Piano Recital


William and Henry had their first piano recital last night.  This was their first year taking lessons having started last summer, and I am proud of their progress.  For the most part they have been diligent in practicing and I think they have enjoyed it as well.  I really liked their teacher and am sad that she will be moving to a new area next year.

Youth Wilderness Conference


This past weekend, Ben and I packed up all our gear and headed out of town to be a parent couple at our church’s wilderness youth conference.  It was quite the undertaking and I was nervous going into it because I didn’t know what to expect.

We met at our church on Thursday afternoon and loaded onto buses with the other parent couples, adult leaders, and about 150 teenagers ranging in age from 13 to 18.

The buses to us to Enumclaw where we met up at another church building and were divided up into families.  Ben and I had 11 children in our family unit, only one of which we’d ever met before.  We did some get-to-know you type activities and made a banner to represent our family.

There were 14 family groups and we were group #1 so we were the first to head out for our night hike.  Yes night hike!  We were bused over to the trail and started our hike about 10:30pm.  At the start of the trail head, we were warned about a herd of elk that were hanging out on the trail and that we should be careful, but we never ran into them.  It was an easy 3 mile  hike (I had done a practice training hike a couple of weeks before), but the darkness made it challenging and we had to rely on each other to make it through.  We walked into camp about 12:30am and made camp.  By the end of that hike, we had bonded together as a family.  It was an amazing experience.

The next couple of days were filled fun games, challenging activities, devotionals, and quite time to ponder.  It was wickedly hot and very tiring, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it away.  It was a very spiritual and special experience and when I think about it, tears come to my eyes.

I love each of the children that we had under our care and I’m so grateful for the time I was able to spend with them.  I am so grateful that we were asked to participate and I truly hope we get the opportunity again some day.

 

Fun with Dad


Ben is an awesome Dad.  He takes the kids out to do fun things like eat donuts while Mom has an appointment.

He plays fun games and watches fun shows on television.

He’s always up for adventures and exploring.

He’s cool and trendy.

Really he’s the best.  I’m so glad we get to celebrate him today!  There is no one I’d rather go through life with.  Thanks for being awesome Ben!

Summer


I picked up a couple of our blog books tonight, trying to jog my memory on something and oh my goodness my heart just ached at all those pictures and stories.  I used to be so much better at recording our life.  Those snippets of daily life are much more precious to me than any of the big milestone posts.  I vowed right then and there to start doing a better job.

If I had to pick one picture that represented summer for us, this would be it.  We have friends staying in our apartment over the summer and between their 4 kids and our 5 kids, we somehow have 20 bicycles.  Not really, but close.  The weather has been gorgeous and the kids have been spending the majority of their time outside.  We have the best house for riding bicycles, because the pavement goes all the way around the house in a nice loop with a big driveway and a good sized patio in back.  It really is one of my favorite features of this house.  Oliver can peddle his tricycle (when he isn’t stealing his friend Ryan’s bike) unbelievably fast and Adelaide learned to ride a 2-wheeler just this afternoon.  When the kids aren’t riding bikes, they are playing baseball, digging holes, or pretending they are lost in the forest.

With the kids spending so much time outside, and no baby to nurse, I’ve been tinkering around in the yard.  Everything is so overgrown and I have no idea what I’m doing, but I just keep snipping and pulling and shoveling.  I planted a garden and some squash starts Ben’s Dad gave me in the raised beds.  I may have planted my seeds too late, but the squash seems happy.

A few days ago, I called and ordered 12 cubic yards of mulch.  The kids were fascinated by the dump truck depositing it’s load in our driveway.  I had no idea how much to order, but I figure our yard is huge so it will all get used somewhere. So far I’ve mulched the blueberry bushes, peonies, 2 raised beds, and a bit of the flower beds in the front yard.  (Do I still call them flower beds if there aren’t any flowers?)  Our friends have been helping me, which I feel simultaneously guilty about and grateful for.

While we were in Paris, our chickens became gigantic.  They outgrew the brooder in our garage so I made them a bigger one, but it’s still bordering on factory farming.  A friend brought us over some fencing stuff to make them a temporary outdoor pen and each day we hand carry 7 chickens, one by one, to the outdoor pen.  Then each night we hand carry them, one by one, back to their brooder.  I always whisper my apologies to them when they are settled in for the night.

Rest assured, there is no need to call PETA about my poor chickens.  Ben has been hard at work building them a coop/palace.  I only pray we get it finished before I start finding eggs in the garage.  There is nothing quite like going out to the garage to grab something from the freezer and seeing a renegade chicken staring you in the eye from outside it’s coop…

Lastly, Molly graduated from 7th grade on Thursday.  She and her best friend hung out; watching movies, washing my car, playing in the water, and doing other girly things.  I only wished she had used the right soap and not the dishwasher detergent she found under the sink because I had to rewash the car, twice, and wax it before I could get the white stains out. (Bonus points for finding my reflection in the car.)

Molly was home for 1 day, and then left for a temple/white water rafting trip with her friends from church.  She’ll get home tomorrow, and then will leave the next day for three weeks.  Seems unfair, but that is life.

Ballet Recital


Adelaide had her ballet recital a couple of weeks ago.  She was so excited to again be allowed to wear makeup.  This year she danced in two dances one of which was choreographed by me!  I loved having Adelaide in class this year.  I wish I had gotten more pictures, but I was so wrapped up in trying to make sure all my dances went smoothly that I never picked up my camera (phone).

This year I had three classes, with Adelaide being in my youngest class, a class of grade school students and a class of middle schoolers.  It was so much fun and made me very happy to share something I love with others.  Next year I’m teaching twice as many classes and I couldn’t be more excited.

Football


I know it seems like we do a lot of sports (and we do), but our kids are homeschooled and sports give them added exercise, structure, and experience working in teams with their peers.  And they love it.  This spring we put both the boys in flag football.  They had practice every Saturday followed by a game.  They had lots of friends on the teams and the coaches were good friends of ours.  Both boys learned a ton and had a great time.  They were definitely sad to see it end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father-Son (Plus Addy) Camp Out


This year’s father-son camp out fell on my birthday.  I thought about having the boys skip it, but they were heart-broken at the thought.  I had an all-day training hike to attend the following day so it worked best for Ben to take Oliver and Adelaide too.  Neither of them had ever been camping before and they were quite excited.

Ben said everything went great, despite the fact that they didn’t get much sleep.  They had a giant fire and played like crazy and got nice and dirty.  They had to come home early the next day to make it to William’s last baseball game of the season.  It seems like they are rushing home every year to a baseball game.  William’s team won so it was worth it.