Monday, October 8, 2012

Total Game-Changer!

Many of you know that I am Mormon, and as such, our family spent the weekend watching General Conference together.  During Saturday's session, our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, announced that the age for our youth to serve missions has been lowered.  Young men used to go at the age of 19 and they will now have the option to go at the age of 18 (immediately following high school graduation) and young women could go at the age of 21 and they now are able to go as young as 19.  Missionary service is expected of young men and is an option for young women

As the mom of a 17 1/2 year old young man, I was somewhat in shock!  We are currently in the midst of college testing, visiting and applications.  I have been counselling my young man to consider how he will be affected by WHERE he goes to college and how it will determine whether or not he actually serves a mission.  Because we feel that giving two years of his life to serve the Lord and serve others will be such a faith and character-building experience, we hope that he will choose to go.  We know it will affect his life immeasurably for the better.

With the option of a mission coming before college, I find myself wanting to re-double my efforts to train my son well.  He is an incredible young man.  He has faced trials and challenges that I cannot imagine having to face at his age.  But he has walked away with an inner committment and strength that I find to be nothing short of amazing!  I am not sure yet how this change will affect our family and Caleb's decisions surrounding college and mission, but I know it has already affected me and my resolve to be a better mother!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

He's With the Band.....

It's been a whirlwind start to the Senior Year for Caleb!  He is doing marching band for the first time!  Probably the only newbie to the marching band who is a Senior!  The practices are long and tiring and the weekend competition committments are many, but he has gained some new friends and is having some fun along the way!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tennis, Anyone?

After breaking both arms last year and missing tennis season, then transferring to a new school, Caleb was a little anxious about trying out this year.

He ended up being the #5 player and having the best record on the team!

He was excited to win the coaches award at the end of the season and enjoyed hanging out with all these guys!
Now time for some private lessons and hopefully getting much better for his senior year!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Missing Simon......

Having an exchange student in our home was a lot of fun!  It was a busy 3 1/2 weeks and it FLEW by!  But now I find myself missing our "other son" and the dynamics he brought into our family.  Here are some pictures from our last days with Simon....
 Packing up to go home
 Friends for life
 I let Joshua and Simon stay home the morning that Simon had to leave.  They were joined by Josh's friend Ethan and his exchange partner, Jakob, for a morning of video gaming!  Here they are right before we left to meet the bus.
 Poor Josh was having a hard time holding it together....he had so much fun with Simon and didn't want him to leave!
 Goodbye till next time.....Joshua's trip to Germany in July can't come soon enough!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Most Competitive Swimmer.....Yeah, we think so!

(a few weeks ago Samuel was cleaning out his room and decided to try on all of his medals at once!)

This past weekend, Samuel received an award from his swim team naming him as "Most Competitive Swimmer".  Each USA Swim team in our state is allowed to select one boy and one girl for this award to be honored at a banquet in the fall.  The idea is that the award go to the person who is not necessarily the fastest or best swimmer, but to the one who has the most excitement and drive to compete.  So, out of 150 swimmers on our team, Samuel was chosen!

That night as I lay in bed thinking about Samuel and his swimming, I couldn't help but remember him as the little scrappy five year old boy who was kicked off his very first swim team because the coaches didn't think he was good enough at swimming to be on the team.  They recommended that he take lessons for another year.  Tears came to my eyes, because I now had to break this news to Samuel, and I knew how excited he had been to be on the swim team.

When practice was over, I called him over to talk to me.  I tried as gently as possible to tell him what had transpired, then watched as he processed it all in his mind.

"So, I can't be on swim team anymore?" he asked.

"No, Samuel, but you can still swim every day at the pool and we will put you in lessons and you can still go to all the meets and watch your brother and sister swim and then next year you can do it." I answered, hoping it would be enough.

"Okay."  he said, then walked away.

There were no tears, at least not from him, and the matter was settled.

Over the next week, though, I noticed something happening.  Samuel was not running and playing with all the other siblings who weren't on swim team while their older brothers and sisters practiced.  Instead, Samuel was WATCHING the practice.  He could not be dragged away.  He stood at the fence and watched everything that happened.  Then, as soon as the pool opened, Samuel was in the water, trying over and over again to do the things he saw the swim team kids do. 

Within two weeks, he was swimming like a pro!

By the next summer, we had moved to a new home and joined a new pool and Samuel was on the swim team.  Immediately he was a force to be reckoned with in the pool.  He and another little boy raced each other at practices and always came in 1st and 2nd place in the meets.  The honors would go back and forth from week to week, but it just made Samuel work harder!

By the following summer, Samuel had moved up an age group and was on the young end, but was still one of the fastest kids in his age group.  He asked me to sign him up for every swim clinic that the coaches ran during the summer.  I signed him up for all but the flip turns clinic because he was currently only swimming one length of the pool in competition, so there was no need for him to do a flip turn.  At the start of that clinic, the coach came over to me and said that Samuel had expressed interest in it and did I want to put him in.  I explained to her why I hadn't signed him up for this clinic and then she said, "well, is it okay for him to just watch?"

So, he did, for one full hour.

