Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to School

I know that I am ridiculously behind.
This happened last week. 
I don't know how, but it did...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Splashpad Pics

While Brandon had Cub Scout Day Camp, Jess joined her cousin at the new splashpad that opened at our local park. First off, Brandon enjoyed his week at camp! He was up early each morning so that I could take him to school to catch the bus to camp. The first day was a little rough. It rained and rained pretty much the whole day. He lost his lunch and extra water bottle. As in, they went to one shelter house and it was not the right one for their den. Apparently, his lunch could not be tracked down. But the other parents were kind enough to share their lunches to feed my boy. The rest of the week went much better! He even spent his own money to get a camp shirt.
Anyway, one of these "camp days" we went to the splashpad and asked Grandma and Ray to join us. I think they liked it. There sure were lots of smiles happening.
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Double digits now

I cannot believe that we have celebrated Jessica turning 10. That she could possibly be that old is ridiculous!! Where did it all go? So many things that seem as though they just happened; finding out we were having a baby girl; the search for the perfect dress to bring her home in; her crazy arrival; first day of school; last day of 4th grade.And now she is 10! This list could go on and on (and on...)!!
My bright and beautiful girl.
Only she could make me crazy proud of her and just plain crazy at the same time.
Happy birthday sweet girl!
We love you!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My brother

Last week, we traveled out of town. While that sounds great, it really wasn't. It started with a late night phone call on the Thursday before (6/2). The sort that when the phone rings at that time you just know it can't be a good thing. And it really wasn't. My brother was on the other end. The way he said my name, you just knew it would be bad. The deep breathes that followed so that he could deliver the news; the reason he called. Our oldest brother had passed away. I had answered the phone in the loft/playroom, so as I was walking back to my bed. I practically yelled into the phone, "WHAT!?!?" Or maybe I really did. I'm not exactly sure. At that point Steve is upright asking what's wrong. It is like slow motion at that point having my brother repeat those ugly words as I curl up on my bed. This time asking in a whisper what had happened.

At that point, details were sketchy. He had been in Florida on a mission trip with his church. His youngest son on the trip also. He was only 50. He had always been an athlete. A standout football player in his younger days. At forty-eight, he joined a semi-pro team for that season. He lifted weights and ran every morning. He coached his kids in T-ball and football. He went to college in his forties and went on to become a teacher for troubled youth. He was a Christian man. A son, brother, husband, friend. A man who lived his every day and spoke every word to represent Jesus. That one day he would be Home.

His service was beautiful. His oldest son spoke such beautiful words. Even a bit of humor. But one of the many things that seemed to stick out is that he thought he would be fifty when having to stand up there to talk about his dad. I was so proud of him. I always think want to think of him as the little boy of years gone by. But he is all grown up. A Marine. A husband.  My youngest brother also spoke. Frankly, I was surprised that he would be speaking. Telling a tale or spinning some yarn is more his style. He is a storyteller for sure. He said such a lovely words. I just nodded in agreement with him. And also a laugh or two. But it wouldn't have been his words, his way, if you didn't.

Anyway. A screen printing shop in their town printed shirts in honor of my brother. The proceeds would go to the memorial fund set up in his name. On Friday, when my brother was buried, we wore our shirts.

It was pretty cool.

This is the back of the shirt.
The way he lived his life.

W. Dwayne Riley
November 1960- June 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Last Day of School

Monday the 6th was the last day of school. Part of me says that it cannot be the end of school already!! The other part is so glad that summer is here! I am just ready to get to sleep in even a little. I need the beauty rest! :) It is also the end of all classes and activities. We really take the summer off.
In the afternoon, I went to school. They had the awards convo. Jess was recognized for attendance. She missed one day. Brandon was recognized for his having all A's. She was one letter grade from Honor Roll. At the end of the program, they announced each 4th grader's name so they could come down front and center. Their own little commencement ceremony. Then played a slide show of pictures from throughout the year. It was a pretty cool send off.
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Some Scouts in the House

I had been wanting to get some pictures of the kids in their scouting attire for a while now. Jess doesn't uniform; just her vest. We just improvised a bit by having the tan shorts and white shirt. Stick to the basics. I was pleased with the shots we got. Funny how he wasn't really into doing a "photoshoot," but in the end, he did so well. I really like the ones with the dog. He loves her! And I with I had Jess take her hair out of the pony. It is hard to see how long and pretty it is.
(Also, I do need better lighting so that I don't have to use the flash. I don't like the shadow.)

