What About the Prom?

DSC_0119-Edit-1It was magical, shimmering like soap bubbles that float up toward the sun.

Do you want to know a secret?

I’m not just talking about the Prom itself. I’m talking about the fact that this picture originally had two people in it. One was closing their eyes, so we just cut them out.

We’re merciless like that.

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DSC_0133-2There he is!  With his eyes open. Two little loves of my life.

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DSC_0162-3This was right before I said, “Look at each other.”

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DSC_0164-6And he did this. Clearly, he is thinking, “Look at my sister? Why?”

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IMG_5291-1Dress shopping was a breeze. She found it on her own, in a tiny little shop that sold designer dresses that had already been owned by somebody rich enough to buy a designer dress.

It’s like it was made for her. Elegant, modest, a little different, classy, and one-of-a-kind. I love that she chose this dress.

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IMG_5379-2My dress is second-hand, and nobody knows.

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IMG_5391-5I think all girls in prom dresses are really just little girls playing dress-up if you can get past their facade.

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IMG_5393-6“Don’t grow up, Kiki,” is what I want to say. But it’s like asking light not to shine.

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IMG_5410-7It’s out there, the big wide world. She’s in the cast. The curtain has risen, the audience has hushed expectantly….

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IMG_5482-1And it’s my turn to sit and watch the role of a lifetime.

The Dairy Queen Faces

DSC_0480-1It was hot, and Dairy Queen was calling.  My old self would have grabbed the camera like a pair of shoes. Capturing daily moments like a walk to Dairy Queen used to be what I did.  I love the story of Life.

But about 6 months ago I abruptly stopped taking pictures.  I lacked the want-to; some of you know what I’m talking about. When I started wanting to again, I discovered a tragic result: Tristan had forgotten how to look at me.

Was it the passage of time, or the fact that he had turned 13?

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DSC_0489-2Sawyer still knows how to look at me. There is a camera in front of my face, but he’s looking at ME.

(Don’t despair, his haircut is scheduled for Thursday.)

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DSC_0501-3I notice when I point a camera at any given person, that they change from their uninhibited selves,  to a version of themselves. Only a certain breed of person can continue to look at YOU and not pose for the camera. I can’t even do it.

I think it has to do with being comfortable.

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DSC_0502-4This is comfortable.

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DSC_0504-5 This is not.

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DSC_0511-7This is comfortable.

.DSC_0512-8This is comfortable.

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DSC_0510-6This is, “Mom, can I please just drink my slushie in peace?”

 

One thing remains clear. Whether they let me into their soul or not, I’ll still point and shoot if they’ll let me.

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DSC_0506-1How else can documentation of blue-stained lips from a blueberry slushie be frozen in time?

It sounds like a description from a bad novel..”His eyes were like two pools of blueberry slushie…”

 

 

 

They’ve Grown a Little

DSC_0225-1 It’s been awhile since you’ve seen the kids, can you tell they’ve grown?

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DSC_0439-15They still look out of their eyes at me the same way. I hope that never changes. The rest of their anatomy can just grow up around the portals to their soul and let their eyes remain unchanged. Unjaded. Unblemished. Believing.

I figure I still got a few years left.

A few other things are still the same around here.

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DSC_0267-3Daisy. She’s still fat.

Me. I’m still fat. I don’t have a picture but we look quite a bit alike.

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DSC_0434-13Other than that we’ve just been sitting around doing nothing.

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DSC_0214-1Oh, except for a graduation.

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DSC_0162-4Oh yes, and a Prom.

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IMG_5410-4The rest of the days were spent looking out at the horizon wondering what life was bringing next.

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DSC_0462-16Today it brought a trip to the waterfall park.

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DSC_0354-4Remember the waterfall park?

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DSC_0263-2You’ve got to leave your shoes behind.

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DSC_0382-6You know it’s going to be a great place if you have to leave your shoes behind.

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DSC_0370-5The water wasn’t very deep, but it was deep enough to do this.

