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.



On my side of the family, we decided to video our reenactment of the nativity (Luke 2) this year.
Here are a few of the shots I took while my mom and sisters were trying to get everyone in costume...whew,  that was quite an event.  

However, when we watched it all together --all the work and chaos was worth it.


Sometimes the mistakes are more fun...

This was last year, when were trying to wish the Turks
(Tom's sister and brother-in-law) a Merry Christmas over in Peru.


Needing a little more of this, right now.
So I read one of my favorite Christmas talks.


Pep Assembly Appearance

Ike and his cousins were asked to make another cameo appearance at the Mt. View Pep Assembly.
Well, several years ago, our nephew Scott was in charge of the sport assemblies  
and thought it would be fun to have his little cousins take on the varsity basketball players in a game.
Back then that included Cole with Luke, Rock and Blake "Boots," 
circa 2004

This is the latest batch of cousins.
I really am not sure how this has kept going year after year,
but Isaac is glad that it did.

I guess the student council  knows that if they call up team manager,
 Carol (my sister-in-law)--she will deliver. 
  It is no easy task to entertain 3200+  high school students but she
happily does it--even in the crazy month of December.
She is amazing.

This time around, 
the boys would make "their shot" and then the varsity player 
would have to make the same shot, while wearing some silly apparatus or costume.

Ike was nervous all week about making his shot.
Tom just kept sending him outside to make 40 baskets.
A little work calms the nerves.

Huge relief when that ball went in the basket.
It took about an hour for my pulse and heart to calm down.

And of course, it was fun to observe Cole in the midst of high school life.
I snuck one very quick picture of him.  I have promised that I will not go paparazzi on him.
He is nestled there in the middle.

After the assembly, Ike was soaking in all the love.  
He keeps reminding me that he
has only 3 more years with Cole until he is off to college and a mission.  
It weighs on him.

Some of my Laurels.
Jill, Emmy, Kami, and Brooke.
(Emmy has been Laurel class president and my right arm these past 6 months.)
I love knowing these girls.

  Isaac had to make one last dunk.
Stall Tactic 
He was dragging out his 15 minutes of fame and
striving to miss as much school as possible.

He suddenly remembered he is afraid of heights.
This child can make his shot, do the Haka war dance,
and be a goof ball
in front of a packed high school gym,
but can't be lifted a few feet in the air.
Interesting how that works.


Club Volleyball

We are nearing the end of club volleyball.  
I love watching this game.
Not a lot of huffy puffy players.
It is the "nice guy" sport.

This is the year of the jump.
Cole is now able to jump serve and set.
He is also having a lot more fun out there.

He ends up on the floor quite a bit.

Nothing quite like a good block

See the line judge, light blue shirt--orange flag in the background?
I must have been a little on edge yesterday because he was on my last nerve.
During one game, he was standing right by me with his flag.
He couldn't just stand there quietly line judging.  No, 
he had to continually whip that flag through the air--
over and over and over
while making these swishing sounds.
I had to talk myself down from marching over to him, grabbing his flag and throwing it.
There is some Christmas cheer for you.


Christmas Recital

In the past, I have been pretty luke-warm on recitals.

I think I was having some left over feelings from my own recital days.
I will never ever forget one particular recital at the end of my junior year of high school.
I was supposed to play Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata.
That did not happen.  I played the first 3 measures and then blank, nothingness.
I sat paralyzed for a moment.  I am a little embarrassed to admit that I
 thought about faking a seizure or fainting spell.
At least that scene would have provided an interesting twist.
However, I just went with the ole hang your head in shame and take a seat.

That is my back story on recitals.

However, I have changed my tune.
I appreciate that it provides a goal to work toward.
I know I do better when there is a measurable goal to attain and so do my kids.
Plus, I get another chance to say "We do hard things."
Always followed by a little eye rolling.

This is the face, after a minuscule mistake was made.
She does not like making mistakes (this little apple does not fall far from the tree.)
 I admire a player that can make a mistake
and move right past it even more than one that plays with perfection.
Only when the player gets flustered and derailed by that mistake, does the audience get uncomfortable.
I applaude those that can smile and play on.
One of my favorite talks, by Brad Wilcox, uses a great piano practicing analogy.
I have shared this with my kids.  If you are interested click here

Summer is graceful under pressure.

Cole was not excited to participate in the recital.
It is no easy task keeping a high school boy taking piano lessons and attending the Christmas recital.
Sometimes I feel like we are both limping, no-- more like crawling, to cross this piano finish line.
Sometimes I even have to give him a piggy back, until he strengthens his resolve to
finish what we started almost 10 years ago.
It helps that he is a first-born pleaser.

The latest trick up my sleeve is to barter with him.
I offer to make him his favorite foods (smoothies, corn muffins, eggs and toast)
 if he plays 5 songs for it.
This strategy is currently working because he is always hungry.

Isaac was not in the recital, but didn't want to be left out.
That is my favorite Isaac face...sheepishly amused.



When I was a kid, I loved going over to my best friend Nicole Brewer's house to play badminton.
We would play until all the birdies ended up on her roof.
When her nice dad got home from work, 
he would haul the ladder out and reclaim them for us, so we could play another day.

 I was pleasantly surprised to hear Summer wanted to play on the junior high
 badminton team.  Who knew they had competitive badminton teams 
in junior high and high school-- not me.
I love watching this girl play with a smile.
She balances competitiveness and keeping a cool head well.

For this amateur photographer, 
the trick is getting the birdie in the photo so it doesnt' look like they are swatting at flies.

Oh there is a blur of birdie.
Look how crazy badminton can get.
Remember, I did say competitive teams

Finally, there is a clearer picture of birdie, 
but Summer suddenly got blinded
by a fluorescent gym light.
Sure glad her partner kept her eyes open.

Yes!! Birdie in the picture and Summer's eyes are open.

Snapping enough photos, I finally got my shot.
Birdie in the frame and
Summer's eyes are not only open
but they hold the eye of the tiger.

Watching badminton these past weeks has made me want to play it again..
you know, see if I still got it.  
Don't be surprised if some of you lucky couples get a call to
play our own tournament soon.


Come on Over

Really we don't need to bother putting up Christmas lights.
Nobody is looking at our boring white lights when they can spot Santa on a hog, flying,
and riding a train across the street.
If your looking for some Christmas eye candy, come on over and take it all in.


A Reader is Born

I need to post something, so I don't look at Meg's sad eyes anymore. 

A big shout out to JK Rowling for capturing the imagination of another child of mine--3 out of 4.
Isaac finished the first Harry Potter book in 3 days.  That is a big deal around here.
My girls became readers because of Harry Potter and it looks like Ike has also been hooked.
Makes me so happy.
Cole never read one and I am sorry to report he has never really taken to reading....sigh.

Books are allowed at the breakfast table (or counter) in our house.