Sunday, August 30, 2015


Grant's school is 4-6 grade.  In fourth grade, students who want to can join the string orchestra which rehearses twice a week during lunch.  Grant had a friend doing it so he decided he wanted to as well.  He chose to play the cello.  

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the day in Indy.  Seth and Brenna had to be there all day for their Youth Cultural Celebration rehearsal and performance celebrating the dedication of the Indianapolis Temple the following day.  Because of freeway closure and travel time we decided I would take them down and just spend the day, watch the performance, and bring them home.  

I went to the Home Storage center and stocked up.

Then I went to Costco and stocked up some more :)

Seth and Brenna had a blast all day at the cultural celebration.  They arrived at 7:45 am, and when it was over at 8:30 pm, Seth didn't want to leave.  They had a great time being with all of the youth and being a part of a big production.

Here is Seth in the front row waiting for President Eyring to speak to them.

I saw Seth right away in the front row, but I couldn't see Brenna.  The man next to me could see me searching and offered me his binoculars.  Even then, I passed by her once or twice before I realized it was her because she had her hair up and makeup on!  She looked very beautiful and grown-up.
  She was too far away for my phone to take a picture.

This next picture is during the opening number.  The theme was Gather to the Light.

This is the closing number.  I guess I didn't get a picture of their stake dance.  They danced a hoedown square dance.

Here is the beautiful girl after the show...she had a lot of fun having her hair and makeup done by the other young women in our ward.  And doesn't she look gorgeous in her contacts?  (She is growing up too fast suddenly!)

It is wonderful to see these two sharing experiences and being close friends.  All the kids wore their bright neon yellow celebration shirts to school on Monday!

Sydney has been begging me to let her ride a big bike this week.  So I assured her we could practice on Russell's bike, but then when we went to do so, I realized his bike was parked at the school!  So we practiced on Grant's bike...which is a lot better for mom's back anyway since it is higher up :)

She has done great this week thanks to her balance bike she has been riding the past year.  She has it down now.  We just need to work on starting and stopping independently.  We have officially passed Grant's bike down to Russell, and Russell's bike down to Sydney.  These kids certainly grow fast!

Tuesday was an amazingly enjoyable evening with Brenna's first home volleyaball game and Seth's first home cross country meet.

Brenna played the entire game and Seth beat his best time by two minutes!

It is very common that our "library" looks like this...

A few months ago I found these cute plaid capris for Sydney at a second hand store.  Imagine my surprise when I found the same ones in Elise's size just last week.  Sydney wanted to wear their matching Frozen shirts and capris so I tried to get a picture, but little E was not going to cooperate!

Our fruit trees have grown a lot this year.  Here is our peach tree now.

Here it is last fall.

 We had two apples on each tree this year.  We tried one of each so far.  The red one was not ripe so we are waiting longer.  The green one was a little tart but soooo flavorful...I thought it was delicious. (Grant's hand is featured)

The other night we were all home together which has been rare since school started.  Seth and Brenna are gone a lot, or busy doing homework.  Seth and Brenna have become closer the last few months as they have shared youth activities together, but Grant often expresses that he wishes Brenna were home to play with.  I think that is so sweet that he loves his sister and enjoys playing with her.

Well, the other night it warmed my heart to see all six kids imagining and playing together.  I am not sure what they were doing, but they were all into it- parading or marching around with the two little girls in the wagon. :)

A dream has come true for Rob who bought season tickets to the Purdue Women's volleyball games.  Saturday he went to a game with Seth, Brenna, and Russell.

Pete came to make sure Russell was paying attention to the game at one point :)

Russell's soccer team!

Our crazy cutie!

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Look closely at these first two pictures...what does Brenna have in the second picture that she doesn't have in the first?  Need a hint...look at the background of the second picture. :)

That's right...Brenna got her ears pierced for her birthday!  In the first picture she is sitting with nervous anticipation.  She was very brave and very happy when it was over.  She is very anxious for the six weeks to be up so she can change her earrings.

We have random corn growing in our yard.  I didn't pull them up because I was curious to see how they would do.  They have grown well but only produced one little ear about two inches long.  The mystery of where they came from was solved when my neighbor told me she feeds corn to the squirrels and birds.

Back to the birthday...

