30 June 2014

Splash - June 2014

In an effort to preserve the monthly pictures I take for the splash page of our blog James suggested that I put them in the actual blog each month.  So - the first installment - June 2014.  This one was taken after church one Sunday afternoon in what we call the "baseball field" behind the meetinghouse.  That's pretty appropriate, huh?

28 June 2014

Lake Day - 2014

The youth in our ward have an annual "Lake Day".  The leaders, other members who own boats, and the youth head to Greer's Ferry Lake - about 45 minutes north of us - to enjoy the natural wonders, lake culture, and plenty of good food.  Our morning started out calling for showers, but, as soon as the kids were headed lakebound the skies cleared enough to let them stay and play.  Lake culture is something I've learned living in central Arkansas.  I come from ocean culture - surfboards, boardwalks, kites and marlin tournaments.  Here we have lake culture - waterskiing, pontoon boats, cliff jumping and an awareness of snakes and lots of other critters.  As I grew up with jellyfish and oyster boats, Arkansas kids grow up with water snakes and inner tubes.  In short, oceans are cold, full of waves and currents and salty - lakes are warmer, easygoing and sometimes muddy.  At the end of the day they are just as similar as they are different; we just need to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature.
Samantha - mid cliff jump

 Rachel - no cliff jumping for this one  Read this post and you will know why.

The bunch of youth and the fearless leaders.  Bless their hearts.
Rachel is in the hat, second form the left in the front row and Samantha is two to the right - pink top and cutoffs.
Rachel took a video of Samantha's jump from the cliff.  This is almost three stories high.  No thank you.  On this trip Samantha also water skied for the first time.  She got up on her first try and absolutely is sold.  Samantha says it's a good upper body workout to stay straight and she is ready to go back and ski all day.

26 June 2014


Rachel is 16.  She wants a job and she wants to meet friends at Tasty Freeze and drink milkshakes.  Samantha will be 15 next month and she would rather stay home and watch Netflix and clean the kitchen.  Rachel is a natural on stage and loves English.  Samantha is a whiz with numbers and shys away from people.  They are both so full of life and they are there for each other.  But if you've seen Frozen, you will see why the lock screens on their phones fit them.  Different and complimentary.  Devoted and loyal.  Sisters.

Summer Sights

This is a crawdad mound.  For those of you who are not from the south, I will explain just a little about this common sight in Arkansas.  A crawdad mound is constructed by a crawdad, and it is made of the wet sand he has excavated as he digs.  The crawdads live down in these holes and you can "fish" for crawdads using bread on the end of a heavy string.  You lower the bread down into the hole until the crawdad becomes interested.  As you pull the string out - slowly - the poor foolish crawdad will follow the bread into your jar.  Boil and add some old bay seasoning - you have dinner.  Crawdads are also called mudbugs or crawfish.  These mounds pop up all over the low lying wet areas of central Arkansas.  They are part of our summer landscape.

19 June 2014

Piranhas 2014

Swimmers take your marks....and another summer means another swim season.  This is Charlotte's fourth season with the Cabot Piranhas.  This is the summer rec league.  Basically, if you can swim the length of the pool without stopping, you can be on the team.  Charlotte does all the meets with the Piranhas, but, she still practices with her other team, the Dolphin Lasers.   Dolphin's practice starts with a warm up of eight laps.  Dolphins push her; the coach says they don't practice - they train.  Charlotte thrives.  She loves it and she does well.  It's a wonderful thing to watch her swim.

But, the meets for Dolphins are tough - Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis.  Right now our budget does not let us do an overnight meet, plus the travel expenses involved.  So for now, Charlotte goes to meets with the rec team - and finishes with great times - while she practices with the competitive team.  It's a great arrangement for us and it serves Charlotte well.  The coach is the same for both teams!

Charlotte, Emily, Izzy and Grace
THE 11-12 year old girls freestyle relay team.
Cabot Piranhas - Veni.  Natavi. Veci.

17 June 2014

Another school year over....

You are all familiar with those families that post pictures of their kids and talk about National Honor Society or the Citizenship Award, or straight A's?  Well.  We are NOT that family.  Our ladies and JMichael all have their individual strengths.  They also have their struggles and this year was a tough year academically.

I can't say that I'm proud of my kids for their straight A's, but I CAN say THIS {proudly}:

First, Rachel, tenth grade.  She had a D in APUSH (advanced placement US history) at the mid point of the last nine weeks.  Her final grade: B.  Awesome job, Rachel.

