Monday, June 30, 2014

basket weaving

Rob's lovely flower bed.  I love the way the flowers bloom in different heights and how pretty it looks.

Today I finally got to the unpacking part of our camping trips.  We all came home on Saturday and dumped everything from three camps in the foyer.  Then we went swimming (although what I really wanted to do was take a nap, however R wanted the family to do something together).  Then R and I went to a wedding.  Then we went grocery shopping.  Then we came home and he went to bed and I stayed up a few more hours reading about the priesthood because Calvert invited me to come and do a combined YM/YW during the 3rd hour.  Since we had no internet at camp I couldn't prepare too much before.

Sunday Grace and I went to Calvert and then we met the rest of the family at our ward.  Ethan was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood.  This was a special and wonderful event.  He's a really good boy and I am very proud of his good work and desire to serve the Lord. After dinner we walked over to the Buxton's for Rachel's farewell get together.  She leaves on her mission on Wednesday.

...and that brought us to today.  Finally time to tackle the mountain.  When we were at camp Tara and I went to the laundry mat one morning and I was shocked when the dryer took less than 15 minutes to dry a big load.  I began quizzing others about their dryer time.  Ours takes 2+ hours per load.  This is much longer than anyone else I asked.  Rob thinks our vent is blocked (by birds) and that is causing the problem.  It is blocked, that part is true.  So we'll have to get that taken care of and hope it speeds up the drying. Despite that handicap, and many interruptions, we got several loads done and should finish up tomorrow.  

What could have taken us from our cheery laundry duties today?  Well, Ethan and Eric and Daniel are working on the basket weaving merit badge so we went to the McCombs.  Grace thought that looked like a lot of fun so she made one too.  They really turned out sweet.  He still has to make a square one and a stool before he's done but progress was made!
We had to go to the orthodontist.  About 6 more months and Hannah will be done! 
We went to the bank.
Rob came home sick :( He think's it may be lyme disease, I think it's a virus.  Another dad who went to camp is similarly ill.  Hope I'm right.  He didn't get any ticks at camp so chances are pretty good.
Han and I went to help clean Darlaina's rental.  Poor thing, she is having a baby (#5) on Wednesday and she had to move out of her rental and into a hotel for a month today.  Talk about terrible timing.  She's been so cheerful the whole time.  Happy news their new home is right next door to us, which Grace is thrilled about.  So we helped over there this afternoon and had a great time.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Prince William Forrest Park

Hannah had a wonderful time at camp.  She said her favorite part was the testimony meeting and how well everyone got along.  She also didn't like the hike.  We had a great schedule this year with a lot of free time that the girls enjoyed a lot.
 Honestly it's hard to write about our week because so much happens.  We are so busy and have so much fun.  I never in my life sleep as little or laugh as much as I do at camp.
Everyone is so great.  The leaders in the wards and the YCL's and the other stake leaders work incredibly hard and always are looking for what needs to be done and how they can help.  
 Our kitchen staff was outstanding.  The food was delicious and there was plenty of it.  We all loved gathering in the dining hall and eating together and talking and sharing time.
 I loved that there was very little drama.  The roll calls were the best ever.  The skits were great.  Our talent show night was awesome!
 We enjoyed kangaroo court, wonderful golden hours.

Some of my favorite moments of the week were, in no particular order:

when Emily Ogden, who was a YCL the last 2 years and this past year was a freshman at BYU majoring in Astronomy/Physics, came up and did our star gazing night for us.  She was so articulate and so interesting.  It was wonderful to hear her talk about the heavens and also her testimony.

when before the fireside Carol Bonnett had a group of her friends come and sing "For Good" and it was so stinkin good.  I can not even say how lovely that song was.

when the YCL's wrote the funniest roll call about the stake leaders that had us rolling on the floor

when we lost 2 hikers and Tara and I had to go out on search and rescue...which was pretty much just search (Tar's words) and we were cracking up (as usual)

when Jacque showed us that she can indeed still do the splits

every night in the infirmary where we talked until way too late.

