We are all super duper excited about a new element here at camp. It got installed this week and the staff had a test run yesterday so that Darin could make the big announcement (or "Giant" announcement) on the Camp Indianola blog today. I happen to think he did a great job on this video.
The camp kids got a chance to try the swing out yesterday too. Here's one adorable Dani all ready for her turn.
Papa getting her all clipped in and giving her the instructions.
Up she goes. This swing is total challenge by choice and participants can decide how high they want to go. Dani did not go as high as the video, but still had a great time.
Up, up, up. When she was as high as she wanted to go, she told the team to stop and then all she had to do was pull a string to release herself and off she went.
Daisy and her mama declined this time around to give it a try. Yep, we're the scaredy-cats of the family.
I think this Giant Swing is going to be an amazing addition to camp and can't wait to hear all the excited screams this summer ringing through the woods.
On our way across the state yesterday the girls were most excellent companions. They only asked "how much longer" a few times, and didn't complain when I chose Arby's for lunch. (Which was kind of serendipitous as we ran into a gymnastics classmate of Dani's...in Ellensburg.)
A cuddle while they wait for lunch.
And then there was the rest stop where we made the most of the 5 minutes we gave ourselves for stretching our legs.
We laughed at the "tickly soap." (Who has powdered soap anymore?!)
We checked the bug count.
And took a walk to check out this beautiful blossoming tree.
On that side of the rest stop we found a small trail.
And I got distracted by clouds, (I swear I would probably take cloud pictures every day if I lived in this part of the state)
until the children yelled at me to come see them in a tree.
And that was that. Back in the car we went for two more hours until our final destination.
December 28 - Squeezing in just a tiny bit more play before we head home from the coast. What a wonderful mini-getaway we all needed.
December 29 - Coming home and it's still Christmas around here and there is still a bike in my living room.
December 30 - This last-minute Christmas stocking addition from the pharmacy may just be her favorite gift this year.
December 31 - Baby snuggles! We're gathering for Darin's family Christmas tomorrow and so today I get to snuggle with my brand new nephew. Being an Aunt is awesome!
#MomLife (This is my purse in Subway where we stopped for lunch on the way home.)
Always fun to see where random roadside stops lead us.
Enjoying dinner out tonight. The girls were especially impressed by the chips and beans on the table and the chance to sample a fresh tortilla from the gal running the machine. The parents were impressed with the girls manners and ability to order for themselves.
December 21 - Fun night of Christmas worship with this great band.
December 22 - I did a little bit of clearance shopping today and picked up an ornament kit for the kids. Also threw in a couple of Santa hats on a whim. Turns out that was an awesome move and the thrilled shrieks of "thank you Mom" were quite impressive.
December 23 - Our sweet camp cook, Michelle, invited the camp cousins (and their mamas) over for lunch today and gave each of the girls their own homemade poncho. (Eli got a blanket and some superhero masks.) So sweet and thoughtful.
December 24 - Christmas Eve is full of wonder and beauty.
December 25 - I took most of the pictures on Christmas day with my big girl camera, but did snag this one of Maya and her cousins at my sister's house. This girl has a special way with kids and they are always drawn to her above the rest.
December 26 - We snuck away for a quick family trip to the coast (thanks to free lodging at our "sister camp"). Here's our attempt at a family selfie while enjoying a fun morning on the shore. Clearly I need longer arms or a selfie stick.
December 27 - This vacation puzzle had a whole lot of green and blue pieces but we were not defeated. (We'll, the grownups weren't. The kids maybe placed two pieces each, but still wanted in the victory picture.
Christmas is close.
They really do love those Santa hats.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."#ChristmasEve
A little post-Christmas trip to the coast. It seems easier to breathe here.
Mickey pancake for lunch? Why not, it's vacation!
December 14 - We've talked off and on about a goal for our children to learn to code someday, and along comes this great new website: Learn to Code or Hour of Code. The girls love it and spent this Sunday morning coding away.
December 15 - So, yeah, Darin bought this today.
December 16 - Helping out in Daisy's classroom today and was able to catch her group's turn at performance. I really have no idea what went on for those three minutes but bless her teacher's heart.
December 17 - Working on making some simple and non-treat teacher gifts.
December 18 - Dani running down the road to deliver lunch to her Papa in his office.
