Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fall Break on the East Coast, Part 1

It's hard to turn down an offer for a free week in DC/Philadelphia.

I didn't.
I loved every second of this trip. The students were exceptional, and I didn't feel like a "chaperone" while with them. They were well behaved and kind. I'm proud to be associated with the caliber of people they are.
Wren building at the College of William and Mary. I wanted to get my PhD here for a while. Walking the campus turned that academia longing back on inside me, but I've come to accept that I will not be back any time soon.
Lily and her friend--I hope I didn't embarrass her or intrude on her trip too much.

Can you see the platform under construction in front of the Capitol? Don't know if you've heard, but there's an election going on right now.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's hero in the rotunda

We had some hilarious tour guides, and this guy from Delaware used puns to keep the kids engaged.
I've never been in the Library of Congress, but this building rivals anything I've seen in Europe.
We saw the Gutenberg Bible, Thomas Jefferson's book collection, and an original printing of Thomas Paine's Common Sense. I could have spent all day here, easily.

At some of the stops, our principal talked about the Founding Fathers.
Arlington Cemetery--I haven't been there since I attended a funeral there over 20 years ago.
I admire these guards so much. Their dedication to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is incredible.
After a few days in DC, we headed north to Gettysburg.
I've been there twice before, but I love this place. I love Pennsylvania, and it will always hold a corner of my heart.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Little Gypsy

We've had pets that have come and gone around the Sanatorium. Now I think we have one that's here to stay. I'd like you to meet Gypsy.
Desert tortoises are often turned in at the Fish and Game Department here because it's illegal to let a pet tortoise loose in the desert (something about the spread of disease or something). We have a friend who works for F&G, and he said he'd find us a new family friend.

It's funny how my ideas of owning a tortoise have changed these last two weeks. That girl never sits in one place for long--hence the name Gypsy. I'd hoped for Esmerelda, but Gypsy seems to fit her even better. We've found her wedged between the garbage cans, trapped under a ladder in the garage, even "running" from the irrigation water on the concrete pad in the yard.

She's the easiest pet ever. She eats plants in the yard and needs little water. She is good with the kids and she's still small enough to hold (a little bigger than a dinner plate). We don't know how old she is, but with the life expectancy of tortoises, I'm sure my kids will be fighting over who inherits her when Brad and I die.

Welcome to the Sanatorium, Gypsy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

School of Rock

Somehow this entry never got posted . . .

Micah was cast as the piano playing Lawrence in AYT's "School of Rock" that played for two weekends in September. He learned more about music and playing with other musicians in six weeks than he's learned so far in his life.

My favorite/least favorite part of having kids in shows is taking them back and forth to rehearsals. I love the time I have alone with them in the car to talk and find out what's going on in their lives. As we headed to a performance one day, this song came on the radio and Micah had to take a picture of it.
I know it doesn't make sense to most of you, but this song is actually in "School of Rock" and he went a little crazy about it.

His character was a dorky kid who never felt like he had friends until he was in the band.
He had more lines than I thought he would, and he did a good job. I loved watching him onstage.
Singing isn't his favorite thing, and singing by himself is even less of his favorite thing, but he had a solo, and every night he gave it his best shot. I was proud of him.

 He even learned a few rock moves like the tongue hanging out during curtain call.
Great job, Mikes. I don't know if there will be more shows in his future, but this one was one he'll always remember.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

First Movie in Two Years

I kept a running list of movies Ben needed to see when he returned from Peru. Which one was his first priority? Can you tell by looking at the screen?
Of course it was Star Wars. The others all pale in comparison. Lily was at work, but the rest of the sibs piled on the basement couch and stayed up late on a school night to acquaint Ben with Kylo Ren and Rae.

It's so good to have him home.

Monday, October 10, 2016

And He Was There

Again, no time to properly edit photos, but I've got to get this posted.

We heard he was coming down the walkway, and then we saw him.

He dropped his bags . . .

. . .  and he was home.

There are no words to describe this moment until it happens for you.

My excitement to hug Ben only beat one other person--and that was Lily.

Tucker was next, and I loved seeing my two adult sons together. Two men.
And Dad patiently waited for his turn.
And Hyrum
Heidi was on FaceTime with her little ones in Idaho.
Then Ben got reacquainted with Annie, who was just a few months old when he left.
Aunt and Uncle
Mom Shauna
Eve was overwhelmed by the moment and her excitement morphed into fear. She would hardly look at Ben at the airport, but once we were in the car, her excitement returned.

This was a hug I'd been waiting 28 months to see. Remember when Ben's best friend, McKay left for Korea last June?
That's how long it's been since these two saw each other.

Still a little bit silly, but both grown men.

How I love them both. I'm so grateful they had each other to support commiserate with these last two years--and for most of their lives.

And McKay's sister Abby got to hug her other older brother.

There is always so much joy at the airport when a missionary returns.

My four oldest kids. Soon Heidi will be here and we can get this photo for real.
And Karli's amazing artwork.

Mama Cole. This dearest friend of mine changed this boy's diapers and has loved him every day of his life.
All of us together. I can't wait till Saturday when Heidi is here, too.
I couldn't hug him enough that day.

Same old Ben--teasing and laughing and making those around him happy.

Eve took her responsibility for this suitcase very seriously and got very upset when someone else lifted it into the car.
With our stake president just before he was released from full-time missionary service.
Such a happy moment to have him finally home with all of us.
We love you, Ben, and we're so glad you're back home with us for a few months.


Hurrah for Israel.