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!

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!

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!

Trip to Seattle

A couple weekends ago, Stephanie, the kids, and I all headed North to visit Steph’s college roommate, Danica, and her family. We have all grown to be friends over the years, and it was a fun little get-away!

Stephanie, Danica, and Stacie

Our kids had fun running around the hotel lobby watching all the Koi swimming around the ponds as we visited and caught up with life over drinks!

We all headed back to our hotel room  and had room service for dinner. The kids played and we chatted into the night… it was simple & fun!

The next morning we headed into downtown Seattle for some sight-seeing & shopping.

James was super excited to see all the fresh fish and seafood!

We saw lots of funny sights… like the biggest shoe in the world!

Pikes Place Market was so crowded, amazing, and full of fresh foods & flowers.

We ate lunch at The Hard Rock Cafe then headed home… a quick weekend, full of fun!

Abbie Celebrates 14


On May 30th, Abbie turned 14 years old ~ Hard to believe she starts High School this Fall!

Since we were just getting home from a camping trip, we gave Abbie the gift of eating dinner out ~

Chandler & the family joined us for an Italian feast at Spaghetti Factory!

Maya loving the freedom of Ammie’s camera

Auntie & Unkle made Abbie’s day forever~memorable with 2 tickets to Taylor Swift!

The next weekend Abbie had a BIG Slumber Party with 10 of her friends!

Abbie posing with a fun, little crown that just didn’t want to stay connected!

Being 14 has been lots of FuN so far!!

Camp Sherman

Over Memorial Day weekend we headed east to the Metolius River for our annual camping trip with the Picard Family!

No matter where we end up, we have fun. How can we not? There are always plenty of teenagers around to listen to & watch… what a funny bunch of kids! They all had fun riding in the back of the truck when we drove into town ~ it was legal as all the seats in the front were taken over by adults & James!

James and his fishing buddy, Jeff, were excited to get down to the river…

Jeff taught James how to fly fish ~

Max always loves to go camping! I was happy he had grass to play in, it keeps him & our motorhome just a little cleaner!

We enjoyed fires and stories from the kids at night… it was really a perfect few days!

Here we are posing at the Camp Sherman General Store…


School is so much more than academics.

Abbie as Paula Abdul judging the performances the MS Talent Show

James running to earn money for Run for the Arts: a fundraiser at the Primary School that raises $$ for the Arts in school.

We have met many of our close friends through Abbie’s school friendships. With James now in school we are meeting and creating friendships with families of his school friends!

James & Sofia

Having a toast to friendships: new & old!

This bottle was sent to us by friends we keep close to our hearts and we decided there was no better way to drink this bottle than with new friends!

A toast to all my friends near, far, old, new!

It’s the friends we meet along the way that help us appreciate the journey – Author Unknown


Amara’s Friend Party

Amara celebrates her birthday with friends at JJ Jump!

Maya wasn’t so keen on jumping & sliding, so she used her Daddy as a jungle gym!

After all the bouncing they could handle, the kids entered the party room for some pizza, fruit, and juice. After this Amara blew out the candle on her cupcake!

She opened her gifts with some help from Mama.

As she thanked her friends for coming, she handed out the BEST party bags – Boys got bug hunting gear * Girls left with fairy wings and tutus!

**the above fairies were the big girls invited to the party (Abbie & Chan)**

Friday Fill-Ins

This is fun ~ I found it tonight here at my friend, Tiffany’s, website.

1. I love to be pampered.

2. Be happy and a smile.

3. It’s how you perceive the world...

4. If it’s a surprise, don’t tell me! I love surprises!

5. Well, would you be counting down the days ’till school’s out? (I am!)

6. What is Spring? Let alone, spring peepers? We have rain, RAIN, and more rain.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to good sleeps, tomorrow my plans include a haircut & style and Sunday, I want to work in my yard!

A Stay at the Hospital

Sometime in the month of February, I agreed to an extended-stay EEG. To do this I had to be hooked up to many wires, and stay put in either my hospital bed or a chair in the room. In addition to the wires, I was monitored by camera 24/7.

For the past couple years, we thought I was having seizures ~ so I’ve been taking seizure medicine. Recently, I found myself a new neurologist who questioned my seizures and wanted more information ~ thus, the long, lonely days at the hospital.

During my stay, I had 2 sleep deprived EEG’s with one of them being a 24 hour deprivation. It was very boring and I became quite emotional! I felt incredibly fortunate to have wonderful support from family & friends. I received flowers, flowers, and more flowers. Each time a vase of brightly colored flowers were carried in, I was filled with appreciation knowing I have so many  caring people in my life… The flowers stayed with me through the duration, it was nice to have them. Beyond the beautiful buds, were the people.

It was more than I could have ever hoped… I had support from so many people. I am not sure how I could have managed with out the visits, encouraging words, emails, phone calls, and  text messages. I thank each and every person who supported me through this ordeal.

The result of the stay showed no signs of seizures! No more seizure meds for me and I am feeling great!