Monday, September 25, 2017

Our New Rabbits

The day had finally arrived.  We were going to pick up the girls' new Mini-Rex rabbits.

Excitement filled the air!

She had 3 little chocolate does available.
2 jrs. and 1 sr.....
(The 3rd is off in the corner next to Trinity's arm)




After lunch we drove to our rabbit leaders home to view the available rabbits and allow the girls to see which rabbit 'fit' their personality and desires.


...and one slightly larger jr. buck.







The girls pet and visited with the 4 different rabbits - 3 does and 1 buck - that our leader was ready to sell.

A deal had been struck before we even went that Charity would get a buck if there was an opportunity to do so and the other two would get does.   (I believe there's a plot in the making to try to breed these rabbits.)  Guess that made some of the decision making process easier.

After much ado, we packed up the rabbits in our triple carrier and off we drove toward home.

Of course the girls would have preferred to have their rabbits on their laps, but.... the carrier was safer and more sanitary all around.  :-)

Once at our 'Mini-Mountain Menagerie', the girls loved on their new bunnies for a while then we introduced the newest additions to their recently developed homes.

For the time being they will be housed in the rabbit hutch in their new cages until we move all the rabbits into the garage for the cold, harsh, Wyoming winter.

Meet the rabbits!

This is Trinity's new mini-rex rabbit.  She is a jr. doe and is a chocolate variety.  She has chosen to name her Cappuccino.  Her fur is still 'transitioning' from her 'baby fur' to her full adult fur, but she's still a beauty.

Cappuccino seems quite content with her new owner
and the smile on said owner's face says it all.
Here's Wrinkles.  Charity's new mini-rex bunny.  He's a chocolate mini-rex rabbit and is a good sized buck.  Due to his slightly larger size for a mini-rex, we noted 'wrinkles' along his sides when you flip him over so she opted to name him Wrinkles.  I love it.  A real cuddle bug, this one.

Charity snuggling with Wrinkles.  A match made in heaven.
Finally is Mocha.  This is Selah's little sr. doe mini-rex also chocolate colored.  She's a bit older than the other two and on the smaller side, (which is fitting since Selah is the smallest) but she too is quite the sweet rabbit with such soft, beautiful fur.

Mocha bonding with Selah.  Enjoying a little
lovin' on her new owners lap.
The girls are thrilled with their new rabbits and are already plotting out their practice and care schedules for these little fluff balls.

They are looking forward to giving these little rabbits lots of love and working toward improving showmanship skills for fair in the process.

Their fur is so soft.  One of the cool traits of mini-rex and rex rabbits, actually.

The 'chocolate' variety is one of our favorite colors for this type rabbit as well.  Guess that's a bonus since that was all that was available.

Another new adventure in our mountain ranch home.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Expanding the Rabbitry

So far, we've only been raising Silver Fox meat rabbits plus a mini-lop we were given when we first started our rabbit journey.  (I guess we technically also had a white New Zealand initially but she unexpectedly died and we bought a Holland Lop early on which we eventually gave to a friend's daughter for a pet because he just wasn't 'willing' to be a show rabbit for our girls.)

Not long ago, we also added a little chinchilla colored Netherland Dwarf rabbit -- Sam.  Sam belongs to Bethany and will be shown by her during her last year of 4H and her first year in the rabbit project.  He's a cutie and so far quite the sweetie as well.  I do believe he will be the ONLY Netherland Dwarf rabbit we'll have in our little rabbitry.

After fair this year, it was obvious the Silver Fox are just too big and not calm enough for the little girls to use them for showmanship -- at least not and expect to do well.  The kits, although smaller and easier to handle, are just too young and too wryly.

They. Won't. Sit. Still.

Makes 'showing' them rather challenging to say the least.

During Family Night at the county fair, they had a sign up to win a free mini-rex rabbit with cage.  Techno let the girls sign up for the drawing.  Sadly, they didn't win.

After fair, our rabbit leader approached me and asked about getting the girls started with mini-rex rabbits to enable them to be more successful in the area of showmanship.  I talked to Techno and he -- surprisingly -- said, 'up to you'.

