Friday, August 23, 2013


Yup. It's that time of year again. This summer went much more quickly than I expected, but I think we were all ready for school's return. It's always pretty tough to get back into the routine, even more so when the barfs are involved. NOT how any of us wanted this year to start off.

Pen didn't feel well on Monday morning, but she often has stomach issues so I didn't think too much of it. She didn't tell me that it was different than what she normally experiences. Then Big woke up in the middle of the night on Monday, barfing. Lovely.

So, when Wednesday rolled around and it was time for the first day of school, only Ginger and Bud headed out the door. Pen wasn't going to start school until Thursday, anyway, but I felt so badly that Big was missing the first day of 1st grade. Bummer.

It's hard to believe that Ginger's a 7th grader. Pen was a 7th grader just the other day, it seems. Still love her new haircut!

Bud is so happy to be a 3rd grader. I think he'll love his teacher and that she'll find ways to challenge and encourage him. Plus, he'll enjoy the opera they get to write and perform. So handsome!

On Thursday it was time for Big and Pen to join in on the back-to-school fun. Pen will have a good sophomore year, I'm pretty sure. She's super excited to be doing concurrent enrollment, with the goal of hopefully earning her high school diploma and her associate's degree at the same time. 

It's a good thing Big was feeling lots better, considering how ginormous his backpack was-- full of school supplies galore. We strapped his lunchbox on the back to make the load even bigger.

Speaking of his lunchbox, it's just perfect for him. He loves it.

Even Edith got to have her picture taken. She's bummed she can't go to school like the other kids, but seems mostly content if I let her take her backpack and lunchbox in the car.

What a bunch of cute school kids I have! We're excited to see what this year brings! (No more barfing, hopefully. Add Ginger to the list this morning, and I'm not feeling super hot. I think we'll be glad when the first few weeks of this school year are over!)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer's Last Purge

With school starting up in a few days (I can hardly believe it!), it's time to perform the final phone purge of the summer. I need to be all caught up before I post the pictures of excited back-to-school kids.

Ginger loves to cook and I am constantly telling her that we should cook something together. And then we don't. So much guilt (yeah, I can't help it). And then Ginger got an ice cream cookbook from my sister Martha and we finally did. Ahhhh. I feel so much better now.

I think the family is glad we finally made something, too. Bud had a streak of chocolate under his chin, and I'm pretty sure he got it while he was licking his bowl.

The boys looked so cute before church last week that I asked them if I could take their picture. You probably can't tell, but one of them was more willing than the other. Ha! Love this photo.

Edith has been getting into dancing lately. She really loves it. Hopefully her focus will remain more on the contemporary dancing...

... and a little less on the pole dancing. 

I was just carrying around a lot of one dollar bills from our garage sale and it's a big load. 

I took the girls for some much overdue haircuts. It was definitely a must before school starts. Something about a haircut makes a person feel so good. I saw the biggest round brush probably in existence while we were there. Exciting!

Don't they look great?

I played Edith in a game of Memory the other day and got skunked. The girl is a bit of a game addict and her focus is amazing for a kid her age. You can tell from the photos how much joy Edith took in beating me. Her admiring and adoring pose as she looks at her piles of matches cracks me up. So proud.

I'm sure we'll be doing a lot of game playing just the two of us once the older kids start school this week. Edith will be in heaven.

And, finally, I want to close with a picture of the new shirt my sister, Martha, gave me for my birthday. I love it. (I apologize that I held my camera at an odd angle, skewing the actual dimensions of Pangea and also making my boobs look smaller and my belly bigger (the words 'REUNITE' and 'PANGEA' are actually the same size font)-- but it's Pangea that really matters)

Okay, I think we're ready for school to start. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

In the Mountains

We spent part of last week up at my folks' timeshare in the mountains. The beautiful scenery and cooler temperatures were rejuvenating. The kids look forward to the tradition and I know they will have fond memories of the time we spend there.

It ended up being almost dark by the time we got up there on the first day, so I took a quick photo of the sunset, helped the younger kids get settled in bed (yeah, right), and then Pen and I joined my mom in playing her favorite game.

The next morning, Rophone and I took Big and Edith on a lovely hike while Pen, Ginger, and Bud explored the resort. I think that those of us who went on the hike chose the better of the two activities. It was great to have Rophone along-- normally it's just me and the kids on hikes while he's at work.

We tried to fit as much as we could into the next few days-- a family shuffleboard tournament, swimming, walking the shops, more games, the park, more swimming...

I love this photo of Edith and how her head barely peeks over the edge of the table. And the stylin' sunglasses, of course. She was totally into the competition.

We managed to fit in swimming right after lunch each day, just beating the afternoon thunderstorms.

Edith is a total ace when it comes to game-playing, by the way. She won all but one game of Uno. Teaming with a competitive grandmother doesn't hurt, either.

The girls are old enough that many times they kind of took off to do their own thing. There's a big enough age gap between Ginger and Bud that it's kind of like having two separate families. 

Rophone ended up having to go to work for the second day of our vacation (a total bummer), but I managed to have some fun with the kids anyway. I walked with the younger kids to the park in the morning and then swam with all the kids after lunch. 

On the last morning before we left, we finally did what Edith had been dying to do since she first saw it-- the alpine slide. The very first morning we were there Edith said "I want to ride that.." (pointing at the chair lift) " that I can do that." (pointing at the alpine slide). She repeated herself every time she looked that direction. 

Needless to say, she was super excited when the time finally arrived. 

I thought that she might get nervous at some point or change her mind, but no. Edith was excited and determined while we waited in line, while we were on the chair lift, while we waited in line again... and then she giggled gleefully the whole way down. The whole way down FAST. She rode with Rophone and he's no lightweight. 


And determined:


I was proud of Bud, too, who made the decision to ride by himself for the first time this year. No nervousness on his part, either. He was just excited for the new experience. 

Pen, of course, had a blast on the alpine slide, Ginger made the decision to ride the chair lift all of the way around for her ride of choice (sounds heavenly and relaxing), and Big asked Grandma if she would play miniature golf with him. Everyone got to do exactly what they wanted. Perfect.

(and can I just say that having to hold my sled while I shot photos really messed with my framing...)

Bud rocked it, but his lightweight frame kept him from going quite as fast as he might have liked. He's hoping to put on a few pounds so he can go faster the next time. My mom and Big finished golfing just before I got to the course, but at least I managed to capture a picture in front of the course. 

And it looks like Ginger's ride on the chair lift really was relaxing.

The whole family had a grand time, Mom! Thanks for hosting us!

The Big Sale

My sister, Opera, and I (mostly Opera) spent a couple of weeks going through my folks house for my mom, trying to rid it of the unnecessary. It will be nice for her to go on her mission, knowing that her house is organized and she won't have to return and go through my Dad's stuff. We knew it would be a big task, but boy did we underestimate how overwhelming and exhausting it would be (both physically and emotionally). I'm glad we did it, though. There are just some things of my dad's that we know my mom will never have a use for.

We decided to hold a garage sale at the end-- reasoning that the less we have to physically haul away, the better. What will amaze people who know how the garage looked, we were actually able to hold the sale in the garage. In fact, I think it was one of the cleanest in-garage garage sales I've ever seen. I give most of the credit to Opera, and I now have a strong testimony of shop vacs.

Here are a few photos:

There is still more left than we want to have to haul off, so I'm holding another sale this weekend to try to rid us of more stuff. Hopefully we're successful. I'm looking forward to putting all of this behind me. Although, there are some things I'm sure I'll never forget...