I fell down on the job this year, but here’s last year’s kids-in-the-bluebonnets photo. There was a lovely patch behind our church, and the kids were already dressed up… perfect! This look is unusual for Nathan — for some reason he consented to an extra snazzy outfit that morning. But when we started attending Redeemer and Evan saw some of the men and boys wearing suits to church, he asked if he could have one to wear too. So we found him one at a consignment store, and he wore it to church as often as not until he outgrew it. We went ahead and bought him a new one on sale for Easter this year, since we know it’ll get plenty of use. He sure cleans up nice, doesn’t he? As for Margaret, that was the dress I found her for family portraits that year.  I was very sad when she outgrew it!


The first photo up there was the best of several that I took — this represents the average. Ah, children!

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Take me out to the ball game!


Last Fourth of July, Aaron came up with the idea to take the family to a baseball game (fireworks afterward, of course). We got berm seats because we didn’t think the kids were likely to sit still in real seats. We didn’t realize quite how crowded the berm would be, but it worked out ok. As you can see, the kids enjoyed the extra patriotic flavor.


Nathan found himself a comfy seat.


Evan watching the game.


My guys!


Margaret didn’t know what she was cheering for, but had a great time waving her flag and saying, “yay!”


But eventually, it got a little late out and bunnies and a lap became necessary.


She revived herself in time for the fireworks, although she was a little uncertain about them.


Nathan wasn’t too sure either, but afterward he decided they had been pretty awesome.


Someone enjoyed himself!


Playing with glow sticks from Grandma and Grandpa, who had seats more conducive to watching the ball game.

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First day of school

It seems to be the trend these days to take pictures for the first day of school. I figured we might as well, so here are some pictures from our official start to the 2014-15 school year.


Here’s Evan, all ready to start first grade. Although the school year may be officially over, we’re still doing some basics through the summer most days — math facts, memory work, reading practice, and finishing up history (the book is long). Overall Evan has had a good school year. This is the year his reading has really taken off, and although he still has trouble here and there he’s now able to sit down and read a book and enjoy it. History and literature have been favorites for both Evan and Nathan — no surprise there.


I didn’t intend to do much of anything academic with Nathan — just some basic phonics practice. But not only did he really hit the ground running with phonics, he also wanted to do just about everything Evan was doing. By the end of the school year, he was doing phonics, history, literature, science, math, handwriting, and spelling. I haven’t pushed him in any of it; just what he’s asked to do. He’s very excited about officially being in kindergarten this fall.


Like her sign says, Margaret wanted her picture taken too! Margaret mostly just played nearby, except when there were coloring pages involved. This year I think she may be a little more interested in listening in on history and literature, but I don’t expect much yet. We’re slowly working on letter sounds using magnets on the refrigerator, but otherwise her job is just to play and explore the world around her.

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My little artist

In the last year or so, Evan went from having no interest in coloring to being very meticulous about it. So when we saw that there was a children’s art contest being done through the Texas State Parks last fall, I asked him if he wanted to enter. We looked through our Palo Duro photos and he chose one of his favorites:


I ran it through some filters in Photoshop to reduce it to basic outlines, making a sort of coloring page. Evan spent quite a bit of time working on it, and this is what he came up with:


We checked with the contest administrators to be sure his using a photo he hadn’t taken as the basis for his artwork would be acceptable, and they said it certainly would. In fact, they wanted to know how we did it so that they could share the concept with others.

Evan didn’t win any major prizes, but his artwork was chosen to go into a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department calendar of art from the contest. We got some copies of the calendar and Evan got several other small prizes as well (stickers, badges, pencils, etc.). He’s already looking forward to next year’s contest, and Nathan is excited to be old enough to participate as well.

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Palo Duro, part 6

This is the last batch of Palo Duro photos, so tomorrow I’ll have to come up with something else to share! But, for the grand finale…


We bought each of the kids a shirt as a souvenir. They wore them on the day we went out to the museum, and since they were all cleaned up and matchy-matchy I figured I should take pictures. What’s the first thing you should do when Mommy dresses you in a brand new clean shirt and puts pink bows in your pigtails? Sit and play in the dirt, of course!


Ok, you three — stand together and smile!


Well, close enough.


On our way out of the park for the day, we stopped to take a few photos I wanted to be sure we got. Here’s our family in front of the park sign.


And the whole crowd in front of the sign.


And Mom and Dad Rhinehart in front of the sign.


We also had to stop by for a photo with our park hosts, who really added to the pleasure of our stay. We enjoyed chatting with them daily.


And here are a couple of bonus pictures: a little guy who showed up one evening while we were sitting around the table and talking. He seemed to enjoy the bugs being drawn by the lantern, and I had fun trying to get some good shots of him.


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Palo Duro, part 5


Did I mention there was a lot of tree-climbing on this trip? We had a conveniently placed mesquite tree at the end of our “driveway” that provided a lot of entertainment as long as the kids avoided the thorns.


The tree turned into all sorts of magical worlds. I think at this point it was a ship sailing to the land of Cartoonia (Kartunia?), which I was informed was near the restrooms.


Can you tell they’re related?


Sailing away in the ship… or something.


Nathan very sweetly showed Margaret how to climb the tree… then realized that he couldn’t get up if she stayed in the spot he had encouraged her to reach. There was a minor meltdown over this problem.


But Margaret’s tree-climbing skills were quickly expanding and she managed to scoot up and out of the way to make room for Nathan.


And all was right with the world!


Most evenings we went for a short walk around our camping loop before or after dinner. The boys found this tree…


Which was perfect for jumping off of!


“Mommy, take a picture of me flying!”


What do you do when you’re just a little too little to jump out of a tree with your brothers? Find a convenient rock, of course!

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Palo Duro, part 4


This was the family compound for the week. Not a bad set-up!


And here’s the view. Also not bad!


What do you do with a bunch of kids in a campsite? Blow bubbles!


Margaret was happy to chase bubbles…


… but she wasn’t alone. I love that bubbles are still at least a little bit magical for all three of them.






and Margaret, with two happy brothers in the background.

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