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 day after graduation, we headed to the Windy City for Memorial Day.  
The Shills thought it sounded like fun so they jumped in a few weeks before.  
Meg had visited Chicago a couple of years ago with Tom's sister, Janet.
She made us a little news broadcast of all the highlights
 and that convinced us to add this destination to our list of "places to someday see."

Our go-to in a new city is a bike tour on the first day.  We have had good luck with these.  
 Bobby's Bike Hike didn't let us down. 

Looking a lot like future bike-riding missionaries. 
 Just need the white shirt and black name badge.

We rode along Lake Michigan and through some beautiful neighborhoods
in the "Gold Coast" and "Old Town" districts.

 We ended up in Lincoln Park and got to walk around the Lincoln Park Zoo. 

I love anything to do with Lincoln.  
Just look at the great detail of his rumpled coat and vest.

This beautiful zoo is free to the public and has a great view of the city.
All of us, except Cole, were pretty excited about this.
Cole still was fighting off a head cold.
Tom just kills me in this pic.  

After attending church in an old elementary school auditorium, we had Sunday brunch at the Signature Room atop the John Hancock building.  Pretty good food and an even better view.

We all gave this a big thumbs up.  

On our 3rd day we took the "L" to Wrigley Field. 
The Cubs weren't in town, so we got to do a tour instead.

Passing the time with a game of Ninja

This is a very understated ball park.
I love how authentic and original everything has been kept.

The ivy on the perimeter wall is all original to the time the wall was constructed.
Prior to the wall, Cubs employees would just stand out in the field, holding up a rope.
In those days, the Cubs hit a lot more home runs (;

We have to find food about every 2 hours so these two can feed.

After Wrigley field, we took an "Architect River Tour."
The kids were thrilled. 

Even Kevin, our harmonica- playing guide, didn't pep them up.
If I had to do it over, I would have scheduled the night cruise to see the city lights.
It was a bit muggy, loud and long with Kevin on the mic.  He hardly took a breath between sentences

The Chicago river has 38 bridges.  

The city was lined with beautiful floral arrangements.  

Here stands Sears Tower (that is now supposed to be 
called the Willis Tower, but nobody does).  

After disembarking, we headed to Millenium Park and the rain came with us.

Buckingham Fountain 

This was a beautiful city that I am so glad we got to enjoy together before Cole leaves for
summer school and then on to Brazil (if the visa comes through).



The highly anticipated mission call arrived on Saturday, May 3rd.

We paced and walked to the front windows about a hundred times, searching for the mail truck.

Summer and Isaac sat on the front porch.  Waiting.

The mail finally arrived about 5:30 p.m.

Friends and family gathered (some through google chat) to watch him open it at 8 p.m.  


He is called to serve in the Piracicaba, Brazil mission, leaving September 3.
He will enter the Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo and will learn Portuguese.

Cole's best friends  
(Left to Right) Gabe- serving in South Korea, Quinn-Serving in Chile, Austin-Cusco, Peru, 
and Nate- Hermosilla, Mexico.

Cole has done landscape work for the past 5 years to pay for his mission.
He earned over 11K

Our nephew, Craig Ahlstrom, served in an area close to Cole and so he came over
to give us an overview of the mission and to answer some of our questions.  
He suggested Cole order Rosetta stone ASAP and get going on learning Portuguese.

While we were talking about the different food dishes in the Sau Paulo area, 
these guys came bursting through our front door
singing and dancing a Brazilian soccer chant.
Such a great show of support ...thank you!
Cole will be the 9th Farnsworth cousin to serve in Brazil.  

Summer's last Choir Concert

She sounded beautiful in her solo.

On Mother's Day, we took another family picture for the grandmas.
We put the camera on the tripod and set the self-timer.  
 I love having a day where I can think about how great it is to be a mom.
The greatest and hardest work.

MVT Volleyball made it to the state semi-finals.
 What a great ride.
Here are a few highlights from the state tournament.

Isaac is their biggest fan...

and quite the yell leader

 We experienced some exciting highs...

and some disappointing lows.  

 Cole's last Prom
For their day activity,
this group headed up north to hike and swim Fossil Creek.
After a long day, they came here for a barbecue.

A couple of weeks later was the actual prom date.

Cole took his friend Sammie Norberg.

To fill some time, we held a big game of musical chairs after dinner.

Isaac's 4th grade took a field trip to the Grand Canyon.
They left on a chartered bus at 11 p.m., drove through the night and arrived
in time for the sunrise.  I really wanted to be on this trip with him,
but they didn't have room for any more parents.  

 Ike took photos on his iPod to share with us.  
I think he
did a pretty good job.

For almost the past 3 years, Meg has babysat these kiddos that live around the corner from us.  
It never feels like a job to her.   She always jumps at the chance to spend time with them.
 It was a sad day when we found out that they are moving. 
 Luckily, it is not too far away. 

We held a little celebration before graduation for Cole and his cousin Annie.

 Annie with her 6 older brothers

My wonderful aunt Jennifer Hall catered the dinner for us.  

We love every one of these boys.  
They have spent a lot of time in our home: eating, napping, playing.
I will miss hearing their bursts of laughter coming from the playroom.

The close of a very great chapter in our lives but it helps to think of what is ahead