S: The Dancer Family
2: "Families are like fudge ... mostly sweet with a few nuts."
3: MAKING MEMORIES
4: The Elliot's were offered free use of a company condo on the beach in Destin, Florida and asked us if we would like to come along. We spent 4 days snorkelling, hanging out and just enjoying the beach. The girls had their own room with bunk beds and a fort and pretty much played all day. The weather was HOT but the beach was a beautiful blue and nice and cool.
6: Strolling the beach at night | Seafood...GAG! | Rachel & Maggie
7: DESTIN | Best Friends
8: The girls had a great time riding the waves on the boogey boards. | We took an evening dolphin boat ride. | We saw quite a few dolphins and the captain even let the girls steer the boat. | The sunset from the boat was amazing!
9: Beach pics! | On our last night at the beach we had a beach "portrait" session.
10: Best Friends. | Maggie and Rachel 2009
12: Beach Friends!
14: Sleepover time! | Rachel turned 10 this summer and celebrated with a sleepover | HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
15: Luau! | Rachel wanted a Hawaiin theme for her sleepover. We had flowers, leis and a pinata. We took the girls for a night swim at the local pool and then came home for pizza and a movie. Some boys from school had thoroughly wrapped our house and left a huge bowl of candy for the girls...they were beyond thrilled. Favorite presents this year were an iPod and a docking system.
16: Cousins Camp | Sarah | Rachel | Ben
17: Cousin's Camp was at our house in Arlington this year. We spent a day at the Dallas World Aquarium with the birds, sharks and monkeys. The kids were really into making lanyards this year and spent a whole afternoon laying around making them. We went the next day to Dinosaur Valley State Park. We waded and swam in the river and saw some Dinosaur Prints. Cold watermelon afterwards hit the spot!
18: We had an amazing summer full of lazy days, sleeping late, hanging out at the pool, Camp Thurman and mini-road trips. It is hard to say good-bye to summer! | So Long, Summer..... | Hello, 5th Grade !
19: First Day of School Duff Elementary Arlington, Texas August 24, 2009 Mrs. Prestridge | 5th Grade
20: Notes on a 10 year old Loves volleyball Learning to play the violin Loves to read Read all the Harry Potter books this fall
21: Loves family time, game night, snow cones, sleeping late, waffles, snuggles and popsicles on the patio | Sometimes stays up way too late, can veg out on cartoons for hours
22: Fall Pumpkin Festival | Dallas Botanical Gardens
23: The day was cold, wet and rainy....perfect for picking out a pumpkin. | Hundreds of pumpkins lined the paths.
26: The Knockouts volleyball team had a great season this fall. We lost just one game the whole season and took 3rd place in the post-season tournament. | Our goals for this season were to increase setting skills, continue to work on overhand serving and to change over to a 2 bump game. | Riley, Rachel, Savannah, Shelby, Kaley, Audrey, Aubrey, Allysa, Hailey, Hanna
27: Knockouts 2009 | Bump! Set ! Serve!
28: Maggie & Rachel always love going to the gardens. We went on a warm fall day..the girls climbed trees, fed the fish and skipped along the trails.
29: Fort Worth Botanical Gardens November, 2009
30: Halloween The Elliott's had a Halloween party for about 8 girls. They decorated cakes, cookies and played some games...fun night ! | Injured volleyball player and little old lady
32: Gene and Jeanine hosted Thanksgiving at their house in East Texas this year. It had been a busy, sad, crazy and blessed year and our family had a lot to be thankful for. Phil and Cherie came from Wisconsin and John and Cathy and kids came up from Austin. This was also the first time everyone got to meet the latest addition to the family....William! He slept pretty much the entire day. We ate our Thanksgiving meal around noon and then settled in for a day of games, hanging out, football and just enjoying the day. We had a beautiful day with weather cold enough to wear jackets, but not so cold you didn't want to be outside. Jeannine created a scavenger hunt for the ids and grownups. There was quite a bit of cheating, but eventually it was decided that the girls team were the winners! By nightfall Gene had a wonderful bonfire going in the front yard and we gathered around to roast hot dogs and make s'mores. Mom had arranged a surprise graduation party for me and I was shocked to see all the kids coming out to the bonfire with graduation robes and caps on! It was really nice to celebrate with everyone there. There was an Aggie football game on so no one left until at least 10 pm...it was a long day but a fun one!
34: Thanksgiving 2009
35: The Kids Table
37: G | Food, Family and Fun
40: We had Christmas at our house early because we were going to be in Fargo for Christmas. Mom came up for my graduation so we celebrated then. Rachel also had a strings concert at her school...they sounded great! | December Snapshots
41: We decided to give her her bike early since we were going to Fargo. We opened presents with Mom and then sent her to her room to get something. Jim went quickly to get the bike and when she rounded the corner she was shocked to see the bike...she loved it! | The BLUE Bike | Two weeks before Christmas, Rachel suddenly had a re-newed interest in riding bikes again. Not only did she enjoy riding, she needed a new one since hers was way too small. | We went together to look at bikes, but the only ones in her size were pink or purple. She wanted one for Christmas soooo badly that she even said she would take a pink one.
42: It took FOUR years but WE fFINALLY did it ! | Family Nurse Practitioner | December 10, 2009
43: University of Texas at Arlington Masters of Science in Nursing | In 2005, with Rachel now in school, we decided it would be a good time for me to go back to school to be a family nurse practitioner. My goal, was of course, to finish the program, but to also do it in such a way that I could also be a good mom and wife and have time for the things that were important to me.. Most of the tim,e I was able to do this and I only took one class at a time. There were, however, plenty of days and nights where laundry piled up and I had to shut myself into a room to study while Jim and Rachel did dishes.. We had great friends who never hesitated to pick Rachel up from school or watch her for a day. Mom was a huge help, especially in the summer. We all pitched in and "WE" graduated this December.
