"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

moving into fall ... a quick catch up

Annie was asked to homecoming by a cute friend from where we lived before.

I sent her down to our local ice cream shop to "pick up a cake for our company coming for dinner" ... but the cake had actually been ordered by him asking her to the dance. 

We took a long weekend to go down to Denver so she could go to the dance and activities.

They tolerated some photos outside of the hotel where we were staying.

Such a cute friend. Those dance/activities sure do add a lot of excitement to the life of a teenager ;)

That same weekend, we attended the farewell of our friend leaving on a mission. Celia even returned to be with us for the send off.

It has been so exciting the read his letters every Monday since, and hear how much he has grown.

We sure miss him but are grateful for his influence on our family.

We said goodbye to some very best friends .... again.

And we took our brand new twelve year old on his first visit to this very special place which is always such a neat experience.

We left feeling just a little more closure.

Back in our new Steamboat home, we explored more life in "the boat". Charlotte and I did a lot of pre-surgery hiking and conditioning.

This cheeky girl had made a "cell phone" out of cardboard and started carrying it around with her "just like mom". I think there's a hint in there that I need to let that thing go just a little bit more.

Newel was out of the country on business quite a bit trying to square things so he could spend time getting me back on my feet ... so we did some culinary exploring to find the best restaurants.

One such evening, Christian unintentionally ordered a pina colada the size of his head.

The new yard grew in beautifully.

Fall all around us did not disappoint.

Janie has worked to break into a new theater scene in a new high school.

That's a daunting task.

Her first play started at the bottom doing scene building and sound crew. She did a great job and we just know that dedication will speak volumes as she tries to climb a new acting ladder.

Theater here is no small potatoes.

While I was laid up, Charlotte took every advantage of me in the candy and television department ... something I am still battling every day in the mop up.

This particular day, she and I stayed in our pj's and decided that macaroni and cheese was just what the doctor ordered.

I gripped the counter edge and gritted my teeth while she made us lunch. I was pretty grateful for her impeccable ability to follow directions.

Post surgery, I shuffled to parent teacher conferences where the middle school teachers looked at one another with knowing smiles and nods saying, "Let's go look at Grant's locker, shall we?" ... "Yes, let's."

Then dragged me over to learn why middle schools are slowly eliminating lockers these days.

There was a roll of duct tape and an Allen wrench in there .... you know .... just in case something requires an Allen wrench during the school day.

Why is it that teachers and dentists hold all the power to making moms feel like queens or dirt?

I loved this advertisement project posted on the wall outside of Eliza's classroom, though. Made my heart melt for that girl of mine.

Charlotte is in a gymnastics class.

Because she's a girl who sits up in bed every morning with eyes that don't even look like they were just asleep, asking what we are doing today.

If I don't really have the answer she wants, she starts a list, "First we will hike, then go to swim, then library story time, then ski, then ice skate, then go to the candy store, then read some books and do a craft, then go on a bike ride, then play by the stream, then climb some trees, then paint, and then we'll have lunch!!"

Every day.

So I put her in a gymnastics class to run her out.

It needed to be all day every day because it's impossible to run her out.

She's also addicted to school supplies so I find random things like this.

Janie decided it was time to get her ears pierced.

The only place in our town to acquire such a service is our local tattoo parlor.

I know she was nervous and it didn't help passing by the lovely folks receiving their new body art on the way to the chair where this great guy was going to pierce those ears.

I took this picture right before she passed out seizure style on the floor.

 The tattoo folks wanted me to bring her back for the other ear another time.

I had to kindly tell them that though random piercings of many sorts were really working for them, my daughter wasn't allowed to walk around with just one ear done so they'd kind of need to finish the job while she was out.

They gaped at me like I was crazy but we got the deal done.

And she lived to tell it.

The evenings turned cooler and we took every opportunity to enjoy the sunset out back.

Next thing we knew, it was October and Halloween. 

The kids enjoyed the haunted house put on by the community college in town. Halloween entails a huge carnival with main street blocked off and swarmed by locals in costumes and talented artists juggling fire, walking stilts and hula hooping. I begged out this year and lay on the couch healing but the family thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I even took pictures of Newel headed out with the kids for the experience, but those have disappeared.

However, we did attend our local pumpkin festival as a family to ring in our holiday season and welcome fall in full swing.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

sending off a missionary

A year and a half ago, one of Celia's greatest friends became a member of our church. One year after doing so, he decided to serve a mission for our church and was called to work in inner city Chicago, Spanish speaking.

I know it was a serious leap of faith for him but man, o man, have his weekly letters to our family come with greater and greater strength each week as he relays the challenges he faces, the folks he meets and those he serves with love.

We are pretty proud of this guy and his example to our children.

I'm sure he can't possibly understand the depths of our gratitude for him. He's been our teacher more than we could have ever shared with him.

He's got a great family of his own who we adore.

His mom raised a great boy.

It was a sweet experience to have his family join ours in a tour of our new Fort Collins temple.

Back in August, we got to be there as he suited up, shortened that hair, and committed to white shirts and ties for two whole years.

Saying goodbye as he moved into this new chapter was a mix of feelings.

But we sure love him and are glad to call him "ours".

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

grant turned twelve

Grant turned twelve in August and that's kind of a big deal.

Not just because he got a long awaited for remote control car.

But also because he joined all the men in our family in holding the Priesthood Authority.

We were pretty proud of him and his choices. He's growing into such a great guy and watching him pass the sacrament for the very first time with his big brother nearly brought me to tears.

There are some pretty special reasons why Grant is a child of my heart.

1) He notices beauty. I'm so grateful when he runs in to tell me to step outside and take in a gorgeous sunset with him or stops to marvel at the detail of a magnificent flower.

2) Grant has a huge heart. It doesn't sound manly to say that he's soft and gentle but he sure is able to tap into that compassionate side and feel for those around him.

3) He's the best big brother. He holds hands and plays games and excites his sisters with his creativity

4) He's the best little brother. He and Christian are always two peas in a pod headed off on some adventure.

5) Grant has a thirst for knowledge. Last year when we home schooled, he just soaked everything in and that flame has just kept on burning. Given a choice, he'll watch a documentary or read a science book. Now if I can just keep him from burning down my house with his experaments.

6) I never get a complaint when I give him a task. Never.

7) He is such a talented sportsman and great at encouraging others. He takes criticism. He turns failure into success. I never see him get discouraged.

8) Grant can roll with it. Whatever direction I have to turn in, he just goes. That is rare.

9)  I just love when Grant gets excited. He lights right up and it shows all over his face. And life in general is just exciting to him.

10) He knows right from wrong and it touches him deeply. It is so great to see him be a light and beacon to others. They see it and they want to follow him and do good things too. He just radiates.

11) That boy can wash dishes.

12) He is the glue to our family. I just love the way that he brings in light. When he's gone, we miss it and him.

But ... he's not yet taller than me.

We're grateful for him and all the joy he brings into our lives.