So.... now that state fair is over and our rabbit leader has determined which of her mini-rex rabbits she is retaining and which she is willing to part with, we'll be expanding our rabbitry even more to the mini-rex variety of rabbits.

What fun!

The girls are excited and are even mumbling about breeding the mini-rex.  I guess time will tell on that one as they aren't really big enough to be 'meat rabbits' and we aren't planning on keeping hundreds of rabbits in our mini-mountain menagerie.

One bonus from going this route.... the girls seem much less distressed about the prospect of 'processing' the Silver Fox rabbits and sticking them in our freezer.

We have tried to sell the kits, but have found little to no interest. Therefore, it's looking like they will indeed become residents of our deep freeze in the near future.  I'm not complaining as the meat is tasty  and it's a fairly inexpensive way to add lean, healthy meat to our dinner table.  (Granted, the process of getting them INTO the freezer is a bit arduous to say the least.)

We can't wait to see what kinds of mini-rex rabbits the girls get.  Selah is hoping for a chocolate colored one - at least that's what she thought when she was LOOKING at a chocolate colored one.  :-) Not sure if the other two have a preference.

Guess we'll know soon enough.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Camping Fun on our Anniversary Weekend

After all our camping adventures this summer, you'd think we'd be 'camped out'.

Not so!

We had yet to take our 'annual' camping trip up in the Snowy Range and our traditional jaunt over to Saratoga to shop, get ice cream at Lollipops, and soak in the Hot Springs.

Off we went this past weekend.

We almost cancelled as the weather forecast predicted rain and cold (like snowing cold) temperatures.

However, we decided to 'tough it out' and went anyway.  Especially since the weather forecast kept improving as we got closer to the weekend.

Of course, upon arrival at the campsite, we questioned our decision as the skies opened up and the rain poured down..... AS- WE- SET- UP- CAMP!
Our 'home away from home' when we go camping.

Talk about cold... and wet.  Very, very wet.  And did I mention cold?

Despite the rain, we were thrilled to snag our 'favorite spot' in the South Brush Creek camp grounds.

One reason we love this spot - the
creek just steps away from our camper.
We spent the evening inside the camper all huddled together trying to warm up and dry off.

I cooked dinner - diced chicken in the dutch oven, yellow squash sautéed in butter in a skillet, and sweet potatoes roasted in the oven.  Having the stove and oven on really warmed up our 'mobile' home, which was great, considering.

Being 'trapped' inside due to the weather, we all turned in early, which was fine as we'd planned to head out for Saratoga after an early breakfast the next morning.

 Fried eggs, sausage, and fried potatoes jump started our day.  YUM!  (Not to mention, kept the camper toasty again.)

When it's warmer,
 the kids LOVE venturing across these rocks.







Piled into the car, we made our way to Saratoga.

We have shops we just like to peruse whenever we make it over the mountain.  We enjoyed 'window shopping' in all of our favorite haunts as usual.


The girls found nice dress boots at the thrift store along with some VHS movies.  Gotta love the 'fat' movies as Selah refers to them.

Lunch at the Wolfe hotel was 'delish' as usual.

Techno bought me a new 'cowboy hat' that is reminiscent of Indiana Jones plus a cool hair accessory that I love.

A quick trip to Lollipop's Ice Cream rounded out our adventures in downtown Saratoga and catapulted us to the Hot Springs to warm up since we were now good and chilly from the frozen treat.

The Hot Springs were hopping.

I'm not sure we've ever seen that many people there at one time in all the years we've vacationed and lived here.  We took a quick dip in the smaller pool but it wasn't very 'hot' so we quickly switched to the bigger pool.  Usually that pool is too hot for the kids, but this year they managed to stay in it as long as Techno and I did.

It. Felt. Great.

After changing back to our 'street clothes' we headed back to the camper.

A nicer day - no rain.

The kids played outside; we read books; relaxed; made taco salad for dinner.

The girls find so much joy climbing and jumping off these rocks.

Due to the rain the day before, all the wood was wet so building a fire ended up failing, but.... alas roasting marshmallows over the propane stove inside the camper appeased all the moans and groans.

The next morning the weather was gorgeous.

Breakfast of pancakes, coffee, and hot cocoa started off the day with a bang.

