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.



We live for our weekly emails from 
Elder Farnsworth from the Sao Paulo Missionary Training Center.

This is Cole's home for 6 weeks.
Unfortunately the computers don't allow him to upload the photos,
so we will have to wait to see his face in October,
when he will be living in Piracicaba.

Summer turned 17. 
Her birthday fell on a Sunday this year so we
had a few friends over that night for "Sundaes."  
She is all about music and theater right now so she got tickets to Cinderella.
Meg and Isaac went in together to buy her a huge book all about hit Broadway musicals.
Cole emailed her a list of 10 things he admires about her.  
That was a big deal to Summer.

Meg is setter and team captain on the Freshman Volleyball team.  
She had to learn this new position but works hard and is determined
to give it her all.  We love going to her games.

The headline news in September was the record breaking rainfall.  
It flooded the freeways, neighborhood streets and retention parks.  
I spotted a few of Cole's friends swimming in the park next to our house.
They were doing back flips out of the trees like monkeys.

My niece,  Joanna Gurr won Distinguished Young Women of Arizona.
(It used to be called Junior Miss pageant)
She received $5500 in college scholarship money.
She is one that truly shines in every way.

The one good thing about Cole 
leaving was that Meg finally got a cell phone.
She inherited his phone and number when he left. 

Grandpa Jack and Nana finished up the remodel of their Lakehouse and we have been
enjoying paddle boarding and boat rides on the small lake that there house sits on.

Faking It
We have been having trouble keeping our the front lawn looking green and healthy.
So we decided to put in the artificial green turf.  
No more planting winter rye, broken sprinkler heads, weeds, clover...

Obviously, Ike still has a lot of work cleaning up pine needles.

This month we had our two friends Theresa and Debbie (middle front row)
over for dinner and to be taught by the missionaries.
 Debbie is a patient of Dr. Hatfield and has been seeing Tom for physical therapy.
So we invited the Hatfield family over too.
 A few weeks ago, Debbie asked Tom during her appointment
if he wouldn't mind teaching her more about his Mormon faith.
She shared with us how scared she was to even ask him,
fearing that she would offend him.
Tom happily invited her over and then Debbie remarked that her friend,
Theresa, was also interested in learning more after
 watching the Easter pageant in the spring.
 Tom told her the more the merrier and to bring her along.
It was a great night, learning about their individual stories
and faith and sharing our beliefs
 and what brings us the greatest happiness.
I think the thing that stood out the most for me was
the incredible feeling of love that was there as we sat around
 the table sharing our personal
beliefs about faith, happiness, hope and our love for the Savior.

Summer is a member of Premiere choir at school.
They had their first jazz concert.
She did not want to sing a solo but her director insisted
and I am so glad he pushed her.
She did great and I love seeing my kids have to stretch.

Flag football season is on.
Ike was so nervous before the first game.  He is on a really good team and
was feeling like he may not be able to contribute.
When he made this interception, he was a changed little man.
He suddenly found his groove again.

Summer went to Homecoming with Tanner Campbell.
The poor guy had to wear the biggest bootineer I have ever seen.
It was bigger than my hand. 
 He was a good sport and actually wore that small plant on his lapel all night.

 The cousins at the dance. 
Luke, Coco, Summer, Cozi, Sophie and Brigham 



Back to school.

5th grade
He is still a learning sponge and is 
looking forward to competing
 in the Lego League this fall.  
He is my favorite little nerd.

This first day of school was a bit tough for both Meg and I.
That morning, she had tears and fears about going to high school.
I really wanted to just let her stay home and keep me company, but I couldn't.
I had to be the mom.
 I told her to dry the tears and soldier up.  "You are Meg and you got this."
She is setting on the Freshman volleyball team and team captain.
She is my little bookworm.

Summer is a junior.  
She is looking forward to choir, the school musical and starting voice lessons.
One of my favorite things right now is listening to my girls sing together upstairs as they are getting ready for school and later for bed.  They always have some musical they are belting out.  
Their current fav musicals are Shrek, Adams Family, Little Women and Matilda. 

It is crazy to think that our Bear will be graduating in 2 years.
My nest is slowly breaking apart.

After I took this picture of the girls leaving for school together in the truck, it hit me.  
I do not drive a carpool to school.
For the first time in many many years I do not drive anybody to school!
I did a few dance moves in my bathrobe and shouted hallelujah.

Meanwhile, Cole is taking his finals for summer term at BYU.  
This is his food prep class. He loved it and would send me pictures of all the
dishes they learned to prepare.  I was pretty impressed with all of the terms and techniques that
they were learning.  I am so glad that we heard about this class and that Cole was up for taking it.

He will be coming home soon and then heads on his mission 18 days later.  
Crossing our fingers that the visa to Brazil arrives in time.

Ike made a deal that if I bought him Chinese-Rosetta Stone
 he would do a lesson 5 times a week for a year.  Deal.

This month was all about getting Cole ready for his mission and lots of goodbye parties.

We had our oldest friends over for a goodbye party.
Cole to Brazil and the Pothiers are heading to Shanghai for 4 months.

The Farnsworth side held our traditional Tie and Ice cream for him.

Cole will be the 10th cousin to serve in Brazil.
Here are some of them singing "Called to Serve" in Portuguese.

A lot of great ties and he gets to take his papa's shoes and handkerchief.

Looks like purple man is heading to Brazil

We also had a family night with the Bunker-Stapley side.  
Cole is the oldest grandchild so it was fun to kick-off a 
new tradition for these younger cousins.

The pillowcase says "We prayed for you today" in Portuguese.

Another goodbye gathering a couple of nights before he left.

Farnsworth cousins.  Best support team!

Oldest and youngest cousins, meeting for the first time.
Baby Lewis just moved here from Hawaii, just in time to say goodbye.

Karli Okland and Cole have grown up with each other

We sure appreciate the show of support to hear him talk in church before he left.

These three amigos were up at BYU summer school together.
Justin leaves for Paraguay next week and Zack leaves for Malaga, Spain in January.

It took Grandpa B an hour and a half to get ready to go to church and hear Cole speak.
 My aunt Jennifer got him ready and drove him.
When he got home, he slept all day because it wiped him out.
Cole and Ike stopped by later to thank him. Oh sweet Grandpa.
 I am grateful that my cousin took this picture and sent it to me.

Last lunch date with the sisters

 Brotherly love

Cole going over his missionary packing list for the 10th time and Tom perusing through his old missionary bag for any quotes or talks that Cole could take.

One last group shot before Cole left.
I set up the tripod and turned on the self-timer.
This was the one where everyone's eyes were open.
I had big plans for a professional family picture but this will have to do.

The night before he left, he was set-apart as a missionary.
He is wearing the tie that Ike bought him.

  (From left to right: Luke Shill, Travis Tanner, Grandpa Jack, Corey Blake, Adam Bunker, Clint Bunker, Isaac, Cole, President Cowan, Tom, Mark Shill hiding, Craig Ahlstrom, Terry Turk, Craig Ahlstrom Jr. and Brad Ahlstrom)

We can't seem to get enough hugs

...and then the final airport goodbye.

It helped to have him meet up with DJ Arnson (from Queen Creek)
 who is also heading to the same mission.  We just found out that these two were in the same
Kindergarten class at Franklin South

Wow, this was hard.  I felt like the wind got knocked out of me.
Tom and I drove home and sat in our empty, quiet house and had a good cry together.
I am grateful to all the moms out there that reached out to me this past week.  It helped.