11 months ago
Katauna decided she wanted to play the violin at school this year. I had mixed emotions, thinking how fun it would be to have another violinist in the house, and thinking how not so fun it would be through the beginning year. But, we decided to go ahead and let her give it a go. She was only in orchestra for a few months before we decided to pull the kids out to homeschool, so she didn't get a lot of instruction. But, she has gone on to continue learning and I'm so impressed! She is a pretty good little violinist, she likes to practice, and she is getting better all the time. Today I caught her outside practicing in the front yard and thought I"d take a couple of quick photos.
Jenn was my best friend from Elementary School. I met her in 5th grade, and we hit it off immediately. We were friends for 5th and 6th grades, and then my family moved to Chicago. We did a pretty poor job of keeping in touch after the move. When I was a senior, almost ready to graduate, I was at work one evening at freedom village (a retirement center) when I saw this girl walking down the hall with her grandma. I stared her down as she walked toward me, staring me down as well. She stopped in front of me and just said "Do I know you?" To which I replied "yes". After about 5 more uncomfortable seconds of just staring at eachother, she blurted out "Michelle?" right as I was asking "Jenny?" We spent the next two days together hanging out at my house, and hanging out at her aunt's house. (Her family was living in Colorado at the time, and she was just in town to visit her grandma and other relatives). It was a blast to get to know each other again.
After that, we saw each other one more time.... she came to visit me the week before I got married. So, it has been 15 years since we last saw one another. We called once or twice over the first few years, and I got in touch with her right before her wedding 6 or 7 years ago, but we really hadn't spoken too much since then. Last October I called her while on a road trip and we ended up talking for a couple hours. When she found out I was living in Oklahoma, she mentioned she has a great great aunt out here she was hoping to visit sometime soon. Well, she came and visited her aunt this week, and we were able to get together for a couple short hours yesterday!
It was so great to see her, finally meet her husband and her two kiddos. This was the first time she had met any of my 6 kids too, so it was a lot of catching up. It was fun for my kids to see that when you have a real friend, time just doesn't make a difference. Real friends will be close friends, even if it has been years since you last spoke, or decades since you last saw each other. I'm so blessed to have a few such friends in my life.
So, Sienna was waiting for a friend to arrive yesterday, when she climbed up on the window sill and sat there looking out the window. I scrambled to grab my camera and take a few shots before she realized it, and I think got some cute ones. As you can see, once she sees the camera, "the smile" comes out, which is cute in it's own right, but not necessarily authentic. As a side note, when I posted this picture on facebook, dad thought I had staged it. Why? Because Sienna's hair was done. Lol. Guess that shows how often her hair looks this cute.
So, Rae is a photographer. She is a phenomenal photographer. We are working on getting a photo blog set up for her to showcase her work. She has this creative eye that I simply don't understand or know where she got it, but I've had to come to grips with the fact that she is much better than I am. I'm pretty okay with it. It's really fun to watch her grow. We bought a couple back up cameras and have let her use one as her own. She has a lot to learn about how to use a real camera, but everything else comes naturally to her. I will often look outside and find her in strange positions, and I wonder what in the world is going on. When I get a little closer though, I always find the same thing.
On a rare Saturday off, Jason wanted to have a family day. He was thinking taking a long drive, find some mountains, or something that resembles mountains, do a picnic, take a hike, etc etc. You know, a Utah kind of family day, but in Oklahoma. Well, he made the mistake of asking the kids what they would like to do for a family day, and we ended up going to the zoo. Not quite the same, but, the zoo out here is seriously rad. It is one of the biggest zoos I've ever been too. They have animals I've never heard of. They have a separate children's zoo (which we didn't even have time for, but luckily can go to sometime soon, because we bought a season pass.) We saw an elephant show, and a sea lion show, which was one of the highlights for me. It was 6 hours of walking with no complaints from the kids, they were all rockstars. It was so nice to have a whole day to hang out with dad. Looking forward to more of those in the future.
So, three times a week I get together with two of my friends, Michelle and Angie, and we go walking. We take all of our kids to the park and Rae and Sam (Angie's oldest) watch all the others while they play tag and capture the flag and whatever. We walk 4 miles and it is a lot of fun. The kids love it, it is a great chance to get out of the house for a while and get a little socialization in there. Michelle homeschools her kids, and Angie homeschools a few of hers. All in all we leave 13 kids at the park while we walk. It's been really nice. But, you know, sometimes the wind blows in Oklahoma. (I refuse to break into song.) On just such a morning, the kids piled out of the car and the moms piled in. After about 2 minutes we decided it was way too cold and windy to go walking, and it was more of a hot chocolate kind of day. So we headed to Michelle's, had some cocoa, and watched a movie. That's almost the same thing as walking 4 miles, right?