Wading and splashing is all you really need to do if there is a promise of peril on the horizon. Peril is just to the left there, out of frame. It’s a roaring 50 foot drop over the falls.

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DSC_0385-7He’s looking at it now. The place The Mom will not let him go.

Would they stay alive without us?  I’m thinking it would be Lord of the Flies and broken eyeglasses all over again.

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DSC_0390-10Tristan has found a way.  “No, you can’t go into the middle, the current is too strong,” I said. Would you believe he’s in ankle deep water here?

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DSC_0389-9It’s an optical illusion.

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DSC_0388-8Trust a boy to find a way to vicariously participate in shoulder deep water.

But where’s the girl?  The girl loves this place.  Do you know what she’d be doing if she were here?

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DSC_0175-1Catching frogs.

Her brother saw this picture and pronounced her eyes the same color as a toad.

Alas, she is not here. She is in California and my heart is with her.

Maybe that’s why the dishes aren’t getting done , my heart just isn’t in it.

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DSC_0404-12McKenna, come home soon, we all miss you. Daisy is getting fatter by the day.

The dishes are piling up.

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DSC_0471-7And we’re all missing the girl with the toad-colored eyes.

How to Wrap a Skateboard

DSC_0389-9How do you wrap a skateboard? Especially when the birthday boy has been asking for it for months and you want it to be a surprise?

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DSC_0317-1You don’t. You wrap a small box, instead. And inside the small box you put a note directing the birthday boy to a suitcase  where his treasure awaits.

Did you know a large suitcase is the perfect size for a skateboard?

You’re welcome.

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DSC_0323-1This particular skateboard had been coming in stock and and quickly selling out for months.  It was a matter of fortunate timing that allowed us to catch it at all. And we know Who is in charge of fortunate timing!

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DSC_0348-1-2His brand new skateboard needed wheels and trucks so we went the very next day to the skateboard shop.

“Hello?”

Only to be greeted by silence.

Where was everybody?

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DSC_0350-2Not to fear.  Thomas soon appeared and was so nice and understanding of fledgling skateboarders that he let Sawyer behind the counter to help assemble the parts.

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DSC_0356-3He showed Sawyer what to do once, then left him to it.

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DSC_0363-4I don’t think Sawyer had ever felt so important in his life.

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DSC_0371-5There they worked, side by side, as I surreptitiously snapped pictures.

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DSC_0377-7If Thomas thought I was weird, he kept it quietly to himself.

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DSC_0378-8One thing’s for sure, he was great at knowing what little kids loved. We found out later that someone had done the same thing for him when he was little. Passing it on. It works.

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And boy, did he pass it on.

“Mom, I think I’m going to open up my own skateboard shop this summer. I can fix up boards and sell them and everything.”

Oh, dear.

Thank you, Thomas!

Loving Grandpa

DSC_0487-6We got our first big snow.

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DSC_0485-5The first thing Sawyer thought of was going to the “old people’s house” across the street to shovel their porch for them.

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DSC_0483-4I’m not sure if making a buck was an incentive or not. But I explained how he needed to do it for Grandpa back home in Maryland.

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DSC_0481-2“Remember how the neighbors help Grammy and Grandpa? We can’t be there to do it, but you can help across the street just like you wish you could help your own Grandpa.”

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DSC_0477-1I think he got it. At least at the time, I think he got it. As it turned out, the nice old lady handed him $2 and he pocketed it before he remembered himself.

And that’s okay.

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DSC_0489-1It was the spirit of the thing that mattered.

We love you Grandpa. We wish you lived across the street from us.

He Said He Wouldn’t Do It…

DSC_0400-4Do you remember me talking about The Christmas Morning Family? They gave Sawyer a couple of bows for his birthday. And not just any bows. These were bows that were handmade with PVC piping, twine and padded hand grips.

Tristan grabbed one and shot away.

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DSC_0395-2This is why bows are ideally suited for outdoor use.

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DSC_0403-5He said he would never shoot at anyone.

Anything didn’t make that list.

