Steve came home with flowers and my favorite candies yesterday to celebrate…and then he made me guess what we were celebrating and I had no idea! It wasn’t a birthday or anniversary or even a half birthday or anniversary because we’ve been known to celebrate both. Hallie was on the couch filming so I was really trying to rack my brain because I couldn’t imagine missing an important event.

But I was stumped.

When Steve clarified it wasn’t an anniversary – and instead more of a milestone – I knew exactly what it was because I know his siblings have celebrated this day as well: The day in his life where he has spent more of his life with me than without me.

A day to celebrate indeed.

And I’m up for any celebration where flowers and my two favorite candies show up on my counter!

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Benson Boone…round 2…

A year and a half ago, Hallie and I saw Benson Boone in concert in a small dive bar in Phoenix – 500 people max. After Hallie gave him a hug after the concert I remember telling her, “Remember this moment – you saw him in concert before he was big!”

Of course, after that concert we were big fans. In fact we played his music so much everyone in the family became a fan. When I saw he was coming to Phoenix again, I knew we had to get tickets but there was one very large hiccup – it was the night of the state tennis championship. We bought pit/floor tickets anyway knowing we could easily sell them if Hallie ended up with a conflict that night.

On Saturday, Hallie lost in the semi-finals which was a total disappointment – the only advantage was she could now go to the concert. Hunter and Hallie both kept a ticket and we sold the rest of them to their friends and on Monday evening they stood and sang at the top of their lungs. (We offered one to Bennett for his birthday but he was concerned it would be hard to see standing in the pit at his height so he chose a different birthday gift)

And they were close. Not quite as close as our dive bar experience, but still really close.

I was kind of wishing I had kept a ticket for myself – he puts on such a great concert – but I was spent. We had been running from one thing to the next for quite a while and the end of Hallie’s tennis season seemed to be the very peak of the busyness and the thought of standing for hours with a bunch of screaming fans just wasn’t very enticing.

But both Hallie and Hunter came home beaming – they had the time of their lives and they both recounted their favorite moments. A night they won’t soon forget.

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Fruits and Springs…

I am loving the shift in education to hands-on instruction and we’re starting to see it trickle down to all of our classrooms, elementary through high school. One day a week, during the school year, Cannon takes a bus to a nearby school for a day of learning. I think this is his favorite day of the week because the learning is “fun”.

For weeks, he worked on a project and he was so excited for his showcase when we could come into his classroom. He and his partner had to create a game that incorporated legos and laws of motion in some fashion and we were impressed with what they come up with. In fact everyone in his class had such a unique approach to their game – it was fun to see what their little brains could create.

I wish I could say I beat Steve but the truth is I ended up in handcuffs for unknowingly cheating – I argued the rule wasn’t spelled out correctly – something they’ll definitely need to fix if they want to take this game to market. 🙂

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Lake Powell…Senior Trip…

I think Hallie has been talking about a senior trip to Lake Powell since she was a sophomore – and by nothing short of a miracle, we were able to make that dream a reality. Lake Powell is our family’s favorite vacation and as luck would have it the senior trip and our family trip were only a week apart and they were vastly different experiences – both amazing in their own right. Steve and I were one of three married couples asked to come on this trip and of course bring our boat. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this experience.

They graduated on a Thursday, went to their all-night senior party and then we were on the road early the next morning – we had some sleepy kids on the ride up! (And a sleepy mom because I was at the senior party until the wee hours of the morning!)

Like Hallie, Lake Powell is one of my very favorite places and I don’t need to be convinced of how awesome it is. But this trip was special in a very specific way and I’m not even sure I’ll be able to put into words what I took away from it – but it settle deep in my heart.

These kids are such good friends. They love spending time together and their energy was contagious. But my very favorite moments of this trip were in the quiet of the night, when the sun had dropped beyond the horizon and we sat crowded in the living room of the house boat for evening devotionals led by different groups of kids. This is where their friendships and love for one another was palpable. They shared some of their struggles and what brings them joy. They lifted and cheered for each other. I looked forward to every evening devotional and if you ask most of the kids, they will all tell you it was their favorite part of the trip as well.

They went surfing and tubing and foiling. They enjoyed cliff jumping and glow stick dance parties. They took turns buzzing each other’s hair and making friendship bracelets and playing games. They went hiking and explored caves. They laughed and cried and it was so fun to be a part of. They really are the best.

I think part of the specialness of this trip was the realization that 10 of the 17 kids have received their mission calls and the first leaves in a few short weeks. They know their time together is short and they are basking in the moment. This trip was a dream. I think the best way to describe it was witnessing lightning in a bottle.

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Class of 2024…

She graduated. She promised she wouldn’t grow up and then she went ahead and graduated on us! Time is a thief.

She started high school during a pandemic. She was a freshman doing online classes. When they finally allowed them to go back to school, they could only go every other day and they wore masks. She couldn’t go to football games. She played on the high school basketball and tennis team while wearing a mask. It was a rough start.

But boy did she finish strong and she made up for that lost year.

She went to all the games, she dressed up for the themes, she went hard at every dance, she was a dedicated student, she joined the clubs…she experienced high school to the fullest which makes it even more rewarding to celebrate the end.

It was a beautiful night. She was happy and she walked with confidence.

After everyone threw their hats, she cried and embraced some of her good friends – she has been surrounded by some of the best even as its ebbed and flowed over the years. It was a night to celebrate.

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