Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Oh Fall, You Don't Disappoint!

It's my favorite time of year again when the air is cool, the mornings crisp, and the leaves dance on the wind. I miss my childhood home the most in autumn. Upstate New York is a glorious place to take in the autumn colors and watch summer fade. I have fond memories of Eagle Mills Cider Mill where I often watched apples being pressed into cider before my eyes and where they gave cider samples in small paper cups that chased down the homemade donuts we'd buy while we were there. I can't think of autumn without being reminded of where I came from. 

Now where I come from autumn is slower to release the summer and depending on the conditions, we might not get the glorious display of colors that live in my memory from when I was young. And sometimes, every now and then, we also get a rose in November. Who can complain about a November rose? 

Oh fall, you just never disappoint! 

While sifting through pictures on my phone that I wanted to use for this post I came across a picture that was taken back on August 21st, the day of the eclipse. It made me laugh out loud when I saw it. I just HAD to use it somewhere so mixed in with fall we have this....
In the haze of the eclipse it distorted Annah's shadow...HA! HA!:D

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Good Stuff

It's been quite a while since I last posted to my blog...even longer than I realized till I sat down to write. Seven months is the longest break I have taken since I began blogging but, so what? I have long hated the saying, "It is what it is," but I think it's growing on me. :)

A few thoughts and pictures of the months past....

Annah was in the production of Cinderella at her high school. She was the step-mother and did a fabulous job even though she was sick! We took her to the doctor thinking she had strep but she was negative even though she nearly lost her voice and she had singing parts! But the show went on with her being on vocal rest all day on performance days so she could save her voice for the show!

Annah with Jonathan, the prince

She was a lovely step-mother and was spot-on with her performance!

Annah went to Prom with her friend Jeshaun. Her dress was beautiful and she looked like a princess. 

She's standing on a board because it rained hard just before the 
pictures were done and all the girls were sinking
in the ground with their pretty high heels!

 And those shoes....[insert googly eyes!] LOVE! <3 

My favorite picture....

Funniest picture...Jess gagging in response to 
Jeshaun and Annah's pose!

Love these black and white shots of laughing girls!

A few more favs....

It was delightful as school drew to a close. I had a few rough months leading up to the end of the year and felt spent and so ready for the summer break.

I began the school year feeling like this.... 

And ended feeling like this.
 (The bear was a birthday gift from Boni, the teacher that I work with!)

About a week before school let out we learned that Abigail, who was serving a mission in the Arizona Tempe Mission, would be returning home after 9 months out due to back problems she had been experiencing for quite some time. A few months before Abigail left on her mission she had gone bridge jumping with her friends in Idaho and one of the times that she jumped in she hit the rocks on the bottom. As a result she hurt her right foot, right knee and her back and was in a boot for her foot for 8 weeks before she left on her mission. On Mother's Day (May 14th) we learned that they were going to be making a decision about her coming home early. She had an MRI, physical therapy, injections, medication, and even some bed rest but nothing seemed to be helping much.

A few days later we got another call from Abigail and as she began to talk she passed the phone to her companion to give us the news of her coming home because she was crying too hard to talk. Our hearts were breaking for her as she loved serving as a missionary so much. She loved the people, her companions, and her mission president and his wife, President and Sister Christensen. It was heartbreaking for her yet it was what had to happen. Missionary life is physically demanding with all the walking, riding bikes, and the constant on the go schedule. Keeping that kind of pace with a back injury became impossible. The decision for her to come home was in her best interest so that she could get additional medical treatment and so she didn't suffer more permanent problems in the future. 

On May 23rd we welcomed Abigail home from her mission...
(We were Facetiming with Jordan, that is why Annah is holding up the phone!)

Although her transition back has not been an easy one, she's done great! In her time home she has decided to return to school in Idaho in the fall. ("No more bridge jumping!" said Mom and Dad.)

Summer came roaring in with a visit from Jordan who made a trip back from Utah to be able to bring all of his and McKenna's belongings that had been living in our garage and the upstairs storage room since they returned to Utah in January. It was a long drive out and back but a necessary one to gather all of their things. It was great to see him and spend some time with him. In July they moved to St. George, Utah for Jordan to begin med school there. An exciting adventure awaits him and his family!:D As Jordan traveled from Utah to Kentucky, he stopped in Texas to visit with Andrew. We were so happy the two of them had a chance to visit while Jordan was passing through! <3

After Jordan's visit Tim and I drove Jordan and McKenna's car that they had left here out to Utah for them. It was an opportunity for a road trip AND to be able to spend a few days with Jordan, McKenna and sweet Mackson! That road trip was the first road trip Tim and I have taken ALONE in like 31 YEARS! That was kind of mind bending! :D 

A few of my favorite pictures of Mackson that I snapped during our visit....