Second, Samantha, ninth grade.  She had a 32%.  Yes.  32% in computer applications.  Her final grade: B.  And she had a 45% in English (she HATES English).  Her final grade: C.  Way to go, Samantha.

Third, Charlotte, fifth grade.  She had a 57% in math.  Her final grade: B!  Whoa!  Good work, Charlie.

So Honor Roll?  Nah.  National Honor Society?  Nope.  But working when the going gets tough - yes.  Learning that they alone are responsible for the outcome and hard work - let's hope so.  Understanding that maybe working all along would save them a lot of work at the end - that would be GREAT!  And realizing that Mom and Dad talk to their teachers and keep up with them behind their backs - yes, we sure do.

And Josephine and JMichael?  What about them?  JMichael was already covered for his kindergarten exploits in an earlier post.  And Josephine?  Shhhh.  Don't tell her or her sisters - but, she's a bright kid.  All gifted and talented classes, all easy 3's (the highest mark in elementary school).  She's breezing through now - but, her sisters all started in G/T, too, and only Rachel stayed in.

They are all gifted and talented.  Samantha struggled and fought her way through English but has a 98% in her AP algebra class.  Rachel fought history memorization of dates and people, but, put her on a stage and she can recite lines all day.  They all struggle; they all excel.  We love them, each and every one.

13 June 2014

Charlie Mows the Grass

Charlotte has an obsession with taking pictures lately.  This week she was mowing the grass and snapped these photos of her day.
First, the road.  We don't have a mower so we borrow our neighbor's mower all summer.  What a nice guy.  I suppose she took this on her walk over there.  (He lives on the next block.)

Next, she took this picture of the grass itself.

Next, Charlie looking pensive about something.  Maybe she is contemplating how quickly the grass grows and how soon she will have to do this all over again.

Fourth, her view of the mower.

Lastly, the walk home after returning the mower to our neighbor.
I found all these pictures on my phone.  Modern technology meets age old chores and an 11 year with plenty of imagination.

07 June 2014

Chipmunks Soccer Team 2014

Another soccer season has come and gone for JMichael.  For the spring 2014 season he played U6, for the Chipmunks.  Yes, Chipmunks.  Ask a group of 5 and 6 year old kids what animal they choose for a mascot and you just don't know what you might get.

So JMichael's Chipmunk team was coached by a sweet lady - Sarah Wells. Coach Wells is the kind of person that rec league soccer is made of - perfectly willing and totally inexperienced.  She walked into coaching armed only with the knowledge that her girl wanted to play and the attitude of "how hard can it be?"

Coach Wells was at every practice and had the kids run laps and dribble, sort of.  It only took one practice for James to decide that he had to step in.  He was highly medicated and hurting after each
session, but, he helped Coach Wells by getting the kids to run drills, play some defensive type games and learn a few plays.

According to JMichael, the Chipmunks won every game.  We aren't supposed to really keep score that this level of play, but, I think he's right.  The important part is that JMichael had a fantastic time.  He sharpened his skills, he made some sweet friends and he just plain enjoyed himself.  That's what rec soccer is all about when you are six years old.

Seated: Skyler, Kaelyn, JMichael, Landry, Addison and Elizabeth
Chipmunks 2014

05 June 2014

Cute Kid Quote: Samantha Marie

Cute kid quote today (plus backstory):  via Samantha, 14 years old

With seven people in our family, we sometimes run out of things.  There are days in our kitchen that you can't find a clean spoon or cup.  Frequently, we can't find a clean towel.  It seems no matter how diligent I try to be, or how diligently I stay on the kids to finish their chores, we are running low or out of something.

That being said, yesterday I saw Samantha pouring orange juice into a bowl.  I watched and wondered what she was doing.  Was she going to add cereal?  She put the orange juice back in the refrigerator and proceeded to drink the juice like the bowl was a cup.

Samantha?, I said.  We have clean cups.  Charlotte and I just did the dishes.  Why are you drinking orange juice out of a bowl? 

Because, Mom, I've had to use a bowl before as a cup and I like it.  It makes me feel Chinese. 

Ok, Samantha.  Ok.  I'm not quite sure what this all means, but, I just hope we aren't doing too much damage to these amazing spirits in our home that we have the honor of raising.  What a ride.