Randee started back taking horseback riding lessons again yesterday!!! We are SO excited that we were able to get her in at a barn that is only 5 minutes away!! It always surprises me how well she rides! Her confidence and ability is a true talent~ I could sit and watch her ride all day, it so peaceful. I'm thankful she has a hobby/interest that has lasted since she was 5 yrs. old. Although she doesn't ride year round, each time she starts up again it's like she hasn't missed a week. We love you "Dee" and are so happy to see you back in the saddle =)
Wow! Summer went by crazy fast this year!! And like it or not, kick and scream if we must the first day of the new school year has come and gone. Yesterday was a hard one with my baby starting kindergarten=( I began tearing up about it weeks ago, so there was no surprise when I burst out crying upon entering the school. This did little to console Rae or Ran for that matter. Moments after the below picture was taken we were ALL crying!! I'm happy to report that she had a wonderful day and told me she was only sad, "for about 5 seconds or minutes"!! It was also emotional as I really took a moment to S.T.O.P. and look at each of my kiddos.......my how they've grown over the last year! I'm so proud of each of them and I just love them more than words can convey and it is my prayer they have the best school year ever!!!
I love having my kids home! I love the relaxed schedule! I love that there's no homework or projects to stress over! I love that we are able to spend more time having fun and making wonderful memories! We've done a lot of things this summer and still have a list of activities to do but I wanted to share just a few of them with you.......
We had a fun week visiting with many of our cousins at my parents home. It was special treat to have Danny's family from Arizona there. Above is Ali and Katie (danny's) they are close in age and similar personalities. They always have a good time together :)
Below is my sis Cindee and another favorite cousin Jayde (sam's). With 24 grandkiddos and a "Dukes of Hazard" mentality, it was good GeOrGiAfUn!!!!
The beginning of June, Randee and Nate joined Popa for a weekend in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. They commented how beautiful the drive was through the Smoky Mountains.
The hotel they stayed at had a water park so they spent lots of time in the pool! YES!! They are jumping off the diving board together!!
Of course, the true reason for the trip was a car show ;)
Ran had a great time and was able to talk with some people about Peggy Sue, his 1950 Merc.
I love that he has a hobby that brings him joy and that he takes time out of our busy life to truly RELAX once and a while, gazing at an antique beauty or talking Flatheads ;)
We've spent lots of time at the pool this summer!!
Miss Randee, 12 yrs. going on 16!!
Miss Rae, our little fish!
She went from swimmies to swimming in the 5 ft. in 2 weeks!!!
Miss Ali, our little Mermaid/diver!
Ali trying to balance on a beach ball!
I see you Rae, can you see me?? Love the goggles!
No summer is complete without a trip to Cabbage Patch in Cleveland, GA.
A happy baby Randee,
A sad baby Randy ;)
Ali and Rae in HEAVEN!!! They love it there!
Ali actually dreams of working there when she grows up!
A favorite weekly activity is a trip to Mayfield Dairy.
Cold, creamy, YUM!!
Ahhhhh, Summer time!!
Our reward for surviving the rest of the hectic year!
My children are so blessed to have their father! When Ran and I were dating I sensed his patience and fun loving spirit but I never truly realized what a wonderful blessing these traits, and many more, would be in the lives of our children. I am so grateful for ALL the time and love he shows them, for I know it will forever bring them comfort and strength. I can not give thanks for Ran without thinking of his father, our beloved Grandpa Bob. He was a blessing to Ran's life and influenced him tremendously in the father he is today!
I interviewed the kids and wanted to find out a few of their favorites about their Popa:
***What do you like most about Popa?
Rae: He gives me piggy back rides!
Ali: He's nice :)
Randee: He's fun!
Nate: He's hard working and a righteous example~
***Name a favorite memory with Popa:
Rae: Going shopping with him at Walmart. (?? she insisted this was her answer)
Ali: When we went to the World's Largest Yard Sale with Grandma, Uncle Rob and Robby
Randee: The trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. last month.
Nate: Knottsberry Farms amusement park in California.
***What is your favorite activity to do with Popa?
Rae: Ride bikes
Ali: Go to Cabbage Patch
Nate: Going mountain biking
As you can see from the sweet answers, Ran is a fun father and is very involved in making great memories for our children. I love him and thank Heavenly Father daily for the father he is!!!!
