Five Months of Harnden and Ending the Year

Our last post left off sometime during the month of July. Although that’s been sooooo many months ago, we’ll pick up from there and finish out the year…

AUGUST

The first part of this month found us vacationing. One of our stops was in Little Rock, AR, to visit with Steve, Lila, Marshall & Maddie Bayer. Steve is part of Family Life ministry’s advisor team. Staying with this family was such a blessing and let’s just say they have hospitality down to an art!

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The above photo was taken at FL, in their main foyer.

From there we jetted over to Nashville, TN. We checked into our hotel just off Opryland Drive sometime after dark and were excited to discover a mini-golf course, that kept late hours, next door!

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Gavin demonstrating his golfing abilities and realizing he’s better off on a regular course!

Our next destination was the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, where we met up with Papa Steve, Grammie Sue, Aunt Tana, Uncle Matt & their boys. Despite the fact that we spent two full days there, Mama somehow neglected to get very many pictures! Guess she was just to caught up in the experience, although she did manage this lovely photo…

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Taken in honor of this being the year of their 40th wedding anniversary!

Daddy Alec celebrated his 41st birthday on the 27th of this month. We invited family to sup with us at Ramblin’ H and during the prayer, before partaking, he thanked God for Mama and his FIVE children ~ it took a few second before it dawned on everyone that we were announcing the addition of our newest family member, due end of February!!!

SEPTEMBER

With school back in session and the high school football season upon us, our second born surprises his Mama with this…

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Thankfully he’d already been given Daddy Alec’s blessing!

The KHS football team’s annual Hereos Night found Brant honoring co-worker John & Gavin our neighbor Warren, who both served our country in the military…

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Special guests Bob and Chris visited us here at Ramblin’ H and brought with them a special gift. What a precious pair this couple became to our family when they decided to move from Vegas to Medicine Lodge and began renting from Papa Steve and Grammie Sue. Bob was adamant about getting this wagon restored and given to Keeven. We can’t thank them enough!

Gavin to the rescue! On his way to give best bud Jesse’s truck a tug from the mud, he found his own self knee deep after skidding off the road and into a culver that resulted in significant damage to his truck.

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We were just thankful no one was hurt, although it was not to settling to see the dent in his windshield where Kathlynn’s head hit!

OCTOBER

On the 4th of this month Daddy and Mama helped host, along with Uncle Matt, Aunt Tana and the Hackers, the I Still Do conference at Kingman’s Historical Community Theatre.

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This event was a huge blessing and encouragement to those who attended in honoring and upholding the vows of their covenantal marriages!

One of the biggest disappointments for our family was not making it out to the cabin in Colorado, the first time in 16 years. Grammie Sue was good to be generous with the pictures during her and Papa Steve’s stay though.

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Here is just one of many treasured spots we frequent when staying in Happy Valley, aptly called the Elephant Rock from Mama Kendra and Aunt Tana’s childhood.

Here is Tommy Boy, our turkey…

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Preparing to roost on the peak of our barns roof. Because this is being written in retrospect, a quick word on Tommy’s fate. Although a lovely aesthetic addition (with the hopes of becoming food on our table) to Ramblin’ H, he had a bad habit of getting on our vehicles, to Daddy Alec’s great chagrin! “Off with his head” was threatened on several occasions but he eventually succumbed to a Gus attack, just two weeks before Thanksgiving ~ go figure!

The epitome of fall fun for a 1st grader would definitely have to be…

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A trip to the pumpkin patch! Keeven enjoyed learning about how cows are milked, feeding calves, picking his own pumpkin and petting various farm critters!

As the impending frost would soon be upon the land, Mama was quick to get some pictures of the foliage that graced the Ramblin’ H this past summer…

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All in all it was a fairly successful year in the garden, with a decent yield in watermelon, potatoes and squash!

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NOVEMBER

On a chill morning, we trekked to the Schrepel family homestead west of Costs, KS. This was the childhood home of Grammie Sue’s father, Grandad Melvin. Many “treasures” were unearthed as we scoured and explored the now small section remaining of what was originally homesteaded by our family in the late 1800s.

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Among our exploits was an antique truck that Papa Steve and the boys hope to restore. Also, an old forge (seen to the right in picture above) of which cousin Jordan has already began restoring in hopes of learning the art and trade of blacksmithing!

What would this month be without a quick mention of “No Shave November”.

