13 December 2018

The Last Few Months

I suppose it's about time to catch up on our family blog.  So here's what the family has been up to over the last couple months or so:

Back in September for my mom's birthday I put together this video of an interview I did with my Grandma Bev a few years back.  (You can watch the video on my genealogy blog here). 

My Fall decorations bring a smile to my face. 

This year we finally had a few avocados on our trees!  And for the first time, this season there are buds on the loquat tree.  That tree hasn't had fruit or even buds until now, but we've heard they grow really well in this area, so we're excited to see how it turns out. 

We liked how this photo of all our boys turned out, so we got it printed on canvas to hang on the wall in our house.  I think it looks pretty nice. 

For Grandma's birthday the boys made her a birthday cake.  Unbeknownst to me, though, they added all the birthday candles we owned to the cake.  Pretty cute. 

Camden turned 12 on September 20th.  That meant that in October he got to go to the temple for the first time.  That has been so special to have him go with us.  I can't wait until someday when all our boys will be old enough and our whole family can go together. 

My sweet Grandma's memory isn't quite as good as it used to be, and sometimes she struggles a little with remembering the family relationships and how everyone is connected together.  (And other times she can remember all the details just fine).  After one evening when she was having a particularly hard time piecing it all together, I decided to make her a little chart that shows the relationships, with photos & names, so she could have a little reminder when she was unsure about it.  She really liked it.  :)

After getting certified last winter, Michael went on his first scuba trip with several guys from the ward.  They went to the Channel Islands.  He had a great time, and he caught some fish.  He said he felt like he was swaying back and forth for a week after he got off the boat. 

Isaac, Camden, & Eli's last cross country meet of the season.

The pumpkin patch.

Isaac's birthday.  Big 11 year old!

Camden built the most amazing Halloween costume this year!  He made a life size lego guy, complete with moving arms, legs, and hands.  He used his own money from his dog walking jobs to buy the paint, and worked on building the costume for a whole month.  So cool!  (I just had to go along and help him out for the school's Halloween parade, since he wasn't able to walk up stairs, or even step off a curb with it on).  :)

I had a strong feeling to dig into the records for the families of my third great grandparents, James A. Dobbins & Florentina Constantina "Florence" Fritz.  After spending most of my research time over the last few years searching for our Bohemian ancestors, this was a change of scenery to move the search to the United States.  But apparently these Dobbins & Fritz family members really wanted to be found, because I ended up with such a flood of records, "new" family names and facts, that I still haven't finished adding it all to my genealogy database.  But I was most excited that after all that I was able to find out who James Dobbins' parents & siblings were (previously we knew nothing about them at all), and I'm hopeful that once I get all these records entered into the database, maybe I'll find some time to do a little more searching and see if we can learn more about his parents, where they came from, and who their families were.  (You can see all the details of my Fritz/Dobbins search here). 

Courtland has been so into Harry Potter lately.  He really wanted a wand, but after saving up for an official Harry Potter wand on Amazon and having it break when it dropped, then saving up for a second one and having the same thing happen again, we did some searching for a more sturdy wand.  We found a guy on Etsy who makes wooden wands, and you even get to choose the shape and the color, which was fun.  Courtland saved up, and was able to get it in time for Halloween (he dressed up as Harry Potter, big surprise).  And it has held up great since then. 

Carving pumpkins.

Kolby was so excited for his big race on November 2nd, because the coach told him that it was between him and another of the freshmen boys on the team who would be able to make the varsity team for the remaining varsity meets of the season.  The coach told him he needed to make it in a certain time in order to make varsity.  Nana got him new racing flats.  And I even overheard Kolby saying that he wasn't eating any Halloween candy in the days preceding the race because that wouldn't be good for him.  We were SO proud of Kolby.  He worked so hard, and I think he improved his personal best race time by something like 30 or 40 seconds, which is amazing!  He was kind of bummed that he missed the time for the varsity team by 6 seconds, but he has done so well this first season and he's really looking forward to continuing to do it again next year.  In the meantime, right now he's doing winter conditioning track practice each weekday, and he's looking forward to Spring track season.

(This is my favorite photo of Kolby from this cross country season -- one of the other parents took this one during one of his previous races). 

Courtland's painting of "Starry Night." 

Kolby's 15th birthday.  His favorite author happened to be in town doing a book signing that weekend, so we ordered his newest book for Kolby and he got to go get it signed. 

My dad took some family photos for us at our favorite little beach down in Ocean Beach this year.  Thanks Dad!

Turkey Cookies!

Kolby auditioned to be on the Orchestra Pit Crew for the musical, Beauty and the Beast Jr.  He's really excited to be able to participate in this in the spring!

The boys working on an old tree house they found in one of the canyons near our home.

This year I really had the boys get involved in helping cook all the Thanksgiving foods with me.  Kolby went and spent the day helping Nana prepare for Thanksgiving while the other boys helped me out.  They were all good helpers, but the younger three eventually lost interest and went off to play after a while.  Lijah stayed and helped me out the whole time without any complaints.  He really likes to cook.  And the food turned out great.  We had a quiet little Thanksgiving with my parents and my brother, Aaron, this year.  It was a nice peaceful day. 

Christmas decorations!  I love getting out the Christmas things.  My favorite decoration of all is my collection of little family photo frame ornaments that we add to each year.  And I got a couple little old antique nativities this year, one is an old German one from around 1910, and the other is a more recent one that's kind of unique looking.  I've always had an idea that it'd be fun to have a little collection of cool old nativity sets, but never gotten around to starting it, so that's kind of fun.  And the boys always enjoy setting up our little old artificial tree, left over from our apartment days, upstairs in the loft and decorating it however they want to.  :)

A little writing assignment that Courtland did in his class. 

My dogs.

Little readers.  All the boys love to read, but Isaac and Courtland seem to really be taking off in their reading lately.  Isaac seems pretty motivated by the school reading challenge, he's almost hit the goal of reading 39 books during the school year already.  And Courtland just finished up reading the Hobbit, and Isaac has been impatiently awaiting his turn so he can now read that book too. 

Michael, Isaac, and Courtland have been practicing for the annual stake Christmas Choir Concert since September.  It's been a rather intense practice schedule, but they sure enjoyed it and they all did so well at the big performance last Sunday evening. 

And who says there aren't seasons in San Diego?  I love that there are a few different streets in my neighborhood with these trees that change orange and red this time of year.