Wednesday, October 31, 2012

i {heart} Skype

My mom took this pic of Miss J talking to her on Skype.  As much as I struggle with the Internet being a big time waster in my life I am so grateful for things like Skype to make it just a bit easier to living far apart from much of my family. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

First Day

No need for many words today. 

Just a couple pics of the first day of school. 

I have three in school this year! Miss J is over the moon excited to be in preschool:

The eldest is in 4th and DD#2 is in 2nd grade: 

I never look forward to the first day of school, but once it rolls around and the girls have left for the day I realize that "huh, it's a bit quieter and a little easier with less of them running around and needing things."  That's kind of nice too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I will say it again

I {heart} summer. 

It 'tis my favorite season. 

So it snowed today.  The first snow of the season.  Sigh.

My girls were beyond excited as I hauled out the appropriate gear that had to get drug to school.  Miss J started running about the house proclaiming that "we must decorate for Christmas!"  Whoa, little girl.  Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.  This mama does not decorate for Christmas until December.  Sorry.  So at her request I drew shapes for her.  She labeled them "Christmas shapes."  Did you know a hexagon is a Christmas shape?  In Miss J's world it is apparently. 

Well on to the point of this post.  A summer recap.  It does my heart good to look back on pictures of my favorite season.  I can almost feel the warmth of the sand and sunshine on my face.  Almost.  Well okay, not really, but it sounds nice, no?

Summer highlights:

We went to the lakes a few times.  This was the first outing there and the only one I remembered our camera for.  The water was a bit chilly still as it was early June.  These two are testing it out to see if they dare swim in it.

Miss J went right for it.
The swim was short lived and building on the beach seemed a better option.
Miss J got a new sprinkler for her birthday so we tried that out.

I so wish these pictures weren't blurry!
A favorite past time:  jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath.
Chad and I went to New York City on a service project with our church youth group.  It was an amazing life changing trip.  Our group of 48 people were hosted by NYSUM (New York School of Urban Ministry).  I can't begin in a picture caption to describe it all.  Maybe someday I will write a post just on our trip.
My sister and her family took a road trip this summer.  They rented an RV and drove Route 66.  Once they reached the end they headed over to our area and spent a few days in our neck of the woods.  
Then comes our Road Trip 2012 

Another big thing this summer was we bought a summer pool pass to our local city pool.  One of the best decisions we made for sure!  This summer lovin' mama was ecstatic to take her girlies to the pool as often as she wanted and the extremely hot and dry summer was the perfect weather to enjoy it to the max. 

Chillin in the shade during break time.
The eldest and her bff.  They spent more days together at the pool then apart this summer.
Don't let this picture fool you.  She was notorious for stealing other kids' toys.  I'm pretty certain she is handing back this boy his ball after snagging it from him previously. She even would sneak off and rummage through other peoples bags looking for snacks.  (now THOSE are proud parenting moments, I tell you. ugh.)
Her regular pool attire:  swimsuit, life jacket, floaty, pool noodle. Only a monsoon could drown this girl.   
Lastly, I have to throw a couple of these in here.  My nephew is a senior in high school this year.  My sister and I took some pics of him before school started, hoping for some good ones he could use as part of his senior pictures.  I think we got some!

My eldest, the night before school started, declared this "the best summer ever."  I have to say I agree it was pretty awesome and like her, was sad to see it go.  Fall has been pretty nice too though.  Here's to hoping we have a wonderful winter as well.  If not, that's okay,  God is faithful and carries us to the next season.  Summer will come again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

winner winner chicken dinner

her prize was *much* better than a chicken dinner (in her opinion!)

the story:

this girl has struggled with reading.  the library summer reading program has been a fantastic incentive for her to pick up a book rather than stare at a screen.  at the beginning of the summer she set a goal for herself to fill up three tracking sheets.  she surpassed her goal and filled 3 and a half of them.  (woot!)   this gave her 7 entries for the big prizes being offered.  she put all her entries into the prize she wanted most:  a brand new American Girl doll, the "Girl of the Year" Makenna.    

now her next younger sister was also signed up for the reading program.  she reads fine but has declared reading is "just not her thing."  it was a battle all summer to get her to read and even when she did she often forgot to fill out her tracking sheet.  apparently a little less driven then her sister when it comes to prizes, ha ha.   she managed to squeak out a little over half of one sheet. 

part of the reading program also earned them "book bucks" to spend for small prizes and at the carnival being held the day after we left on our road trip.  the girls were a bit miffed that they would be missing the carnival but the library allowed them to spend 20 book bucks (the eldest had earned the max of 50 and her younger sis had earned just over 20) on some prizes before we left on vacation.  so despite the vast difference in how much time each had spent on reading they had the same amount of prizes. 

well fast forward to our road trip.  while speeding down I-90 somewhere in the midst of Montana the carnival was taking place in our home town.  we received a text from a super sweetheart librarian who also happens to be a fantastic babysitter dearly loved by all of us letting us know that our eldest had won the American Girl!  YAAAYYYY! this mama was so excited for her daughter and to see the look on her face was priceless.  she spent a lot of time on vacation studying the American Girl catalog to see what else she could save her pennies for to go with her new doll.  she had to wait over 2 weeks before we would be back in town and she could pick her up. (a bit torturous for her)  as soon as the library opened the monday we were back my eldest zipped on over there to claim her prize. 

congrats girly, you are my star reader. 

and dare i say, all that reading this summer has actually instilled some habits of reading into her and she actually seems to be enjoying books?!?  thank you, thank you, thank you reading program!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Homeward bound

the last vacation post.

the trip home. 

we left in the evening again after dinner so we could go through the night. 

all ready to hit the road
with the traveling gnome (one of these trips he is going to actually travel in the van, along with the green man -inside joke between my sisters)

wishing Grandma D could have traveled in our van too.
saying good bye makes us a bit crazy
the trip went super smoothly again.  the girls loved going through Seattle at night (as did the parents, such a beautiful city!)  we drove straight through until mid afternoon the next day when we stopped in Buffalo, Wyoming.  Buffalo boasts an amazing and huge city park and free pool.  while we did not utilize the pool we did hang out in the park while waiting for our cabin to be ready. 

there was this cool tire swing thingy

which they all loved
talking on the phone to Grandma D, she misses her.  A LOT.
no fear in this one
so the cabin we stayed at was "interesting" to say the least. nothing like our KOA experience.  the girls thought it was pretty cool.  the parents were less than impressed.  i will refrain from naming the place cause maybe i was just over-tired and a smidge cranky.  the important thing is that it functioned for us as a place to rest our heads and that is what we needed.  i just wouldn't recommend it as a "vacation destination" as i would the Missoula KOA.

anyhoo, moving on.

the next day we promised a trip past Mt Rushmore.  we figured our lunch stop would be there and we could eat our packed picnic lunch nearby and view it from the road. 


this was our view:

yep.  we are the lame-o cheapy parents who didn't want to pay the money to go in the parking lot to get the full view since we would be staying only for a quick bite to eat.  we did drive by it three times hoping to find a place to park along the road with a better view. that state of South Dakota is rather smart though and has almost all of it blocked off by cones and the places that could maybe work were filled up with Sturgis attendees on motorcycles.  we managed to get a few pics from our moving vehicle.  nice, right?

i promise someday we will allow our kids the experience of actually going in and seeing the whole thing up close.  this particular day was just not that day.

onward through South Dakota we drove, amongst many motorcycles and RV's hauling motorcycles.  that certainly makes the drive across what could be a very boring state much more entertaining. 

and then

home sweet home.  the last pic of vacation:

time of arrival

can't wait for Road Trip 2014!