Saturday, December 30, 2017

Em the AV8R

Em has been working towards her pilot's license. 12/28 was her first SOLO flight. It was SO exciting! Here is the video.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


The girls and I had an opportunity to go to New York with my mom in November. It was a delightful trip.

Here is a little book we compiled of our adventure. :)

Click here to view this photo book larger
Start your own Shutterfly Photo Book today.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


September 20, 2017 market 20 years of marriage. What a journey!

We celebrated our double decade together in California. 

We spent a few days on the Pacific Coast and a few days in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

We started off in Point Reyes

There was so much to explore there with so little time. 

My favorite was the 1870 Point Reyes Lighthouse- so majestic. 

The next day, we drove south on Highway 1. We stopped alot along the way. 

Pigion Point Lighthouse

Pebble Beach

And my favorite, Point Lobos. I am certain this is what heaven will sound and look like.

We stayed the night in Big Sur. We didn't want to leave, for we loved it so much. 


We headed east for the mountains for the second half of our trip. Our rental car, affectionately named Snowflake, did amazing in the mountains. See video below of our windy ride down the mountain. 

The Sequoia National Forest was everything we imagined it to be. These Sequoiadendron giganteums, also known as redwoods, are nature's skyscrapers. They can live up to 3,000 years. 

We were both just in awe by the greatness of these sequoia trees.

This is us with the General Sherman tree. 

Every time we hit a higher elevation, we came across snow. It was lovely! 

The second half of our mountain adventures was spent in the Yosemite National Park

I have never laid my eyes on this type of beauty. God is an amazing Creator. 

We read up about a man named John Muir. He was an avid advocate for the preservation of  wilderness in the US. His quote resonated with Joel and I, which I will end with. 

 "Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike." -John Muir

Joel and I are so grateful we had this opportunity to take in the beauty of the coast and mountains. We felt strengthened and ready for another 20 years! :) 

Friday, July 28, 2017


Our DJ has grown SO MUCH in the last year. His passion for biking has blown up in a weekly dedication to get on his wheels and ride. It's been a delight to watch him morph into a young man. 

This guy loves adventure, battle scars, friends, making videos on his Go PRO and leading. He will be a great leader someday. Now if only he can control his temper. ;) 

Here are two videos from his race yesterday. This was a race series in July. He participated in  every one and got overall 3rd place! He loves wearing his Go Pro while riding and sure does give us a snippet into what it takes to race. Part 1 has a surprise crash. He still got up and kept going and ended up in 3rd! Part 2 is to the finish line. 



Saturday, May 27, 2017


I came across a splendid idea here. I adopted it and here we are almost a month later- changed! I will never go back. Since this has been so profound, I *have* to share.

Instead of buying groceries for the family, I now divide up my grocery budget and have the kiddos plan and buy their own groceries, which include breakfast and lunch items and snacks. I am ONLY in charge of purchasing kitchen staples, meals for dinner, and household items. PROFOUND! 

A few days ago while DJ was checking out, I was explaining our system to the confused cash register gal and sacker guy. After my explanation, the guy sacker said "WOW, you are teaching them life skills!". I beamed with joy and gratefulness- "YEP"

So here is how this works. 
STEP 1: I pass over the amount of money they have for groceries, and I pass out their grocery list template. They will sit and determine what all they can and want to eat within the week. They figure out what Breakfast items they want, what Lunch items they want, and finally what Snacks they want to eat. Again, I provide the staples like peanut butter, honey, dressings, fruits, and such. 

Once they have their menu planned, they list out their grocery list on the other end of the paper. They then guesstimate their items and total purchase. Once all complete, we take to the store! 

STEP 2: While at the store, they have their list in front of them. As they go along they write out the totals for each item. This helps with over spending. My teens have really enjoyed this process. This will be a weekly reality for them when they graduate in a year. 

They end with checking out with their budget money. Funny, the actually prefer buying at Walmart, that way they can keep a close eye on their totals at the self checkout. 

If they have money leftover, they get to keep it for whatever they want. If they overspend, they have to either use their own money or put something back. I have rescued a child only once and had them work off their surplus, but momma wont always be around! 

