Our darling girl turned 8 this summer! Lily is seriously the sweetest, most genuine girl you’ll meet. She is bouncy and silly beyond measure, comes across as though she has her head in the clouds but will startle you with brilliant observations. She is the first to say thank you. The first to apologize. And just all around brings such light to our lives!

We host friend parties when the kids turn 8 (a couple years ago we decided to celebrate 1, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 18 with parties, all other birthdays are still a blast, but more low key) Lily’s request was for a surprise party, which I loved. I run across so many party ideas I love, so it was fun to brainstorm the best fit for Lily and her friends. We chose a painting party and invited school and church friends, siblings, plus a new neighbor!

The girls had a ton of fun, Lily was completely surprised when she arrived home from a playdate to find a house full of friends, and I didn’t have to cook because all we ate were cupcakes. I consider that an all around win!

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dsc_2687-largeShe enthusiastically pointed to herself on “Happy Birthday to ME!” each time!

Lily’s Baptism

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Our sweet, sweet Lily chose to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in July. Her Nana and Papa flew in from their mission to celebrate with her and we had tons of our Texas family here as well. I let Lily be in charge of the program and she asked her Nana to speak on Baptism, her big sister Madilynn to speak on the Holy Ghost, her Papa sang a beautiful song for her as well. MiMi and Uncle Joe gave prayers and I lead the music. Afterwards we had a little get together with family here at home.

Lily wanted to keep things very simple, and have a small guest list, so I tried really hard to do just that- even though our Texas family alone could fill the Relief Society room! :) Really though, the focus was on her, the talks were simple and rang true , and she felt so much love from her earthly and heavenly families!

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Blackberry Jam

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Austin Summer Vacation

Right after school let out for Summer vacation, we took off for a quick getaway in Austin. We rented the same home we stayed in last December and really enjoyed exploring the city in beautiful, shining sunshine!

So, we’ve been to Austin, and this specific ranch, twice in the past year, and just love it! The trees and nature feel so good to my Seattle lovin’ guy (I’m not complaining either) and the kids go wild chasing giant dogs, feeding horses, riding a hot walker-turned-swing, and just being kids! Its been such a great way for us to disconnect and reconnect with each other.

Some of our favorite things about this vacation were exploring the Hope Gallery, searching for arrowheads, Hopdoddy’s fries with cheese sauce (!!), making up very complicated secret hand shakes while sitting on the porch at sunset, sneaking the big girls out of bed to chase fireflies with me, the hot walker. They could spend half the day on the hot walker.

I’m updating this 4 months after the fact, but I’ve got to make space on my computer by transfering pics the my external hard drive. I’m afraid once they get there I’ll never get them on the blog/blog book. So here I sit, less than a week prior to putting our home on the market, and I’m blogging! However, I just don’t have time to edit the pictures too. It kinda hurts to put them out here in their less than perfected state!

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Visiting the State Capital 

Whew! This was a hot, hot trip! But the kids and I raced to the top of the Texas State Capital (via the stairs!)

It was fun to wander the grounds with the kids because I’ve heard stories of my mom waiting on a bench for my MeMa to get out of meetings with the State House of Representatives back in the 70s.

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Jake and Jacquie’s Family visits the Ranch

We’re so lucky that Mike’s cousin Jacquie and her husband summer in Texas while Jake sells security. They came over for Sunday dinner and play while we were in Austin. Love those two and their cute little boys! Clara thought Grant was the coolest, even though he insisted on driving!

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Do you see the deer? Its wild, but was so curious about us! There were FIVE of us standing on the other side of the fence, and it was obviously nervous, but still approached!

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Jake’s face! :)dsc_2045

Visiting the Hope Outdoor Gallery

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That smile!

Yearbooks

dsc_1420I love yearbook day! Ok, who am I kidding: I love anything that unifies these two! They had such fun comparing friend lists and signatures when yearbooks finally came home.

Nora’s Market

Nora’s 1st birthday was 4 days after Madilynn’s and since it was a party year for this big girl, we invited a couple families and MiMi and PaPa over for a small party. (Small is relative when your closest friends’ families have 3-6 kids each!)

We had a bit of a market theme with tons of farm fresh fruits and veggies, fresh baked items and izzies! I didn’t worry about activities, other than letting the kids play together like they really wanted.

Our Nora girl is such a snuggly little love! At 12 months she has no interest in standing or walking- not even in our laps or while holding our hands. She just wants to sit and observe, snuggle with mom. Actually, she doesn’t even crawl! Her first word (other than Ma and Da) was “bye!”, combined with the sweetest little wave, and she shares it frequently. Her sisters and brother adore her and are always happy to sit and play.

She’s my pickiest little eater. Actually, she wouldn’t be picky at all if I gave up and fed her carbs and avocado all the time, but I’m still fighting for a balanced diet!

We love this sweet girl!

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Love these boys! Of the 15 kids we had at the party, there are only these three, kindergarten boys! Think they’re going to have a pretty strong bond as they grow up dealing with their many sisters??

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The babies!

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Little girls! (Missing Addie, who is going to be in their Joy school in the Fall!)dsc_1353-copy

The big ones! Love these silly, intelligent girlies!

 

Ok, this cake series is an absolute crackup. She liked the attention of the singing to her, LOVED all the big kids around her, but once she tasted a bite of that frosting she LOST it!

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You’re One in a Melon

Madilynn turned 10 this spring! We celebrated with a scavenger hunt at the mall with a few friends, followed by her favorite: Auntie Annies!

She’s such a fun, determined little learner. She feels strongly her roll as leader in our home, and is so wonderful with little children. She is a creative playmate to Clara and Nora and always willing to babysit, even if she’s not always willing to do her chores! Madilynn is still imaginative and a great, creative problem solver. She reminds me of my PaPa in this, if a chair was wobbly he would quietly go about fixing the problem. Madilynn does this with things around the home, often using creative (and sometimes messy!) solutions to problems or ideas!

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