Saturday, May 20, 2023

A Glorious Spring Celebration

Mark May 2023 as the first family celebration we've been able to go OUTSIDE since September 2022.  We were sad when rain was predicted. It didn't rain. It was a gorgeous day. Today's celebration fell on Gideon's birthday. He is 6 years old today. He came a month early when Mike and I were in Alaska looking for a home to buy so we could all move up here. We moved up in June and everyone followed in July. We also celebrated Arielle turning 26, Izaak's milestone birthday,  JaRissa's  7th anniversary, and Stacia's GRADUATION. 

What? Graduation? This seems to have hit several older Gherkins quite suddenly. Our baby has graduated. An era is done. We've homeschooled for 35 years. Stacia slid into college without taking a break as she rounded home to grab a high school diploma. She didn't want a big ceremony. She wanted to do "whatever" during May's family celebration. So - we did. We've joined homeschool co-ops and had the full-fledged ceremonies for 3. We created our own ceremony at a base community center for one. One walked across a bridge in Japan, one chose DQ with friends in TX (while on a move from Japan to CA). One chose the movie theater, one was a covid graduate, one chose horseback riding and a BBQ here at the house...I love watching how the kids choose to celebrate. Stacia would also like a party with her youth we're working to get a date picked for that. 

Our baby

📷by Carrie

Everyone brought their own meat to burn, we provided sides and desserts. Several arrived early and helped pull out the picnic tables and set up the trampoline for the season. Y'all - WINTER IS OVER!

Dad agreed to come out for the afternoon. 
GG and Josiah

Nolan, Jared, Noah and Larissa catching up 

Liv, Allie, unseen grands, Danny, Benny, Stacia

Bre, Nolan and Alex in the background

It was fun to have Nolan and Alex arrive from their home across town. Alex brought RIBS.  They were good. I got the recipe. 
Noah is 4 months old! 📷by Carrie

Such sweet giggles! 📷by Larissa

Son, these are chickens. Your Bachan and Papa
are chicken people. 📷by Larissa

The chickens and baby chicks (who are now about 5 weeks old) are a big hit with the younger crowd. 

Monday night at t-ball we ordered a t-ball stand for Wibbly Wobbly Acres Preserve. We were SHOCKED when it arrived on THURSDAY. Josiah and Carrie picked up some bases. Cory and Arielle brought ball and bat, and several brought their gloves. It was great fun. This reminded me of the kick ball games we used to play as a family in CA. 

Go, Livie! 

We had told Shannon and Lindsey, our friends who are....well...going on a road trip...we would be interested in buying the little house they had in the parsonage yard if they needed to move it. They decided they were giving it to us. When we picked it up it also came with a car, a wagon, a couple of bikes, a small thing of nail polish, assorted little plastic toys in the carrier area... What a huge surprise...and let me tell you each toy was widely appreciated. It gave me secret smiles as I remembered conversations with Lindsey...and watched the grands play on the girls' toys. 
Powered by 100% girl power! 📷by Allie

Benny and Bella 📷by Allie

Michael power-washed the house. We have plans to stain and paint it to match our house, but it didn't get done by today. The kids didn't care. 
Benny, Little Buddy, Bella📷by Allie

Gideon loved being a chauffeur. 📷by Allie

These two! Pure energy and activity. Pure joy. You can see Danny's face. Little Buddy's was just as excited. They took turns driving each other around. 
📷by Allie

Josiah - our 3rd 2 yo. (Jo jo)

Danny seems to be the grand which loves the horse the best. He sits on it and patiently waits. When one of us hits it's rump and it makes galloping noises he begins to madly ride it. LOL  Actually, the horse was gifted to us by Shannon and Lindsey last year when the girls had grown out of it. It's still well-loved. 
A boy and his horse. 

Uncle Jamin arrived. Being self-employed, work often hounds him - but he does a good job of being present with us when he can break away. He's a favorite with the grands. 
Jamin, Annie, Benny and Jojo📷by Allie

Danny plays hard.

 Hello, Boys! 📷by Allie

Little Budy - we love you! 📷by Allie

SMACK! Gideon's got it. 📷by Allie

BreZaak's children - minus Trudy📷by Carrie

The wind picked up and it got chilly. The timing was perfect to move inside for cakes and gifts. First, Stacia had to don a graduation robe and walk the aisle...while Pomp and Circumstance played. We cheered. She didn't give a speech. 

Perfect gift! Arielle is 26. Letting that sink in.  

Josiah had been eagerly waiting for Arielle to open her gift. It's a T-rex toilet paper holder...and it fits the theme of the bathroom in their new home. The master suite has a bathroom so the hallway bathroom has been dubbed "the boys bathroom" and they chose all things dinosaur. 

It's been fun to watch Jared slide into his new Daddy role. 
📷by Carrie

Yes, we continue to put candles for each celebrant on a cake round. Gideon was excited. He loved his spiderman cake. He matched the cake. 

Izaak had quite a few more candles than Gideon. 

I laughed when one of the kids said, "Aunt Arielle, You're old." The comment soon followed that Izaak was "very old." Kids are fun! 

Gideon was the designated pig hat wearer. 

Izaak worked long hours on homework all week so he could join us. We are so happy he did. It was fun to celebrate him in person. Izaak is just about to finish a masters in human services...and then he will finish his masters from seminary in formational leadership or something leadership. He's been working diligently, steadily....and when the masters are done? He will be able to get into the Phd program he wants to get into for counseling from Liberty University. I may well edit the exact titles of these degrees at a later date. LOL  I LOVE all the online options for young families these days. I wish we could have spent a few more years in Eugene with family before moving away for seminary...but in the went "in residence." 

Allie has been missing JaRissa's visits as they conflict with her work schedule. She soaked up lots of vibes from all the grands today...but especially Noah bear. 
📷by Larissa

📷by Larissa

📷by Larissa

Sweet moments with Trudy. She is six months old already! 
📷by Larissa

I leave you with this very telling photo. Benny is dying to get his chance to hold the chicks. Papa told him to wait a bit, then someone gave Papa Noah bear. Both Papa and Benny have priceless expressions. 
📷by Larissa

Yes, all who wanted to hold a chick were able to do so. 

We missed Krista and Luke. Krista was in Hawaii last week and is Guam this week. 

Now, it feels like spring is really here. A month ago, we were shoveling and snow blowing to get to the play are starting to green up nicely. Two Saturdays ago we still had 4 feet of snow on the ground, and it was snowing. One week ago, the snow was mostly gone - and everything was brown. Today all our snow is gone, the ground is drying out nicely and green leaves have appeared everywhere. The neighbors are disappearing and that always signals summer. 

Puzzle Mania

 Benny did some extra chores to earn some money, went to the thrift store and bought Stacia this puzzle with his own money. She brought it out in April and enlisted Dad's help. Dad's never been a puzzle enthusiast, but he did spend lots of time with this puzzle over the month. 

April 18th 

If the truth were known, Michael and Stacia put together the bulk of this puzzle. We quickly discovered it was much bigger than we thought it was....the big table took up quite a bit of space upstairs...

April 19th 

April 23rd

A funny thing about the process is that Dad often sat down and decided that "he'd put things in the wrong place," and undid the work Michael did late at night. 

May 1st

With snow still on the ground, this project kept us engaged inside the house. LOL 

May 8th 

May 19th 

And finally, a month after it was started it was finished. We are still not sure where it is going. Stacia planned to put it on her wall, but didn't envision it being this big. We may pass it on...