James + Reptiles = Birthday Party

We invited The House of Reptiles to James’ 7th birthday party. They gave a 50 minute, hands-on presentation to James and many of his friends. It was so interesting and informative, at times I was wishing the kids would go play upstairs so I could ask the questions I had!

The teacher in me had to maintain some kind of order, so I set the whole presentation area up like a classroom… It ended up being a good idea as kids did get a little wiggly after 50 minutes!

Many different reptiles and one large arachnid.

A very brave Abbie

The kids had fun decorating cake pops with bug candies & frosting.

James had a pretty awesome party!

Christmas Time

Each year since moving into our house we’ve walked over to our neighbors Christmas Tree Farm. They always have great trees and it’s super simple to get a tree when it’s just a few steps away!

All festive in our holiday attire (James was not in the mood to smile, so he kind of ruined our attempt at the holiday card).

Cousins + Chandler

After we cut the tree down and get it loaded into the truck, we all enjoy peppermint sticks and hot cocoa!

I always love the baking that comes with the holidays. Our house is always warm and often filled with the smell of something yummy baking in the oven!

I bought reindeer antlers for both Max & Ruby. Looking back I am sad to say I have no pictures of Max in his holiday gear. I have plenty of pics of Ruby, I think she may have been more cooperative!

Max looking handsome and posing for a photo in front of the tree!

Christmas morning & ready to open gifts!

Finishing Up 2011

Josh and Abbie met Misty May Traenor, Olympic Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist, which was amazing & inspiring for Abbie!

Josh getting a mini VB signed for Abbie’s coach.

Aana & Upa took James to a class on making bat houses… He LOVED it. He and Upa spent the next couple weeks building several bat houses. James knows where the best places to hang the houses on our property is to encourage bat-living. We have hung one bat house and will get the rest of them hung on our trees as soon as the weather allows.

Abbie’s team ended their 9th grade VB season as league champs! Abbie was awarded Team Captain & Most Inspirational. Of course, we are so proud of her! She is currently beginning her club season and is headed to her 1st tournament of the season this coming weekend!!

We celebrated Josh’s 40th Birthday with a weekend trip to Vegas!

Dressed up and headed out for a night on the town!

We got in trouble for sneaking McDonald’s french fries into these seats ~ Opps!

Sitting down to rest and relax after walking the strip.

Halloween 2011

This year we skipped the BIG pumpkin patch we have visited for years and stopped by a small farm we pass on our way home. It was simple.

James was excited to have his choice in color of pumpkins this year.

We all chose pumpkins and were wheeling them out to the car…

…when James was randomly stung by a bee ~ ouch!

So, we quickly loaded up our harvest and headed home.

Carving the pumpkins is a family affair, whether I like it or not! Josh is usually good about craving the insides out of my pumpkin for me. James was very cautious with the seeds as he wanted to roast them ALL.

Max is never far from the action!

Abbie is looking online for a spooky-face design.

Max is forever curious.

Ready to light up the night!

- Abbie hosted a Halloween Party -

Miss Madi the Candy-Corn Witch enjoying some Jack-o-Lantern Pizza

Hanging out…

Lauren holding Peppermint (our corn snake)

Posing after a fun game of marshmallow toss ~

Girls hanging in the hot tub, in the rain, later that night.

Stacie all dressed up to take James trick-or-treating!

Abbie = Witch / James = Shark / Stacie = Witch

Happiest Homecoming on Earth

The theme for homecoming was Disney – Happiest Homecoming on Earth -

The kids all decided to meet at the Picard’s House to get ready, have dinner, and then carpool to the event. It worked out very well and everyone had a great time!

The girls helping each other get ready…

Minnie Mouse & Tinkerbell – Abbie & Lauren!

The girls are all dressed up and ready to go!

The boys are all duded up and ready…

Abbie & Mitchell as Minnie & Mickey Mouse

A great 1st High School dance!


James is loving 1st grade and we are grateful to his teacher for all she does to support James!He loves school & learning! Here he is working on his autobiography.

Max is never far away from James… So sweet!

James loving Peppermint.

He really is a cool snake. Even I enjoy holding him… and I thought I was scared of snakes. Gotta love when your children help you overcome your fears.

Hawks Volleyball

Abbie played a great season with her high school volleyball team!

The girls finished the season as League Champs!

