Many March Memories

There has been no lack of activity going on around here these past few weeks.  Some of the activities represented are the arrival of Spring, which brought our Spring Celebration.  We also had a 10-year-old birthday to celebrate this month, our first research paper was completed and Easter was celebrated.  Here is a smattering of photos from life these past few weeks!

DSC03185 Spring Celebration!  It has been a tradition to celebrate the first day of spring with some bunny shaped cinnamon rolls, dying eggs and an egg hunt.  Our goal is to keep the focus of Easter on the resurrection of Jesus, while still allowing the kids some of the fun festivities that the season offers. 

DSC03188 DSC03189 DSC03191 DSC03198 DSC03201While we were hiding the eggs, this is how the kids entertained themselves!  

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 DSC03229Our oldest reached double digits!  We are really starting to feel old now!  Mommy and Daddy with the birthday girl! DSC03233 DSC03239She had no request for a shaped cake, so this is what I came up with!   DSC03246 DSC03257 DSC03260 DSC03261 DSC03263 DSC03277DSC03280This is Brianna’s reaction to the main gift we gave Brianna for her birthday.  As we were beginning the parenting journey, we quickly realized that we did not want to do birthday parties every year.  We decided that we would do them only on the 5th and 10th birthdays.   However, as her 10th birthday approached, it didn’t take long for me to regret that set-up from so long ago!  I am not much of a party planner and didn’t have a lot of resources to put toward it so we quickly decided to come up with an alternative plan.  The letter she is reading laid out the plan we had, which was a mother-daughter overnight at a local hotel, getting her ears pierced, dinner out and then picking up her best friend in Ventura to go get pedicures before coming back for an overnight.  It was a memorable and meaningful plan that was very well received!!

DSC03289Getting ready to go!

DSC03297 First dinner at Red Robin to take advantage of unlimited french fries…a favorite of Brianna’s!

DSC03301Then off to get her ears pierced!   DSC03311She was a little nervous…

DSC03312…but did great and is still smiling!!

DSC03314 DSC03319We then checked into our hotel, got comfy, enjoyed some snacks and put on a movie of her choice.  

DSC03325Saturday morning photo before checking out!

DSC03334We picked up Elizabeth and then headed to a park overlooking the ocean for a picnic.  The grassy spot was being used for a wedding, so we found some nice rocks instead! These two are about 2 months apart and have been friends since birth!  Though we now live about an hour apart, their friendship has remained. It was so fun to hear all their giggles during their time together.

DSC03339 DSC03346 DSC03347  DSC03351Then it was off to our pedicure.  This was not exactly what I had in mind when I booked it.  I was expecting a normal line-up of chairs that had massages on them, and was rather surprised by the set-up here, especially since there were such fabulous reviews for this place.  However, the service was excellent and the job got done…and since this was the girls first pedicure, their expectations will only go up since this is all they know!    DSC03357 DSC03359 DSC03362The women offered the girls polka dots on their nails, which was a fun treat for them!

DSC03365 DSC03374  DSC03384The girls decided they wanted to try to match for church the following morning, so they raided Bethany’s closet for the only matching dress that my girls have and made it work.  

DSC03385 Lots of laughter came from these girls…such a fun friendship they share!

DSC03386As part of Classical Conversations, Brianna is in her first year of the afternoon writing program called Essentials.  It is a great class that is teaching them how to write well, and this past week they completed their big research paper.  Each student got to choose a famous historical American figure and then walk through the process of a research paper.  The day it was due, they were to dress up to represent their person and then read their paper to the class.  They all worked very hard and did a great job.  It was a fun day and a fun way to finish the project.

DSC03394Brianna did Clara Barton, who served as a nurse in the Civil War and then founded the American Red Cross.  

DSC03401Check out this shaggy, dirty dog!  He put his head through a gate with grease on it, so it turned the hair on his head gray as we tried to get it out!  We were thankful he was slated for a haircut just two days later!

DSC03403Speaking of haircuts…Zachary was long overdue and after talking to a friend, she convinced me to try shaving his head rather than using scissors.  Nervously, I decided it was a good time to try with the warmer weather here and no critical pictures coming in case it was a fail!! 

