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Summer 2013 - part 1

Where to begin?  I promised my family NO SCHOOL WORK this summer and, except for a 2-day inservice in June, I mostly kept to that promise.  It seems, though, that with the "no school work" promise I also stayed away from the computer.  And you know what?!?  It was a GREAT break.  I do feel a little out of touch, but I catch up on other blogs and such every once in awhile. . .and sometimes Pinterest gets me sucked in with school articles when I venture there but, for the most part, I enjoyed my low-expectations summer :)  Except I *really* missed blogging.  I kept up with picture of the day but then sitting down and actually loading and journaling. . .well. . .as you can tell, that didn't happen.

And now summer's over.

Yep.  I went back to school over a week ago and the kiddos all started on Thursday.


Yea. . .they look excited to go back, huh?  O.K., maybe not. . .but maybe.  Maybe they were just hiding their delight.  I had to make the comment to them that three of them wore "free" t-shirts from camps they've attended in the past and Margaret had bleach stains on her hand-me-down t-shirt.  Sigh.  I remember, when I was growing up, what you wore on the first day of school was a BIG deal and we bought special outfits and everything.  Oh well. . .they are certainly confident in who they are and I'm guessing these t-shirts make a statement (to them) about who they are.  Good job Bell kids!

So. . .to re-cap our beautiful summer. . .

We began with Margaret's birthday.

The yearly chair picture.  Sometime I need to take the time to scan in the "early" years (before digital -- ha!) and so I can do side-by-side comparisons.  This is one thing that I have been pretty good about keeping up with through the years/birthdays/kids.  To be fair, this was taken a couple of days before her birthday because we were leaving to go to Ohio for a week and would celebrate the actual day there.













And we are off, in Daddy's new truck, for our week in Ohio!  Thomas was already there. . .at this point the kiddos had been out of school for almost a week -- they were just waiting on me to finish up so we could all go :)












Margaret chose, as a birthday gift from me, a haircut and pedicure.  We had just gotten a trim and then went across the street for a full-out pedi for this princess :)
Unique, could-only-come-from-Margaret's-imagination, pedicure.  Actually, the first girl doing her toes didn't understand the request so someone else had to come over and do them.  Very cute.








This little girl (11!!!!) at her birthday party at our favorite "Aunt Jenn"'s home :)



 Insane cupcake cake from Aunt Jodi and our favorite birthday party bash throwers:  The Piliati's!!!









Miss Susan's birthday is close to Margaret's so this was her party too. . . 


And this is how we began our first week of summer. . .in OH, with family, celebrating one of our middle child's special days.  The kids relaxed with grandparents, spent time with cousins and friends, Frederick helped at Grandpa Foster's garage sale, and Thomas earned money doing yard work for various people.












Margaret showing off her new bike that grandparents and the VJ family pitched in to get for her.
This was her actual birthDAY at Nana & Grandpa's house. . .I love these kids!!!!


My bestest is moving to Hawaii (!!!) and I had a chance to see her briefly during that first week of break.  She was moving out of her home to temporarily live in northern OH for the summer before the final move in September.








Of course this girl gave 16.5" of her hair to Locks of Love at the beginning of summer. . .so proud of her and her heart for giving away her hair so a disadvantaged child suffering from medical hair loss can use hers!











Back home for Massive Soccer Camp!!!  This year the two oldest participated in this camp. . .the coaches come in from FL to lead the camp at our soccer club.
 This picture shows Marie in the background (red shirt, in center) with two of the coaches that come every year in the foreground.


Last year we hosted the coaches (and a few soccer families) for dinner one night.  It was popular enough that when I asked if we could do it again they all said "yes"!

This was a food line -- ha!   And the food set up in the kitchen. . .

We do this get-together as a specific potluck, meaning I list out the items I need and families sign up for those things.  We did the meat for this one -- Chicken Skewers and my aunt's "famous" BBQ pork tenderloin.  This was just 4 of the dozen or so skewers we made. . .every single bit of this was gone by the time dinner was over!
 Dessert table :)  My friend down the street, whose son was also attending camp this year, did most of the desserts for the evening -- *everything* was delicious!




We had some seating outside (in the driveway -- I always feel strange about that but it works)






And some seating in the garage, out of the sun.






The kids got together with one of the "older" kids and tried to build a fire for marshmallows. 

Success!!!  It was such a fun evening. . .I absolutely love having a houseful (or yard-and-garage-ful) and hosting these get-togethers.  Luckily, there were a few more later in the summer :)

I hope that I am able to get back to these posts and finish documenting Summer 2013. . .I know I do a lot of "Part 1"'s but never get around to the rest. . .I'll try though!!!

~ Jenni

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