This is my simple photo journal. I like to take pictures and once a month or more, I load them onto this blog so that we can remember some of our family highlights.


Cole left for Scout Camp today. Tom helped him get packed and prepared (4 days early). He has given him some good talks about what to expect and to make the most of his time there.
He will be gone for 8 days. That is a very long time and we will all miss him a lot. About 3 hours after he left, Isaac asked me if I could call to the scout camp and ask how Cole is doing. I told him that we won't be able to talk to him until he gets home. That made us both sad.
They do get mail and so we sent a card that you can record a message on. It was an Indiana Jones card that plays the theme music after your recorded message. We all left a quick (upbeat) message. We also swapped out Harrison's face with a picture of Cole, drew a little 5 o'clock shadow on him and wished him a GREAT ADVENTURE AT SCOUT CAMP! I hope he likes it and that it doesn't make him homesick.


Every summer, my kids look forward to the GPS Musical Theater. It is a 2 week workshop, where they learn songs and dances from a few Broadway musicals. This year they are doing HS Musical, Bye Bye Birdie, and Rent. They have an audition day where they try out for different acting, singing, or narrating parts. After the 2 weeks, they put on a big show in the junior high auditorium. It is so well done.
One of my favorite things is driving the carpool home. The kids are all in a flutter of excitement and I love just listening to them talk and laugh about what happened that day. On the first day, they always get a CD with all the songs on it. You can bet that CD is cranked up and they are all singing to it on the way home. I love it.


We had a great "memorable day" as Meg put it. My friend, Pam, and I took our kids out quad riding today. We had a blast.
After we got home, we showered and went to our favorite Japanese steakhouse, Ah-So. Then over to our cousins, the Shills, for some evening swimming. We, adults, played cards while we let the kids completely exhaust themselves. We played rummy and I was the big loser. Despite the bad card playing, I think the day could be summed up best by Isaac. He asked "Can we do this day again?" It was a great day. I am really so excited for the summer break. I wish it went from Memorial Day to Labor Day, like the old days. But we'll take the 11 week break and try to make the most of it.


Closing a Chapter

I can't believe Cole is finished with elementary school. I've been a big baby about this. For me, it is much harder watching him enter junior high than Kindgergarten. I knew it would happen, just not so quickly. He's such a great kid and student. School has been a natural fit for him. He is a self-starter. He also maintained straight As from K-6th grade....never a B. The principle awarded him Outstanding Student of his class today. He was pretty shocked and we were pretty proud. Thanks for making our job so easy Cole!

Another chapter that is closing is our time at Franklin. We are switching schools next year. Franklin has been a good fit and my kids have done well, but I feel its time for a new direction. We will be going to our neighborhood school where my kids can ride their bikes and leave a full hour later for school. That full hour in the morning is going to be precious.

My brother Adam is graduating from dental school at Temple University, in Philadelphia, this week. We are so proud of him....... and Carlee for being such a great help and support with their 3 wonderful, cute kids. Now onto the next big adventure. Can't wait to see you soon!

This is the fun bunch that went out for Adam's graduation and then on to NYC. (Adam, Mom, Chad, Bridgette, Meghan, and Clint)


Our Summer Challenge

Our ward does the STOMP program every summer. (Students Trying Out Moroni's Promise.) It is basically a schedule to get the Book of Mormon read from the time school is out to when it starts back up again. We had a youth fireside, on Sunday, to help get everyone motivated. Cole and his two cousins sang "How Can I Be" while playing their ukuleles. It was sweet and they did a good job, despite the nerves. They were glad they did it because they got some "hugs from the ladies" afterwards.
Cole and Summer are taking the challenge. I'm going to join them. I have never read the Book of Mormon that quickly. Hopefully we can encourage eachother to stay on schedule (even on vacation).


Spelling Bee

Way to go on winning the 4th grade spelling bee , Summer! This makes 2 years in a row . All that reading pays off.


Ike and I headed down to the science fair this morning. We wanted to say hi to Cole and see all the wonderful science projects the sixth graders have been working on. Before we walked in to the science fair, Isaac was trying to convince me that it would be o.k. to tell everyone that he is a first grader and I was for sure not to bring up the fact that he was in preschool. I told him that no one was even going to ask or care how old he was. "Its just fun for Cole's friends to meet you." He gets so embarrassed that he is in preschool. Maybe its a youngest child thing.