I didn't take this picture of Mackson but while we were in Utah Jordan signed the papers for his commission into the U.S. Air Force! Things are getting more and more real for him as his dream of attending medical school draws closer.

 Love this picture of Grandpa with Mackson!

Also in June Annah went on a week long trip to Washington DC with 8 other kids all representing our electric company co-op. What an opportunity that was for her! She loved every minute of being there seeing the sights and learning more of our nation's history.

This picture of the DC Youth Tour kids was in the July issue of Kentucky Living, a magazine put out by the co-op.

Annah at the Vietnam War Memorial Wall 
She was able to find the name of her Uncle Bill's friend that he knew while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Annah was honored to be able to find his friend's name and send him a picture.
*In September's blurb is a bit more about Annah's trip to DC! 

July began with some fireworks...literally fireworks at RJ Corman's field! But before the fireworks began Abigail and Annah took these cute them! 


Then came more figurative fireworks when Tim and Lisa gifted me with a trip to Alaska to visit them and their 22 month old son, August, who was 6 months old the last time we saw him in person! 

August still wasn't too sure about me after seeing me only in pictures and on Skype but he did let me hold him just for a minute before wanting down! 
I love this picture!

The only way you want to see a bear in Alaska....

Love, love, love the tracks that follow the winding road 
headed to Anchorage

Barbara Falls was sooo incredible! Lisa knew a secret path that took us up close to the falls -- so close that you could feel the mist! 

This picture of August was actually taken by Lisa
 before I got to Alaska but I just love it! 
He's just reading a book on a rock in ALASKA!

August is ready for church!

Alaska was amazing...there are no words to describe how beautiful it was and how much I loved being able to visit Tim and Lisa and August. 

August rolled around much too quickly for me with school beginning again for Annah and I (she is a senior this year!) and it was back to the familiar grind of school routines. In addition to that, Abigail was making her plans to go back to BYU-Idaho to begin school again. We did a few fun things before she had to leave us....

We went to King's Island...

Guess who didn't get the memo that it was a "serious" family picture?:D

We drove to Hopkinsville, KY to be there for the solar eclipse that happened on August 21st. Hopkinsville was the place in the U.S. where the eclipse lasted for the longest! It was so amazing being there for that. We left our house at 10:30 on Sunday night to make the 3 hour trip. Then we slept in the car (in anticipation of the crowds) and come morning we found a place in a nice park to spread our blanket and wait for the eclipse! 

Annah put a pin in the map to show where we came from to see the eclipse. There were pins from all over! We met a guy who had come from England!

It was hotter than Hades that day but still an awesome adventure! 
Proof positive it was HOT...Annah had her retainers with her in the car 
(she's a faithful retainer-wearer) and in the heat of the day her retainers
 got so hot they no longer fit her teeth right! 
(A few days later we had to make a trip to the orthodontist 
to get new retainers made.) :( 

As the full eclipse was nearing it looked like dusk outside and the crickets began chirping REALLY loud, the air cooled off enough that it was noticeable, and as I gazed up at the eclipsed sun I cried! Not cried as in sobbing cried but my eyes welled up with tears as I was there to witness such an awesome thing! It is something I won't forget!  

At the end of August Abigail was headed back to Idaho to continue school. It was another hard departure but one we knew she needs to do. 

I am going to miss the two of these girls together...they are so funny and always making us laugh!



It's goodbye again. :'(


Ahh September....Fall is on the horizon (or so we's still pretty hot in Kentucky for this time of year but Mother Nature assures me it's coming.) 

We were so happy to receive our issue of Kentucky Living Magazine that featured our area youth from the Washington DC Youth Tour! There was Annah gracing the front of the magazine AND inside there was another picture of her along with a quote by her that they feature on the sidebar and even more of it in the actual article!  

Sidebar quote

Annah's full quote in the story

Additional picture featured with the story

Also in September, eighteen hundred miles away in St. George, Utah, Jordan had his white coat ceremony! We so wished we could be there for this special occasion but Tim and Lisa and August were able to be there. 

 Getting his coat.... :)

The cousins, August and Mackson meet each other for the first time since they were babies when August was 6 months old and Mackson was a newborn!

And seventeen hundred miles away in Mesa, Arizona, August celebrated his 2nd birthday! We sent a gift of tractors to him as it's his favorite thing! :D Lisa did a video of him opening them and I was able to get this screenshot of him playing with them. He's getting so grown up! 

And seventeen hundred miles and north of Mesa, in Rexburg, Idaho, Abigail is back to school and loving it and I am loving that she is loving it!


So those are the highlights of the last 7 months. Seeing these pictures and being reminded of good things and good times gives me reason to pause and be thankful. We can sometimes get lost in the heavy stresses and trials of everyday life and can lose track of the good that is really *still* there but can get clouded over. This has been good for me to be reminded of the "good stuff". :)