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All Daddy sees is an old man but Mama thinks he’s handsome and is thankful he obliges her love of his manly facial hair during this one month every year!!!

Here are some more pictures of fall time farm moments…

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Bluffy girl taking some time to pose, Quinn and Keeven snuggled in a grass fort they built in the back meadow and the beauty of morning dew on a spider web.

We’ll end this month with Keeven’s display of thanksgiving…

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Written on the feathers of this turkey he made at public school, which you can probably guess included food and family!

DECEMBER

Technically this occurred in Novemver but since it’s become a tradition in preparing for Advent…

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The trimming of the tree that will adorn The Auto Station’s nostalgic Christmas display. Notice Rosie’s clever photo-bomb!

The Madrigal’s performing a Christ honoring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at Kingman Mennonite during their annual Sunday Morning Holiday Tour…

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Gavin’s wee little head can be seen 8th from the right.

This will be somewhat of an inside joke but word to the wise…

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Never let your teen sons steal your iPhone and have a conversation with Siri!

And then this…

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Mama came home to find her elegant evergreen topiary adorned with festive shot-gun shell lights and hijacked by the Polar Express train set. All compliments of Brant Boy!

A Christmas morning tradition has always been blueberries and bacon..,

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Traditionally it came in the form of blueberry muffins made by Grammie Sue but this year Mama Kendra mixed it up and served French toast with homemade blueberry sauce.

Rock Chalk…

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Jayhawk! Special thanks to Uncle Scooter, Aunt Robin and JuJu for helping keep the KU tradition alive amongst the Harnden cousins during our holiday family gathering!

A SPECIAL WORD FROM THE EDITRESS

As we end this chapter of our lives, reflecting on the year 2015, thoughts of the many things not mentioned here flicker through my mind. Although we’re not always the best at capturing, in photo, the many memories life has to offer throughout the year, my hope is that this small sampling of our family’s life has been a blessing to those who follow us and those who will someday read these in the annals of our family archives. As some are aware , we have this blog put into book form each year, which becomes coffee table literature in our home. Many guests, but especially our children, enjoy flipping through the pages, reflecting and reminiscing on the past. My prayer is that I can paint a somewhat accurate depiction of our family’s life and with that thought in mind I leave you with this…

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With all credit going to our Lord!

Some Time Back

Here’s just a little taste of what’s been going on with us these past several months…

MAY

On the 16th, Keeven and Mama spent the morning at the Wichita Zoo for Kingman Elementary’s kindergarten field trip. Then later that afternoon, they tootled over to Koch Arena for Great-Aunt Nelda “Sam” Schrepel’s graduation from Wichita State University.

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JUNE

With this month came lots of baseball…

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Quinn played his last year of coach pitch on a team corralled by the Mark Arensdorf and McDorman families. Keeven also got in on the fun as bat boy, a task he takes rather serously.

June also brought swimming lessons with Mrs. Lacio, who also serves our family as Keeven’s speech therapist…

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Here they practice kicking with assistance, just one of many things he and Quinn learned during their time with her.

JULY

The second weekend saw us in Hays, KS for the 14 Under State Baseball Tournament. Playing his 3rd and last year as 3rd baseman and pitcher for the Stateline Shox, Brant and the boys maintained a moderately successful season as they placed 6th amongst the 15 of 34 teams that qualified for state.

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Here the boys (with a few missing) pose for a last team photo, Brant being 2nd from the top right.

The 3rd weekend had us down in Medicine Lodge for a camp-out at the Lazy B. Even though Gavin wanted it to just be a gathering of friends, we still managed to sneak celebrating his 17th birthday in. The only footage we have is an awful display of redneck wrestling as Daddy Alec and several teen boys held Gavin down while Brant spanked him 17 times. We’ll just leave that one to your imagination!

The last weekend found Keeven sitting pretty atop a horse on the carousel at the carnival during the Kingman County Fair…

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The biggest highlight of this years fair for our family was Brant’s 1st on stage performance during the Fair Idol competition. Check out this YouTube link of he and Elizabeth Holloway’s Friday night performance to catch a glimpse of his guitar playing skills.

The following week brought another milestone in Brant’s life as he acquired his 1st set of wheels!

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Seems his smile couldn’t be any bigger as he patiently poses for Grammie Sue, ready to speed off on his own!

