Sunday, July 31, 2011


It's now September 11th, and I'm still trying to wrap up summer here. This is my last post for July—yay! I really want to get caught up and stay that way, because it's a lot harder to write something meaningful as time passes.

This was a big milestone—we have a teenager now!

Robbie's birthday was on a Sunday this year, so it was pretty mellow. After church he opened his presents. When I had asked him what he wanted, he said, "I don't know, anything you get me would be great, Mom." I said, "Okay, socks and underwear it is." And then he said, "Actually, I could use some new socks and underwear." He's always been pretty easy-going that way. I didn't actually buy any socks or underwear, but he did get some much-needed shorts and shirts that work for the strict dress code at his junior high.

He got a book or two,

a new watch,

plus an iTunes gift card and a cover for his new iPod Touch. He has been working and saving all summer to earn enough money to buy this, and he was finally able to buy it just before his birthday. He worked hard and passed up many opportunities to spend his money, and we're proud of him.

I saved my favorite gift for last. It's a book of letters, written by family and friends who were kind enough to reply to my last-minute request. I wanted to share advice that would help Robbie through the sometimes-difficult teen years, but even more, I wanted him to know how many great people love and support him. This book exceeded my expectations on both counts.

Over fifty people responded, even some friends who were on vacation in Europe. They covered a range of spiritual, social, financial, educational and practical matters. There were stories, poems, book recommendations, quotes, and many expressions of love and confidence. I was overwhelmed with gratitude as I compiled this book.

I wasn't really sure this was something Robbie would appreciate immediately though. I figured it might take him a few years to realize what a treasure he had received.

But as the day went on and he ignored his new iPod to read, he kept stopping to say, "Thanks, Mom, I really love this." Since then he has tried to thank everyone who contributed, and refers to it often. I think he gets it.

There are no photos (so unlike me—I just didn't have time!), and the text might be too small to read (edited: you can read it in the full-screen view), but here's the entire book:

That evening, we were invited to dinner at Ralph and Judy's, which was sort of a present to me more than Rob & Robbie, but they're always happy to eat a delicious dinner with great company too.

Robbie was super-excited to wear the birthday hat. ;)

We're looking forward to great things from this teenager. Love you Robbie!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Rob

We came home from Webelos Camp to find this in our yard:

Nice work, Melissa.

I was glad there was something festive for Rob's birthday, since I only had a small book of Billy Collins poetry to give him. Luckily, in the hour-and-a-half left before he got home, I had a shopping miracle, and was able to buy a new chair for his office, and some new clothes. The girls supplied the homemade cards (lots of sequins, which are now banned from our house!).

We all "hid" behind his desk and yelled surprise when he came in.

After he opened his presents we went to dinner at San Francisco Sourdough Pizza (not really a favorite, just close to the dollar theater—we were rushed).

We stopped in across the street for dessert, and then went to see Rango. Plan A was Settebello's, followed by Cowboys v. Aliens. Rob was a good sport to switch to Plan B so the kids could be a part of the celebration.

Webelos Camp

This is my last year with a son in cub scouts. I have been to Cub Country or Webelos Camp every year for the past six years. I have to admit, I will not miss it.

But Joey had a great time, and I do love spending time with him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The end of swim season

Although I was really happy to be back at the pool in June, after two months of daily practice and seemingly countless meets, I am equally happy to be done. Here are some photos from our last meet.

Ainsley actually dived off the blocks (well, sort of :). None of my other kids did that at age five, and even Tommy (the head coach) said, "Who was that?!"

Ainsley, with her coach, Claire, and her teacher, Nick. They were both awesome, and Ainsley made a lot of progress this year.

Ellie, with her teacher, Sarah, and her coach, Angela. Again, awesome.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I wish we could have gone to opening night, but better late than never. We loved HP7P2. Kind of sad that it's all over though...

There was definitely a Harry Potter twist to the sparklers tonight:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Peter Breinholt Concert

I didn't go to my first concert until I was in the ninth grade (Thompson Twins at the Special Events Center). Our kids, on the other hand, are veterans, with the Peter Breinholt Sandy Amphitheater show as (yet another) favorite summer tradition. The Stringhams and the Dunfords have been with our core group for the past three years, joined this year by the Boydens and Marti.

We have to get there pretty early to secure our front row lawn space, but the wait is never boring. We usually bring our dinner and eat it while we wait. I'm not sure how much dinner Ainsley ate once the Boydens broke out the blue cotton-candy though...

After dinner, the arm wrestling began—Robbie v. Lindsay or Lauren. There was a lot of cheering by the respective genders. I'm not really sure who emerged as champion.

The younger kids played around on the hill.

And we had time to take group photos. Beautiful girls. And Peter, who wasn't about to be left out.

One of the highlights this year was seeing Josh (Boyden) piping during Too Cold a Stone. Rob set him up with this gig when Pete asked if he knew any pipers. Josh was awesome, and promised Rob he'd play for free at his funeral for the favor. Hopefully not anytime soon.

The kids all ran to the front to dance during You Wear Flowers and were happy when Pete said, "Hey, it's the Marsh kids."

Good times.