Ransom Family

Random Ramblings and Happenings

September 2019

Olivia and I have watched the Downton Abbey series over the last few months (I was rewatching) so when the movie came out, we went to see it together. It was fantastic! If you liked the series, you’ll LOVE the movie! (Also, I think I’ve been to more movies in the last few months than in the last few years.  Finally, some decent movies are coming out!)
Andy and I traveled to Yakima to get our blood drawn for our health insurance discount.  It’s the most stressful day of the year for me. Getting my blood drawn is the worst. Hard to find veins+veins that roll+blood that doesn’t like to leave my body=lots of pokes and frustration.  I wouldn’t do this at all if I didn’t have to for the health insurance discount. At least I get to go to Miners Restaurant afterwards.  Seriously though, so stressful! And the bruises don’t get better for a few weeks.
At our weekly piano lesson the music teacher asked if Vincent would like to go fishing with her and her grandson just after the lesson.   They didn’t catch anything, but they had a fun time.
One of the coolest parts of working at Fountain Books is the events we do.  We have in store author visits, concerts, and so much more. We had a Variety Show in September with a comedian, beat-boxer, and three singers. It was super fun and hilarious! The performers were very friendly and visited with whoever wanted to afterwards. Steve Soelberg, Matt Newman, Tanner Ja, Sage Patchin, and Cayson Renshaw were the performers.   Our next show is David Archuleta for a Christmas concert in December! (He came about a year and a half ago to do a concert here with Fountain Books too).
This month I celebrated my two year anniversary working at Fountain Books. I still absolutely love my job and the great people I work with as well as the customers we get to help. In so many ways it feels much longer than two years (in the best possible way)!
Seriously, the best place to work!
This month was full of school events, PTA, work, church, and more….
At Abby’s Open House, her teacher had a poster on the board and asked us to describe our child in one word. Guess which word I wrote to describe Abby at her school open house tonight?
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If you guessed precocious, you are correct.  She’s some of those other things too, but so much more.
Speaking of school, it makes my non-math heart happy to hear my kids loving math.
Elizabeth printed off extra pages to do during class because most of her class failed their pre-calculus test and are relearning the unit, but she scored at 97% so she’ll have time to do some math practice. And she also decided that she wants to become a math teacher.
Olivia created index cards to figure out geometry problems and tries her very best to learn how to do geometry.
Vincent is all upset that he’s been in school for weeks and still doesn’t have any math homework. (lol. What kind of kid is mad about NOT having homework? Mine…)
Abby was busy this morning before school doing math problems on a worksheet from school and often makes her own “Math is Fun” booklets.
I’m so very glad they have found something to enjoy in math and inherited Andy’s math-analytical brain.
While I was at a PTA training, Andy took Abby and our niece to the school skate night.  My friend Ally sent me pictures of Luke with the girls and her with Andy.  I was jealous that I didn’t get to hang out with her!  Our schedules don’t mesh lately and it’s sad, but we are still good friends.
She even got Andy to smile.  She said he said my name and he smiled. Awww…
I did something new. I got to do a little PTA training for our local PTAs about how to be a secretary. It was an hour presentation from our State PTA that I taught. It went well (I hope!) Plus, I have a fancy name tag I get to wear during a few more trainings in our area.  I’m part of the Region 12 service delivery team this year, in addition to being Richland Council Secretary and CJMS PTA President.  We help with training and support throughout the year.
This is our Region 12 support team.  It’s fun to get to know them.
Elizabeth’s and Olivia’s quilts were entered in the Walla Walla Quilt Show.  I was busy that day, so Andy took them to meet up with their aunt who drove them the rest of the way to Walla Walla to check them all out.
Elizabeth’s Grandma Quilt Camp Quilt that she designed and put together in just over a week.
Elizabeth’s Spring Break Star Wars T-Shirt that she decided to make during Spring Break this year.
Olivia with her Grandma Quilt Camp quilt.
Abby went to a classmate’s mermaid party.  I hung out there with her to help dish up ice cream and help with other things (party was 20 minutes away and I didn’t want to have to drive back out and it’s nice to get to know the other moms).
Elizabeth went to a fancy dance with a friend. There was a group of religious people who decided they didn’t want to go to the school Homecoming, so they rented an event center and sold cheaper tickets the same night and also played nicer music and had a free professional photographer.  Elizabeth asked a friend to go with her.  They had a good time.  
September is always so full getting used to back to school and adjusting schedules.  And now we’re halfway through October almost.  Life goes on and we love it.

 

