this month has been so full!! we have enjoyed so many things and had lots of fun!
at the end of october henry qualified to participate in the regional speech meet. what this means is that out of all the second graders at his school he was one of four that scored high enough to move on to basically a statewide competition. on the 13th ross and i went with him and watched our boy stand before a table of judges and a group of about 40 people. he recited psalm 1 and did FABULOUS!!! he ranked superior- which meant he was awarded a blue ribbon! we were so incredibly proud of him!!
we celebrated my 32nd birthday and ross was wonderfully amazing to me once again! he gave me a much needed new camera. back in august my camera was flooded by a kid's water bottle thrown in a bag so all i have had in the mean time was my camera phone. i am anxious to learn how to use my new camera to its fullest...so those of you with great camera skills...tell me your secrets!!! PLEASE!!!
our family, the newman portion, has grown to 17!! that's right, 17! there are tons of kids on this side of the family so for christmas ross and i decided to give a photo shoot and pictures to the family. our friend, jenna, came out and captured some great shots for us. of course not everyone looks great and kids aren't looking at the camera in some but the reality is that this is where we are in life. years from now everyone will stand still and look at the camera but for now we will enjoy this stage.
after leaving the family photo shoot ross and i made a quick change and headed back out the door to my aquatica's first annual little black dress party. this was an event we planned to celebrate some of our first goals and really just a great opportunity to dress up and party! we had so much fun and we all looked beautiful! (everyone in black is a participant and our coach is in the white shirt)
to top off the month one of my sisters and her family drove all the way here from texas to spend thanksgiving with us. we were so excited when they suggested the plan even if they could only stay for a day and a half! their family of 5 arrived late afternoon on thursday and we ate like royalty! we spent the evening laughing and enjoying one another as if we had just been together the week before. i am so thankful each time we are together because God graciously allows our families to get along and to allow no evidence of time passed or the distance in miles between us.
on friday of their trip i took keesha and eric with me to aquatica. they felt it saturday morning! once we were home we loaded up and headed to the catalinas for a hike up the panatoc trail. we had an amazing time despite the complaints of the under 5s. henry and chloe took off leading the way most of the time. i have said it before and i will say it again- henry shines out there on the mountains! when anna and lily could take no more ross & eric hiked back down with them while keesha and i caught up with the big kids. this picture cracks me up!! lily is sticking her tongue out at a cactus she just bumped into to. no harm done just hurt feelings.
they are exhausted and in need of a potty break but tried to humor me with a quick picture.
today we enjoyed a family adventure once again. ross and i took the kids to a place called karchner caverns. it was so beautiful! there were all kinds of geologic structures to see and learn about. in fact at one point as the docent was explaing how the stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws and drapery were formed i smiled as i thought about God's artistry and creativity. for the man explaining everything you could hear his excitement as he talked about the co2 and all the other components. i thought about how God reveals Himself to us in such personal ways. i began praying that the docent might meet God in that cavern.
the room we were in was called the throne room. our docent pointed out some helocites, i think that's what they were called, that were no longer doing what they were doing in another potion of the cave but rather bent over in the direction of the "throne room". whatever explanantion he gave i did not hear much of...only enough to hear something about a breeze but what i thought of was how every knee will one day bow down before the Throne. this was just God's story illustrated in a cave.
so there you have our month. lots of adventure, lots of fun!