About Me

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I am a Christian. I am a loving wife to my Army-National-Guard-Recruiter-Husband of 15 years. I am a stay-at-home-mother to our four handsome sons. I am a photographer. My blog is about as erratic, eclectic and random as I am, painted with rainbows of photos and words that are hills and valleys you travel; so lovely sometimes that they hurt you. These are the stories of how far we've come in the last 15 years as Christians, as a family and as individuals.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas was very intimate this year, just the six of us, no out-of-town family visiting, but my sister, Lauren did come by with my nephew, Ryan on Christmas Eve and we exchanged gifts and played games.  I cooked a small ham and some traditional side dishes and the plan was to watch a movie after dinner, but as it happens, Ryan got really tired and irritable so we watched the movie after they left.

The boys got the movie Dolphin Tale for Christmas so that's what we watched. Aunt Lauren got Scrabble for the boys and they couldn't wait to play and we were able to get a game in before she and Ryan left. Then everyone went to bed around 10:00 PM so we could all wake up rested Christmas morning.
~ Christmas Morning ~

 We gave the boys a mini donut maker and let them open it on Christmas Eve so guess what we had for breakfast Christmas Morning?  MINI DONUTS!!!  They loved decorating them and choosing different batter/flavor; the favotire was the vanilla batter with a traditional glaze.
~I love Hayden's face~
The big "Santa" gift was this awesome basketball backboard and hoop!  After Brad installed it above the garage on the front of the house the boys were thrilled to "play basketball" which consisted of them trying to see if they could get the ball in the hoop!  They know nothing of the rules of the game.  Hayden was the first one to to make it in with his mini basketball! 
Brad had brought home two regular-sized camouflage National Guard basketballs (and since Tristen was not interested in playing ball outside with his brothers, he's turning into such a teenager).  Each boy had their own ball and they'd throw them at the hoop at the same time and "whoevers ball makes it in, wins!" 
Merry Christmas Everyone, I hope yours was as full of life and laughter as ours was!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Annual Veteran's Christmas Party {and Hayden sings carols}

Each year Mrs. Broom (an amazing woman/teacher) hosts a Christmas Party for our local veterans and veteran parents of our schools (Discovery) attendees (yep, that includes our own personal soldier, Brad/Dad) to honor them and recognize and appreciate their past, present and future sacrifices.  Well, this year, Brad surprised her with a certificate of appreciation and award for her unwavering support.  She was brought to tears and very humbled and honored that after all these years, she's being recognized for her loyalty. 

Mr. Galvez was there, of course, with the K-Kids who sang beautiful Christmas carols for the veterans to enjoy.
In addition to presenting Mrs. Broom with a personal certificate and award, Brad also presented Discovery School of the Arts with a certificate and award for allowing Mrs. Broom to support our local troops because without their approval she wouldn't be able to do all she does.  Mr. Galvez accepted on behalf of the school.
The veterans and their families gave a standing ovation and an abundant round of applause.

The next morning, Hayden and his class performed Christmas carols out in the cold for all their parents.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Award Winning

Every year since the second grade, the boys have had to take the STAR test (Standardized Testing and Reporting) at Discovery School of the Arts.  Each year they have scored in the "advanced" section that proves they are well above average in Language Arts and Math.  This, however, was the first year that they've given awards to the students who earned advanced scores in either Language Arts, Math or Both. 

Tristen is not shown here receiving an award because he graduated Discovery (K-6) in June and now attends Encore Jr/Sr High but I feel it is honorable to mention that he scored advanced in BOTH Language Arts and Math (he would have received a medal for that!).
Seth, who is currently in the 5th grade, scored advanced in BOTH Language Arts and Math and earned himself a medal!
 Seth's two best friends, Hunter and Kevin also received medals for achieving advanced scores in BOTH Language Arts and Math - they keep with good company!
Garrett, who is currently in the 4th grade, scored advanced in BOTH Language Arts and Math and earned himself a medal too but there's MORE...
 Garrett also received one of only SIX trophies awarded to the fourth grade class for scoring a PERFECT 600 in one category - Garrett's is for Math!  What a whiz!!!
 One of Garrett's best friends and Tristen's best friend's sister (Garrett won't allow me to put that she is his friend on here), Elias & Emily, also earned medals for achieving advanced scores in BOTH Language Arts and Math!!  What's that they say, "guilty by association?" - this time it's a positive influence!  Good work young people!!
~notice Garrett could hardly take his eyes off his trophy~
We are so proud of all these kids (but especially ours *wink)!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November Happenings

To start, my 2004 Nissan Quest got a makeover!  She got some engine and body work done, now we're just waiting on her deep cleaning to get done (had to wait until after Christmas to afford that part), so stay tuned for before-&-after pics as she gets ready for the next eight loyal years of service to this family (hopefully).

Now - Brad.  He hates it when I write or share anything regarding him... so I may very well be in for a reaming if he were to ever find out I posted this!  He has been struggling for many years with severe, chronic allergies.  He finally got tested and found out he's allergic to nearly everything!  He also found out one of the reasons he doesn't get any releif when using his prescription nasal spray is because he had a near complete blockage in his left nasal passage... so he went in for a septoplasty surgery.

Just before surgery and just after...
 The recovery proved to be WAY more than he'd bargained for.  He was told it's "no big deal" but he endured a lot of pain and swelling (and of course, there was nothing I could do to ease his sufferring).  I shared my woes with my bible study group and they all really came through for us!  Not only did they pray for a swift recovery and minimal suffering, they also brought easy-to-fix meals for me to pop in the oven or frozen dinners and snacks for the boys to eat as well, it all was so very helpful!
 God is so GREAT!!

**Random** caught Garrett asleep with his book, thought it was a cute moment to capture, so I did.  He's such a bookworm!  I love it!!
**Now back to Brad's story (sort of)**
God works in mysterious ways!  Brad and his family are not what one would call "close."  In fact, there have been times I've sworn he goes out of his way to avoid them altogether.  But when Brad went in to have the stints removed from his nose roughly two weeks following his surgery, it went so much more smoothly than we had expected and we had time on our hands and were already near where his mother & brother live so I suggested we stop in for a short surprize visit... and he agreed!! 
We got to meet our newest neice, Kailynn, seven months old.
As I compose this blog, I researched when we last saw Emberlynn & Ethan and that was January 2011 for Randy (brad's brother's college graduation) - nearly a full year ago (and they just live 30 minutes away)!!
 I've gona through a bit of a transformation (and they are young) so they barely recognized me!
 I'm not sure if I've mentioned, but Brad's mom, Joann, had a rough 2010-2011  She battle breast cancer, had to go through chemo and radiation and inevitably had to undergo a masectomy, but God has blessed her and she pulled through!
 She sees these grandchildren of hers daily and says they keep her feeling younger than ever!
 Kailynn & Lauri (mom)
 Emberlynn stole Grandma Joann's head wrap and put it on Kailynn - adorable!!
 Emberlynn & Me
 Me & my Mother-in-Law, Joann
 Emberlynn, a natural beauty.  Ethan pulled out his trombone to show us what he's been learning.
 We surprized the boys when they got home from school... we brought their cousins up to spend five whole days with us at our house!!  Hayden and Emberlynn were inseparable!
They went home just before Thanksgiving and we had a quiet small Thanksgiving dinner at home, just the six of us.  We have so much to be thankful for!