Sunday, August 28, 2016

Goodbye Again

I was out of town all last week dropping Sam off at BYU for his next big adventure.

It was bittersweet.

Sam was home for less than five weeks. It hardly seemed long enough, but in the end it was time. He was ready for this next step so it was hard not to be excited for him.

Sam got to meet his cousin, Lane, who was born shortly after Sam left on his mission. Lane was a little shy at first, but by the end he loved Sam and happily posed for this pic.

Sam and I got him all moved in at BYU and met some of his roommates. They have an awesome apartment with six brand new returned missionaries. They've all hit it off and are in for a great year.

You can see the dorms where Sam lives through the trees.

Freshman Orientation was filled with fun activities, tours, food, dances, games, and new friends.

Here's Sam, already on the Jumbotron at the stadium.

Not a great angle from where I was sitting, but here's the Freshman class in their Y formation.

It was a beautiful evening at the stadium with performances by Vocal Point, the Cougarettes, the Marching Band, and a pep talk by Coach Sitaki, among other entertainment. Plenty of fun! 

Classes start tomorrow! We're so excited for Sam as he embarks on this chapter.

Life is good!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Nauvoo and Vocal Point

One of the highlights of our week at the lake house was an afternoon and evening in Nauvoo (August 2). It worked out well because it was a rainy day so we couldn't be out on the water anyway. 

We started out at the Visitors' Center where we walked around the beautiful grounds. The kids had fun posing like several of the statues. (The first one cracks me up...)

We were lucky enough to be there for a showing of "The Promise" which is a short musical put on by the young performing church-service missionaries who come to Nauvoo for the summer. It was excellent! Afterward, we got to meet some of the cast and one of them, Elder DeWitt, was from Mesa which made our newbie RM pretty happy! :)

Following the performance, Jeff took the older kids to the Nauvoo temple. They had a great experience there while Sadie and I drove around and visited some of the historical sites.

Sadie found out at the Pioneer Pastimes Center that stilt walking is a lot harder than it looks...

Once we were reunited with the rest of the family, we drove across the river to Fort Madison, Iowa for some dinner then right back to Nauvoo for the highlight of our day -- BYU Vocal Point!! We were so excited when we realized that our lake house trip coincided with Vocal Point's Nauvoo tour. We are huge fans!

Waiting for the concert to start

Vocal Point sang several songs we know and love plus a couple we hadn't heard before. My two favorite songs of the night were "Nearer My God to Thee," and "Newsies Medley." Ah, I love those!! The concert was so, so good!! One of the kids' favorite parts was when Matt, the beatboxer, showed off his skills. It was very cool!  Another favorite part was meeting the group after the performance. They are just all around nice guys who put on a pretty great show!

Sam with Spencer. Spencer also served a mission in Mesa.

Jordan is Soren's favorite member of the group!

Spencer with Spencer!

Matt, the amazing beatboxer! 
It was an all-around great day in Nauvoo. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2016


We've got some hummingbird regulars in our yard. It's become quite entertaining to watch them through our big dining room picture window as they fight for the feeder and hang out in our tree. The other day, one of them flew right up to the window and just hovered, looking in and scoping us out.

We were sitting at dinner the other day when Jeff looked out the window and said, "Oh look, there's a redneck hummingbird." I chuckled to myself at his description, picturing a little backwoods hummingbird who was married to his cousin. I pointed out that it was called a ruby-throated hummingbird, not a redneck.

(It still makes me laugh.)


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Happy Birthday, Spencer!

We're wishing Spencer a Happy 17th Birthday today! Lucky for us, Spencer is every bit as talented, smart and kind as he is handsome. :)

Spencer is a great kid. He's quite self-reliant and self-motivated. I never have to make sure he's up in the morning. He even makes it to Seminary every school morning by 5:30 (!!) without any coaxing on our part. Spencer is a great student and completes homework and other obligations because it's important to him. He is smart (boy howdy, is he smart!) and has probably read more than anyone I know. He runs Cross Country and is an asset to his team. He is very fit and regularly does pushups and pullups to strengthen and tone.

I can hardly believe Spencer will begin applying for college within the next month or two. Where has the time gone? One more year with him at home just isn't going to be long enough.

Happy Birthday, Spencer! I hope seventeen is your best year so far!   Love, Mom  XO

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Lake House Revisited

Remember the lake house where we spent Spring Break? When we were deciding where to go for a family vacation with Sam, I wanted somewhere that we could really be together without the pull of outside distractions (like facebook, e-mail, instagram, etc...).

The lake house had all that and more because 1) there is no internet and 2) no cell reception. While that may sound like a teenagers nightmare, it is this mother's dream!! :) Fortunately, my kids were good sports and our friends were very generous in allowing us to use their lake house again. So we spent the first week of August - five relaxing days - truly together. 

We enjoyed eight kayaks, one dock, a trip to Nauvoo (more on that later), loads of good food, plenty of games, music, movies (we got to share Kung Fu Panda 3 and Star Wars VII with Sam!), books, swimming, and laughing. 

My dream of having my little family all to myself (all to ourselves) was realized and it was awesome! I hope we can do it again soon.

Sadie loved this swing. The older kids were totally afraid of it. :)

Even during meals we had a beautiful view, but no bugs on the fully screened deck.

Savannah and Sterling put together some really cool guitar/violin duets.

Not a great picture, but one of my favorite parts was kayaking. I loved it when all eight of us were out together.

Savannah loved doing yoga on the dock, especially the day she was up with the sun.

Diving lessons.

1...  2...  3...


(the end.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Another First Day

I'm pretty sure school started after Labor Day when I was young, or maybe it was the week before. Either way, it was never August 17. That's just too early to be in school!

Apparently that memo wasn't received in my little corner of the world because school started today despite our best attempts at denial. 

Several anxious kids made it through a somewhat sleepless night and braved the day. Fortunately, they survived and thrived and came home smiling. Whew!! 

Sadie is our adorable sixth grader -- her last year in elementary school!

Soren is the Big Man on Campus as an eighth grader. His last year of middle school.

Our high schoolers: Spencer, a senior and Sterling, a freshman. 
We're looking forward to a great year! :)

{I am painfully aware that it is August 17 and this is my first blog post this month! How did this happen? We've had a great summer and I'm planning to post more details soon!}

Update (August 29): Sam had his first day at BYU today! I thought he should be included on this post, too -- with an appearance by one of his roomies. :) Lookin' good, Sam!!