Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Friends & Family,

Another year has flown by and I’m trying to find a few minutes to scribble out what we’ve been up to…

Joel is 18 months old. He has confirmed for us what having a boy is all about. He is active, rambunctious, and into everything. His favorite words are gog (dog), go, and uh-oh. As soon as he wakes up each morning he hits the ground running. He can climb onto the kitchen table, spill dog food everywhere, or smash a bottle of nail polish on the tile floor faster than any girl we’ve raised.

Grace celebrated her 3rd birthday in October. She made history in our family this summer by breaking the FIRST bone (her right arm). She broke it climbing out of her crib. She sported a pink then purple cast just as summer was debuting and all the other kids were swimming. Grace loves to play in her kitchen, take baths, and being big sis to Joel.

Olivia started kindergarten this fall and continues to amaze us with her love of life. She is fun, makes friends easily, and can make a mismatched outfit look so cute we dare not make her change. She loves school, reading, riding her big wheel, wearing her pajamas, singing, and touching and her toes to her nose.

Ellie is in 2nd grade. She is quiet, shy, observant, super helpful, and very reliable. She loves to read, write stories about her family, play uno, and ride her scooter/bike. She is tall and has the longest legs, I have a feeling she’ll be taller than her big sis soon.

Audrey is in 4th grade. She is a driven, achievement-oriented, and helpful first born child. At the end of last year, Audrey decided to take advantage of a great opportunity and attend Manchester GATE school for 4th grade. The new school requires her to ride a bus to/from school. She enjoys school, training and walking Gabbie (our dog), running cross country, doing plays at school, helping cook in the kitchen, and playing with her younger siblings.

I’m continuing to keep very busy even without working outside the home. Taxiing the girls to/from school, helping with homework/school projects, helping in their classrooms, going on field trips… some days that seems like a full-time job. In my time off, I enjoy exercising, cooking, hanging out with friends, drinking coffee, and facebook. I ran two half-marathons this year (Disneyland and Fresno), and hope to run more in 2011.

Joshua remains busy at work. Kaweah recently began a merger with their sister company W.M. Lyles Co., whom Joshua now works for. The transition is keeping him hopping, but he continues to enjoy what he does and is especially grateful for the wonderful group of people that he works with. In his free time, he loves hanging out with the kids, extended family, and friends. He also enjoys spending time helping with different ministries at the church and taking the occasional trip out of town.

We pray this letter finds you and your family well. We hope you experience love, joy, and peace this holiday season. We are blessed to have you in our lives, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Aspiring Actresses (and a boy with a sword)

My oldest sister, Cheryl is amazing! She offered to babysit so we could go out to dinner in downtown Prescott. We were away for a few hours, came home to a production put on by a box of dress-up clothes, 4 sassy girls, and one amazingly patient woman. Cheryl claimed she was only the costume director and Audrey really produced and directed the play. The play had something to do with 2 princesses, one bunny fairy, and a sassy bumble bee.
watch out Hollywood...

Joel trying to get his place in the limelight, of course he is holding a sword (his favorite toy)

Cheryl with the actresses :)

Dinner Out in Prescott, AZ

A night out without the kiddos, lots of childhood memories, we laughed so much our faces hurt by the end of the night. This was also the night of Carlos' FIRST chinese fire drill, Lesley was driving and Josh and I took it upon ourselves to teach Carlos :) Great night!
all of us (Josh, me, Jennifer, Eric, Peggy, Kevin, Lesley, and Carlos) at dinner

Jennifer & Eric (my nephew and his wife...our hosts for the week, brave souls)

Peggy and Kevin

where we ate

Lesley, me

Monday, November 22, 2010

Prescott fun

Our Prescott vacation over Thanksgiving was awesome. We did a lot of relaxing, lots of catching up with family, lots of eating, and lots of card playing. The favorite games were uno, war, and go fish. The girls are learning how to strategize, win, and lose....gracefully! Josh, Grace, and mean game of war

uno madness

look how focused Eric is, the girls named him "Fish Face"....maybe this picture is why

My dad and Joel

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prescott, Arizona OR BUST

Fresno, California to Prescott, Arizona
600+/- miles
10+/- hours in the car (with no stops)
which means 12 hours in the car with an 18 mo old, 3, 5, 7, and 9 year old, oh boy! in pajamas, breakfast in hand, ready to go

this is our rig... before you laugh at our trailer please remember we have FIVE children, TWO adults, a playpen, a stroller, and a week's worth of luggage that must go with us :)

Grace watching a movie (and yes I should brush her hair, but it was 7 a.m.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Disneyland 2010

Earlier this year we got FREE Disneyland tickets thru the 'Give a Day, Get a Day' promotion Disneyland was running. We volunteered at the Community Food Bank here in Fresno, awesome experience, we will definitely do it again, even if we don't get Disneyland tickets :)

We had a great time at Disneyland, we went on a Monday in a true effort to stay away from huge crowds, and we were successful....most rides were a 20 min wait. This year was especially fun because the girls were old enough to really ride most everything.

I loved getting to know each girl's rollar coaster personality. Audrey HATES rollar coasters, we went on the Matterhorn and she sat with her head buried into me yelling that she hates rollar coasters and she was going to die. As soon as the ride was over she smiled, she went on to try Thunder Mountain, but hated that one too, she could not be coaxed to even try Space Mountain. Ellie and Olivia loved the fast rides, they wanted to go on Space Mountain over and over. They loved Splash Mountain! Grace was not big enough to do any BIG coasters but she would have. She loved dumbo, autopia, and pirates. It was an amazing, magical day!

