Bible Verse of the Day:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cooling off in Baltimore

After walking outside at Fort McHenry, we were hot and sticky. As we ventured out to the Baltimore Pier the kids noticed this fun fountain and we couldn't tell them "No."

After explaining that we did not have extra clothes and that they would have to air dry, they still jumped right in. Madison helped Savannah get used to the streams of water.

Do you think Tim was having fun?!

This little kid was cracking us up (no pun intended). His shorts got lower and lower the longer he played.

After this long, fun day it didn't take them long to crash back at Shauna's home!

Sunday trip to Fort McHenry

A great history lesson was provided at Fort McHenry. The kids learned the valuable facts about courageous Americans that fought for our freedom.

I know the words to the Star Spangled Banner will carry a deeper meaning after visiting this historic place.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 3 ~ June 5th ~ Sunday Group Photos

We could not get all dressed up for church and not get pictures!

It was a beautiful day, and the kids cooperated well.

From left top row: Grandpa, Lindsay, Sarah, Allie holding Jackson, Grammy.

Bottom: Madison, Savannah, Jason, Carson and Timothy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More shots from D.C.

Shauna and I only made it for a few hours in downtown D.C., but my parents and the older girls made a day of it.

They also visited the World War 2 Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and found my dad's cousin's name on the Vietnam memorial.

Day 2 ~ A day trip to D.C.

My parents and the girls left early Saturday morning to stand in line to get free tickets to the Washington monument. When we received the call that they were successful, Shauna and I loaded the other 6 kiddos into her van and drove to the Metro. The kids thought it was fun to ride on the "train". I made sure we used lots of hand sanitizer....

They were all STARVING by the time we got to D.C. so out came the sandwiches and juice boxes.

Five in a row with Washington's Monument in the background. Some were happy picture posers. Some.....not so much.

We met up with Grammy, Grandpa and Allie, Sarah and Lindsay to wait in line for the monument tour.

A picture of the White House from the top.

Timothy, Savannah and I join the adventure

The original travel plans did not include the little ones or me. But Shauna had the idea that we should hop on a plane and hang out with her and her kiddos for the week while the big girls enjoyed Washington, D.C.

Phil said, "Go for it." So we did.

Miss Savannah was excited as she could be to ride on the airplane.

And I couldn't resist posting this adorable picture of her. In Phil's words, "She is stinkin' cute!!"

Mr. Tim thought he had better check out the great deals in Sky Mall. And isn't he the handsome fellow?!

After a great day of flying, the kids were excited to settle in on the couch with Madison.

The big summer trip to Washington D.C

Grammy and Grandpa's plan for a cross-country trip with the 3 oldest girls finally came to fruition on May 31, 2011.

They consulted the map and made their travel plans.

They loaded up the van and set out early.

Along the way they ate.....

...and ate.....

....and slept....

...and visited Great Grandma Helbert.

They hung out with Grandpa,

and relaxed with Grammy....

..and ate some more at picnic stops along the way.

They finally arrived in Maryland on Friday, June 3rd and were happy to meet their newest cousin, Jackson Pier.

The other 3 cousins (Madison, Carson and Jason) were excited to welcome them as well!

Ten reasons I haven't posted in awhile

In no particular order:

1. Homeschooling 5 kids takes a TON of time.

2. I have a smart phone that I use more than my desktop computer.

3. A very full schedule of activities including swimming, dance, singing, AWANA and football.

4. The next post due is from a vacation with a HUGE amount of pictures to short through.

5. Respite and foster care have been keeping us busy - stay tuned for details.

6. A new pet has added to my responsibility list!

7. I hardly ever sit down.

8. I have been waiting for Missi and Shauna to post so I can link to their blog.

9. It's such a huge project, I am overwhelmed.

10. Did I mention time?

BUT....the time has come.

I will be posting.

All posts will be backdated.

I will get caught up.

Starting now - November 26, 2011.

Thanks for being patient and faithful readers.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Birthday Party Mania!

I love having friends.

I love celebrating birthdays with friends.

I love surprising friends.

I especially like getting back at friends that surprised me the year before.

So, my amazing, sweet, fun, kind, and good-humored friend, Brenda, had it coming to her!! The poor thing ended up with 3 celebrations just so we could cover our tracks.

