Family Camp 2014

Hmmm…looks like I only have a few pictures from camp. I tried to take it easy, but there was so much to do. I taught the 2-6 year-olds (with a lot of help from my trusty sidekick, Haley), helped in the kitchen when I felt up to the task and tried to keep an eye on Lydia. She’s a very busy little girl who was often upset that she couldn’t just go where she wanted whenever she wanted.

Overall, camp was very good. The first morning for devotions Sister Galaviz used Nathan for her object lesson. He was filling out an enlistment form. I love the way they look so happy!

This group of boys could be found together at any given time during camp.

The first real night of services Brother Smith preached about salvation. The altar filled up when he gave the opportunity, but most of the kids praying are already saved. They were rejoicing in what God had done for them. It was a sweet place to be.

Jon felt like he needed to talk to Zeke and he said the tears just poured down Zeke’s face as they talked about salvation. Just typing all this makes me cry again. What a wonderful thing to know that all of my children, who are old enough to understand, are saved and want to serve God.

Caitlin Letcher led us in worship this year. It was her first time and she did an amazing job! She really drew us into worship. This was a practice session…I love to watch all these guys play together.

When Lydia did finally get loose she tried to do anything she thought she could get away with…this time it was riding the tent chains like a horse. Hmmm…everything seems to be horse to her.

And here is the queen of camp…

None of us would know what to do without Janis at camp! I’m so glad she and Hannah were able to come to Aurora and ride with us. We had a great time!!

That’s about the extend of the pictures I have. The last day of camp was the 4th of July. We had classes in the morning then spent the rest of the day playing games and eating. DJ and Caitlin had created several stations for anyone who wanted to participate. The pregnant ladies found a spot in the semi-shade and watched the water balloon pinata station. It was great fun!

And I guess that concludes my Family Camp report.

Abbie’s 10th Birthday

Unfortunately Abbie’s birthday was spent in the car, traveling to Family Camp. She was pretty bummed out that that was the way her birthday was going to be this year. That is until at our first stop I let her open one of the gifts in her birthday bag. That seemed to cheer her up quite a bit. I didn’t get any pictures though.

At our next stop for lunch in Pagosa Springs she opened the rest of her gifts. Looks like she was a little distracted by the stuff going on around her. :-)

A new skirt (that she LOVES!!) from Grandma Vicki.

When we got to camp, I had a happy birthday banner that we hung above the meal serving windows. She came in and said, “Mom, you didn’t have to do that!” I told her I knew that. :-) During the opening devotion, Sister Stacey called Abbie up and we all sang to her. We also had birthday cookies that we forgot to put out after dinner so we cut them up after service and shared with whoever acted interested…mostly the pregnant women, and some of the other moms. Ha!

This is two sheets of chocolate chip cookie with white buttercream frosting in between…a cookie sandwich. It was SOOOOO yummy!

After all was said and done, Abbie’s birthday wasn’t quite the bust that she thought it was going to be. In fact I believe I heard her say at one point, “Best birthday ever!” :-) Ha! Ten-year-old girls!

Luke’s 12th Birthday

We now have 3 VLBs in our house! It’s crazy how fast the kids are growing up.

We started the day off with waffles and berries with whipped cream.
Then it was time for presents.

He got a lot of cards with money in them. That makes his pretty happy!

He also got a Slurpee maker from us and Grandma Vicki and Granddad. That made him REALLY happy!

Here he is trying it out.

He spent the rest of the day shopping with his Dad. Jon decided to enlist Luke’s help with the activities for his class. They went to Home Depot and Lowe’s to gather supplies. While they were out, they had lunch at KFC (Luke’s favorite!). By the time they got done with that it was time for Luke’s very first VLB meeting. The kids (and Haley) got together and played laser tag. What a fun way to celebrate Luke’s 12th birthday!

It was later that night that we launched the paper rockets into the neighbor’s yard. :-)
He seemed to enjoy his day…and he was super happy to not be at a convention or in the van traveling to a convention!

June Life According to my iPhone

Back when the boys would still let me take walks we’d go to the fitness area near the middle school. Lydia loved the balance beams because she could ride them like a horse.

