Sunday, July 10, 2011

a busy 4th of July

Wait until you hear about our 4th of July. It was so fun, but crazily intense! I should have known I was in for it when Brennan started to write up an itinerary for us on Sunday night. I figured there was no way we were going to everything on the list, much less stick to the time frame. But we actually did a surprisingly good job.

We hit the morning off by going to play tennis. That was a blast. Mom and I even beat Crystal and Rich in doubles. It was pretty amazing. After tennis we stopped by the house to switch gear and headed to the baseball diamond for some work ups. It was so hot and I just felt like I was baking in the sun! Crazy Lauren even slid into third base with shorts on and no long socks. She has quite the battle wounds to show off from that. Once we were all thoroughly starved we headed home for some lunch and a little rest. We didn't stop for too long though, there was still plenty to get to. So we headed up to Cornell to go ice blocking. Dad had made a couple ice blocks for us with rope frozen into it to hold onto and to help drag it back up the hill. It worked pretty well and that activity proved to be very entertaining. (pictures and video at the end of the post)
After ice blocking we were hot and tired so we went home and had a water fight. Almost everyone ended up drenched. We got mom and then despite our incredibly lame excuse to get dad out of the house, we still managed to get him wet as well. Dripping wet, but slightly cooler, we walked from their house to the football field and played ultimate frisbee to dry off. Famished again, we headed home to get cleaned up and eat some yummy food. We finished the night off with some fireworks in Cedar Rapids. I think this picture of Brennan and Lauren on the way home from fireworks adequately illustrates how we were all feeling by the end of the day.
And now for the ice blocking pictures. First pictures of people safely riding down.
Rich and Lauren attempting a train.

Now for the most entertaining part, the spills. :)
The end result of the train.
And for the grand finale, a video of mom headed down the hill. Makes me laugh everytime.

It was a great 4th of July. Maybe even the best one I've had! We hope you all had a great 4th as well.


For Valentine's day I gave Brennan a fishing pole since he would always talk about how much he wished he could go fishing. Well a mere four and a half months later he finally got around to getting a fishing license and trying out the new pole. At first I was excited he was finally using it. Now I'm getting a little worried it's turning into an obsession. :) Luckily our nephew, Caden, is always happy to go with him. And even my cousin Lauren, who is visiting for a few weeks. Which gets me out of having to get up early to go with him. They went in the middle of a bike ride we went on over the weekend of the 4th, but didn't catch a thing. I think they went again that weekend, but still nothing. But Caden and Brennan went really early Friday morning and Caden got 2. Still nothing for Brennan. Finally on Saturday morning Lauren got 1 and Brennan got two. I think he's going to cook them up sometime this week so I will let you know if they were edible.

The happy fishermen.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Timber City Triathlon

A couple of weeks ago Brennan participated in the Timber City Triathlon in Maquoketa. He did a great job, especially considering he didn't do a whole lot of preparation for it. He certainly felt it for at least a day or two after though. The race consisted of 8 miles of canoeing, 14 miles of biking, and 3 miles of running. I wish I could have gotten myself in decent enough shape in time to participate in as well. But I guess there's always next year. Brennan was on a team with Rich and Crystal and Dad participated as a team for the second year in a row. I think they all had a good time. And we spectators enjoyed it as well. For some reason it was all just so funny to us.

Here are Brennan and Rich before the race. Rich even got them matching shirts and bandannas so they would look like a team. As I took the picture I realized that the had different numbers on their arms. That got a good laugh out of all of us. He had to go back and have them write over it.
Dad and Crystal before the race. Crystal looks cold.
Apparently she wasn't the only one.
This is just a few seconds after their heat started. Crystal and Dad look like they are about to crash. Brennan and Rich are in the picture as well.
Mario and Luigi were in the race.
Rich and Brennan getting out of the kayak. They beat Dad and Crystal by just a bit in the boating. They would end up overtaking them during the biking though.
Dad and Crystal coming in on the canoe. Not the best picture, but it's all I got. Another team with bright yellow shirts came in probably 10 minutes before them and Kelbie and I falsely announced their arrival. Angelynn promptly cheered for them by name at the top of her lungs. As soon as she was done yelling for "Crystal and Grandpa" we realized it wasn't them. Oops. Mom instructed her to not cheer by name from then on haha.
Dad and Brennan getting shoes changed and nourishment to start the bike ride.
On the bike ride. Looking good guys, looking good.

Dad killed the bike ride, even with mom trying to run him off the road with the van a few times. Eek! Kinda scary.

Rich getting some water before he starts the run. Gotta love the bikers.
Brennan finishing out the run. Still all smiles and thumbs up.
And what's better after a long hard race then an ice cream cone? Especially when you haven't done a lick of exercise yourself...oops. Oh well, it was yummy. Forgive the gross face.
It was beautiful weather for a race. Everyone had fun and everyone did great! I would call it a success. Can't wait to try it myself next year!