Nate got his learners permit today! Of course I had NO doubt he would pass! (some things are just easier being a boy, I see lots of studying and tears in the future w/ my girls) He actually turned 15 the end of April but he has known for a while that his eyes were bad, so he finally gave-in and got them checked :) No surprise he needed contacts, which has been quite the experience! Then he was gone for a full week to scout camp. So finally we were able to get him tested! Honestly I do feel old having a child that can legally drive with an adult in the car but as I sat in the HUGE waiting area today with all the other mom's and dad's hovering over their teenagers, I couldn't help but think back to 15 years ago......all of us parents in that room couldn't imagine this day would come so quickly!! How blessed I was 15 years ago to be reunited with someone I'm sure was my friend in the pre-existence!!
Randee made it home safely from Girls Camp!!!!! She had a WoNdErFuL time with all the girls! She is blessed to have great leaders that made it extra fun ;) She camped at Lake Hartwell in northwest GA. They had a pretty strong thunderstorm roll through last night; Randee's tent actually blew away (not lost "away", but in the air, end over end "away") everything got wet and they had to sleep under the pavilion on the cement floor!! I'm sooo proud of Randee that she was able to experience ALL this and still say she had a WoNdErFuL time!! This is the girl that I jokingly call "The Princess and the Pea" because she is SO particular about her sleeping conditions!! Her sleeping on cement, in the open air, all wet is HUGE!! She talked nonstop all the way home from church, after picking her up. About an hour later, her exhaustion caught up with her.......
Most of the girls had their hair french braided when they arrived at the church, it was so cute!! The theme was......... Be Beautiful, Be You!
Ran and Nate are gone for a FULL week to High Adventure :( They left Saturday and starting today (Monday) there will be no telephone service, cell or otherwise.....so I will be doing something I have not done in over 17 years!!!! Not speak to or see Ran for 5 days!!! I know to some this is silly or even trivial but to me it's HUGE!!!! He's been gone A LOT over the past 3 years as Scout Master and I've actually gotten better with him being away, but not being able to speak with him daily will be a struggle! When he is gone it is always hardest for me to go to sacrament meeting without him. I know it sounds crazy yet as I sat on our short pew yesterday (the entire family would never fit) I felt like we were too light and like the pew may just lift off the floor. I felt this again as we four girls sat down for Sunday dinner. I know this sounds odd, but the more I thought about this I realized that our complete family, ALL six of us together anchors me.....when one or more are missing I feel the void, the hole, the "lightness" of a lesser number. Our sweet Randee actually leaves tomorrow to go to Girls Camp.....at dinner the two younger girls and I may truly float away :) I am thankful for the wonderful activities my children are blessed to attend and the terrific job Ran does fulfilling his calling, yet it does not change my longing for when we can be together again. Complete. Anchored.
I can not even believe she is that old already!! I remember how terrified I was to have child #3......to be out numbered as parents seemed so scary!! Yet, she has been such a gift!! I fell so in love with her from the first moment I saw her! She was the easiest baby (although ALL my babies have been very easy, lucky, I know). The past 9 years have flown by; she will be grown before I know it. Having her in our family with her loving, caring, righteous spirit is one of my greatest blessings~
A few years ago we started a tradition of giving homemade cards to each other on our b-days. This has turned into a favorite for everyone and so special to read the kind words from each family member.
Make a wish!!!!!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She was soooo surprised to get an American girl doll!!! She has wanted one for over a year! I sent the catalog with Ran to purchase the doll so he could show them "exactly" which one she wanted. Then she started saying, "Where's my catalog? I thought I knew right where it was!" Ran and I just smiled at each other knowing that it was safely hidden with the doll :)
For her party she took a few friends to see the movie "Up". I highly recommend it! It was touching and funny! We then came back home for cake and then went to the pool for HOURS!! It was a fun day!! ~Happy Birthday, sweet AliPage~
I must admit that I'm very proud of the accomplishments
"my guys" have had the past week!
