Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An Old Standby

We have a few things that we do during the summer that have become pretty much tradition.  One of these is slurpees  and a trip to the park with cousins.  Last year and this year, we did this while Matt and Anne were in town, so the Chicago cousins got to come, too.

Just for fun, this was last year's version:

And this year's version with taller and older kids.  Robbie missed this year since he was at scout camp, but Collin was big enough to join the gang this time.  Now if we could just get the Atlanta cousins to come join the fun...

Unfortunately, as they have gotten older, it's a little harder to keep the big kids happy.  Pretty much the entire time at the park was an opportunity for Jonas to terrorize all of the girls.  (He has gotten really good at this.)  We may have to come up with a compromise or a substitution to keep everyone happy.

Another version of this year's crew.

But even Jonas won't turn down the opportunity for a slurpee - even if it means sitting still and smiling for the camera.

We love summer!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Amelia's Big Day

Amelia turned 8 way back at the end of March, and has been waiting and waiting (mostly patiently) to be baptized.  We have scheduled and rescheduled numerous times just trying to find a date that would work.  Finally, we found an opening in the calendar - Summer Solstice. I guess that makes the date more memorable for her, too. (Unfortunately, this also meant a delay or cancellation in our annual party, but we decided Amelia's baptism should be the first priority.  Plus Shawn really didn't want to face the bishopric again and tell them we were rescheduling.)
We tried for a couple of family pictures before the baptism...

This one is just to document that I am, in fact, still taller than Jonas.

Shawn and Amelia
Can you tell that she is excited?
One last quick picture before starting the program.
We were on our own as far as the program went since we weren't participating in the monthly stake baptism.  We recruited various family members for prayers (Uncle Dan and Uncle Rob) and for music (Grandpa Ralph accompanied and Michelle led the music.)  Jonas gave a really nice talk about the importance of baptism.  Shawn did the actual baptizing with all of the kids gathered around the font to watch.  While I helped Amelia get dressed, Samantha played some songs on the harp.
Then there was the confirmation and I got to say a few words and bear my testimony.  It was nice to have so many family members participate and be involved.
We had some refreshments afterward and visited for a little bit with friends and family.
We got a couple of post-baptism pictures with Amelia as well.  (I'm really hoping Michelle got some better ones on her camera, but this is what I've got for now.)

Amelia looked just radiant and beautiful and couldn't stop smiling the whole time.
We are so proud of her for her good decisions and the young lady that she is becoming.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6 Years Old!

Hard to believe that 6 years have gone by so quickly.  My little Duffy is 6 years old already!  

It seems like only a year or two ago since she was this new little bundle.  All big cheeks and fluffy hair, waiting for a name since we couldn't all agree on one.
The girls had voted for Cinderella and Dora, but somehow they just didn't fit.  There was a big push for Summer, which I just didn't love, but since she was born so close to Summer Solstice (and our favorite time of year), we decided to give her that as a middle name.  (Something neither of my other girls ended up with.)  Finally, it was decided to name her Megan.  Funny, though, after all that debate and struggle to name her, she's gone almost exclusively by Duffy since she was tiny.  Oh well, how could we know?

And now, here she is all stretched out with thinning cheeks and much longer hair.  (Still pretty fluffy but it doesn't stick straight up like it did then.  We do often refer to her as Hermione because of her crazy hair.)
After the plethora of early spring birthdays, it always seems like she has to wait forever for her turn, but it's finally here.  This year was a little special since Summer Solstice actually did fall on the 20th instead of the 21st.  That doesn't happen very often.

She wanted to open a couple of presents before the girls had to leave for swim team.  (Jonas was all ready gone.)
Cake Boss Junior (Samantha) begged to make her cake.  Since Shawn and I were both pretty busy, we let her take over.  I did help Duffy find a cake that she wanted and I provided Samantha with the appropriate supplies, but after that, it was all her.  Both she and Megan were pretty happy with the results.

Grandpa Ralph and Grandma Judy came by to bring presents and then took the kids to get ice-cream cones.
Then we had a quick celebration to finish opening presents and have cake and ice-cream before we had to get out the door to a swim meet (which Megan declared to be the worst part of her birthday - having to spend it at a swim meet.  I agree.  It's not the most fun way to spend your special day, but hopefully we had enough celebrating throughout the day to make up for it.  And her swim teacher had made a point of wishing her Happy Birthday multiple times at her lessons, too.)

Happy 6th Birthday Megan!
Now she wants to know when her teeth will get wiggly.  I guess she expected that once she turned 6 her teeth would start falling out.  I told her she may have to wait a little longer.  But she checks daily just in case.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day 2012

Father's Day wasn't quite the holiday that it should have been, since we had just gotten back from Ragnar the night before, (And were exhausted) and both Shawn and I had meetings for church in the morning.  We had to squeeze in the celebrating between the end of afternoon church and before heading off to a family gathering that evening. (At least with that, I was able to see my own Dad and Grandfather, too.) We did at least get some crumb cake made for breakfast before he had to leave.
I had managed to take care of gifts before we left.  I think he was surprised by his new tennis racquet and pretty excited to use it, too.
H opened some gifts from the kids.  Samantha gave him a self portrait that she had painted.  (I guess I missed a picture of that.)