December 19 - My sweet sister Michelle spotted a flier for a local production of "Frog and Toad, the musical" and remembering how much she and Debbie read this book to me when I was little, invited us to see the show with her. We worked out our schedules and included my munchkins and just had the most amazing evening. Dinner was great, the play was absolutely delightful, and the company magnificent. Another holiday tradition born? I sure hope so.
December 20 - Spontaneous date night as one of our worship pastors was giving a concert at a local coffee shop. We came expecting to grab some dinner there but the kitchen was closed. So we enjoyed some coffee/tea and then walked to a nearby restaurant. I thought the walk would be romantic but it was cold and rainy and the dinner was terrible. Good thing the company was so delightful, but talk about a date night bust! LOL.
I love scrolling through my Instagram feed and know we need some actual books with these pictures. That's why I'm excited about chatbooks and how easy (and affordable) this is. My first book from 2014 is in the mail. Use my referral code and get your first book free.
Annual Christmas Top 10 is published on the blog, time to get these babies in the mail.
Snowfolk pancakes in the house tonight.#TakeThatPinterest
December 7 - Lunch date after church with this girl. We dined on clam chowder and fish tacos and had a delightful conversation. Then a bit of time browsing the local bookstore where she told me all about a new book she had just finished and loved. I really needed this one on one time with her and am so thankful for today and for her.
December 8 - Date night indulgence
December 9 - Dani's dream has come true! Thanks to our very thoughtful neighbors who nominated us, our yard was flocked last night. Now to explain that we don't get to keep them all!
December 10 - Leaving the house tonight to walk to the dining hall for dinner, I spotted what appeared to be a cat a few feet away. Inspecting more carefully since I have never seen a cat around here, I discovered I was looking at an owl and not a cat. We stared each other down for a few seconds before she flew into a tree and I tried to snap a picture.
December 11 - I made little books of our saved Christmas cards over the years and it was so fun to walk in tonight after my generator lesson (the wind is a howling and Darin has to pick up guests from the ferry) to see the girls flipping through them.
December 12 - My Christmas cactus is blooming at Christmas time and it is making me so happy.
December 13 - This girl wanted to know how cars work, so instead of explaining it to her, nerdy Papa got out the legos and showed it to her.
First Christmas recital.
Gingerbread houses in the window at #sluys bakery.
Two kiddos in the cavity free club!
Two sweet sisters listening to Santa read the Christmas Story at a foster family Christmas party. So thankful for Youth for Christ and their foster ministry, for the parents we get to serve alongside, for Gracepoint church for hosting this event and serving foster families, and especially for the two families we are forever linked with though the amazing Leyla and Tony. Tonight my heart is full.
And here they are making sure Santa hears their requests for a "bike that has a doll carrier on it" and "some American doll clothes, especially a gymnastics outfit". (I'm glad she went with what Santa has already purchased as there was talk of a bow and arrow request on the drive to the party.
November 30 - We found our tree! Darin really wants a tall one this year now that we have vaulted ceilings. We'll see how it goes!
December 1 - At 5 am there was a knock on our door and a very excited Dani. Her tooth had been loose for days and we warned her it could fall out in the night. Turns out it did last night but it was stuck between her lip and her gums. Today she is wavering between thrilled that she is getting bigger and sad that she "doesn't look like Dani anymore."
December 2 - Supper club tonight included a mini-recital of some Christmas songs she's learning. Some day she'll be able to play while we all sing along and it will make my heart burst because tonight almost did.
December 3 - I've got a new accessory for the next 48 hours as we try to figure out what is happening with this heart of mine. (Update: all is well.)
December 4 - This kid is hilarious. I found her watching Netflix on a tablet in the office this afternoon, sitting just like this. How that is comfortable, I'll never know. (Oh, and that bear is her new best friend. His name is Marshmallow and he was lovingly rescued from the lost and found.)
December 5 - I spent the night crafting with some girls at my friend's new shop. Along with several other small projects, this book ornament got finished.
December 6 - The scene from my house on this Saturday morning. Everyone is enjoying this little guy we are watching for the weekend.
Tree hunting in the snow is extra magical. Thanks @debdriver for the hat keeping me toasty warm.
Yep, she's tall, but she fits.
Happy birthday Maezie!
Hunting for sea glass on a windy afternoon.