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August 2019

Abby and Vincent shopped with me the beginning of August. They asked if I would buy Brussels sprouts. Abby took over the kitchen chore over the weekend and wanted to cook them up to go with our dinner. She helped clean them and I cut them and she seasoned them.  They were not a hit, but everyone gobbled up the zucchini.
We said good-bye to one of our long-time sister missionaries, Sister Roberts.  She moved to Burbank where I grew up. I get to go out with the missionaries often as ward missionary.  They are great!
Abby started an art camp at the community center the last few days of July through the beginning of August with a friend (and the other kids in the class).  They had a little art show at the end of the week.  I was working, but Andy took a few pictures.
I took this one of the girls on the second day.
The morning art group.  Another friend of Abby’s was in the afternoon class.
One day Grandma Mary came over to make pillowcases with the kids to enter in the fair.  Vincent hadn’t sewn before and was pretty excited about using the sewing machine.
Abby and Vincent with their finished pillowcases.
I took Elizabeth and Olivia to the high school for their schedule pick up when they finished making their pillowcases.  Elizabeth is a Junior this year and Olivia is a freshman.  They even have a class together!  Zero hour Spanish 2.
A movie showing of “The Fighting Preacher” was arranged by a group in our area.  They asked Fountain Books to help a little, and I was the ‘face’ of Fountain Books.  We had some fun giveaways and the theater was packed!  The movie continued to play for two weeks in the theater publicly after this private showing.  Aunt Roma, Uncle Gordon,  and my mom came to see it with me.
Vincent went on a few campouts at the end of the summer with his 11 year old scout group.  They set up their own tent and plan their meals, shop for their food, and pass off requirements for each trip. Andy has gone on the campouts with Vincent when he can, mostly just to be a third adult.  These boys are pretty fun!
One last fun weekend up at the mountain to visit Andy’s parents. They are headed on a church mission to the Philippines for 18 months.  Olivia, Vincent, and Abby really like the side-by-side riding with Grandma Shirley.
Vincent brought his orchestra piano music to play for Grandma Shirley.  He’s been practicing some of it all summer.  He is signed up to be the orchestra pianist in the 7/8 grade zero hour orchestra and in the 6th grade orchestra, so he has 2 hours of orchestra every day at school. (Bonus: No extra instrument rental or practice).  He works on his orchestra piano music during his regular piano lessons.
I attended a PTA training in August to help train local leaders with some fun people.
Olivia turned 14.  She planned her party and invited a bunch of friends over for dinner and games.
Andy’s parents spoke at church before they head out for their mission.
Vincent hung out with me at the middle school for the schedule pick up day where I was helping at the middle school PTA info/membership table.  He had a 3 hour orientation in the middle of it.  He’s ready for middle school!
A friend invited him over to meet other new 6th grade boys the weekend before school started.  They all geeked out over the same things.  It was great to have them get to know each other before school started.
Abby met her teacher a few days before third grade.  I only have one kid in elementary school now!  Crazy!  By the time I’m done with kids in elementary school, it will have been 14 years.  They had a fun photo prop set up.
Abby on the official first day of school!  All three other kids were up and ready and out of the house for zero hour before she and I woke up (and I promised them I wouldn’t take their picture on the first day of school if they let me take it when they picked up their schedules).
Walla Walla County Fair is during our first week of school, so we couldn’t go until Saturday.  We went to a nephew birthday party at the pool first and then over to the fair to check it out, eat some fair food, and see how their entries did.
Elizabeth entered two quilts and a pillowcase.
Olivia entered one quilt, a pillowcase, and a bracelet.
Vincent entered a Lego creation and pillowcase.
Abby entered one of her art pieces, her pillowcase, a ceramic heart, and pajama pants she made at activity days.
They all received blue ribbons for their pillowcases.
Close up of one of Elizabeth’s quilts.  She got a 2nd on this one.
Olivia’s quilt received a special ribbon.
The most not fun at all part of August and into September was ear pain.  I thought it must have been a giant cyst on my eardrum or an ear infection or something.  My ear and head hurt, I couldn’t hear, and my face all around my ear was swollen.  I made an appointment to see a doctor after I was up most of a night with the pain.  They said that the fluid behind my ear was clear and there wasn’t really anything they could do.  A few days later my ear on the other side started doing the same thing. My allergies and sinuses seemed to be working together to make my ears clogged up.    My massage therapist said she could try massage and worked out enough fluid so it relieved the pressure and it didn’t hurt anymore. but it was like having cotton balls in my ears.  I still couldn’t hear fully for another week or so.  I improved a talent of reading lips and have a renewed appreciation for the hearing sense.  I was feeling like this page in Dr. Seuss’s, “One Fish Two Fish” book.
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Happy end of summer!

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July 2019

We kicked July off with a wedding reception for my nephew who got married in May.  They had a beautiful backyard reception.
I found this cute picture of Abby in the pictures they just posted.
Elizabeth loved hanging out with her newest baby cousin who we finally got to meet.
Congratulations, Jared and Lexi!
Andy was in charge of our ward 4th of July breakfast this year.  We had it at Leslie Groves Park.  It was great.  I took this picture of our sister missionaries and sent it to their moms for them.
We had a Crowther reunion in Pasco with my cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Grandma Mary needed a picture of her granddaughters all together.
Me and three of my brothers.  We missed our youngest two siblings at this activity, but saw Janessa the next day.
On the 5th, we drove to Walla Walla to meet up with everyone who could go at the city pool. Vincent loves to swim.
Anna hung out with me for a few minutes while her mom took care of the baby.  I gave her a snack.  I might be her favorite now. (maybe not, but at least she wasn’t crying).
On the 6th we left the littler kids at our house with two young women from our ward to babysit while the rest of us went to the temple.  This group did baptisms (Grandma Mary was there too).
And we did some temple sealings.
We always enjoy time spent in the temple.
Sunday we drove over to Walla Walla to visit with Brant and Tina’s family one more time before they left for home the next morning.  Our kids love to hang out with their kids.
My mom had about a day before she invited more grandkids to her house for Grandma’s Quilt Camp! See progress at her house here here here and here.

