Wednesday, December 23, 2015


We were blessed to spend time with family over a two-day Thanksgiving celebration.

First up was hanging out with my dad on Thanksgiving morning:

Even a portable chemo pack won't slow this grandpa down.
I love this photo of him playing with his grandkids. 

Miss Marigold had sweet potatoes on her
first Thanksgiving.  She loves to eat!

We finished the night watching Star Wars.  
I think this may be a new Thanksgiving tradition for us!
There are very few things that hold the attention of an adult, teenager, and toddler, 
but Star Wars fit the bill!
The next day we went to Mark's parents house to celebrate with his side of the family and my mom.  My father-in-law made this awesome table so we could all sit together.  Isn't it amazing?!  I have a feeling he could have quite the business selling these!

Do you think she's loved? :) 

Michelle got to meet all of our kids for the first time.
We were so excited to see her!

Cousin play time is the best!

This year I am particularly thankful for my wonderful family.   

Sunday, November 1, 2015


We had a happy Halloween!  I'll admit, it was a tough act following up the In-n-Out costumes last year.  I mean, how do you top Ruslana's french fries and Levi's worker costume? Well, I guess you don't.  But we decided on a Fiesta theme this year, and we ended up having a lot of fun with it.  Olé!

To bring the fun to the fiesta, Marigold was a piñata! Filled with sweetness, here she is: 
No whacking allowed! :) 
Of course every party go-er needs an entertaining host, so Levi was a maraca playing amigo! 
And what's a fiesta without some authentic décor?  Ruslana was a cactus! 
Just like a cactus, this girl thrives outside in the sun! 
And since Levi couldn't party alone, wouldn't you know it, Frida Kahlo made an appearance! 

To make sure the fiesta didn't get too out of control, don't worry--there were chaperones: 

We first brought the party to my dads house for a quick visit: 
Levi said anything before 10:00 pm is way too early to party, so he wasn't feeling his poncho at the moment.  I'll also note that I had a sweet 'stache planned for him, but that didn't happen.  Who knew a 2 year old wouldn't want a fake mustache on their face?!

After visiting with my dad, we headed over to my mom's house to go trick-or-treating.  We went down our old street with my mom and father-in-law.  It was so cute seeing Ruslana and Levi in action!  Levi made sure to say thank you to each piece of candy he got, as well as say "bye-bye!" to each candy giver.  And Ruslana's costume was quite a hit!  She got extra candy at several houses due to the creativity of her costume.  Score!  And last but not least, Marigold, I mean the piñata, was an angel while the "big" kids gathered candy--she didn't make a peep! 

After we finished trick or treating, the kids checked out their loot: 
Levi: "Mama, choc (aka chocolate)?!!!" 
We had a fun family night and made some great memories together.  Plus we have a ton of candy to eat, so I'd say it was a pretty successful night!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Teenager in the house!

On September 14, Ruslana turned 13!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That's right, we have a teenager! This sweet girl has grown so much in the two and a half years that she's been ours.  She's growing into quite a lady!

Ruslana is obsessed with all things driving.  One day my dad, grandpa Steve, let her drive his car in a parking lot and a spark was lit.  If she plays a game on the computer or her iPod, she wants to play a parking game (who knew they existed?).  She talks non-stop about what type of car she wants when she grows up.  She wants a cute, small car, but wants four doors so her siblings or friends can easily get in and out.  Oh, and she would like it to be red.  She says she can't wait to get a car so she can drive to see her best friend, Tyna, in Northern California.

So when it came to planning what to do for her special birthday, it was a no brainer--indoor go-karting it is!  Here are some photos from our go-karting adventure:

This girl got 1st place--no pity here, she won fair and square!

 After our spin around the track, we headed back to our place for cake and presents:

I was feeling pretty good about my cake at this point.  I mean jumbo balloons with pink tassels--total win, right?  But then this happened...

HAHA!  Don't worry, no one was hurt.  We got a pretty good laugh out of it, a fire safety lesson, and I got a good humility lesson when it comes to cake making!

Unfortunately my dad wasn't able to make it to the go-karting adventure (rain check for sure!), but we celebrated at his house a few days later.  Ruslana thought it was fun having another day to celebrate her birthday!

 She got some great gifts--including various spy gear (another thing she's currently into), a basketball hoop hamper, and a Nerf bow and arrow.
Being the cool grandpa that my dad is, he also got himself a bow and arrow so they could have shoot offs, or rather shoot each other!

Little brother Levi got some play time in too! 

We are so proud of our teenager and while these years ahead are somewhat terrifying, we are excited to see her grow into the woman that God created her to be.