DSC03404This is the new and improved Zachary!  I sure loved the ease of a razor and it looks nice on him! I may try to do a couple things different the next time, but a good start!

DSC03405Ziggy getting spoiled by Bethany!  He was quite content to be carted around the yard in the stroller!!

DSC03416Easter morning pictures!

DSC03429It’s a good picture when even the dog cooperates!!  The “Z’s” of the family are both freshly shaven!!  (We know a groomer through our church who graciously came over on Saturday to show us how to groom Ziggy.  She really did it for us this time, but we are hoping we can manage in the future!) 

DSC03432 A rare photo of the two of us before heading to church.

3rd Month, 3rd Round of Visitors!!

We have been blessed by many visits, though it has also meant a lot of good-byes too!  Each time we have some visitors, my kids watch the car roll away from our driveway and the tears start almost immediately!  We have had so many awesome “hellos” and so many hard “goodbyes,” but we are thankful!  This time it was with Kristin’s brother and wife (Ryan and Alyssum) from Iowa.  They did an ambitious road trip for their spring break and we were their end destination before turning around.  It was a short 2.5 day visit, but we tried to make the most of it and gave them a taste of spring!!  Most of these photos are from their visit the first week of March. 


DSC03038Doing some magic tricks for Aunt Alyssum

DSC03041 DSC03042Scooter time with Uncle Ryan!

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We spent most of a day hiking at Vasquez Rocks, and these are some photos from that day…DSC03052We had some very ambitious hikers!

DSC03057 DSC03058 DSC03059 DSC03062 DSC03067 DSC03069 DSC03075 DSC03077 DSC03080 DSC03081 

The next day we headed to the beachDSC03090Uncle Ryan showing some muscle at Muscle Beach!!

DSC03092 DSC03094 DSC03095DSC03100Kite flying at Santa Monica Beach…

DSC03101 DSC03103 DSC03109 DSC03116 DSC03123The newlyweds!!   We had such a great time with you guys!!  Thanks for all the fun memories and for loving on the kids while you were here!! 

DSC03126 Unfortunately, Daddy had to work, but here is at least one shot of all the rest of us!

DSC03132 DSC03136We threw together a cookie pie in honor of Aunt Alyssum’s birthday one night.  They were leaving before her actual birthday, so we were two days early but we don’t need much excuse for a yummy dessert and party hats!!

DSC03139The following Monday we had our family presentation at Classical Conversations.  Since we are studying US History and Geography this year, each family is assigned a week to talk about a place in the United States that they visited.  We chose South Dakota from our trip this past summer. 

DSC03149A cute random photo that Bethany took of Ziggy! 

DSC03158We had a bowling activity with our homeschool group this past week so here are a few photos of that outing… DSC03160 DSC03161 DSC03172 DSC03173 DSC03175Lauren would give the ball a good push and then turn around and run to me to watch it.  Every time!  So cute! DSC03180I got a delicious pizza delivery at my door!!  Nothing like a fresh coating of dirt on a piece of wood! 

February Fun with More Visitors!

We have been blessed by visits from much family this calendar year!  My parents made an escape from the cold Midwest winter for most of the month of February to visit California.  Their purpose was threefold:  to escape winter, to help my mom’s sister and husband move and to see us!  They did much work to help Uncle Pete and Aunt Jodie move during the week and then we had the privilege of seeing them three weekends in a row!  Because our weekends have been busy with having fun, this has been my first opportunity to actually get them altogether.  These photos will span the three different weekends we had with my parents. 

DSC02956On Friday afternoon of the first weekend, we enjoyed a perfect sunny day by going to the park to practice some hitting.    DSC02957Some expert help from Grandpa!

DSC02960Grandpa’s personal ball retriever…these two remain best buddies!!  As you’ll notice, they are together in most photos!!

DSC02966We always wonder how Ziggy will do with new people.  Overall, he has done pretty well, and seemed particularly fond of Grandma!! 

DSC02952 The first weekend they were here, we had a rainy Saturday, which meant a lot of games!DSC02970 DSC02971 DSC02974We had Grandma’s help to get some Valentines ready for classmates at CC.

DSC02975As we Paul and I were preparing to go out on a date, Grandma and Grandpa opened their spa!!  The girls all got their toenails painted and Grandpa even stepped in to help speed the drying step!  It was true “full-service” pedicure!DSC02977 DSC02979 DSC02981Grandma was a good sport and let Bethany paint her toes too!