Fitting as this was Techno and my 23rd wedding anniversary.

Who doesn't like a hot pancake breakfast with coffee and whipped cream while enjoying a beautiful view of bright blue skies with an evergreen tree covered mountain as the backdrop for their anniversary?

A little air pistol shooting practice.



More playing, relaxing, air pistol shooting, rock climbing, and enjoying the great outdoors filled our hearts with contentment.


As we watched the kiddos play, we marveled at the fact we'd been married as long as we have and the fact our children are getting so old.  How... and WHEN... did THAT happen?


Big brother gives advice and guidance.





After a lunch of leftovers from our trip, we packed up the camper and headed home.

Our annual trip over the mountain was a success.

So glad we braved the weather and went ahead with our camping trip.


She was so excited --
 she was finally able to 'cock' the gun herself.






Who knows, maybe we'll get yet another trip in before the snow officially begins to fly.








(P.S.  On the drive home, we did note snow had fallen toward the top of the mountain and was still visible under trees in shady areas where the sun had yet to melt it away.  WHAT???  Yes, winter IS knocking on the door.)

Even the dogs and Techno were enjoying the beautiful day.
Titus making sure dad was paying attention to him.





Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Interruptor of Sleep

It's 11:00 PM.

Trinity is fast asleep.

No matter.

Diabetes doesn't care.

I must walk into her room and wake her.

You see, it's time to calibrate her continuous glucose monitor – her CGM.

Without this calibration, we won't have readings to monitor her blood glucose levels during the night. Without those readings, we can't tell if she's safe as the hours and minutes tick by.

So.... despite her slumbering peace... I must wake her.

She's difficult to wake on this particular night.

I rub her arms.

Carress her hair.

Speak her name – softly so as not to wake the other girls.

She stirs ever so slightly.

But..... still doesnt' wake.

I rub her leg.

Give her shoulders a slight shake.

I say her name a bit louder.

All to no avail.

At this point fear creeps in.

Since I can't see her blood sugar levels, I worry. Is she low? Is she unconsious? Is she so high her brain has shut down?

Finally, after a slightly harder push and my voice a bit louder, more urgent, her eyes flutter open to minuscule slits for a brief moment.

The adrenalin that was rising crashes now.

A flood of relief.

She's still not fully awake.

But I know she's not unconscious.

I continue my gentle coaxing to try to wake her more fully.

She sits up.

Eyes still shut.

Turning her head this way and that trying to make sense of her groggy situation.

Again, I say her name.

Explain to her we need to check her blood sugar.

Her eyes are still mostly closed.

Barely slits.

Trying to block out the light from my phone.

I call her name again.

“Come on, Trinity. We need to check your blood sugar.”

She swings her legs out of the bed.

She's cocooned in her sleeping bag.

I fear she'll try to stand in her half asleep state and fall.

Reminding her of her tethered condition, she looks at her lap and shimmies down the bag encasing her.

I hand her the pouch that holds her dexom and ipod.

Giving her my hand, I help her to her feet as she steps out of the sleeping bag that is puddled at her ankles.

I begin to walk from her room, pausing to shine my light back for her to follow.

She's slowly twirling in a cirlce.

Scanning the ground.

Holding her little pouch at arms length.

Looking.

Searching.

I call for her to follow me.

She responds, “I need my pouch. I can't find it. Where's my pouch?”

One foot still planted firmly in slumberland, one teetering in the land of consiousness.

I remind her it's in her hand.

Recognition registering, she trudges forward to follow me out.

Usually she knows to head to the bathroom to wash her hands.

Tonight, still battling with the pull of sleep, she passes the restroom on her way to the living room, simply trundling behind, following in my footsteps.

I stop, touch her shoulder and remind her to wash her hands.

When she emerges into the living room, I can tell she's finally fully with me.

Awake - completely.

At last past the grogginess of sleep and standing coherent enough to check her own blood sugar.

This is what it's like to live with Type 1 Diabetes.

Just a small glimpse of the challenges, the fear, the heartache it brings.

It breaks my heart to know I must disrupt our beautiful little girls, more often than I'd care to think, in the middle of a perfectly pleasant night of sleep.