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fun in the Sun

After recital rehearsal, the kids were able to come home and cut loose. Daddy brought out the slip-n-slide thing-y. Kids had lots of fun cooling off, then progressed to water balloon fights. Daddy caught all the action!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Recital Time!

The first weekend in June is recital time.
Saturday is rehearsal day and Sunday is the big production.
This weekend was no exception. The only difference to us, from previous years, is that we did not have the morning rehearsal. At first I thought, "Yippee!" But now having had an afternoon and morning rehearsals, I think I prefer the morning. And by default the earlier show. Our studio breaks up the recital into two shows so that it is not excessively long. Thank goodness!!
Here is my only complaint... professional pictures are on rehearsal day. It is a full dress rehearsal. I'm fine with that. It makes sense to me. BUT, I spent 45 minutes to curl the girl's hair. By the time I put make up on her and we went downstairs to get shoes on and leave, the curls were already drooping. The short drive to the HS, waiting our turn for pictures, and her hair was practically straight.
I would have put rollers in her hair the night before, but it was late when we got home from the ball game. Having her shower and do hair that late was not really an option. But we had a "take 2" for Sunday, the actual recital. It was a bit difficult to get some really good pictures of her during her performance. She seemed to be back just far enough to not have good lighting... for us. Or we had "good" light and she was on the other side of the stage. ...sigh...
Anyway, she did great! I'm always proud of her for getting up on stage to perform.
Stepping out of her element.
Brava! Brava!
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Baseball and Fireworks

On the same Friday as Jessica's school party, we had tickets for the Indian's game. We had gotten the tickets through Brandon's cub scouts. Being that it was a Friday night, there would also be fireworks after the game. As a Scout special, we could have signed up to camp out on the field after the game. We didn't this time, but heard from another of our fellow den mates that it was lots of fun. A very, very late night (and early morning), but fun stuff. 
Oh, and we won! Go Indians!
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Farewell Fourth Grade

The last few days of school were pretty busy! They had field day, a farewell party for the fourth graders and an awards convo. I had volunteered to help set up for the Farewell Party. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a pretty big deal to my fourth grader. I was showed up about an hour ahead of time. Pretty much me set up a few different stations for the kids. They had a craft area where the kids could make foam picture frames. There was a picture station. It had a beachy background with a wave (wake?) board and beach balls as props. Loads and loads of cookies, fruit and ice cream for refreshments. They also had a DJ. How fun does this sound??! The kids had lots of fun playing, eating and mingling.
The PTO even gave them all shirts that had class of 2019.
That's the part that got me.... 2019!!
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I am working on getting caught up. Really. Even this post is backdated...geesh!

his Mini-Birthday was moved to 5/24

our trip to see Grandma Anne is 5/23

and his party is 5/29

So after this, I should be able to get caught up in order. I hope.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Party Boy

We had Brandon's birthday the following week due to Daddy being scheduled out of town. Surprise for us, he made it home! But oh well! We took advantage of the time to see Grandma Anne. So it was all good. For the birthday boy, we really didn't have a true theme. He had picked out a cake that had motorcycles racing. I figured that it would be really easy to go to the party place and find something with motorcycles. Not really. Instead we went with general race idea and checkered flag. The most of the usual family crew were here along with a family down the street. Their son is the same age as Brandon and rides the same bus. And have spent lots of time together playing. Our birthday boy received lots of cool stuff like pajama's (he's gotten so tall!), books, RC helicopter, nerf water gun, lego guys, and a gift certificate for mini golf. We bought him a new bike. He so badly needed one! Again, he has gotten so tall!
Opening gifts, when reading our card, I had signed it "Mommy and Daddy," but he read it as "Mom and Dad." Someone had asked what the card said; as in the words/verse inside not necessarily who it was from. Brandon said, "It says from Mommy and Daddy, but I didn't want to say that. That would be embarrassing!" This boy just cracks me up!
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