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DSC_0264-7Pippin remained happily oblivious.

Danger? Here? In my tree sanctuary? Surely, not.

That’s one way to get a cat out of a tree.

Favorite Shots – part 3

20130610-DSC_0002“Look, Mom!” I never know what I’m going to find when I turn around .  And that’s one of the reasons for this blog– to capture a bit of kidlife while I can.  One day I’ll be turning around to see a fiancee. Maybe they’ll be neatly packaged like this for old time’s sake.

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I know this shot isn’t technically great but it captured such a sugar-rush moment. A dozen-donuts- a- piece challenge.

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Remember this failed experiment? Mckenna took the ridiculous amount of sugar found in soda and stirred it into plain water. This did not convince the kids how unhealthy it is.

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Sheer and utter misery. Sogginess on parade day.

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And I caught it all on film.

Because I’m such a good mom.

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Sometimes I like to try the opposite of what’s usually shot and see what happens.

This isn’t my favorite framing, but I like the idea. It’s a technique to explore later.

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Giving.

I love.

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Whining.

I do not love.

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This is what summer smells like.

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 I hope this expression remains in his repertoire forever.

It’s what makes Tristan, Tristan.

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You know how hard it is to capture teenage guys?

Bingo!

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It’s the blue. It’s the red. It’s the era before he turns the corner and the little boy is lost in a manly jawline.

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No jawline here. SO far from jawline.

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This is not a picture of the Mckenna I know. But it is a great expression for a photo.

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DSC_0575-17.

This is the Mckenna I know, with her best friend, Lea.

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And I think this shot encompasses what my blog is all about in a nutshell.

Thanks for reviewing 2013 with me.

Especially those of you who stuck around when nothing was popping up on your screen. I think 2014 is going to be a  year just fine for popping.

Favorite Shots 2013 – part 2

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Neither one of these guys is very happy to have their picture taken, so I was extra glad to get this shot.

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I just love the way the snow is gently falling. I remember this day because the girls were FREEZING but willing to sacrifice for the sake of beauty.

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After the party. Tired. Are they ever too tired to play video games? I remember saying, “Make your ‘after the party’ face.”

Perfect.

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What? Just par for the course around here. “What in the world” is our catch phrase.

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 Beauty shot.  It was a dull, left-over day. I was so happy to find this bit of happiness.

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I had to include this because the girl below did it…

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 She has a bit of mischief in her, can you tell?

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I’m not sure how much longer I’ll find a Buzz Lightyear overlooking a town in my backyard….

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But I hope this doesn’t disappear forever.

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Beauty shot.

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This was Tristan’s day. The butterflies couldn’t get enough of him.

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Cheers! I just want to eat up those little cheekies.

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Unbridled exuberance. Summer! Or just a warm day! In Canada!

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I love everything about this shot. The colors, the composition, capturing a simple act, and the expression on his face.

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 I had to include this because of the light shining out of his eyes. This is who I see in my heart.

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Favorite Shots from 2013 – part 1

I took 6,315 pictures this year. Mercifully, I’ve culled the herd.

DSC_0574-47  I’m starting off with a family shot. I like this shot because it’s the only one I have of my family.

Is that sad?

It’s sad.

For being together as much as we are, I sure don’t have the shots to prove it.

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20130811-DSC_0005This one cracks me up because Mckenna was frozen like that for quite some time. I didn’t learn what she was doing until later-

“God told us in the bible to ‘go to the ant”, so I thought I’d better watch them for awhile.”

I love that girl.

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20130528-DSC_0381Poor Greyson. Being in front of the camera is not his favorite thing, but this particular day he was my model. We had to go all over the building to find the best light for some publicity shots for Glorious Films.  He never wavered.  In fact, he kept me going.

I love that guy.

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DSC_0120This picture is a good representation of what it’s like to live in another country. Sawyer wanted to have a bowling party for his birthday so we showed up and found out that this is bowling in Canada.

Who knew?

