Monday, May 13, 2013

Despite the lack of posts, we have not run off and joined the circus.

Some of us are working on our qualifications, though! More on that later...

So, yeah, life is passing us by and I feel bad that I haven't kept up. I have huge virtual piles of pictures to sort through and it is overwhelming, but (thanks to my friend Christine who gave me some good advice and encouragement) I will stop thinking I need to blog about EVERYTHING  I have missed and give you the Reader's Digest version. Short, sweet, and hopefully with a joke. (I love the jokes. They are the first sections I read when there is a RD in the doctor's office.)

Summer is home! Woohoo! She is just so wonderful to have around :)  She finished winter semester at the end of April. Rachel, Jillian, a friend from our ward, and I drove up to Provo, stayed a couple of nights and brought her home. It was so fun for me to see her apartment, meet her friends and go to church with her. Here she is at a birthday party for one of her roommates last fall.

Summer is doing well; getting good grades and happily changing her major on a regular basis. Her current thought is a major in wildlife biology, pending how she feels about doing field work with her dad while she is home. Sadly for me, but a good thing for her, she will be heading back to Provo at the end of June. She has a great job (the best job in the universe, really) working at the Harold B. Lee library in the Book Repair Unit. I worked there when I went to BYU and she even has the same boss. She doesn't have to take  classes and can work full time during summer term.

I am enjoying her while I have her. We have been hanging out together, chatting all day, and have a couple of projects we are working on together to get ready for my sisters wedding later this month. Summer is a bridesmaid and we are making her dress together. I am making Sara's guest book, which Summer will help with. She has been helping with a LOT, actually, cooking dinners (she's cooking in the picture below), making lunches and helping herd kids.

Here is a picture of Rachel in the prom dress I sewed for her. She made the bow and sash. She wore turquoise high heels and her friend Lina's sister, Jen, made her a corsage. Sorry about having to look sideways!

Here she is with her friend Lily. They were both on the prom court because of their class rankings. Lily is ranked 4th and Rachel is 6th.

Rachel made it into every school she applied to, including BYU, UCLA, Berkeley, Penn State, UC Santa Barbara and University of the Pacific. The 1st three on that list were the ones she was seriously considering, so she toured each campus. I went with her to UCLA. The school spirit at that place was amazing. At least a third of the students had UCLA shirts on. We ate at the dorm cafeteria and the food was pretty good! After the tour, I asked Rachel what she thought and her comment was, "They all look so smart! I'm smart, but I try really hard not to look smart."

Berkeley flew her up to tour their campus. She came back sure she didn't want to go there, "The food in the cafeteria was horrible and everyone looked weird."

She, Jillian, and I toured BYU the weekend that we picked Summer up. By then, because she was offered a scholarship, she was pretty set on BYU and touring the campus was great. She left feeling excited for when she goes in the fall.

We looked at the different dorms and ate in the cafeteria. After the pronouncements about UCLA students all looking smart and Berkeley students all looking weird, I asked what BYU students looked like to her. She said, "Mormon."

One funny thing happened while we were there. I took Rachel and Jillian to see the apartment complex where I lived and where Stan and I met. No one was in the office, so I just knocked on the door of one of the apartments I lived in and asked if I could show my daughter what they looked like. Some nice coeds let us in and then one of them looked at me and said, "You're the pants lady!" She went to got get another girl from the back of the apartment and said, "It's the pants lady!"

I had some floral jeans on and they had seen me on campus that day and liked my pants so much they were tempted to yell at me out their car window. Instead, I made a personal visit to their apartment. What are the odds at school with 34, 000 students?!?

Heather is just finishing up her freshman year of high school and is getting straight A's. I went to her art class earlier in the year to teach bookbinding to 34 kids and have an even greater appreciation for teachers than ever. Part of Heather wishes she could quit going and home school, but I am glad she is sticking it out because her school has some really dedicated, excellent teachers. She did request online PE and French for next year, which would mean she could leave at noon, which I am hoping is the perfect balance of in and out of public school for her.

Heather amazes me constantly with her skill in everything creative. Her artwork is lovely. She has been getting into mail art and does especially delicate watercolors. She is daring and skilled at cooking (which we are all enjoying the fruits of) and regularly asks to use my sewing machine.

