Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter 2011

I was scrambling during Holy Week to find the right clothes and shoes for everyone for Easter. I *thought* I was ready. But then. Those children? They grew again. No one had shoes that fit. Etc.

So I shopped. And shopped. And about went nuts. And I know that Easter is not about the clothes and that it’s about the resurrection of our Lord. It’s about new life. And to me, for whatever reason, wearing new clothes is symbolic of that new life. And so. I shopped.

And everyone had something new to wear and they all looked beautiful for our Easter celebration!


They’re so lovely. But, after a day of picture-taking in the tulips, they weren’t so excited about having more pictures taken. Most of my shots look something like this:


One set of averted eyes, one making a face, one groaning, and one fake-smiling. It’s just a toss-up of which girl is doing which on each picture.

We had an amazingly joyous and celebratory Easter service and a great dinner at my mom & dad’s, followed by an egg hunt! This year, the girls had some second cousins around so that made for more fun and more challenge!


Showing off their treasures!

You know that eggs are a symbol of new life, too, right? That’s why we do the egg hunts on Easter. Smile

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Coldest. Field Trip. Ever.

Last week I had the pleasure of going with the first graders to the Milk Maker’s Fest over at the Fairgrounds. The county dairy farmers sponsor the event and first graders from all over the county and the neighboring county come to participate! I went when Bethany was in first grade also, and while it wasn’t a nice day, it didn’t snow that time.

The morning of this year’s Milk Maker’s? Snowing. Hailing. Blowing. While we were at the bus stop. Fortunately that stopped by the time the field trip actually started at 9:45, but it was bitter CoLd. I should have worn my long john’s. Farmers don’t heat their barns, apparently.


Becca and two of her buddies in the hay maze. They were warm at this point – lots of excitement and running around.


Look at that! He smiled for my picture! I can put this one in the slideshow at the reception when he & Becca get married! Winking smile


Becca was pretty serious about this cow-milking stuff. She’s a good worker when she wants to be.


Becca and a couple buddies on the wagon ride…by this time, they had sat around, listening to various talks and drinking chocolate milk. They were getting cold.


But the chocolate milk was still tasty!


She was cold. My nose was frozen. But we had fun together, anyway.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I like eggs

Not to eat. (Though, I do like to eat eggs sometimes, but that is not what this post is about.)

I like to photograph eggs.

They don’t squint. They don’t complain. They don’t shove their sister in the egg next to them.

They just sit there and look pretty.





My friend, owner of Cackleberry Farm, will soon be selling these eggs -some for eating, and some for hatching! She also rents out her incubator if you need that as a bird enthusiast or homeschooler. These pictures and more will soon be featured on her website! She’s even paying me to take these pictures.

With eggs. She’s paying me with eggs. I don’t think that qualifies me as a professional photographer just yet, but I sure think it’s a cool deal!

Unfortunately I still have to take more pictures of these guys:


Roosters. And chickens. I think I’ll be earning my pay because those chickens just did not listen worth a toot today.

But, they didn’t complain either.

Monday, April 25, 2011


The tulips that star in the Tulip Festival about an hour south of us were finally coaxed into bloom by their Creator, despite their resistance of the cooler-than-average-April-temperatures. This past Saturday brought us an amazingly warm and sunny afternoon and despite repeated warnings of “DO NOT GO TO THE TULIPS TODAY BECAUSE EVERYONE IN THE WORLD IS THERE!” we decided to go. We went later in the afternoon, and while it certainly wasn’t empty, we did not have any traffic issues whatsoever. We were so glad that we finished our errands early enough to head down there, since the cool, wet weather has now returned to us.

Almost all these photos are SOOC.



I didn’t get super cooperation in the picture department because the sun was so bright. Apparently we really are acclimated to gray skies around here.





“One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.” Do you see the odd tulip?_MG_5195




I love this shot. It was only sort-of posed. She was smelling the tulips and I saw her, and asked her to do exactly the same thing again so I could take the picture. Precious.


I finally found that sweet spot for capturing pictures of the girls so they wouldn’t have to squint…too much, anyway.





Of the tulips we saw, these are Ed’s favorite. My very favorite tulips, “Angelique”, were not on display in these fields, unfortunately. They are pink and lacey – almost like a peony, (in fact, they’re often called Peony Tulips) which is my favorite flower.

Image of Double Peony Tulip Angelique

I do, however, love almost all tulips and I’ve decided I need to plant more bulbs here this fall for next spring!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring ?? Catch-Up

I’m pretty behind on this blog this spring. It’s the season of spring, according to the calendar, but the world around us barely knows. We have only had a few teasing days of sunshine and warmth thus far and the 10 day forecast doesn’t look all that promising…perhaps somewhat better than most of the last 10 days, not quite as cold, but still chillier and wetter than normal. Let’s just say, if you were a skier in Washington state, you’d be having a lovely long ski season with lots of fresh powder.

Want proof? I took this picture on April 14:


That was just the beginning of an early morning snowfall that created quite a buzz on Facebook. Everything was covered by the time it quit, but by the time I had another chance at taking a picture, it was slushy. So, no, it didn’t stick around long at all, but generally we don’t get big fluffy snow that sticks everywhere in April.

April is also the month of projects. First up was Bethany’s musical instrument. (I’ll be sure to snap a picture of that this week at the Creative Arts Week Open House –CAWOH- at school). Next we completed Bethany’s invention, which of course involved building with wood in Grandpa’s shop. More pictures and details will come after the CAWOH.



Sarah’s currently writing a report on Zambia and Bethany’s working on her “Penny Book”, which is basically a scrapbook of her life where she has to write about each year and answer certain questions, etc.