From Tiger to Wolf Cub

So the soggy baseball game was an unofficial promotion (to me, anyway). Last week, Brandon's pack had their Promotion ceremony. Each boy was recognized for the belt loops and pins that they had earned. Next a ceremony for the boys that are going from a Cub Scout to a Boy Scout. Then the other boys, den by den, were promoted up. It was pretty darn cute to see the older boys tie on the younger boys new scarf. Next year, Brandon will be a "big kid" helping to promote a Tiger up to a Wolf.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Baseball and Cub Scouts

We had a baseball weekend, the 14th and 15th. Well, sort of. A friend had given us tickets for Saturday nights game. There had been chance of wet weather on and off all day. We figured that we would go ahead and head to the ball field and take our chances. So, of course, it started as we got to the gate. It drizzled on and off. Enough to keep most of the crowd at home. We did put our umbrella up, but it wasn't too bad. Just a few pictures due to the wet weather.
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We had purchased tickets for Sunday's game as a Circuit of Fun with Boy Scouts. This can pretty much be considered the game that wasn't. It wasn't just drizzily and wet. It was raining and cold. The Boyscouts were going to be "crossing over." A sort of graduation type event. We saw our den leader with his son, so we sent Brandon to wait with him. Collin's dad did the same. It was nice that the boys could be there together. The boys were going to be able to go on the field, high five some players and meet the mascot. The boys were led onto the field and immediately into the dug out. Even the players didn't want to be in the rain. So we didn't even get to see them high five anyone. Out of the dug out and cross over a bridge at homeplate and exit the field on the other side. Rowdy was on the stairs as they exited. It was pretty much over by the time we figured out where they going. Maybe we should have been at the end of the line to find out the gameplan. But I guess now we know for next time! 
Daddy had to leave to go out of town. He had come to the game just for Brandon's crossover and had to leave. It was going to be a long drive for him. The kiddos insisted on sitting in our seats. It was still raining, but wait in the rain we did. When it started to really come down and change direction, right at us, we all decided to go for cover! That lasted about 5 minutes. We were all ready to just go home. And that's just what we did. A change into warm, dry clothes and popped in a movie. Complete with popcorn.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cowgirl Jess

Jess got it in her head the other day that she was going to be a cowgirl. For the day at least. Here are a couple... ok, three fun pictures that her daddy took.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recorder Concert

The fourth grade recently had a recorder concert. They have been practicing really hard to learn all their songs. Jess and her friend Meg had also practiced many mornings before school while waiting for the bus. On the same evening, the school held an Art Fair. Each grade learned about another country and displayed their artwork outside the classrooms. Oh, and the library was open for the book fair.
I have a picture of each of their artwork and postcard. The rest are from the actual program. Jess was almost directly in front of her music teacher. Almost impossible to get her picture, but Daddy got a few. And the priceless shot of Brandon's enthusiasm.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I've been trying to play catch-up and get pictures posted. But I also wanted to try and keep entries in order.

Mini Birthday Celebration

(Because this is just how far behind I am, I will backdate from 6/24 to keep things orderly.)
This was Brandon's actual birthday.
This was a mini celebration that consisted of me and his big sister. Daddy was out of town. He had the option of cupcakes or ice cream for our little shindig. We HAD to mark the occasion with a treat and singing "Happy Birthday." In top right picture in the collage, my cell phone is open and on speaker. Daddy was also able to participate. :) The best part, though, was that Daddy DID make it home for Brandon's birthday!!
(We thought it would be Saturday, maybe even Sunday.)
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Grandma's house

Last month, since we postponed Brandon's birthday party, we decided to go see my mom. It had been quite a while since we visited. The pool had not opened yet, but we had new rackets and balls to go to the tennis courts instead. The kids also spent lots of time (and energy) at the playground. It was a short visit. Just an overnight stay, but enjoyed by all of us!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet Brandon

Today my sweet boy has turned seven years old.
He is just too much for words.
He is a friend to everyone.
The big kids next door
Little kids.
 He LOVES his cousins.
He adores babies.
 He waves to any baby he sees and would probably stop to talk and play if you let him.
 He is polite and uses his manners.
 He often will stop to hold the door for others.
He is headstrong.
He is handsome.
He is smart.
His teachers adore him.
He has a great imagination.
He is loving.
He loves his sister.
And he knows just the right buttons to push to aggravate her.
He gives me a kiss and hug everyday before getting on the bus.
Without me having to ask.
And before bed too.
He just makes my heart happy.

