Friday, July 7, 2017

Greta and Jules

Our visit to the pool on the 4th of July went so well, that we thought we'd try it again.  Brig and her kids and Misty and her girls joined us and it was delightful.  And these little sweetie cousins showed up in white sun bonnets and matching colored swimsuits and pictures just had to be taken!
So, so yummy!
They are so striking next to each other-- Jules has fair skin and black hair, Greta has light hair and tan skin.  I want them to be best little cousin friends.
They both loved the water.
Today is their Grandma Cannon's birthday.  She would have been 63 years old.  I have to think she smiled down on the site of these two little sweethearts together today.

Happy 18th Birthday, Clark

Clark turned 18 this week.  WOW!  They say the days are long and the years are short.  They say you hold your baby and blink your eyes and they are all grown up.
True that.

In very typical Clark fashion, he took matters into his own hands and planned his birthday celebration.  In the morning was hiking with Tanner and then a five hour space camp with these guys and two cousins who are going to BYU.
I missed his company on his birthday, but I love that he knew what he wanted to do and he made it happen.  I expect Clark will make a lot of good things happen in his life.
Perhaps not the best lighting, but I guess this picture proves you're never too old for space camp.
I think from now on every post will have some picture of Clark and Greta together.  I can't help it.  I don't want to help it.  It has made my heart so happy to see them together.
I am grateful for the relationship Clark has with his little brothers.  I am thankful to have had the privilege of raising Clark and learning from him.  I am thankful for the good example he has been to his siblings.  He is passionate and creative and driven and determined and honest and smart and dependable and clever and good.  
Happy 18th birthday, Clark!

4th of July 2017

This.  THIS!  Oh, yes, I did get 8 children to the pool, including swimsuits, towels, goggles, coolers of water and popsicles, folding chairs, and everyone sunscreened by 9:00 AM on the 4th of July!  This may be one of my greatest ever parental achievements!  
There was one motivating factor-- SHADE.  I wanted the spot under the big red umbrella.  As soon as the pool gates opened, we RAN for the shade and we spread out fast.  How selfish of us.  
I was rather daunted at the idea of taking all the kids swimming without Abe there to help.  But thanks to the older kids helping with younger ones, it was quite manageable and dare I say, it was even fun.   Peter seems quite happy in the water so we may be spending some more time at the pool this summer.
Cousins getting ready for diving for dollars.  Poor Faith sustained a kick to the eye during the feeding frenzy of children searching for money.  This may have been her last year participating in this barbaric, questionable use of city tax dollars.
Poor Peter.  The activity didn't go so well for him.  His obsession as of late is money.  Coinage.  He collects it all over the house.  He steals it from siblings.  We try to get him to keep it in a plastic ziploc bag to keep it out of Greta's reach.  He carries it around all day.  He sleeps with it.  He talks about it.  He cries about it.  He takes it on car rides.  
So when he saw the staff walking around the pool throwing tons of coinage into the pool and then they blew the whistle that the time had begun for the kids to get in and try to collect it--- Peter refused to get in.  We were confused.  We thought he would love to participate.
Instead he ran back to our belongings and found the coin he had brought with him (safely stored in the cup holder of a folding chair), then he ran back to the pool and THREW HIS COIN INTO THE POOL while all the kids were trying to pick up coins.  This picture was taken after he saw a girl pick up the coin he had just thrown in.  NOT HAPPY.
Near the end Bethany got in the water and helped him get three "monies".  That seemed to assuage his bitter feelings.  
My big kids are so busy with jobs and summer camps and such that I feel like I'm hardly seeing them this summer.  I was glad they wanted to come along to the pool.
George going off the high dive.
Elinor is on a swim team, but it was probably nice for her to get to be in a nice pool without having to swim laps.  The morning at the pool was great and then we went home to rest and recuperate.
Then we went and did what I swear every year I'm not going to do again.  At the hottest (100 degrees plus) part of the day we went to the main city park for the haystack dive.  
Seriously, the dumbest activity ever.  Once again they divide the kids by ages and then throw masses of candy, coinage, trinkets and bobbles onto a tarp covered in wood shavings.  
WHY?  Who thought of this?  Who approved this?  
But whatever.  We go because the kids like it and it's the 4th of July and I'm a sucker for free stuff.  
It was hot and rather miserable, and yet, I sure do enjoy the company of these little people.
I adore this picture of George walking back to the car with his hoard of haystack booty.
Team Middle Kids.
A private fireworks show that evening with the Schramms.  
Abe worked all day and then met up with us at their house.  It was my job to stop by a fireworks stand and pick up our contribution to the evening's pyrotechnics show.
Unfortunately for the group, I could only bring myself to purchase lame, nervous mom fireworks-- Pop-Its, smoke balls and parachutes.  
Perhaps Abe will want to do all the fireworks purchasing next year.  Luckily the other two families brought some rocking aerials and it was an impressive show.
She looks a little nervous in this picture, but she liked the fireworks.  Or at least, she like me snuggling with her during the show.
Peter and Kate liked the fireworks, but they liked them better from behind the safety of the mailbox pillar.

