Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Nathan still loves webkinz - 2 more to add to his collection.

Happy kids on Christmas morning. This is a really fun stacking cups game that they all are faster at than I am.
Lauren needed some additional layers to keep her warm.

Blair and Nathan worked together to make this manger for me. What a perfect Christmas gift!

He finally broke down and got some glasses. He can see much more clearly now when he reads.

Rachel's turn at snowblowing - don't worry, there will be many more opportunities for the rest of us!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Life of a Senior

When you are a high school senior, mail like this is very exciting!

So, she is in if she wants to go. U of U would be plan B - plan A is BYU Provo. This is the view of her dictating while I typed the final sentences of her BYU application essays for her.

Why would Lauren be doing this from a hospital bed? Well, she had severe abdominal pain for 6 days. By the 7th, it became horrible. The CT scan, ultrasound, xrays, and blood work showed nothing alarming. So they finally took her to surgery on Friday afternoon to look for the problem. The surgeon found an adhesion, which is a band of scar tissue which was pressing down on several sections of her bowel. She is now recovering. Never a dull moment!!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

Which child carved which pumpkin? Take a guess and then scroll down....

It is funny how this activity takes on the personalities of those participating. Some had to be given a time limit so that it didn't take all night.

Monday, November 1, 2010


The kids have all been busy with their school activities, so I'll start with Nathan....
Nathan is in 5th grade this year. My last year with a child in elementary school! He is in chorus and band, joined the recycling club and the art club and does cub scouts.

How is this for a creative Halloween costume? Cheap and easy and the best part is no black or gory or creepy creatures.

Band begins in 5th grade in Lake Zurich, so Nathan chose the saxophone (with some guidance from Rachel). He has only been playing for about 2 months and sounds quite good. He is getting bored with the songs assigned, so he thought he would try "Somewhere over the Rainbow" for fun.


Lauren - 1st day of Senior Year. She has only missed 3 or 4 days of school and the 1st quarter is almost over.
Last October, chemo ended and her hair has finally grown long enough to style and straighten. She still doesn't go in public without her wig though.

Early application deadline for BYU is Dec 1st so she is working on essays to finish that up. Wish her luck!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Rachel is a sophomore at Lake Zurich High School - the Bears!

In August, she got her drivers permit and began driver's ed. It is a different experience to drive with her - she is much more chatty and more easily distracted than Lauren was. She does a good job though.

Rachel is one of a few sophomores in wind ensemble, the top band at the school. She has been asking for a new silver, top of the line trumpet for quite a while. So, she saved a lot of money to contribute towards the purchase of a Bach Stradivarius beautiful silver trumpet. Apparantly it makes a big difference in her playing - she recently outplayed 7 other upperclassman to get seated as 2nd chair. She LOVES music and playing in the band.

With friends in marching band uniforms, minus the hat and plume.

Here is a video of a portion of one of the half-time shows. She is in the 2nd row around the 35 yard line.


Megan started school in August as an 8th grader at Middle School South. Isn't she so cute?

Megan was on the basketball team with a bunch of her friends. She was amazing to watch and at the end of the season she was voted MVP.

Bryson, Megan's #1 Fan, came and watched many of Megan's games. He would always cheer really loud and it was so cute. At the end of a great game, he ran across the court and gave her a big hug.

This is one of Megan's many, many fantastic shots! I think it was a three pointer. She has a few weeks off before starting in with another team.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Last day of Summer vacation

This is Megan and Rachel's bedroom. For 2 years they had plain walls, then we cut out paper polka dots experimenting to see how they would look. 2 years later, the polka dots attached with blue tape were still on the walls. We decided it was time for Rachel to have a bit more space. So,,,,,
Time to get to work - the girls did most of it by themselves.
Taking a break - painting always takes longer than you think it will.

Here it is with all the final touches. Rachel said it is the Happiest Place on Earth. It is a very cheery room and they LOVE it!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Birthdays, visitors and Nauvoo

Nathan is 10 - Double digits! He reminded me that this is over halfway to the point where he goes on his mission. He took a treasure hunt to find some golf clubs and had a mini golf outing with the family. He also wanted me to bring Panda Express to lunch at school and eat with him.

Rachel is 15 - She finally got a cell phone!! Rachel always wants watermelon for dinner and homemade ice cream for dessert on her birthday. She had a bonfire party with some friends as well.

My parents came to visit for birthdays, their anniversary and a trip to Nauvoo. It is always nice to have them come. We stay busy - here we are downtown at the Aquarium.
Nauvoo - Nauvoo is such an amazing place. Every time I go and hear stories of the people who lived there, I am filled with admiration. We took in a brass band concert, trip to the temple, touring some of the homes and shops and then went to Carthage Jail.

Renee's pleasures

There are many things I take pleasure in, but here are a few for now....

The Temple - I am enjoying spending more time here. I am so grateful for the power, inspiration and peace I feel as I make this a higher priority in my life.

Gardens - The Chicago Botanic Garden is the 2nd most visited garden in the United States, second only to Longwood in Pennsylvania. I have enjoyed more frequent visits here, literally watching flowers and plants bloom before my eyes. It is so beautiful!!
Blair - I am so lucky to have him as mine. He never stops working or praying or trying or smiling. He inspires me to be better and loves me for who I am.

4 Cute Kids - You will notice we are all getting closer to the same size. That unfortunately means we all are getting older. The time goes by so quickly! I enjoy each of their unique personalities and watching them learn and progress. I am so blessed to be a mother.

Reading - There is a magic time right after everyone leaves for school and work when I can curl up and enjoy reading. I find the promises made to us regarding the Book of Mormon are so true as we study it and love it! Lauren laughs that I am always consulting parenting books. I love reading of how others have been successful. I would much rather read a biography than anything fiction. It is fascinating to me to hear of the paths other's lives have taken and how they have overcome.


SEWING - For Spring Break, Rachel worked on making this cute dress. We altered and adjusted and modified and improvised to get this final product. Quite an accomplishment!

MEANWHILE, Megan and Blair were off to Utah to celebrate his parent's 60th wedding anniversary.

This is a good portion of the Holbrook Clan.

Megan spent time with her Hyde cousins and went to General Conference as well.