The plan: Anticipate that she is going to suspect a surprise if we don't plan something. Tell her that her crazy baseball schedule makes it impossible to plan a surprise. (this is true, but we still used it as an excuse).

The party she knew about: All we did was give her the date and time. She did not know guest list, address or details. (This didn't last long because we discovered that her mom, Karen, is too honest and talkative, especially when nervous about keeping a secret :-D). See pictures and details below.

The "surprise" plan and party: Karen invited Brenda over for a family dinner to celebrate her birthday - the Monday before her birthday. If Brenda suspected anything (which she did -- see above comment about Karen), we hopefully threw her off track because instead of jumping out from behind furniture, we all showed up after she was there.

The fact that this actually worked was a small miracle due makeup games. Thankfully, a huge rain storm came and knocked out the power for awhile. The Robbins, Shellenbergers, Dicks, Henrys, Magees, Huberts, Bradleys and Szymczaks provided the perfect amount of electricity for an evening to remember.

Here some of us are outside of Karen's house. Don't we look sneaky?

This photo was snapped with my phone camera with no electricity. Those are some seriously BRIGHT candles....must be because there is 40 of them!

The other party: Like I said before, all we told Brenda was the date and time. A couple of us slipped and let her know it was at Teresa's. But besides that, she was surprised what we had planned.

Teresa and I decorated in black, of course. The bouquet of flowers on table was a fun idea I had to remind Brenda of all of our great memories together. Written on the leaves were 40 different memories of times we have shared and things we have done together. I had a blast reminiscing and I think she got a chuckle or two out of some things she had forgotten!

Teresa always makes present time a laughing occasion.

Brenda wasn't the only one laughing as she opened her presents.

After a wonderful Mexican Fiesta, we ate cupcakes.....

...and played Bunco.

We had 4 tables of 4 ladies each --- talk about a lot of laughter and talking! Dee definitely out-bunco'd the rest of us.

Karen must have been changing the rules....something she likes to do in the middle of a card game.

The "unplanned birthday event": Brenda's birthday fell on a Friday and the original plan was to be out of town for a baseball game....but, like the baseball plans previously, they CHANGED!! All of a sudden she was in town on Friday night and had no plans, so Pete and Brenda and Phil and I took advantage of a Friday night double date to Botechellis.

Happy Birthday x 3 Brenda!!!

It has been a busy season of birthdays. Another great friend of mine, Erin, gave several of us an excuse to have a birthday breakfast at Eggintons. And yes, Erin even ate her cake at 7:00 a.m.

And another surprise.....for the youngest birthday of them all - Kayla Horne. Her birthday fell on Wednesday which is the day we usually walk from 5:45 - 6:30 a.m.. While we were walking, her husband, family and friends snuck in and got breakfast ready. The only bummer was that Teresa, who planned the whole thing, woke up sick and couldn't be here for the surprise.

I made an excuse to get Kayla to come inside after our walk. Out jumped some familiar faces. She was definitely surprised!

Another 40th birthday surprise in June -- our friend Deb Magee. Teresa planned the party and even though Deb tried tracking down her husband to report a bicycle/vehicle collision, it was still a surprise!! Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me so this picture is from Brenda's party.

Happy Birthday EVERYONE! What a fun couple months of celebrating we have had.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Homeschool Track Day

I am so thankful for the large homeschool community we enjoy in Casper. This was our second year to participate in the Homeschool Track Day. The kids were all able to participate in track and field events. Phil helped with the 5 year old group while I enjoyed the time to wander around taking pictures and visiting with friends from around the state.

I think this is the warm up time.

Yes, Savannah is wearing gloves at the end of May. That's Wyoming weather. Because of the overcast day, we didn't bother with sunscreen....BIG mistake. Everyone got a nice shade of pink. It was funny to go into church the next day and see some more pink faces!!

Tim had a BLAST!

Sarah had a great time also. She has not met a lot of homeschooled girls her age, so being in a group of several girls her own age was special for her.

The obstacle course.

We look forward to track day so we can hang out with the Schmidt Family from Laramie. Here they are - Todd and Nancy and the Nifty Nine. Allie and Bethany have been pen pals all year. A special treat was that my parents were in town for the get together as well.