30 June 2016

Splash - June 2016

This photo of my BallTeam was taken at the airport at 5:00 a.m.  This was a day of firsts.  Rachel and Josephine are about to board a plane for their first airline flight.  James and I are about to send two of our children literally half way across the country with no adult to supervise - Rachel is 18, true, but she's still our little lady... - and all the while hoping and praying that they can navigate the Atlanta airport alone and make their connecting flight.  Long story short, they were fantastic.  This is our first splash photo taken before dawn and it is to date the only splash photo of Samantha with no make up.  I pointed that out to her, after I told her I was going to use this photo for the splash, and she said, I know.  I thought about it, and I'm fine with it.  They all grow up so fast.

29 June 2016

Little Ladies, June 2016

I may need these snapshots one day - look at these two sisters - 20 months apart; thick as thieves and ready to scrap at any minute.  They are tight, true, don't get between them.  But boy can they fight, too; you DEFINITELY don't want to get between them then.  Josephine (in white), 11 years old.  Charlotte (in red), 13 years old.  Known in the BallTeam as the Little Ladies.

28 June 2016

Cute Kid Quote

While getting a few groceries the other day, JMichael (8 years old) was horrified at the dish brush he found in the cleaning section.  Mom, look, he said.  Her hair is really cool, but the packaging is choking her.  He's right!  Kids are so sweet in the perspective they bring to our world. I should always keep an eight year old with me to show me the wonder I might miss with my hurried adult mindset. Rock on, JMichael.

27 June 2016

James' New Calling

We had not even been home from Maryland for two weeks when James got a phone call.  He said he was expecting this call - he was ready.  We had a new Bishop called in Cabot Ward - the guy in the middle, Brian Busbea.  As his counselors, he chose Tim Schulte, pictured on the left, and my James, as second counselor.  He has been gone ever since.  I'm kidding, of course, but, I'm serious when I say that now that he's in the Bishopric, James is out every day doing all sorts of service and errands.  He checks on people; he takes people to appointments; he organizes moves and helps out where ever and when ever he is needed.  He loves it.  He has new meetings to attend and travels more than ever, but, that's just fine with him.  He is anxiously engaged in a good cause (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27).

19 June 2016

Father's Day - 2016

James with me (2016).  And James with Rachel (about 2002).

For Father's Day I wanted to add some pictures of the man who is behind all these BallTeam photos.  I don't have early enough of him on here.  That's partly his choice; he's very much behind the scenes.  But the absence of his picture does not change the fact that nothing here would be possible without him.  He is a great dad - devoted to his ladies and JMichael - completely behind them, even when they are wrong and he tells them so, he is there for them.  He is involved in their day to day lives I think more than most Dads because he is home all day and he is the one they go to when they are hurt, when we run out of toilet paper, or when they make an A on that project.  He cooks, he organizes and he keeps on top of bills and schedules (that's a lot for a busy family of seven).  I am thrilled to say that my kids will remember their childhood as a time they spent with Dad.  He's the one they can talk into taking us out to eat, or when they want a new pair of Converse he's the pushover.  He has a line - and the ladies and JMichael know what is expected of them, but, he's the one to ask if you want to stop and get a slushie on a hot day.  I knew on our first date - and so did he - that we would be married.  Almost twenty years later I still know he's my Beau.

This photo is James' Dad, James Elmer Ball.  He is about 5 in this picture, so around 1940?  Such a sweet smile.

17 June 2016

BeachBrums 2016

This year we all took a trip and we did it a little differently.  Last year, Mom came out to visit and she took the big ladies on a trip west, then hung out at the house for a few days to recuperate.  Then she took the little ladies on a trip east.  It was great.

This year, we put Rachel and Josephine on a plane and sent them out to Mom, who kept them plenty busy for two weeks - the beach, the Smithsonian, manicures and movies.  Then we drove out to Maryland to spend a week with them - and Eric and his family and David and his family.  When that week was over we left Samantha and Charlotte behind to spend their two weeks with Mom, and we drove home with Rachel and Josephine.  Everyone got to ride on an airplane for the first time - and all four loved it - and everyone got to spend time away from the parents and out with the grandmom.  It was fantastic.  Here come the photos.....
David took the opportunity to give his newest little one - Arya Reanne Brumbley - her name and a blessing.  She is the sweetest.  The ladies couldn't get enough of her.
Josephine holding Arya.  Cuties!

