Sunday, August 28, 2016

Somehow August came and now it's almost gone...

August. The first 12 days were horrendously slow...the anticipation of a 15 day road trip to bring your oldest to college is, as my very wise and experienced friend says, kind of like ripping off a bandaid vvveeeerrrrryyyyyy sssllllooooowwwwwwllllllyyyyy. Even so, those days must be documented. So...BEFORE we left on our #epicroadtrip, these things happened...

I had coffee with our pastor's wife one evening and happened to mention that Becca wanted to learn to play guitar, but I wasn't sure how to get a guitar or even WHAT to get in a guitar. She casually tosses out the phrase, "Well, we have a guitar in our closet she can have." Um...what?!?! For real?!?! Yep. For real. Our pastor learned to play on this's a beginner...but now he's "moved on" so this was not being used. She gave it to Becca the next day. I don't think that girl quit smiling for about 72 hours. She watched a few videos online, and learned some chords, but now I need to get her a self-teaching book or something until she can take lessons. 

On Sarah's last Sunday at Bethel until Christmas, the little girls were on the praise team, and Bethany played violin with our friend Holly and both were beautiful. So beautiful. And the girls played "On Eagle's Wings" on the violin, which always makes me cry, even though I was already crying. 

And Bethany turned SIXTEEN!!!! I should have more pictures of this event...but I don't. I'm a terrible mother. Plus also I was ripping off that bandaid for 12 days...

But, she is now a licensed driver and her friends and family spoiled her on her birthday, which is all as it should be.

We planted one cucumber plant in the garden this year. We have a gagillion cucumbers...and they are curly and GIGANTIC! How does that happen?

We did manage a trip to Edaleen to celebrate Bethany's sweet 16. Of course! This was not part of the bandaid ripping. This was sweet and is a sweet memory.

The next morning we left at 4:00 a.m. on our #epicroadtrip. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Last July 2016 post

I think this is it for July! No hiding pictures, no forgotten least not that I know of!

^^Those two. They grew up together in Mount Vernon, celebrated every birthday and holiday together, played together, watched Blues Clues together, and were basically like cousins. Since all the different family moves, different activities, and churches, we don't see them as often, but every time it's like no time has passed at all. Except now they don't watch Blues Clues, they play games in the dark outside or board games or games in the barn or they follow littler kids and animals around. They've grown up. Last week we got to celebrate with Micah his graduation and his mom & I just looked at these two and couldn't believe our eyes. In our minds' eyes, they're 4. But somehow, standing before us, were two college students, ready to find their calling in this world. We will be praying for you, Micah!!^^

About a week and a half ago, Ed & I found ourselves with an evening where all the children were occupied. We grabbed the opportunity to head out for an early anniversary dinner. We ate at The Loft near the Marina and it was really good! We walked around a bit, and then stopped by the heart of ivy on the grainery building that is slated to be torn down in the near future. I HAD to get a picture by this iconic Bellingham photo op before it was no more! We had a lovely early anniversary celebration and we are blessed to have each other to walk through life with. 

And that, my friends, is my new ride. So pretty! It's a 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan with 35,000 miles...which is much more likely to make it to Michigan and back than my 2003 Chevy Venture with 250,000 miles! We kept the Venture, because it doesn't need any work and will be fine for staying within the county and for Bethany to drive back & forth to school. We traded in Sarah's money pit of a car and are quite relieved to have done so...and especially before the license needed to be renewed in September! My "new" van doesn't have many bells and whistles...pretty standard model...but that's what makes it affordable AND will hopefully mean less headaches in the future of things breaking down.

On the last day of July we celebrated my Grandma's 93rd birthday (her birthday is actually August 1) with some cake and cards at the rest home. She is doing so amazingly well and she even showed off to the girls how she could walk with her walker that day. A year ago we did not think she would still be around, but she has bloomed in the rest home (the nurses and aides there are wonderful!) and is so at peace and content there. God has given her such a beautiful spirit her whole life, but it's particularly evident now, at a time when most people would end up being grouchy. I don't know anyone who has ever grown old more gracefully and beautifully than her. I want to be just like her when I grow up...and especially if I live to be that old. I don't relish the idea of living that long, but longevity really runs in the females in my family. So I just pray that if God grants me such a long life, that it will be a life as beautiful as hers.

Yep! I'm gonna be an auntie again! Woo-hoo!! It's pretty cool that I will get to see that baby soon after he/she is born, too, since I can make the excuse of watching Sarah run in a track meet! :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ragnar Video, courtesy of Josh VW

Click HERE to watch a Ragnar video, put together by my safety officer & co-pilot for the last 2 years at Ragnar, Josh VW!

Monday, August 8, 2016

GEMS Conference 2016

A few weeks ago I was AGAIN SO BLESSED to be able to attend the GEMS Leadership Conference! This year it was held at Montana State University and me & my GEMS Sister road-tripped ourselves out there and had a GREAT time!

First I drove myself out to Ephrata, with a little stop for myself in Bellevue at the Lakeshore Learning Store (aka Store of Teacher's Dreams). I wished I had more time...