All to cater to an unwanted guest in our home.

A guest that just won't leave; that doesn't have manners.

I kiss her head as I send her back to bed.

Hoping she can get back to sleep, none the wiser of this intruder that steals more than just precious hours of rest.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Fire in the Hole

What started out as an uneventful Sunday quickly turned exciting and frightening.

Saturday night, Trinity had gone to bed with some tummy issues that we were going to 'monitor' and see how she was doing come morning.

Doug headed to the airport at 4:45 am.

Upon waking, Trinity complained of a sore throat.  Not all to surprising seeing as how many in the family have had colds and similar symptoms.

I made the decision to keep her home so as not to share our germs with other members of our church family.

Next was to figure out what to do about the remainder of kiddos and church.  Bethany had stayed at her friend's house and needed a ride home after church, the kids wanted to go to the morning church services, so all of us staying home just wasn't an option.

The alternatives we did have:  I could drive them to church and return home with Trinity, having Jacob drive them all home after..... Jacob could come out and pick the kids up and return with them after church..... or Elijah could even stay home and I go in with all the kids to church.

Decisions, decisions.

Jacob said he didn't mind driving out to get the kids; Trinity would prefer being home with me instead of just Elijah just in case her blood sugars went wonky; and admittedly, if I was staying home anyway, I didn't REALLY want to drive 60 miles to drop kiddos off.

So.... she and I decided to stay home.

As we waited for Jacob's arrival - with the kids heading to church sitting outside as he was to arrive any moment - there was a loud crash.

It startled both Trinity and I.

I assumed something had fallen.

Crashed to the floor would be a more accurate description.

It sounded like a large cabinet had toppled over or a closet shelving unit had caved in.

An explosion really.

I began walking through the house to determine WHAT had caused the loud boom we heard.  (I'll admit, my first thought was the rabbit hutch had somehow crumpled or been tipped over.)

Still, I glanced in every room as I passed.

Kitchen.... looked fine.

Bathroom.... it looked fine too at first glance, but.... I smelled smoke immediately upon poking my head through the door.  A slight glance around the door at the hot water heater closet and I saw a glimmer of flame.

It wasn't something collapsing or falling we heard, it was the fire igniting in the closet from the propane water heater.

YIKES!

I ran to get the fire extinguisher only to remember it had 'died' some time earlier and we had not yet replaced it.  I then grabbed a pitcher and began filling it with water.

Once it was 1/4th full, I ran back and began dousing the flames with the liquid.  Using the bathroom sink to refill the pitcher for subsequent splashes, I continued my quest to quench the flames and protect our little mountain abode.

I won't even pretend that I wasn't freaking out.  I heard myself squeal when I realized the fire extinguisher was gone, "I don't know what to do."  It was at that moment I knew I needed water and began scanning for ANYTHING to fill.  Luckily the girls had left the pitcher on the counter after watering the rabbits and chickens in the morning.

Meanwhile, as I had yelled to all the kids that there was a fire, they began trying to figure out what to do as well.

Elijah, who knew I couldn't find the inside fire extinguisher, ran to the camper for the one there, but didn't recognize it b/c it's wasn't red.

He then told the girls to get the hose.

All this was going on while I was closed in the bathroom throwing a few buckets of water on the flames that were rippling across the closet floor and under the water heater.

As I heaved the last pitcher of water on the extinguished flames for good measure, I noted water flowing IN under the bathroom door.  I had noticed water there earlier but thought it was just streaming back from my splashing the water into the closet to snuff out the blaze.

I tugged open the door only to have Elijah thrust a garden hose gushing with water into my face.

WHAT??

My brain spun a few minutes as I registered what this meant.

Yes, Selah had pulled the hose - turned ON - from the front sliding doors all through the house to the bathroom door before passing it off to Elijah.  Filling the front school room, living room, dining room, and hall entrance to the bathroom with a lake of water.

Ha.

Apparently he told Selah to grab the hose. She complied and turned it on immediately then proceeded to drag it through the whole house to the bathroom where Elijah stood waiting to help me.

Now not only did I have fire damage and the water to clean up there, but also a 'flood' throughout the rest of the house.

