Category Archives: Imported

The Last Piece of Bacon

I love a good hearty breakfast for dinner.  And in the winter when it’s cold and it gets dark so early, we have breakfast for dinner on a regular basis.  It’s an easy meal that the whole family likes and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand (which is great for busy days when 4:30 rolls around, and I don’t have a solid dinner plan).  Usually, we just have pancakes or waffles with scrambled eggs and maybe some fried potatoes, but sometimes I bake up a pan of bacon as a treat.

In a family of six; a one pound package of bacon doesn’t go very far.  Especially when you have growing boys who like to pile their plates high with crispy bacon.  I’m always careful to watch the bacon plate to make sure that Justin gets that last piece of bacon.  After all, if anyone deserves the coveted last piece of bacon it’s him.  The man who leaves us every morning, commutes to his job, and works hard each and everyday for us.  There wouldn’t be any bacon to put on the table if it weren’t for him.  I watch because I know it’s only a matter of time before one of my children’s hand reaches out to snatch and devour that last piece of bacon.  This particular night it happened to be all three of the older children who were vying for the last piece.

“Hey!” I said sharply as they all attempted to reach for it, “That’s your dad’s piece, you leave it alone.”  Justin quickly reached out and took the last piece of bacon.  He broke it into three small pieces and handed one to each of the children.

“That’s okay” he said, “I don’t mind sharing it.”

There have been many times in my life I have been proud to be that man’s wife, but at that moment I don’t believe I have ever been prouder.  Such a simple gesture, but to me it represented so much more.  It was a moment that encapsulated exactly the husband and father he is to us.  Selfless, even in the little things.  Happy to give what is “rightfully” his to those he loves.  Everyday he shows us what it means to love, what it is to be faithful, he is showing my sons and my daughters that strength (real strength) looks a lot like gentleness.  He is being God’s hands and feet.

Inanorchard

 

Inanorchard

 

Inanorchard

 

Inanorchard

 

There is always room on his lap for his children.  In the evenings he folds his long frame up into their small beds and makes up funny stories and songs for their listening pleasure.  His hands are used to help and protect, his words to build up; never to tear down.  My children never have to wonder what it means to have a heavenly Father who loves them, because their own father does such a good job reflecting His love to them.  He doesn’t expect praise or accolades, he wouldn’t want it, but I can’t help but tell the story I see day after faithful day.

If my friends, you have been tempted lately to despair at the stories that are so widely circulated in the news; if you have wondered “Are there any good men left?”.  I will tell you that there are so many good Godly men who are quietly, faithfully, and loving, serving their families. Men who gladly give up the last piece of bacon.

I think it’s time we told their stories. I think it’s time to sing their praises; so that others will follow in their footsteps.

The last of the Summer days

The last of the summer days | inanorchard

Let’s just imagine for a moment that we are not entering into the second week of school.  Let’s pretend that I’m actually enough on the ball to post pictures, and write posts in real time. I know, it’s a bit of a stretch but let’s give it a go.

Summer has been winding down.  The “first day of school” date has been looming on the calendar but we’ve been ignoring it.  Because we’ve been ever so busy with lots of important things like; flower picking, swimming, ice cream eating, staying up too late, dirty feet, happy faces, summer time fun.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

She found “baby pumpkins” ready to pick and was delighted with her discovery.

 

Every evening, after dinner, you will find them all in the pool.  Shouting, hopping, splashing, and playing to their heart’s content.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

 

Last of the summer days | Inanorchard

We also spend our afternoons drawing on the kitchen table with art books we found at the library.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

The lazy, sleep-in-mornings are numbered and we are enjoying each and every one of them.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

Archie comic books are such a hit in our house.  So many tattered, well-read copies floating around the living-room.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

On the last weekend of the summer we decided to have a camp-out in our backyard.  Mr. G has been fascinated with astronomy for the last year now, so at the end of the school year, we took the time to write all the important astronomical events down on our calendar.  When we flipped the page to August it said “Perseid’s meteor shower”, so we planned a night of campfires, s’mores, sleeping on the trampoline, and midnight meteor showers.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

 

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

It was a gorgeous night.  A clear sky and a new moon gave us the advantage for viewing meteor showers.  We piled the trampoline with blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, and set our alarm clocks for midnight.
Last of the summer days | Inanorchard

