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!

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


The bunny visited our house, hiding eggs & baskets full of candies & treats!











We spent the afternoon at my Aunt & Uncle’s house. It was a great time! We had a lovely meal and participated in both a kid & adult egg hunt.

The kids all got a chance to pet the Mama donkey & her baby, Donkey (That’s it’s name!).

After finding all the eggs they could find, the kids went inside to count their loot!

We had such a wonderful day with family…

~ Granddad, Abbie, Nana ~

Best Cousin Friends!

~ James & Amara ~

We ended a beautiful day at the Solari Family Home – They had us over for a tasty meal & dessert! What fun!

~Sofia, Abbie, Marco, Enzo~


Easter was a perfect day full of Family & Friends!

Christmas Day

We were all excited that James slept in until almost 8 o’clock Christmas morning. We started the morning looking through our stockings, my favorite part!

After we enjoyed looking through our stockings and having coffee, tea, and cocoa ~ we moved into the Family Room to see the gifts Santa left…

The kids passed out their gifts

Presents unwrapped…

On to Gramma’s house for snacks. dinner. family. stockings. gifts. fun…

Nana told the kids Christmas stories

Uncle Derek got to spend some time with us in the evening!

~Christmas at Aana & Upa’s House~

Aana made Abbie a new stocking this year.

James was excited to get fishing gear for Christmas!

Abbie sewing Christmas stockings for her friends, 34 socks in all.

Lots of Holiday Activities

Abbie and the middle school band kicked off the holiday season for us with a great holiday concert.

James and all the kids from Country Friends gave us the gift of song…

We had Breakfast with Santa!

Participated in the Tarter Family Christmas Go-Around

Hosted the Primary School Holiday Staff Party

… where we had lots of food & drink

The kids made gingerbread people in the Bonus Room

… and spent lots of time running around bouncing off walls!

James ‘sciencing’ and tree that turns into a snowman in water. He received this in the mail from some special friends!

James loving on Max every second he gets… Max loving the snuggles!

We met Gramma on Christmas eve for a holiday cocktail and snacks on the Columbia River

Stacie sporting the new apron she received in the mail from a good friend! Getting ready to make the annual Christmas morning cinnamon rolls. Yum!

Making the Tree Beautiful

I used to fuss over the ornaments on our tree being placed just so, and with many things in life… I’ve had to let go. The kids love to decorate the tree and this year the bottom right side was heavily decorated with James’ very favorite ornaments and most of them were too big and too heavy to be on the small bottom branches, though there they stayed (until Abbie moved them!).

Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we can add those decorations, we need lights. We got the first string on before realizing they didn’t light up, awesome! After much teamwork, we got the lights figured out and on the tree :-)

Abbie used the ladder to hang decorations up high to off set those really low ones!

And of course, our Cinnamon Bear star.

Here is James topping the tree with our silver star ~

and to be fair, because we are a fair family, here is Abbie topping the tree!

A there we have it. Our perfect & beautiful Christmas tree.

Neighborhood Tree Farm

One of the many wonderful things we’ve found since moving into our home is that we have a Christmas tree farm right down our road, which makes finding the perfect tree a simple task! This year the weather was almost warmish and the Littles thought they were going to run all the way to the tree farm, Gramma caught them and loaded them into her car. Abbie and Chandler found the fun seats!

We all searched for our version of the perfect tree.

Maya found her favorite tree and decided to pose there until someone would take her picture!

If you’ll notice we had a couple tree-bugs sneaking out the back of our family photo ~

Maya stayed posed while the rest of the family smiled in front of the tree they chose

Mom had all the kids join around the tree she picked out, which she later realized wasn’t the perfect tree because it leaned to one side very badly and did not like to stay in the stand!

After all the posing, the boys got to work sawing through the trunks while the Littles pushed on the trees and said, ‘timber!’.

The girls helped haul the trees toward the vehicles.

Once the trees were on the strapped down to the vehicles leaving the neighborhood, we had cocoa & peppermint sticks. A family-fun-filled day. It was perfect.

