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.

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!

02 August 2017

Samantha is Eighteen!

Samantha turned 18.  She really didn't want to, and it was hard because her friends she would've celebrated with were all in Arkansas.  This helped::
We picked Jonathan up from BWI airport on a Saturday and Samantha's Birthday Week was officially underway.

Warning:  LOTS and LOTS of pictures.....

Samantha had planned out Jonboy's week in Maryland.  Each day was a new adventure.  

On Sunday, we had church and birthday dinner for Samantha.  We have to rest up cause it's going to be a busy week.  The Bigs - Rachel, Samantha, Evan and Jonboy went to another eastern treat for a late night ice cream - Friendly's.  Samantha is so glad to have Jonboy here and wants to show him all of Maryland treasures.
Our birthday girl Samantha.  Eighteen years young.
On Monday, everyone went to my brother Eric's house and hung out there.  No-one took pictures.  Everyone was busy swimming and grilling and talking and talking and talking.  Everyone except me, 'cause I was working.  For dinner, Mom took me to Friendly's and got me ice cream as a consolation prize.  Thanks Ma!  (She's so cute.)
On Tuesday, Mom got to be one of the "Bigs" and take Samantha, Jonboy, Rachel and Evan to DC for the day.  They went to the Smithsonian and the national monuments.

On Wednesday, Samantha's actual birthday, they went to Betterton Beach, just 8 minutes drive from our house and played in the water all day.  Wednesday evening we celebrated Samantha's birthday with a watermelon as a birthday "cake".  We also set off fireworks.  Are those legal in Maryland?  All we did was scare the cows.
This is a firework picture.  I'm not a photographer, sorry.  Actually a lot of these pictures came from the kids' snapchat stories.  Yeah, I'm hip.  Down.  Lit.  Whatever they are saying this week.  Gotta stay on their social media, right?

On Thursday, they went to The Beach - Ocean City.  Jonboy dipped his toes in the cold Atlantic and they walked the boardwalk and rode the rides.  Gavin, their cousin, joined them for the day.  Then there was pizza for supper and more rides.

Friday, sadly, was Jonboy's last day and it poured rain.  No worries, though, we were headed to Climb Zone in Laurel Maryland on our way to BWI.  They climbed for hours - HOURS!  
Rachel and Evan scaling Mt. Rushmore.

Charlotte on the doughnuts and JMichael about to climb the mountain.

JMichael and Josephine about halfway up.

Samantha and Jonboy taking a breather mid way.

 This place is great fun.

JMichael loved it.
This wall was for racing to the top.  Samantha is beating Jonboy.

And coasting down after her victory.

Jonboy, Samantha, Rachel, Evan, JMichael (in front), Josephine and Charlotte.  They loved Climb Zone.  Highly recommend it.

Charlotte is our cheerleader, shouting encouragement to JMichael.

Josephine, repelling down.

Lots of fun.

The walls go about three stories in the air.

Samantha, on her way down, with style.

There was also a clear wall with grips on both sides so you could climb while starring down your opponent - cause it's always about winning, right?

They all said this actually made it harder 'cause you get laughing at each other.

Evan and Jonboy giving it a try.

They found it easier to climb using the outer wall as a grip.  There are no referees at Climb Zone.

JMichael giving it a try with a boy he made friends with.

Charlotte, JMichael, Samantha and Jonathan.  

Jonathan looking down from the top.

Josephine and JMichael at the airport watching Jonboy's plane take off.

So glad you came out for Samantha and for her birthday.  And for us.  Come visit us again really soon.

We put Jonboy back on the plane and sadly headed home.  Samantha says being an adult is not always fun.  She's just getting started.  College begins this fall.  Jonboy still lives literally a thousand miles away and she's had so much change.  She's strong.  She's fierce.  And, she's ready.  Happy Birthday, Samantha!

31 July 2017

Splash - July 2017

The splash this month is a little different.  I only had four kids, since Rachel is still in Arkansas.  Samantha was able to put Rachel's picture in JMichael's "hands" through Snapchat.  The bridge is the Chesapeake City Bridge over the C&D Canal, where we went for fireworks.