The fire was so beautiful that night.  We made s’mores and kept our eyes turned towards the heavens.  The kids and I (including little Miss P) camped out on the trampoline, while Justin slept in his hammock right next to us.  We fell asleep watching meteors steak across the sky.  We woke up to our midnight alarm clock, but couldn’t stay away long enough to get a good glimpse of the meteor show.  Miss P was snuggled up to me all night long and slept so well, but about 2:00 in the morning the dew started settling on our faces, and hair, and sleeping bags.  Miss E was the first one to head into the house at about 2:30 a.m, followed shortly by her daddy.  Around 3:00 in the morning the dew was getting heavy and Miss P was starting to stir, so I nudged the boys and said “Hey, we’re headed into the house to sleep the rest of the night, but you boys are welcome to stay out here.”  Mr. G sat straight up and said, “This was a bad idea.  I want to sleep in my own bed!”.  So we all trudged sleepily through the wet grass, into the comfort of our own sweet beds, and no one stirred until 9:30 the next morning.

I hope the children remember these days, because they are permanently etched on my heart.

 

Long live the summer days of our childhood…

One Last Summer Hurrah

The summer was slipping through our fingers, we had been talking about getting up to the mountains since early spring, and Justin was about to celebrate his birthday.  All really good reasons to rent the funky, cozy, fun cabin near Pinecrest Lake.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

We arrived on his birthday so we celebrated with a delicious meal!  Grandpa and Grandma W. came up to stay with us for the first night and day.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

Justin made the most amazing Pork Belly Porchetta…so flavorful, moist on the inside, crispy on the outside.  I’m so glad he likes to cook his birthday dinner!

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

After dinner we went down to the lake to scope out a good fishing spot and let the kiddos throw their lines in a few times.  They had been dying to try their new fishing poles.

Pinecrest | Inanorchard

It was the perfect night on the lake.

Pinecrest | Inanorchard

Pinecrest 2015 | InanorchardThis little girl was aching to get in the water from the moment we walked onto the shore!  Jumping from rock to rock, throwing stones in the water, next dipping her toes in the water, then her feet, then up to her waist, and then all the way under…leaving her mamma scrambling to haul her out.

Pinecrest 2015 | InanorchardJ wrapped his arms around her to keep her warm while Grandma ran to the car to get her sweatshirt to wrap the girl up.  Miss P’s chin was chattering so hard!

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

All warmed up and ready for more mischief.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

Pinecrest 2015 | InanorchardGrandpa and G figuring out the perfect bait.

 

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

Mornings at the cabin mean hot chocolate with lots of mini marshmallows.  It also means children are roused out of bed semi-early for some morning fishing.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Pinecrest 2015 | InanorchardThis photo of the fishing party… I love it.  I told Justin, “Don’t leave yet! I want to get a picture of you guys.”  Justin: “Don’t take a picture of us now.  We just look like people who are dressed weird.”  Grandpa W, “Hey! Speak for yourself!”

Pinecrest 2015 | InanorchardCutest little fisher girl ever.

Towards lunch time Grandma, Miss P, and I headed down to the lake with a picnic lunch to meet up with the gang.  These are the three lake trout the boys proudly caught.  Justin cleaned them, packed them in ice and placed them in a cooler.  The cooler of fish was temporarily placed near our car and then someone stole them!!  Who steals someone’s hard earned catch!?  The boys were pretty disappointed but at least we got a picture of their fish.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

Inanorchard 2015 | InanorchardMiss E snuggling with Grandma after a dip in the lake.

 

Inanorchard 2015 | Inanorchard

It’s the prettiest view a person could ask for…

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

These two…

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

After a day at the lake, we got pizza with Grandpa and Grandma.  They headed back home and we went back to the cabin.

Pinecrest 2015 | InanorchardEvenings in the cabin look like this; games and mini chocolate bars.

On Saturdays the lake is always so packed.  We decided to stay away from the crowds.  I hung out at the cabin with Miss P (reading my stack of library books), and Justin took the older kiddos to play Disc Golf at a nearby course.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

There is a charming little amphitheater right on the lake, that shows family movies on the weekends all summer long.  The Minions movie was being shown and the kids were super excited about watching a movie under the stars.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

We arrived early, just after dinner, we took a walk along the shore while we waited.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Pinecrest 2015 | InanorchardSilliness always abounds when mamma wants a picture.

Inanorchard 2015 | Inanorchard

We found our places at the amphitheater, bundled up in our sweatshirts and blankets and waited for it to get dark.  Miss P was pretty sure that whole bag was supposed to be for her :)

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

Pinecrest 2015 | InanorchardWe eat good breakfasts at the cabin.

It was our last day so we took one more trip to the lake.  The kids swam, played in the raft, and tried one last time to catch some more fish.