James always had fun at the games too – not because he enjoyed watching his sister.. he liked having the freedom to cruise the building and visit the snack bar.

The girls with Coach Mary at their end of season bannquet.

Abbie & Kohl were tied for Most Inspirational Player — Way to go ladies!

Warrior Dash

I ran my first 5k ~The event was called The Warrior Dash  and they say it will be “the craziest frickin’ day of your life”and it was pretty crazy!

My friend, Melinda, is the one who told me about the race and how you run a 5k and have to overcome several obstacles along the way (14 to be exact!). I sat on it for a couple weeks and one evening decided to join in the wild-crazy-fun! I bought my spot in the Warrior Dash!!

The day of the event came and I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I could easily run a 5k, but was unsure about the trail and obstacles. I had good reason to be worried… in fact, the race itself was mostly uphill on unsteady ground. I fell only one time, didn’t hurt myself with the exception of a skinned up knee. And the obstacles were way more difficult to overcome than I had anticipated ~ wow!

I should have done more ‘training’ on upper arms! The first obstacle we had to jump into a pond which was quite deep, I could touch the bottom, barely. With the hundreds of other people, we had to attempt to jump up and over 4 different logs. It was slippery, muddy, soggy, and kinda scary in the deepish water. We also had to climb up and over, across, down many different things. This required stability, arm strength and bravery! We ran across old, rusty cars (tetnus, anyone?), through fire and finally down a muddy hillside (which was fun) on our way to the finish!

At the end, I was feeling exhausted and so proud of myself! I really had to push myself at times to complete some of the obstacles and had to really push myself to keep moving up those never-ending hills!

We were hungry, but before we could think about eating… we needed to remove some of that mud! It was caked on everywhere! The water for cleaning up didn’t look much less muddy than we were, but it did the trick!

My tank top was pink before the race ~ now it’s a nice brown.

All cleaned up and ready to proudly wear our warrior helmets!

This little device timed my race AND served as a free beer token!

Of course, we were in need of some serious protein… so we all devoured a turkey leg!

It was a seriously crazy-fun day! I love that Melinda invited me and I actually did it, I completed the Warrior Dash!

1st Day Photos :-)

Ever since Abbie started Pre-school, I have made her a school sign the night before the BIG day with the year, grade level, school, and town if different than the year before… we are approaching our tenth year of “First Days” with Abbie and our third year with James. It is always fun to look back at the cute little faces, styles, and where we were living! Once Josh and I graduated from college and began teaching, I made signs for us too… the tradition lives on & each year we all get our picture taken on the 1st day of school! Max even made it into the pictures this year!

 Abbie starting her 1st year in high school:

James starting 1st grade:

Josh beginning his year as associate principal at a new middle school:

Stacie and James ~ both headed off to the Primary School. Stacie as Reading Specialist & James as a big 1st grader!

Excited about the 2011-2012 school year!

James found his desk in Mrs. Smith’s classroom.

A Perfect End to Summer Vacation!

 I was excited to see Bill & Erin ~ but I always forget how perfectly perfect it is when we’re all together! It kinda feels like it’s just meant to be…

The day they arrived we played by the pool all day and barbequed for dinner. Sometime in there, Erin taught me how to make the coffee for iced coffees… YuMmY!!

We slept in the next morning. When we finally got up and around, Erin and I decided to go out for a quick jog! It was fun to run with somebody. I was nervous because I had never really had a running partner, but if I’m going to have one, she’s a great one to have! She went slow and walked when I needed to walk!!

After some tasty breakfast, we made our way to Mt. Hood where we discovered a trashy-little Fun Park! We definitely would have skipped it if we’d known how classy it was, but ended up with some funnies out of the adventure.

Erin and I photographed the gang speeding down the Alpine Slides, some going faster than others!

Then the kids waited for forever and a day to jump on this crazy, little trampoline thing…

and then we headed up to Timberline Lodge for lunch.

After lunch, we grabbed some plastic cups from the bar and hiked up to the snow!

On the drive home we stopped in Hood River for Ice Cream cones

and then a quick little hike up to see Multnomah Falls – Beautiful!

The next day, Erin and I enjoyed an hour of Zumba… then we were lazy for the rest of the day! It was excellent. We said our good-byes late that night and Josh whisked them away and to the airport early the next morning…