I think we loved Disneyland just as much as the kids.

all of us Disneyland, Josh, Carlos, Lesley, Audrey, Ellie, Liv, and Grace...first ride Pirates of the Carribean

family shot (minus Joel, who was with Grandma)

Liv, Audrey, Ellie

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My birthday....the big 35!

I turned 35, wow, that's halfway to 70! My birthday was perfect. My family brought me panera pastries and coffee in bed, I had lunch with sweet friends, and I had dinner at my favorite place in the whole I got new pajamas, a crock pot, and laser hair removal (that may be too much information). My pjs are warm and flannel, my crock pot is still in the box but I'm excited about the huge amount of roast, soup, and pulled pork I can make in that thing, but my hairless armpits are really the most exciting gift of all! Josh wrapped up an empty razor box and Liv gave it to me and screamed, "You'll never have to shave again!" Here's to 35 and hairless armpits :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Kendall and Audrey, at the Sutton's Halloween party

the trick-or-treating gang (Kyllos, Halls, Wilkinsons), that folks equals 14 children...when our neighbors opened their front doors more than one jaw dropped

Audrey: in-n-out employee

Ellie: go go girl

Olivia: cheerleader

Grace: mouse

Joel: superman

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pure Joy

Joy came to visit from Thailand! It's been almost 5 years since we saw her last. Joy lived with my family for 3 years while we were in high school. She was in the United States for 3 weeks, she came to Fresno and experienced Halloween with us. Joel was superman so we dubbed Joy "Lois Lane"....she really wanted to watch the kids trick-or-treat. My kids loved having her here, it went too fast! Olivia, Joy, Ellie

Joy, me, Liv (those eyes)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grace turns THREE!

Grace is THREE... We celebrated with homemade mac and cheese for dinner and homemade cupcakes with vanilla frosting and pink sprinkles for dessert. This a picture of Grace and her most favorite friend, Drew. He came over and enjoyed dinner and dessert with us! Grace is fun, easy going (most of the time), absolutely loves Caillou, and never too far from her blankey and pacifier.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cross City Race 2010

Cross City Race....10k...6.2 miles....59.03 minutes
we did it!

Running slowly while a stranger snaps a pic of us (between mile 3 or 4 I think)

Gina and me before the race started

so happy it's done

Flexing and running, goofing around

Thursday, October 7, 2010

At the park

September 2010

Disneyland half-marathon update (better late than never)

Kathy, Brianne, me, and Gina (still smiling...this pic was probably taken around mile 3)
I did it...I survived...I was tired and hungry after completing the Disneyland half-marathon but mostly just happy I finished! I ran the 13.1 miles in 2 hrs 34 min. Pretty sure I could have run faster and improved my time a bit by not stopping to go to the bathroom and running faster thru all the Disney sites, but I ran a pace that felt good and I took it all in. Disneyland and California Adventure at 6 a.m. with no people just runners, surreal. Running thru Angel Stadium while listening to Five for Fighting's "100 years" surreal. Running with my best childhood friend, Kathy, surreal. So happy I did it! This weekend I'll run a 10k here in Fresno with another friend, then I'm not sure what's next. The romantic running with Josh isn't happening....maybe in the spring we will run a race togather, we will see.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2 days til the Disneyland Half-Marathon

Well it's almost here....Sunday I'm running the Disneyland half-marathon. I promise lots of pictures and a summary of my experience. I ran a half-marathon in San Francisco in 2000. I had no babies and was working full-time. A lot has changed in the last ten years....but I actually think I'm in better shape now than I was back then. We will see. Wonder what my next adventure will be? I think I'm going to try to convince Josh to run a 10k with me in October, running together seems romantic :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Friends, Bridal Shower, and Swimming

This weekend I got the chance to go to southern CA for a bridal shower for one of my closest childhood friends. Carrie moved in across the street from me and my family in 6th grade. She was in 6th, her sister was in 4th and my sis became instant friends with her and her sister. Carrie spent hours at our home and really became like a sister to me. After high school, she went to USC, I went to Biola (then Fresno State) but we remained friends. Eventually her parents moved away from the house across the street from my parents house. We went to college (and I got married), then I became a teacher, and she went to graduate school, then I got pregnant and she went to medical school. Now I have been married for 13 years and have 5 kiddos, Carrie is an ob/gyn with a practice in Texas. Our lives have gone very different directions, but her friendship is still a treasure to me. I am thrilled to get to be a bridesmaid in her August wedding. Josh and I will travel to Oregon to be part of this awesome celebration. It was so fun to reconnect with my childhood friends, I could spend hours talking about the fun we had and laughing at the stupid things we did. I am grateful today for lifelong friends!
Kathy, Carie, Carrie, and me....high school cronies
me and the bride to be, Carrie

My mom, me, and Lesley (my sis) at the shower
While I was reminiscing with old friends at the shower, Josh took the kiddos to my brother's. Kevin, Josh, and the kiddos swam. Madison and Joel are a couple weeks apart, Madison was born May 18th, Joel was born June 9th. They are so cute playing together!

Olivia and her BIG smile

pouty faces

Madison and Kevin (I tried to get a picture of Harrison but he didn't want anything to do with that)

Joel and Madison...cousins

Joel....such a trooper on the long 4 hr drive home

Friday, July 30, 2010

Our Week in Pictures

Kristen took Audrey for lunch, manicure/pedicure for her birthday.

Grace decided to color her legs with a black marker, she colored Joel too, I just didn't get his picture.

We made 9 jars of homemade dill pickles.

Grace cleaning the kitchen counter, it's a full body workout.

Haircut day...cuts for all the girls. Getting ready for school to start August 16th.