When we were eating Elise's yummy store-bought ice cream cake I decided it would be quite easy to make one myself.  Brenna decided she wanted one for her birthday.  So she picked her ice cream flavor and I made a chocolate cookie crust, then layered hot fudge, ice cream, whipped cream and topped it with drizzled hot fudge, sprinkles, and cookie crumbs.  It was delicious and very easy.  It just took some time for all the layers to freeze.  In fact, it was a little soft and the slices lost their shape even though I had completed it in the morning.  The next day it was great, though.  I suppose it isn't exactly an ice cream cake, rather an ice cream pie, since there isn't any cake in it.  Anyway, it was delicious!

Here is the lovely birthday girl.  We were quite busy on her birthday and just had a short window of time after Rob got home and before youth activities to celebrate.

Brenna is a big twelve year old now which in our church means she is in the young women more primary!  She has actually already been attending the weekly youth activities because she was allowed to participate in the youth cultural celebration for the opening of the Indianapolis Temple.  They have been working hard for this performance...lots of long hours of rehearsals and travel time.  The performance is this Saturday!!
 Grandma Weaver gave her these adorable "Young Women Value" pencils.

ah, a picture of the cake all lit up.

I love her expression on this picture.

We invited our neighbor Susan to celebrate with us.  She is so loving and giving to our kids.

Here is Seth helping me with Elise during one of our many school prep shopping trips.  Sandy only costs a penny to ride and is a favorite of Sydney and Elise.

Last weekend we were fortunate to enjoy a visit from my sister Sarah and her family!!  We just love it when they come to visit.  We just enjoyed our backyard and being together.  It was so nice to have a relaxing weekend.

This was a common scene throughout the weekend.  I can't express how much I love our swingset.  

Last Sunday was Brenna's first Sunday as a twelve year old so the young women came and got her from primary and took her to Young Women.  The primary had her come to the front and sang her a goodbye song, then the young women lined up and joined hands to make a tunnel and Brenna walked through it and then was "crowned" with this elaborate candy necklace.  She felt very welcomed!

Here are the boys displaying the yoga skills they have learned from Grandma Astle over the years. :)

Another swing moment

Brenna and Seth worked hard at practicing volleyball the week before school started.  Brenna is trying out for the seventh grade volleyball team.  I had a lady in our ward who played volleyball in high school give her some pointers.  She has had tryouts every day this week and they are continuing tomorrow!  This is a long time to have tryouts, I feel.  I get the impression that they did not want to cut any girls if they didn't have to, but are realizing that they are going to have to cut some girls as there are thirty girls trying out.  I wonder if they hoped some would drop out throughout the week.  But the coaches are so nice and encouraging I think all the girls are having a wonderful, enjoyable time.  Maybe if the coaches were meaner some girls would have quit and they wouldn't have had to cut anyone, haha!  It sounds as if they plan on making an A and B team so that is nice.  I do not know how many will be on each team, though.  Anyone have a guess?  I hope she makes it because she enjoys it so much, but she has a good attitude about it and I don't think it will crush her if she doesn't.  (oh, but I hope she does!)

Some trampoline fun with cousins.

Ah, the first day of school! (about three weeks too early, if you ask me!)

Seth is a Freshman!

Brenna Seventh grade!

Grant Fourth Grade

Russ First Grade!

I miss my kids so much when they go to school.  And boy was it a busy week!!  School started Wednesday.  Seth and Brenna leave at 7:30 in the morning and because of cross county and volleyball they didn't get home until 6:00.  They had just enough time to grab some dinner before heading to youth practice at 6:30.  They when they got home around 9:00 they had a little homework!

Thursday was the same story minus youth practice, but before Seth and Brenna made it home Rob and I had gone to the High School Open House followed by the Junior High which meant we were at the school from 5:15-9:00.

So I felt I didn't see my big kids for over two days!  And seminary starts this week...6:05am, baby!

So this is an odd bush in our front yard that we cut down last fall.  It has grown this much since the spring.  In fact, I have decided it is a tree.  We need to take it out but will do so later in the fall after the neighboring butterfly bushes are not in bloom (they attract rather large bumblebees!)  but, mom, I thought of you when you wonder how fast trees grow in you go.  I think it is a tree because it looks like one of our neighbor's trees.

Well there is the update.  I don't spend a lot of time writing witty posts...I am just happy to get a little bit of our life documented.  Thank you for reading despite my repetitive adjectives :)