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

That night the children got warm baths and showers, we made more hot coco, and played a rousing game of Yahtzee!

Pinecrest 2015 | Inanorchard

 

These are the memories childhood is built on.  So much work, but so much fun, and so worth the effort.

 

Tag-along Wife

 

When Justin arranged for me to tag-along with him for his annual work review at Stanford University, I was beyond thrilled!  It’s always hard to get away from home; find a place for the kids to stay, someone to check on the dog. How will the garden and the pumpkin patch get watered?  It’s so tempting to just say “Never mind, it’s easier if I just stay home”.  But I’m so glad I didn’t!

Being a tag-along wife is a different experience than just going on vacation with your husband.  It’s so… luxurious.  That’s the word I wold use to describe it.  Glorious alone time, paired with meeting up with the love-of-my-life at the end of each day; it all adds up to the perfect holiday.

I picked Justin up from work Monday afternoon and we decided on a whim to have dinner in Halfmoon Bay.  After dinner he looked at me and said “Do you want to go to Santa Cruz for coffee and dessert?”   Yes. Yes I do.  So we took the winding road down the coast and ended up in Santa Cruz right at dusk.  We walked through the downtown streets under the lights of the shops, we sipped coffee and shared a dessert.  It didn’t matter that we didn’t get back to the hotel until well after 11:00 that night because there would be no little voices waking us in the morning.  Well, Justin had to get up for meetings but I got to sleep in ;)

I got up slowly the next morning, hung the “do not disturb” sign on the door, and took my sweet time getting ready.  Fortuitously, there was a Starbucks right in the parking lot of the hotel, so I had my breakfast there each morning.

First up on the “do what ever I would like” schedule: Filoli Gardens

Tag-along Wife | Inanorchard I’ve visited the gardens in the past but it’s been close to 11 years since I’ve been able to get back.  I spent hours there, just walking down every path, looking in every nook, taking more pictures than any sane person should take of flowers :)  I took the 2 hour tour of the gardens and house, I strolled back to the cafe. I sipped my grape soda and ate my ham and swiss sandwich is beautiful silence, and then I headed back to the garden for more.

Tag- Along wife | Inanorchard

 

Tag-along Wife | Inanorchard

I’m hoping to do a whole post on the gardens but I will save that for another day…

Tag-along wife | Inanorchard

Next up was the Stanford Shopping Center.  Such a beautiful place to shop!  I stopped at any store I felt like and looked at every.little.thing.  I didn’t walk by the crowded sales racks, I stood and looked through them all.  I nearly bought the piggy salt and pepper shakers at Crate & Barrel but opted for the darling green metal seed box instead.

Tag-along Wife | Inanorchard

Of course all that shopping can make a girl peckish so I treated myself to a fancy cupcake and a glass of cold milk.

Tag-along Wife | Inanorchard

Late that afternoon I went back to the hotel to wait for Justin.  He was stuck in a meeting so I piled up all the pillows and watched The Food Network…in the middle of the day!

Tag-along Wife | Inanorchard

He finally escaped his meetings and we headed downtown for gourmet burgers and micro-brew beer.

Tag-along Wife | Inanorchard

Of course we brought dessert back with us…

Tag-along Wife | Inanorchard

 

It was only two days and two nights, but it’s amazing what a little time away can do for one’s moral.  And of course, one of the best things about leaving, is knowing I will come home to these sweet faces who love me so dearly; as I love them.

Tag-along Wife | Inanorchard

Baby No Longer

She's two | Inanorchard

It was two years ago we brought her home from the hospital.  It was the hottest day of the summer and there were three eager faces waiting to meet her, hold her, and touch her.  Those first few weeks the rhythm of the whole house was wrapped around that tiny girl.  I remember how long Justin would linger in bed in the morning, just so her could hold her sleeping body a little while longer.  How can two years have passed already?  But the evidence greets me each day; the cheerful, ever busy, toe-headed little girl, who’s tiny voices chirps up at me as she follows me around the house.

She's two | Inanorchard

We celebrated her birthday last Thursday.  It was a quiet, small celebration.  We filled her day with all the little things she loves; balloons tied to her crib to greet her the moment she opened her eyes, doughnuts for breakfast, swimming with the big kids, fresh berries (her absolute favorite), and home-made pizza for dinner…because Miss P loves pizza!