Admittedly I might have scolded the children in the heat of the moment about bringing a hose full of running water THROUGH the house, but... I was a little freaked out from the explosion, the fire, the flood.

After all was said and done, I think I determined that a basket fell off a shelf that held a container of freeze wart remover.  The container appeared to have exploded, igniting the fumes from the propane powered gas water heater.  Resulting in the loud boom we heard and the fire that erupted.

I praised the kids for their smart thinking and fast action.  If the fire had gotten any bigger that hose of running water would have been a HUGE help.

Many towels later and a garbage bag of singed items, the house is pretty much right as rain.

Just a couple char marks on the linoleum floor, several wet towels to wash, a bit of smoke smell in the aforementioned bathroom, and a bunch of items to put away once I have the hot water heater checked and some new storage options worked out.

I praise God for Trinity's tummy troubles and sore throat.  For Jacob being willing to drive out to get the kids.

Without these logistics working out as they did, our home would have most likely continued to burn.

Without my presence when the fire erupted, the numerous flammable items in and around the bathroom would have also ignited, giving great fuel and acceleration to the fire as it grew unchecked.

The other terrifying option could have been Elijah and Trinity home alone when the fire began.  Elijah is a very capable young man, but I'm not sure either kid would have thought to look for the source of the sound initially, allowing the fire to grow hotter/bigger with a ready supply of propane fueling it from the hot water heater.

Dealing with a fire was flustering for me - a full-grown adult with many years of life experience under my belt.  I'm not sure what a 16 year old and an 11 year old would have done.

God protected our family and had the engineering of this day worked out.

I was home, sitting in the front room when normally we would have already been in the car and heading to town.

I heard the 'kaboom' that had me immediately searching out the source.

I was able to quickly smother the flames and protect our home and pets.

God is truly amazing how he orchestrated - will always orchestrate - the details in our  lives we often take for granted.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Who'da Thunk?

After mentioning on Facebook I had spent the day cleaning and organizing the rabbit hutch and cages, my cousin replied commenting she had just cleaned her hen house.  She then remarked 'who'd thought we'd be doing this when we were in the Rockettes?"  {The 'Rockettes' was a baton group we were both part of in our youth - me for most of my elementary, jr, and high school years - not THE ROCKETTES. but wouldn't THAT have been a cool story?}

Anyway, her comments made me think.

It is ironic the life we've chosen to live.

I think growing up my plan was to be a 'big city girl'.  Wow -- couldn't be much further from that now if I tried.

I grew up in a fairly small town -- although now, it seems like quite the 'big city' compared to our current whereabouts.  LOL!

It was a rather rural area for all intents and purposes.  At least where I grew up.

We had a couple acres; dad always grew a garden in the back; had a burn pile; a ride on lawn mower; a pick up truck; mom had an outdoor laundry line; we often had dogs and or cats, not to mention the occasional bird, rabbit, or hamster; and I REALLY wanted a horse.

When you drove around our quaint little town, seeing acres of corn, gardens of various vegetation, as well as the scattering of grape vineyards, wasn't unheard of or unusual.

To my young eyes - we lived in no-man's land.  The land of corn and small town living.

As I was growing up, much of the 'industry' in that area was changing and dying out leaving what looked - to my eyes - a shell of a town.

We didn't have any malls - only a couple small 'plazas' -- as they were known as back then; our restaurant options were limited to mostly 'mom and pop' type establishments (none of the big chains a bigger city boasts - outside of the fast food variety anyway); and entertainment was scarce - a movie theater, bowling, and a skating rink were the 'hangouts' in my day.

Or so my immature, young mind thought at the time.

I mean.... you did had to drive 45 minutes to an hour to get to a mall, after all.

It wasn't my dream.  (Once I realized I'd never have that horse, at any rate.)

Once I hit the teen years, I THOUGHT I wanted to land in a big city -- at least a 'bigger city' than where I was from -- escape 'small town USA' at all costs.

I went off to college (to yet another small, rural town - ironically) and continued that mindset.  I'd graduate and become a well known speech-language pathologist and live somewhere 'happenin'!