Four out of the five of us had an awesome time driving through Bethlehem tonight. Let's just say the youngest of the bunch was not so happy with the carseat.
November 23 - Our sweet little foster guy started sucking his thumb this week and we think that "support arm" is just about the cutest thing ever. We hope his mom doesn't freak out at this new devlopment when he goes home!
November 24 - So it turns out that I can't back into my driveway in the dark. And yes, that is my swagger wagon in the ditch and yes, we had to call a tow truck to get it out.
November 25 - Why use an umbrella to keep the rain off your head when it is so much more fun to twirl it?
November 26 - Sometimes watching them grow I wonder, will this be the last time? Tonight I wonder if this will be the last night she wears a tutu to bed.
November 27 - Sweet newborn nephew cuddles at Thanksgiving.
November 28 - These are my people.
November 29 - Snow day! Can you tell we didn't pack for snow at Gran and Jeff's?
My first try at sugar coated cranberries to add to the appetizer counter.
Four red cups. Christmas season is here and we must be feeling generous: we got the kids drinks AND scones today.
November 16 - A little Seahawks bling on this Sunday afternoon.
November 17 - We have the sweetest little guy in our home right now and Gypsy isn't sure what to make of him. She is often found nearby and does a funny whine if he starts to make noise.
November 18 - One naps and one does lincoln logs while Daisy is doing her piano lesson. I can't tell you how thankful I am that her studio has this little room down the hall for my Dani girl who isn't the quietest on the planet.
November 19 - This was a pretty serendipitous moment for Daisy. She came home this afternoon super excited to tell me all about Helen Keller and the book she had checked out from the library, and there in the mail was a postcard from her Grandparents who had just visited Helen Keller's childhood home. Daisy was so excited to take the postcard to school, and even more excited when her Grampa did a whole blog post about their trip. I miss my parents all the time, but it is pretty cool when they have adventures like this one to write home about.
November 21 - Such fun to have a hairdresser who is also a friend. She came over tonight with her daughter for pizza and gave us haircuts in the kitchen. What a deal!
November 22 - My view while hanging at the rope swing this afternoon.
November 8 - She dug in the mud and had quite the collection of worms, all with princess names. I believe this one was Arial. This is how Miss Daisy rolls and I love it.
November 9 - Veteran's day assembly at school. Daisy was so proud of the song she had learned.
November 10 - We had about 45 minutes for a date night at home, and my hubby pulled out all the stops to make a yummy dinner. This was just the appetizer!
November 11 - My two favorite shows this fall. I'm new to the Voice but I'm all in and even watch it live, commercials and all. And Jane the Virgin is sweet, quirky, and hilarious and I love it.
November 12 - I'm pretty sure the view from my office is better than yours. Oh, did you know I got a job? Just helping out with group reservations and creating a database for camp a few hours a week. And I love it.
November 13 - Babies holding my finger while I feed them is my favorite. (Even if it means I have to climb in the back of the van and sit awkwardly perched between the captain's chairs to do it.)
November 14 - Mandi and I took the camp cousins to a local production of Bye Bye Birdie and we all had a great time. Of course, now the kids can't stop sining "We love you Conrad, oh yes we do..."
And...it's happening: my girls eating lunch and pouring over the American Girls catalog.
Morning skies like this sure make getting up after loooong nights easier.
November 1 - Getting our vote on!
November 2 - I drive a little ways, park in town, and run along Indianola Rd. And I'm kinda ridiculously proud of this time. Gotta start somewhere.
November 3 - Storytime snuggles with my two favorite girls.
November 4 - Cooking for a crowd at Tuesday Supper Club tonight. When Darin and I agreed to host a gathering of friends once a month, I told him I didn't want it to be potluck; that I just wanted to bless our guests by cooking for them. Tonight it is comfort food with mac and cheese and potpie.
November 6 - Rainbow Zap and Peacock make another appearance, this time at the school carnival. I am really proud of Daisy's homemade costume and happy that Dani found one at a consignment store I had enough credit to purchase for free. And I love that this year their costumes look especially cool from behind.
November 7 - Darin managed to convince my sisters to spend an afternoon on Bainbridge Island wine tasting with me. It was such a wonderful time full of laughter and stories and memories made. Thankful.