 

Elizabeth and Olivia each chose their colors and designed their quilts with a program my mom has before quilt camp. Elizabeth chose black, white, blue, and a light floral print this year.  You’ll have to wait until my August blog to she her whole quilt because she didn’t quite get it finished at quilt camp this year.
My mom puts up a flannel board so the girls can arrange and rearrange their blocks just the way they want.  (She uses it too!)  Here’s Olivia working on her quilt.
Lydia and Olivia with their quilt tops finished up.  Now Grandma’s work really begins as she quilts them on her machine.
This picture I really love.  It’s a screenshot of the quilt Olivia designed next to the quilt top she made.  Pretty awesome!
Elizabeth stayed with Grandma for an extra night (Olivia came home on Friday to go to a friend’s party).  Saturday morning while I went to work Andy took the three younger kids up to the mountain to visit his parents.  They rode the side-by-side.
They played some Risk.
They had a fun time.  Our buddy Nathan went with them too.
Oh, and this month we finally got the hermit crab Vincent has been working towards for a year or two…. He became Vincent Junior by default.  A few days later Olivia picked one out and named it Marvin.  Marvin likes to hide under the sand or the log so I don’t have any pictures of him.  Everyone at our house likes to peek in their glass house and see what they are up to.
It was really strange to have Elizabeth and Olivia pick me up to run to the grocery store this month and I sat in the back seat!  Elizabeth’s a nice, careful driver.
Vincent got his braces off this month.  They were on for a little less than a year and have improved his bite dramatically!  This is probably just the first phase for him, but his teeth didn’t have any room to grow in, so it was necessary.
We went to our ward campout at Teancum Timbers the afternoon he got his retainer.  The next morning he lost it at breakfast.  We had a fun campout, even though Andy wasn’t able to join us.  He got in late Friday night from a work trip (and then had to meet the washer and dryer we ordered because our washer was leaking-but it lasted over 14 years!)  Back to the campout:  We pitched our tents (Olivia wanted to sleep in our small tent with Abby), we roasted marshmallows, we rode the zipline, we played with friends, and Vincent and Abby played in the creek.  The young women in our ward did a great job planning this activity.
Our local library had a free paint night.  I didn’t love how mine turned out, but I had a fun time making it with one of my PTA friends.
I was busy at work in July.  We got new clothing things in and arranged.  The new line is super cute.  This one was a favorite and then its zipper broke so we discounted it and I bought it for Olivia who took it in so she could wear it.  I love it!
Happy July!  Hope your summer is going well (or are you back to school already?)
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June 2019

It was a lot of fun to get to help at Abby’s 2nd grade field day the beginning of June.  I love seeing her with her friends and her intensity during the tug-of-war.    She and one of her friends kept trying to sneak away to find and catch bees.  Apparently that’s something they like to do at recess…. Probably not the best idea.
Abby had a dentist appointment for a cleaning and came out without cavities, so Andy and I took her out to dinner at her favorite, Texas Roadhouse.  She got a little steak and plenty of rolls.  Andy decided this was a good thing to do a year or two ago because going out to eat is special, but still less expensive than fillings.
While we’re on the topic of teeth, Olivia got her braces off in June.  The top pictures are her before and after getting her braces on and the bottom pictures are the before and after getting them off.  She’s pretty excited to go to high school without braces.

Elizabeth took her driving test (in the rain) and passed it, so she drove herself and Olivia to school the final week of school. So excited for this new adventure and her newfound freedom (and mine!)

One of Elizabeth’s first tasks after getting her license was taking Abby to a baptism for a boy in our ward and then taking her to a mother-daughter birthday painting party while I worked.  They both painted sea stars and had a good time.

Elizabeth sewed her t-shirts together over Spring Break and my mom quilted it and bound it.  Elizabeth was thrilled to see it completed and promptly put it on display on our living room couch.
Vincent finished fifth grade and is moving up to middle school.  A friend took this picture of him for me because Andy and I went out of town the last few days of school to go to his niece’s wedding in Utah.
One of Olivia’s friends sent me a cute picture of them on the last day of 8th grade.  They are moving up to high school, but will be going to different schools.
Andy and I took some time the night before the wedding to go to the Salt Lake Temple.  Neither of us had ever done an endowment session there before and it is scheduled for an intense remodel the end of the year and we wanted to go.  It was beautiful and intricate and very interesting.

Andy’s niece Kate got married just two days before our 18th anniversary, so I was all nostalgic anyway, but then I remembered this picture from our wedding in the Portland Temple.  That little girl who ran up to give me a hug was our niece Kate.  So, so sweet!

And now Kate is married herself!  Josh is a nice guy and it was great to meet his family and visit with Andy’s sister and her family.
Can you spot us in the big group picture?

Because I’m nostalgic this time of year, I thought I’d post a picture of the day I went through the Spokane Temple for the first time a few days before our wedding.  Andy and I are with our parents afterwards.

My mom posted a cute collage of me on my birthday/anniversary/Father’s Day.
She also watched our kids while we were in Utah. They aren’t old enough to be left alone overnight yet.  It was a huge help to know they were taken care of.
Happy Father’s Day/Anniversary to Andy!
My favorite fathers on Father’s Day:  Andy with Elizabeth and Olivia at Disneyland, my dad with Vincent, Andy’s dad with Ezra and Vincent, and my Grandpa Gordon.
I had a few extra days off work when I got home from our trip, so I was finally able to take the kids over to my friend’s house to swim. We caught up with each other’s lives while we watched the kids swimming.
Elizabeth and Andy helped at Cub Scout Day Camp for our ward with the Sun Dial station.  They lucked out and got a shady spot.