And Amelia gave him a collection of things from around the house that had us all laughing.
Amelia "blanket face".  I so wish I could detach that thing from her.  I keep thinking she will outgrow it, but no luck so far.
These came a couple of days late, but Shawn was still able to enjoy them.

A picture of a great Dad and his kids.  So glad to have Shawn in my life and as a father to our kids.  (This was the best photo we could get.  It counts just because everyone is actually looking at the camera.  As always, half the kids have already changed, and I didn't notice the chocolate on Samantha's teeth until after the fact.)

But really, this is the more realistic photo.  When Dad's home, it's all about having fun! 
Happy Father's Day to the great Fathers in my life!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Wasatch Back

Several months back, someone caught me in a moment of weakness, and talked me into running Ragnar.  It sort of seemed like a good idea at the time...  Now that it's over, I'm still undecided on how I feel about it.  Definitely glad to have done it, and happy to have finished it. It was fun...and miserable at the same time.
Here's all of van 2 before pulling out of the drive way. (L to R: Mike, Kimberly, Shawn, Matt, Chad, Me, Kyle)
And in the car on our way to the first transition to meet up with Van 1 and start our part of the relay.  
(Everyone is still pretty happy and energetic.)
Matt on leg 7.
Waiting at the transition for Matt to come in.  Chad giving a cheer.
Matt coming in...

...and Kimberly (runner 8) heading out.
It was a beautiful day with some beautiful scenery.  But, it was HOT.  Not something I have really trained for since all of my running takes place in the relatively cool early morning hours.

Almost my turn.

The hand off.

The crew heading back to the car to meet me at the next transition.

Running and watching the car go by.
Mike getting ready for his run.  (Mike was the youngster of our group.  He was all about having fun.  Shawn, too.) This was before they realized that the flag does not, in fact, have blue stripes.
Now, they're ready to roll.  And yes, Shawn and Kyle did run with their wigs.
Coming into the transition.
Mike starting on his leg.  And yes, he did carry that huge, heavy flag for his entire run.  (Only once, though.  He learned his lesson and decided not to do it for the other 2 legs.)
I felt this way after every run.
But Mike never ran out of energy or enthusiasm.

Since Shawn was the camera guy, I am lacking photos of him and Kyle on their runs.  I'm pretty sure, someone else in the van got some, though.
One of our best plans was bringing Chad along as driver and Chef.  We had a full on spread at our stops.  Smoothies, pasta, fruit, trail mix and even omelettes for breakfast.  The other teams were pretty jealous.  Chad was nice enough to cook up extra for anyone who wanted some.

This was pretty much our only chance to sleep.  Unfortunately, it was still too light and too early to make that happen.  But we enjoyed some down time on cots and blankets on the grass.
By the time we were ready to sleep, it was time to run again.  One of the joys of Van 2.

I think this is me, but I'm not sure.  I left for my 10 mile run a little before 2 am.  I hadn't really trained for that part, either.  (The 2 am part, I mean.  I had trained for the 10 mile part.)
Everyone tried to sleep in the car - with some even managing to.  Shawn was pretty much on his own when it was his turn to run.  No one was there to send him off and only Kyle was there to meet him at the end.
He did end up with 46 kills on his run, though.  (The number of people he passed.)

I slept maybe an hour in bits and pieces, and man did I feel it Saturday morning.  But not Mike,  He was still having a great time.
I wish that the  flames painted on the car had made me go faster.
Our team name was "Wait for Me!"  Our car was also "tagged" by some other teams.  It was always interesting to come back and see what had been added.
I think this was our kill total after the second leg.

There was lots of time spent waiting in the Honey Bucket lines at each transition.
I never really recovered from my middle of the night run and lack of sleep and was too nauseated to eat or drink before starting my 3rd leg.  It didn't go very well.  Plus it was straight up hill.  Like, really up hill.  Maybe an 18% grade.  I was so angry on that leg and sooo glad to finish it.  Plus, it was really hot.  Most of the teams had people along the course spraying water on the runners as they went by.  My team did an excellent job of keeping me cool, but couldn't do much about my lack of fuel and water leading up to the run.  I was definitely dehydrated and worn out at the end of it.  Still undecided on whether I would do it again or not.
Shawn on the other hand, was a rock star on all of his legs.  (As if we would expect anything less.)  He would sign up again in a heart beat.

Somewhere I have pictures of the whole team at the finish of the race, but they haven't made it into iphoto.  I'll have to add them when I find them.