She's two | Inanorchard

After dinner she excitedly opened her gifts from the children, Grandma and Grandpa W. and her daddy and I.  Grandma W included a card with her gift and Miss P spend several minutes “reading” it to us :) She’s such a little mockingbird!  She’s seen her big sister slowly reading out loud many times, so naturally she wanted to give it a go.

She's two | Inanorchard

She was so pleased and proud of every gift!

She's two | Inanorchard

This is the little back-pack I bough her.  She loves back-packs!  She’s always trying to borrow her sister’s so I thought it was time she had her own.  I filled it with magnetic letters and a small bag of Hershey’s kisses (because Miss P loves her chocolate too).

She's two | Inanorchard

She beamed as we sang to her and she blew that candle out just like pro

She's two | Inanorchard

Inspecting the sprinkles or “parkles” as she calls them…She's two | Inanorchard

She's two | Inanorchard

For the last month, when you would ask Miss P how old she was going to be; she would hold up 5 fingers and say “I two!”.  And then, when you asked her what she was going to have on her birthday she would say “Cake!!”.  But pretty soon it changed and when you asked her how old she was going to be she would simple say, “I cake!!!!”.

She's two | Inanorchard

Things I want to remember about my darling 2-year-old

-The way you swat your daddy’s hands away when he’s trying to buckle you into your carseat and say “I do! I do!”.

-Your gloriously goofy grin

-The way the crook of your neck smells when you wake up from a nap, and the way I close my eyes and breath you in, as you tuck your head under my chin

-How you jump up and down and shout “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” when you see Daddy walk in the door with a pizza box

She's two | Inanorchard

 

She's two | Inanorchard

 

You are the bright spot in our little family Miss P, and you are so very loved

 

A Friday Post

A Friday post, with photos from my phone

1.  Miss E plays with flowers

Friday Post | Inanorchard

2.  My guys, working together in the last of the day’s light

Friday Post | Inanorchard

3. Summer sillies

Friday Post | Inanorchard

3.  Watercolor Hollyhocks by Miss E

Friday Post | Inanorchard

4-7  Pictures from the Annual Outdoor Movie and Homemade Doughnut Night; where we run into friends who we still love but seldom see

Friday Post | Inanorchard

5.

Friday Post | Inanorchard

6.

Friday Post | Inanorchard

 

7.Friday Post | Inanorchard

8. My friend’s amazing garden

Friday Post | Inanorchard

9.  From my garden

Friday Post | Inanorchard

10. Miss P dresses as a kitten ballerina and sits on the kitchen table

Friday Post | Inanorchard

11.  We have somthing other than cereal for breakfast

Friday Post | Inanorchard

12.  He was on overnight business travel and he sends me a picture of a restaurant (he didn’t say but I imagined it was quiet and cool inside), there was a cold refreshing beverage on the table.  This is the photo I sent him…

Friday Post | Inanorchard

13. Miss P tries her hand a flower arranging

Friday post | Inanorchard

14.  The Blue Gum Boys looking sharp in their uniforms

Friday Post | Inanorchard

15.  Miss E and her typical summer look; messy braids, brown as a berry, swimsuit on

Friday Post | Inanorchard

15.  The sun setting behind the corn field

Friday Post | Inanorchard

Links to some things I’m loving right now-

I was fabric shopping online when I came across this beautiful fabric designed by Emily Isabella.  Which in turn led me to her website which is full of her lovely illustrations, which then led me to her IG feed which is just as charming (internet stalking…it’s so much fun)

The Golden Adventures of a Very Dark Horse is an Australian blog I’ve followed for a few years now.   I ran into Stella’s blog when I was doing a search for sewing tutorials.  She doesn’t do much sewing these days, but her posts (while at times a little infrequent) are so pleasant, quirky, smart, and filled with pretty images that catch Stella’s eye.  One thing I like about following Australian bloggers is that their seasons are the opposite of ours.  I find it refreshing and curious to watch their world turn from autumn to winter just as ours is going from spring to summer.

LibriVox is an amazing website that my husband turned me onto.  It’s a website full of public domain audio books that you can download and listen to for free.  It has completely changed the way our family does long-distance trips!  Before we leave I look up book titles that I think the children might enjoy listening to and I download them to my phone.  The miles go so much faster when you are listening to a good book.  On our last trip we listenend to The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle read by Karen Savage.  I was so impressed with Karen Savage’s reading style, that I did a search on LibriVox for all of her readings and was so happy to discover that she has read and recorded Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island !