Since Rachel and Josephine had been to DC the week before with Mom, they stayed home to watch the littles and the rest of us hit our nations capital for some sight seeing - and the first metro ride for my kids.  Samantha was certain we were going to fall off - she thought she would always be on the ground, but, the DC metro goes up on rails over roads, and down under the city in tunnels.  Pretty exciting stuff for kids who grew up in rural Arkansas!
We saw the sights and strolled around the Smithsonian.

We went through the Holocaust Memorial Museum.  So solemn.  I highly recommend it, but, not for children.  It's built in such a way that children have certain exhibits and some disturbing displays are not visually accessible to smaller people.  But all in all, it was worth the visit.

We visited Abraham.  Super crowded.

I love this shot of these three.  Samantha and Charlotte kept tabs on their little brother, usually one of them was holding his hand.  They were very well behaved, respectful and generally in awe of the whole big city experience.  They had never walked on a big city street, taken a public bus or metro, never seen the memorials in person and never been in such crowds.  Charlotte kept remarking on all the languages she was hearing.  We don't have that kind of diversity in rural Arkansas.

Another day we did a photo shoot.  Abbey put this all together and I'm so looking forward to getting the real prints, but, the kids captured some cool candids, too.  This one is Samantha, Charlotte and Josephine with their toes in the water, Rachel taking a picture and me taking a picture of her taking a picture....

My BallTeam.  Front front to back, JMichael (8), Josephine (11), Rachel (18), Samantha (16) and Charlotte (13).  The other beauty is the Nanticoke River, at a landing just outside of Mardela, Maryland.
A snapshot of my brothers and Mom and me.  I bet Dad is standing there too, smiling.  (For new readers, or those who just don't know, Dad died in October, 2014)  He would have loved this trip and all we did together.

And off to the beach!  James and Eric showing off the obligatory delicousness - Thrasher's fries with vinegar.  (Oh my mouth is watering as I type this!)

Josephine the mermaid!

Trimper's Amusements - rides on the boardwalk.  Always a good time.

The riders.  They loved the rides - I didn't get a picture of one of them that they must have ridden ten times - it was a huge set of seats and swung around and side to side high into the air.  Some of them loved it, some of them tolerated it - but they all rode it - so brave.  Josephine was reluctant to ride the coaster that goes upside down, but, her sisters talked her into it and she wound up riding it five times.  Abbey and I just watched and danced while the kids meandered from ride to ride.  Mom, Eric, David Dawn and James walked the boardwalk and shops with Arya sleeping in her stroller.  It was a great afternoon.

Eric and Abbey with their movie set - Aladin.  It's their thing.  It fits them and they've embraced it.  So if you ever need a gift idea for these two - Aladin and Jasmine, all the way.

Arya sporting our shirt - they say Beach Brums, 2016.  On the back we printed everyone's names in a big work block.  Brum, of course, is short for Brumbley and the Beach Ball is for the Ball Team part of this crowd - hence, the Beach Brums.
An aerial shot of Ocean City, Maryland.  

The kids at Longwood Gardens, PA. This is a Brumbley kind of place - Dad loved Longwood.  If the dead can walk among us, I know Dad was with us this day.  He probably just strolls the grounds now, enjoying the beauty and magnificence of nature.  The kids had never been and they were entranced, too.  The gardens are amazing and the grounds are huge.  This shot is indoors - in the Conservatory.  The BallTeam and cousin Gavin.

We took tons of pictures but you should go and see it for yourself.  Charlotte got this shot of the waterlillies in the water gardens.

The Bonsai house - Dad's inspiration and hobby.  I don't have the patience for this kind of beauty, but, Dad sure loved it.

Some orchids from the Orchid House.  Josephine was especially amazed by the variety and she thinks they look like little faces.

There was so much more there - the treehouses, the Italian Water Gardens, the color blocks (huge beds of different colors or flowers - amazing), the topiary gardens, the fountains and wooded walks....I highly recommend a day in Longwood.  Visit their site by clicking here.

06 June 2016


My vision is not that great.  It's getting worse with age and I will need bifocals, no doubt about it.  But there is one thing about my vision that is clear - I can see shapes in places all around me.  I was that kid that was always looking into the clouds and seeing an elephant.  I see faces and animals and who knows what in all the patterns around me.  In the bathroom at the office where I work there is a little face in the texture on the walls.  I swear.  Now look at this picture that Josephine caught of the tree line on the road to our house.  What is that in the trees?  Do you see him?  Yes.  You do see him.  It's the Road Runner from the cartoons.  Clear.  As.  Day.  I showed this one to my kids and now they believe me.  Mom has vision.

And for any of you wondering, that's the side or a round hay bale in the foreground.  Arkansas has a beautiful countryside.