DSC02982What started with a book, migrated to a hair dryer!

DSC02985Lauren was at Grandpa’s side while he gets ready for church on Sunday! She kept him company and made sure it was never too quiet for Grandpa!!

IMG_0255Look who surprised us with a little Valentine’s day visit (the day before Valentine’s day).  We were outside enjoying the beautiful weather doing a read-aloud when Daddy showed up with some balloons for the kids and a rose for me.  Ziggy was obviously pretty excited with the surprise too!! 

DSC02989Traditional Valentine’s Day morning breakfast… DSC02990   IMG_0257After breakfast on Valentine’s Day, we took off to Orange County to see Grandpa and Grandma at Uncle Pete and Aunt Jodie’s new location.  There is a beautiful heated pool that we were able to enjoy for a few hours and here is Grandpa and Lauren.

IMG_0259Grandpa and Grandma with the four kids.

IMG_0261There are hours that the kids can swim the pool, so once those ended, we packed up and headed to Laguna Beach.  It was a gorgeous day and actually very crowded, but we enjoyed it for a few hours.  My beach pictures aren’t very good as we left the camera in the car and it was too big of a hassle to go get it so these are with my phone, but into the sun which didn’t work well!

IMG_0264 IMG_0267 The water was FREEZING, but that didn’t stop the kids from going in…and they even convinced Daddy and Grandpa to go play in the waves too! 

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DSC03029DSC03026This is typically where you would find Ziggy after someone from the family leaves out the front door.  He seems very loyal as he waits longingly for their return!

These next photos are from our final weekend with Grandpa and Grandma, which was a very special trip to Disneyland!  We got a great deal on tickets through The Master’s College and were able to make some great new memories.  We had a perfect day that wasn’t too hot or too cold and we really managed to see most of the park during our visit, though we did stay ALL day!  We got in the gate around 8:30 and left the park close to midnight!!  Unfortunately, our camera died very early in the day (note to self: always charge your camera before Disneyland even if you don’t think it needs it!!) so there aren’t near as many photos taken if that hadn’t been the case.  But we have enough to remember and the rest we’ll tuck away in our memory!


DSC03001We found Mickey Mouse pretty quick upon entering so decided to start with a picture with him!

pics 103 After a few rides, we headed to Toon Town and found Goofy and Pluto too (which is also when the camera died!).Pluto gives signature Pluto    IMG_2525IMG_2521 DSC03007 DSC03010 DSC03012 IMG_0301 IMG_0304 IMG_0305IMG_0307  DSC03014 DSC03018 DSC03019 IMG_2530 IMG_0348  IMG_0315 IMG_0300 IMG_0309Pausing for a lunch/snack!  We packed all our food, which worked great for eating cheaply and whenever it worked out!

IMG_0313 IMG_0316 IMG_0341 IMG_0342 Waiting for parade of charactersWaiting for the afternoon parade…

character float Star of the day IMG_0321 IMG_0325 IMG_0329 IMG_0331 IMG_0338 IMG_0351

End to a magical day This picture didn’t come out well, but this was our only photo with ALL of us together, unfortunately.  This was as we were leaving the park…still smiling despite some very tired legs!  Grandpa and Grandma also got us all a hotel room so we didn’t have to drive after such a long day.  We were very thankful for that considering the time we left!! 

Ready to go the next day post disney with a great breakfastThis was taken the next morning at the hotel room.  We packed breakfast and enjoyed a relaxing morning.  Can you believe that after a full day at Disney AND a 12:30 bedtime, that none of these kids slept past about 8am?!! 

Swimming at hotel pool after DisneyKristin in hot tub with Lauren It was a gray morning, which eventually turned to rain, but not before we took advantage of the heated hotel pool and hot tub for a couple of hours.

We had a great, fun-filled month!  Many memories were made and we were thankful for some extra time with Grandpa and Grandma!  And the fun doesn’t end here!!  We welcome some more visitors this next week…so stay tuned!!  In case you’re wondering, we are still doing school and having normal life thrown into all this fun!! 

Visitors from Chicagoland!

