He's leaving... on a jet plane

This is our nephew, Jaremy (with his girlfriend, Dani). He graduated from BYU last August and, after a taking a year off, has signed up for a program called 'Teach for America' where he will be sent to a struggling school to teach (he was assigned to Mississippi after his summer training in Texas). We are so proud of him and think he will do a great job. The kids are going to love him (he'll be teaching High School Biology and Chemistry). He has been there a few months now and is learning and growing and seeing so much hardship. I'm glad he is doing whatever he can to make a difference. He has already promised to take his top 2 students to Washington DC at the end of the year and has had quite a few 'freedom writer' type experiences. The Sunday before his departure we gathered at his house for desserts and s'mores around the fire to spend some time with him. We wish him the best and were so glad to be there with him!
(Higbee's: I took a lot more pictures than this. I'll post them over on the family blog... someday... maybe...)

Music Man

The last Saturday in May Max had his piano recital. He did awesome and even played a piece that he arranged himself. He had taken songs from his video games and learned to play them by ear and then arranged them into a piece. We were very proud of him. I'm not going to post video this time because it is really long and I'm so behind I don;t want to take the time to edit it. Besides it's mostly for the grandparents anyway... so if you want to hear it please ask him to play it for you=)After the recital Chris took him to get a cello. That's right... in addition to the piano and the guitar, Max has decided to try his hand at the cello. Chris plays and so Max has always wanted to learn. He has signed up for the beginning orchestra in Junior High and they have summer school to get started on their instruments so we needed to get his cello in time for him to start.
It really is a gorgeous instrument... the wood is absolutely beautiful. The day he got it he could already play 'Twinkle, twinkle little star'. I am so excited for him. We love music in our home and are thrilled that Max has embraced it and loves it too.

End of School Party

Last year our neighborhood started a fun tradition (see post here) of gathering for a picnic lunch, whipped cream fight and water games on the last day of school. It is so much fun and so many people come out to celebrate the end of school and beginning of summer. This year proved to be even more fun than last year!! We are grateful for fun neighbors (Cami) who plan things to bring us all together! 

Abby was so ready for the fight this year. We stocked up on whipped cream and she was ready to go!!
I have no idea what she is saying to this boy...
but I love her face and how quickly she ran when he responded!
I think she ate MOST of her cream!
Plotting with her cute friend, Bridgette.
Abby always loves the slip n slide.
Afton, on the other hand, is much more hesitant to try things. 
She sat and watched tho kids on the slip n slide forever. 
She even got up close and touched the water. I could tell she really wanted to do it but was scared so I cut her to the front of the line and talked her into it.
Getting a last minute pep talk for her BFF, Ellie.
She didn't really slide... she mostly just scooted, very slowly, down the slide.
But she loved it. Just look at that smile.
She did it! Once. She wouldn't go again. 
But I'm proud of her for being so brave.
Cole, on the other hand, is absolutely NOT afraid of water.
He was right there in the middle of everything and kept crawling right into the slip n slide.
It's a miracle he didn't get run over. 
He loved to watched the kids slide past him and feel the splash of water on his face. 
He laughed so hard!


Little Slugger

Notice Anything Different?

In preparation for the end of school 6th grade dance my baby SHAVED! That's right, this boy is clean shaven and proud of it. I was not home when Chris taught him so I didn't get any pictures, but I couldn't pass up documenting this milestone anyway.
Truth is: he really needed it (he has his father's genes). I just can't believe this kid is growing so fast. He grows out of clothes faster than I can by them, he wears the same size shoes as me, he's starting Jr. High this fall and now THIS! Can somebody please stop time for a little while? I just want to enjoy my little boy a little longer before I turn around and he's a man!

Just because...

I think he's cute.
Sometimes I just want to gobble him up!

Grandpa's Grave

On the way home from our fun weekend we stopped in Spanish Fork to visit Grandpa's grave and leave some flowers. This was our first time back since he passed away last October. I love that he is buried here... small town cemetery's are great. There were so many people there, the place was covered with flowers, and there was just a general overall good feeling. We took some time to walk around and enjoy the surroundings.
We went over to the Veteran's Memorial. 
Grandpa's name is now officially engraved on the memorial.
My favorite thing was this grassy area where thy had put out a flag for every vet that was buried in that cemetery. We walked up and down the rows looking for grandpa's, but they weren't in a particular order so we never found it. I was still so touched by it and thrilled that he is honored in such a way in the town he grew up in.
I know I'm extremely late, but...
Happy Memorial Day!
I'm so grateful to those who have gone before who have helped shape me and make my life as wonderful as it is.

Just Call Me Ree

As in 'The Pioneer Woman'. (Note: If you do not follow her blog, you should. That's all I'm going to say about that!) When we left the cabin on Memorial Day we all went over to a real working ranch to help 'sort calves'. I must admit the only reason I wanted to go was to take cool pictures and have funny stories just like Ree. And I thought it would be a fun and different experience for my own little punks. Well, let's just say it's not as glamorous as she makes it look. It was hot,  dusty, smelly, noisy, and the mosquitos were out in full force. We only made it about an hour before the babies were ready to go, but it was a fun experience anyway.
Max, Peter and Aubrey ready to get to work.
Afton doing a great job staying out of the way ;)
Abby was totally into it. She sat on this fence and watched with great concern the entire time. She only got down once to come over to me and express her sadness for the calves and her worry that they were in pain. I pointed out that it's just like when Coleman gets his shots, he cries for a minute and then he's fine. I pointed out that the calves just hop up and run to their mom's the minute it's over and are just fine. I love that she is so tender-hearted and loves animals so much.
Aubrey, Chris, Sam, and Peter pushing the calves through.
My Dad... I'm not sure what he was doing... 
he was kind of all over the place.
Max was the first one to get bored. He really didn't like the heat, dust, and bugs. He went and sat in the car. (Good thing I'm really not the Pioneer Woman.... he'd be in big trouble!)
Cole sat so happily the entire time. Just a happy little kid.
Afton was not so happy. This activity fell right during her nap time and she was very mad that she couldn't be right in the middle of things and that I was taking so many pictures but not any of her pony. (I did finally take one.) She is the main reason we ended up leaving when we did. (Side note: we left the ranch and went into Ephraim to see some of the places Chris grew up and have lunch at the Malt Shop. Afton had fallen asleep in the car and when I took her in she stayed sound asleep through the entire meal... she never does that!)
Wendy did something with the shots... 
brave woman... I could never do that!
My brother, Luke, held the branding wand at the ready so they could grab it and do it quickly. He refused to look at me so I have about 15 pictures that look just like this.
My very own "Marlboro Man"... take me home cowboy!