Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Three-Day Weekend

The fun activities of our three-day weekend started after work on Friday, with a graduation open house for Michelle and two of her good friends.  They actually attended three different high schools, but we definitely had fun celebrating together.  Thanks, Caroline and Ashleigh, for helping Michelle enjoy her senior year!
Saturday morning, after doing a bit of painting at home and sending Steven off to work, it was time for the ward Memorial Day Picnic.  First on the schedule was some softball.  
Then some volleyball and football.
After yummy barbecued hamburgers, there was even a pie-eating contest or two.  Would you have participated?  Because I definitely had no desire at all!  These kids had fun though.  (Just so you know, the winner was the girl in the front right in the blue shirt.  And, yes, she did have blueberry pie filling all in her hair.  If you ever do participate in such an activity, be like the girl on the left and have someone put your hair up first!)

After time with our ward family, it was time to make progress on our "things to do in Palm Beach County" list.  We spent a few minutes reading the informational signs at the 20 Mile Bend Boat Ramp in Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.  (How's that for a name?)  Our timing was perfect, as we were ready to leave when the rain started.
Monday Wayne was ready to enjoy his day off.  Unfortunately, this time it was Jeff's turn to work.  (However, we're thrilled that, unlike last year, the boys have jobs this summer.)  First up was hanging the new blinds, since the patching and painting was finally completed.  We're blessed that Wayne considers this a fun hobby.
But then it was time for a more traditional fun hobby.  We went back to Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, although the main entrance this time.  We'd already explored the Visitor's Center and done some of the hikes (see here), but Wayne was excited to take the canoe trail.  So was Steven.  So, we rented a couple of canoes and were off!
It was a beautiful day!
 Wouldn't you agree?
 I was amazed at the number of flowers in bloom.  The White Water Lily was our favorite.
Maybe it was the result of all the rain we've had lately.
We didn't see any alligators, which was fine with me, but there was one egret who seemed to be making the trip with us.
We were grateful that the afternoon storms waited until we were safely back at home!
And since there was still some time left in the day, Wayne was able to install the support for the next layer of  shelves in the pantry.  (Thank you, Michelle, for putting the final coat of paint on in the morning while we hung the blinds!)
Once again we had another wonderful day, with the perfect mix of chores and fun.  And we hope you had a great weekend as well!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Cuteness

Apparently I've been negligent in my blog-posting duties.  Michelle found these pictures in the photo album and wanted to know why I hadn't shared them.  I'm thinking I was maybe a bit busy with other things!  However, the whole point of taking pictures is to remember fun events, so although these were taken a month ago, it's never too late to enjoy them.
Making faces for the camera!
Uncle Steven trying to teach Wyatt that swinging can be fun.
Of course it helps when you have Uncle Jeff along for the fun.
Maybe someday I'll be able to get that high too!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

High School Graduation - Version #6

Happy Graduation Day!
At each of her brother's graduations, we had daylight pictures before the ceremony and night-time pictures afterwards.  Just to keep things unique and different, this year it was opposite.  The graduates had to be at the fairgrounds before the sun came up!
The ceremony started at 8 AM, and this was pretty much our view, so we don't have any pictures of Michelle walking in the processional.  
We also don't have a picture of her sitting between two empty seats while the speakers were on the podium, which I thought would be pretty cool.  (Officially, she ranked 2nd in her class, but was ineligible to be named salutatorian due to lack of time in the county school system.  That just means she didn't have to prepare a speech!)  Justin Martinez, the valedictorian, will be attending MIT and majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  That sounds just a bit familiar, doesn't it? 

We won't bore you with the reading of almost 700 names, but I was able to capture the most important 20 seconds on video.  (Sorry Justin's name got cut off; it was hard to tell when they were ready to start and I didn't want to record a lot of dead time.)
The predicted "100% chance of rain at 10 AM" came to pass.  Fortunately, we made it to the car in time.
We are now formally passing the torch for future high school graduations to the next generation!
 Congratulations, Michelle!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Senior Send-off" or "Senior Stars"

One of the things Michelle thought she'd be sacrificing because of the move was "Senior Send-off," a Mutual activity honoring the graduating seniors.  We've gone to a few (see here) and they're fabulous and fun occasions.  Fortunately, this ward does the same thing, only they call it "Senior Stars."  We had a great time reviewing their growing-up pictures and learning the future plans of these wonderful young men and women. Thank you to her fantastic leaders!!
A bonus to the evening was watching the people we've come to know and love realize what a fun-loving, unique individual Jeff is!  And he got to make some new friends as well.  We're so glad you're home.  (And we're glad Steven's home as well!)

