We hardly ever play pool on our pool table, but the kids use it for other things all the time. It makes an especially wonderful tent. The girls love to disappear under there to read and play. I'm so glad they're still comfortable being LITTLE girls!
Brantley and Annie have started taking horse riding lessons from a great friend from church. They're learning all about how to take care of horses and saddle them and of course how to ride. It looks like so much fun that I may have to do it myself sometime!
I took Ellie, Emily and Ashlyn with me to Northwest Harvest to volunteer one Saturday in September. I was amazed at how much work my little girls did! Ellie has volunteered there before and knew what to do, but Emily and Ashlyn just jumped right in and got busy. It was so fun being there with my girls, and we will certainly do it again!
Ashlyn and Emily started 3rd grade on August 30th. They were very excited to go! I'm so glad we have such a nice little school just 2 minutes from our house. I know they'll homeschool when they get a bit older, but for now it's working very well to have them in school. Although I really miss them when they're gone!
I can't believe Brantley is a teenager already. Of course, in a few years, we'll have 5 teens at the same time, so he's just the beginning. He had a great day doing whatever he wanted with no chores or schoolwork. He chose Applebee's for his birthday dinner and chocolate chocolate cake for his cake. His cereal was Lucky Charms. Happy Birthday sweetie - we love you!
On a beautiful September day we decided to take a trip to the zoo and aquarium in Tacoma. It had been awhile since we'd been to the zoo, and it was the perfect day for it - sunny and 70 degrees. We saw all the animals and had a yummy lunch in one of the restaurants. Everyone had a great time, and since I bought a membership, we'll do it again soon!
Emily is tiny - the size of an average 6 year old and she'll be 9 in February - but she's very strong. She gives Ashlyn piggy-back rides all the time, and Ashlyn is much bigger than she is. I guess all the gymnastics and karate has really paid off!
On August 4th 2012 Emily and Ashlyn were baptized. The day was warm and sunny, and both Ean and Lexie were able to join us too. The program was very nice, and they were able to be baptized with 2 of their little friends from church - Ava Reall and Sienna Christensen. They looked so beautiful in their white dresses, and we're so proud of their decision to be baptized. We love you so much, girls!
I can't believe it, but on July 25th Marq turned 12! It's that time of year where we have 3 kids the same age for about a month. He had a really fun birthday because we got a new XBOX 360 Kinect that afternoon and he had all sorts of fun with that. We also had karate where they all sang to him, and he had a friend over for dinner and cake. And he got lots of his favorite things - legos! And an Elvis CD. Funny kid! He chose Life Cinnamon cereal for breakfast, pizza for dinner, and vanilla cake for his dessert. Happy Birthday sweet boy!
Yikes! On July 19th I turned 49! How can I possibly be only a year away from 50??? Time flies when you're having fun I guess! Anyhow, this is a picture of the surprise breakfast that Brantley made for me. I came downstairs, and there it was - homemade pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, fresh squeezed orange juice, and buttered toast. He said he was going to include bacon too, but it didn't smell right. I'm so glad he didn't include it! The rest of the day was lovely and all the kids were on their best behavior. Then we had pizza and ice cream cake for dinner. All in all, it was a wonderful birthday!
We had a great 4th of July! The weather was beautiful (not the norm here - usually it's cool and rainy), and all the kids were able to be here. Ellie's boyfriend Marquis was here too, so we had a full house. The BBQ was great and the fireworks afterwards were fun. As usual, our neighbors set off all kinds of huge fireworks, so we were able to enjoy the show. It was an all around great day!
On June 29th, Ashlyn turned 8. I can't believe my baby (for the moment, at least) is 8! She continues to be so tall for her age, and is such a wonderful little girl. We just couldn't love her more! For her dinner, she wanted hot dogs and chips, and for her cereal she chose Lucky Charms. She got Polly Pockets, Squinkies, Barbies, and Pet Shops. Happy Birthday oh so beautiful girl!
