 5 months old June 21st. Here she is at 5 months. She is such a joyful baby!



Anna is thrilled to have new blue glasses after the otter mishap. (see our spring 2011 page for how THAT happened!)


My gardens went gangbusters with all the rain we got. Butterflies abounded.

a butterfly

At the beginning of July we went to our annual District Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses. This year was extra special for us because Caleb had a part in a mini-drama, and Corbin was going to be baptized! Here's Nora doing one of her favorite activities: chasing the geese.

Nora chasing geese

Ella loves people, so she had a blast there. Here she rests up a bit.

Ella sleeping with Lee

The town has fancy painted geese statues all about. Anna liked trying to find as many as she could. Here's a pretty one she found.

Anna with the goose

Here's Corbin sitting up front the big day of his baptism:


There were 21 people getting baptized that day! Here's Corbin entering the pool.

Corbin going into the water

Corbin being baptized:

Corbin being dunked

And here he is coming out. They had to double dunk him because his toe sneaked up, but he didn't care. He is so happy he dedicated himself to God!

Corbin coming out

All too soon our three day event was over. Here's Alex helping to clean up.

Alex vacuuming

Here is a final shot of Corbin, Nora, Rosa, and Anna with a goose.

the 4 with a goose

Lee, who had been out of a job for a while, was hired by a local company, so we celebrated with a cake. Little did we know it would last only 6 weeks.

Lee's cake

So far, we were having a normal and uneventful summer until July 25th. Corbin and I were staining our new porch swing and the rest of the family was all about, playing. I heard Nora crying from down on the end of the block, where she had been in-line skating. Thinking it was just a scraped up elbow or something, I was shocked to see her arm bending in a way that it should not be able to bend. After a long wait in the E.R., we had our diagnoses: a double fracture of her right arm/ wrist area. Here are some of her x-rays:

Nora's x-ray another x-ray

Poor Nora was sent home with a soft cast, and had surgery a couple days later to realign the bones. Here she is right after her surgery, still pretty groggy.

Nora in a pink cast

She took it all in stride. She wore the pink cast that went over her elbow for a month, then she graduated to a below elbow waterproof cast right before our vacation at the end of August. She finally got her cast off for good September 10th. The bones healed a little crooked, so she has a slight bump by her wrist now, but she doesn't seem to mind a bit.

I finally got around to starting Ella out on some baby food. Here is a picture of the event:

Ella eating baby food

In early August we had a huge amount of rainfall in a short period of time. The city's storm sewers were overwhelmed, and our property is the low point for several blocks. This was the result: Our street out front:

a car driving down our flooded street

and the garage in back (notice my garden behind it! Sob!):

our garage flooded

Thankfully there was no major damage. The kids lost quite a few toys they had neglected to put away and were left on the garage floor. The garage itself seems alright. The house is on a bit of a hill, so it was fine.

Babies have a funny way of growing up WAY too fast, and Ella seems to be in a big hurry to catch up to her brothers and sisters. Here she is at 6 months, showing off her new accomplishment: crawling!

Ella crawling

And, yes, she is still a very happy baby!

Ella playing

All summer long the kids were looking forward to our county fair. Besides entering the Lego Building Contest again this year, Caleb and Nora decided to try entering some pictures they took in the youth photography division in the Fine Arts Building.

The judging took place the night before the fair opened, so first thing when we arrived at the fair we took a look to see how their photos fared. Caleb had taken a incredible shot of a butterfly in my garden. In fact, it was my urging and insisting that it was a spectacular shot that got him to try entering it in the fair. Here is Caleb's picture:

A butterfly

As you can see, Mom knows best. He won first place in his division! Here he is proudly standing by his photo.

Caleb with his winning picture

Nora really wanted to try to enter some pictures, too. She shot about 100 pictures of her cats, and some of my garden flowers. Then she picked out some of the best ones to enter. She took one of our cat, Cookie, one of a flower, and this shot of our other cat, Luigi, drinking out of a cup.

Luigi drinking

She received second place for both the flower and Cookie, and third place for the shot above. Pretty good for an eight year old in an arm cast! Here she is with her second place winning pictures (the big photo of the one-eyed cat to her right, and the big yellow and orange flower right over her head are hers):

Nora with two of her photos

Nora with the Luigi picture

After checking up on their photos, we did the usual looking around and seeing all the animals. Nora and Rosa had to stop to feed a friendly horse.

Nora and Rosa feeding horses

They were having a kids pedal pull, so Nora and Corbin decided to try it out. The kids sit on a kiddie pedal tractor, and as it is pedaled a weight goes up, making it harder and harder to pull. Talk about a workout! Here is Nora trying it out. (With a cast, mind you!)

Nora pedaling

And here's Corbin having a try:

While neither of them placed, they both did their best!

The Sheriff's Mounted Posse was holding stick horse races, so the Nora and Rosa wanted to try it out. Corbin decided he'd try, too. They all had a lot of fun. Here's Corbin in the Stick Weaving Race, where the racers had to weave between cones:

Corbin running the race

We tried to get Anna to give it a go, but she just wanted to be with her blue balloon she picked up at a booth.

Anna in the grass

The other race was a Pennant Race. The racer had to run (with their stick horses, of course) and place their pennant in the bucket and grab another one, then race to the finish. Here's Corbin in action:

Corbin running

The races were divided by age, so none of our kids were competing against each other. Here's Nora doing the Pennant Race:

Nora racing

Here cowgirl Rosa trying her best:

Rosa racing

Corbin came in first place in his age group for the Pennant Race. The trophy was huge! Pretty cool for one who deciding to race at the last minute. He claims it's from running the paper route with his brothers every week.

Corbin with his trophy

Nora placed third in her age group for the Pennant Race, which is amazing with a cast on! While Rosa didn't place, they gave everyone a ribbon (with a horse on it) for participating, so she was happy.

The girls and Corbin also got a ribbon at the old schoolhouse for coloring a picture. Here's Rosa at an olden day desk.

Rosa at a desk

Before we left the fair for the day, the kids visited the clowns and got their face painted and their hair colored. Here's Alex, being Mario (a video game character):


Caleb as Toad (another Mario video game character):


Corbin all clowned up:


Nora as a pink cat:


Princess Rosa:


And Anna, who was too worn out to get herself made up, with her balloon dog


The fun at the fair spilled over into the next day, as Caleb and Corbin wanted to enter the Lego Building Contest. So back to the fair we went.

After we dropped off their creations, we roamed the fair a bit until judging was over. We thought these fancy pigeons were wild.


Nora and Anna took some time to hang out with the horses that had pulled a wagon we had rode earlier.

The girls with a horse

Nora tried out some of the farm equipment for sale.

Nora at the wheel of a 4 wheeler

The kids picked up more of the balloons from various booths and played around with them for a bit.

Corbin with a balloon

We also hung out in the kids booth a bit. Nora made a play-doh snake.

Nora with her creation

Finally the judging was done. Caleb had put a lot of time and effort into his Lego Concert, so we weren't too surprised when he placed first in the teen division. Here he is with his creation:

Caleb with his Lego creation

Corbin placed second place in his age group for his Lego Father and Son. He, too had put a lot of effort into his creation.

Corbin with his Lego creation

On the way out the gates we hear Caleb's name over the loudspeaker. He has won a football! Here he is with his win, not yet inflated.

Caleb with his football on his head

The kids truly had a blast at the fair this year!

We will end our summertime fun with a couple pictures of Nora right before she had her pink cast taken off.

Nora in her cast Nora again in her cast

Next up, our vacation! But that's another adventure.

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