This is pretty great news to wake up to on my birthday. Proud of my fellow Washingtonians who passed some#gunsense into law when our legislature couldn't.#momsdemandaction
Birthday breakfast delivery.
This kid. Most days she had something on backwards or on the wrong feet or mismatched or stained or tucked into her tights. Today may just be my favorite: upside down coat. #ohdani
October 25 - It may be wet and muddy, but we are Washingtonians and the weather doesn't keep us from a fun day at the pumpkin patch.
October 26 - This girl, with her ballerina bunny and Wilbur blankie, just stopped on her way back from the bathroom to ask me "if you had a science experiment would you choose clay or playdough?" Apparently answering playdough was satisfactory as off to bed she went and I found her like this not too much later
October 28 - Can you tell she is thrilled to sit in the pickup line, waiting for her sister?
October 29 - Gymnastics class really wore her out today. This is the perfect activity for our little monkey.
October 30 - Waiting for a meeting this morning with a couple of pastors from my church. Pursuing God back into local church ministry and hoping for a chance to test my gifts in this congregation with their guidance and mentoring.
October 31 - Well, it was a very wet Halloween. And even though Superhero Rainbow Zap (a character of her own making) and beautiful peacock had to wear their rancoats, that didn't stop us from getting lots of candy!
Feeding the goats was at the top of the favorites list today.
This is how we might show up on your porch if our children have boots too muddy to wear.
Or maybe we'll show up at your porch like this.
October 18 - Enjoying Darin's favorite (PASTA!) for his birthday dinner.
October 19 - Starting the morning with a little wrestling.
October 20 - Seems I missed one day this year.
October 21 - A little starbucks and doughnut this morning with my girl. I love her chocolate-covered face.
October 22 - It's Conference Week, which means no school. But then Mandi and Eli got super sick, with Josh out of town. So Maezie came over to play for the day. And since the three princesses requested lunch delivered to them in the castle tent, how could I refuse?
October 23 - Breakfast for dinner at our house tonight means a happy doggy licking the egg bowl. (And getting just a smidge on her nose.)
October 24 - Turns out rainbow looms aren't just for making bracelets. Daisy has been using it to write out names lately. She even carefully makes them rainbow. Can you tell what name she did tonight?
Not a bad view for a morning run. #spokane#DarinsBirthdayWeekend
She may be 7 but she is not too big for a cozy coupe.#DarinsBirthdayWeekend
There's a lot of cute blonde girls in this hot tub.#DarinsBirthdayWeekend
"This is the art of celebration, knowing we are free from condemnation." #rendcollective #bubbles#DarinsBirthdayWeekend
Confetti too! This band is amazing at leading and encouraging and giving us glimpses of worship at the throne. #rendcollective #DarinsBirthdayWeekend
Epic photo bomb birthday boy. Well done.#DarinsBirthdayWeekend
It is some good friends who host you for the weekend, serve your favorite dinner, stock the fridge with cherry coke just for you, and babysit your kids for a night. Thanks for a wonderful weekend Eddy family. Let us know when we can return the favor for you. Indianola is pretty sweet too. #DarinsBirthdayWeekend
Finding treasures at the rest area.#DarinsBirthdayWeekend
Oh Cle Elum dairy queen, you are always helpful on road trips. #DarinsBirthdayWeekend
Snoqualmie pass sure is beautiful this time of year.#DarinsBirthdayWeekend
Snoqualmie pass sure is beautiful this time of year.#DarinsBirthdayWeekend
October 11 - Off to explore a little Edmonds beach as we wait for the ferry. This was captured minutes before a torrential downpour hit and we were soaked on our way back to the van.
October 12 - We had a great time with friends watching the Seahawks game today.
October 13 - There is this little deer statue nestled in the bushes outside the Indianola post office. Dani loves to give her a little pat anytime we stop in. One day last spring there was a sweet old man with a huge grin on his face watching Dani with the deer. He told me the deer belonged to his late wife and that he had brought it to the post office thinking others might enjoy it. I think of that man and his wife every time I stop while Dani says hello to her friend.
October 14 - Here we are, date night, learning our script to make calls on behalf of I-594. I've always been faily engaged politically, but never so much as to make phone calls, especially not for an initiative. But when our legislature failed to act to pass common-sense gun legislation, I wanted to get invovled. And Darin too. So we spent date night doing this.
