Tuesday, October 29, 2019

#Keirastrong Forever Trivia

It's crazy to think about how a community can come together.  How an empty space (our church, The Summit to be exact), can be filled by people that have given generously and are linking arms together to the trumpets of a little girl and her kindness.  But, that's exactly what happens on #Keirastrong Forever Trivia Night.  Volunteers take an empty room and turn it into a gathering space, filling it with tables and decorations; a hallway fills with raffle baskets and auction items, and then a building begins to overflow with people full of love.

Robin and I have talked about Trivia Night gobs and it always comes back to this: the people in this room have a personal connection to Keira and her family.  Many of them were not only a part of her cancer journey, they knew her before it began.  Which is why this Trivia Night is not only important to the foundation, but to the Stouts.  While the major goal for the foundation is to help raise money to help families of kids with cancer with their mortgage payments, it is about so much more.  For Robin and Dave, it's about coming together to love and remember Keira.

When Robin and I spoke ahead of time about pictures, she wanted to remember all the fun that happens at trivia, and there was no disappointment there!  Brian is always an amazing host - it's like he has done this before.  (Oh wait, he has; make sure to check him out at Trivia Riot!)  I'd like to tell you that I think his experience is what makes him fantastic at creating a killer Trivia Night, but I think it's more.  Something about the iconic tv shows, movies, and music he picks make the night pretty awesome.

Of course, there's more to making trivia fun than just a great host.  Your people have to be into it too - and this crowd is!  They sing, they dance, they celebrate, they give accolades - they know how to do it right!

It's not just fun and games though.  I mean, there is fun AND games - like mock Mouse Races (see kids in mouse ears) instead of a heads or tails to announce that #Keirastrong Forever will be having Mouse Races in the spring.  But the night also has it's moments of pause - like auctioning off a t-shirt quilt handmade by Keira's Mimi, using one of Keira's own shirts in the blend.  That quilt was pretty fantastic, as was Mr. Tom being the winning bidder to have this blanket at the fire house where Keira was an honorary fire fighter.  Tom will be the first to let you know that Keira was one of them, so it seems fitting that this piece has landed there.

The evening rounded off with some more celebrating, a room full of singing and laughing, and some final number crunching when the results came in.

In the end, although there may be only one table that wins in the room, because of the generosity of so many, the money raised this evening will help cancer families win over some of their financial burdens as their child has the fight of their life.  If you haven't been able to attend, keep an eye out as school starts next year to get yourself a table.  And if attending in person isn't an option, that auction I mentioned goes on-line ahead of time and is a great way to support their mission.  I can't help but look forward to the next one!

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pumpkin Picking

Over the years, pumpkin picking has changed for us.  When we just had Aaron, we went to a large farm about an hour away and had our pumpkin patch experience there.  When Emma came around, we found a smaller and closer farm and enjoyed many years there until they unexpectedly closed.  We found many small transplant farms on-line (pre-picked pumpkins in a line), then last year, we found an actual patch that we got to have a great experience at.

This year, very last minute, we realized if we didn't push some things around, pumpkin patch time wasn't going to happen.  Emma's school had gone on their field trip a few weeks ago and the weather was terrible.  I felt like she got cheated, and with so little time to make a decision and get there before sunset, we headed back.  Before we even pulled in, I could tell we were going to have such a better experience.

My girl and her doll are a pretty typical duo.  This was her first doll from many year ago and the carrier is actually mine from when I was a kid.  Sometimes I am frustrated that my girl seems to need to always have something with her, but this day, I am thankful for the constant doll that came along for the ride.

Pumpkin picking is so personal.  While we all began to wonder, none of us were looking for the same type of pumpkin.  My husband's top priority is a strong stem, while my care is for the general roundness and smoothness of the pumpkin.  And of course, my kids fall somewhere in between.

 After spending some time searching, and searching some more, we hauled in our loot and weighed our finds.  There was so much more to do and no time to waste!

How a pool of corn can entertain kids so easily (and adults?) is beyond me, but it sure does.  I liken it to how kids can be more happy with the big empty box than the actual toy.

There was pumpkin shooting for the big kid - because who doesn't love that - and funnel cake for the bellies.  Yum.

We polished off our afternoon with some goat feeding, face painting, a photo opp, and one last swing.

At the end, I leaned my head on my husband's shoulder and we were both so thankful we said yes to this one.  Amidst the busy, an afternoon on the farm was such a sweet retreat for us.  Maybe next year, I'll remember to block out the weekend at least a month out.  But probably not.

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Growing Sunflowers

Sometimes, a story takes some time to grow and develop.  Last summer, we took our daughter to a field of sunflowers to explore them in real life.  When spring arrived this year, my daughter was excited to see sunflower seeds to plant, and my husband, never one to back away from trying something new, decided to grab three bags of seeds and see what they could do.  I was so hesitant because I knew we were getting a late start, but with a bit of effort, my two got to work protecting those delicate seeds and checking on their progress.

Sunflower prime season (typically early July) came and we didn't have much to check out.  I called around our area to try and go exploring like last year only to find out that all the water and flooding in our area had washed out several fields.  So we just continued to check in on our little guys and by the end of August, we had blooms!

It was pretty neat to see my daughter get to check on them as often as she could.  It was obviously a very different experience than visiting a field a single time and exploring.  She could go first thing in the morning (in her pj's!) or late in the afternoon after school.

 We got to see flowers grow taller and blooms get bigger.

We got to watch leaves slowly grow stronger and see how bees and bugs were at most of the blooms.  We even got to share our excitement and flowers with Grandma, and this encouraged her to try at home as well.

Of course, at the end of the season, we got to see our flowers begin to wilt.  And that wasn't nearly as exciting.  It's often so bitter sweet, the end.  No matter how or when it comes.

We did some research into getting those seeds out, so hopefully that is successful (if you have tips, send them my way!).  Then my duo has already decided on an earlier start and a larger garden for next year - and I can't wait!

Until next time,