Wednesday, June 26, 2013



Seven years ago today we met a beautiful, bold little girl with brown hair curls that changed life as we knew it.  Honestly, not too much has changed about that sweet girl in the past seven years! Sure, she is older, wiser, and bigger but we feel that we had her pegged early in that hospital room as she looked around the place with confidence, ready to meet the world.  And eat a cheeseburger.  :)

This year has been a good one for our Mal-Doll.  She loved first grade and excelled in the structure of school  Honestly, she never gave us too many problems about the early wake-up and bus rides into school.  She likes a schedule, that girl.  (She even prefers to rotate her school uniforms and hairstyles on a specific schedule!) She learned to read, although she'd never admit that she finds pleasure in it.  That's fine--we'll read aloud to her as long as she'll allow us to.  We don't want her to grow up TOO quickly.

And besides, who has time for things like reading?  There's always science experiments to undertake, gymnastics performances to be practiced, and plans to be orchestrated. She's a schemer, that's for sure.  But in the midst of that she's learning to be sensitive to her sisters and has even grown in her affection-tolerance with her parents. Her report card noted that she's kind to others and we pray that her love for Jesus and the people around her will grow as well.

These days she's still loving the color turquoise, swimming, swinging, baking, singing (especially in church), Magic Tree House, and anything she can watch or do on a screen.  She's our most extroverted--the more friends around, the better.  

Amalia June, we are blessed beyond measure to have you as our daughter.  You fill our lives with laughter (louder than your dad's sometimes) and well-planned adventure.  We thank God for the good gift he gave us in you.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Grandma and her girls (one with a new bike!)

We wrapped up Grandma Sandy's visit with some bike-riding outside so Brinn could try out her new bike.  She did pretty well although all these hills does make it difficult.  The green-eyed monster made it difficult for a certain other big girl to appreciate her bike, but she'll get her special day tomorrow. 

 Lane just loved having her "Baba" here.  (That's her new word for any grandparent--she's pretty proud of it too).  She led Grandma Sandy around the yard babbling away.  With just a small protest at the word "no".

 A quick stop to inspect some bugs.  Their buddy Jack would approve. 
And finally, a mama and her girl. 

A matter of perspective...

Today may be hot and humid, but I am a million times more comfortable than I was seven years ago today.  Considerably less bored as well!


 You know what summer is good for?  Laid-back bedtimes and morning cuddles.  We are missing those 7:10 am bus arrivals AT ALL these days!

Swim Lessons!

 The three big girls started swim lessons last night--Carrigan's first time ever!  She was a little nervous to start, but was brave and did a fine job in the water.  She and Brinn started in the same class, but we're pretty sure it's time to move Brinn up to Mali's level.  Speaking of Mali, I couldn't snap any good pictures of her since as soon as we got to the pool she jumped in and pretty much swam underwater until her class was called. 
First Timer

Bathing Beauties

Three year old friends
This one thought the fun to be had was at home with her grandma...and her grandma's phone.  But wanted to dress appropriately anyhow. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Best way to top off Father's Day?  A surprise (85th) birthday party for a church friend at the magical LeMont restaurant on Mt. Washington.  Spectacular view, great food, and a lovely all-around time.  I think I'll do the same for my 85th. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Meatloaf for Dinner

We had a lovely dinner guest last Saturday--Amalia's teacher, Miss "C".  Mali noticed one day that her teacher had packed meatloaf for lunch at school. Always a foodie, Mali informed her that our family had a winner meatloaf recipe and that we should have a "meatloaf party" together.  We agreed and scheduled one for the first weekend after school was out for the summer.

Although my mom's classic onion-soup-mix meatloaf is a darn good one, our family is partial to ours that includes a filling of blue cheese, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. Yum, YUM!  Jonathan and I first had a similar one at Marian and & Eric Larson's house (still reading our blog, Marian? ) back in our BBBS days.  We were blown away by it and I did my best to copy-cat it.  It's still one of our all-time favorite meals.  We served it with potatoes, salad, and rhubarb custard pie and it was the perfect ending to first grade.

Monday, June 10, 2013

We did it! (The End of the School Year Post)

This blog post was going around FB the past few weeks and it was so, so true.  This was our first time really going through the end of the school year with an elementary school-aged kid and I had no idea it would be so intense.  Field trips!  Picnics!  Awards assemblies!  Teacher gifts!  (Times three--since we had three in school this year!) Thank goodness our school doesn't do "graduation" ceremonies for random grades like I have heard other ones do.

Case in point of the craziness--I chaperoned Brinn's class for a field trip to see the musical "Honk".  It was a lovely show and a nice opportunity for me to be with her class. Three classes from our school were there and all but one kid was dressed in their appropriate green school t-shirts.  Yup, that one kid was my Brinnly because we could only find one green RLS shirt and Mali wore it.  Brinn was stuck with the choice of a yellow RLS shirt or green Valpo High School one. 

All in all, the school year wrapped up nicely. Carrigan's class had a sweet closing ceremony and I was struck how grown-up all of them looked while they sang songs and recited/signed Bible verses.  We are learning more that large groups are a challenge for her but she was confident that day.  I'm especially proud of her work in simply showing up this year.  Brinnly led her class on the stage for the start of their awards ceremony where they showed examples of their day and recited Bible verses and poems.  She did great but was somewhat upstaged by a boy in her class who moonwalked back to his seat after receiving his certificate. (His mom cringed!).  And our Amalia took home a "Mad Scientist" award and "Excellence in Vocal Music" certificate but the cherry on top for her was getting to leave school a little early that day.  Even she's been a homebody lately. It is time for summer.

And in case you needed one more example of the end-of-school craziness--I do have pictures of all of these events. But I can't seem to find either the battery charger for Camera A (which takes better pictures) or the cord to download the pictures I have on Camera B.  A scavenger hunt may need to be first on our summer bucket list.