RANDOMNESS

To round our ending out, we’ll leave off with these…

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Val Gal, our cat from when we lived on 2nd Avenue, is still alive and well at that address. Grammie Sue drove by one day this past summer and couldn’t reisist getting her picture to send our way. She would be aproximately 13 years old and is best known in our family as “the cat that used the toilet”.

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A view of our house from high atop our garage, taken by one of the boys while clearing some branches that had fallin’ there during a storm.

And, um… that’s it!

Little Boys and Puppy Dog Tails

Yes, we are a family of boys, boys and more boys. Our own four and six nephews. This past month we bumped that number up to seven nephews and added another male to our immediate family by way of a new puppy. So here is the low down on these new additions…

Gus arrived first on Saturday, January 18th. Since Buck’s passing, we’ve thrown the idea of getting a new pup around but were waiting for things to smooth out a little with Grandma Deb’s cancer and for the timing to be just right.

One evening, a couple weeks before Gus’s arrival, we got the puppy itch and decided to spend some time perusing CraigsList to see what was being offered. Low and behold there was a litter of blue heeler/border collie pups whose Papa had a strong resemblance to our dearly departed Buck.

Mama shed tears, everyone gathered round and it was decided we’d make contact with the sellers with further questions. Alec was pretty adamant that it be a boy. We looked at the selection and picked our favorite, then inquired of it’s sex. It was a male and he could be ours for $100!

20140420-131559.jpgGus’s owners, Dan and Alice, lived in Gerard, KS, but would be in Wichita on the 18th and were willing to bring him along. We considered this further confirmation of our decision as traveling to Gerard would have entailed a six hour round trip.

The story behind his name is that when our Gavin was not very old, maybe twoish, his Poppy Wayne told us he looked like a Gus. We didn’t think much about it until a complete stranger, sitting at the table next to ours at the Stage Stop Restaurant in Rollinsville, CO, told us the same thing!

Some other things important for us to remember about Gus are that he came from working parents, with all his puppy shots, wormed and dew claws removed and was born on December 10th, 2013…

Now for Jonathan Matthew! He’s been Uncle Matt and Aunt Tana’s little bun-in-the-oven these past 9 months. Sometimes it seemed as though he would never get here! In fact, we laughed that her womb was just to hospitable. Evidently, as he was a little over baked at nearly two weeks overdue…

Cousins Jordan and Colin came to stay the day before his arrival, so that Matt could transport Tana and soon-to-be-born baby to their weekly appointment with the OB, not really certain of what to expect as still, nothing was happening at that point. But then we got a text that something was happening and by the next morning had received word that he had finally come at 10:00 AM the morning of February 6th!!!

Here he is with Daddy Matt, shortly after his arrival…

20140420-131331.jpgTo tie it up, this journal entry wouldn’t be complete without us ending it with this all to familiar little ditty…

Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of!

Wrapping Things Up

Tidy like with a pretty ribbon on top ~ that’s just how we finished out December and the year of 2013. But before we get there, one must trek back to the month prior and that special holiday, Thanksgiving…

Made even sweeter for the big Harnden family by the fact that we’d all be spending it with Grandpa Rick and Grandma Deb. Gavin, several months prior, had endeavored to make them a vanity in his woodworking class in honor of Grandma’s battle with cancer. It was given as an early Christmas gift as they would be heading back to MD Anderson in Houston, TX, first of December, not to return until the end of January.

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Dare we say, ever so humbly, that it was a proud moment for the parental figures that their son had thought to do this thing all on his own!

And then there was the tale of this little Indian who visited us and got rather dazed by the flash while his photograph was being taken…

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It rather dazed the rest of our tribe also as it is seldom we see our Keeven this tranquil ;)

And then there was that infamous day of December 11th, when one of our hen’s birthed this very~large~double~yoke~maternal~chicken~twins~egg…

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Talk about awkward!

Speaking of things to eat…

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How’s about a slice of Gavin’s homemade razzle dazzle play-doh pie?

And as if we haven’t already said enough about our eldest son thus far ~ here is Gavin, top center, stealing the KHS Christmas Program, along with fellow Madrigal sing-mates…

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And stealing a Great-Grandmother’s heart after the show!!!

While on the subject of hearts. It had been our Brant’s desire to have in his possession an acoustic guitar, for quite a persevering amount of time. Let’s just say that he had more than outgrown the youth guitar given to him on Christmas Day five years ago, when he wasn’t near close to being almost the size of a full grown man!