Lights & Decorations!

The kids decorated the little trees they keep in their bedrooms last weekend.

At the same time, I started unpacking my Christmas boxes and have slowly began to decorate the house. Each year I look forward to decorating until I am actually doing it… what alot of work! In the end, it’s always worth it though!

Yesterday was the first day we’ve seen without rain in a very long time. Josh knew he needed to take advantage of the dry day and get up on the roof to hang the lights. They look awesome. I wish I would have taken a picture last night. Our house looked like a perfect little gingerbread house!

Once Josh was on the tippy-top of the roof, he ran out of lights. The kids and I had to decide who was going to brave the ladder and take him the remaining lights.

Chandler gave it a good shot…

In the end, I climbed the ladder onto the roof and tossed the lights to Josh. It was scary up there. It made me appreciate his work and the beauty of our lights even more.

Josh was missing Bill, his light hanging partner. I think the job is more fun and a bit easier with the help of a buddy!

A nighttime photo to come


Every 4 years Josh’s birthday lands on turkey-day. This was one of those years. Josh requested Pizza & Jo-Jo’s. Instead, he got Joshgiving. A somewhat traditional turkey feast, with some of his favorite things. Instead of pumpkin & apple pies we had creme brulee & molton chocolate cakes. It was a day filled with football, food, family, & fun.

Happy Birthday Joshua!

Josh always loves getting those T-shirts with the silly saying. Stephanie is so good at finding the best ones!

Birthday candles & singing…

What a relaxing & fun-filled Joshgiving Day.

Icy Weather = No School

The day before our Thanksgiving holiday was set to begin, the kids and I got an added bonus – an extra day off due to to ice & snow. Josh however did not get so lucky. Instead of sleeping in, he had to brave the roads and head into work! The kids and I spent a lazy day doing not much of anything. James created a map – so he, Max, and I headed off to follow the map into the unknown.

It was chilly out there & we since we don’t have our winter tub out yet, we made due with things we could find around the house. We followed the map uphill & downhill & around a curve. Once we got too cold, we both decided the map was pointing us home.

Once home, James thought it would be fun to slide down the ice-covered driveway on his pockets.

When the sliding was too slow, he stood up & took a run for it… Max thought that looked like fun!

That night, Abbie and Chandler needed something to do, so I put them to work making some of our Thanksgiving Day goodies.They had 2 helpers waiting to assist, if needed!

The girls had fun making Puppy Chow especially once I convinced them to use their hands to mix the chocolate-peanut-buttery-goodness…

I’m thinking they had a good time making something I was kind of dreading… I now know who to call when I need messy snacks made.

Yummy! Great work girls!

Happy Halloween!

Our pretty pumpkins turned into Jack-O-Lanterns. Our children into characters… a day filled with excitement in anticipation of CaNdY & Trick-or-Treats!

Abbie spent the evening with her friends. They spent enough time trick-or-treating to get a bucket filled with treats and a toothbrush! Then the girls spent the rest of the evening hanging out & having fun together.

James decided to retire the vampire and head out as a Fly Fisherman. It was awfully cute to see him lugging the giganormous bucket door to door.

James was dealing with an ear infection on this night and was excited about going out… we decided to head to the high school where he could be warm & cozy indoors and knock on lots of classroom doors!

These are some of Abbie’s friends who handed out candy dressed as volleyball players.

When James knocked on this door he was tricked or rather treated by Miss Ebie!! Miss Ebie is the owner of Country Friends, the school James has attended for the past 3 years. What a fun surprise to see Miss Ebie.

I had to get into the photos cause I dressed up too!

Our Jack-o-Lanterns lit up our front walk well. They were quite creepy!

Abbie’s Cyclops

James’ Creepy-Creeper

Josh’s Mischief Grinning Pumpkin

Stacie with the Fall Leaves Pumpkin… we can’t all be scary!

A frightfully~fun evening.