Monday, June 29, 2015


When I graduated from high school it was in Symphony Hall in Salt Lake City.

We had close to 400 in our graduating class so we all fit and I loved and hated it at the same time...(loved it because it was beautiful and exciting, but hated it because I was not ready to graduate from high school I loved it so).

(flowers were all the rage I guess:)  Love those girls forever (and a few who are missing from these pics.)

That night we stayed up all night long at some big party the school sponsored and my closest friends and I headed up the canyon in my big suburban at sunrise listening to "Forever Young" blasting out of the stereo with tears trickling down our cheeks.

Dave had a huge graduating class here in the desert that was apparently a more raucous group in contrast to our serious celebration at Symphony wall.
 Love these good friends...most of whom we are still in touch with.

In some ways that seems like yesterday to Dave and me, and here we are with a son who has graduated.  

His ceremony was a little different from mine at Symphony Hall, probably more similar to Dave's but much more orderly (according to Dave).  Max had close to 900 in his graduating class.

We had to go save seats on the bleachers of the football field many hours in advance.  We ate dinner as the sun went down.
Finally the graduates marched in.

See Max with his big smile in the middle below?
It was an unusually cooler evening than is typical in the desert with a warm breeze which was pretty awesome compared to the stories of intense heat I've heard.
We listened to musical numbers and speeches as the sky turned dark.

And then it was time to announce every single one of those kids by name.
...which took a long time.

As they announced Max's name I shot this pic. of my good-luck charm (more about that HERE).  
I said a little prayer of sincere gratitude that all those credits from China really went through just fine, for our awesome counselor who helped us so much.  For all the teachers who have filled my son's brain with knowledge over the years as a foundation as he heads out into the world.  For the friends he has found and loved, for the volleyball team he got to play on, and for all the experiences (bad and good) that high school has weaved into his life to make him grow stronger and more aware.

School is such an incredible blessing for which I am so very deeply grateful.

Then they switched their tassels and threw up their hats and just like that, our son became a high-school graduate.
The fireworks went off and it was a scramble to find your child and hug them on the field.

I was just fine emotionally as we searched for Max until I found Elle first (she had been sitting with friends).  Her eyes were filled with tears, and then I just lost it.

These two sure love each other.

How I adore these boys who have been such an exceptional group of wonderful friends to Max.
All teary-eyed at that.

And these girls who have built him up so much as well.
(we miss Maddie!!)

So grateful for these volleyball "brothers" who were at his side so much of his time in high school and their great influences:

It was Grace's graduation from 8th grade that day so here are our two graduates:

My Dad lost us in the crowd and came home with Lucy but I had to capture him too...even if he would only pose on tip-toes:
...or slouched.
Dave's Dad was there too (he and Dave's mom had to divide and conquer with three grandkids graduating the same night), but I didn't get a pic. of him.  Love you Papa!

How I love this boy of mine.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy 14th, Grace!

From the moment she was born, this girl has been fond of front and center stage, depicted quite nicely in this picture.

Her siblings were enamored by her right from the start:
She was just so darling that we couldn't get enough of her.  Those chunky cheeks and big smiles melted us right away.

And ever since then she's added some serious spunk and sparkle to our family.

She took front and center during her colic/reflux stage because it was all we could do to keep up with her.

This was how she looked:
All the time, and I'm not kidding around.

(I'm refraining from posting the traditional picture I post every year of "the spit-up," just taking a year off.  I'm sure it'll be back next year:)

And then once we got through that her sparkly personality started coming out.

 She is a born performer.  EATS IT UP to be on the stage.

 And she adds a little pizazz to all that she does.

 How I love this girl and all that she's growing up to be.

She is up at girls' camp today...her birthday happened to be right smack-dab in the middle of all the camp festivities this year, so we had a grand celebration before she left.

We pretended it was her birthday on Tuesday...the 23rd of June...the only day we had available for serious celebrations which also happened to be Dave and my 20th anniversary.

(This summer has kind of thrown us for a switching-around loop...we're doing a couple switches on pretty important celebrations this year.  Dave was out of town for Father's Day so we're doing our own version this Sunday, we switched Grace's birthday so we could be with her and we're having a re-do of our anniversary on Monday. Phew!)

Ocean pancakes for breakfast.
Max leaves for work at 5:30am and Grace considered getting up to have the breakfast before he left but "considered" is as far as she got.  Elle is in London but sent her the sweetest birthday message.

I'm sure glad we have soaked in family birthday parties for so many years because this is the beginning of the end of having everyone together.

Grace's request was to go to the waterslides for the big day so we did.

Her cute friend from out of town came to town to help celebrate (she was coming for some other things too but adjusted the date to be here for Grace...made Grace so happy!  Thanks Jen and Carli!)
These girls (below) have started a tradition of celebrating each other's birthdays at a favorite restaurant so we dropped those two off to meet up with the others and went home to bake up her cake.

Fourteen things I love about this girl:

1)  She makes life fun.  She always has a new idea for us to do and she is a "gatherer" by nature so she's always surrounded by fun people and tried to make sure everyone is included.

2)  She somehow knows every beauty secret in the book and I'm thinking she's going to be a lot of help to me as I morph into an old lady.

3)  She is brave.  She will try anything new (almost) and shares her courage with those around her.

4)  Grace has serious drive.  When she wants something to happen, she makes it happen.

5)  She's a great student.  She really struggled in China, but pushed hard and still came out on top.  Maybe it was because she looked up this website:

Dave and I were cracking up when we opened the computer she had used in China and found that web page saved.

6)  She does anything I ask around the house without hardly a complaint.

7)  She is an awesome babysitter and makes things fun for her little sisters.

8)  She is an excellent chef and baker.

9)  She isn't afraid to beat to her own drum and has no qualms about breaking out into crazy dance at any given party.

10)  She is a good friend.  She is always looking out for those around her.  I have loved watching her take her friend who moved here from China under her wing and help her integrate into American life.   She had her communicating with her friends here before she even moved.

11)  She knows right from wrong and makes good decisions.

12)  She has a great sense of humor.

13)  She is becoming a fabulous photographer and I love seeing her work.

14)  She loves her Heavenly Father and works to build up her relationship with Him as she strives to love those around her as He would.

The morning after that great day she headed out for camp with Rebeka in tow (her friend from China).  Love these two together!

So sad to see her go knowing when she returned she'd be a year older, but so happy for her to have such a great time up there too.

I keep getting cute pictures from friends up at camp chronicling her day up there.  Love it!

Can't wait to hear all about it when she gets home.

Happy Birthday dear Gracie.

Love you forever.
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