The next week Elizabeth and Olivia headed to Girl’s Camp.  Elizabeth went up a day early to help set everything up as a YCL.  She also helped with some of the classes, and took charge of a course on maps, which by all accounts was hilarious and fun and informational.  One of my friends who has a daughter Olivia’s age said Elizabeth could be a stand-up comedian.  I’m glad she worked so hard and was so helpful at camp.  She was frustrated some of the girls didn’t want to sleep when it was time to sleep, but other than that, she had a great time.

Olivia LOVES Girl’s Camp.  She looks forward to it every year.  This year our stake changed how they arrange the girls and camped by grade levels instead of by wards.  She was worried about this at the beginning because our ward has always really enjoyed their time together, but the freshman group of girls is pretty great and one of her friends from school came with a friend in another ward too, so it was nice they could all be together.

Freshman Group at Camp (with leaders)

While the girls were at Girl’s Camp, Andy had a work trip to North Carolina and was gone that whole week (Sunday-Friday).    Meanwhile, I was busy at work with our annual inventory.  I had to find a kind friend to watch Vincent and Abby while I was working and when they woke up, they walked over to her house.  Our inventory went smoothly and now we’re done for another year with that.
Our June seemed to go right into July.  It’s been a busy summer so far but we are having a good time!

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May 2019

May was so crazy I needed most of June to recover…. At least it felt like it.  I was so glad to tear my calendar page off at the end of the month because then I had a (mostly) fresh month without so many end of the year activities going on.
We kicked off the month with a music field trip to the Oregon Coast.  I chaperoned a group of eight orchestra kids in Olivia’s class.  They were great kids and it was a lot of fun.  Most groups were either all boys or all girls, but I got a mix.  There were about 150 kids on the trip from band, choir, and orchestra.  They go on this trip each year to perform in the Long Beach Founders Day Parade (I guess one of the oldest ones on the Oregon Coast) and it gives them a chance to do something together.  The choir does flags ahead of the marching band and the orchestra joined in with some flags at the back and some extra percussion instruments.
On the way down (we met at 5am to load buses) we stopped at the Oregon Zoo in Portland where we went around for a few hours. Then we drove to Seaside and got everyone checked into their rooms and then we were free to roam (in our groups called pods) until 9pm when they were having a fire on the beach with s’mores.  We decided to go down to the beach and walk around a little bit and then walked around Seaside until we found somewhere everyone wanted to eat.  Then we had ice cream and went in a tourist area where some of them bought fun tie-dye t-shirts and we watched a man making huge bubbles with a rope.  We headed back to the hotel and they changed into swimsuits so they could join the other 50 kids in the hotel pool for awhile. Oh, man, it was LOUD in there and it was like teenager soup.  No one was actually swimming…. Later we met up on the beach for s’mores and then they were all bored and begging to go back to their rooms to go to bed.  Perfect. ;)  I just had to get up with my adult roommate to go check the hallways and noise levels during one hour in the middle of the night.
This collage has more of just me and Olivia over the weekend.  There she is with her interesting percussion instrument….
We stopped by the Astoria Column and the kids learned from a lady there all about it and then they climbed to the top and were able to toss a glider down.  They did a big group picture there too.
Then off to Long Beach for the parade!  The fire station there had lunch for anyone in the parade who needed it and that’s what our group did.  Then the kids lined up and started practicing their song.  I met up with them along the route with another mom who videoed their marching while I took pictures.
Kind of a lot of pictures….
Video here.
Right after we got back to town Sunday night, it was time for Teacher Appreciation Week.  I’m the middle school PTA President, so I did a lot of the work for that, but it was fun.  Monday the school took care of teachers with donated gift cards and Krispy Kreme donuts.  Tuesday Costa Vida donated the luncheon for 80 staff!  So awesome!  Wednesday I filled a bucket with mints and bought packs of gum for their first day of state testing and a friend went over at lunchtime with some notecards and stamps for the kids to write thank you notes to teachers.  Thursday was the big special day with school supplies.  I went shopping earlier in the week and picked up supplies that teachers I know said they’d love and that they run out of.  I found awesome deals at Office Depot and then bought more at Big Lots and Dollar Tree. It was a hit.  Friday was donations from parents of desserts.  I don’t think they were used to getting much more than a potluck luncheon, so this made them feel pretty good, I think.  And it was fun.