There were some great projects. And all those kids were so cute sitting by their displays. They were happy to be out of class for a couple of hours, while all the other grades walk through the science fair. Our school is really strict about outside classroom/instruction time. It was fun to run into Summer walking through. Sorry we missed Meg.

Cole's project was on hand grip strength between dominant vs. non-dominant hands. Tom got him started with the idea and then Cole ran the experiment. Thanks to all of his willing test subjects. The conclusion to his science project was that our hand grip strength differs greater between our dominant and non-dominant hands as we age. He won second place. Good work Cole, now you can relax and enjoy the final days of elementary school.


As I was picking up around the house, so I could get out the door; I looked over and saw that Ike was getting himself all set for Fathers and Sons .....backpack,pull-up hidden underneath a swimsuit and some cars. I couldn't resist making a quick post. The anticipation has been building ever since Tom told him about it. We purposely don't tell him about upcoming events too far in advance.
At every nightly tuck-in: "You wanna talk about Father's and Sons?" This is his first campout and he doesn't quite know what to expect. He is planning on catching wildlife and sneaking it in the tent with he and Bret(cousin). He wants to catch a bat and put it in Cole's sleeping bag. He has his backpack ready to fill and dug out his favorite fishing hat, because he is "going to catch some great fish and bring them home for Mom to cook or just put in our swimming pool and watch 'em swim around and stuff." Or he'll bring me some real pretty crystals, because "When you camp you find these crystals all over the ground." He thinks he is going off to the emerald city and the possiblibities are endless. We've tried to lower the expectations. We've broken the bad news that he probably won't see but one or two animals, and that there won't be any bats to sneak into Cole's sleeping bag. Mom really loves small pretty rocks instead of crystals.
He will have fun just being with his dad, Uncle Clint, Cole and Bret. Just one more sleep!


Our weekly ukulele lessons came to an end with this week's recital. Thanks to my SIL, Janet, for hosting the lessons at her house each week. Thank you to Adam, Ben, and Uai for teaching them more than the ukulele. We wish you the best with upcoming graduation and missions.

After climbing all over the couch and Papa. Ike finally got all tuckered out.


Our Curse

That full cup of mine turned upside down Sunday evening. We discovered water seeping from under our kitchen cabinets. Our RO system had come apart at the ice machine and had been slowly streaming water for at least 4-5 days. As we began to investigate, we found water damage in our pantry, bathroom, music room and all throughout the kitchen. The base board trim was bulging away from the walls. What is it with us and water?
Tom and I have a history with the ugly side of H20. We feel cursed. Before we moved into this house a little over a year ago, we had a home with a basement. We moved into our house in May and enjoyed that great basement for 2 months before it flooded for the first time. The sump pump caps were never removed and the window wells filled up with water and spilled into our basement walls. We got it fixed. The next summer, we had a big monsoon season and it flooded again. New carpet, baseboards, drywall, not once but twice!!! Rest assured we got the basement problem completely fixed before we sold it to a nice family.
I guess multiple hits and moving into a different house didn't lift our curse. It reared its ugly head again. I can hardly concentrate as I type because it sounds like a hurricane in my house right now with all the industrial fans and dehumidifiers churning away. We all have to yell to hear one another. We are hoping to salvage our wood floor, walls, and cabinetry. Good thing our wood floor is supposed to look distressed, we'll see how really distressed it looks after its declared dry by the restoration guys. Hey, I was just proud for not shedding one tear...this time. I think I cried out all my water woes after the basement waterfall incident.
On the brighter side, things can always be worse and its not a life changing event, just really windy and loud from the fans. If I have to rip out the wood floor in the music room, I'll replace it with carpet and piano practicing will be a lot more quiet around here. That's not so bad, right?