 hearing the sweet testimonies of our YW.

getting to know these amazing women, young and young at heart, better.  It is a treat and an honor for me.

 this is the last morning, we are all sad to leave
 Will's an amazing cook.  He brought us the pan to lick clean.

 our "apartment" and Jacque
 I feel so blessed.  I loved being electronic free.  I loved the lessons that were taught and the joy that was felt by all.  I feel very grateful for my chance to serve and for the wonderful, capable, Christ-like women and men that I get to work with.  Again I lack the words to adequately  sum up the week.
This guy is amazing.  He is a wonderful high council advisor to us and works incredibly hard and is such a good sport and good bug killer.  He gave many a blessing, many many hugs, a listening ear and help and support in every way possible.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost 


 The boys reported that they had a great time.  In his free time Rob did a lot of fishing.  There was also a lot of boy wrangling that went on.

Ethan earned 9 merit badges, which is awesome!  His favorite one was wilderness survival where he had to spend the night in the woods with only what he could put in one pocket.  He didn't get a lot of sleep but he said it was great!
 They both complained that the food wasn't great and there wasn't enough of it.  Luckily each night Jared made cobbler and that helped things out.  On Ethan's birthday they made birthday cake.

 Ethan also liked the pirate breakfast a lot and had fun swimming and hanging out with all the boys.  He also is looking forward to going back next year.

Camp Winona

 Grace had a great time at camp.  She was full of stories, so much so that it took two days to hear them all.  Her favorite friend at camp was a little girl named Darryn.

She loved archery and found that she was pretty good at it.  She loved the pool and was a red band swimmer, which meant that she could dive down 8 ft and could swim anywhere she wanted.
 Some of the food wasn't her favorite but the bug net on the bed was good and kept all the bugs away.  She learned a lot of songs. Did not like the hike but did like the many art projects and fun times.
She said one girl went home because she was home sick but Grace herself never felt worried or scared.  We had talked about what it would be like a lot before she left and she got a blessing and I told her that each morning and each night daddy and I would kneel and pray for her.  I think these things gave her great comfort and she had a FaBuLouS time!  She wants to go back next year!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Camp Update

All is well! Everyone is at camp and as far as I know everyone is fine. We have to cell reception at out camp but Tara and I had some errands in town and are taking a minute to catch up with the world. Our camp is buggy and hot but everyone is doing great. We had a talent show last night and the girls were awesome!
Today is Ethan's birthday. He's spent many a birthday at camp now. I've gotten a few texts from Riv and it sounds like the boys are having a blast.
Grace's camp posts pictures on the private website so I got to take a peek and she looks happy and busy!
Me and some of the amazing stake leaders! Having a great time as usual!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

hi ho hi ho it's off to camp we go.....

the potatoes looked like baby aliens all wrapped up in silver blankets

Grace's cabin is so cute, with little bug nets over each bed
Busy weekend! Crazy busy!  We've been getting ready for camp.  This doesn't sound so complex but believe me it is.  We are, between the 5 of us, going to 3 different camps and it has been a week long process to get everyone packed, get everything on their must have lists, and dogs arranged for, and talks written and crafts prepared and groceries bought and clothes clean.

On top of that the YW Pres had the opportunity to feed the priesthood leadership of the stake between their training and the adult session of conference last night.  The 3 of us fed 150 men.  I wish we took a picture because the bar looked great and the desserts were a hit.  We did a potato bar and it was very tasty and nice.  We had chili and bacon and cheese and salad and everything you can think of. The men were appreciative and we were happy to do it.  A different weekend would have been easier.
no turning back...and she didn't want to, she was anxious to go!
Grace got dropped off this afternoon.  She is very excited!  The rest of us leave between 8 tonight and 8 tomorrow morning in stages.  The last load of laundry is in the washer and everyone is packed except me so we are doing well.  We will be ready to go!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

49 Years

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!

These two are wonderful parents and wonderful examples to all their posterity.  8 children, 8 in laws, 18 grandchildren +, 2 great grands +.