In actuality, I got married about the same time I graduated with my Master's Degree and started my first job in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Our first apartment was in a 'bigger' city, but not a BIG city by any stretch.  Not compared to the likes of New York or Chicago anyhoo. 

Cincinnati seemed so much more hip than my hometown, however, so suburbia felt like a step in the right direction to the 'big city feel' I had thought I desired.

It did have a plethora of restaurants (chains included); a myriad of malls all within a 15-20 minute drive; lots of entertainment venues.

Quite the change from where I lived as a child.

Eventually, with my new computer engineer hubby by my side, I assumed we'd make our way to a big city -- or at the very least, an area of Cincinnati known to be even more hip and trendy.

Time marched on.

We started our family.

I no longer dreamed of becoming some well known, hot shot speech pathologist -- instead -- I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom.

So.... I did just that.

Then.... the big city idea began to fade.

A new dream began to take form.

I now wanted land.

Land and a space fit for kids to play.

A more small town feel to raise our precious bundles.

What irony.  As a child I wanted out of small town life, then as I began to raise my own children that same 'feel' from which I wanted to escape had appeal - a draw.

It was years - many years - of living in suburbia before my heart really turned toward the 'ranch type' dream I eventually grabbed onto.

Don't get me wrong, suburban life had it's benefits and we greatly enjoyed our time there, but my heart was being pulled in a new direction.

A lot transpired that landed us in the mountains of Wyoming, living in a rather remote town on 3 acres of land.

By remote I mean the population boasts a whopping 270 people - and that, I believe, is stretching it.

Our current neck of the woods is significantly 'smaller' than the small town where I was raised.  To get to a mall we have to travel close to 2 hours.  Just to go to the grocery store is a 30-40 minute drive.  We have a few restaurants in our town but all are independently owned.  NO chains or franchises here.  Heck, we don't even have a stop light in our truly quaint town and only a small 'general store' with 2 gas pumps in the whole place.  There's no plazas, movie theater, or skating rink - unless you count a frozen lake or pond as an ice rink in the mountains.  Instead of corn when you drive around, we see huge ranches of cattle and horses.  It's not suburbia and definitely not a big city.

Small town living...  our mountain home epitomizes that phrase.

Which is now appealing rather than appalling to me.

Once I had my space, my desire to have animals (beyond a dog and cat) began to take root.
Our egg laying hens in their run.

Like.....  farm animals.

How the tides had turned.

From the somewhat 'farm' girl who wanted to be a city slicker back to a true country gal.

Raising chickens for eggs; rabbits for meat; dogs just for fun and protection; a cat to keep mice out of the house; and a strong desire for dairy goats to have our own milk.  (And yes, a horse - maybe even a cow and a pig - would still be nice.)

Boy howdy have things come full circle and then some.


Since I never got that horse as a child, I tried everything in my power to come across as a more sophisticated 'city kid' rather than 'as-close-to-a-farm-kid-you-could-get-without-the-farm, kid'.


The younger chickens enjoying sprouted grains we grew
mason jars as a 4H project.
Ironic, that now, as an adult - it's my dream to be a country farm chick.   Raising various animals to live semi-self sustainably; mucking out chicken coops and rabbit hutches; processing said animals; being willing and prepared to milk goats; simply enjoying the mountains and space rather than itching from boredom from lack of 'entertainment'; dreading when we have to go to the 'big city' for any purpose what-so-ever.

My cousin hit the nail on the head.
Just a couple baby bunnies from one of the litters
our rabbits have had.







Who'da thunk it when we were young that we'd be where we are right now?

Not me!

Yet, I'm thrilled my dreams took this turn.

I'm blessed by the fact I listened to God's tug on my heart over 4 years ago.

Allowing that country girl I fought to hide - that had been living dormant for so many years while I tried to be 'city savvy' in suburbia - to surface and thrive.












Friday, August 11, 2017

New Milestones

This year, as school is getting ready to start back up, I realize it's somewhat a year of monumental milestones for our family.

One thing about having children is all the cool turning points that go along with them.

This year it seems we have quite a few new ones.

Or at least, somewhat new to us and of course new to each kiddo.

