A First Ever Family Tractor Ride

My family has some pretty deep rural roots and we were able to tap into those roots last weekend with a first ever Family Tractor Ride.

My Uncle Delbert furnished the tractors – a whole yard full of vintage ones in orange, and red and green.

And we furnished the drivers – 3 van loads full!tractor ride 1

It took a few minutes for everyone to find a tractor, for the experienced drivers to give a few basic instructions to the rookies and for everyone to take a practice lap around the outbuildings.

tractor ride 2Then we headed them down the driveway! We had a quite a line up of tractors of all ages with drivers of all ages heading down the blacktop! A little slow at first – until the rookies discovered “road gear”.

Of course my mom got in on the action! She drove “Grandma’s Tractor” – the one my grandma used when she worked in the fields with Grandpa.

Pedro on tractorPedro took to driving that tractor like a natural! He got himself a shiny red one and spent the morning grinning from ear to ear!

Dagmar on tractorDagmar wasn’t going to be left out of the action either! She got to drive a shiny red Farmall that matched her sunglasses – and loved every minute!

hay rackThose of us who were too young to drive – or to scared to try – rode on a hay rack complete with our very own sound system! And yes – I was on the hay rack with all three of my sisters – who were also too scared to try. (But then – somebody had to chaperone those kids and take the pictures!)

tractor line upWe drove our parade of tractors seven miles from my uncle’s farm to my folk’s place where we parked them and took a break for lunch.

Then we fired them up again – and headed off down the road.

tractor ride home stretchYoung. Old.

Aunts. Uncles. Cousins.

Family.

Remembering a simpler time. Honoring our past.  Connecting with our rural heritage. Making memories.

And having a great time!

So much fun that when we finally got back to my uncle’s farm, most of the drivers hopped off the tractor they had been on and hopped on another to test it out!

Buddy on tractorDad’s let the younger ones have a turn at the wheel in the safety of the barn yard.

And even I got up enough courage to get behind the wheel!

behind the wheel

Thanks to my brother Tim – who made me do it and then did all the shifting so all I had to do is steer and clutch and brake. 🙂

It was an incredibly fun day!

Thank you Delbert – for helping us make a memory that we will never forget!

Iron Chef 2012

This past weekend my entire family gathered at my parent’s house for our yearly “Remix”.  This unique family celebration came about because we were all in need of a weekend full of laughter, lots of sugar, and little sleep somewhere between our Christmas celebration at Labor Day and our annual camp-out over the 4th of July.

Since we invented the holiday, we decided to invent our own traditions too – and thus our annual Iron Chef competition was born.

The secret ingredient is announced in advance and everyone is welcome to bring as many entries as they wish.

This year’s secret ingredient was cereal.

As always, there were many amazing entries –

Iron Chef entriesBut I had a favorite.

My sister Sandy’s kids went above and beyond to create a masterpiece. Surely you remember the Rice Krispie sculpture of William Tell from three years ago?

This year they made a giant cereal bowl out of cereal complete with a cereal spoon!

rice krispie cereal bowlBut that’s not all!

Oh no! These kids decided that a special bowl needed a special cereal – so they invented 2 kinds.

The first was Uncle Rod’s Adventure cereal. Uncle Rod loves cereal. Especially sugared cereal. Since his favorite part of the cereal is the toys inside – they decorated an empty cereal box and filled it with plastic baggies full of plastic adventure toys!

But the second kind of cereal was my all-time favorite. Why? Because they named it for me!

Auntie M's Organic O'sIt even had my picture on the front!

But the best part was what was inside!

I opened the recycled cereal box and pulled out a plastic bag that looked like it was full of Cheerios. But – as I kept pulling, I discovered the cereal was just a disguise.

The bottom of the bag was full of mini chocolate candy bars!

One of the kids called out, “Because Aunt Melinda is always hiding her chocolate!”

Those kids know we too well!

Not that I would ever dream of hiding my chocolate at the bottom of a box of organic cereal! 🙂

But I did keep the box – just in case!

Memorial Day Weekend

Oh my! What a weekend!

We hosted all of Jan’s family – his 2 parents, 1 sister, 2 brothers, 3 spouses, and their 15 children, plus, of course, the seven of us – for a big 80th Birthday Bash to honor his Mom.