Patience paid off and after receiving assistance from a dear friend of ours, much more knowledgeable in this department than Mom and Pops, he was blessed with this beautiful instrument…

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Which in turn blessed our family on that very special night of Christmas Eve as we gathered to celebrate the gift of our Savior Jesus’ life by candle light and music.

Last but not least, it would be remiss of us if we did not share this picture of Mama and her friends who had gathered during the Christmas break to celebrate the season and friendship!

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Of course, the Ricke girls always out do everyone in their hilarity but look at Aunt Tana and her precious bambino in utero and Keev and Mr. Noble don’t really know what to do with themselves being the only men and, hey, it looks like a fire truck came to put a damper on things!

So let us leave you with this, an image taken during our Christmas Eve candlelight service and a parting Word of Hope for the coming year ahead…

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I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John 12:46

The Light that can NEVER be extinguished, may it abide in your hearts and your home also, always!

Walkin’ With My Buds!

Yes! Buddy Walk 2013 was a HUGE success for team Two Little Men & Friends, at least by our estimations! Keeven and Bentley were ranked 8th amongst 102 teams for total donations and number of walkers! This is exceptional being that it was our first year! We can’t thank those of you who walked, made financial contributions and most of all, said prayers on our behalf!

20131125-155928.jpg Here is the Keeven side of team Two Little Men, standing around his sign along the Buddy Walk course through the campus of Wichita State University.

20131125-162214.jpgSnackin’ on tato chips with homey Sherriff Rugg!

20131125-163223.jpg(l-r) Alyssa, Mrs. Kami, Kennedy, Myah and Kinslie

20131125-164117.jpg Keev & Quinn with Ty

Total contributions came in at $1,437.07 ~ that’s nearly three times that of our projected goal! We had over 44 walkers with us the day of the walk and couldn’t have asked for better weather!

Be sure and visit our website for a completed list of contributors and team members ~ http://tinyurl.com/ldwslv2

Again, thanks to each of you for being an example of our team quote, “Because real friends don’t count chromosomes!”

PS ~ Next year, we plan on getting more pictures of everyone!!!

40 Years Fabulous, Full of Surprises and Wedded Bliss

Yep, that would be our Daddy Alec!

The first surprise, celebrating this most special occasion, came five days prior to the official day with this ad that Mama and Sons had published in the local paper…

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Look at that cutie!

Then, the big day came and more surprises…

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It only seemed logical to have people come greet him at the dealership since we were celebrating his “FORD-ieth” birthday!

Speaking of celebrations…

He and Mama celebrated fifteen years of wedded bliss this past May as well! This warranted a special get away and so they made plans for an overnighter in Kansas City…

Mama grappled with surprising Dad but gave way and asked his thoughts on her idea. It was settled that they would spend the Sunday evening of Labor Day weekend at the historic Raphael near the Plaza in downtown Kansas City.

Several highlights of their trip were…

Eating lunch at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant. The story behind this is that on the first night of their honeymoon, fifteen years ago, they had made plans to eat at a fondue restaurant in Vail, CO, where they were staying. When they arrived, it was closed. So they opted for an elegant establishment offering Chinese cuisine instead. They never regretted it and still reminisce about it having been the best oriental food they’ve ever eaten! That said, Mama never gave up on the hope of revisiting another fondue experience and an enjoyable one it was!

Sunday evening found them in the Raphael’s lounge, Chaz on the Plaza, listening to the Mengel Brothers Duo crank out classical and pop tunes on their viola and cello. Especially memorable was them fulfilling a request to play the very song Mama walked down the isle to wed Daddy, Clair de Lune (yes, Sons, sentimental Mama shed a silent tear)…

Then there was the Royals game at Kaufman Stadium on Labor Day ~ good seats (thanks to a fellow fan’s tip), a most beautiful day for taking one out to the ballgame and a winner against the Seattle Mariners!

Discussion followed and was tabled on the trip home. It was unanimously decided by the executive parties present that just such a weekend must be made an annual tradition…

You don’t marry someone you can live with
~ you marry the person whom you cannot live without.

Unknown

Summer’s Gone By

Here’s a quick little montage of pictures from happenings this past summer… enjoy!
20130831-061254.jpgNot 100% positive about this one? Think it’s one of those “what happens in Kansas, stays in Kansas” situations…

20130831-061554.jpgWhatever could these angelic children be talking about standing amongst this patch of yarrow?