We were thrilled to welcome Paul’s mom and husband to our home for about 4 days this month!  It had been about two years since they had visited.  We had about two weeks back in school after Christmas break before taking another little break for their visit!  That’s a schedule I could get used to!!  It was a treat to have them with us for a few days and we were thankful they got to experience some beautiful weather while here too.  The pictures are mostly from their stay, with a few others thrown in.

DSC02869Babi (Grandma) gave haircuts to her own poodles once upon a time and she graciously offered to help us give our first haircut to Ziggy!  He was in desperate need by the time she got here so it was quite a project.  For being a bunch of amateurs, things didn’t go too bad!   He looked like he had lost about 10 lbs when we were done with all the fluff gone!  DSC02872

DSC02877After our morning haircut project, we eagerly set out to enjoy the gorgeous day with a hike! DSC02880 DSC02884 DSC02887 DSC02896 DSC02898 DSC02902 DSC02904 DSC02910IMG_2431Here’s the new and improved Ziggy!  We don’t have a great “before” picture, but you can trust me that this looks way better!

DSC02920 IMG_0250 Babi graciously took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese for a couple hours of fun.  It seems like it is becoming a traditional outing with Babi that our kids sure appreciate and look forward to! 

DSC02923We decided to take them to Griffith Park Observatory one afternoon, but unfortunately, it was very foggy that day and the view is one of the best parts of going there!  We hoped it might burn off, but it didn’t before we left.  We still had a fun time with a yummy picnic lunch included!DSC02927 Twins for the day!

DSC02930 DSC02933Posing with Einstein inside the observatory!

DSC02939Fun at a local park.

DSC02941Our final picture as we said farewell to Babi and Grandpa Bob as they departed for the airport!  

DSC02948Not a great picture, but Ziggy has a talent to jump on his hind legs and maintain it for quite awhile if there is something he wants!  Watching him brings much laughter!  Chicken scraps are definitely his favorite. DSC02951A recent sunset out the front of our house!  “The Heavens declare the glory of God…”

IMG_0251 My little shopping buddy!  Though Bethany is my most loyal shopping partner, Lauren has an increased interest in going grocery shopping since our store now has these adorable little carts!  They love getting it loaded up, unloading it themselves…and watching Mommy pay for it all!  Too bad they don’t just see the process through to the end!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Birthday…A Bit Overdue!!

It has been a full and busy season of fun holiday festivities, family activities, school, break and more.  And the more I waited to get the photos off my camera, the more daunting the task became as the number of pictures continued to grow!  Since this post is now covering so much territory, I will try to limit the photos to a few from the various activities to keep things reasonable!  However, I do truly hope that you’ve had a wonderful season of celebration and are off to a great new year!!  These photos are going WAY back to November…enjoy!

DSC02451 DSC02456This was Lauren’s first dental appointment!  We had tried a couple of times to get her in sooner and random circumstances prevented it.  She was VERY excited for her turn to finally go to the dentist, which made us thrilled.  The thing she was most looking forward to was the ride in the chair!  Haha!  She was a perfect patient—always thankful for a positive dental experience!!

 DSC02464Time to get out the Christmas decorations…

DSC02465 …and put up some outdoor lights.

DSC02472Some eager helpers for stuffing our Christmas cards!

DSC02475Part I of ?? of Christmas baking: Cutting out sugar cookies!

DSC02488Part II of Christmas baking:  Frosting the cookies


DSC02497 DSC02498Our kids caught this rabbit in our neighborhood.  We have had a slew of them when someone decided to let a whole bunch loose.  The kids were with some neighbor kids and with enough hands, they managed to trap it and then grab it!  They were pretty excited, though no more pets for us!  We let it go after a day of enjoying it!

DSC02503Our annual tradition to go to the local Christmas parade!  Despite asking 4 different families to join us, it ended up being just our family!

DSC02504Just a funny picture!

DSC02540An updated photo of Ziggy…getting much more hairy!!  He is getting ready for a haircut when Paul’s mom comes out soon to help/teach us!

DSC02544Another tradition is to visit this beautiful display of lights!  We walked it this year, which was fun.    DSC02545At one of the houses, they had a very authentic-looking santa available to the kids.  This was our kids first time to even talk to and sit on Santa’s lap! 

