06 September 2017

Back to School, 2017-2018

First day of school!!   YAY!  (It's been a long hard summer....)

This year we are in Maryland and we no longer have our traditional brick wall backdrop.  Only three are in school still, but, Rachel and Samantha are starting college here in Maryland.  I had to actually lighten these photos because we have to leave for school at seven in the morning!  Three kids in three schools, AND, in three different little towns, makes for an early morning.  Charlie and Joey have to be in class by seven thirty, but, JMichael catches a bus at the end of our driveway at eight thirty.  One crazy thing about Maryland schools - the kids now have lockers.  All three of the schools have lockers, even the elementary schools.  Another crazy thing about Maryland schools - very high tech.  Josephine was issued an iPad, which she keeps for the whole year.  All sixth and seventh graders get one.  The students even keep them over the summer!  Charlotte has a MacBook Air.  A sweet little laptop that she keeps until she graduates!  Whoa.  Homework is on Google Classroom and the ladies say they use them in every class, even PE.  

Charlotte is playing on the school's volleyball team and wants to play basketball in the winter and lacrosse in the spring.  She's a second soprano in the choir, which is super small, 8 girls.  No guys.  So every voice counts.  They will perform in the area and are already working on Christmas music.  Josephine applied and was accepted into the STEM Academy - about twenty-five students from each grade get in.  It's an advanced Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics curriculum.  She goes to the same class schedule as every other seventh grader, but, her math, science and technology classes are advanced and fast paced.  She will get to go on special field trips to the river and bay, plus "walking trips" to the college for experiments in their labs.  She's very excited and loves school so far.  JMichael?  Well, he's loving his new school, says his teacher is really nice and in the first two weeks of school he has two field trips.  Two, already?  These kids may live it he country, but, the schools use the proximity to the cities to their advantage.  Ahhh, Maryland.  Come see us!

31 August 2017

Splash - August 2017

This splash was taken at my brother, Eric's, house.  One thing I love about this photo is just how deceiving it is.  According to your eye right now, Rachel (in pink) is the tallest.  She is followed by her siblings in true birth order - Samantha (shades) is next, then Charlotte (on the right).  Josephine (far left) is just under Charlotte and JMichael (googles) is the shortest and the youngest.

The truth of the matter is, that Charlotte is the tallest.  Next is Samantha, then Rachel and Josephine about tied and JMichael, right on their heels.  Check back with us in a month or two.  I bet, as adults, it will end up like this:  (from tallest to shortest) JMichael, Charlotte, Josephine, Samantha, Rachel.

27 August 2017

Eric's House

 My little brother lives about an hour south of us.  One of my kids' new favorite things to do is to go hang out at Eric's house.  Their cousin, Gavin, is a junior in high school, so he falls right into the mix.  At Eric's my kids play video games, swim in his pool and hang out with the crowd that is Eric's house.  Eric and Abby have friends that spend time there, too, and Abby's family comes in and out frequently.  Eric and Abby's best friends, Jim and Steph, live nearby and they are part of the draw to Eric's house, too.  Great people.  Never a dull moment.

We went down for the day and Abby's Dad, Carey Abbott, brought steamed crabs.  My kids are getting faster and better at picking, especially Josephine, who doesn't like crabmeat, but, thinks the picking is fun.  These photos are of Josephine in the purple shirt, Rachel standing next to her and then Trish, Abby's dad's girlfriend.  She's a pro and was giving Rachel lessons.  In the next photo is Samantha, also getting tips from Trish, and Charlotte.  The orange sleeve belongs to Abby's dad, Carey, busy at work on his crab pile and chatting with Charlie.  Living close to family has been just great for us.  It's so good to see your kids and your siblings all together on a random Saturday night.  No occasion.  Just living and enjoying each other.