STEP 3: They go home and label their food items with a permanent marker. They each have their own pantry bag to place their dry storage items in.

Not only am I teaching life skills here, they are also learning to be disciplined and economical. 
-They have learned how to maximize their price per ounce or price per purchase.
-They are rationing out their snacks, sharing in on purchases to make their money stretch, and even decreasing their portion sizes. I laughed when I saw my son rationing his bacon bits for his baked potato. LOL 
-They have gained a better appreciation for food and groceries. 
-They now know whats for snack and lunch and do not bother me anymore. 
For these reasons, I am so incredibly grateful. 

We are now working toward healthier options. My kiddos have learned that junk food is cheaper than healthier foods. The downside to that is they are learning that junk food doesn't sustain them like healthier options do. This will take time to balance and work within a budget. 

I am so thankful for my friend for sharing the original post so I was able to adopt this new idea. Together we are better and smarter! I hope this idea might bless you and your family! 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

An Open Letter to Kayla

Dearest my darling, daughter Kayla,

Wow. What a journey! What a remarkable eighteen years it has been. I cannot believe how fast they have flown by. In the middle of the afternoon at 2:10 PM on Feb. 5, 1999 you made me a mother. Because I was so sick, the events of that day are a bit foggy for me. The one thing I do remember was how strong you were. You shocked all of us, for your arrival was too early, and some expectations were set for your premature birth. Girlfriend, you exceeded all those expectations and surprised us all with your strength! You SCREAMED when you came out. You were pushing and kicking at two pounds. You were a fighter. And you still are. I knew at that moment that God had a call on your life!

I have seen you overcome many obstacles in your eighteen years. Not only have you overcome, but you have done so with so much grace.  I think of the preemie catch up appointments you conquered! I think of the physical elements of being premature you fought through. And I think of the many academic and personal triumphs. I have learned so much from you, Kayla. Your gentleness and courage inspire me. It has been a joy to be your mother and raise you. God has been so faithful over these eighteen years. I have no doubt in my mind that these past experiences will be a guide to you.

Now you are an official adult! CONGRATS! You now have a new chapter to write. The canvas is blank, ready to be colored by your God given gifts and talents. I have no doubt that the decisions you make here in the years to come will advance you for your future life.  You are so wise, even at eighteen! With much prayer and pondering, I have decided to make you a list of 18 WORDS OF WISDOM that you can take with you in the years to come.

1. Let God be your everything!
2. Thank Him for the breath He has given you and use it to encourage and help others.
3. Cherish your family.
4. Take care of your body.
5. Work hard at what you love doing.
6. Always have financial wisdom! Always!
7. Friendship is about quality, not quantity.
8. Know what you want- keep your goals and focus in front of you.
9. Accept and embrace change.
10. Learn from your mistakes!
11. Always be learning and gaining knowledge about this world and yourself.
12. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
13. Don’t worry too much! It’s a waste of time!
14. Don’t settle for less in a man than what you see in your daddy.
15. Nothing good happens past midnight!
16. Take the time to make wise choices and well thought out decisions.
17. Be okay with being different. J
18. No matter how old, how grown, how successful, know your parents are always there for you. 

Happy 18th birthday Kayla Renae! I love you so very much!

P.S. Now you can buy spray paint. LOL

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Educating your children from home is not the easiest thing to do. We are so thankful to be able to homeschool alongside a community of families through Classical Conversations. We engage in all kinds of subjects together.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A avid cyclist

This boy sure has taken up the sport of Mountain Biking. He started last fall and has fallen in love with the sport. He is gaining strength and endurance to climb hills. Soon he will embark on races. :O

SO thankful for the HOT Jr. Cycling Team.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


This boy sure has mastered the game of chess. He got this at Christmas and we have found that he is almost impossible to beat!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Girl Time

Kayla and Emily wanted to sow into the young ladies of their lifegroup. They collaborated and we held a winter renewal with several girls. They hosted a nice dinner, watched movies, and had a crafty time to ponder about the new year.

Thank you God for girls who want to be leaders in their community. Thank you for these beautiful years, may their dreams and aspirations for 2017 come to fruition!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Tradition

SO thankful for our family traditions. It is what BINDS our family together.

Here we are on our 2017 New Year Hike.