We all attempt to read books to Lydia, but she seldom sits still long enough to make it through the whole thing. I loved it that Jon laid down on the ground with her and tried to read.

I hate it that this one is dark and blurry. Abbie bought some doll furniture at our church yard sale and brought them all out the living room to play. Lydia couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try them too. That didn’t make Abbie very happy until I reminded her that all she’s ever wanted was a sister to play dolls with. Now she’s got one and she wasn’t being very gracious. She ended up giving Lydia a little chair and a doll. Turned out Lydia liked the dog better than the dolls. :-)

This is my 26 week baby bump.

Remember a few months ago we discovered how much Lydia liked to hold the flag? This was the first time she put her hand over her heart while she held the flag. It made everyone smile!

I think they were watching a math video for Caleb’s school.

The rest of these pictures are camp prep. Jon taught the 7-11 year-old class this year. He went through the 6 days of creation with a military kind of focus because our theme was “Free To Serve”. One of their activities was this cannon he built…actually two of their classes involved the cannon. They launched paper rockets and water balloons. It was a hit around here too! We had to test it out before he took it to camp.

Loading up a water balloon.

The launch.

This is what was left of the balloon.

The rocket launches were great too. We did them in the dark. A couple of them made it to the back fence or almost to the back fence, but one made it all the way over. There was a lot of laughing!!

Here’s Nathan prepping a juice carton to make a boat with a soda can boiler motor. Unfortunately they were never able to make the boat work.

The dining room table was covered with soda cans, glue, tape, knives, straws, popsicle sticks, and sawdust for two days. And I had company coming in on Monday morning. I finally gave up and decided that they were just going to have to pretend that they didn’t notice the mess. :-) It worked out fine. Janis said they were here to see us, not the house. Of course it helped that we were also packing for camp…everybody’s house looks rough then, right?

But we’ve still got Luke’s and Abbie’s birthdays to cover before we get to camp…stay tuned.

Craig and Andrews Visits

Talk about two extremes. These back-to-back trips couldn’t have been more so.

The drive to Craig is one of our all-time favorites…just gorgeous!

When we got to town we checked into our hotel then went to the church and looked around a bit. Then we headed to the Loudy-Simpson Park and let the kids fish for an hour or so.

Nathan didn’t actually fish. He napped in the van. Guess he’s decided he’s not a fisherman, but he did hop in and help clean everything us.

No one caught anything, but it was pretty windy so that might be the cause.

After fishing we got dinner at Taco Bell and went to the park to play for a while. Then we headed to Gerald and Janis’s house and visited for a few hours.

We had service with them on Sunday morning and headed home in time to get to the church about 45 minutes before church started. I took the kids to the park to burn off a little energy.

The trip to Texas was not quite as pretty, but it was easily as much fun!
We drove to Andrews on Friday and spent the weekend with Aunt Sue, mostly. The kids fell in love with her immediately. More than one of them came to me that night and said, “Aunt Sue’s GREAT!!!”

Jon had been having tooth issues since our trip to Craig and it only escalated during the trip to Andrews. He did mostly ok on the drive down, but was in bed all day Saturday. It didn’t slow the kids or Aunt Sue down. They (Aunt Sue, Luke, Abbie and Zeke) were up bright and early Saturday morning and headed to the park while it was still kind of cool-ish. When they got home they indulged in one of the many ice cream treats in the freezer. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing on the iPads, taking baths in Aunt Sue’s big tub, throwing balls in the backyard, spraying each other with the hose and just generally hanging out. It was GREAT! We also made a trip to Aunt Sue’s store and the park after it cooled off.

The kids were always trying to teach Aunt Sue how to play a game she introduced them to.

Lydia managed to get wet while Zeke was filling the birdbath.

Abbie found these scarves and Aunt Sue showed her how to tie them to make vests. She thought she looked like an Indian woman.

Here’s one just for fun! Love the washcloth on Zeke’s head.

Jon did get to feeling better that evening and sat up and visited for a while.
He was fine all day Sunday, thank the Lord! He was able to preach both services.

