Sunday, August 02, 2015


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                           

We have had a busy summer, pretty much like everyone else. I always take for granted the rhythm and schedule of the school year for getting things like letter-writing (and sewing, and organizing, and personal grooming) done—I can’t seem to find the time with all the kids home all the time and the three meals to make and clean up, and the 5 outfits a day and the staying up late and running to and fro. *Sigh* So I am squeezing in a letter real quick before the girls and I watch episode 7 of “Poldark” on Masterpiece, which has replaced letter writing time for the time being.

I’ve kept up with photos on the blog, so if you go there you will get a pretty good idea about what we have been doing. We’re trying not to travel because we’re on an austerity plan, but back to school and groceries are NOT making me feel very austere! I though the kids might be bored, but they’ve had a pretty fun summer, biking and swimming with their friends, reading books and watching movies together on our many rainy days, and trying to figure out family scripture study with our loopy, lazy summer schedules. We did great daily study through June, but July we averaged twice a week, I think, and never with Daddy because we were sleeping in and staying up late. I even made the kids read while we were driving to Bozeman one day because we’d missed like 4 days and we could feel it! Other than that, we’ve pretty much thrown structure to the wind this summer. It has been pretty dreamy and the time has FLOWN (which is great, because I kind of hate summer).

Rich has been very busy with scouts and he’s so awesome at it. Aside from their weekly activities and merit badge projects, they had a three-day backpacking trip in June and a week at the Island Park Scout Camp in July. He has taken our kids on a few backpacking and car-camping trips, and has another planned for next weekend. They love it.  Ammon and Me: not so much. We usually stay behind and stick to our schedules. We are creatures of habit.

The crazy weather has not been kind to our garden and we haven’t been as attentive as we should have been with all the swings in temperature and moisture. We do, however, have tons of beet greens, spinach, butter crunch lettuce, radishes, chives, and green onions and herbs. We had two salads last week made from our own greens. We hope the tomatoes and squash come around—they’ve had a hard time. It’s fun to see the little boys so into helping me out there. Ammon has helped us weed so much, he likes to just go pull up anything, willy-nilly, so we have to keep an eye on that naughty monkey! I hope that God will recognize our efforts to be obedient, even if they aren’t “fruitful” enough to really feed our family and store for winter. We’re trying!

Addie had a great time at Girls’ Camp this year, back in the middle of July. Grandma Melin was up there working on the food, and this year’s group of young women were really happy and outgoing. They won the award for happiest campers because they cheered everyone up, and I thought that was awesome. Heidi participated in the Library’s Middle School-High School reading program this summer and she loved it. It had a Super Heroes theme and they had their own FanCon, so Heidi got super into it and had a lot of fun. James is enjoying cub scouts—he started the summer off with day camp and continues to earn merit badges (or whatever you call those things I sign off on) on his own and with his pack.  July was all about hiking, and I think August is about birds. I’m grateful he has good, consistent leaders.

The little boys and I  have kept the same schedule pretty much, napping with Ammon most days during our quiet time (siesta). The only difference is more running around in the car and stroller with the big kids (which Ammon hates), and later dinner and bed times. Niles is doing great figuring out how to put letters together to make words, watching lots of Little Einsteins and Phineas and Ferb, digging and building in the yard (so much construction all around us!), swimming and biking. Ammon is babbling and starting to mimic—we catch words every so often, but he’s mostly just saying mom, dad, and hi still. He’s a very busy climber and hates to be left out of what the big kids are doing. I spend a lot of time trying to distract him and encouraging him to act his age (“Be a baby! You’re a baby!”). He loves oatmeal and yogurt and wishes he could eat salad with the rest of us, and he loves to play in the water when he’s not tired.

We are looking forward to good things in August. Next weekend Addie and I are going to a wedding in the Salt Lake Temple and Rich is taking the other kids to camp. The next week Rich’s friends from BYUH are coming to visit, and then the next week is our much anticipated/very belated Layton Family Reunion/ Dad Layton’s 70th Birthday celebration campout at Mack’s Inn. And then school begins on August 26th. We will have only one child in elementary school this year for the first time since 2009…weird! We’re excited to get Heidi oriented to middle school life, and happy that James has a great teacher this year.

We wish you a happy week! Happy birthday this coming week to Aryelle Stagner (4) and Melanie Post (17), and last week to Emmalyn Drews (3) and Uncle Rob Hamlin. We love you! Keep in touch!

 Love, Rich and Jamie and Family

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