A beautiful autumn day called for a dinner picnic for the kids and I (while Mr. Beaver is flying home from San Francisco).
The little girls brought their strollers and dolls...
...and the boys brought the football.
We had to take the two dogs, of course. In fact, we could have called the event a birthday party for Poochita who will be twelve tomorrow. I'm not sure she was feeling the party spirt at this point though. The pups were tied up several yards from the food as we ate.
A sure sign of fall in the upper midwest--migrating Canadian Geese
Our picnic consisted of $5 pizzas that were being sold at a stand outside the local HyVee grocery story, Honey Crisp apples and store-bought chocolate chip cookies--easy fare for mom when Dad has been away from home for a couple of days.
Alexander is still a bit unsure of himself with an American football, but who can blame the Russian-born 12-year-old? When we adopted him it was already early winter here. Where he comes from balls are round!
Cassandra stepped through the cattails to take a look at the lake.
Lissie is a "dog person" through and through. Here the two of them sat cuddling as they relished the sun's last rays.
Our little Oksana is such a good "mommy" to her baby, even though she never experienced this kind of care when she was an infant.
As the mother of nine daughters, I felt the impulse to stop Mark and Alexander as they wrestled for the football. I spend my days trying to civilize young people. However, the boys' sisters reassured me this is routine behavior for guys.
While the boys played tug-a-war, the girls strolled on, chatting away.
The photo below is NOT a posed picture. The girls got way ahead of me on a walk after dinner. When I caught up, I found them perched atop the hill taking in the beauty of the lake at sunset. they told me the only thing that kept the moment from being perfect was the absence of Anna and Jaynie.
Before long, Oksana and Amy were rolling down the steep slope giggling all the way. Natasha is in the background pushing one of her younger sisters' "babies."
We're so thankful to the Lord to be a family! A night like tonight reminds us how blessed we are!