 At the end of that week my oldest nephew got married. We took a family picture before the ceremony.  Abby was grumpy and I don’t remember why…
Congratulations, Jared and Lexi!
We celebrated Mother’s Day the following day.  I’m so grateful for mothers in my life and all that they have taught me and continue to teach me.
The next weekend was the carnival at the elementary school.  I helped at the Cake Walk booth.  Our school picture photographer company brought a photobooth over with props for the kids to take pictures during carnival.  I sent Vincent and Abby over. As you can see, they hardly have any* personality.
*I mean, they have A LOT of personality.
The next day our ward had a big service project (I was at work).  The youth and adults built bunk beds for kids in our area who don’t have beds and they also finished some quilts to give.  Olivia and Elizabeth helped with both quilts and building, but I just have pictures of the quilting.
It was a successful project and great to give service with Sleep in Heavenly Peace.  There are branches all over the country that give to those in need.
Andy had a work trip, but I got to go out to eat one day with Andy’s parents, grandma, two of his sisters, and an adorable niece.   It’s always nice to visit (especially on an extra long lunch break on our shipment day….thanks, Heather!)
For Memorial Day we went to the mountain to visit George and Shirley and several of Shirley’s siblings and Andy’s sisters.  These girls picked an awful lot of flowers to decorate the eating area.
And Vincent did his best to zap some bugs and also tried catching some lizards.
May 28th was a little crazy.  Vincent auditioned for the middle school orchestra.  I talked to the teacher on the bus to the coast about not wanting Vincent to have to haul an instrument around (and keep track of it next year) and she asked how long he had been playing piano and if he could be her pianist for orchestra.  So he practiced three songs and went to ‘audition’ with her before school.  (The audition was not totally necessary.  I kind of said he had to audition even though I knew he was the only one auditioning, but I wanted her to hear how he plays and for them to meet before just telling him he was the pianist.)  Guess what?!  She liked it and asked him to join orchestra.  She sent home the music for next year with Olivia for Vincent to practice over the summer.
Both Vincent and Olivia had concerts that evening at the same time in different places.  Andy went to Olivia’s orchestra concert and I went to Vincent’s district mallet showcase.  A friend sent me some pictures of Olivia at her concert.
Video from audition here and here.
Video from marimba concert here and here.
Video from Olivia’s 8th grade group of orchestra kids here.
I like it when our Clot Trot shirts come out (which is almost daily because we have so many and we like to wear them for pajamas.)  This day they all matched, but Abby’s shirt was from a different year they used that color.
I was asked to go to the elementary school award assembly for Abby to receive an award from her teacher for being responsible (not responsible enough to keep her top shirt on apparently….)  She was upset because it got really loud during the awards with all of the kids clapping and cheering to the music they play so she went out in the hall with me for a little bit to calm down.  She has loved her teacher this year.  She also loves helping in the cafeteria after breakfast and lunch with the ladies who work there.  She helps them clean tables and trays and all kinds of things and even helps lead the other kids who go over to help.  They are teaching Abby some Spanish while she helps too.  I love it!
The middle school PTA (again, me and some help) planned a party for the 8th graders.
BBQ, nacho bar, candy, shaved ice, volleyball, ping pong, cornhole, karaoke, photo booth, raffle prizes, along with a fun outdoor Capture the Chicken game some of the kids in the ASB wanted to plan and a game truck (when our inflatable obstacle course was canceled on us last minute) made for a pretty great party!  We had about 150 kids at the party and they all seemed to have a really fun time.
So much fun that they didn’t want to go home…. we were cleaned up and had to push the last ones out and even then, when I left, we stopped by the softball field and there were kids out there in the sprinklers.  Olivia looked out and figured out they were some of her friends so I let her go hang out with them for a little bit.  They didn’t get wet where they were standing.  They had a good time.
It was a fitting end to a crazy busy month of event after event and working and Andy work trips and an awful lot of planning and scheduling.
All I can say is that I survived.  Oh and I was re-elected to run the middle school PTA again next year with a new principal and assistant principal who came to our last meeting of the year to meet everyone.  I think it will be a good year and hope to have a better idea of what to expect and how to get it all done and also how to ask for help more.