44: Christmas 2009: Fargo, North Dakota | We drove from Texas to North Dakota for Christmas. Te weather was great on the way up, but a blizzard hit on Christmas Eve and didn't stop until 15" of snow was on the ground. We had to stay in Fargo an extra two days. Thank goodness Jim has nerves of steel and knows how to drive on ice and snow. He got us home safe and sound.
49: On Christmas day we woke up to a full force blizzard. We were undecided about driving to Grandma and Grandpas place but we decided to just go for it. We ended up having a GREAT Christmas dinner together...well worth venturing out in the snow. | KIDS TABLE!
51: EASTER | happy | Spring Time
53: "For the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers are springing up and the time of the singing of birds has come. Yes, spring is here." ~ Song of Solomon 2:11-12
54: SKIP DAY! Mommy/Daughter Skip Day Ft.Worth Museum of Science and Art | May 2010
55: Goin' Camping We went camping for the first time ever...the kids had a blast with friends from church. | Playing in the creek | Worlds biggest glow stick circle | S'mores and Campfires | Riding Bikes | Skeeping in a tent | Scavenger Hunts
56: School Projects | Rachel read the "Diary of Anne Frank" this year for a book report. Several times throughout the book she would look up with tears in her eyes. It really changed her perspective on life...she became really driven to read books about WWII and the concentration camps.
58: Summer Is Coming ! | Rachel got "Most Improved Orchestra Student," and had straight A's the whole year and got a citizenship award. | Spa Day | Ready for Swimming | 5th grade awards ceremony
59: SUMMER PLANS | SLEEP LATE, READ, SWIM, SLEEP LATE SOME MORE, CHURCH CAMP | Time with Austin cousins, lazy days with Grandma, riding bikes, sleeping late some more, popsicles on the patio, Sno-Hut runs, sleepovers | sUMMER TRIP TO FARGO, TIME WITH COUSINS, LAZY DAYS ON THE LAKE, CAMP THURMAN
60: The end of the school year brought violin concerts, sno-hut runs and finally time for family game nights and friends over to hang out. Rachel had an end of school year slumber party...complete with a notebook and homework burning!
62: We spent the 4th of July in Fargo and then drove up to Minnesota to spend a week on our favorite lake. The air is cool, the water is clear and we love being with family. | The Lakes
65: Big McDonald Lake, Northern Woods Minnesota | We stay at the same cabin every summer. Days are spent watching the sun rise while drinking morning coffee, listening to the loons and having breakfast. The guys usually get in a few rounds of golf, we enjoy family volleyball on the grass or in the water and then end the day with a few wild runs around the lake on the boat.
66: On The Lake
68: Mount Lebanon Church Pre-Teen Camp This was Rachel's first year at church camp. She was a bit nervous at first and even though it rained almost all week she had a blast. New friends were made and a love of fellowship with friends
69: ARMY OF ONE
70: WIRED | Rachel had wanted braces for years and she finally heard the magic words from Dr. Strolle that it was time to get them put on. | The bottom row was put on in August. Maggie came with us and was a fun source of support. Rachel chose clear brackets and blue and red bands for decoration. | Before | After
71: f | Hanging at the Art Barn
72: Cousin's Camp 2010 | Cousin's Camp 2010 We had Cousin's Camp in San Antonio this year at Wild Oak Ranch. We stayed for two days and the kids had a great time on the lazy river and ordering "drinks" from the poolside drink stand. We roasted s'mores, watched movies and went night swimming.
75: Ben Chris Sarah Rachel
76: Mother - Daughter Road Trip 2010
77: Every summer, Rachel and I try to take a "Mother-Daughter" Road trip. This year we combined the trip with cousins camp. We drove to Austin, picked up Sarah and then had our first stop in New Braunfels. I took Rachel tubing for the first time. The water was perfect and the weather was HOT. Rachel had one frightening moment when the current carried her down a side stream marked with a skull and cross bones but once she figured out she could stand up all was well. We met up with Cathy and the cousins in San Antonio and had a great few days of Cousins Camp. I cherish our time together in the summer and am always sad to see it come to a close. We love to talk in the car, listen to books on tape and just hang out together.
78: We got the van before Rachel was born. Over the years it took us through countless road trips to Fargo, Tyler and Austin. When we traded it in there were 165,000 miles on the odometer AND a huge dent on the side. The sliding doors were broken as well. We were happy to have a new ride but sad to see the van go :( | Goodbye "Old Grey".... | Hello, "Aggie" 2011 Honda Pilot
80: fALL sNAPSHOTS | Fall Orchestra Concert | Duct Tape Halloween Costume
83: Oprahs Final Ultimate Favorite Things In October 2010, I was browsing on the Oprah website and saw an invitation asking viewers to nominate someone as a "Community Hero." I wrote up a quick note about my friend Kathy who is an amazing teacher in Fort Worth and then promptly forgot that I ever wrote in. A few weeks later I got an email inviting us to be in a show about that topic. Long story short: we decided to go to Chicago totally on last minutes notice, stood in line for our show for hours, made a bunch of amazing new friends and sat in the studio as Oprah welcomed us and then screamed "IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE FAVORITE THINGS!!!!" It was purely a magical day and we walked away with amazing gifts and memories of that day.
85: Shooting it up in East Texas!
87: Thankful for Family
91: Rachel had a sleepover Christmas party with three friends. We took them to the Grand Prairie Lights drive thru light show. Once we got there, they piled into the back of the truck with blankets and hot chocolate. They had a great time and really enjoyed the merry go round and rides.