The kids also got acquainted with “Aunt” Stacey. After church Sunday morning we all went back to Aunt Sue’s house and had lunch then Jon and I headed over to visit with Sam and Tammy. We left the kids with Aunt Sue and Stacey. They all fell in love with Stacey too! I’m not sure what all went on but I do know that there was a bottle of spray whipped cream involved. :-)

We headed for home Monday morning, not quite as early as we’d planned, because of staying up to watch one of the NBA finals games. We’ve noticed over the course of the last several trips that the kids are traveling better. There are far fewer bathroom stops which makes for much quicker trips. Woohoo!

May Life According to my iPhone

May was the end of co-op for us. In art, Abbie and Luke spent about 4 weeks leading up to the end, making puppets. That was a messy but fun project.
Here’s the class with their puppets.

Aren’t they cute?!

Lydia found Abbie’s sleeping cap and, of course, had to try it on. Speaking of cute!!

We still try to incorporate memory verse scrambles into our schooling. It seems to be a good way to help the kids learn their verses.

This is my 21 week baby bump picture.

Our last Mom’s Night for the year was in May. We had a painting class. Our instructor, who was one of the moms, gave us step-by-step instructions and all we had to do was try out best to replicate what she did. That’s a tall order for this perfectionist girl. When it came time to paint those trees, I was super intimidated. But in the end, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out and it’s hanging on the wall in the living room next to my chair.

The best part about the story was the next morning. As Jon was getting ready to leave I asked if he’d even noticed the painting (which at the time was sitting on top of the coffee pot in the kitchen). He said he had and asked where it came from. I told him I painted it. “Nu-uh…you did not!” Makes me laugh every time I recall the story. :-)

On the very last day of co-op the kids made “food art”. They had a blast!!

This one’s Luke’s. I should have rotated it…there’s a tree in the middle.

Toward the middle of May we had District Convention in Fountain. I was flooded with memories of District Convention there last year. It was just a few days later that Lydia was born. And now here I am pregnant again. Wild! But not nearly so close to my due date this time.

You’d think I like this guy or something, as many pictures of him as I have. :-)

Yes, I took Lydia to the park in her jammies. Ok, maybe you didn’t notice, but that was the first thing I thought when I was looking through these pictures. Shameful! She loved going down this little slide and there were plenty of helpers.

This picture still cracks me up…first, that Grover “photo bombed” it and second that Lydia just absolutely insisted that someone put a pair of her brother’s socks on her. She’s a mess!

We’ll end with Lydia’s first time eating corn. We must use the term “eating” very loosely though. She just kind of gnawed on the cob and got a few random kernels.

Oh wait…that wasn’t actually the end…I found this pictures and it’s too cute not to share. Lydia loves to imitate Zeke.

Whew…we’re making progress.

Homeschool Field Day

Field Day was our last big event for the year with our homeschool group.
It was a cold and windy day, but there was still a huge turnout…amazing!

The kids were broken up into age/grade groups, basically like they are for their classes. There were all kinds of games to play and activities to compete in. My kids really enjoyed it, in spite of the cold. I kept Lydia bundled up, and covered up, in the stroller most of the day. She did fine.

Here’s Luke getting ready for the gunny-sack race.

Abbie’s in the pink sweatshirt kind of in front. Poor Luke crashed.

Abbie and her friend, up a tree. They didn’t want to participate in the soccer game.

Here’s the junior high/high school crowd getting ready to race. Can you spot Nathan and Caleb?

Abbie testing her agility, I guess. She didn’t fall.

Luke doing the tire toss.

We took a break for lunch. There are seldom pictures of Caleb and he doesn’t look very happy in this one. C’est la vie!

After lunch was the mile run. Whoever wanted to participate ran 4 laps (or as many as they could) around the park. At the end of each quarter mile they got “painted”. You’ll see…it was fun!

Waiting to start.

It was powdered paint and because the wind was blowing it went everywhere. Thus the reason she’s covering her mouth and nose.

Here’s the crowd of runners.

We were all exhausted when we got home, but it was definitely a fun day!

Youth Convention

For the second month in a row we made the trip to Hatch, New Mexico. This time for Youth Convention.