I can't believe that my little Annie is 12! She's just growing up way too fast. And what a beautiful young woman she's growing into! She's spunky, fun, and very smart. For her dinner, we went to Old Country Buffet because she loves that place. Tim couldn't join us because he was still recovering from his surgery, but I took the kids and we had a great time and all ate way too much. Most of the kids had at least 4 desserts! Happy Birthday beautiful girl!
The little girls had to give "how to" presentations at the end of the school year. Emily showed how to make break-and-bake cookies. I went to watch. She was really nervous, but she did a very well. Great job, sweetie!
Ashlyn worked really hard in school this year, and was nominated by her teacher to get the Student of the Semester award! She was presented it at a school assembly. Way to go, honey, we're very proud of you!
On drive from Pocatello to Salt Lake City to visit our friends the Groves and catch the plane home to Seattle, the girls both fell asleep on Brantley. He sat perfectly still until they woke up. What a guy!
We got to go over to Grandma Pat's and her husband Jim's house for dinner one evening. They had some lovely friends over too, and Tim's brother Benny, who he hasn't seen since they were in grade school, was able to be there also. It was great visiting and catching up, and the food was yummy. All in all, it was a wonderful trip to Pocatello. The kids keep asking when we can go back!
Mama Inez is a yummy Mexican restaurant that's been in Pocatello for years. We try to eat there every time we're in town. This time it was extra fun because Hugo had our kids running all over the place. 2 year olds - instant entertainment!
Our hotel had a great pool, and the kids were in it everyday we were there. One time, Lewis, Rio, and Hugo were able to join us. Hugo wasn't interested in the water, but Rio and our kids all had a great time!
I hadn't been back to Pocatello since my mom's funeral 5 years ago, so I asked my brother to show me mom's grave. It's in a wonderful old cemetery with tons of beautiful old trees. It's very peaceful there.
While we were there, we got to visit Grandpa Ted. He's not doing very well health - wise, so I was glad we could see him. He's living in a very nice assisted-care center and seems content. We had a great visit!
Once while we were in our hotel suite, after a long day of visiting, Emily got very tired and sad. So Brantley just scooped her up and rocked her to sleep in his arms. Isn't that just the sweetest big brother thing to do?
We had a really fun BBQ at Heather's parents house while we were in Pocatello. Amy Cutler, who's been a close friend for over 30 years, was able to be there too. It was great fun to see her again, and to watch all the kids bonding with their cousins!
One of the best parts of going to Pocatello was getting to see my brother Lewis, his fiance Heather, and their kids again. Actually, this was the first time I met their little Hugo, and he's absolutely adorable! I'd forgotten how fun 2 year olds can be. And Rio, their 13 year old, looks like a young man! The last time I saw him he was just a little boy. Time certainly flies, and we're determined not to let so many years pass before we get together again!
Pocatello has a great little zoo that we like to visit whenever we're there. Unlike the zoo up here in Seattle, you don't have to spend an entire day there to see everything. It's just big enough to have some fun animals, but small enough to actually enjoy. We had a fun couple of hours there!
In May we went to Pocatello Idaho to visit family and friends for 6 days. It had been almost 7 years since we'd visited with all the younger kids, and it was a great trip! Here's a picture of Pat, Tim's mom our 2nd day there. The next several posts will be from Pocatello!
I love Mother's Day! And not because of the gifts or special treatment, but because I get to spend a day reflecting on how lucky and blessed I am to be a mom to such wonderful kids. This year I got stuffed animals, roses, candy and great homemade and purchased cards. But my best gift by far was all the hugs and kisses and I love you's I got. I love you too kids!
This swing set was such a good investment for us. It gets used almost every single day, rain or shine. I keep thinking Brantley, Annie, and Marq are getting too big to enjoy it anymore, but they still love to spend time on it. They do totally crazy dangerous-looking things on it all the time, but they sure do have fun!