Becca had a diorama to complete, which about drove me bananas trying to figure out how to put long hair on a smaller-than-Polly-Pocket-sized figure. We ended up just leaving well enough alone, but again, I’ll get pictures at CAWOH.

Spring has also brought the beginning of crazy sports season in our house. Somehow, with 4 girls and two non-athletic parents, I thought we might miss these experiences. But, everyone seems to want to try it out, so we’re just enjoying it all.

Sarah has started Junior High track and her first meet will be this Wednesday. She’s running the 800m, 1600m, and competing in the long jump. She also plans to do either the javelin or the 4x200m relay. She has to try out for the relay this week, so I guess we find out at that point.

Bethany is in fast-pitch softball, which she wanted to do because her friends are in it, and we wanted her to do because she needs exercise and fresh air. It is a little stressful at times, because she gets pretty nervous about the games, but she is really doing well for a girl who is anxious and not really into the sports thing. They have a 2-1 record so far. I’ve decided that in 5/6th grade fast-pitch, if you’re the home team, you have a pretty good chance of winning. The rules are different: 6 innings, 5 run limit –unless you’re behind by more than 5, then you can score enough to tie. And the last inning is unlimited runs for both teams.

This was her first game. It was FrEeZiNg that morning!


This was from this past Saturday’s game, which started out cold, but got warmer – I even took my coat off by the end of the game!


Becca has started soccer, but so far it’s just practices. Games start this week.

We’re thrilled with everyone’s coaches: Sarah has the same coach she had for XC this fall; Bethany has a school dad who is super encouraging and very smart (his most-often-said-line to the team is “Cheer her on, girls!”, which I LoVe!); and Becca has two of my friends from church as her soccer coach, and they both played soccer for Calvin and one is apparently a “legend”, so it’s a great experience all around for all of them! Poor Elise just gets carted around to all these events and sometimes we forget she’s there and even have been known to lose track of her for a few minutes. Although we’ll probably make sure that doesn’t happen again…

Last week was Palm Sunday and all four of the girls were involved in the service.




Well, that’s enough for now…we hope you had a very blessed Easter, celebrating the gift of eternal life that we have through faith in Jesus because of his death and resurrection and VICTORY!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The day has finally arrived

Yep, it’s here. The era of teenage girls in the Ball home. Sarah entered our lives 13 years ago today and nothing has been the same since…and I don’t anticipate things ever being the same again, now that we are on Day One of 5,527 consecutive days of being the parents of at least one teenage daughter.

Happy birthday, sweet Sarah! You are beautiful, inside & out, with a passion for words, stories, imagination, family, friends, God’s creation, and exploration. We love the way you are your own person and strive to be your best in everything. We love spending time with you and want to hang on to every day because I’m quite sure I’m going to blink soon and you’ll be in college. We can’t wait to see God’s plans for you and how you will glorify Him in your life every day. We love you SOOOOOOOOO much!

And now, because I said I would post these:



Only 1956 days from now until your first day as a Calvin freshman. Winking smile

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One more set of photos

My SIL sent me her pictures from spring break, so I just have one more web album to link to for this blog series. Then I promise to move on. Probably.

Jen’s Pictures from Spring Break 2011


Sunday, April 17, 2011

iPhone Photos

Sometimes, the iPhone camera is just better than my Canon Rebel XS. Probably because my iPhone fits in my pocket. That’s about the only reason.

Maybe if I had a fun iPhone app, there would be another reason. Ed got me one, but so far I can’t make it do what I want. You’d think if I could understand a DSLR with all its bells and whistles, I could run an iPhone camera app. But alas, it is not-so-user-friendly. Which makes me wonder, are Macs really all they’re cracked up to be as far as user-friendliness?

But I digress…

I have some decent (& some not-so-decent) iPhone photos from our spring break trip to share, and then I will be able to blog about something else. Hooray!


Sarah & I arrived at the Ajax Parking-R-Us lot in Seattle and as I turned down a row of parked cars, I said, “We should look for Grandma & Grandpa’s car. I think they parked here when they flew to Hawaii.” Just then, we saw their car! With an empty space on both sides! So, we parked next to them so our vehicles could watch over each other.


In the Chicago airport. Which wasn’t as big as I remember. Imagine that.


The first apartment building Ed & I lived in when we were newly married Seniors in college. The window to the right of the door, at ground level, was our living room. The small window to the right of that was our bedroom. I emailed this photo to Ed and asked him if he recognized this building. He actually did! I was impressed.


The ice cream sundae buffet for our treat one night at ACTS training. You better believe I needed a picture of that!


Ed emailed me this photo of the girls playing nicely together in their room on Sunday afternoon while I was gone. The toys were still there Tuesday morning when I got home.


My Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Decadence from Cold Stone. So divine.


Sarah’s Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip. Also tasty.


My nephew, intent on eating his ice cream.


And a terrible picture of me and two of my college friends. It’s really hard to take a picture of yourself in a dark restaurant on an iPhone.


We had lunch with my brother and his family here on our last day. Really good stuff. But next time, I’m not getting lunch. I’m just getting pie.


A photo Ed emailed me on Monday. Elise apparently found this hat in a drawer and was thrilled. I’m so happy when she’s thrilled about something.


My nephew wearing the silly heart-antenna headband that they gave us at training so we could be silly together. E just called them antenna and pretended to be a snail. Such a smartie. I left them there for him to play with.


And finally, a picture my neighbor posted on Facebook while I was gone of my girls and the neighbor girls on a hike at a nearby lake. We are so grateful to our neighbors who helped take care of the girls for 4 days so that Ed didn’t have to take so many days off work!