It’s been 1-1/2 years since we were all together last – and the changes were amazing! Those cousins are sure growing up fast! At one point I was inside and heard the kids playing an intense game of Ultimate Frisbee on the lawn.

FrisbeeThose “kids” sounded more like men with their deep voices yelling and making war whoops.

And boy could those kids eat!  Seriously. Those guys could pack it in.  Bottomless pits.

But not all were forking it in hand over fist. My little ones were also here to provide a little humor and lots of hugs.
Just before this picture was shot, Annie had grabbed her straw and put it into a nearby mud puddle to get a drink! Thankfully Angel Girl got there just in time to stop her.

And of course – my youngest two nephews spent as much time as possible sitting on Uncle Jan’s “twactors” and begging for rides on the 4-wheeler.

K&MAnd then there’s Katie. She’s one of a kind – that girl. A perpetual motion machine. She was quite taken with my chickens. At one point she found 2 egg shaped rocks by the sand box. She quickly pushed them together and sat on them clucking like a hen.

She and her brother Davy and sister Emie chased those poor chickens the entire weekend. I’m not sure what they would have done if they had actually caught one! 🙂

The kids were outside from sun up to sun down. They climbed trees, took epic adventures, had a water balloon fight, and spent hours on the swings. If the amount of dirt and mud on their bodies and the amount of food they consumed was any indication – I’d say they all had a great time!

I think it’s safe to say that we all did! 🙂

The Farm Bash

We’ve got a big weekend planned!

Jan’s entire family is gathering here for a fun weekend of family time. This big ole’ farm house will be bursting from the seams with people and laughter!

Meals are planned and the freezers are full of food.

Frozen Food

The toys are brought down from the attic.

Beds are made and ready in every available piece of floor space!

Every blanket and pillow in the attic is ready to be used.

Beds

The picnic tables have been fixed, painted or borrowed.

The lawn is getting mowed.

Tents are being set up.

Games have been planned.

Birthday Surprises

Surprises are prepared.

Excitement is building as our driveway starts filling up with out-of-state license plates!

Let the fun begin!

Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend everyone!

White Elephant Bingo

Can I share just one more tradition from our Remix celebration? (Boy can we cram a lot of them in one short weekend!)

We had a hoot playing White Elephant Bingo!

Bingo Fun

The rules are simple.

Everybody brings a wrapped white elephant gift. One person is the designated “caller” – everyone else can play with as many Bingo cards as they wish.

Whenever you get a Bingo – you choose a gift from the vast assortment on the table – or you can take a gift from someone else. Then that person needs to pick another one from the table – or take one from someone else which means that person now needs to pick another one from the table or from someone else which means… well… you get the picture!

Presents

It gets pretty wild toward the end as multiple people are getting Bingos at once! We play until someone gets a black-out. Then we take turns opening our “gifts”.

It’s interesting that when you don’t know what’s inside a present – you pick according to the wrapping.

For awhile a nicely wrapped gift with a toy chicken on top was a hot commodity.  Lovey (age 5) was thrilled when she ended up with it – at least until she opened it. The tire gauge and fancy bath soaps just didn’t thrill her!

PosterPedro was pretty excited about his gift – a poster showing airline barf bags from around the world.  Yes – I’m serious – barf bags.  No – it is NOT going in his room.

It was amazing how often the perfect gift went to the perfect person. My musical niece got a set of old Broadway Songs on cassette. (I hope she knows what a cassette player is!) 🙂

Remember Butter Buns? She got a vintage movie camera – one that actually uses film. I bet she already has it taken apart or has figured out to use it!

Then there’s my nephew TJ. This guy really needs a wife.

gifts

I’m sure the romantic super-sized heart candle and the Joe Cool sunglasses will help immensely – don’t you think?!

Buddy was very excited when he ended up with the pirate gift bag – and was even more happy to find it full of Burger King and McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.

Some gifts just keep on giving.

Poor Jan got a brand new how-to golf video (circa 1987) that we had brought the year before!

GiftsIt’s amazing the fun you can have with a garage sale Bingo game and everybody’s junk!

But then in my crazy family – it doesn’t take much to make memory!