Thursday, June 23, 2011


Naomi likes to somersault from an upright position...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yellow Belts

Heather, Gwen, Kelly, Michael, and Naomi took a karate class this spring.
By the end of class, they were all yellow belts.

After the ceremony, their teacher had them do some drills...


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beach Camera Lost and Found

When we went to the beach a few weekends ago, I found some long lost pictures on the beach camera from a time when Will, Cynthia and their kids came to visit. Using my powers of deduction and observation (since my memory stinks) I conclude that we went to the park, Chinatown and the beach :)





Oops, now what do I do?

The rest of these are tide pools. I love tide pools :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baby Bird

Heather, using a lot of patience and my camera, took a picture of a baby sparrow whose parents built a nest in our pecan tree...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Car Show with Grandpa

My dad was working in Phoenix for a couple of months and took a weekend to come see us. It was great o have him there. It was also the weekend of our local chili cook off and car show, so we headed on over.

My dad mentioned that this was the same model car he drove when he was Summer's age, so I got a picture of him in front of it.

It was so much fun that I told the kids that were with us (the 5 youngest) that they could each pick their favorite car and I'd take a picture of them in front of the car of their choice. Somehow I missed Heather. She probably would have picked the police horses that were there instead of a car, anyway.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Graduations Galore

Seminary graduation was the last Sunday in May. Summer finished all four years. Rachel finished her first two. We are proud of them both. It takes dedication to get up and go in the early morning and I am so glad our girls have made it a priority.

The week that followed held - count them - three more graduations, starting with Michael's -

He was Master of Ceremonies, which meant he welcomed everyone and handed the mike over to the people who were really in charge. Coming from a sometimes shy family, I thought he did really well!

Here are all the graduates, dressed up as what they want to become (well, except Michael didn't have his whole getup on yet).

But you can see him dressed up as a zookeeper here -

Gwen also graduated, or promoted, from Elementary school.
Here she is shaking the principal's hand.

Each sixth grade teacher gave six awards, one of each of the following to a boy and a girl - Good Citizen, Most Improved and 110% Effort. I was touched by what Gwen's teacher had to say about the winners of her final award -

And then, the biggest of all, Summer's High School Graduation!

For all those grandparents and other interested parties who would like to see her receive her diploma, here it is -

We all love her and will miss her so very, very much!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fish Tacos and Goodbyes

The last bit before Summer left, we squashed in some of our favorite family activities one last time. On a Saturday, we went to the beach and the Friday night before Stan took the three oldest to UT, we all went out for fish tacos and yogurt.

Heather took the black and white photos at the taco place. I took 2/3 of the photos at the yogurt place, and I don't remember who took the other one...

The day we went to the beach, we walked past this house and admired all their birdhouses.

Naomi and Michael in the sand.

Michael facing down those big waves.

Kelly happy to be there.

Gwen with the seaweed belt she makes for herself every time we go.

Michael found a small shelled creature on seaweed he picked up.

Heather being contemplative.

Rachel relaxing.

The only pictures of Summer I had in my camera when we got home were ones where she was walking away, which I guess is what all the fun things were preparing us for, weren't they?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Kelly's Birthday Party

Kelly had a birthday party with friends old (from church) and new (from school). This past year was her first year in a classroom, not homeschooled, and she had so much fun making new friends. It was hard for her to adjust to the new setting and their kindness helped a lot.

As I was planning it, I let slip to Rachel that I was going to make a piñata with paper grocery bags decorated with streamers. That was not acceptable to her. In fact, she told me it was "ghetto." So, she enlisted Heather and they spent three hours the night before the party making a paper mâché strawberry piñata. It was so cute, it was a shame to break it.

Here are all the girls, Katelynn, Olivia, Victoria, Nyah and Kelly decorating their treat bags.

The first activity was bobbing for donuts.

Then, they tossed water balloons back and forth to see which team's balloons would last the longest.