26 August 2017

Team Ambush - Kent County Youth Soccer

JMichael is number 9 - about in the middle of the bench.  This is his team during a halftime talk.  His coach is young - a senior at the high school, and his team is coming together.  Ambush emphasizes passing and position, just like JMichael learned in Arkansas.  His coach is impressed with JMichael's finesse, and his footwork.  He's the only kid on his team that can do a rainbow.  Now if only he would do one in a game, that would be something!  He's scored every game and he plays a lot.  He goes to school with these kids, and the kids from the other three U10 teams he plays.  It's a great little soccer organization.  The fields are wonderful - well drained and easy parking.  The area is for the whole gambit of sports enthusiasts - there are basketball courts and softball fields, next to tennis courts and lacrosse games.  Football practice is next to baseball practice, all surrounded by a walking track and in the middle of it all is a playground and a concession stand.  Truly a community park with all ages and skills everywhere.

I found this little gem - JMichael at about two.  

And this is now, at nine years old - he's on the left side - eye on the ball - in the light blue jersey and bright yellow cleats.  Just doin' his thing!

22 August 2017

The Eclipse

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 was on August 21, 2017.  Nashville was in the line of totality and we saw these signs all along the highway; a friendly reminder from the TN DOT. 
We were back in MD by the time the eclipse was visible and James got this great picture with his iphone!  The Bigs made a cereal box viewer and watched.  I couldn't see much from the office, but, I was impressed with the photos I saw online from my AR friends, in the line of totality.

Mother Nature is amazing.

21 August 2017

The Bigs take an Arkansas trip

Rachel's friend Grace was turning 18 and Rachel promised her when she left AR that she would return to AR to see her for the big day.  Rachel, Evan and Samantha took Evan's car and traded off driving.  Off they went.  The timing was pretty good, since school and jobs started after they were set to return home to MD.
Samantha went along, to see Jonathan; she told him that she couldn't come because school was starting, then, she surprised him and jumped out of the car.  They had a great visit with their AR friends.  They also got to see PopPop Jim and Mammaw Jean - and go out to eat with them.  In these pictures, you can't see them, but, they are there.
Then, well, then it happened.  The car died.  Yes.  Just died.  Apparently the engine needs something and I don't speak engine so all I know is that they had no way of getting back here.  I looked into buses and trains and planes and all of that was crazy expensive.  I was talking with my friend Krista, who was helping me get Samantha to pick up high school transcripts and ACT scores, and I told her of our problem.
Next thing I know, I'm getting texts from Lynn, in red, saying, what if they had a ride halfway?  Could you meet someone in Tennessee?  Of course we could, and of course Lynn was talking about himself.  Lynn and Krista, just earlier this same week, had put their 18 year old son, Spencer, on a plane, bound for the MTC and his Spanish speaking mission in Idaho.  Lynn said to me, if Spencer can devote two years of his life to service, I can surely take a weekend to drive our friends' kids back home.  Dag.  Thank you, Lynn and Krista!  This is all of us at Cracker Barrel, somewhere outside of Nashville, TN, late late at night.

The Hazeslips got back on the road west to AR but we had supper and caught up.  We switched off drivers the whole way back to MD and made plans on how to get Evan's car fixed and how to get it back to MD.  More on that later.

Meanwhile, at home in MD, mom came to "play" with the little three and they bought desks for their rooms and went out to eat.  I'm including this video here, even though it didn't happen exactly this same weekend (it was the week the Bigs were in AR).  A new game from the missionaries, who were over for supper that night.

10 August 2017

Philadelphia Temple

 This is a quick shot I took of the Philadelphia Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  James was recently called to be a worker there, so we went up to meet with them and get his set up to begin.  The Phili Temple is about 90 minutes north of us, and in the city.  IN.  THE.  CITY.  I mean, right in the thick of hustle and bustle and traffic and cops and the chaos of city life.  I grabbed this quick shot - it was getting dark - but you can see Moroni atop his spire.  Plus, the city is all around - the traffic light is green, telling us, yep, gotta go to the temple.
Here we are with a Moroni selfie - see him way up there?  The Philadelphia Temple is amazing in that as soon as you are in the temple parking lot you are surrounded by peace and flowers and tranquility.  A huge departure from the traffic you just left behind.  Inside the details are an homage to the history of the city and the founding fathers who lived and dreamed in Philadelphia.

And I thought I'd include this photo since there are so many more kid photos than folks on here.  Charlotte took this one at a local barbeque spot - we're adorable.