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When my dear friend Tamara told me she and my brother were heading to Grandma Mary’s farm over Columbus Day weekend, we jumped at the chance to meet them halfway (well, two-thirds of the way) between here and Chicago.  I haven’t seen my brother Mike in a year and a half and since then, he and Tamara – one of my best friends and Finny’s godmother – started dating and are now living together.  I’ve been asked by a few people if I’m weirded out by this whole ordeal, and I never have been.  Mostly because it’s really none of my business what other consenting adults do, but also because I have loved these two people dearly forever; why would I not be happy if they were happy?

Turns out, these two are made for one another.  How did I never see this sooner??

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When my grandmother got wind of our little adventure, she was thrilled to have both Mike and I (and accompanying stowaways) at the farm at once.  Oh, did we plan our whole trip before we even asked Grandma if we could come?  Yeah… That would be Tamara and I…

The drive to Iowa is just under twelve hours from Colorado Springs, and the trip out there was mercifully uneventful.  We arrived around eleven at night (after losing an hour and leaving late in the morning) and Grandma Mary was waiting up for us.  The kids both woke up and Finny was wired with excitement over finally reaching the farm.  By midnight, they were tucked in and asleep and by one, the rest of us were dozing.

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Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous fall day; the sky was bright and clear and it was warm enough to go out without a coat.  Nathan had one objective for the day…  Teaching Finn how to shoot the BB gun.

Finny developed into a spectacular shot over the course of the day.  While the boys were shooting, Alice and Grandma took to moving plants into the greenhouse and picking flowers around the yard.  I can’t believe there is only about seventy years between these gorgeous ladies. 🙂IMG_0628

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After lunch, we decorated cupcakes….

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And went for a spin on the swing…

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Nathan and I headed into town for a few supplies.  The kids were in bed by eight, and at eight forty-five, Finn bounded down the stairs to announce, “Dad won’t get out of my bed.  He’s keeping me awake.”

Nathan had gone into the kids’ rooms to make sure they piped down and went to sleep.  He was snoring so loudly that Finn couldn’t sleep.  I coaxed him into our bed and Grandma and I waited for Mike and Tamara to arrive.

They arrived after ten thirty and we kept poor Grandma up chatting until one once again.  By the time the kids were up, she was already awake and getting breakfast ready.  We all got ready for church and headed into town.  I think the last time I was in church might have been when we were staying with Grandma two years ago…  Yikes.  The kids were super well-behaved and Grandma got to “show us off” (her words, not mine) to the congregation.

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After the boys went back out to shoot the BB gun again, we brought lunch out to them and got started picking apples.  Two and a half bushels later, we had cleared what was left of the red apples and barely made a dent in the green ones.  I ended up carting sixty pounds of apples back to Colorado and have been making apple sauce, apple pies and apple chips since we’ve been home.

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And we hunted for frogs down at the pond. Tam was (far and away) the most excited.

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And we hunted for frogs down at the pond.  Tam was (far and away) the most excited.

While Tam, the kids and I were nestled in the apple trees, the Nathan and Mike were shooting the heavy artillery.  We let Finn fire the rifle once, and Nathan had me shoot the shotgun a few times.  Holy crap, that thing can kick.  As it was, I was a much better shot with the rifle.

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And this might be the most Iowa photo of all time…

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We waited until Tamara had arrived in Iowa before hitting the pumpkin farm.  Since we’ve been kids, this girl LOVES herself a good pumpkin patch.  Case in point…

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And if I was to try to describe my brother to anyone, I might just have them look at this photo.  It is Mike, being Mike in the most Mike way possible.  Rolling around in a trough full of corn kernels.  We are of the same blood, him and me.

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We visited my grandfather’s grave before we tucked in for the evening.  There was a few tears, a few smiles and more laughs than should be appropriate in a cemetery.  We reminisced about the photo someone had snapped at the funeral of Mike furiously gesturing to his crotch.  What you should be asking is why on earth someone is taking candids at a funeral and NOT why my brother was in such a position… And why I was standing next to him laughing my ass off…  Maybe Mike and I really need a lesson in appropriate manners.  Sheesh.

It was sad to leave the next day.  Other than getting a flat tire just as we crossed over into Colorado, the trip was equally uneventful as the way out there.  And it just might have been the first time I wasn’t terribly excited to sleep in my own bed.

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