Hope you all have a great weekend!  ~April

Lake Tahoe Family getaway

For years now our annual family trip has always taken place in a big beach house, over looking the Pacific ocean.  It is the Christmas gift my in-laws have given all of us, ever since my oldest child was a baby…the gift of a family vacation.   But on this, our 10th year, we found ourselves in the mountains, tucked away in a big cabin near Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorhcard

Because our family keeps growing, and changing jobs, and moving out of state, we needed to find a new place to accommodate our changing needs and schedules.  I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about the change of location, having grown so fond of our beach getaways, but the change was so much fun!  The mountain scenery was gorgeous and the children loved the hiking and the lake.  The weather was pretty much perfect, aside from the odd thunder shower that would crop up in the evenings.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

We started off our weekend with a 1 mile hike down to Emerald Bay, where we took a tour of Vikingsholm, which was a gorgeous mansion built to be a summer home for the late and very wealthy Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight.  It no longer serves as a summer home to anyone.  The estate and all the land that goes with it, which includes a small island in Emerald Bay, is now property of the state of California.  It is such a beautiful bay, one of the few areas around the lake that has not been developed.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

The kids did great on the hike.  Going down was a breeze!  One mile of smooth path, all downhill.  Coming back up was more challenging, but mostly for the adults.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Miss P walked for the first part but was soon riding in her pack on her daddy’s back.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Daisies grow in large clearings all around the lake.  Looking at them felt like looking at a page out of a picture book.  Almost too beautiful to be real.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

The children played near the bay while we waited to tour Vikingsholm.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Mrs. Knight wanted her summer home to reflect her love of  Scandinavian architecture.  Everything about the home, right down to the locks on the doors, where inspired by Viking and Scandinavian designs.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

This little wooden nook that jutted from the front of the home was Mrs. Knights personal writing nook.  I’ve never wanted to be rich but I would love to have my own personal writing nook (especially one that overlooks a pristine bay).

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

The kiddos were not real excited about the prospect of touring someone’s old home, no matter how impressive it happened to be.  I will say though, at the end of the tour all the children said they really like the old house!

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

It was this little room that particularly caught my eye.  This was Mrs. Knights personal maid’s sewing room.  It was my favorite room of the house.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

 

This is the view from the top of the hike.  What you see behind the girls is Emerald Bay.  The little island you see was also part of Mrs. Knights’ estate.  She had a tea room built on the island and approximately 3 or 4 times a summer she would hold a tea party out on the island for her and her guests.  Sadly, only the foundation of the tea room is left.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Back at the cabin the children entertained themselves with bubble-blowing on the deck, pool playing in the game room, monkeying around on the couches, playing video games, and swimming in the hot-tub.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

One evening we decided to have a pizza dinner in the park.  While we were there a storm cloud loomed over the playground and dumped rain on us for about 7 or 8 minutes.  We all took cover under the gazebo until the storm had passed.  Right after dinner while the kiddos were playing, a rainbow appeared in the sky over the park.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

After dinner one night, I noticed Uncle E had a lot of pretty girls piled in his lap, so I got my camera out and told them to give him a kiss.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

I love the expressions on their faces!  The picture quality isn’t the best because of the low lighting and squirmy little girls, but I love these shots.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

On Sunday we ate a late breakfast, lounged around the cabin until after lunch and then headed down to the lake for an afternoon on the beach.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

The weather was perfect and this particular beach on the South Shore was amazing.  You could walk almost a 1000 feet out from the shore, and the water never got above your waist.  The children had a blast playing in the water!

Tahoe 2015 | InanorchardThe littlest of the clan being their adorable selves.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Justin rented a kayak and everyone took turns paddling it around the shallows of the lake.  It really was the perfect place for them to learn to maneuver a kayak.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Even the little girls got a turn.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

 

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Mr G is more of a land-lover.  Happy and content to sit on the warm beach enjoying the scenery and the snacks.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

The sky was so big and the lake seemed so vast.Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Um, can we talk for a minute about how adorable Miss P looks in a swim diaper?Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

My father-in-law with his only daughter

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Another of my father-in-law, but this time with his three sons

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

The last night at the cabin the children were fed and bathed early.  They all piled on the big couch to watch a movie while the grownups went about the business of tidying and packing.  We needed to be fed, packed-up and out the door by 10:00 am the next day.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

The morning brought lots of commotion and of course the truly sad part of any vacation…saying good-bye.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

We would all go our separate ways, carrying with us fond memories, and looking forward to the next time we are all together again.

Tahoe 2015 | Inanorchard

Thank you Lake Tahoe… you were very, very good to us.

