Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Some random stuff

The iPhone camera is a fun tool because it’s fast and easy and there’s basically no editing required, unless you want to add filters and whatever. I don’t do that much, though it could be fun to mess around with that stuff some more in my free time…but if you look at my life in my pictures, you realize that there’s not a lot of free time in my life. But it’s a pretty blessed life, so I’m not complaining.

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Since it’s summer I’m slowly but surely crossing things off my project & to-do list. This canvas sign hadn’t been on the list very long, but since I wanted to use it in my “summer d├ęcor” in the living room, and I had recently found a canvas during an organizing project from another uncompleted project that would work, I got right on this project and finished it up! It was really fun and I used the tutorial here, except I changed the words and I cut them out of vinyl instead of painting them. Pinterest Success!

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A few more GEMS Camp pictures…above was the inside of my van before I put the children in there.  Most of that stuff didn’t come home with us, but it was still almost as full on the way home. Crazy how that works. All I know is, it’s a good thing I got the packing gene from my daddy, or it never would have all fit.

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Elise had to take the swimming test at camp and the first time was really heart-breaking. She didn’t quite make it to the end before turning around and so they wouldn’t give her the bracelet so she could do the blob and the slide and other such fun lake items. She was inconsolable for quite some time. Later on, though, she took the test at the pool, which was much simpler and far less scary than lake swimming and she passed! Way to go, Elise! She got to do the blob once, and I have a video of it…but Ed says maybe I need something else installed on my computer in order to view and post it…

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A fun picture of me & Tami at the campfire on Saturday night. Love this girl!

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Sarah’s first day of work!!

Sarah started working at Logos as an intern in the Content Innovation department the day after GEMS Camp. It’s not a real exciting job, but now she is starting to talk to people a little and enjoy it a little more. And she is earning money and learning how to work for it. It’s good.

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Sarah went to work, and so did I! I made up some summer rules and schedules and chore charts and mounted them on the fridge. We followed them pretty good for a week and then the girls started Summer Stock…so…we haven’t followed them for the last 2 weeks. But next week, we will start again!

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This really happened. I was at Costco. I asked for a box. This is how my cart looked when I pushed the cart away from the checkout lanes. Seriously?! I actually meant I wanted my stuff in a box…next time I will have to be more specific I guess…

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The girls & I went to the mall. It happened to be the grand opening of H&M. We had no idea. We figured we ought to document such a momentous occasion. We didn’t shop there…too crowded!!

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And there it is. TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND MILES on my Chevy Venture. And I have driven the majority of those myself. I was driving when it happened. I *did* pull over to take the picture. I had to set a good example for my driving daughter, after all. Ignore the “service engine soon” light. It just stays on all the time now. We are praying this van makes it all the way to Yellowstone, around Yellowstone, and back home from Yellowstone in August. If it does that, everything else will just be icing on the cake or money in the bank.

Speaking of vehicles…

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This one is now our 3rd vehicle…otherwise known as Sarah’s car. Gulp.

The little girls decided that since we have 3 vehicles, we should give them more interesting names. My van is “Big Red”, aka “Clifford.” Ed’s car is “Little Red” and they think Sarah should name her own car. I think she should call it “Drive very carefully with my phone locked in the trunk.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

GEMS Camp 2014

This year’s GEMS Camp was probably the best one I’ve been involved in. We had amazing weather, an amazing group of women & girls, an amazing speaker & worship leader, and an amazing God to learn about & worship. It was also somewhat bittersweet for me. I loved having all four of my daughters there with me, but since I am “taking a break” from being the WA State GEMS Area Coordinator, that means that GEMS Camp 2016 is not currently on my to-do list. It’s good because camp is a TON of work, but it is one of the highlights of my year! That is not to say I won’t be involved, because I likely could be, though a certain eldest daughter’s graduation could get in the way of how much I can do. But let’s not think about that just yet.

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The waterfront area when we arrived – so very pretty and peaceful and just brimming with the potential for FUN!

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Me & my GEMS partner and one of my BFF’s, Tami. (And yes, I have several BFF’s named Tami or Tam…it was apparently a popular name in the early to mid 70’s).

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Bethany met up with her pen pal from 4 years ago that she had never met! Seriously! 4 years ago at GEMS camp, Sarah and this girl’s sister became friends and later pen pals. They decided since their sisters were the same age that they should be pen pals, too. So, they were. After a couple years, their writing dropped off. This pen pal didn’t make it to GEMS Camp 2012 because she broke her arm just a day or two before. So then…when Tami was driving this girl from her club over to camp she asked, “Do you think Bethany Ball will be there?” Tami said, “Uh, MOST DEFINITELY!” It was a great reunion of old friends who had never met. And now they are emailing and writing snail mail again.

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My girls & Tami’s girl completing the Camp Passport!

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Lots of friends from our club were at camp, too!

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Chapel worship time with our worship leader, Angie.

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And listening to our speaker, Ruth.

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Craft time!

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Tying blankets for Project Linus.

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Ruth sharing with the girls on the prayer walk.

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Waterfront time!

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Our 6th-soon-to-be-7th grade GEMS from our club at the outdoor BBQ on Saturday evening!

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Photo booth time at the carnival!

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Our speaker & worship leader!

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A couple of my awesome Bethel ladies!

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Yes. I am wearing a crown. I picked that out on purpose. I am the queen. I know.

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Saturday night bonfire & s’mores!

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My Bethel group of GEMS!

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Tami & her girl.

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Me & Tami & our girls, plus Bethany’s new old friend who came with Tami!

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Don’t mind my baggy eyes…I hadn’t slept much in two days, plus I spent a good portion of the Sunday morning session trying desperately (& failing) to hold back tears. I don’t know why I got so emotional…GEMS is so very dear to my heart and ending camp meant that part of time work with GEMS was coming to an end for a while. I will still be at our Bethel GEMS – I am so thankful about that! And these 4 girls were SO good and helpful to me all through camp – it was a special mom/daughter/God weekend that I will never, ever, forget.

Monday, June 16, 2014

School’s Out!

The last few days of school are always so pointless…but they’ve gotta be there. We just learn to make the most of them.

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Bethany’s last day was Tuesday, June 3 – Junior High proved itself to be a rough place once again, as it does for so many girls, so we are so proud of her and so excited for a new stage of life for her!

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We don’t have an official “8th grade graduation” anymore, which is great. The kids have a fun afternoon together once their school is finished, then a BBQ, followed by family dessert time in the gym and a very informal “celebration.”

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One of our favorite teachers on the entire planet.

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Family picture time!

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Bethany requested no party, but we had a little surprise waiting for her after she walked home from the celebration – some gold stars, some blue & white M&M’s, sundaes, and family game night!

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Her reaction when she saw the gold star pillow we had made for her. She loves it!

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The next day was the last day for these 3 cuties.

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3 cuties with attitude, I might add.

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We will miss these teachers! Becca will move on to the middle school building next year and Elise will be my only girl left in the elementary building with me!! That makes me cry just a little.

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Sarah & I went to graduation, mostly to celebrate and congratulate this girl…one of Sarah’s dearest friends…a running mentor…a super sweet and eloquent young woman with a huge heart and a wise understanding of living the Christian life. I adore her and will send Sarah off to Calvin to visit her probably at least twice in the next couple of years.

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XC compadres!

And there we have it…the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Yay for summer!