October 15 - A community association in Kingston put on this apple cider event. We brought boxes of apples and pooled them with others and were able to take home several jugs of delicious cider. Plus, it was a ton of fun.
October 16 - 2014/15 school pictures. Daisy: 2nd grade, 7 years old, purple dress (purple has replaced green as the favorite color), and the headband we brought her from Belize that she wears all the time to hold back her growing-out bangs. Dani: kindergarten, 5 years old, cat dress was a gift from Gran, thrilled that I pulled her hair back so the picture showed both her earrings, tiny bit of green paint on her white sweater (this is our messy kid who is way harder on her clothes than her sister was).
October 17 - Road trip for Darin's birthday to Spokane! First, we made it to Eastern Wa U and were excited to surprise this sweet girl. We miss her amazing babysitting skills, and I know she is a little homesick herself, so it was great to see her.
After the storm comes the rainbow (as seen from the ferry).
Excited to turn these into cider
#DarinsBirthdayWeekend starts out with a wet and cold ferry ride to Seattle.
Sad Darin as we are stuck in traffic on the pass. Happy girls in the back seat with technology entertainment. #DarinsBirthdayWeekend
Lunch time fun. #DarinsBirthdayWeekend
October 4 - The camp cousins were sitting at the top of the stairs serenading guests as they come into dinner.
October 5 - This sweet girl came with her family to camp today so I could take some family pictures for them. Needless to say, the girls were super exited to see their friend. And to show her the awesomeness that is the rope swing.
October 6 - Gram and Grampa sent a package today with a present for each of the the girls. Of course, they had to use them right away.
October 7 - This October has been unseasonably warm so far. Today Dani and I ventured out into the leaves in our sandals.
October 8 - It is so fun to have this buffet in my dining room and to be able to treat the top like a mantle to decorate seasonally. My fall decorations are finally starting to come together.
October 9 - I found her cuddling with her bone in her bed tonight. Too cute.
October 10 - Friday night lights! We came to watch Darin's sister cheer and were able to catch a bit of a game as well. The girls had a blast especially as Nana had made them pink tutus so they matched their Aunt.
My adorable apple pickin helper.
September 27 - Another perk of life at camp: sometimes your Papa orders really big range hoods and they arrive in really big boxes. And then sometimes your Papa lets you climb in the box and "ride" down the stairs. What a life.
September 28 - I am totally a note taker. It really helps me focus and listen and learn. I still take sermon notes in my journal most Sundays.
September 29 - Got a bunch of hair chopped off today and I love it. Except I don't love how Dani keeps telling me I don't look like mom anymore.
September 30 - He spent the morning doing construction work but we caught up with him in the office at noon. A camp director certainly wears many hats. Also, how many screens does he need?
October 2 - As if they weren't alike enough these two decided to dress as twins today including matching mis-matched socks and headbands (discarded after school).
October 3 - Red is my favorite color in fall.
This is how I survive a girl's sleepover at church. #aerobed
This was not in my plans for the evening. Thankful for a hairdresser who answers a 911 text, a husband who dashes home to help, and a little girl who definitely learned her lesson.
Pizza and movie night is pretty exhausting.
(Note: This blog will hang out at the top for a while but I'm hoping to catch up with my Insta-Project posts in the coming days, so come back and scroll down for more!)
We started this Top 10 thing years ago with an actual newsletter included in our Christmas card, but have been happy to share it more recently on this 'ole blog of mine. Enjoy!
Top 10 "Not Too Bad" Days at Indianola
The following list is in no particular order and was inspired by Darin's invention of the hashtag #NoBadDaysAtIndianola when he started his new job this January. We are so thankful for this little town and our new home at Camp and have had quite the year here.
10. January 2nd
It was a cold, clear day in January when Darin drove into Camp Indianola for his first day on the job as the Director. Since he didn’t have keys yet, he walked around the property and hiked on the forest trail, praying and thanking God for the new chapter of life ahead. What an amazing place God had led our family to. And what a testament to an amazing God who called us to step out in faith a full year prior, then followed through by giving us far more than we could have hoped or dreamed. The position is a perfect fit for Darin, and has afforded us so many new opportunities. There are certainly some challenges, but Darin is up for them and even a little excited for them.