Induction to Honor's Society at UW.
Our oldest is starting his senior year of college - yep, that's definitely a first all around - and for the first time in his life has a 'girlfriend'.  (Another completely novel first for us all!)  A sweet young lady with which he has entered a 'courting/dating' relationship after having been friends close to 4 years.

Talk about milestones.  That's two major ones to start us off.  Wow!

He's also moving into an apartment rather than the dorms (yet another unique landmark for our brew) with a friend from college for his last 2 years.  Yes, even though he's going into his senior year, due to his triple major he'll be around for that 'dreaded' 5th year to complete his degrees.  (I'll admit, it's not so dreaded to me.  It means I get to keep him a bit closer a bit longer. Those days are numbered and I know it.  So.... I'll relish in that 5th year.)

The next 2 kids in line are entering their senior year of high school.  How did THAT happen?  It just doesn't seem possible that in about 12 more months both of them will be heading off to college.

WHAT?

Doing devotions at church camp.
Bethany is getting close to being ready to take her driving test to get her actual license.  Not to mention she'll turn 18 this year.  She's already planning some road trips with her friends from high school that are going to be at UW this coming year.  Am I ready for that?  A somewhat big first for this mama as Jacob never did that until he was out of the house and on his own, so to speak.

Decorating Christmas cookies.
Then there's Elijah - he just turned 16 and may actually agree to get his temporary license. Yeah, the driving thing is a bit late on both, but.... it's how we roll.  I'm ok all our kids have driven later -- it gives their brains more time to mature and hopefully prevents some silly adolescent risks.

He's been working this summer helping neighbors with construction, landscaping, electronics work - many new and first experiences.



Playing in the mud pit at camp.


Next up is Miss Trinity - she's entering 6th grade.  That's quite a milestone.  As I unpacked her schoolbooks for the year I was a bit taken aback as I pulled out her math 'Fundamentals of Algebra and Geometry'.

How can my sweet little girl - only 11 years old - be learning algebra and geometry?  ARG!

One more reminder of just how fast the time is whisking away.

Not to mention she's entering that pre-pubescent phase and all the changes THAT brings about.  I'm sure she'll love to know I shared that as she gets a little older.  ;-)

Yes, my little girl is turning into a young woman right before my eyes.


Less muddy,
but still having fun in the mud pit


Miss Charity is entering 5th grade and is so exited to be able to take part in the Iditarod program our virtual school offers for language arts.  I remember last year how thrilled Trinity was to take part and now... Charity is following in her footsteps.  Again- how can this be?

Both girls went to church camp for the first time this summer - as did I - THAT was really a first for our family.  LOL!

Charity is maturing in her own rights and becoming quite the young lady.  Her shyness - although still present - is often pushed back as she takes the lead to make new friends, take part in activities, or lead the way to help her little sister approach new experiences.

It just seems like yesterday she was starting kindergarten with that sweet little face and her infectious smile and giggle that knows no bounds.



Drawing on a kids' menu while out to eat.
Finally is the youngest, Miss Selah. She has already started her 3rd grade year as she finished off her 2nd grade curriculum early last spring.  She is reading independently and working at her own pace with her school lessons now.

She's even beginning to write in cursive.

How and when did THAT happen?

She too has grown and changed so much.  I still remember her as a little preschooler wanting to be like all the big kids and 'do school'.

My how the tables have turned.  Even though she does well with school, now that she's in 3rd grade she realizes how much time it takes and how much it impedes play time and fun.  Ha.

Welcome to the real world, sweetie.



Milestones abound.

I wouldn't change it for the world, but it does cause one to pause and reflect and remember times gone by.

So many changes.

So many firsts.

It's somewhat unreal to realize some of these firsts are the last of their kind.

As our summer ends, I'll try to revel in these upcoming firsts.  Breath them in.  Enjoy them.  Lament them.

Family vacation this summer at the Redwood Forest - Jacob generally no longer tags along due to other commitments...
Realizing photos capturing 5 of our kiddos having fun on a summer vacation are coming to a close is another 'milestone'.
I didn't really expect that when Jacob left for college -- I thought he'd still come home for summer break.
Boy, was I wrong.  So.... I'll take advantage of these opportunities as often as I can.
Milestones are yet more blessings in which to be thankful.