Monday, July 30, 2012

Ben's At Band Camp! (And my emotional ramblings...)


Ben has waited for this day for a long time.  

He was counting the days until band camp started.

He's actually not at band camp.  Band camp is here.
(At school.  Everyday.)

It wasn't even a battle to wake him up this morning.

I even got a smile out of him on the way to the school!

My boy is growing up.  ):

I am such a freak...I have to admit that when I went to pick Ben up and saw him marching, I got goosebumps and teary.

Ben is just thrilled to be part of the Brigade this year!

I must be crazy!  There have been so many thoughts going through my head.  Here are a few:

***

I was thrilled when Ben decided that he wanted to be in band.  I was elated when he wanted to be in marching band.  I loved marching band so much when I was in high school.  I have so many memories from those days and am so excited for Ben to get to have the whole band experience.  It is one like no other.  These are days that Ben is going to remember forever!

***

The fact that Ben is in marching band means that he is in HIGH SCHOOL!  I don't know how it happens, but time is just going by WAY too fast!  How did we get here already?  I can't possibly be old enough to have a freshman in high school!

***

Along with Ben being in high school and feeling like I am aging way too fast come the thoughts that in only FOUR short years he will be graduating.  I know, I know, it's four years away, but I know how fast those four years are going to fly by!  I remember how fast my high school year went by.  I also remember how fast Ben's past eight years of school have flown by.  We are down to only half of that!  Ugh...

***
Knowing that marching band was coming, we found out early on that Ben's first big band trip was going to be to Ireland.  Yes, DUBLIN, IRELAND!  We have been talking about the Ireland trip for a whole year now.  Initially we talked about me going with Ben.  After going to the meeting and learning more about the trip, I couldn't imagine going without Jon.  How many times is our son going to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland?  How could we miss that?  There's no way!  When I picked Ben up from band camp and saw him marching, it made it so real that we are actually going to Ireland!  The trip really isn't that far away!  Now that he is marching, it's one step closer!  (Ha! Literally!!)

***

I am so excited for Ben to part of a group that starts out as total strangers, grow to be great friends and grow even closer to be like family.  He is going to be forming relationships that are going to last forever! 

***

Ugh...I'm an emotional wreck!

***

I am praying that Ben will remember who he is and who lives inside of him.  I know that there are going to be all kinds of temptations and times where he is going to have to make hard choices....all of those hard things that go on during high school.  I want to be able to tell him the choices that he has to make and make sure he always does the right thing, but I know that isn't possible.  I realize that it's all part of life and learning.  I just dread when things are hard!  I am praying that Jesus would be seen in Ben.

I am so excited about Ben's first year of high school!  I am so excited about the next four years of Ben's high school career!  But for now, I am going to just enjoy each day, have fun listening to all of the stories, make the most of everything I can and pray for him like crazy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Drums of Summer

Back in May we found out that there was going to be a DCI (Drum Corps International) show in Broken Arrow (Tulsa area) this summer.  We hear that one of the corps would be hosted by Bartlesville High School and would, therefore, be practicing here.  Anyone was invited to attend practice at no charge. I was thrilled!  I learned about DCI when I was in high school and always thought it would be neat to go to a show sometime.  Much time has gone by and each year Jon and I see commercials on t.v. for such shows, but we are never willing to spend the money to go.  I was happy to find out that I could take the kids and we could watch a practice session.

The day before the big show in Broken Arrow I got a very excited phone call from my dear friend, Amitia.  She could hardly contain herself as she told me that she had four tickets with amazing seats for my family to go the program!  WHAT?!?!  Seriously?!  Amitia's husband is the high school band director here and told her that he had these extra tickets and to see if our family would be able to go.  Are you kidding me?!  The only catch was that it was the very next day and there were only four tickets.  No problem!  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see this amazing show! 

I quickly got busy looking for someone to watch Luke!  Thankfully, that wasn't too hard!  Thank you, Lindsay for watching Luke on such short notice!

It was hot that night, but we were in the shade by the time things got started and thankfully there was a breeze!  My family and I were ready for some music and marching!

