Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Unfinished Railroad at Manassas

Monday was Martin Luther King day, so the kids didn't have school.  The three youngest and I went on a hike in Manassas Battlefield National Park (also known as Bull Run).

We've been to various parts of the park before, but this time we decided to hike along the unfinished railroad, where the banks and cuts that were intended to be a level railroad gave the cover to a 2 mile line of the confederate troops.  The history is sobering.

It was a beautiful day, and we had a great hike.

When we walked along the river we found shells and smoothed glass.

Drake found a tree covered in thorns.

The fallen leaves and balmy weather made it feel like November, not January.

And I'll prove I was there with this picture.

Drake is a Star Scout

Last week we had a Court of Honor for Troop 1826.  Mark first got to praise the scouts that went on the Klondike Derby campout.  Mark says it's the wettest camping he's ever done.  The boys and everything they took with them was SOAKED.  The klondike sled race was pushing the sleds across wet grass and through mud puddles.  But Mark's troop did really well, and when all the scores of the race and the skills areas were totaled, the Troop earned second place!

Notice they all have green pants?  Good looking scouts.

The boys also got patched that night for helping on the Day of Service last September.  Dane had helped as a Tiger Cub, so he got a patch too.

Then the highlight of the night for us was Drake being awarded the rank of Star Scout!  Way to go Drake!  He is growing into a great young man.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Iliana is 16!!

Our wonderful, capable, increasingly beautiful daughter has turned 16.  It seems like so little time has passed since she was born.  It has been such a pleasure to watch her grow and see who she has become.  She is helpful, kind, and a peacemaker.  She also loves to have fun.

Two of her friend from Utah flew out to help make her birthday extra special!

We had a party and invited all the youth from our ward to come and help celebrate.  Iliana and her friends did the decorating and picked the music, we bought a lot of food, had a friend lend us a Wii with Garage Band, and the fun began.

Apples to Apples (Ellie is wearing a pink Batman cape brought by Erin from Magic Mountain)

Brian, Annie and Iliana playing the Lying Game (Turns out almost everyone was really good at spinning a tale!)

16 Candles to blow out

Playing Garage Band

Tellestrations (Zoey's trying to be part of the fun)

Everyone stayed until about 11:30, ate tons of pizza and had a great time.

The next morning, Iliana and I got up at 5:00 am to drive her friends to the airport.  After tears and sad goodbyes we went back to bed.  We didn't have birthday pancakes until about 11:00 am.

That night we went out to dinner, then had more cake and opened presents.

Examining an awesome pendant from the LaMonts

Gift of clothes from the Bensons

What a bunch of great kids!  I feel lucky to have each of them.

The Mall - D.C. Style

Monday we spent at the National Mall in D.C.  Lots of walking, and we wore the kids out.  Dane keeps going as long as we keep feeding him fruit snacks.

Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument

Kids at Jefferson Memorial

Kids at Lincoln Memorial

The kids having fun on a wall.

Adelaide at the Viet Nam Memorial

Drake at the WWII memorial.  Each star represents 100 soldiers who died.

All of us with a Da Vinci painting in the National Art Gallery

Walking back after a long day.

Back at the Jefferson Memorial.

Washington at night.

Jefferson at Night.

Our Three Girls

We've decided to adopt…two more teenagers.  Ellie's two friends from North Logan came to visit after Christmas to celebrate Ellie's 16th birthday.  The were so much fun to have around!

They all went to the New Years Eve dance together.  Got dressed up all beautiful and had a great time!

We really didn't want to send them home.  If you look closely in this picture, you can see Dane is crying because he had to say goodbye.

Or six Christmas kids.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The National Zoo

The Saturday after Christmas, we all went to the National Zoo in Washington DC.  Friday we had picked up Ellie's two friends from Logan, Harley and Maddy.  I'll post all about their visit later.

 With the Komodo Dragon

 Maddy, Harley, and Ellie

Following Elephant footprints.