Monday, September 7, 2009

A Camping the Ryans Will Go!!!!

The weekend after the Corn Festival, we all decided to go on a camping weekend together. (Unfortunately, Lori wasn't able to join us that weekend, but we are looking forward to seeing her next weekend when we will go on our last camping trip of the season!) We hadn't gone camping with Joe and Jen since Juliana was about a year old and James was three!

After having seen our pictures from our camping trip to Woods Lake in July, they quickly decided that that was where they wanted to go.....beautiful scenery and a good fishing lake! What could be better? They don't have a lot of camping stuff, so we told them we'd try to make it as easy for them as possible. They did buy a tent, so they did have their own "home". We took two camp spots, side by side....we staked our "claim" in our "regular spot" as we've now camped at the same site three times! We really like it there. Joe and Jen pitched their tent in the adjoining spot, but other than sleeping there, they were with us at our site all the time. We cooked and ate together and had campfires both nights together.

During the daytime, Dusty and Joe took the kids fishing up at the lake and Jen and I hung back at the campsite, visiting and taking care of little Jack. All of the kids did so well that weekend. Camping can be intimidating for young ones, when you take them out of their familiar surroundings, but they all really seemed to enjoy themselves! Even Jack enjoyed watching the breeze blow through the leaves and played contently in his "pack and play". The highlight of the weekend was that both Juliana and JT caught their very first fish! And so now the fishing excitement goes into the next generation of the Ryan clan!!!

Here are some pictures from the weekend......

Our little man, JT...all bundled up in the morning. It really wasn't all that cold!

Jen with Jack

Juliana with her very first fish! Yeah, Jules!!

Jen got matching fleece jackets for all of the boys and a girl's version for Juliana! We couldn't miss out on this photo op!!! So cute!!

One of my favorites of the weekend, of Juliana and her baby brother!

This was the first time we allowed James to clean a fish! You can be sure the adults were hovering close by as he worked with that sharp knife, but he did very well!!

Here is the photo-elusive, Joe Ryan!!

James, deep in thought, about what who knows!!

James and JT, during campfire time!

Father and Son (Dusty and Joe) enjoying the campfire....

JT trying his hand at fishing up at the lake.

Homeward bound....we had one tuckered out boy and dog! James discovered that Lacey made a great pillow!

It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend! The weather cooperated, with clean skies and no rain, although the wind did blow alittle harder than we would have liked. But I would have settled for wind over rain anytime!! We ate well and made smores over the campfire. And more important than anything else, we made many happy family memories that weekend!!

So Far Behind....Let's Start with the Corn Festival!!!

I can't believe so much time has passed since I posted my last entry. Yes, we've been busy, but not that busy!! We had a few very busy weekends, where the camera never stopped....lots of fun time with the family!!

The first Saturday in August is always our Olathe Sweet Corn Festival. It's a day we all look forward to the rest of the year. It's a LONG, exhausting day out in the heat but we love it! Last year was the first year Dusty's daughter, Lori, drove up from Denver to join us and she really seemed to enjoy herself at our small town festival! This year it was her brother, Joe's, turn with his wonderful family!! On Friday evening Lori arrived with Juliana and JT....Joe and Jen's two oldest. They came down on Friday so that we could all go to the street dance that evening.

To kick off the Corn Festival each year, on Friday afternoon, they have an antique car show "downtown". This is followed by a street dance, where they line the downtown street with bales of hay and a local band plays. I might mention, too, that as part of the evening's entertainment there is also a "burn out"......where people who have "soupped up" their cars, turned them into hotrods, smoke their tires in a performance and noise show until the tires pops!! Can you say "REDNECK DELUX"!!!?? I long ago have stopped going to this "event" as I really don't enjoy the noise or smell, but Dusty and James always have to drag our unsuspecting guests to it!! It's about 6 blocks from our house, and I can still hear it from inside our livingroom!!!

Anyway, back to the story at hand.....that whole weekend was a big slumber party at "Nana and Papa's" house. Lori brought the kids down on Friday night and we all enjoyed the music and ourselves at the street dance. When we got back to the house, we assigned sleeping partners. This was going to be a challenge, as our house is quite small and by Saturday night there would be a total of 8 of us sleeping under our roof! On Friday night, Juliana slept with Aunt Lori in our spare room and JT shared "Uncle" James' bed! Quite cozy!

Joe and Jen arrived on Saturday morning with baby Jack and we all headed up to the Festival park. They run free shuttle buses all day and night from the downtown area and since our house is only three blocks from there, it's much easier to take the shuttles up and back than trying to find parking close to the park and paying for it. You just make up your mind that that day you walk your feet off! It's part of the "magic"! Hehehehe!!

After spending a few hours munching on corn and various other foods, playing games and spending a lot of time at the climbing wall, we headed home for the hottest part of the day. Joe, Jen and Lori took the kids to see Grandma Stella for a few hours, before they all returned to our house so that we could head back up to the park for the evening and the Clint Black concert! It was a great evening, with lots more family time, corn, food and some wonderful music! The weather was perfect and there wasn't a mosquito in sight....Dusty always says with 14,000+ people even the mosquitos are overwhelmed and don't know where to start, so they don't even try!! The evening always ends with a terrific fireworks show! From beginning to end, it's a weekend that makes you proud to live in Olathe....and wonder how this little town (of only 1,100!!) can pull it all off like it does. From the corn to the entertainment to the security to the peace and harmony, no one could do it any better!!

Here are some pictures I took that weekend......

Here's Juliana with her glow stick headband at the street dance.

And JT....

Papa Dusty kicking up his heels with his granddaughter! I love how I caught her in midair!!

Aunt Lori dancing with the kids....are we all tired yet???

I took this on Saturday morning right after everyone woke up. Lori with all three kids, cuddled up on the couch!

Settling into the festival. One of our first stops is the corn, of course!!

We spent quite a bit of time with James, Juliana and JT at the climbing wall. James had never done a climbing wall before and we were so proud of him as he made it all the way up to the top of the 30' wall and then repelled down. Not easy for a kid who, until recently was afraid of heights!!
Getting secured in....

...going up!

 the top!!

Back in the evening,Baby Jack's had his first taste of corn....YUMMY!! (He actually got more butter than corn, but that's okay for the first time with no teeth!!)

Uncle James playing with Jack....

Ahhhh, the love of cotton candy!!!!!

The sister-in-laws....Lori and Jen!

JT, all bundled up and ready for the show! "Start the music", he says!!!

Here I am, playing my beloved role as "Nana" with sweet little Jack! It won't be long before he's running around and keeping up with the other kids!!

At the end of the concert! I loved how James "melted" into his chair and had to take this picture!! All three of the big kids did the same thing! They had gone nonstop since 9am and it was now after 11pm. Juliana woke up for the fireworks, James watched with one eye open and JT slept through the whole thing! Better luck next year!!