Saturday, May 7, 2016

In Honor of Mother's Day

This week I remembered that during our Thanksgiving visit I found a folder of pictures of my mom, taken when she was a young girl. What a treasure! Anyway, I figured some of you might enjoy seeing them as well. I'm thankful for modern technology (that sometimes actually works properly!) that allows pictures of pictures to turn out actually quite well.

This first one is perfect for Mother's Day, because it shows my mom with me (standing on the grass) and my younger sister.
I love this one of her as a teenager. 
Here are some more with her as a teenager. The bottom left one she's with her younger sister, and the bottom right one with her mother and baby brother.
I should probably save this next one for a Christmas post, but I'm not. 
Christmas 1952: Kathy, David, Judi, Brian
The top left is another good Mother's Day photo; this is my grandmother holding my Aunt Kathi, then my mom and Uncle David on the right. In the group of children, my mom is in the center of the first row. The bottom three are of her as a young girl.
 Mom and Dad, either just before or just after their wedding.
This is the one picture I had seen before, but I love it, and I'm glad I have a copy of it now. My mother was a beautiful bride. She's even more beautiful now.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy Graduation!

Our baby girl is graduating from college! 

Typing that brought tears to my eyes. Oh, dear. I'll post pictures of this year's festivities later, [her friend already took some great ones - see here] but thought it would be fun to do a "remembering" post today. So, here you go!

Once upon a time, many years ago, we graduated from BYU. Such an exciting time, with no idea of what lay ahead!
1984 ~ B.A. Music History ~ B.S. Finance/Marketing/International Business
It's been a wonderful journey, though, much of it spent helping and encouraging and supporting these wonderful children as they traveled the path to adulthood. Four years ago we crossed "our children's high school graduations" off the list of goals we set for ourselves.
And in one more year we can cross "our children's college graduations" off the list. (There are still a few advanced degrees to be awarded, but those aren't our goals; our kids are great goal-setters themselves!)

Nine years ago we made the trip to BYU for Weston, who received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.
Three years later he graduated with both an M.B.A. and a Master's in Engineering. Elizabeth graduated at the same time with a degree in nursing. Megan received a BYU degree in Communication Disorders the year before.

We weren't able to make the trip to Utah, but the next year it was David's turn to graduate with a B.S. in Construction Management. Cody graduated at the same time in Statistical Science.
We did make it three years ago for Brad's graduation in Electrical Engineering. Alicia graduated at the same time in Elementary Education, but we didn't know her then.
Last year it was Jeff's turn to graduate with a B.S. in Exercise Science.
Next year it will be Steven's turn; he's working on a degree in Electrical Engineering. And in 20 years or so we hope we'll be able to help the next generation celebrate this grand achievement.
Wyatt thought it should have been his turn already!
However, this year we're celebrating Michelle and her B.S. in Technology and Engineering Education, or TEE for short. We're so proud of her and her accomplishments and look forward to seeing what the future brings!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Baby Blessing in Pennsylvania

Before we leave for the next big event in our family, I better finish the post on the last one!

After our pleasant stroll along the Brandywine Creek, we enjoyed relaxing at the house for the rest of Saturday.
Clark is a very new addition to the family, but Thomas the Dragon Tail Betta Fish (I think that's the type) is an even newer one. We also tried getting a picture of the three boys in the elephant shirts Aunt Michelle sent them for Christmas. Getting Sam to sit still and smile at the camera continues to be a fun adventure. At least this time he was happy to smile at his little brother.
Does anyone have an explanation for why adults think children's gifts should have animals on them? Just wondering.
Sunday was the special blessing day. We're so grateful for the power of the priesthood and for eternal families. We're especially grateful for the wonderful men our sons have become and for how beautifully they're fulfilling their responsibility to raise the next generation, made possible because they each chose an awesome wife.
Megan's parents are awesome, too, and it was great sharing this special day with them.
We created some beautiful memories and look forward to having many more such memory-making days in the future.

So that they're easy to find, here are the other Baby Blessing posts:
#1, #2, #3, 
[Oops! Apparently I have some work to do.]
#4, #5, #6, and #7
#9 will be this fall!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Struble Trail in Pennsylvania

Ready to start our adventure - the 2.6 mile Strubel Trail heading into Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
 We found a bridge, or two, or three.

We found a sign to read.
 The remains of the Dowlin Forge.

 We passed a few old barns.

We stopped to take a picture.
 East Brandywine Creek
 A small stream
 The end is in sight!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

FHE and More in Pennsylvania

Part of the fun of this trip was just being there for the normal, every day activities. The big stuff is nice, but it's the little things that really make a family unique and wonderful. So, here's documentation for some of the ordinary things that make each day an adventure.

It was a joy to be able to participate in their family night. In honor of Clark's arrival, Megan prepared the special "A Child of God" lesson from the Family Home Evening Resource Book. One of the neat parts of the evening was when Weston asked Wyatt to choose the opening hymn, although he gave the caveat that if his mom wanted a special hymn to go with the lesson (she wasn't in the room at the time), they might have to change. Wyatt picked "I am a Child of God" which is exactly the one the lesson suggested. I loved how they pointed out to him that he was listening to the Spirit to help him pick the perfect hymn.

Another special part of the lesson was when Megan shared each of the "how you came to our family and how you got your name" stories for each of the boys. So much love was present. And fun, too - can't end the evening without blowing some special R2D2 bubbles and eating some cookies, and maybe even playing a game.
It doesn't have to be family night to play a game, and we did a lot of that, plus reading stories, throughout the week.
Trying to get a picture with everyone looking at the camera, with their tongue inside their mouth and their limbs not in front of their face is asking a bit much, but we tried anyway as part of family home evening, and the boys were good sports about it.
Outside play is essential for growing boys.
I loved watching their imaginations at work. Wyatt finally found the treasure chest he had buried and then promptly re-buried it, but with new treasure inside. Sam had to do some digging as well. The play structure was turned into a sailing ship, and became the base for several adventures. The beautiful flowing cherry tree became their cousins' home across the ocean. (The other cousins'  home was the hill in the backyard.) We had a great time sailing to visit them.
We don't have the normal four seasons in Florida, so watching spring arrive was a real treat. And the pussy willow tree brought back great memories of when I lived in Maryland when I was 5.
 Imaginations were at work indoors as well.

The creative juices were flowing also.
I learned all about Octonauts and their Gups (or vehicles). Here's Wyatt drawing a Gup A for me.
Here's a Gup H. There are a lot more!
When you're 5, part of the daily routine involves going to school. Kindergarten is half-day, but the buses only do full-day runs, so Wyatt gets the best of both worlds!
When they purchased their house they were told the street used to be called Mormon Hollow, and there was a historical marker a few houses down. I decided I couldn't leave without reading what it had to say, so one day I took a short walk.
Basically it states that this seminary building was built by a Quaker, Edward Hunter, who donated it to the county under condition that any group could use it for educational or religious purposes. The prophet Joseph Smith preached to the Brandywine Branch here in January of 1840, and in October of that year, Edward Hunter was baptized. There's a great article about his life in the Ensign. It's actually quite fascinating, almost as fascinating as daily life with our own family members.