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DSC_0071When I used to work on a horse ranch I learned that they trained movie horses by exposing them to the loudest sounds and strangest sights so they wouldn’t flinch on camera. They could have just sent them over to our house. Our cats sit calmly through all manner of absurdity.

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DSC_0474 If you had seen the amount of scrambling that went into this– I’m pretty sure Sawyer is barefoot, and I see pajamas and a robe, but we made it.  Daisy the dog even got in as a bonus, I had no idea she was in the shot.

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DSC_0030Shenanigans. If you have left over pumpkins, why not take a sledgehammer to them? This shot represents What’s Going On Here quite well.

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yard, tree, gingerbread house 042Beauty shot. Sometimes I take my camera out when everything seems ugly, just to find something unexpected.

This was a field of cardboard colored weeds against a particle board sky. Until the sun hit it just right.

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yard, tree, gingerbread house 050 These still amaze me. It’s like the color in your crayon box you accidentally use when you reach for the purple and find out you got this instead.

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yard, tree, gingerbread house 041I liked the movement in these lines. Delicate. Graceful grass.

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yard, tree, gingerbread house 118I hope I never get too busy to smile when I find their toys arranged like this.

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DSC_0249Every year we go home for Christmas to America. This is what we see when we turn the corner to Grandma’s house.  There’s always a red Christmas tree in the second floor window.

Can lights say hello?

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DSC_0458When we moved here we had to learn to do long winters. If you’ve never zipped down a hill lickety-split and had the snow fly in your face, this picture captures exactly what it feels like.

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DSC_0009This is permanent marker but I couldn’t get mad once I heard the story behind it. Remember that one? The one with the dreaded….

 

DSC_0013 BOX OF DOOM.

They ought to make that a deterrent to street crime.

After the cops cuff the miscreant: “Okay, buddy, lets go. It’s the Box of Doom for you.”

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 Come back next week for the rest of 2013′s favorite shots. Until then, enjoy this one last shot I like to call:

“CAUGHT”

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Tree Flying

DSC_0024-1 - CopyHave you ever been tree flying? Maybe they call it zip lining. Earlier this summer our kids got to go as birthday guests of a family that I will just call The Christmas Morning Family, because that’s how they make you feel, all the time. They won’t be here long because they hail from Singapore, so we have to soak up every moment we can get.

We soaked up these moments in the trees. First, a trusty guide sees that all your equipment is on correctly.

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DSC_0028-2Then you walk over to get instructions from Tinkerbell.

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DSC_0030-3You think I jest?

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DSC_0031-4I jest not.

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DSC_0034-5It was a very serious session, as serious as a guy in a tutu can get.

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DSC_0035-6Sawyer just couldn’t bring himself to laugh when his very life would be on the line.

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DSC_0046-8“What was I supposed to do with this again?”

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DSC_0182-24It was kind of important to remember exactly what to do. After your instruction session, you were on your own. The guides left you alone and only responded to emergencies.

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DSC_0102-18Somehow in all the hubbub, Sawyer ended up going first on the course with the rest of the kids following gamely behind him.

This was great for a little brother. First? That hardly every happens.

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DSC_0064-10He’d never felt so important in his whole life. I see a hint of fear there, do you see it? I see it.

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DSC_0179-22But if you hooked yourself up correctly, you didn’t fall very far.

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DSC_0201-27We never found out what happened if you didn’t hook yourself up correctly.

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DSC_0084-15I’m kinda glad about that.

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DSC_0120-19We decided that if Mckenna had on pants as bright as her shirt, you wouldn’t be able to see her at all.  It’s a new look for deer hunters this fall.

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DSC_0196-26It’s Wipeout!, Canadian style.

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DSC_0210-28The course lasted 3 hours. Can you imagine being that careful for 3 hours? My muscles would be in tense knots.  The kids weren’t even phased. They LOVED it. Afterward we had the birthday celebration for…

DSC_0259-34The birthday girl, with apples fresh-picked from the orchard.

What did the boys do while the girls ate politely?

I’m glad you asked….

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DSC_0300-39Boys.