9. Tuesdays this fall
There are 3 things you can be pretty well assured of in camping ministry: long hours, getting sick of the food, and mediocre housing. We have great food at camp, but it still gets old. And there are certainly seasons where the hours are long. Amazingly, the third is not true for us. The house that is provided for the Director at this camp is amazing. When Deanna first saw it, she was head-over-heels for the opportunity to raise our kids at camp in this home. The weirdest thing about the house has got to be Deanna’s reaction: "this house needs a dog.” The other great thing about the house is the open floor plan that just begs to host people. We love our relaxing guest room (and have happily hosted several friends) and any chance we can get to cookout on the patio. And this summer we even had 10 people around our kitchen island cracking crab and dripping butter everywhere; it was glorious. We have started a Tuesday Supper Club as a way to encourage more community in our lives, and we’re doing our best to use this house that is a blessing to us, to be a blessing to others.
8. February 21st
When Darin took his first hike through the woods, he’s pretty glad he didn’t know about the local cougar population. Shortly after learning about them, and seeing tracks near one of our lodges on a snow day in January, Darin agreed with Deanna: "We need a dog." The story of how our sweet Gypsy came to our family was chronicled in a blog Deanna wrote earlier this year following some really hard days at Indianola. Click on over to read about how God has used this sweet dog we named Gypsy as a reminder of His love and mercy in our lives.
Gypsy has become right at home at camp, running the trails and the beaches and while we all adore her, she has most definitely become Darin's dog.
7. Every clear to mostly clear day we have a few minutes to spare
One of the best things about where we live is that the beach is no longer a weekend excursion, but is a quick walk whenever we need it. The ¼ mile beach at camp is uniquely situated to gather much of the debris from the Puget Sound, so every walk is a treasure hunt. The logs for fort-building and beach glass and shells for hunting make this a great place to visit all year long, but the summer days of swimming and lounging are especially sweet.
6. December 15th
The most recent addition to the family is Darin’s new truck. We finally sold the faithful Subaru and upgraded to a full-sized truck that will eventually help us take family camping trips even in rough weather. In the mean time, Darin is having a blast driving it and the girls love riding in Papa’s truck. For those who care, it’s a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 Big Horn Edition 4x4 with a 5.7L Hemi V8 and tons of fun features.
5. December 7th
This December Daisy played in her very first piano recital. Our 7-year-old second-grader is a delightful, creative, and goofy gal who started piano lessons in September. As she is with most things, she is eager to learn and perfect her skills and it was so fun to watch her confidently plunk out "Joy to the World" and a few more Christmas tunes at that recital. Daisy has emerged this year as quite the reader and is adding "writer" to her resume as well. She loves to invent stories and carefully illustrate them as well. She is sensitive and caring, always seeking to make the grownups in her life proud of her. (It isn't hard to be.) It is so fun to watch her bloom.
4. August 15th
On a warm August day Deanna opened the door to the smiles of a little boy we had all missed so much, in the arms of *who we all hope to be very soon* his forever Mom. We suffered incredible heartbreak this winter when a fluke accident caused TR (whom we had loved since the previous July when he came home from the hospital with us) to be removed from our care, our foster license suspended, and a drawn-out investigation to be launched. These were certainly rough days at Indianola. But God continues to be faithful and when TR's forever family gained custody of this amazing boy we started planning a visit. And on that August day we hugged and laughed and cried and tried to keep him from eating beach rocks...and we healed.
And then as a family we began to pray and talk and talk and pray and ultimately agree to open our home again. Since that August day we've been blessed to host two little ones for respite, and two more for short-term placements. We're not sure we're quite ready for another long-term placement, so we've been thankful that God has given us just what we could handle.
Our home and our hearts are open to foster again...
3. July 25th
Whew, who knew throwing a huge Hawaiian themed luau would be so much work? But to see the massive grins on the face of the newly-ear-pierced 5-year-old it was all worth it. We had a great time throwing Dani a luau birthday party on the lawn at Camp, as well as using the occasion to celebrate with our amazing and hard-working summer "site staff". We were blessed with great weather, a really fun hula instructor, a new recipe that turned out delicious, and lots of family and friends to join us.
Dani has always been the girl to keep us on our toes and she continues this strong tradition. She started half-day Kindergarten and once-a-week gymnastics this fall and is busy making friends, making messes, and making people laugh with her hilarious comments on the world. (Deanna's facebook updates with Dani quotes always seem to garner the most comments and "likes".) She is dramatic and generous and our cuddler. What would we do without her?