Easy Does It

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We are in a blueberry picking, backyard BBQ, good eating, baseball playing, book reading, muffin making, pool playing, hammock dwelling, summer groove… and it feels so good.

 

To Happy Endings

Even though we are already 2 weeks into summer vacation I couldn’t dive into summer posting without saying a few words about our school year.  And if there was a word I could use to sum up this year it would be above all other words; grateful.  So grateful.

To Happy Endings | InanorchardTo Happy Endings | Inanorchard

These women who we call teachers who are also friends, mentors, cheerleaders, teammates,… they have blessed our lives.

To Happy Endings | Inanorchard

How much they grow in just one school year.

To Happy Endings | Inanorchard

This was the three of them at the beginning of the school year, fresh-faced and eager with just a little nervousness around the edges.

To Happy Endings | Inanorchard

My little kindergartner at the beginning of school.

Miss E and our beloved Mrs B on the very last day.

To Happy Endings | Inanorchard

On the very last day of kindergarten Mrs. B gathers her students around for the traditional releasing of the butterflies.  These are butterflies that the children have watched transition from caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly.  As she releases them she explains to the children that all things must change and grow.  Even kindergartners.  We aren’t meant to stay in one place, no matter how much we love it, because new and exciting things are ahead.

To Happy Endings | Inanorchard

What can I say about Mrs. B?  What words can I use to express the preciousness of this woman?  I have entrusted each of my three oldest children into her care.  They have all grown and blossomed under her steady, tender guidance.  Each of them have a folder I have saved from their kindergarten year, and in it are all the beautiful projects Mrs. B had done with each of them. They are some of my most prized possessions.

To Happy Endings | Inanorchard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA To Happy Endings | Inanorchard

What do I say about Mrs B?  The woman who I love as a friend, look up to as a mentor, the woman who has loved each of my children, who opened up the world to them and turned their young hearts to the Lord.  I could say “thank you” a million times and it would not be enough.

To Happy Endings | InanorchardAll I can say now is “No retiring Mrs B until after Miss P done with kindergarten!!”

The Boy Turns Ten

Ten | Inanorchard

This spring my first born turned 10-years-old.  One decade of having this blue-eyed boy in my life.

We don’t always through huge birthday parties, but 10 is momentous number that deserved a big shin-dig.  I asked him what kind of party he wanted, thinking he might want a big Minecraft birthday will all his friends.  But he wanted a family party in the back yard, with swimming and lots of good food.  I like the way that boy thinks.  His Daddy made tri-tip sandwiches.

Ten | Inanorchard

All the cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and a few classmates came for dinner and swimming last Saturday night.  It was so breezy but the kiddos didn’t mind in the least bit.  They all jumped in the pool.  They spent the entire night going back and forth from the trampoline to the pool.

Ten | Inanorchard

The one special request J made was to have a pinata, but I came up with another idea.  I filled balloons with candy, then I hot glued the candy-filled balloons to a big piece of cardboard.  The kids took turns throwing darts and shooting the balloons with BB guns.

Ten | Inanorchard

They had a great time with the game!  I’m glad, because filling all those balloons with candy was A LOT of work!  Unfortunately, it was so popular that Mr. G has requested the same game for his next party.

Ten | Inanorchard

Cousins horsing around on the porch :)

Ten | Inanorhcard

 

Ten | Inanorchard

My boy isn’t a cake kind of kid.  For years he would request black berry pie for his birthday celebration.  A couple years back he started asking for strawberry pizza which is just fine with me!  Just as delicious, but half the work :)

Ten | Inanorchard

The night was so windy we weren’t able to get a “blow-out-the-candles” picture but we all sang a rousing “Happy Birthday” to the grinning boy.

Ten | Inanorchard

 

This beautiful gal right here is responsible for almost all of these pictures.  I was hustling and bustling around, while she picked up my camera and worked her camera magic.  Alli, your are the official birthday photographer from now on!

Ten | Inanorchard

He opened presents as the sun began to set and the evening turned cold.  We all hunted around for sweatshirts and jackets and brewed a pot of warm coffee.

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Grammy was extra cold so we broke out the thick socks and blankets for her.Ten | Inanorchard

 

Ten | Inanorchard

Ten | Inanorchard

I couldn’t be prouder of this guy.  He’s thoughtful, so tender and caring with the younger kids, his ever-inquisitive mind, the way he loves being with people, and the excellent big brother he’s been.  He’s my right-hand guy.  It fills me with all kinds of sentimental, misty-eyed thoughts when I think about the tiny body I held in my arms 10 short years ago.

Love you my boy