My Cup Was Filled

I had such a sweet Mother's Day weekend. Thank you to a great hubby and kiddos. Saturday morning, they took me, straight from bed, to my favorite breakfast place. I had the best omelet I've ever had. Then, straight home to open their homemade gifts, even if it was a day early. I was all for it. I loved their sweet gifts, but my favorite is their excitement to give it to me. I remember my mom would always make us feel like the home-made gifts were far greater than anything we could buy her. She had a mantle, above her bedroom fireplace, that could lift up for storage. Inside, she would store "her treasures." A few years ago, I bought a simple wooden treasure box where I could keep my treasures. I hope they know how much I value their "love notes."
Thanks Cole for making me my favorite cookies, they were perfection! Summer, thanks for the early morning hug and greetings. You can't beat a big smile looking down at you to start out your day. Meg and Ike, thanks for all the hugs, kisses, and "Happy Mother's Day!" declarations throughout the day. Oh, and I can't wait to sit by the pool with my new lounge chairs and umbrella that the kids helped Tom purchase. My cup was filled!


Star Wars

So we are a little behind the movie curve. My kids are just now getting into Star Wars. Meg and Ike are the biggest fans. In fact, there is a Star Wars battle going on behind me as I type.
We had 5 of the 6 Star War movies, until yesterday. While the other kids were at school, Ike and I finally bought #3 after much pleading and begging. Ike could hardly wait to show Meg. He decided he would tape the movie to the front door and wait to see her reaction. He patiently waited on the front porch for the unveiling.
Meg and Ike were patient and waited through homework, practicing, dinner with Big Grandpa, guitar lessons, ........and then finally we had the Star Wars III premier and a few light saber battles. They all got to stay up too late for a school night. The kids were not disappointed.



My sister Aryn and Nate welcomed baby Luke into the world, 6:00 a.m. this morning!
He weighed 7 lbs. (her biggest baby yet).
We are so excited to have him join the family.
Everything went well--- a la natural (Wow, good job Aryn!).


We are loving this spring weather! Usually, it jumps from chilly to hot, hot. But this year we can really enjoy the outdoors. I am sorry for those that are still bogged down in cold.
My brother and his wife, left for Mexico to do a triathlon. So, we got to have their kids come play. I decided to let my kids skip school, so we could play all day. I wish I had a picture of their faces when I told them. Shock and Awe!

Cole, Summer, and Meg were my entertaining committee. (We had Isaac's play group also over in the morning, so there were a lot of kids).They organized some fun activities including, a water balloon fight, dodge ball, & "Baby Kate" daycare center.
I'm still trying to win over my niece, Kate. She has never cared much for me. I thought this may be my chance to win her over, but no such luck. I just gave her plenty of space and very little eye contact. Oh and a little treat helped me get close enough to change a diaper and clean her face. Although I was disliked by Kate, little Bret balanced all the rejection out with his spontaneous hugs and kind words.
It was a great day.


When we got 3 parakeets, six weeks ago, we didn't get Isaac one. We told him that he could get one when he showed that he could be soft and gentle. He never hurt them, but the urge to scare them was strong. "Mom, I try to not scare them, but I just can't stop myself," he told me in defeat. In order to keep himself in check, he set up a plan to tell me every time he went in to see them, so he wouldn't scare them. He was really trying, but once in a while he would sneak in and do his pirate "AAaarg!" and rattle their cage.
Over the past couple of weeks, he has really cut back on the scare tactics. I thought it was time for Ike to take ownership. When something belongs to you--you take better care of it. We went down and picked out his bird. He has changed names from: Frightful, Polar Bear, Lovey-Dovey, Snowball, Blanco, and finally it is Knuckles. Thankfully, the bird has survived 24 hours of Isaac lovin'.
If someone would of told me, 6 months ago, that we would own 4 birds, I never would of believed them. Tom and I actually are glad we got them. They have been messy, but easy to take care of. I love that they allow the kids to carry them around on their shoulders, fingers, heads, etc....Finally we don't hear pleas for a puppy anymore.


I owe you Tom. He was our "Alex Trebek" for last night's YW/YM activity. We want to start a tradition, in our ward, by holding a Jeopardy tournament after each general conference. We have some kinks to work on, but overall it was a success. Our husbands really helped out with all the technical gadgetry and by donning a mustache, velour coat, and awful wig.