 

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April 2019

We kicked off Spring Break with a visit to Grandma Ellen and Grandpa Paul.  We caught them outside in the garden planting potatoes.  It was Grandma Ellen’s 91st birthday and Paul is 96 and in a wheelchair. Still, they love to garden and do so much for themselves.  I was glad we showed up when we did so they could direct a little more than work.  And they asked that the kids come back and help more once a week for awhile until they get their giant garden all planted at least.  They are such great examples of hard work and patience and love.  They are just so happy and kind.
A friend saw the quilts Elizabeth and Olivia made that I posted last month and asked if Elizabeth could make a t-shirt quilt.  She decided to try it out with some of her Star Wars t-shirts.  She finished the top of the quilt in just a few days.
Olivia spent a few days trying to figure out a complicated quilt pattern that another friend of ours asked her to make.  She’s taking a break from it now to maybe get another pattern.  Grandma Mary has taught them well and they are so ambitious!
A neighbor dropped off a giant box of apples. Her husband works at an orchard and these apples fell off of a truck that turned over on its way to a store, but they are still good, so it’s a mixed box of several different varieties.  With how much our kids like fruit, this is a real blessing!  I liked the envy apples best. I made some cookies and took them over to say thank you.  I figured they probably had enough apple treats at their house.
We came home from somewhere and noticed a car door open into the road in front of a neighbor’s house and no one around, so I sent Elizabeth and Abby over to the neighbor’s house to check to see if they wanted the door shut or if they needed help or something.  (We hadn’t met this neighbor yet).  It wasn’t their car, but they shut the door so it wouldn’t get run into and then visited with the neighbor.  They came home and said I needed to go meet her and that they had just moved in and Elizabeth thought she sounded like she needed a friend.  We were making cookies the next day and took some over so I could meet her, but she wasn’t home.  We left the cookies in the mailbox and Abby wrote a note and signed it, “From your neighbors at …”  The next day as I was in the shower I heard a knock at the door and when I was dressed, I found a card on our door thanking us for welcoming them to the neighborhood and how her husband works out of town.  We have delivered flowers over there, but amazingly, my timing must be off because I still haven’t met her officially.  It just feels like we have a secret friendship.
Vincent’s birthday was in January and he moved up to Boy Scouts and I finally had a little time to go and get the patches he needed for the uniform (gifted to us) and got them sewn on.  He is still enjoying scouts and is learning there so much.  It might only be a short time that he is in Boy Scouts with the youth program changing, but now he’s all official.
Camp Wooten is a Fifth Grade Outdoor Education Camp that our fifth graders attend for a week.  I have volunteered to help in the kitchen with each of our kids so far.  Due to the snow, camp had to be rescheduled so there was time for the snow to melt and the camp to get cleaned up.  Normally it’s the week before Spring Break so kids (and teachers) have time to recover. Because of the date change, I was only able to go up for the first half of the week, but I had a good time working in the kitchen.  It IS a lot of work to cook for 160 people (100 fifth grade campers + Teacher Assistants  + Counselors + Staff)  It’s a big operation, but there are great people in charge and many hands make it easier to handle.
It was fun to spot Vincent learning and playing and growing with his classmates.
I didn’t see him a lot, because from about 6am-10pm, the kitchen is BUSY!  However, I took a break to go with him to the fishing activity.  He hadn’t been fishing before and was thrilled to catch his first fish.  I am glad I was there.  Picture below:
They have a tradition at Camp Wooten that when you catch a fish, you have to kiss it.
He had a great time all week!
Olivia had a spirit week and on twin/triplet day she and some friends decided they didn’t want to leave anyone out, so they ended up being quintuplets.
Our school district had an orchestra showcase with all of the orchestras in our district from elementary to high school.  It was cool to hear from each of them and to hear how much they grow in their abilities from beginner to advanced orchestra in high school.  We have an amazing music program in our school district and I’m glad Olivia gets to benefit from that.
Clot Trot #12 was this month.  We have been to all of them (most of us anyway-some weren’t born yet for the first few and another Andy was on a business trip).
It’s always fun to go and support Hemophilia awareness.  I didn’t know anything about bleeding disorders until we started doing the Clot Trot.
Due to our crazy snow canceling everything this year our elementary PTA combined the Donuts for Dad/Morning with Mom into Pastries with Parents.  Andy and I were both able to go with Vincent and Abby.
I asked for an Easter picture.  The kids peeked over my shoulder at my Facebook and said I only wanted it because everyone else was posting their families.  I told them I just wanted one for me, so I didn’t post it on facebook, but I wanted to still capture it here.  Love these kids!
Our lilacs bloomed.  It’s amazing how much they have grown since I bought them as a bundle of sticks 13 years ago when we moved into our house.  Most of them are between 3-4 feet tall and bloom like crazy.  The bees were loving the pollen on them.  I love the smell so much!
We love spring around here, even though it always goes too fast.

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March 2019

Andy had a birthday.  Abby drew him a picture card.
He got a fun new game too.  Happy birthday, Andy!
Vincent wrote a letter to an American’s Hockey player who wrote him back and invited him to a game and to a meet and greet at Chuck E. Cheeses.  Vincent had a fun time!
Sunday ties are awesome.  Vincent’s been tying his own for almost a year now.  This one is a little long on him, but he likes doesn’t like to tuck the short end.
I had a very exciting month at work with THREE great authors who came to see us and did signings while they were in town for a youth and adult conference.
Anthony Sweat and Ganel-Lyn Condie came one afternoon.
Brad Wilcox came the next day between the youth and adult conferences.

They were all so personable and friendly and just down-to-earth.  It was really cool to hang out with them for a little while.
Olivia had a concert at the high school with her middle school orchestra and then we watched the fantastic high school orchestras.
The middle school performed Footloose the musical and several of Olivia’s friends from both school and church were in the show.  They did an amazing job!
It was a lot of fun to watch!
Olivia with her orchestra buddy.
Abby has been loving activity days.  They learned how to sew and cut out pajama pants one week and a few weeks later sewed them up, and finished up with a pajama party.  She was very timid at first after hearing all the warnings about being careful around the sewing machine.  She finally decided to be brave and try it.
Our Temple was closed for a few weeks, so one Saturday I wasn’t scheduled to work Andy and I drove up to the Spokane Temple.  I don’t think I have there been since our Columbia River Temple was dedicated.
We went to a few fun stores (Railroad store and a Deseret Book-spied on the competition-lol) and went out to eat before heading home.
Our Elder’s Quorum hosted an adult unlimited pinewood derby.  Andy made his out of Legos.  It was the Jabbamobile.  It didn’t win for speed, but it did win an award for looks.
Elizabeth and Olivia had quilts in the Tri-City Quilter’s Guild Show.  The quilts they made last summer at Grandma Quilt Camp were entered. They went to see them on Friday and Saturday.
Elizabeth’s quilt.
Olivia’s quilt.
Saturday my brother’s daughter was able to meet them at the Quilt Show and they took a picture with Grandma Mary and the quilt she entered. What a great talent they are learning!
Picture of my girls and my niece.
Busy, busy, as always.  Time flies when you’re having fun they say.

