Benjamin, heard practicing his letters….”A….B…C… Blue! E, F, G.”
(The D was blue).
Benjamin, heard practicing his letters….”A….B…C… Blue! E, F, G.”
(The D was blue).
Four years ago this week, I met little sister Claire:
And two years ago this week, I met baby Benjamin. (This picture was taken after my microbiology teacher let me out of my two hour lab class in forty five minutes so I could visit him in the hospital between classes)
A friend’s wedding took the family to the west side of the state in late September. The beautiful fall scenery in the rolling hills and jagged rock formations brought a wonderful rest from schoolwork, as we fit our entire trip between my weekday school schedule. (Thanks, Dad, for driving till four in the morning to get me home for Monday classes!) We brought home a multitude of pictures, and here are a few teaser pictures until I have time to sort them all.
Benjamin in the Badlands.
At last, it all makes sense; Joseph is a wild hoofed animal at heart. His first instinct when he saw the pronghorn antlers on the kids table at Wind Cave:
Almost all the family-Landon stayed home to take care of schoolwork, and Maria is the photographer. This is at Wind Cave national park.
The last day of the fair was marked by steamy, 95 degree temperatures, but Maria, Johnathan and I were invited to spend the day with some friends. In an amazing show of bravery, Mom faced the heat and ventured out with the younger kids as well.
There were rides:
An lots of animals, including my Mom’s dream pet, miniature horses:
But after all the sights had been seen, everyone was very, very worn out. The heat was sweltering, and it was hard for the little ones to stand in the sun for long. Cheeks all around were flushing, and Alexander went completely red.
But not too overheated for silliness, as soon as the camera’s presence was known:
Benjamin was much to interested in playing with straws in the slushy cup to notice the heat.
So many flushing faces called for rehabilitation by the ice cream method. A stop to the homemade ice cream booth did not disappoint, though in the heat we quickly were slurping milkshakes.
And then it was time to go home.
Sweltering heat and humidity set in at the beginning of the week, setting the mood for the transition into late summer. Another month and I’ll be making final preparations for the school year, a fact I’m trying not to think about longer than needed. For now, I’m relishing every minute of watermelon, campfires and summer sun-when I’m not occupied by waiting tables.
I started as a waitress all the way back in January, but I’m only just beginning to be really good at it. I am learning that most things are harder than they look, and I’ve been amazed by the amount of multitasking skills required. Balancing a thousand tasks at once is definitely not one of my strengths, but I have been slowly improving in ways to remember and organize multiple areas.
Interacting with so many people has also presented new challenges. I have had to focusing on ways to make quick connections and conversations with total strangers from every background imaginable. Now I am starting to build a stockpile of topics (Are you from town? Busy day?) and tricks (I will stare directly at you until you finally make eye contact with me, and then I will smile so cheerfully to find out if you are friendly, so I can chat with you, or if you want me to leave you alone, and I will go away as soon as possible).
The family is bustling with even more activity than usual, between ongoing construction projects and trying to keep up with the baby and two puppies (a seven month old collie and a three month old Golden Retriever) who seem to spend most of the day trying to outdo each other in their escapades. Benjamin is also on his way to setting the record for earliest talker in the family, even thwarting attempts to teach him sign language. I once demonstrated the the word ‘outside’ when he was waiting by the door, and after a few moments of thought, said “out-ite” with a twinkle in his eyes.
…when they scream and then shush themselves. In quiet places like church, of course.
Yes, sshhh, Benjamin.
Look at this child.
The toddler twinkle in his eyes catches me off guard. He seems to be saying, “Here I am, World! Just wait, I am coming.”
Nothing draws my awareness to the passing of time as much as a child’s first year of life. Somehow, the even rhythm of days and nights has changed my tiny newborn brother into a this adventurous tike. This little boy, who mastered walking months ago, and is trying out new words every day. An adventurer, ready to explore, who seems to find trouble around every corner. Just a year ago, his only view of the world came from over someones shoulder. And he didn’t mind-he was too busy sleeping to think about adventures. Has so much time passed since then?
I have been thinking a lot about time of late. It’s so much harder to find time for everything I would like to do than when I was in high school, or even in the first two years of school. And yet, how time is used determines so much. What a priceless commodity! Nothing is easier than letting it slip by, but there is so much responsibility in using it wisely.
I was spending some time enjoying the sun with Benjamin, who knows that being outside is ever so much more fun than staying in. There, his favorite pastime is to run to the far side of the trampoline, lifting his chubby feet high with each step, then turn and run back towards me. Then he presses his nose into the netting to leave me with a sticky kiss before he squeals with glee and runs away to repeat the sequence again.
When he finally tired of this game, we spent the last minutes until supper wandering the edge of the garden. I was trying to persuade him to use sign language for the word flower, but without luck. We will work on that one later. So we just looked at the flowers and tried not to pick too many. I took a deep breath as I felt the glowing warmth of the sun against my face and watched the clumsy baby fingers fingering leaves and petals. I knew there was no better way I could have spent those thirty minutes of precious, precious time.
2015, have you flown by already? The older I get, I realize that a year really isn’t very long at all. Looking through all the photos the family has taken over the last year, it does seem that we fit a lot into 2015.
January I began actual nursing classes, after two years of wading through the prerequisite science and psychology classes. The one-month interim course at my school fits a whole semester’s material into three weeks , so bitter January passed quickly. The class finished with a role playing presentation that was fun to work on and present to the class:
Through February and March, both Mom and the excitement for our newest family member grew steadily:
May was filled with celebrations following one after the other. Benjamin arrived safe and sound shocking us with his head of curls. Landon graduated from homeschool life, and several members of the family received sacraments:
Maria was confirmed:
as well as Johnathan:
In June Benjamin also received his first sacrament!
In July I flew with an amazing group to Alaska on a two week mission trip through FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University students). This was my first trip away from home by myself, so it was very new and exciting experience:
The family spent August enjoying the last warm, school-free days of Summer:
And this must suffice for September, October, November, and December, as I only narrowly escaped being buried alive in homework this semester. I passed a lot of exciting nursing milestones such as first injection given, first patient cared for, and learning to understand a million different lab values.
Now, forward on to 2016!
Has it been a month already? Our family had so many major events in May I’ve really lost track of the time, and this poor blog has been very neglected. On May 7, we welcomed the newest member of the family, baby Benjamin. He was a big boy, weighing in at 8 lbs 12 oz.
He has been a very calm baby, and lets his brothers and sisters rock him to sleep most of the time. He likes music, and usually he will fall asleep almost immediately if you rock him while music is playing.
John and Benjamin at two days old:
He has one interesting feature that sets him apart from the rest of us as newborns: his dark hair is extremely curly. After a bath, my Dad remarked that he looked like he had a perm! I am hoping he keeps it, since everyone in my family except Landon has very straight hair.