Friday, August 26, 2016

Prequel to our New Chapter

For so many reasons, I shouldn't do this.
  1.  My blog already has too many pictures. (I know because when I went to print this year's hard copy, blog2print wouldn't let me. Apparently they now cap their books at 1000 pictures, and according to their tally, I've posted 1501 since last August.)  
  2. The pictures will be completely out of sequence, and I'll never be able to locate them.  
  3. These pictures are too far past. It's time to live in the present and look to the future.
Argument #3 is the weakest.  While it is certainly important to seize the moment, the future comes so quickly that the past is completely forgotten if we don't take a moment to remember.

And so, without further adieu, here is a very random assortment of photos taken from Jason's iPhone before it went for its last swim in the river.  It is a tender mercy that we have these photos at all.  Jason unintentionally backed them up at work just a day before his phone slipped out of his backpack and into a creek while hiking.  While we were sad to lose the phone, it was fortunately insured and replaceable.  The photo memories, on the other hand, couldn't have been recreated.

In no particular order, we have...Talia at Crestridge with her adorable Arithmavil.

Eli and Talia enjoying free Krispy Kreme donuts.

Anybody else craving sugar right now?

Brooklyn looks so focused playing cello.

Not sure where this was taken, but Annika is certainly all worn out.

Talia and Annie getting ready for South Omaha's Cinco de Mayo parade.

Eli enjoyed sorting candy to throw to the crowd from the Synowiecki float.

Looks like Annie's sleeping again.  It's actually quite rare that she slows down--I guess that's why whenever it happens we are quick to grab a camera and catch the moment.

Many have walked across the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge into Iowa, but few have bridged the state line quite like Talia.

Annie preferred to take the easy road on momma's shoulders.

While things are going well for Jason in his new job, I know that he misses Thursday afternoon bike rides with his coworkers from Alley Poyner.

And with great friends like Marty and Erin, who wouldn't?

Jason also frequently mentions how much he misses working with the Young Men of the Rockbrook ward.  Here are a couple of the leaders setting up camp, Kevin and Ben.

Here are Will and Dan (who has the privilege of being the new Young Men's President.)

Wouldn't be scouts without a really BIG fire.


Annika would be jealous.  She was quite disappointed that we couldn't light a fire during our last two camping trips.

Back to our own kids, here's Talia riding an elephant calf at the Henry Doorly Zoo.

Eli wants a turn.

In sorting through old papers, we found this picture that my cousin Jeanette drew this for me when she was barely older than Annika.  Some day when she's a famous artist, it will be worth millions, I'm sure.

We also unearthed a story that Talia wrote, dedicated to her Dad.  Well-said, ReddiWip, well-said.

It may not be a pie, but it's sure a cute mini cheesecake!

Not even sure where this picture was taken, but it's pretty idyllic.

Moving right along, here are some more fun pictures from our Memorial Day camping trip to the Badlands.

By the way, even though she may (sort of) sleep in a big bed now, bringing a Graco for Annika to sleep in while tent camping is an excellent idea.  We tested out the other alternative recently with fairly disastrous results.

Remember when Brooklyn used to have trouble sleeping?  She may still be a night owl, but this 'tween sure enjoys sleeping in now.

It's not every day you run into random friends at Mt. Rushmore.  Here we are with the Ramirez family.

Don't fall off, Annie Mae!

This curvy Iron Mountain road was pretty incredible.  Its tunnels perfectly frame Rushmore in the distance.

So yeah, Jason is the scrambled egg king.

A happy picture of my Dad and I.  Thanks again for the great trip, Papa Kay.

Back in Omaha, here are the Young Men climbing at the YMCA.

The Young Women weren't to be outdone.  Here are a couple of their leaders, Christy and Bree, scaling that rock face like it was nothing.

Regan watches intently as they climb on.

We adore our Salt Lake Avenues neighborhood, but if this house in Omaha ever came up for sale in our price range, well, we might just have to think hard.

Here's Eli, playing Monopoly Party in style.

And here's Eli again, performing with 900 String Sprouts and the Omaha Symphony.  They had to change the venue to the Baxter Arena because the Holland Center couldn't fit everyone on stage.  As a year three student, Eli got to stand right up front.

If you look carefully, Eli is the head to the left of the tall girl who is facing the wrong direction.

Time for a bow.  Hello toes!  By the way, can you see all the teensy weensy cellos to the left?   I am totally bummed that Annika won't be a cello sprout this year.

In case you can't tell by all the black shirts, Sprouts is bringing music into the lives of an incredible number of children.

Our friend George joined us for the Sprouts and the Symphony concert.  Afterwards, we came back to our house for some cheesecake since it was his birthday!

A few last Alley Poyner pics--Jason's jelly bean dispenser.  (I could never have enough self control to keep Jelly Bellys on my desk.  They'd all be gone in an hour.)

One last scenic bike ride... a pretty awesome farewell poster at Jason's rootbeer float goodbye party.

In our own backyard, here are Brooklyn and Annika swinging spider.

Cross the fence to our neighbors, and we have Annika hugging Otis.

Otis decided to snack while Annie was giving him loves.

Sunsets are always wistful in their fading beauty, but even more so when the moving truck is yours.

Time to lighten up the mood.  Watching Levi eat birthday cake at our friends' house certainly did the trick!

Here's Jessica, the birthday girl.  Wish I could turn back time and be a whopping three decades!

At NomiAnn and Papa Kay's, it's Qwirkle Time.

Annika often prefers to play by herself.  Here she is exploring the trains during our Michigan Wheeler Family Reunion.

After the reunion, some of the family (including Jason) spent the day in Chicago.  While I wasn't there, looking at these pictures makes me wish I had been!

Call it childhood nostalgia, but Chicago will always be one of my favorite cities.  Here are Lance and Christy along this shore of Lake Michigan.

One short plane flight, and Jason was on his own in Salt Lake.  For a month, his bike and this trailer were his only wheels.  This is how he made his Walmart run for essentials.

Fortunately, kind family helped Jason get up north for family events on the weekends.  Here's a picture of Grandma Hansen, Susie, and Arnie.

Last but not least, here's the first page of a beautiful new sketchbook given to Jason by our bishop Paul Tomoser from the Rockbrook Ward.
Off to the side, Jason's fittingly labeled this page, "A New Chapter."

And so it is.  Here's hoping it's just as great as the last!

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