I love the verse in Corinthians about Charity, which is the pure Love of Christ.  They have lived this and shown us how to live it as well.

We love you! Thanks for showing us what real, Christ-like selfless love is every day.

1 Corinthians 13:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand allmysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whetherthere be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Early this morning Bub and I sat in the yard and noticed Hannah's garden had a zucchini! We decided to pick it and surprise her with blueberry zucchini bread for breakfast.  It turned out very delicious but she wasn't happy that we picked her first zuc without asking.

Gracie invited Izzy over to play.  I thought it was a great idea especially since we had a big list of things to get done and it's only slowly being whittled down.  Then we saw that Ainsley had surgery this morning for her broken arm! Oh no! I am a pretty mediocre visiting teacher but I did send a text to see if we could invite the other kids to play or bring dinner or something.  We got to have Arden and Ashby come play too. The girls were so cute and had a great day.  My list progress has been pretty slow but like the fabled tortoise we are sure to get it all done.
zucchini blueberry bread
I am happy to report that we are finally done with all Ethan's merit badge pre-reqs.  Grace is mostly ready to go and the rest of us are making progress.

last night, showered, aloe-d and ready for bed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

River Day

Laura and I had planned a beach day.  We wanted to get up soooo early and go to Virginia Beach but at the last minute Rob didn't want us to so we had to change gears and go some place closer.  We went to Colonial Beach, which is not really a beach like waves and ocean and all that but it was a large body of water and a patch of rocky sand.  It's on the Potomac so thus the our newly coined term "River Day".  Which mentally prepares us for a fun, but not oceany day.

We ended up having a pretty great day.  It was close, only an hour and a half away and the kids all had such a great time.  We were in the water the whole time and they swam and played.  The boys had mud fights and jumped off the pier.

The little town is super cute and the boardwalk is small but also very cute.  We enjoyed the small town ambiance.  There was a lot of laughing and eating of sandy chips and melty PB&J's and at the end of the day we returned home sunburnt and sandy and tired.  All signs of a good beach day.
Hannah, Eric, Daniel B, Ethan and Joseph

Alaura and Grace
(not pictured somehow Maggie and Daniel M)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Good job Hannah! Her room is sparkly clean. 

Other news of the day: we went to the pool  Ethan threw the football around with some other boys.  Grace and Rob went fishing.  That is all.

Monday, June 16, 2014

18 Summers

Everyone knows that summer is the best season of the year.  I love it.  I love the no scheduled bedtime, the sleeping in, the warm weather, the fun trips, summer food and summer movies, summer novels and camp and ice cream dreams.  Love it.

As parents we don't get too many summers with our kidlets.  18 is all.  That's why I say yes to friends, and yes to messes, yes to watching movies I know I won't like, and daily trips to the pool.  I just want to soak it in and live it up.
Today was a typical summer day.  Hot. We slept late (8ish).  Grace got to go to Maggie's to play.  Ethan wanted french toast for breakfast and after that we worked on merit badges.  World Cup is on so he watched that.  I did some chores.  Grace went riding.  They did a trail ride and she got to trot on the trail! Maggie came and kept me company while Grace rode and after we went to the pool.  We ate dinner late (8:30ish) and it was burgers with cheese grilled by our dear dad.  Then the girls gave our FHE lesson.  We ate fruit pizza for treat and Alyssa came over to sleep over (even later: 10:17ish)
Best part of the day, FaceTime with this little wonder woman and her momma. Penny dressed herself Dani told me.  Summer with an almost 2 year old is a favorite of mine!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Night

trying out dad's new tent hammock

a little baseball

talking on the phone with Abba, out by the tomatoes, in the setting sun

Father's Day

 We are father's day lame-o's as we didn't even send out cards this year.  We will make happy father's day phone calls. I should have remembered and made an effort because I have the utmost respect and love for fathers.  Their roll in their children's lives is crucial.  A good dad makes all the difference in the world.