DSC02549 DSC02550 DSC02553 DSC02556 DSC02561Running late for church, this was a quick and semi-successful family photo.

DSC02580Another tradition is to go to an event called “Back to Bethlehem.”  It is a recreation of the town of Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  They do a fabulous job with it.

DSC02586 DSC02593 DSC02596 DSC02601There are (huge & mean!) Roman soldiers wandering the streets, probably very much in character for the time!  Periodically they have a soldier training time, which Zachary got chosen to do.  Anyone who didn’t obey the orders was kicked out.  It was fun!

DSC02610Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus in a stable.

DSC02615Visiting with the Rabbi

DSC02620Magic Mountain added a pretty significant light display this year for Christmas.  We had some free friend admissions to use, so invited our newest friends (who are our neighbors!!) to join us.  It was a fun night!

DSC02622 DSC02625 DSC02627 DSC02634Taking advantage of some beautiful weather just before Christmas to go on a family hike!

 DSC02648The kids sang a couple of Christmas songs in big church during the Christmas Eve service…

DSC02659…but the real highlight was lighting the candles at the end of the service! DSC02663 DSC02665

DSC02668 All ready for Christmas morning breakfast!!

DSC02674Lauren was very excited about doing this advent calendar this year, and was extremely excited to finally get to put Baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning! DSC02680 DSC02703Mommy and her fur baby!

DSC02708 Zachary excited about a new watch.


DSC02736 DSC02748 DSC02750 DSC02759Bethany only asked for roller skates, so was very excited to receive them!

DSC02762 DSC02768Lauren was very excited about everything she got—so much emotion but so fun!

DSC02770Brianna received a magic kit set for Christmas, which was her biggest desire as well.

DSC02795 All ready to give it her first try!

DSC02797 A little help from Daddy to get her outside!!

DSC02808The aftermath!!  Part of the mess is a lot of new camping gear (large tent/sleeping bags) so we can start to camp as a family!  

DSC02813 This was our best attempt to get a picture of Ziggy by our tree for our first Christmas with him.

DSC02831Guess who learned to ride without training wheels over Christmas break?!  She had been practicing balancing for a number of months when we took the pedals off her bike so she could just glide.  She always had good balance, but I never knew she would get it so easily!  We put the pedals back on and I was behind her to try to hold her as she got started.  She refused, telling me she could do it and this is what happened!!  It was as if she had been riding forever!  Definitely the fastest to learn, and at age 3 1/2!!

DSC02832We enjoyed a day in Ventura with our friends the Mukes.  They had a baby boy back in June but this was our first chance to meet him!  Zachary is thrilled to add a boy to the mix!

DSC02845Two families…lots of kids!!

DSC02849We headed back to Magic Mountain on New Year’s Eve evening.  This time it was very cold!  When we left the park at 8pm, the temperature was 38 degrees!

DSC02853 While it felt like it could snow, they had fake snow blowing at different times in the park. 

DSC02857 We went with another family from our church and had a fantastic night.  Perhaps due to the cold, nobody wanted to go to Magic Mountain that night so we could ride any ride without a wait and ride it as many times as we wanted!  So fun!

DSC02861To round out our celebrations, we got to celebrate Paul’s birthday this past week! DSC02866They sure love their daddy!!

Autumn in the Air

While many of those who check in here are experiencing winter, we are enjoying our own change of pace with the weather.  We have had a number of overcast days with highs in the 60s.  That is fall for us (and sort of winter too!) but we all enjoy the change of season, and would really enjoy some rain added in.  Nothing in the forcast for the next 10 days, but we so desperately need it.  Enough about the weather!  These photos go back to the end of October.  It has been another busy stretch, with yet another medical issue to report on!  Paul had knee surgery in early November.  We anticipated a fairly quick recovery from all we had heard, but the weekend following the surgery, the pain in his calf was so bad that we ended up in urgent care.  Unfortunately, they discovered a couple of blood clots as a result of the surgery.  So much for a quick recovery!!  He has been faithfully giving himself injections (no fun!!) twice a day for a little over a week and then also is on some oral medication.  The clots left Paul unable to stand due to the pain for a number of days, and he ended up working from home for almost all of last week.  However, we are so thankful that we had it checked out and that he is doing WAY better this weekend.  We are also thankful that his knee seems fine.  Though he hasn’t really been able to test it much due to the calf pain, he doesn’t seem to have much knee pain.  The pictures can tell the rest of the story from the past few weeks!