 

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February 2019

Vincent’s 11th birthday was the last day of January.  He had his party that weekend.  They played video games and had a nerf war and had cupcakes he decorated. Abby joined in the fun. I was at a funeral for a friend’s father during the first part of the party, but they all had a good time playing games and running around even though it was cold.
Vincent moved up to the eleven year old BOY SCOUTS.  He was pretty excited about it!
Elizabeth turned 16 the beginning of February.  She texted me on her birthday asking about which day would be best for a group date she and some friends were planning.  They planned it all out for a few weeks later and played video games, board games, had pizza and cookies and had a fun time together.  Then they did it all again the next weekend at someone else’s house.  It was snowy here since her birthday, so she hasn’t taken her driving test yet.
Olivia had a rehearsal for a Solo and Ensemble Festival that ended up being canceled due to the snow, but they played for families a few days ahead, so we were still able to see it.
Olivia and her friend Katherine practicing their duet.
We said farewell to a favorite sister missionary when she came by for a visit.
Her companion gets to stay here to train a new companion.
We played some fun games at game night.  We even broke out my Grandma Zora’s Scrabble set one night.  I was lucky and won this time (rare).
We had a lot of snow for our area, especially so late in the season, and had some snow days.  While Elizabeth was home she worked on her painting for Andy’s parents.  They requested sepia tones and Elizabeth delivered.  I put the painting next to the original picture for reference.
Did I mention that it snowed here?  It was a LOT!  My littler car has been snowed into the driveway for a month.  Things are finally starting to melt, but everything just shut down here for weeks.  We had five snow days in a row and then another round of snow the next week that canceled another day for our school and two more for the neighboring towns.  One of those weekends was a TEN day weekend with the snow days and President’s Day.  Kind of crazy.  Here’s our front yard.
I posted a picture of one of the afternoons it started snowing online and my brother and sister in law sent me a picture of their snow in Wyoming and said my teacher brother had only missed one school day due to avalanche warnings in the canyon he drives through to get to the school.
Meanwhile, Andy went out on a billionaire’s yacht in Seattle and sent me this picture…
I was only mildly jealous.
Glad it’s all starting to melt and I’m so ready for SPRING!
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January 2019

Our winter break was extra long this year because our district went to school through Friday, December 21st before starting it.  We had two full weeks off still and the kids didn’t have to go back until January 7th.
While we had some time together we made a trip up to Andy’s parent’s house in the mountains.  By then most of the snow they had was melted, but the girls still went on a picture walk with me and tried to skate on the hill of ice.
Andy played Risk with Vincent and his dad while we were walking.  Then he played with Abby too.  And then they were on a Risk kick and wanted to play every day.  Luckily, Andy was home and took the week off of work so he was available to play.
Vincent loves it when he gets gifts that involve him building things.  This one was one of his Christmas gifts.
I was very busy working most of the month.  We are only closed on Sundays, but I worked all but five of the days we were open in January.  It was kind of exhausting, but I still love my job.  I was also asked to be the manager of the clothing side and the social media for both sides here and two other bookstores they own.  Now it’s a little more balanced with the bookstore manager and I and she’s not quite as overwhelmed with all of it while she is finishing her master’s degree.
Abby turned EIGHT this month. Time flies!
 
I met my parents at the temple one day to take pictures of her in the dress I wore when I was eight and was baptized.  My mom bought it for me and then my sister wore it, Elizabeth and Olivia wore it, and my niece wore it too.  Now Abby has as well.  It’s a great tradition and so pretty!
Abby asked to be baptized on her birthday.  I’m grateful for her decision to be baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and her faith in Christ.
The following day we had a few friends over to paint birdhouse and little jewelry boxes with Abby for her birthday party and to have some cake. It was casual and fun.
Abby and I decorated the ‘8’ cake with M&M’s like a picture we found online.
Abby and her buddies at the end of the party.  Gotta have good friends.
The following week was Vincent’s 11th birthday.  He is learning and growing too and enjoys games and reading and building things.
Andy was in California on his birthday, so I bought some pizza and some ice cream cake from DQ and we had a little party.  The kids decided it would be fun to put 35 candles on the tiny ice cream cake for all three of their birthdays (Elizabeth will be 16 on February 6th).  The room was a little hazy…
Love these birthday kids!
Olivia wasn’t totally forgotten this month.  She started organ lessons with her piano teacher.  We ordered the special organ shoes and a few organ music books and she had her first lesson.
It’s been a great start to the year.

 