Pioneer
Milwaukee, WI

Cascades
Seattle, WA

Colts
Dubuque, IA

Crossmen
San Antonio, TX


The Academy
Tempe, AZ

The Glassmen
Toledo, OH

Troopers
Casper, WY

Phantom Regiment
Rockford, IL

The Cadets
Allentown, PA

The Cavaliers
Rosemont, IL

The night was amazing!! The corps were phenomenal!!  I loved every minute of it!  I can't believe I finally got to go and that someone just gave us the tickets!  As if I wasn't already excited, this just makes me (and Jon and Ben) that much more excited about Ben's first marching band season!

THANK YOU, ALEX AND AMITIA FOR GIVING US THIS AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!  WE OWE YOU BIG TIME!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

He's ALL Boy!

Luke spent the first six weeks of summer in a cast and wasn't able to do a whole lot outside. He couldn't play in water and I didn't want to wrap up his arm to take a bath every night, so he didn't do a whole lot outside.  Well, the cast is off and my little outdoors man is happy to be back to playing outside.  

Luke asked Daddy if he could play in the mud and Jon was happy to let him.  Every now and then Luke would come to the door and show us the mud on his hand or his leg or wipe it on the door.  No big deal.  Then Luke came to the door and said, "Hey guys, look at me!"  This is what we saw:



Covered!  The boy was covered!  Jon had just as big of a smile as Luke did!  Both were very proud!  

Maybe Luke was just trying to keep cool like an animal???

Saturday, July 7, 2012

4th of July

Our family loves watching "A Capitol 4th" every year on PBS before heading out to local fireworks.  What could be better than watching it on tv???  Well, being there, of course!

 Sitting up close so we can get great pictures of the host!

Listening to those amazing heralding trumpets!

No, we weren't really there.

We watched from the comfort of our own home.
But one of these days I think it would be amazing to be in Washington D.C. to see "A Capitol 4th" live!!

 Due to being in the car for 14 hours on the 4th, we opted not to go out to fireworks.  We watched the amazing ones on t.v. and Jon and Ben did a (very) few of their own. 

Luke even got to pick out one of his own this year.  Unfortunately Luke is still terrified of fireworks (not the big, far away ones!) and didn't even get to see what his cool tank did...

This was just about the extent of our fireworks.  There were a few that went up in the air, but nothing huge.  I missed going out to see good fireworks, but I was happy to just be at home after a long day on the road.  At least Jon and Ben got to satisfy their inner pyro!  :)

A Little Trip To Cajun Country

In the last few months all of Jon's family has moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Remember this?)  It meant that his parents would be farther away from here, but his brother's family would be closer than they had been in Virginia.  We were happy for all of them as we could see how the Lord was moving each of them.  It wasn't long before we started talking about a visit.  Jamie (Jon's brother) asked several times when we could come down.  Jon and I had decided a while back that since we are saving for Ben's band trip that we wouldn't be doing any traveling over the summer.  However, Jon really wanted to go and I could completely understand!  It helped that Jon was going to be off the whole week of 4th of July.  Sooo...we made plans to go!

Louisiana bound!



These were sure signs that we were getting close!

video

Nathaniel is amazing on the guitar!  We have seen videos of him playing, but it was neat to get to watch and listen in person!  He is very talented!

video

Since we were there on a Sunday we got to go to church with all of the Grief's.   It was nice to see where they all go and here a great message!  After church we headed out for some traditional, local food.  Yep, that means seafood.  I am not a fan of seafood, but when in Rome... right?  It really wasn't bad.  We didn't get too crazy.  Jon and I had some shrimp and catfish as well as some alligator.  Yes...alligator!  It was actually really good.  A little rubbery, but not bad.  (:  Let's not get too excited, I'm not turning into a seafood lover!  I still prefer land creatures!  Ben and Abby were thrilled with the idea for seafood!  Abby loves shrimp and Ben had a shrimp po' boy.  Luke, our super picky eater, begged for catfish and loved it!  WOW! 