DSC02323 DSC02324Dr. Z! We had a fun dress-up carnival/party the day before Halloween with our homeschool group

 DSC02327Bethany, the Indian girl…

 DSC02335…with her dog!

DSC02336 Brianna, the Renaissance girl

DSC02345 DSC02346Lauren, the little lamb

DSC02348 DSC02355 DSC02372Apparently, lambs LOVE cotton candy!

DSC02365 And they do okay eating donuts from a string too!  (I was pretty much with Lauren the whole time, so that is all I got photos of at the party!)

DSC02383The party was very close to Daddy’s work, so the kids wanted him to see them all dressed up!

DSC02387The dress-up party was also Mommy’s birthday!  Bethany (on her own initiative) baked me a batch of brownies the night before so we could have a special birthday treat!  

DSC02392 DSC02396 DSC02399The next morning, we took advantage of the free ‘scary face pancakes’ for kids at Ihop on Halloween, combined with a free birthday breakfast for me, and scored an awesome deal and some family fun!

DSC02405It is probably no surprise that Bethany is holding Ziggy while attempting her school work!  Ziggy puts up with so much, but he is a very loved dog!!

DSC02411Thanks to Paul for planning, and Uncle Pete and Aunt Jodie for making it possible, Paul and I were able to sneak away for a night for my birthday.  Pete and Jodie watched the kids for a night and we enjoyed a relaxing night of movies and games at a nearby hotel.  I got to sleep in(!!) and then we took in the beautiful day with a walk along the beach. 

DSC02415Our patient back at home after his surgery. 

DSC02435 Ziggy was pretty excited to find Lauren in the bath one night.  He kept inching closer and closer to the water, and then we had to call it quits as Lauren was getting nervous he would join her in the tub.  Incidently, we have already given Ziggy 2 baths (white fur with large areas of dirt in our back yard don’t mix well!), and he does remarkably well with them.  Since it appears he may need them rather frequently, we are glad he cooperates with us!

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 DSC02440We were volunteers at Children’s Hunger Fund with our homeschool group this past week.  The kids LOVE going there and it is one of the only volunteer organizations that allows kids of all ages to volunteer.  It is a perfect way to serve and do ministry together.  They always tell us at the end how much work we’ve done and exactly where our things will end up.  They really do a great job of making their volunteers feel useful, which makes it fun and rewarding.  This time, we spent our two hours bagging dried fruit heading to Haiti and Guatemala.  Lauren helped by putting stickers on the bags and also hauling the completed bags to their appropriate box.   DSC02445  DSC02447 DSC02450 This is a fun picture of the dried fruit as it comes out of the bucket, which then needs to be bagged in 1-pound portions. 

October in Review

Shamefully, posting photos hasn’t made it to the top of the priority list this month.  It has been a very exciting and very busy month, which helps explain my lack of time to get to this task.  There just aren’t enough hours in a day!  Some highlights on top of normal life included hosting our friends, the Scroggins, in our home for a few days, many follow-up doctor appointments (Praise the Lord, I think I am done with appointments for my previous skin cancer procedures finally!), an 8th birthday celebration and the acquisition of a new furry family member!  I’ll let the pictures take over from here!

DSC02121Lauren is very proud of her “people.”  I thought they were so cute, I had to get a picture.  Don’t you love how their arms come out of their heads?!

 DSC02123And from people she moved on to letters.  She had a little hand-holding help here with a couple of the letters as this was in the beginning of process.

  DSC02127 DSC02134DSC02138DSC02144We had a fun afternoon at Magic Mountain with our friends, the Robinsons.  Their twin girls are a few weeks older than Lauren and are great friends!  We like to refer to threesome as the Oreo cookie!

DSC02150It was a treat to have a visitor from Michigan in our home this month!  Kristin’s cousin, Brenda, was traveling in CA for work and had a free afternoon.  What a blessing that she contacted us and was willing to travel the crazy CA freeways to make it happen!  Thanks for making the time!  After being in our home with our less-than-shy children, I’m pretty confident that Brenda had a new appreciation of her quiet car and hotel room for the rest of this trip!!  It was GREAT to see you!! DSC02171

 DSC02175This is Lauren’s name, done by herself.  She is so proud every time she does it, which is a lot these days as she loves to practice!  Definitely growing up!  I should get another picture because she has switched to doing lowercase a’s and they crack me up since they often look more like a Q.