Family Reunion

Well I took disappointingly few photos during the reunion, but we sure had a lot of fun. At almost the last minute we changed our plans to go to Missouri and just stayed in Mt. Vernon and mom and dad's. Sadly we probably won't all fit in their house for much longer, but it worked this time. We had a lot of outings which helped us not go stir crazy. On the first day we headed up to a nearby water park. Most of us adults were worried it wouldn't be hot enough for us to enjoy the water. The water was shockingly cold, but as the day heated up it didn't feel so bad. I think everyone had a lot of fun.
Mia enjoying our midday picnic outside the water park. She was nice enough to let me share her towel.
We had back-to-back big days with Adventureland the next day. It was definitely hot enough that day. But not hot enough for our mostly adult filled Raging River raft to be happy about going under both waterfalls...very slowly. We were soaked.
We started off with a ride on the carousel. Claire was quite nervous and wouldn't let go of me for the entire ride.
It was a fun-filled day.

The second annual Cardon Family Auction was held this year. It was just as big a hit as it was last year. I failed and didn't get any crocheted animals finished in time for the big event. But everyone else sure came through. It's a talented bunch that we have, I would have been happy to take it all home with me. :) As it was we got an awesome tractor blanket made by Nathan and Stacy, a marshmallow gun from Caden, a boondoggle from Claire, and a pretty awesome drum that my dad made. We certainly raked it in.

Rich, our auctioneer.
Henry with his puppy chow, of course. No one dares get in the way of him getting that.
Jade getting in on the bidding. She seems pretty excited about whatever she is trying to get. :)
Mom and Dad made up an Amazing Race for us one day as well. We all got a little hung up on dad's clue in the library, but it was mostly smooth sailing for the rest of it. Unfortunately, Caleb and I did not win. I'll blame it on my teammate. ;) He definitely didn't eat his fair share of the ice cream, that's all I'm saying.

One night we had a fire in the back yard and made s'mores. Yum.
It definitely got a little dangerous with all those kids wielding sharp, long sticks. Luckily no serious injuries occurred. Messes were definitely made though.
Not sure what was going on when this picture of Henry was taken, but it sure makes me laugh.

I kind of felt like Mia was my little bud during this trip. She is so sweet. One night she held Jade on her lap while I fed her. You could tell she was getting real tired of the squirming by the end but she was a trooper.
So from the whole reunion, we have zero pictures of Brennan and only one of me. So pardon my gross look, but here's a picture of me and Jade.
This catching up thing is exhausting, but I'm almost there. I should probably try just blogging regularly, eh?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being an aunt rocks my socks

So pretty much being an aunt is one of my favorite things in the world. Actually, when I was younger and would have the irrational, silly fear that I would never get married and have a family of my own, I would comfort myself with the thought that I could just be the coolest aunt who ever lived. And it really did make me feel better! Even though that fear was not realized and I was lucky enough to find Brennan, I still think it's cool to be an aunt. And Brennan and I work hard at securing our spots as the favorite aunt and uncle. Sometimes I even think our hard work is working. :)

A few weeks ago all of my siblings came to Iowa for our family reunion. A day or two before the reunion officially got started Brennan and I had all the nieces and nephews over to our house for a sleep over. (Well not quite ALL of them, we left the three youngest with their parents. We aren't that crazy.) With 9 kids under the age of 12, it was jam-packed evening full of fun and laughs. After playing at the house for awhile we all walked to the park in our neighborhood and played tag and Brennan is the monster and anything else we could think of. It was just fun to run around and be crazy. I love those kids so much. But we left our camera at home, so no fun pictures.

Then we piled into two minivans and headed to Cold Stone so that the coolest uncle could show off his mad tricks. (Let's face it, when it comes to coolness, Brennan beats me hands down. The kids worship him, I swear.) Brennan went behind the counter to help make all of our ice cream and so he could throw it across the store, a highly anticipated event. That left me with the responsibility of corralling all the kids and getting their ice cream ordered before they changed their mind for the tenth time. It felt like pure chaos to me, but we made it out of the store with no major incidents. And the kids loved watching the ice cream throwing. Again, forgot the camera, so no pictures. Lame.

After devouring our ice cream we went home and had a very serious and long voting session to determine what two movies would play. And which one would be upstairs and which one downstairs. Whew, it was a lot of work, but we finally got it figured out. We then did what any good aunt and uncle would do and filled them sugar during the movies. Luckily they all still fell asleep during the shows or shortly there after.

Watching the shows:
In the morning it was like walking into a war zone. Bodies everywhere! Haha, kids certainly get into interesting sleeping positions.
His neck is going to be sore...
The rest of the kids were so excited to show Gavin how he had been sleeping with his head on Henry's bum.
Silly girl.

After everyone woke up we had a healthy breakfast of donuts and juice and then showed off our musical abilities on the Wii. Pretty cute to watch.
Such concentration.
Almost all of the kids in the same shot. Almost.

After hanging out outside for awhile we headed off to meet up with the rest of the family. It was certainly an exhausting endeavor but so much fun. I never really remember having much of a relationship with any of my aunts and uncles. I certainly don't remember interacting with them at that age. That has certainly been one of my motivators in trying to have relationships with all of these kids. I want them to know me, and me to know them. I feel like that could be a valuable relationship to both of us. So by doing these crazy things, I hope I am creating memories for them that will help make that possible. I really do love these kids, and I am afraid of one day not really knowing them other than a report a hear from their parents. Hopefully, I can keep that from happening. Because being an aunt rocks my socks...whatever that means. :)