Then he immediately jumped in the pool and worked on flip turns for the rest of the day until he had perfected a flip turn!

I have learned something from Samuel.  When someone tells him he can't do something, he makes a plan to prove them wrong.  He expects the best from himself and that quality will serve him well in life, whether he continues swimming or not.  He is an incredible young boy who will grow into an even more incredible young man!

We love you Samuel!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The First Daddy-Daughter Date

What's a girl to do when her very first Daddy Daughter Date just happens to fall right on top of a previously scheduled work trip for Dad?  Poor Savannah was faced with that predicament this year and cried more than a few tears over it.  In the end, Dad offered to contact a home teacher or his brother who lives across town.  Savannah chose Uncle James and he was more than happy to oblige!  Aunt Sandra made sure to double check what Savannah was wearing so that she and Uncle James would match (Aunt Sandra is really interested in fashion according to Savannah!) but Savannah was worried that Uncle James wouldn't want to wear pink or purple.....

Never fear, though, Uncle James came through!  He was so sweet and made sure that Savannah had a really fun time.  As a matter of fact, I hear she felt so much at ease that she smashed a pie in Uncle James' face!  We were so grateful to his family for giving up their daddy on a Friday night to make it special for Savannah.  Of course she still wishes her own daddy could have been there, but maybe he can make it up to her when he gets home!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Savannah's School Program

Sadly, we are attending fewer and fewer elementary school programs...which means my kids are growing up!
Savannah was so excited to have been chosen for a speaking part along with one of her best friends and they have been rehearsing for weeks!  As a matter of fact, there was even a playdate the day before where they practiced their parts over and over!

Needless to say, Savannah performed her part perfectly, because practice makes perfect!  Now if only she would have practiced smiling!

Oh wait, there it is!  (of course this one was taken at the end when it was all over!)

Savannah's friend and rehearsal partner is Olivia.  She is wearing the overalls.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring Break Fun!

After celebrating Easter on Saturday, we left early on Easter Sunday morning to travel to Atlantic Beach for a Spring Break trip!  We stopped in Wilson and went to church in our old ward....we haven't been back since we moved 10 years ago, so it was fun to visit with old friends!
 As soon as we got to the resort, the kids could not get out of the car fast enough and start climbing trees!  I came out of the office from checking in and they were all up in these cool twisty trees!
 We had hoped for a warm couple of days to share the beach with Simon, but it really wasn't all that warm at the beach.  As a matter of fact, the boys spent most of their time playing basketball!
 Aunt Tracy came out for a day with Kelly and Joel to spend some time with us and we ended up talking her into letting us take Kelly back for a day at the amusement park after our trip was over.
 As always, it was fun for the kids to spend time with cousins!
 Savannah, remembering our summer beach trips, wanted to take a sunset walk on the beach with me.
 It was absolutely, stunningly gorgeous, but OH SO COLD!!!
 We found this little guy hanging out on the deck of the condos one afternoon and had to get his picture!
 Savannah loved the open craft time in the condos recreation center.  Definitely her favorite place to be!
 Before we left for home, we had to stop at the aquarium.  I keep thinking my kids will be tired of it, but no way!  They beg to go after every beach trip!
 Samuel and Savannah, goofing around in the gift shop......
 Digging for shark's teeth in the fossil pit.  We brought several more home to add to our collection.
 One last cousin picture before heading off for home....
We finished off the week by taking Kelly with us to spend the day at the amusement park and then all the kids had a sleepover on the trampoline before I brought her back to meet up with her mom.  The boys talked me into letting them do a "lock-in" at the laser tag place.  Admittedly, I probably wouldn't have allowed it, but it was Simon's last weekend here and it sounded like a fun way for the boys to end his trip.  They LOVED it and had absolutely no problem staying up all night playing laser for me, I think I may have clinched that elusive "mom of the year" award with that decision alone!

Easter Fun

 Savannah was the only one young enough to participate in the traditional Easter Egg hunts.....where oh where have my babies gone?!!!
 I was so excited that I actually remembered to take pictures on Easter this year only to realize that these are indeed REALLY BAD PICTURES of everyone!  Oh well, we're keeping it real here!
 As usual, E.B. hid the baskets and the kids had to find them in random places throughout the main level of our house.
 This year included the bonus of EGGS actually hidden.....but for some reason the kids were really not all that excited about it, so I have had the fun of continually finding eggs full of CHOCOLATE as I clean the house!  NICE for me!
 Simon got to experience an American Easter and he was most excited about the Nerds in his basket.  He even bought more to take home and share with his family.
It was a fun, candy-filled day at our house!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Ahhhhh, what fun! Sunday was April Fool's Day and like any good mother, I thought about it on Saturday, then promptly forgot! Sunday morning before anyone else got up, I remembered and quickly went to pull out the prank that Shelby and I planned for last year but fell asleep before I could get it done......yes, its sad, but this IS my life!
Anyway, armed with a glue gun and a pack of googly eyes, I plastered everything I could in the fridge in the 20 or so minutes I had before everyone else woke up. It definitely made me smile and the kids loved it!
However, the fridge kept being opened over and over all morning long so they could laugh at it....perhaps the pantry next time????