Happy Birthday Brandon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mama Duck

On the Saturday before Easter, we found a nest with one lonely little egg in it. We never saw hide nor feather of the mama; although we had a few ducks in the yard on occasion. This is not really all that unusual as we have a retention pond and greenspace across the street from us. Too big to be a bird and too small for a goose (thank goodness!!), we were guessing duck egg. I had hoped that it would be eggS. Nearly a week had passed before another egg was added. Finally, we had two! Keep in mind that we still had no actual siting. That Friday afternoon, the kids were showing off our little nest to their friends. Before I knew it, the little neighbor girl had picked up one of the eggs. I felt really bad. I wasn't sure what the mama would do since her nest was disturbed. Each day since, one more egg was added. When were up to seven, it looked as though one of them had been broken. I'm guessing that this was the one that had been handled, but really I have no way to know for sure. And still one last egg was added. Finally, the nest was full. It was still a couple of days later before we finally started seeing the mama duck sitting in her nest. At first she would scurry away right away, but I think that she has gotten used to us coming and going.  The kids check in on her every morning on their way down to the bus stop. Now we are anxiously awaiting the hatching of fuzzy little ducklings!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

at the park

I had taken the kiddos to the park the other day (Saturday). Daddy had to work, so it was just the three of us. It was such a nice day out! I thought this would be a great opportunity to get some fun pictures of the kids; it was still pretty early in the afternoon and not very busy. We went to a park that we only visit occasionally. A change of scenery is nice sometimes, don't ya think? While the kids had a lot of fun running, climbing, sliding and such, I have little photographic proof of it. I kept getting some sort of CF error.
So this is what I was able to get...
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once we were back at home, I reformatted the disk and life was good again.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

At Grandma and Grandpa's for Easter

Finally getting pictures from Easter Sunday spent with at Grandma and Grandpa's house with the rest of them family. Grandma had fixed us a big meal; and it was delicious. The little kids had an egg hunt downstairs. Which I missed getting any pictures of since daddy and I were hiding eggs upstairs for our big kids. And we only took a few pictures of Jess and Brandon during their hunt.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011


She may be a senior citizen in dog years, but she is certainly a pup at heart! This rope is her favorite toy (as you can see, it is well chewed and pulled apart). While Duchess often drops it in your lap for some good ol' fashion tug-o-war, she also likes to just chew the knots and give it a good toss in the air. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter morning

Easter morning the kids were ready to go downstairs to see what the Easter Bunny had left for them. We've had our baskets out on the dining room table with empty eggs in hopes that Mr. Bunny would leave some treats and filled eggs to find. As the kids are getting older/bigger, I'm sure it must be more difficult each year for Mr. Bunny to hide the eggs around our living room. Maybe I will leave him a note next year to expand his egg-hiding terrain. The eggs that we colored together were taken to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the egg hunt that they had there.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Egg?

We have had a lot of rain lately. So when we noticed that the mulch looked a little washed away we thought that the rain ruuning off the roof of the porch had something to do with it. The sort of thing that the next time it is raining heavily, we will need to do a "look-see." This morning I as trying to be extra attentive to the Clematis growing, making sure that it grows UP the lattice and not just a tangled lump of pretty flowers, I didn't even realize that I had a surprise! Looks like somebody other than the Easter Bunny will have eggs for us. How fun is that?!?
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I will definately have to keep tabs on our guests...

Friday, April 22, 2011

At the Park

A couple of Sundays ago, Jess had an outing with her Girl Scouts. It was only a few hours, but we took advantage of the beautiful day and went to the park. This was one of the first really nice, sunny, Spring days that we had. The result was that everyone had the same idea!
Brandon decided to play a version of hide and seek... He wanted to go "hide" in/on the playground equipment and we would "seek" him out with the camera. It was fun trying to find him, and not too easy either! He was pretty much in constant motion. Almost all of the pictures are all from our game, so I did not add very many captions.

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