And Just Like That...

And just like that... the last Sams girl has changed her name.

It was a wedding any girl would dream of. From the beautiful, delicious rehearsal dinner...


To the lovely brunch the morning of the wedding, where we talked about the precious memories we share. I am 16 years older than Hannah and she was only 6 when I got married, so our memories are a bit different from the memories of many siblings. We didn't grow up together, but we have shared so many special times. Hannah shared the memory of me putting her to bed the night before my wedding and how I cried telling her goodbye. Naturally I cried over the brunch when she said that.

To the wedding itself, which was just gorgeous and the perfect combination of serious admonition followed by joyous celebration.

Such a lovely bride!

A cupcake bouquet in the bridal room.

Opening a special gift from a nice who couldn't be there.
And I cannot post without recognizing that my Nan-Naw would have loved the wedding so much. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of her passing. She lives on in a different way in each of us. And her passing is still keenly felt by all of us.


Annika's First Volleyball Game

I know this is some type of blogging record for me at this stage of life, 2 posts in one week! But I look back through this blog as a record of important family events and Annika's first ever volleyball game needs to be recorded.

It was a good game and fun to watch her as she is learning all of the appropriate moves and positions. I can't wait to see her confidence grow as the season progresses. I intended to send a t-shirt with her to wear under her shirt since she is so small, but forgot to do so. She borrowed a camisole to at least make it a little more modest. Mom fail there, but we will do better next time.

Her team won the first set, but lost the next 2, so they lost the game, but I was glad they won one of the sets. I expect I will learn a lot about volleyball as the season progresses as well!

Anyway here she is, number 25, the tiniest and cutest volleyball player on the team!


Labor Day 2017

This morning started like most Monday mornings. The children have off school, but Keith headed out to work and we got breakfast and started to do normal Monday chores. It wasn't too much later that Keith called and said he was heading home and we could do something together as a family. Anyone who knows me knows that I was all over that idea!

Last night the boys had a few friends over and had a fire going out in our little fire pit in the picnic area. When Keith got home he went out and resurrected the fire. I'm not sure what he had in mind, but slowly the whole family filtered out that way and it ended up that we were all sitting in the woods on lawn chairs around the fire at 11 AM. Someone mentioned jalapeƱo poppers and that is all it took to get us inspired about cooking over the fire. Douglas ran to one store for jalapeƱos while I ran to another for a few other things.

Before you knew it we were roasting poppers, stuffed mushrooms, corn, and hotdogs over the fire. You know that silly little saying about smoke following beauty? I think we heard some form of it about 30 times. It was smoky and gritty and so amazing in every way to have all of us there together.

We treasure these times more as our children get older. Douglas is going to school and working. He is very busy. We know that will only increase as he gets older. It makes these moments precious and important.

Freeland carving "I love mom" into the bridge at Cold Springs

Today felt like a precious day that almost slipped by without us taking full advantage of it.

Time for a Sun Flare lesson for Casper!

Later in the day, after Douglas went to work, we loaded up and went back to our favorite spot at Cold Springs.

Building a dam in the freezing creek water.

What a way to wrap up the summer!


First Day of School 2017

Well, I think I have felt all the feels today. Elation at the silence of my house. Regret that my health issues cause me to be so exhausted that the elation is so significant. Sorrow that they are a year older, a year closer to independence.

Gratitude and a bit of pride that they are so beautiful and amazing.

This morning started with waking everyone bright and early. Last school year I would wake the girls each morning singing to them, "Good morning to you! Good morning to you!" I haven't done it much over the summer, but this morning I walked in and sang to them. I love their sweet sleepiness as they wake up. They had everything ready to go, so getting ready was a breeze. If only that would last.

Freeland was a bit of a different story. When I woke him up he groaned and said, "I'm dropping out of school!" I just laughed because he is 15 and not dropping out.

The thing that made this morning different from any other back to school mornings was the eldest heading off to his first college class. He is going to school for nursing, planning to be an RN then decide which direction he will go. I'm excited to see him following this calling. But it is such a huge step toward adulthood.

So it has been a day for the books. I have felt all the feels, cried all the tears, and slept. Happy first day of school 2017!



I wish I had a reason, a good sound easily understood reason that I have allowed the summer to slip by without so much as a nod in the direction of the faithful old blog. The only thing I can even come up with is just All.The.Things!

Taking photos of photographers is more fun than taking pictures of popcorn!

Mostly good things like camp for Casper and work for Douglas and Freeland. Like swimming and going fun and interesting places. Like teaching photography classes and going places to take pictures of cute babies. Like birthdays and birthday parties. Like friends and family visiting.

Of course there have also been the not so good things like car trouble and health issues. Like more car trouble, and more car trouble, like driving boys back and worth to work thanks to said car trouble.  Like iron transfusions that unexpectedly caused intense nausea for an entire week. Like needing to re-schedule the birthday party not once, but twice.

Maybe having the school schedule lends a sense of urgency to the summer months. The time is so short and the list of things to do is so long! I want there to be long days of just being, but those days have been swallowed up by the days of doing.

Later this week my parents are visiting from Texas.  Next week Annika goes to camp. And so it goes. Counting down to the days of the big yellow school bus taking them all away each day.


Defender Day 2017

I mostly volunteer at school events so that I can take pictures. Don't tell the children, because I really do love seeing them have fun at school, but the photos I bring home are just so fun!

Each team designed a shield.

Here are the "Purple Peacemakers"

So today was Defender Day. The entire school was divided up into 5 teams. Each team had a color and all wore t-shirts in their color. I had a child in every team except for the green team, so I just cheered for all the teams.

The day started with a treasure hunt. Then we moved on to the most elaborate relay race I have ever seen. It included pie eating, digging for coins, shooting pie plates with little arrows, carrying buckets of water to "fill the moat", chugging down entire cans of soda, and many other fun things.

The games continued throughout the day. In the end they tallied the points for all of the teams and the purple team won! This was Annika's team and she was super excited to be on the winning team! And each team member got a huge chocolate bar.

Only 3 1/2 more school days this year!
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