20130831-061839.jpgNow this one deserves a little more explanation. No, this is not a gun show ~ these boys (l-r: Joseph Govert, Cole Walters, Adam Babsan and Gavin) are preparing for a wheat shocking held in conjunction with the annual Kingman County Fair Wheat Shocking competition. Brant was also on a team with Joseph’s little brother, Jack, and Kyle Livingston. Gavin’s team will ever be remembered as “The Jorts” ~ if you are not familiar with what jorts are, the best description we can give is jean shorts that fit rather snug and were typically worn on the beaches of California in the 1970s. The boys did make the paper in this attire but Mom, for some reason or another, neglected to get a snap shot of this herself ~ perhaps to spare further detail ;)

20130831-063547.jpgWe planted seeds and then we planted seeds and some came up and some did not. Below, you will see those that did and flourished…

20130831-064107.jpgThis is our green bean, sunflower (chicken snacks), buckwheat and Sunn hemp (not cannabis hemp) patch ~ last two being cover crops. We had a bumper of green beans ~ the basket there is nearly filled to the brim after just one harvest. This has been done successively almost every other day for over a week and still going. If you’ll notice Quinn’s attire, it is apparently very important that one harvest green beans in a sleeveless shirt and chaps…

20130831-064839.jpgIt is equally as important that you harvest your cucumbers shirtless and with no shoes on. Also, if your wondering, these cucumbers are not anemic but armenian. This is our second year to grow this variety and is our cuke of choice…

20130831-070048.jpgCousins! Quinn and Keev posing with Is and Jack…
20130831-070341.jpgBaseball! Quinn is bottom center…

20130831-070702.jpgMore baseball! Sorry, it seems the timing of this picture is a little off ~ guess they weren’t interested in any publicity! Um, that would be the back of Brant’s head on the far right…

20130831-071610.jpgBut no worries though, Keev had the boys covered as their stand in PR guy! Coach Brad called him MVP of this game. That would be Daddy Alec beaming from the dugout entrance :)

20130831-072037.jpgNo more baseball ~ Coach Brad and Keev packing up and heading out after finishing another season of Stateline Shox baseball!

20130831-073705.jpgWe were able to get in a quick trip out to the cabin in CO. The highlight of the trip for the big boys was hiking up to the Continental Divide via Arapaho Pass. We also celebrated Gavin’s 16th birthday, toured Hammond’s Candies’ Factory and visited with Mama Kendra’s Aunt Jane. Gavin will always remember this trip as he was able to attend his first auto auction while in Denver, just before heading back to Kansas.

20130831-074751.jpgWhen we got home, had much rain awaiting us! This pond, that Alec and Gavin are crossing with the John Deere, is the road to our house! It went on like this for several weeks and was such a blessing to behold after several summers of hot, dry and dusty wind!

20130831-075905.jpgYour eyes do not deceive you! That is, indeed, Quinn sitting atop a moose which resides at 1100 Coronado Street, here in our hometown! In the foreground are Keeven and Mrs. Mary Stark. Mary’s husband, Glenn, is responsible for this creation and many others. Our friends back in Medicine Lodge might be interested to know that he’s the man who carved the wooden stature of Carry A. Nation that resides in that said women’s museum home!

20130831-081259.jpgThen there was the Kingman County Fair ~ here Keev gets silly on the swings with friend Kinslie!

20130831-081943.jpgThere was also the day this bull visited ~ guess he wasn’t into publicity either or playing a game of tetherball because he left shortly after this photo was taken, sheesh!

20130831-082735.jpgAnd this combine, just kidding! This was one of those spectacular rainbows that spans the entire sky from beginning to end and no, the combine is not ours, the only real farming taking place at Rambin’ H Acres is in the ginormous sandbox behind our house!

20130831-083620.jpgMama, being clever, after Uncle Matt told her to go catch some hail with her teeth during a recent thunderstorm ~ that’ll teach him to never get in a biting match with her!

20130831-084707.jpgAnd here is a Swallowtail Butterfly catapillar munching on our cilantro, Mom named him Buddy… enough already, huh?

Okay! Well, that about sums it up! Summer vacation is over and we are officially getting back into the swing of a routine with school days upon us. And so in closing, we’ll leave you with this…

20130831-085953.jpgA visit to Kingman Elementary’s Open House on the eve of first day back at school!

Hope you all were blessed with as wonderful a summer as we were!

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