Monday, August 29, 2011

Awesome Awegust

Happy 19th Birthday to Joshua!!  Every mother wonders, dreams and worries about what it will be like, or more appropriately, what their son will be like, when his 19th birthday comes.  Well, could a mother be prouder or happier about where a son is than I am of Josh?  He just finished the Spring Semester at BYU-Idaho and received a 4.0!  He worked really hard for it too - the hardest I've ever seen him work at school.  I have to say that Bruce put in a fair amount of time (as in hours and hours) over the phone with Josh, helping him with his computer science class.  Josh is as handsome as ever.  Bruce and I went out to dinner at a really nice Italian Restaurant with Jesse and Josh for their birthdays.  At one point during the dinner, Josh looked over and said something to me with this look on his face that was picture perfect.  I said, "Don't ever look at a girl like that unless you really, really like her."  It's a look of calmness, self-assurance and strength.  We had a great dinner, the only thing missing was the rest of the children.  :)  We took the whole family there in April right before Josh went to school and it was wonderful.  We had a gift certificate from Bruce's boss in order to afford it.  We are in the middle of getting Josh's papers ready to send in for a mission.  Yeah!  We decided that he will be going back to another semester of school in the Fall instead of waiting around to go on a mission.

We went to a local reservoir for our annual camping trip that we do with our friends.  Fred & Amy, Elizabeth & Calvin, Todd & Kristie and their families, along with us, were the ones attending.  The water was high, especially for August, so the kayaks and the canoe were a hit.  Joseph, Jesse, Freddy and Kalli were inseparable.  We brought Britta and Dallas with us, friends of Mary and Libby, respectively.

Peter and Libby had their first day of 5th and 4th grade respectively. They have great teachers and are enjoying school!

Jesse turned 16 this month! Her friends had a surprise birthday party for her the day before her birthday, and then they also brought her breakfast on the morning of her birthday.  Talk about royal treatment!  She has already been on a "first date", which was fun.  She is a beautiful 16 year old, and Bruce is going to be cleaning his gun a lot.  Ha ha

Joseph, Jesse and Mary on their first day of school.

Mary gets to join the "high-schoolers" this year, which is right up her alley.  She will love the wider social circle.  She is in the AnimaMea choir at school, which is an audition all-girls choir.

Jesse is now the full-time organist in our ward, and also accompanies the choir.  She made the decision not to play soccer this year, in order to concentrate on piano practicing.  She practices around 3 hours a day.  She is also on a competitive clogging team, which she loves!

Joseph and Jesse have Show Choir together this year, and also Madrigals.  They LOVE these two activities.

Peter received his Arrow of Light Award.  Congratulations Peter!
Bruce has been busy working on the farm, coaching Peter's soccer team, and trying to keep up with all the children's activities.  Lorena has loved having all the children home for a short time.

Joseph scored the first two goals in his Varsity soccer game last week  He is doing great on the field, and is a real asset to his team.

Jesse has her Dad wrapped around her little finger, because this is what he found on Craigslist for her:

Of course it's not just for her, it's for the whole family, but she is the one who will play it the most.  This is one of the most wonderful things we have ever invested in, and fulfills a life-long dream of mine.  It's a 5' 1" Kawai GM-10 Baby Grand with a wonderful tone and touch.  It was built in Japan in 2005.  When Josh and Joseph first heard it being played, they said that from the kitchen it sounded like a recording coming from the computer.  The thing that has struck me the most about playing it is the ability to play piano, or soft.  I've never played on a piano that could go so soft.  And you can play loud to, so the dynamics you can produce are lovely.  We went around and around on where to put it, but ended up putting it in the only spot it could have been in the house, and that is the Living Room.  We have to invest in blinds for that room now, but it is worth it.  This Sunday afternoon we were all sitting around listening to Jesse play - it was so fun.

We had our Family Street Dance last night.  It was so fun!  Am I saying everything is "so fun"?  Well, that's just it.  Our life is fun.  There are challenging parts too, but mostly, we are very, very blessed and feel to thank the Lord every day for his bounteous blessings.