Look at how you've grown.  We're so proud of you!  Happy Graduation!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Our Saturday

We started the day by sending a couple of boys off to work while Wayne wrote his talk for Sunday.  
It was a gorgeous day in paradise so we decided to pack a picnic to take to the next city park on the list - Essex Park.  Our timing was perfect, and we can verify that the gazebo does shelter you from the rain.  Fortunately, we were able to dodge raindrops on the way there and back, but by the time we were done eating, the beautiful sun had disappeared for the afternoon.
In fact, it was downright gray and stormy.  Once the worst of the rain passed, we went out to go to Home Depot and discovered this:
Someone told Wayne we got 2 1/2 inches of rain in just one hour.  That was too much for the storm drains to handle, so a small lake formed in front of our house.  The teenagers next door decided to have some fun - that's them in the white truck.
We gave the "lake" a chance to disappear (it took about another hour) before completing our errands.  Now we have the supplies to start the next shelf in the pantry.
Bottom shelf completed!
In the evening we enjoyed a good-bye party for some friends.  We'll miss them, but it was nice to be able to get to make new friends as a result.  

And that was our Saturday!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday, Weston!  Hope you have a wonderful day!  And because you're getting so OLD, it's time to take a walk down memory lane.  

5 years old - with the train cake (Just in case you want to try to recreate it, I baked the batter in mini loaf pans. Then it looks like I used the all-important chocolate frosting along with marshmallows, M&M's and leftover Christmas mints to decorate.)

The rest of the pictures from years 1-12 can be found here.
13 years old - must have forgotten to put candles on the shopping list!

14 years old - the last of the chocolate cakes, at least for a while.
15 years old - hmm, it looks like we're missing some candles again.
16 years old - time to party with all your friends.
17 years old - let's give cupcakes a try!
18 years old - and ready to go conquer the world.
19 years old - your last birthday at home.  While we miss being able to help celebrate in person, we're grateful for the memories, and grateful for the wonderful man you've turned out to be.  Have an absolutely wonderful day!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thank You!

Thank you, kids, for the beautiful flowers.  We're going to enjoy the color in the front yard!
Lots of beautiful green, but still missing something
Hard at work
From a little distance
And up close - Day Lilies, Lantana, Pentas, Vincas and Marigolds (plus a Gardenia that isn't flowering yet)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

It's time to go to church, but I wanted a place to record all the neat Mother's Day articles I'm finding.  Here's a start, and I'll add more as time permits.  Hope you're all having a wonderful Mother's Day!

"Because She is a Mother" - a conference talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in 1997.  Today I'm past the stage of "young mother" (even though I don't feel old at all!), but I still vividly remember the Saturday session when this talk was given.  I was in our "patio playroom" cleaning the mildew off the walls while everyone else was relaxing on the couch listening to conference.  I was feeling just a touch sorry for myself.  Hearing the message through an apostle of the Lord that what I was going through was important was an incredible experience.  You really need to read the whole thing, but here's just a sample of his marvelous humor which leads to prophetic counsel and advice.

In speaking of mothers generally, I especially wish to praise and encourage young mothers. The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s breadwinning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually decorated in one of two smart designs—Deseret Industries provincial or early Mother Hubbard. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank. But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island. . . .   It is clear that some of those Rhode Island–sized shadows come not just from diapers and carpooling but from at least a few sleepless nights spent searching the soul, seeking earnestly for the capacity to raise these children to be what God wants them to be. Moved by that kind of devotion and determination, may I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. 

"Are we not all Mothers?" - a Relief Society broadcast talk by Sheri Dew given in 2001.  In my opinion, the fact that Sister Dew had not born children yet in this life made it even more powerful.

My Angel Mother  - that would be MY mom.

Motherhood's Fleeting Rewards - today's post at Chocolate on my Cranium - so true!

Mary, the Mother of Jesus - New Testament series video

And, finally, Last-Minute Coupons from Middle-aged Mormon Man - You can't survive motherhood without a sense of humor :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Today's Projects

There are still things I need to post from the past few weeks, but we'll start getting caught up by recording today's projects.
Installing the first layer of shelves in our pantry!
Washing a few windows.
Removing the broken vertical blinds, and patching the holes.
Wayne: "These are guy craft tools, those are girl craft tools." 
Prep work for "Sopa India" - the next Columbia Restaurant recipe is for dinner.