Our little family is blessed with some great dads.  First Rob, the father of our home.  He works hard and loves his family.  He is a good example of integrity and faith.  He has a tenacity that allows him to do hard things and follow through with choices even after the emotion of making the choice has passed.  He is a man of solid character, great intellect and compassion.  We are lucky to have him lead our family.

Where did he learn these qualities?  From his own dad.  Abba is the best.  We love him and feel so lucky to have him.  He is funny and kind, patient and hard working.  Abba exemplifies what a man should be.  He is devoted to his family, he is smart, he loves to have fun, and he has a heart open to loving and helping others. I will always remember the example he was of a great son as he honored and cared for his aging parents and in laws.  We love this guy!
my fav picture of dad and I at Dani and Greg's open house
And of course Papa.  Papa is the best dad a girl could ever want.  He has always been kind, and interesting, and supportive.  He serves God and his family with every thing he has and everything he is.  I have never seen him been selfish or lazy or heard him say anything mean or unkind.  All of his children want to grow up to be just like him.  I love you dad.  Always.

From the Proclamation on the family:
The FAmiLy is ordained of God. marriage between man and woman is essential to his eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with com- plete fidelity. happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are estab- lished and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repen- tance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. mothers are primarily respon- sible for the nurture of their children. in these sacred re- sponsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. disability, death, or other circum- stances may necessitate individual adaptation. extended families should lend support when needed. 

These 3 men live these words.  They are wonderful examples to their families and to others  around them and I am grateful for them.  Happy Father's day!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

There's something wrong with this picture

Sitting at the park on a June morning. I'm grateful for the cool breeze since I know full well it could be blasted hot and humid as all get out. Instead the recent storms have cooled the air and brought the welcomed breezes. I have my orange juice and my book and my spot in a camp chair in the long line of other parents  in their camp chairs watching their kids and other kids try out for Rec + soccer. 

A half hour earlier we were walking in from the parking lot, schlepping the gear we need: Gatorade, goalie gloves, soccer ball. A coach we know walks along side us and Ethan greets him "hey coach!" "Ethan! Hey man you know it's too bad your family has a no playing on Sunday thing. Wolf Pack (the elite travel team that many of his friends play on) wants a goalie and they mentioned you by name. You would have made it." I was furious. What I thought and what I said were not the same thing. What I said was we have more important obligations on the Sabbath. Then we went and signed in.

I watched my boy line up shoulder to shoulder with the other kids. A line of coaches carrying clip boards walk down the line writing down jersey numbers. Some kids are nervous. You can tell by the way they shake their hands or hop on their toes. I know Ethan's not. He's out for the consolation prize- playing on a team where his skills while greater than the other kids also have little chance of improving with out the challenge of harder opponents. You can't serve God and mammon. I wish wish wish we lived in a world where everyone honored The Lord and played on their own time instead of His. But we don't. I don't know what Ethan will grow up to be or how he will choose to live his life but he will have no doubt where his parents stood. Hopefully he'll also know how proud we are of him. He's smart and kind and a good athlete. He's a leader and yet humble enough to listen to his mom and dad. The whole Sunday sports thing has been a real trial to him...and to us. 

To make matters worse my sunglasses broke:(


Friday, June 13, 2014

For the record

I snapped pictures of all our rooms to show that while I complain about Hannah's room and make her "clean it" what probably seems like every day I am not meticulous or unreasonable in my expectations. At.All.

Here is mine and Rob's room.  This is pretty typical.  Bed made.  No curtains yet even though we've lived here 5 years.  No nice furniture even though we've been married 16 years.  Some stacks of books, some laundry to fold...a dog bone.  The usual.  It's clean and a bit messy but comfortable.
Ethan's room.  Stacks of books.  He's in bed because it's raining and he is full of allergy meds.  He's watching the world cup.  Usually his bed is made and his room is pretty neat.
Grace's room.  One one bed is she's started her getting ready for camp stack and has her animals.  Bed's can see the floor.  This is also pretty typical.
Hannah's room.  Cleaning in earnest day 3.  Some progress has been made.
I like my house to be clean, more often than not it's comfortably lived in.  And even though I like the idea of clean I don't keep it spotless.