County fair

In the Midwest, what tradition says "summer" like a county fair? I spent two days at a fair with good friends, helping out and running errands. Here are a few things I learned:
  • They let crackpots (i.e. me) direct traffic. While I totally rocked the neon yellow vest with reflective tape (ha!), it was a risk to give me a two-way radio. After a few hours in the sun, I found many things funny that probably weren't funny. I'm sure I unintentionally entertained some of the drivers.
  • I still cannot properly apply sunscreen (ow, ow, pain, pain). I always miss some something, like my hairline or the tops of my feet.
  • Goats need privacy when they are giving birth. (WHAT? You put the goats into a barn, where hundreds of people walk through and view their every moment, then you want the goat to have privacy? Did you not realize the goat was pregnant when you dropped her off at the fair?)
  • Growing up, my friend Dayna showed dairy cows at the fair. During a quiet moment, we were watching a young girl lead her animal in the direction of the milk barn and Dayna said with sincere appreciation, "That's a nice looking cow." (Maybe it was the heat or the fact that all cows look pretty much the same to me, but I dissolved into hysterical laughter. Dayna's expression read, "The city girl has lost her marbles.")
  • Farm boys know how to have a good time...I watched some doing backflips...into a pile of manure.
  • The county fair is probably one of the only places where you can run into someone who went to high school with Tom Wopat.
  • I didn't know a shower could feel so good. After layers of dirt, dust, sweat and sunscreen, I was seriously dreaming of hot water, clean towels and a bar of soap. Talk about appreciating the little things!
I carried my camera with me most of the time to capture the details:

And there is another quintessential summer experience in my book. :)


The quintessential summer experience

We've had a HOT summer in Wisconsin so far. My plants look lethargic, the grass is a dull shade of brown-green and people seem to be moving slowly. I am *so* thankful for central air conditioning right now!

But I woke up the other day, feeling a little disappointed with myself. I remember as a child, going outside and playing no matter what. The hotter the better. It's summer! Shouldn't I be doing something outdoors, rather than staying inside all the time?

I started thinking about summer activities, like running through the sprinkler. (My neighbors are probably thankful that I haven't done this.) Or simply sitting in the sun, feeling the sweat bead up on my brow as I wait to be cooled by a hot breeze. About the only thing I'm not interested in doing is shopping for school supplies. I'm waiting until August for that one.

Yesterday I picked fresh red raspberries at a dear friend's home. It was a treasure hunt of sorts, as the best berries stay hidden under the leaves. Then I waded in a cool children's pool to soothe the myriad bug bites around my ankles from the berry picking. Ahh, lazy summer bliss.


Snapshots of life

Hello, blog. It's me again. Your long-lost author. Yes, I know it's been a while since you've heard from me. I could offer some excuses, but since pictures speak volumes (and since I received a lovely new camera for my birthday), I'll share some recent moments instead:

I snapped this photo of my dear friend and her daughter at her sister's elegant April wedding. (Look at those pink cheeks!) It was a pleasure to spend the day celebrating with the bride (whom I've known since she was 11) and her family.

May was an eventful month for my family. My beautiful baby sister graduated from high school. Here she is on graduation day with her best friend. Graduations are always so bittersweet, aren't they? The closing of one door and the opening of another...  

Speaking of another, my brother also graduated from seminary in May. He'll begin work at a small congregation in Minnesota at the end of the summer. I am already missing him, his wife and their sweet little boy. I love this candid picture of him and his son.

My other brother and his wife are expecting an adorable (I can tell this without having seen her yet!) little girl at the end of August. Here's another of my adorable nieces, taken at my sister-in-law's baby shower in mid-June.

I planned games for our church picnic, also in June. Check out the attitude of these little ladies. This picture makes me laugh every time. Personality in spades.

During June, my family went on our biennial vacation. There are now 34 of us, which makes for some challenging planning. Never a dull moment, though. We spent a few days in Minnesota: biking, swimming and riding the alpine slide.

A few of my siblings and their families had an impromptu swimming and canoe outing to celebrate July 4th. It was the perfect way to chill out in 100 degree temperatures. (Ay, caramba!) My little nephew loved playing in the cool mud of the creek bed.
Feel better, blog? I haven't forgotten you. I'll write again soon, I promise. :)
P.S. Happy birthday, America!