She loves animals with a passion and is happiest when she has a dog sitting job. We are hoping to have her take horseback riding lessons in the town next to us this summer.

Gwen is our daredevil and the child most likely to really join the circus. We have an old telephone pole in our back yard, which she climbs and which I am in denial about. I don't like to think about her climbing it because I always imagine her crumpled at the bottom, but Stan thinks letting her take controlled risks is good. I just asked him how tall it was and she yelled from the other room, "Twenty six feet and one inch! We measured it." Eek!

Gwen is in the middle school orchestra and plays the violin. She got straight A+'s on her last progress report. She is fascinated with skeleton keys and is planning on starting a collection.

She starts high school in the fall and has signed up for PE Tennis, which I think I am more excited about than she is, but I hope she will have fun with it. She and I went to a park with tennis courts yesterday and played for a while, then went to Dairy Queen to eat ice cream and cool off.

Kelly has a birthday this week.  She wants binoculars, books, an orange ball, a nerf gun, candy and fancy pens. For Christmas, she got some fine tip markers and a sketchbook and has been using them a lot. She is following in her mother's footsteps with an love for art supplies :)

She is doing well in school, plays the piano and the cello and always cheers us up with her big smile and infectious laugh.

Michael was baptized last fall. Now that he is eight years old, he is going to Cub Scouts and he loves it. He gets to spend time with boys, doing guy things. Pretty cool. The pinewood derby was a couple of months ago and he and Stan had fun getting his car ready. Stan pulled out his old pinewood derby car to brush up on how to do the wheels and stuff (don't you love my technical language?). Michael traced his design on his block of wood and Stan sawed off the big chunks, then showed Michael how to carve and sand the rest. Michael painted it his favorite color, stuck on his number 8 stickers and was ready to go.

While he didn't win the derby (complicated rules I don't remember), his was the fastest car that night. Let me tell you, it was thrilling!

Michael and Naomi are homeschooled, which means I can take them to Coach Nash's classes. He is a great guy :) Michael took baseball a few months ago and he and Naomi just finished track and field.

Speaking of track and field class, here is Naomi throwing the javelin with excellent form. The younger kids in the class used these foam javelins, but the teenagers used the real, Olympic sized sharp ones, which meant each class got a lecture on safety with a couple of stories about athletes (not in Coach Nash's class) being impaled and having to pull their own javelin out and call 911. Coach says it is pretty fun to search "javelin mishaps" on youtube and watch all the violence. I skipped that bit of entertainment.

Naomi is fun, affectionate and, as we are trying to remember to call it, has leadership potential. She also loves to organize things, which is great. I feel like I won the lottery - my last child loves to organize? That means she can clean out all the stuff I have hoarded over the years when I get to old to use it. Woohoo!

While I am covering everyone, I should mention that we are all enamored of our little budgie, Montague Bodkin. He is talking more and more and now says, "What's cookin'?" in addition to "Pretty boy," and "I love you, Monty."

Stan and I are great, just truckin' along, raising kids and paying bills. Stan's book is selling, slowly but surely. I am looking forward to going to my sister's wedding in a week and a half. This picture is from a week ago, when the family went hiking for FHE.

Well, if you have made it all the way down to the bottom of this post, you deserve a joke, so here you go -

Q: What do you call two blondes in a closet?

A: Last year's hide-and-seek winners.


Stubbs Love said...

This was seriously the best post. I loved getting an update on everyone! You have some great kids with lots of talent!

Laurel said...

Haha, great joke! Glad I stuck it out to the end!

Really, though, I so enjoy reading your blog and getting to know you more through virtual means. I feel like we should hang out more. When we've got all that extra time, right??

And tell Gwen that I've got a collection of skeleton keys too! I love them so much and all the mystery they hold. They were my favorite things to search for in antique stores when I was a teenager. :)

AES said...

Thanks, Darcy and Laurel! That was one of my mother's day gifts - everyone else made dinner and cleaned up while I blogged :)

sjones said...

I never quite feel like I get to know this much about you guys when we are so far away from each other so its nice to read what you are all doing!

AES said...

Thanks, that is one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much, Shantel :)

Lorna Pearce said...

Absolutely LOVE reading about your family. Makes me feel closer to all of you.

AES said...

Hugs and kisses back!