I haven't posted in a while, so here's a quick summary:
Jeff and Steph:
For our anniversary, Jeff and I rode through Grand Teton National Park, making a nice 46 mile trip which included a not-nice piece of riding up a 14% grade mountain (no, not the Grand - it was Signal Mountain). Gorgeous ride and the best company.
I love that Jeff of mine.
We attended a BYU football game as a family, which was super stressful and awful until the last two minutes when BYU turned things around and won at the last second (or two).
We went to a Straw Maze that featured a real live camel! In Idaho! Pretty cool. The girls and Jeff and I stuck together, while Sam and Oliver tried to conquer the maze on their own. We made it out, then waited for the boys. And waited. And waited. And finally Jeff went in to find them. The boys were still wandering around near the entrance when dad rescued them. It was pretty fun.
Sam finished up his first season of cross-country running. It was a fun experience and he hung in there. His race times got better and better. Mostly he enjoyed hanging out with his teammates.
Sam and Oliver started an athlete conditioning program at the high school. Pictured above is Sam on your right (it could just as well be Oliver, too!), pulling a parachute in sprints. I think I'll change his name to Flash. And Oliver can be Flame. Or maybe not.
Speaking of Oliver, Oliver had a birthday party. And another birthday party. And ANOTHER birthday party! Once on his birthday with just us, once on a Sunday evening with cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and once after school with friends. I won't be doing that again! Still, it was fun and he's definitely worth it. Turning 10 years old is, after all, a bid deal.
This is Oliver with a giant New England "Whoopie Pie" that he requested. He's donning a policeman outfit he got for the first of his three 10-year-old birthdays.
I couldn't resist this picture of Oliver doing his homework with the help of "Witchy" - the library puppet that we've checked out twice now (Charlotte has claimed her as a best friend, but shared with Oliver).
Eleanor (and Charlotte):
And we (Eleanor, actually) are now the proud owners of two Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Ewwww. Eleanor is in heaven.
She was completely surprised when our neighbor showed up at my parents' house, bugs in tow. She's been begging for Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches for months. Jeff said sure, she could have them. I kept quiet, hoping she'd forget. She never forgot. One Sunday at church she talked with our neighbors about her dream pets. The very next day...well, sometimes dreams come true, I guess!
Our neighbor's husband is a biologist at BYU-Idaho and had some connections to these "exotic" bugs. Ellie calls them Crunch and Minnie. The day after the two creatures moved in I called our neighbors in a sudden fit of panic. "They're not male and female, are they?" No, she reassured me, they're both boys. Even Minnie. Phew!
Charlotte (and Eleanor):
Charlotte loves Witchy, but also has a soft spot for the giant Dora doll. Here she is on her way home from preschool.
While the boys were at a football game, we had "girls' day" which included playing with cousin MJ and Aunt Annmarie, a bike ride, feeding ducks, playing at the park, going out for ice cream, a visit to the library, a movie, and - the highlight for the girls - a visit to the Animal Shelter where the girls volunteered. They got to take a couple of (small!) dogs on walks and spend some time socializing kittens (read: playing!). It was sweet, although it also makes me sad... Those poor animals. Hopefully we helped them have a happy day.
And a new piano now sits where we'd planned it to be years ago when we designed the house. It's beautiful.
I spent a few days canning this month. And grumbling. And wondering why in the world do I give up my days for a few bottles of fruit. But, like last time, when it's all over I'm proud of the results. But, like last time, I don't know if I'll ever do it again. :)
That's all for now. How thankful I am for the ties that bind us. My family, you can see, is everything to me.