This Kid…

If you’d let him, he’d drink a gallon of milk a day!

There is not a more cheerful, sweet helper in all my house!

He adores his grandparents and calls them often.

And, that just about sums up my Xavers!

Santa Barbara 2019

Our sweet friends moved to Santa Barbara, so we took advantage of the long weekend, and went out to see them.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends…. who invites a family of 7 to stay with them?

It happened to be the free day for the Natural History Museum, so our bird nerds, (Natalie and our friend Mark), were thrilled to see all the birds

The property is so beautiful, with all sorts of fruit trees.  We came home wth avocados and oranges galore.  

The next day we went to the beach and then to East Beach Tacos for dinner and the batting cages.  We returned to sit in the hot tub and watch a movie before spending one more night.  The last morning, we took a walk through their gorgeous neighborhood before the long drive back.  Miraculously, we hit no traffic on the way there or back!

So grateful to know such wonderful people!

Huntington Library

For years I have tried to get the free tickets for Huntington Library.  They “sell out” within seconds.  This time I let Daniel try, and guess what… Since we were only allowed 5 free tickets and Daniel had gone before, he sent the 4 big kids and me while he watched X-man.

There was so much to see, and I had no idea what to expect.  The many gardens and different biomes were incredible.  The museum portion had a page from John Audobon for Natalie to gawk at, and the original Huck Finn for Allison to geek out about.  If we had had more time, (and if the younger ones weren’t there), we would have spent quite a bit of time there!

We ended our day in the Residence of Huntingon and his wife.  Before that I hadn’t even realized that this had once been a personal estate of a very wealthy couple, who had earned their fortune through the railway system.

I am hoping I get a chance to go beck with the older kids and just look at some of the older documents, and spend more time in the gardens.  It is just so spectacular.  It has been on my bucket list for quite some time, and I am thankful I finally get to cross that one off!

Sierra Turns 10!

…And the next day, November 2, 2019: Sierra’s 10th birthday… she was still sick!  She enjoyed presents, and a lot of time in her bed with her i-pad.  I honestly missed her that day!  By dinner, we asked if she still wanted her special 10 year old dinner with just Mom and Dad, and she said yes.  So, by her request we went to sushi!  (Meanwhile, Grandma and Grandpa took the other kids to In ‘N Out. )

 It was a nice time, though I could tell she wished she was feeling better.  Happy birthday, sweet girl!!

Sierra’s Special Day

She had it planned for weeks… perhaps even months.  This girl knew what she wanted to do for her tenth birthday celebration!  Rather than a party, she opted for a horseback ride with her best friend and her sister… then to Panera for lunch… then to Boba Break for her favorite drink… an afternoon spent with her friend in her room (making slime with her new slime scents!), and finally, cheese fondue and Caesar salad for dinner.

The only thing she (couldn’t have) planned for was waking up sick.  Thankfully, she was still able to celebrate, but she definitely didn’t feel like herself.  Poor Sierra!  This was November 1st… the next day was her actual birthday and…

Halloween 2019

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that it’s November and Halloween is past.  Wasn’t it just summer?

We had a pretty low-key Halloween, but it was nice!!  We had one skier, one dragon, one cell membrane, and 2 cow girls.  Then there was the dog.  She was a clown for all of 5 seconds.  But, she did get to enjoy her first trick-or-treating experience and did quite well.

Grandma and Grandpa were here, and we had our traditional sloppy joes dinner with orange jello, and Grandma roasted us some pumpkin seeds.  Salt and butter — can’t go wrong!!  Until next year, Halloween…

Firefighter Picnic 2019

It was another beautiful, (warm!!) firefighter picnic.  This year we brought along friends, which made it even more special!  In my friend’s words, “It’s like a small town harvest festival.”  Yup!

They added cotton candy this year… I may have had 3, (which was still less than Sierra!)

Guess who won the pie eating contest?  (And has decided she will not be having lemon meringue pie for a while now!)

I tried the hula hoop contest.  I failed miserably.  Somebody should have told me I’m not a kid anymore!

I was finally able to talk Xavi into going on the ferris wheel with me… and he loved it, just like last year!!


After a few days of the Santa Ana winds this week, I spent most of my morning doing a little yard clean-up.  I was able to fill an entire outdoor trash can with pine needles, and still have another pile that could probably fill another! Sadly, it’s more like a summer day than a fall one, so I am now sweaty and dirty and ready to hop in the shower.

First, though, I just had to document this little surprise I found in our garden.  I had completely forgotten that I had planted radishes this year, because they never came up.  I planted the little seeds way back in April!  When I noticed these leaves sprouting, I was curious… I waited a week or 2, then gave a little tug and out popped my radish!  I am not much of a fan of radishes, but the miracle of watching a seed transform into  what it’s created to be never ceases to amaze me.

Black Belts!

Two and a half years of workouts, memorizing poomseis and curriculum kicks, testing, board breaking, memorizing rules and showing up and now they’ve done it — these three are now officially Taekwondo black belts!  In the top picture, they are with our phenomenal instructor, Master Nick.  In the bottom photo, they are with Grand Master Kim.  Most importantly, they continue to love it and work hard…

Way to go, my loves!  Congratulations!!!

Now on to second degree…