After I arrived at Tami's, we loaded up, toured her school, filled the car with gas, got some coffee, and hit the road. We went only a few hours further than her house, to Spokane. We had walked to downtown for dinner before getting our rest for the next day of travel.

^^Spokane River downtown across from our hotel^^

It's always been on my bucket list to stop at Lake Coeur D'Alene in Idaho - it's so pretty! So, we did just that! We walked around the resort quite a bit and decided we needed to come back when we could spend the day relaxing on the lake and shopping in the cute shops.

We had a little trouble once we were on campus, finding where we needed to be, finding where to park, finding our dorm, etc. Thankfully, we were soon unloaded, fed, and in the Women's Night of Worship. Boy, did we need that to turn the focus off ourselves. There was very sad news for us while we were on our journey...a little girl in Tami's town was killed in a car accident by a get-away car in a vehicle prowl...just shortly after we left the was sobering and sad. And yet it was good that we were there while we processed the news.

The next morning our conference officially began with Lenae and Alecia greeting us and we just absolutely love them!

Liz Curtis Higgs was our speaker and she was AWESOME! She spoke on the book of Ruth (which our pastor is also preaching on this month, so that's been super interesting!) and she was awesome! She has a "Righteous Ruth Rap" on YouTube which is basically a taste of what we experienced. So funny.

My sweet friend Brenda at Theme Night!

Perhaps the most meaningful and beautiful moments occurred for me with those two ladies right there. I've never met them before, but the one speaking is the GEMS International Director and the one on the left is Allison. To me, she's the face of the Esther School, but she also happens to be the wife of the Esther School's administrator. She spoke to us about the Esther School and later I had a chance to speak with both those ladies personally. After finding out in early July that a young woman from our community (Lindsey) has committed to teaching for 2 years at the Esther School, God has increased my love for that place and brought back my desire to go there. Allison was such a blessing to speak to - she knows the girl our GEMS Club sponsors! She had me in tears, describing to me how much our sponsorship has changed Betha's life and the life of her family. Both Allison & Jill (the director) affirmed that it is time for me to get to Zambia and to the Esther School, and with Lindsey heading there to teach, I can sense God may be opening those doors. I am beyond excited to share with our GEMS girls our new connections with Betha (Lindsey will be her teacher in 3rd grade!) and to attempt to meet that girl myself.

Our fun evening out was at Broken Hart Ranch and included Pitchfork Fondue. Yep, that's steak on pitchforks up there and below...they're basically scorching them in hot oil. I think it would have been amazingly tasty if it had still been hot by the time we got to eat it...and if we had had something other than plastic knives to cut it. Basically we stabbed it with our forks and ate it like a steak popsicle.

We talked with friends...

We played lawn Scrabble...

We did some square dancing...

And watched the most beautiful sunset we have ever seen transform by the second before our very eyes. The picture looks unreal. It even looked unreal as we looked at it in person. I promise the sunset pictures have not been edited in any way.

Another day of conference after our sweet night of fellowship at the ranch and then Tami & I headed for her house. We arrived at her house earlier than expected, but still too late for me to drive the 5 hours left home by myself. I spent the night and headed home myself the next morning. It was a long time to be gone (6 days!) but so worthwhile. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Artist Point, part deux

If you are a faithful and interested reader, you may recall that while my brother & his family were here, we spent an afternoon up at Artist Point (if you don't remember, or want to be reminded, click here). Bethany was working, so she couldn't come, but we had a great day. Well, I found more pictures and since I was so amused and impressed by the pictures, they needed their own blog post.

We headed up to Artist Point just a few days after the road was cleared. I have NEVER seen that much snow up there. It was cold and pretty socked in at the beginning, but that did NOT stop the cousins from having a blast!

He went diving down a crevice near the parking lot. No worries. But AWESOMELY HILARIOUS picture!!!

Have you ever seen such PURE JOY???

And again!


Elise didn't quite have the same joyful experience as her cousin. It may have had something to do with the fact that he had on slippery pants and that helped him slide down on top of the snow. Elise just had on black capri leggings (guess which mom did not prepare her children well...)

What do you call this? A "cousie"?

Ooh, love this one. 

And an attempt at a "little" cousin picture. Love all those cuties so very much.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Back up the blogging train...

So remember when I said there were Summer Stock pictures on my good camera so I would have to get those off of there? Well...there were pictures from June and my brother's visit still on there, too! And they were SO. STINKIN'. ADORABLE. that I just HAVE to back up the blogging train and share those pictures.

Note: Almost every single one of these pictures was taken by Sarah. The exceptions are: the pictures Sarah is in. True story.

Father's Day at Larrabee...

These two have a very special relationship. And that little boy was loving the camera that day. Sarah got some amazing shots of him!

I like to call that one "Cousins on the Beach."

We went hopping around on the rocks, but the tide was on it's way in, so we didn't see too many sea creatures.

I mean, for real? How much cuteness can you even stand? 

See what I mean about those two? 

My brave rock climbers... LOL!

Grandma's yummy cookies!