Nate's team, the Cubs, won their division championship in like the most exciting game ever!! He now plays in the senior league which means there are boys from 15 to 19 year old men!! (well they look like men and some even have FULL beards!!) Nate tries very hard and has done well playing with the big kids ;) The championship game actually went into extra innings and then with 2 outs, 2 strikes and the bases loaded (Nate being on 1st base) the hitter got a home run!!!! GRAND SLAM!!!
Cubs win, cubs win, cubs win...I love an exciting b-ball game!!
Great job Nate, we are very proud of you!!
Nate with the trophy they awarded the winning team!
Last year Ran spent two LONG (three day) weekends doing Wood badge training. He dreaded it but actually had a fun time and came home very motivated to include many of the ideas into his troop. After the training is complete, they are required to complete 6 tickets (basically BIG goals) that will help improve their troop and leadership. Once the tickets are completed there is a campfire where they receive a new neckerchief, woggle (leather knot) and beads. The awarding is done in front of the participants attending Wood badge this year. Ran with two of his fellow Bear patrol members and his "little" unit leader :)
He was VERY proud of himself!!!
Receiving his new neckerchief.
It's all good that he's COMPLETELY trained now, I'm sure it just added about 5 more years to his Scout Master calling ;)
I wanted to share a few pictures of some of our activities.
Miss Rae had her graduation from pre-K!!
This was very emotional for Ran and I :( The entire time I just kept thinking, "wait, wait, this is my BABY!! she can't be this old!!"
Rae walking in, notice Ran's hand waving at her.
Her class reciting the pledge. Soooo sweet!
Getting her diploma for her teacher Ms. T. She also received the "Best Manners" award!
Rae with her lead teacher Ms. M.
~Popa, Rae and Ali~ Yes, I let Ali skip school to attend (shhhh). Ran started this little finger wave with the girls this year. When he drops them off at school they do this "wave" to each other as he drives away :) Rae was SO happy to be able to wear her favorite church dress to school! We are extremely proud of her! She has grown a lot over the school year and has been a little sponge, learning everything her teachers have taught!
Ali had field day! The weather was just perfect! I love this shot of Ali and her best friend while listening to the tug-of-war instructions. I guess K. was a little tired from all the other activities and was resting her head on Ali's shoulder :)
Ali and K. taking a break during field day.
(Ali's teacher is in the background wearing green.)
Randee received an award for being on the merit roll last 9 weeks! But I'm proud to say she has worked VERY hard and is on the honor roll this 9 weeks!! She is in an accelerated math class that is very hard. Basically they've done all of 6th grade math and half of 7th grade math this year. She finished the class with an A, Hoo-Ray!!
She also had a poem she wrote chosen to be in a literary publication that Gwinnett schools put out each year! Great job, Dee :)
Randee had her final chorus concert of the year.
Here she is with Ran after the concert, ready to go for ice cream! This s a fun tradition Ran started; it makes all concerts a little sweeter!
This past week Nate celebrated his 15th birthday! How can this be???? In my mind and heart he is still my "Nathan-boy"......around like age 6;) Yet as I reach up to give him a hug, I'm reminded that he can't possibly still be my "little" buddy! Each year around his b-day I slip into a depression of sorts, realizing how much closer he is to graduation and mission. His age seems to just magnify that all my chicks are growing too quickly and will one day, all too soon, be ready to leave the nest :( The funny thing is that I was ABSOLUTELY convinced that the Savior would come by the time Nate was say 12 yrs :) So I never truly believed that I would have to raise teenagers in this troubled world! Alas, Jesus Christ is not yet upon the earth :) Therefore I'm trying hard as I can to raise a worthy young man, ready to face the modern day trials. I must say how proud I am of him, the friends he has chosen and the example he is! He has blessed my life greatly since the moment of his birth and I consider the role of being his mother an honor!!
Hope you had a wonderful Birthday, "Big" Buddy!!!!
Nate is serving a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints. He is serving in the Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Mission. All letters and packages should be mailed to the mission home:
Elder Nathaniel Alan Mountain
Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission
Rua Dois de Dezembro 78 salas 703/704
22220-040 Rio de Janeiro-RJ
The Mission Home requests that ALL letters and packages be shipped via the United States Postal Service.
Feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org