We have had Josh's friend Sterling staying with us for a week, and we had Kaleb overnight - so fun to see him!!  We also had our old Bishop and his family from Poulsbo stay with us overnight.  Since July we have had a family living with us up in our Entertainment Room.  Their little daughter Emma, who is 3, entertains us to no end.  Tonight she happened to be there for family council, and when we were discussing Mary walking to mutual, she piped up and said, "From the high school? No way!"  Oh, we just get a kick out of her - she's a hoot.  We also had some other friends from Poulsbo pass through - Bill and Laura and family.  We loved seeing them too!

One thing that has sorely needed attention that is not getting it is our garden.  We have harvested a few things - cucumbers, green beans, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers.  Soon there will be corn and squash.  We haven't been over to look at the carrots.  I'm to scared to. ha ha  That will just make my mother squirm when she reads that.  Sorry, Mom - I'll get to it, I promise!

We love all of our friends and family.  You truly bring us great joy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

July - one great vacation after another!

July was one crazy and fun month!

It began with a trip to Portland, OR for the wedding of my nephew Jarom in the Portland Temple on July 2nd.  Bruce & I, Mary and Libby were the only ones able to go, and it was a wonderful time.

The 4th of July was spent here at home.  We went to the parade and got in the "wet zone" where the firefighters have a heyday getting everyone soaking wet.  It was way fun!  We had my nephew Corbin with us all that week - from my side of the family - and he entertained us with his great sense of humor.

On July 9th we took off to Rexburg to see Joshua perform in the new BYU Idaho Center (a new building on the campus that is almost exactly like the Conference Center only smaller).  He sang in the Men's Chorus and was on the big screen several times for us to ooh and ahh.  The concert was great!  The next Monday we took off to Bear Lake for the reunion for my side of the family. 
Peter playing Ultimate Frisbee
We stayed at a Lodge for five days and had a wonderful time, especially because it was my Dad's 80th birthday and all ten of us siblings were there. 
Libby and cousin Hailey

Playing with cousins - Libby, Hailey and Alyssa
Bruce - in classic family reunion pose

We finished that week out with a quick trip to Utah for Jarom & Whitney's reception in Lehi.

Hells Canyon River Trip
Two days after getting home from that, we turned around and went on a 3-day River Trip to Hells Canyon.  We were invited by our friends, Dave and Shelly, who drew a tag for the first time in five years.  We have never done anything like this before, and it was amazing!  Josh couldn't go with us to that because he was finishing up finals week at BYU-I, and Joseph was down at EFY in Provo.  Hells Canyon was ruggedly beautiful.  We put in at the same visitors center that we went to at the Family Reunion years ago for Bruce's side of the family.  We traveled about thirty miles over three days and took the boats out at Pittsburgh Landing.  The oarsman for our boat was Steven, who is an Olympic downhill skier.  He is a long time friend of Erik, the son of our hosts, who is also a world cup skier.  Bruce was supposed to be the oarsman, but he broke his fourth metacarpal in his right hand, so he couldn't keep up the oaring without being in a lot of pain.  Luckily, Steven was able to step in and cover for him.

The week after the River Trip, we went on a pack trip with our whole family.  (Yes - the fun has not stopped - the whole month!)  We decided to go back to an old favorite - Langer Lake in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
It is a 2 mile hike in, which was "just about right" according to Bruce after we'd gotten there.  He had much higher ambitions in our discussions beforehand, but we were glad we opted for easier.  We took two horses - Lady and Sleepy River McGee, and two llamas - Achacachi an Huacuyo.  It was the first time we took horses.

They can carry a lot, but we found them labor intensive while we were camping, and also a lot more volatile while crossing rocks and streams.  Either they need to be trained better or we need to not take them again!  We found we much preferred the llamas.  Horses are more for riding than leading, that is for sure.

We thoroughly enjoyed the pack trip.  The highlight was the hike up to Ruffneck Peak.

We met Lookout Dave up there (the first time we have seen the Lookout manned), and had a fun time eating lunch and rolling huge rocks down the glacier.  Jesse was sick most of the trip and made a gargantuan effort to even attempt the hike, and she made it!  We treasured having all of our family together.

I'll have to post more pictures later of this trip - too many to put on right now.

Tomorrow we are off on another camping trip - I know - very crazy - to Sage Hen Reservoir, where we had the Family reunion many years ago on Bruce's side, and Joshua Wayne saw the moose swimming across the reservoir.  He also came with us another year.  I wish he and Rachel could come with us - maybe another year.

We have made many great memories this month.  Hurrah for summer, good friends and family, and beautiful places to visit!