Friday, September 30, 2016


My favorite parts of #AWeekendAWray were the large family hikes.  We visited a few different places and saw such beautiful scenery!

I enjoyed the time walking and talking.... Little Sammy and I walked for the last half-hour or so all by ourselves and it was good hearing about his life in California.  I also got some good travel and transcultural relations tips from Keiko, learned some funny tongue-twisters from Kai, and had all kinds of other conversations with various people I'm related to.  The best kind of day!

Celebrating Mom

It is very hard to believe when you look at her, but Mom is nearing 70!  So we had a good time this past weekend gathering around her and "rising up to call her blessed."

First everyone took turns bringing her a flower stem and saying one thing they loved about her:

 Then after cupcakes...
... we gathered around a campfire to watch the kids do dangerous things tell Mom more things we loved about her:

Each family read a letter they had written about memories and ways Mom has loved, sacrificed, influenced, taught, given to us, and modeled a life that glorifies God.

We gave her a tray that has Psalm 23:6 on it -- a verse that Mom has lived out!  Everywhere she goes, goodness and mercy follow her.  We are so grateful for the legacy she passes on to the next generations!


To celebrate Mom's upcoming 70th birthday (!), Dad generously invited the clan up to the mountains for a long weekend, and we had a great time!  How could we not, with these kinds of views...

.... and these kinds of folks?

PLUS, there was an awesome apple tree right on the property!

All weekend there were usually 3-4 kids in the tree with several more "catchers" on the ground.  (And about once an hour Graham or James would have to go out and rescue one or more tree-climbers.)  The kids harvested literally hundreds of apples!  The first night we had Tree-to-Table Inside-Out Candied Apples (an original dish!).   We were thankful for the apples at just about every meal and snack!

Other highlights at the house included a big game of Capture the Flag, several football games, some prayer time, sharing time, and big crazy meals.   Oh - -and there was this horse that was just walking along the road... It almost felt like Lazy 5 Ranch!

 It was a great weekend with all 28 Wrays!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

More and more like home

We've had a few significant "firsts" in our new house, and each one makes it feel more like home.  This past weekend we had the local Wray family over for the evening, and I think that was what I had been waiting for to make it all official.

Of course the "local Wray family" is not small a group -- 27 folks were here that night.


It was funny to see how the kids decided to eat in groups -- the big girls, the little girls, and the boys.  (The 2 oldest teenagers were absent -- working and at a homecoming dance!)

Then it was dessert time...

 To round off the night we had a big game of Capture the Flag -- with adults playing, too.  Thankfully (and amazingly) no one ran into a tree or twisted an ankle, despite the many hazards we had out in the yard -- and the darkness!

We were grateful everyone made the trip to come spend the night with us!  We had originally offered to make it a backyard campout and the kids were going to sleep in tents outside while the adults slept inside.... but various reasons got in the way, so we'll try again another time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cotillion and Football

Tonight was Rayna's debut into the world of cotillion!  She went to her very first class where she learned how to "sit pretty," use manners when arriving at or leaving a party, be escorted, and get food in a proper manner.  She also learned the Foxtrot, the Cupid Shuffle, and the Carolina Shag dances.  It was so lovely to see all the young gentlemen and ladies being instructed in such wonderful ways.  (I learned a thing or two myself!)

 I think this will be a great year for her!

Meanwhile, Strider has been hitting people, plowing guys over, and stealing balls from them.

Football season is in full swing, with practices every night and, of course, Friday Night Lights.  Here are a couple lame pictures I took last Friday.  Strider is somewhere in there -- on the blue team.

I'm not sure which is more exciting to Rayna -- going to the game, or getting herself dressed for it.  She is always very particular about what she wears!