Jamie really wanted to show us the capitol building while we were so close.  Their family has been a handful of times and he really enjoyed it and wanted to share it with us.  It's pretty neat that you can go up in an elevator and get out on the observation deck and look around.  Those with a fear of heights weren't so thrilled, but it was a beautiful view!  The inside of the building was pretty neat too.  Ben and Abby loved the "For Governor Only" elevator.

This is my favorite picture from the whole trip!
I love my family!!

As we were driving back to Jamie and Anne's house, I couldn't help but notice the beads hanging on this street sign.  We really are in Mardi Gras country!  Crazy!

There are so many beautiful plantations down in Louisiana!  I hope that we can go on a tour on our next trip!

Since Baton Rouge is only about an hour from New Orleans, Jon and I knew that we would like to go check it out.  Ken had a doctor's appointment there that day, so we decided to all load up and head out for the day.

Abby could hardly contain herself when she saw the massive clarinet  painted on the side of this building!  She was beyond excited!!

Our time in New Orleans didn't go quite as we had hoped.  It was a pretty rough day, but the pictures are fun! :)
Jon did a little exploring on the computer/GPS and suggested a different route back to the house.  We decided to take the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and I'm so glad we did!  It was pretty neat!  For a little while there was no land to be seen!  It was also fun to watch the elevation on Jon's iPad.  At one point we were below sea level!  The whole drive from New Orleans to Baton Rouge was beautiful!  It was so green and lush!

What could be better after a crazy day than a blast from the past?  Hungry Howies!  Pizza that we used to love when we lived in Michigan!  YUM!!

Since we were in the area we thought it would be fun to go see Mike the Tiger, the LSU mascot.
I couldn't get over how beautiful the campus was.  It was gorgeous!

I love this picture of all the cousins!

I loved the way that the girls picked up right where they left off!  They hadn't seen each other since Christmas time, but you never would have known it! They had so much fun playing together!  I don't think I ever heard any of the say that they were bored the entire time we were there!  They played games, did each others hair and makeup, made friendship bracelets, watched minimal t.v...they had a great time together!

And this is what Ben and Nathaniel did the. entire. time.  I guess this is just what boys do, but they had a great time just being together being boys!

Luke had  a great time too.  He had to work a little harder to find his place with all of the big kids.  He did a great job, but one of the things that I was so proud of was how well he slept.  That's one of those things that you never know how it's going to go when away from home.  This little guy did such a great job every time he was put down!  He was either being very obedient or he was completely wiped out.  I'm thinking it might be a little bit of both.

We took a little time out to take Katie, Emily, Abby and Luke to the water park.  It was HOT!!  Not only was it hot, but it was insanely humid!  Way more humid than here!  (I will try to refrain from complaining about the humidity here in Oklahoma now that I have experienced that humidity!)

While we were at the water park Jon took some pretty cool pictures! The top left picture is my favorite!

On our last night in Louisiana we had a cookout at Ken and Jeanie's.  They have a little pond behind their house which was like a magnet for the kids!

We headed home on July 4th.  It was so neat to be driving through this beautiful country and listening to the patriotic music on the radio.  There was just something about it.

We took the scenic route on our way home.  Did you know that Oklahoma has mountains?  I had no idea!  Jon mentioned it to me after he went hiking there, but I still couldn't imagine mountains in Oklahoma!  It turns out he was right.  The Kiamichi Mountains run through southeast Oklahoma and are absolutely beautiful! They are certainly not the Great Smokey Mountains or the Rocky Mountains, but they are beautiful and a huge change from all of the years we spent in flat Kansas!  I'm thinking a camping trip needs to happen down in those mountains!

We played the license plate game while we were on the road.  We saw 28 different state license plates.  The best part is that we saw Alaska and Hawaii!

We had a great trip!  It was so nice to see family that we don't get to see very often, see some of this beautiful country and just get out of town for a while!  We are all looking forward to heading down to Louisiana in the future! 

Thank you, Ken, Jeanie, Jamie, Anne, Nathaniel, Katie and Emily for taking care of us while we were down there!  You guys made it so fun!  THANK YOU!!