2. April 19th
The Saturday before Easter was cold and wet this year but that didn't stop us from hitting up the tiny town of Indianola to hunt Easter Eggs on the beach. The Goodman family (who were preparing to move to Camp in June) joined us for the fun and it was so good to watch the 4 kids run and play together again. We are so thankful that God has brought our families together to do life and work and ministry and so thankful that everyone gets along. I dubbed the crew of kiddos the "camp cousins" and while they fight like siblings, the next hour they are asking when they can hang out and play again.
1. ALL stinkin SUMMER LONG
Living and working at camp again you have to bet our summer would be awesome, and you'd be right. From the rope swing to kayaking (we all love a kayak adventure to Indianola for an ice cream cone, but night kayaking with the bio-luminescence is especially magical for the adults), camp offers a wonderful variety of ways to keep busy and entertained. While many of our summer mornings this year were spent at swim lessons, afternoons were full of time at the beach or tagging along with a giant slip n' slide or all camp carnival. The girls loved singing at campfires, pelting their dad with water balloons, laughing at skits, and vying for the chance to sit next to their favorite site staff girl at meals. Daisy even had a chance to attend three nights of sleepaway camp, loving it of course; and even though she was just down the hill we all felt her absence (especially Dani who had sleepovers with us or a friend every night so she wouldn't be too lonely). The July 4th weekend brought with it adventures of the local parade, and watching every Seattle-area fireworks show we could see from our beach.
Deanna's parents were here this summer and we all had a great time exploring together, but it was especially fun when they left a set of walkie-talkies behind and we let the girls use them to go on adventures without us. It felt really old-fashioned to give our kids some boundaries and some check-in requests, and then just let them run. Sounds like what summer should be.
Needless to say, we were sad to see summer end this year.
Of course this year we had many amazing days and special adventures that weren't around this place we call Indianola. In April we celebrated Leyla's adoption, and we had an amazing time at our annual family Leavenworth campout in August. Deanna spent the day shopping at Ikea with her Idaho friends, and another day in Bainbridge with her sisters wine tasting. We made two trips to Spokane. And, of course, our amazing Seahawks won the superbowl; now that was a good day! Oh yeah, we were blessed to have a new niece and another nephew join our family too.
While Darin is confidently serving God as a Camp Director these days, Deanna is still happy to be Mom (and foster Mom) and hold down the fort at home, while continuing to pursue God as He leads. She has been continuing to seek ways to engage teen moms through a Teen MOPS program hopefully launching again in the coming months. Additionally, she has joined the steering team for one of the services at our church and is investigating a possible call into pastoral/church ministry through her involvement there. Who knows what lies ahead for her?
But we do know that there is a constant: the love our God lavishes on us. May it be ever apparent during this Christmas season, and may it continue to be revealed to you and yours throughout the year.
Blessings dear ones,
Darin, Deanna, Daisy, & Dani
September 20 - Two of our most favoretest people came to visit us today! And the girls gave Miss Potpourri lots of new bling to wear to dinner.
September 21 - We had an awesome morning exploring the low-tide beach. I loved watching Daniel jump back after we told him to turn over a rock and he was surprised at the amount of life underneath. And I could have sat and stared at these teeny-tiny hermit crabs for hours.
September 22 - There's always a point mid-project when I start to wonder if it will all actually get done. Today's project was switching out spring/summer clothes for fall/winter ones. This included making stacks for consignment, hand-me-downs, and thrift store, and stacks of things for the girls to try on. Also in the middle of it all, a cranky baby. Oh my.
September 23 - For a lot of really good reasons, this sweet baby girl went back home today. So we gave her lots of extra love. While we are going to miss her, Dani especially, the week was a lot of work and stress and I'm not sad that is over. This week was really revealing to us, and our family might not quite be ready for the adventure of a full-on placement yet.
September 24 - Giving herself a pep talk in the mirror before her first gymnastics class. You should see the video that goes along with this picture!
September 25 - Practicing "piano" on her sister's toy laptop on the way home from her lesson because she was so excited about her assignment to figure out the last line of Mary Had a Little Lamb.
September 26 - Who needs an apple for the teacher when you can give an Asian pear from Grandpa and Nana's orchard?