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December 2018

Where to begin?!  December was so full of fun and work and family and friends and finishing gift shopping (not too much because I got most of it done early this year and don’t go overboard.)
Anyway, we started the season with an orchestra concert at the middle school.  Andy was out of town for work.  Grandpa Paul and Grandma Mary joined Abby and I to watch the concert.  It was mostly holiday songs and it was a lot of fun.  Olivia really likes her new orchestra teacher (new teacher for each year of middle school isn’t great, but the current one is the best one she’s had in middle school, so that’s good.)  She did a wonderful job!
Videos here here here and here.  I sent the links to her teacher who played them for the class the next day.  Apparently, the cellos were annoyed they weren’t in the video much.  Sorry.  Your parents are welcome to send links and take video too.  It’s too hard to video the whole orchestra.
We had our Ward Christmas Party.  The young women were in charge this year.  They arranged some musical performances by members of our ward.  Andy and Vincent were asked to dress up as shepherds and sing a part.  Olivia accompanied them on the piano.  Video here.
Then Olivia was part of a musical number on violin. Video here.
Olivia offered to wrap our presents again this year.  It’s the best.  I offered her services to others who felt overwhelmed with it this year, but then Olivia got a little cold and was too busy to arrange it.
We had some lovely sunny days in December.  I love being able to wear sunglasses along with my coat in the winter.
Grandma Mary, Olivia, and I went to the Nutcracker Ballet this year.  Some of Olivia’s friends were in it.  One of them even played the Clara part!  It was fun to go and get their autographs after the show.
Abby showed off some of her singing and dancing skills at a second grade play as part of the chorus.  Vincent played marimbas at the same concert, but I didn’t catch him before running older girls to mutual.
Another December weekend was the concert that Fountain Books hosted with Lexi Walker.  It was so great!  I don’t have the official photographer pictures of us with her yet… BUT here’s a few I took.
Lexi on stage.  She is only 16, but has SO much energy!  She had a little three-person orchestra and a drummer and a pianist (who composed most of her album and many others) on stage with her.  The orchestra was made up of local musicians, one of which was the judge for Olivia’s Solo and Ensemble Festival last spring.
I decided that it would be fun to take Abby to this concert because she wants to be an opera singer (among about eight other careers.)  She loved going to the fancy VIP dinner and meeting Lexi and taking a picture with her, but didn’t love the listening and sitting still and not complaining part of the concert… She got better when Lexi sang “Let it Go” from Frozen with Alex Boye which was Lexi’s breakout YouTube video. Check that out here.
I invited our neighbor to join my mom and Abby and I at that concert.  She is one of Abby’s best friends.
Our friend Nathan was part of a cast of a Reader’s Theater “A Christmas Carol”.  Andy had a meeting, so I took Vincent and Abby with me to watch. They had Santa visiting in the foyer and a few crafts set up too.  Vincent and Abby did a great job watching the play, maybe because they didn’t know the story and had to pay attention?  Anyway, Nathan was Bob Cratchit in the play and it was fun to watch.
We gathered with the Crowther cousins at my brother’s house for a soup and rolls dinner and a gift exchange on the Eve of Christmas Eve.  We were too busy visiting to take pictures….
Christmas Eve (after work), we went to Andy’s sister’s house for dessert and gift exchange and visiting.  Abby and Vincent both held their baby cousin and I even got a picture of it this time. We did the nativity puppets my mom made us for Christmas one year and went home to be ready for Santa to come.
And Santa did come!  The kids liked their gifts and had a little time to play with them before we headed over to Walla Walla to have dinner with my parents and visit.
My sister came over with her two boys for part of Christmas Day too.
Me and my mom and sister.
Playing Scrabble.
The day after Christmas we arranged a time to go to the Temple to do some baptisms for family names with my parents and two of my brothers and their sons (Elizabeth wasn’t feeling well, so I saved some names for her to do this month.)  It was extra awesome because one of my nephews was able to baptize his brothers in the ordinance.  Time spent in the temple can’t be beat!
We spent a low key New Year’s Eve relaxing and playing games with friends.  I’ve worked quite a bit this month, so it was lucky that Andy was able to take the week of Christmas off to hang out with the kids while they were home during Winter Break.
Copied from my Facebook post:
I’m so grateful for scriptures and all that they teach me.
I accepted a challenge from a friend this year to read the Bible by the end of the year and just finished. It was good to remember all of the things that were told to people all throughout time to bless and benefit them and to help them to return to live with Heavenly Father again.
I think it’s easy for us to say, “Why didn’t they just listen to Moses? All they had to do was keep the commandments and they wouldn’t have had to wander the desert for 40 years!” But it’s harder for us to examine ourselves and whether we are doing all that we need to do to not be ‘wandering in the desert’.
I was surprised nearly daily how the Old and New Testament reading I did was often about the same things. Scriptures are for us to read and to learn from.
This year I’ve also finished reading Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Prices, and The Book of Mormon with Andy and The Book of Mormon by myself as urged to by our living prophet today, Russell M. Nelson, in October. So many truths and experiences are included there that are written for us and apply to our day and the challenges we are faced with. As I read and marked the names of the Savior in my own study, I realized just how often His name is used in The Book of Mormon. The whole book is truly another testament of Jesus Christ.
Through the scriptures I can better see how Heavenly Father sees us as His children and how to better parent my children. I can feel when He sends prophets to speak in His name to plead with the people to repent and turn to God and to partake in His blessings and find myself pleading with them too. I feel as though I have learned quite a bit more by immersing myself in the words of God more this year and found ways that I can improve my own life and strive to become more like the Savior.
I’m exited about the changes to church curriculum this year and the goals I have made.
Just in case you like to see what goals I made, here they are:

NaDell GOALS 2019

Self
          -Walk at least twice weekly

-Spiritual: Read “SAINTS” and “At the Pulpit”

-Fun/Learning: Read 100 books from actual paper to-read pile

1-10  11-20  21-30  31-40  41-50  51-60  61-70  71-80  81-90  91-100

Couple
-Attend Temple Once a Month

Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

Family
-FHE Weekly

-Read Book of Mormon daily

-Study Come Follow Me together

Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

Home
-Paint Girl Room

-Paint CD cabinet

Callings
-Update Bulletin Board at church (Bulletin Board Specialist)

1    2    3    4

-Go out with missionaries monthly (I’m a Ward Missionary)

Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 

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