 DSC02181I did a terrible job of photos when the Scroggins were here.  They were busy days and the camera just didn’t come to mind!   DSC02186 DSC02187 DSC02190 DSC02194 We went to a park for a few hours before they had to take off on the last day.  It was such a blessing to have dear friends in our home!  We sure miss the Scroggins!!

We have been more seriously pursuing a dog for our family for the last couple of months.  However, Paul thought it would be a great idea to take Bethany’s motivation for getting a dog and use it to our advantage.  He took it upon himself to walk her through some of the step in project management, a certification that Paul recently received.  She was the project manager and Dad and Mom were the sponsors.  She had to make pro/con lists, price lists, good questions that had to be addressed, purchase list, etc and then we had to sign off on it if we approved of the project going forward.  She read dog books any free moment she had as she was very motivated.  After begging for a dog for nearly 3 years, there finally seemed to be a glimmer of hope for her!  Paul and I both agreed before starting this that we thought the time was right to pursue this with the kids ages, etc.  For some reason, we all seemed to fall on a cockapoo when trying to decide on a breed.  It is a mix of a cocker spaniel and a poodle.  It is a nice size, doesn’t shed, good temperament, etc.   I began to look more seriously online at various sites that post dogs for adoption, and discovered they are hard to find without going to a breeder for a pretty penny.  But this one really truly worked out in so many ways and we decided to bring him into our home.  He came with a name that none of were particularly fond of, so our first task was to rename him.  We finally agreed on Ziggy and it seems to fit him well as such a cute, little playful thing.  He definitely needs some training as he is just 1-year-old and came to the rescue as a stray.  But for now, the kids are over the moon with excitement that was actually have a dog!  He is a pretty cute addition, but also a pretty big distraction to chores, school, etc!!  :-)  Though it wasn’t a birthday present for Bethany, the Lord’s timing was great since it was her birthday weekend that it all happened and she is the one most wanting the dog.  She says the day we signed off on her project management paperwork “was the best day of her life!”  She was literally bouncing up and down!  And her 8th birthday is one “she will never forget!” 

IMG_0134Meet Ziggy!! (And though he looks like he’s after that shoe, he really hasn’t been troublesome with chewing those!)

 IMG_0144 IMG_0148 IMG_0108This was the first morning that we had him.  He was definitely at the center of the attention!

DSC02268 DSC02303Love this picture!  Staying focused on school work last week was a bit hard with this cute little thing looking up at you!!  Bethany is getting ready to trace a US map for geography work.

DSC02306 DSC02309 DSC02317 IMG_0158 

DSC02231 DSC02244 IMG_0149 And after a day with the Sedy kids (think none stop attention and playing!!), this is what he looks like…without fail, every night!!!  When it is quiet in this house, he is out! 

And in the midst of all of that excitement, we had the privilege of celebrating Bethany’s 8th birthday!  The energy level was high because we had a new dog, but beyond that there was nothing spectacular about her birthday.  Honestly, I don’t even think she much cared it was her birthday—she had a long-awaited dog!!

DSC02248How awesome that she had picked out this dog bowl cake design weeks prior to her birthday and it fit in so well!!  It’s some cocoa puff/peanut butter cereal mix for the dog food!DSC02251 DSC02252 DSC02253 DSC02255 DSC02256We celebrated with the cake on Sunday evening prior to her birthday as we had Miss Janna over.  I am SO bummed that I never got a picture of her that evening.  But it was a treat to have her, as always, and makes celebrating a bit more fun!!

 DSC02277This was the morning of her actual birthday.

 DSC02289 DSC02295 DSC02296 IMG_0165 IMG_0167 A mommy/Bethany date to go get her annual pictures taken and grab some ice cream together. 

There are more pictures and more events to share, but you have lasted a long time already and I need to move on too!!  Thanks for your patience in getting these up.  Things don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, but I will do my best to post sooner than a month from now!!


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