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

We had a treasure hunt. The girls followed long, tangled, twisted all over pieces of yarn around the backyard to find their treasures.

Finally, the piñata!

After cupcakes and presents, everyone painted a bird house. Kelly has fun friends :)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Trip East

A few weekends ago, Kelly and I flew to PA to visit my parents and sister, Sara. Each kid gets a turn to fly east with me when they are 7 or 8ish and this time it was Kelly's turn to go. Here she is waiting to take off!

We got to my parents late Thursday night and it took us a while to get going Friday morning (afternoon?). We went to the Central Market in Lancaster and bought some whole cumin and fresh apple cider, which I miss from my childhood in New Hampshire.

We also went to Lititz and bought a hot pretzel at the pretzel factory (we were going to take a tour, but the man at the front register warned us that the place was crawling with middle-schoolers {scary!} and suggested we just stay away).

We HAD to stop by Wilber Chocolate.

We also went to the Lititz Museum. The two parquet clocks were my favorite exhibits.

Friday night, Sara and I went for a sisters' dinner out and my parents took Kelly to a huge buffet place. She ate a lot of meat and dessert.

We all met back at the house for more dessert and board/card games with Sara's boyfriend Greg. It was great to meet someone I've heard so much about and I really liked him. We ended the evening watching Dr. Who. I have loved that show since I was a young teenager staying up too late to watch it on PBS and it is one of my guilty pleasures.

Saturday, my dad, Sara, Kelly and I headed to Philadelphia.

There was a man playing a dulcimer in the Independence Visitor Center. We stopped to listen for a bit.

Then we headed over to see the Liberty Bell where I made Kelly stand in front of it for about five too many pictures. Poor girl!

There was scaffolding on Independence Hall, but they tried to make up for it with a giant picture.

Here is the Assembly Room where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed...

...and the chair George Washington sat in.

We also stopped by the American Philosophical Society and made some pressed flower art. Here is Sara's -

Sunday we went to church and then drove to Maryland to visit with Mark, Cathy, their six red headed kids, Dot and Karen. We have known Cathy and her family since we lived on Staten Island. Cathy mentioned that their ward only met for an hour because the water main broke in the building. They went ahead with Sacrament Meeting because it was a missionary farewell. I really enjoyed visiting with the whole family.

After Cathy's house, we took my dad to the airport and checked into a hotel in Alexandria, Va, near where Stan and I lived for a couple of years around when Heather was born. Kelly and I went to visit another family I knew then. They have five girls and Kelly enjoyed Grace the most because they are the same age. Here is a picture Jen painted of Grace. Isn't it beautiful? Jen takes portrait commissions, if you are interested...

While I was visiting with Jen, she told me about the missionary farewell in another state that she went to earlier, where everyone had to go home after an hour because a pipe broke and there was a family with six adorable redheaded children. What Jen couldn't understand was how a brunette mother (who was actually Karen, their aunt) could have all redheads. I was able to clear up that mystery, but we were still left in awe of what a small world it is.

Monday, my mom, Sara, Kelly and I went on a tour of the Library of Congress. It was lovely and inspiring.

There were quotes, mosaics, painting and sculptures everywhere. This one made me think of my two oldest daughters :)

Monday was also Kelly's birthday. I told the flight attendant and she and her coworkers made this "cake" for Kelly with whatever they had available. I guess there were clean out of cake mixes up there :)

Her t.p. cake was kind of fun, but later they did something REALLY fun. About five minutes before we landed, they asked everyone to close their window shades. I thought that was a little strange, but then it got weirder when they asked everyone to turn off their reading lights and the plane was plunged into darkness. Then, they asked everyone to turn on their flight attendant call lights, which were about the size of twinkle lights and looked like rows of BIRTHDAY CANDLES all down the plane. They told Kelly that this was her very own giant cake and then everyone sang her "Happy Birthday". It was VERY COOL!