The Parade 2017

For our family, it is a highly anticipated event every summer-- our city's 3rd of July parade.  It's always the evening before the 4th and this year we enjoyed the company of my sister's family and my brother's family.  An already enjoyable activity is made so much better with good company!
We sit in the shade, we eat popsicles, and the kids scramble for candy thrown from the parade.  It's just fun.  I love that the boys dressed themselves patriotically for the occasion.
Clark and Abe both worked during the day and they hustled home to be with us for the parade.  Actually, Abe does a lot to make the parade so pleasant for us-- he set up the tent and loaded the coolers full of popsicles.  He loves popsicles far more than a grown man should!
One year before I was very great with child-- Greta was only 10 days away from being born.  What a difference a year makes!
Maiyah, Eli, George, and Emi sampling the popsicles.
Chip confessed to me he did not love parades.  While this was shocking to me, I hope the comfortable accommodations softened his grinchy parade heart.
Mostly they just throw salt water taffy-- which none of our kids like-- but the thrill of the hunt and the collecting!!  And then I get the thrill of throwing junk away-- it's a win/win!
It was good of Peter to share one of the green popsicles with Greta-- he's pretty possessive of them.
Looks like Cannon had one too many popsicles.
Greta was pretty happy when Clark showed up!  I was pretty happy as well.  I sort of like having the whole family together.
And I really sort of like this guy.
After the parade we all went back to our house.  Cousins played outside and the adults played "Liar's Dice".  How have we not introduced this game to my family sooner?  I see another game night in our near future.
It doesn't take much to entertain a group of kids.  A little bit of fire and danger goes a long way.
Bethany helping Peter with his sparkler.
One of our family's favorite fireworks is the "Piccolo Pete".  It's a very loud, high squealing noisemaker.  We didn't have any this year, but it turns out that our children can mimic the pitch and volume of the "Piccolo Pete" perfectly.  It's one of our gifts.  We took about 30 seconds to let our own little Piccolo Pete's loose on our street.
Notice most of us are plugging our ears!
What a good daddy!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Much to Celebrate

In four days I will turn 40.  A week ago Abe and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Clark turns 18 tomorrow and Greta turns 1 in a little over a week.
We are blessed and have much to celebrate--and when Foxes want to celebrate, we throw a party!  
My very favorite thing to do in the summer is to hang out in a park on a summer evening.  We reserved a pavilion at a park in our city and invited all our best friends to join us.  We were happy to have so many come celebrate our life milestones with us.
Cousins galore!
Dear friends, James and Andrea.
Organizing themselves for a kick-ball game.  
I didn't play in the game, but I do love kick-ball and I think I'm going to have to organize a kick-ball night with friends soon so I can play too.
Brig and I with our wonderful sister-in-law, Misty.  She and her girls were down from Washington and we were so happy to see them!  Baby Jules and Greta are about 2 1/2 months apart and it makes my heart happy to see them together.
Misty is currently undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer and she is beyond a rock star!  I've never seen the likes of her strength and determination and there aren't words enough for how much I admire and love her.
And as you can see from Bethany hugging Aunt Misty on the right, I am not the only one in the Misty fan club.
I love to see kids of all ages playing together and having fun outside in the summer.  See?  I'm telling you, parks on summer evenings are the best!
Abe, Philip, and Daniel-- just a smattering of the seven Fox brothers.
Big thanks to Philip for providing the music for the evening.
We and a couple other families brought our Nerf laser guns.  Hopefully they were all returned to their rightful owners. 
Beautiful cousins!  
Faith and Rosalie have always looked so much alike.  Their cute smiles!
Our good friends and neighbors, the Redd-Stone family.  Kelli was in the cast of Beauty and the Beast with us this past spring.
I'm just going to say it... Here comes trouble!  Fox cousins-- Phoebe, Edra, and Peter.  
The Fox contingency-- keeping watch over the kiddie pool of ice and water bottles.
Elinor and Cousin Lizzie-- these girls are rocking the "lunatic fringe"!
We love the Paynes!  Our families aren't as involved in the same homeschool circles as we used to be, but there are always a lot of laughs to be had with Grace and Kendall and it was great to see them again.
The Cannon and Tesch family-- we are so very thankful for wonderful family on both sides.
I'm sorry Lori's eyes are closed in this picture, but I had to share it anyway.  This lady is one of my favorite people on the planet-- she is a listening ear and constantly keeps me in stitches.  Everyone needs a "Lori" in their lives.
Love, love, love these marvelous young women.
Many thanks to Grandpa for ensuring that his grandchildren eat well-balanced meals.
The Snow family-- check out those cutie little twins!  They'll be in Greta's church classes.
Cannon and good buddy, Jake.
More fun with Fox cousins-- they're just warming up for the the upcoming Fox family reunion in Spokane at the end of the month.
Did he think he was going to be in trouble for drinking a water bottle?
Abe was a sweetheart when it was time for cake and singing happy birthday to Clark, Greta and me.  He said some very kind things, and even though I sometimes tease him about being a mushy-gushy softy, I love that about him and know I am a fortunate woman. 
On the eve of Clark's 18th birthday, I am relieved to have made it through his childhood!  There was NEVER a dull moment in raising Clark.  He has been determined and visionary and honest and creative and adventurous and and good, and basically a grown man trapped in a child's body for most of his life.  What a thrill to finally see him become who he was always meant to be.  I love you, Clark, and it has been fun to share birthday season with you.  Dad and I anxiously await word of your next grand life adventures!
Greta, in about a week you will turn one.  You'll start walking soon, (well, pretty soon-- you are a Fox baby after all), you'll start eating more foods, start saying little words.  I will only say that your infancy has been one of the greatest joys of my life!  What a pleasure you have been-- all I could have dared to hope for for our last baby girl!
Thank you, thank you to everyone who came to be with us.  The evening was all we hoped it would be and it is all because of our wonderful family and friends.  Life is so good with you in it.