Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pioneer Trek

My boys have had quite a week! Monday morning they left for Mammoth Cave in Kentucky with their Scout troop. They went caving and hiking and pretty much wore themselves out until they left for home on Wednesday morning. They got home in time for lunch then hurried to repack and switch to pioneer gear before they headed out that same afternoon for our stake's youth conference Pioneer Trek.

For the next three days, they pulled handcarts, danced, cooked and ate in the great outdoors, and tried to stay dry during a thunderstorm. And you know what? They loved it! They all had a great time honoring our many pioneer ancestors.

This is my favorite photo from trek. Don't my boys just look the part? I love that Jeff was with them, too.

The whole group:

This is part of Sterling's "family." It's hard to tell with the smoke, but Sterling is second to the right. His Ma and Pa are in the center.

Soren (left) with part of his family:

A couple of months before trek, the youth were encouraged to submit stories from their pioneer ancestors. Here, Spencer is sharing one of the submitted stories.

Here, Soren is helping his "family" stabilize the handcart as they walk down a hill.

On the last day, on a steep segment of the trail, the girls had to pull the handcarts alone while the men and boys watched helplessly. My boys said that as each group of girls reached the summit, they left their handcarts and hurried to help the girls still on the trail.


Monday, June 19, 2017

An Early-Morning Walk

Sadie and I are enjoying some girl time this week while the boys are off camping. The boys headed out bright and early this morning so Sadie and I headed out, too, for a beautiful morning walk. Last week we had some serious humidity (over 90%) that made it pretty miserable to be outside for very long. Today, the humidity has been between 30 and 40 percent which makes a world of difference. 

Here are a few photos from our stroll along the walking/bike trail near our house:






We're hoping for another beautiful day tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Where in the World? Spencer Edition

Imagesource

Here we go again! Spencer's mission papers have been submitted and he's waiting for his mission call. It'll probably take two or three weeks so we're taking guesses while we wait. Leave a comment below with where you think Spencer will be assigned to serve for the next 2 years. (For a list of all 421 missions, click here.) We did this with Sam back here. No one guessed correctly that time around (Arizona). Maybe we'll have better luck this time!



I'm excited for Spencer. I know he'll be a great missionary! If you want more information about the missionary program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, here's a pretty good overview. You can watch a 5-minute video about missionary work here.

Here are the guesses so far, in no particular order:

1. Texas
2. Finland
3. Hong Kong
4. Ireland
5. Brazil
6. Guatemala
7. Chile
8. Australia
9. Switzerland
10. Japan
11. Arizona
12. Malaysia
13. England
14. Alaska
15. Albania
16. France
17. Iowa
18. Russia
19. California
20. Hawaii
21. Mexico
22. China
23. Spain
24. Scotland
25. Argentina
26. Denmark
27. Florida
28. Democratic Republic of the Congo
29. Jamaica
30. Estonia
31. Czech Republic
32. Vancouver, Canada
33. Honduras
34. Ecuador
35. Louisiana
36. Utah
37. South Africa
38. Germany
39. South Korea
40. India
41. Washington DC


Keep them coming! I'll update the list as we go. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sunflowers


Last summer, one of the farmers up the road planted sunflowers all along the street edge of his field. There must have been a quarter mile of sunflowers. It was such a happy sight every time we headed north.

As we drove along the main road the other day, we were excited to see that the sunflowers are back. No blooms yet, but it won't be long! :)



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tshotsholoza

We are 10 days into our summer break and enjoying every minute!

I had grand intentions for my blog during May, but between recitals, concerts, church functions, graduation and celebrations, our calendar was CRAZY! Blogging definitely took a backseat. I know myself well enough to not make any promises for June, but I'm hoping to post more consistently. We've had lots of happiness around here!

For now, enjoy Soren's shining moment from his middle school choir concert last month. It's a fun African song and I think he did a great job! :)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Let It Be

Gentri posted this sweet song just in time for Mother's Day. I didn't know the story behind this popular Beatles' song until I watched this video (read the text at the start), but it's pretty good advice from a mother to her son. And the song is so much more meaningful now that I know the inspiration behind it. Of course, the men from Gentri sing with such beautiful harmonies that it just adds to the message.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Graduation Day

Today is Spencer's big day! Tonight he will graduate from high school - an event he's been looking forward to for a long time. I, on the other hand, wonder how we got here so fast...

Isn't he handsome?


A couple of weeks ago, Spencer got a packet of papers in the mail from his first grade teacher, Mrs. England. She saved them for 11 years and then made Spencer's day when they arrived. Can you believe that? There were several worksheets that Spencer had completed as a first grader along with a few pictures and a note from Mrs. England congratulating him on his graduation.


Isn't that just the nicest thing? I can't get over how thoughtful it was!

Spencer has a lot to look forward to. He's been accepted to BYU and he'll start filling out papers for a full-time mission in a few days. He's got a lot going for him and I can't wait to watch him embark on his very bright future.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

You Will Be Found

It's always a great day when BYU's Vocal Point releases a new video! I accidentally stumbled upon this a few days ago and then purchased the song. :) It's a good one.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Violin Recital: Rondo

Jeff's parents drove out from Idaho last week to see Spencer and Sterling in Guys and Dolls. They planned on leaving early this morning for Colorado to see more grandkids, but we were able to talk them into staying an extra day for Sterling's violin recital.

Boy, was it worth it!!!

Sterling played the Kreisler arrangement of Mozart's Rondo. It was AMAZING!!

I hope you love it! (It made me cry.)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Guys and Dolls

The high school production of Guys and Dolls this weekend was amazing! The boys were gamblers: Spencer played Harry the Horse and Sterling was Scranton Slim. I wish you could have seen the Crapshooters Ballet; it was my favorite scene!

One thing our little town consistently does well is musicals. Every spring, we are wowed by a quality production. Music is a high priority and the stigma that exists in some areas isn't as present here.

We've had at least one of our kids in eight different high school productions over the years - including the year Sam and Savannah were in The Music Man as 5th and 6th graders - and we have six more years to look forward to. I'm telling you, it doesn't get much better than this at the high school level.

We're sad to see it end, but we're counting our blessings that our kids have such great opportunities here in Small Town, Illinois.

Just look at those suits! All the gamblers had on wildly colorful suits. I love it!
Just for fun, here's a list of the musicals our kids have been in at the high school...
The Music Man (Sam and Savannah)
Oklahoma (Sam)
Honk! (Sam and Savannah)
Anything Goes (Sam and Savannah)
South Pacific (Sam, Savannah and Spencer)
Bye Bye Birdie (Savannah, Spencer and Soren)
Shrek the Musical (Spencer; Sterling played in the pit)
Guys and Dolls (Spencer and Sterling)