There was lots of good preaching, singing and fellowship.
These pictures are for you transplanted Westerners who I thought might enjoy seeing some folks you don’t get to see regularly anymore. ;-)

Brother Doran’s message the first night was about things that can keep us in bondage and how it affects us and those around us. He used Nathan and Robert for an object lesson. He duct taped them together to see what would happen when one of them tried to pull away from the other. Ouch!

Rebekah Clark sang a beautiful special song. She’s come a long way in the last year!

Each local VLB band was given a few minutes to tell about what is going on with their youth. Not sure how Brother Sam got nominated to do this, but there he was!

Albuquerque has the biggest VLB/gleaner band in the region...they just had to show it off! ;-)

Sister Rachel Soto from Hatch. They’ve lost quite a few of their youth this last year. It’s been devastating to them…keep them in prayer.

Miss Aleah singin’ a special.

More preaching…

Family Camp boost by the Albuquerque church.

Sister Marcia used Nathan along with a few other boys and Brother Hector for another object lesson. Poor Brother Hector was nominated by his wife to be the devil. He grinned a lot!

If I remember correctly she was telling the young people that they are better able to fight off the devil as a group and when they are spending time in the Word.

Sister Sara also sang a beautiful special song. Wait…maybe she led us in songs. I don’t remember now, but either way…she’s come a long way, as well, in the last year.

None of my VLB march pictures turned out very good, but I sure enjoyed watching them all march around that building. :-)

Before Brother Doran preached he had his wife and girls come up and sing a song with him.

We had a really good altar call that night. It was neat to see Sister Marcia and Sister Galaviz working with the kids in the altar.

We got to stick around for service on Sunday in Hatch, along with the Garcia boys (Robert and Andrew). It was really nice to visit with the folks there. Sister Erika kept us well-fed. :-)

Easter Sunrise Service

We were privileged to gather at Brother and Sister Van Deventer’s home at 6:00 AM for a sunrise service on Easter morning. It was a little overcast so we didn’t actually get to see the sun rise, but we were blessed to be reminded of what Jesus did for each one of us. We had excellent attendance for that hour of the morning.

After the service we enjoyed a yummy breakfast and great fellowship.

When breakfast was finished and things were cleaned up we had Sunday school. The adults stayed in the house while the children headed outside. The children’s class was reminded of the true meaning of Easter with a set of resurrection eggs. The kids enjoyed opening each egg and talking about what the different objects represented. Our lesson went much more quickly than I’d anticipated and since it was slightly cool and windy the kids were able to keep warm by playing on the toys Brother V keeps around his yard.

When we got home we had a little egg hunt around the house. Nathan hid the eggs while I prepared lunch. Some of the eggs were pretty tricky to find. Lydia was super excited to find candy in her egg.

And finally, my girls in their matching Easter dresses.

April Life According to my iPhone

It’s a little dark, but I think you can see Luke’s tomato “lips”. Sister Clarkson brought a box of tomatoes to church and the kids all grab them up as fast as they can. Luke scored this one and was pretty happy about it!

Here is Lydia’s “oooohhhhhh!!” face. She used to make it all the time.

Ah yes, the torturous piano. Nathan insisted that Lydia needed this awful noise-maker from the basement. She kept trying to play the real piano when anyone else was playing. He was getting tired of her interrupting him. :-)

Just for fun…here are some shots of the kids for the covers of our homeschool yearbook. They did small thumbnail type shots. The front was serious faces and the back was funny faces. These are the ones I liked best.

He almost never smiles like this. Love it!

Naturally Lydia would have a bump on her head for the picture. Seems to be the way things go with little people.

Lydia decided to “help” me with Sunday school prep.

She kept stealing Abbie’s Bible bag and dragging it around so I figured she needed her own purse. Abbie was nice enough to give Lydi this one that is just her size.

I think one of the boys helped her into this box.

She has discovered that she likes to “draw”…and she’s just too cute!

One afternoon the boys were trying out their new (to them anyway) golf clubs in the front yard. Looks like they’re lining up their shots.

Lydia would love to be out there with them all the time, but none of them are very good about watching her all the time.

This time Abbie was teaching her about the flowers.

And I guess that concludes April. Yes, there was a birthday too, but that’s going to require its own post…some day.