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.



The first week of August, we were back to school.

Isaac is now a 4th grader and going to a new school.  
That means he wears a uniform and carries a violin for his suzuki class.
 He has a lot more homework and projects, 
but he doesn't seem to mind.  
This school seems to be a much better fit for him.
Ike is also taking Chinese and Spanish, 
so Google Translate has come in handy.
He can type up anything and have it translate and speak it for him. 

Meg is starting 8th grade.
Where we live, junior high starts an hour after the elementary and high schools.
This works well for Meg because she loves to take her time- no rushing this one.
She has a certain order and way of doing her thing.
This one prefers to cook her own breakfast.
 It is usually eggs and toast.
She always carries it into the dining room
to sit down and look out the windows.

Two days before school started, Summer got her hair colored.
We were both picturing her original color,
before she spent so much time playing tennis in the sun.
She came out with black hair.
The first thing she said was "Dad is going to hate this."  
Tom doesn't like extremes, especially hair color.  
Tom didn't hate it but he thinks she looks best in her natural color.
I really liked it after a couple of weeks and a dozen or so hair washings.

This is the sign we came up for 12th grade since we have run out of fingers.
How quickly they run out of fingers.
I knew this day would come, but it still sneaks up on you and hurts your heart.
We really love having this 17 year old around.
 I especially love when he comes into our room at night to talk before he heads up to bed.

Moving on...

Cole and Luke played in a Sand Volleyball Tournament.
This was so much fun to watch, we almost forgot we were slowly cooking in the August heat.
They had to keep spraying the sand to keep it from burning them.
Nothing like August in Arizona.

They went undefeated until the last game and then
 they lost the tie-breaker to their good friends Nate and Travis.

Summer turns 16 soon and was asked to Homecoming by her friend John Trendler.
At our high school, kids ask to dances weeks and sometimes a couple of months in advance.
 They also ask and answer in some clever ways.

Happy Birthday to
"Grandpa Jack, Captain Jack, Jay Paul Jack, Doh-Doh, The Jake"
  To know Jack is to love him.

The b-day boy busted out his new shaved ice machine.
Never mind that a few large chunks of ice went flying and almost hit the little ones.
It was all good and nobody lost an eye or received a concussion.

Cole's friends organized a rotating lunch group since they can leave campus their senior year.
We had the group over for a nacho bar.  This is really a nice group of kids and I love having them over.
Cole joins in about once a week but mostly just comes home.  It is easier when
you have to eat gluten-free.  I also love having him come home for lunch.
Right now we are on a panini kick.  We are getting creative with different cheeses and sauces.
Udi's now makes a really good gluten-free baguette.
But I think my celiacs still prefer Glutino's english muffins.

 Cole loves when his mom pulls out the camera.
I can't help it.  I want to bottle up this time.

My nephew Rock is back from BYU and leaving on his mission to El Salvador in a couple of weeks.
Isaac invited him to go to the Diamondbacks game with him.
He wants to get as much time as he can with him.

{I love the propped arm pose}

On Sunday, August 25 we met at the cemetery to see Ross's gravestone.
It has been 6 months since his passing.  We think of him everyday.
Tom's sister posted a
  beautiful tribute- here

On the front (hidden by flowers) is the scripture Matthew 25:40
"Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it unto me."

This was a phrase we always heard Ross tell the grandkids,
attached to "purple man"- a family heirloom of sorts.  
This creature has been hidden in suitcases headed for college, missions or honeymoons. 
He's been everywhere from the Amazon jungles to the top of a wedding cake.  

Anita with some of her grandkids.
This has been a difficult 6 months for her, but she is handling it beautifully and we all continue to learn from her great example.


Oh Montana, I love you

Tom and I just got back from the
Brainfood Retreat in beautiful Montana.
I have been hoping to see this part of the country, ever since I saw the movie
A River Runs Through It back in the 90s.
Maury and Wendy Tanner were very generous to host this fund-raiser at their place on Flathead Lake.
A donation to a great cause was exchanged for 3 fun-filled days in one of the most beautiful places.

The Tanner's property was idyllic.

Flowers were growing everywhere.
This is a big deal to Arizonans.

Another thing that amazed....clear pristine lake water.  
I am used to Saguaro Lake and the constant dread that a dead cow
(they graze along the shores)
 may be floating beneath my feet in the murky water.
I really think about that kind of stuff too much.

Hidden off to the side of the property-
 a little house in the middle of the woods.
This was the cutest play house I have ever seen.  
 It had electricity,
 a little refrigerator, running water.  A little room to sleep in.
It felt like I had walked into a storybook scene.
To be honest,  I wanted to play in it.

A little 4 foot front door

I really want one of these.

Back to the adult world--
Look at this green lawn.  

There were 600 cherry trees on the grounds.
Also blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, grapes
and a large vegetable garden.  
I felt healthier just walking through it.

We saw so many deer, the thrill was gone by the second day. 
They are beautiful creatures but I didn't want to hit one by the road.

Our welcome baskets 

Our borrowed ride.
Tom has been on a kick lately.  He really wants a reburbished VW bus.
I am not really on the same page about this but I don't want to squash his mid-life dreams either.
I was glad he could get a little fix.  I hope it holds him over for a while.
Maybe one day he will get his bus and I will get my little play house in the middle of the woods.

The second day we loaded up 
our 12 -gauge shotguns and had a little competition at 
Big Sky Sporting Clay.

This is what happens when you don't hold your shotgun the right way.  
Pretty huh.

 We made pizzas later that night.

Loads of activities all day long

Ladder Ball tournaments 

This thing is called a jetovator.
It connects to the jet unit on your jet ski, using a hose.  
You can rise 30 feet above the water if you know what you are doing.
Our host, Maury, made it look like a breeze.

For a minute I entertained the idea of trying it and then I watched it beat up some of the guys.

Tom got the hang of it...go T! 

Back to eating..

 Check out the neighbor's 
He opened up his home for us to come and use.
This place was unbelievable.

Maury's fishing buddy, Jim Bob, dropped in on the lawn and took us for a ride.
This was my first time in a helicopter and I loved that I could take pictures
from a bird's eye view and that I didn't throw up.
I don't fly in an airplane without taking something for motion sickness. 
FYI, don't use the word "buzz" in a helicopter.  Jim Bob corrected us quickly.
Apparently it is a bad word in helicopter lingo.
  Hope that helps someone.

 One night we played a frisbee golf tournament with glow in the dark frisbees.
Each couple got to choose a target and call the Par number.
I could actually throw one of these fairly straight, unlike regular frisbees.
If your interested they are called Aerobie Skylighter discs and Amazon carries them.

Last but not least--

Wendy kept a huge bowl full of every kind of yummy bite-sized treat.
Nuts, caramels, chocolates, sours, sweets...we never tired of it.
Salty and Sweet see-saw action.


The beautiful drink station with 44 oz styrofoam cups.  

Thank you to the Tanners, Ruth and the 
Cowleys for hosting an amazing fund-raiser.