Oak Glen 2019

Every year it’s awesome… but when God gives us a cooler-than-usual-for-Southern-California fall day… I just can’t stop smiling!!  We have our tradition down pat.  First stop: the park for apples and play time!

The kids were having so much fun, they were hardly ready to move on.  But, after the park comes our apple and jelly/ spread sampling, lunch, and then our hike!

They’re a little hard to see, but Natalie stole my camera to capture a few bird pictures.  This park is loaded with blue birds, blue jays, and woodpeckers!

(Above) Sampling cider, apples, and jellies.

(Below) Our traditional hot dog lunch.

Let the hike begin!

This year, we found a pile of rocks with words on them.  We had fun making sentences… (Especially if they included the words “bear” and “poop.”)

My arteeest!

SO many beautiful flowers, bugs, bees, and butterflies!!

This day was especially special for Xavi.  It marked the one year anniversary of his adoption.  We’re so blessed to have you in our family, dude!

Can you spy the baby duck???


We found this crazy tree and decided we would give the fruit a try.  I figured if the bears could eat it, (as evidenced by the many piles of bear skat), then we could try it, too.  The consensus was that it tasted like a mix of cherries and peaches.  chereaches???

I came upon this scene and yelled, “Don’t move!  I need a picture,”  After all, I don’t often get a chance to document the fact that they do like each other after all… 🙂

It was a lovely day.  We went home with a huge basket of apples, sun-kissed faces, dirty feet, and content hearts.


Great Wolf Lodge


Over the last 5 years, we have tried to find a time in the fall to pick up our kids from their co-op and surprise them with a mini vacation.  I don’t know who loves the surprise more.. the kids or us!

The last few times we did this, we went to San Diego.  This time we took the kids to their favorite hotel; Great Wolf Lodge.  Since the boys didn’t have an afternoon class, Daniel took them down early.  That meant the girls and I had our own special date before heading down, so we stopped for boba and snacks for the drive.

Water slides, restaurants, more water slides, ice cream, tv in the hotel, (a treat since we haven’t had tv in years!), water slides, and a stop at our special coffee spot, Roasting Waters, on the way home…. it was fabulous!

It is absolutely amazing that a one-night trip can feel so good.  Not-to-mention, we got our exercise in climbing all those steps for the water slides.  I drove home feeling beat… and blessed!

LA County Fair 2019

We did it!  We survived another scorching day at the fair… To be honest, it was actually a wonderful day!  I was not too excited to go because of the heat and missing a day of school on our first full week, but I’m so glad we did.  Despite the heat, it was one of the least crowded days I’ve ever experienced, which made it so much more enjoyable.  Not to mention, we met up with our dear friends that make everything more fun!!

This may sound a little crazy, but I fell in love with this little brown calf.  She was so sweet and now I want a cow.  Ha!

The annual chocolate milk picture… I should really do a post with all the pictures over the years!

Finding the queen bee and eating our honey sticks!

They had a new section this year: panning for gold and homesteading.  Once again, the lack of crowds made it so fun!  There was only one other family in this section.

Seeing the gardens always inspires me.  Artichoke flowers are so beautiful.  Perhaps we should grow artichokes!

Baby animals…. awww….

Sierra and Malachi each did 6 book reports, so we had a total of 12 free rides.  Generously, they shared with Allison, Natalie, and Xavi!  (Otherwise, rides are close to $9 each; INSANE!)  Other than Xavi’s little train ride, our friends introduced us to the “Big ride” section this year.  When did my kids get so big??

Allison and Natalie went in to feed the Lorikeets.  I sent them with the camera, and I think they did pretty good!  We finished our day stopping at the McDonalds for slushes and ran into some friends we met at camp.  Small world!

Lesson to myself: You will always be tired.  You will always be busy.  You will always have school work and house work, BUT… it’s always worth it!

Starting their Homeschool Academy

They couldn’t sleep last night.  They woke-up bouncing off the walls.  When I told them they seemed more excited to go to school than to Disneyland, they confirmed it was true.  (Disneyland has long lines anyway, I was told!)

On the other hand, I slept great.  I also woke-up early and couldn’t have been more excited myself.  For the first time in 14 years, I was going to drop ALL my kids off for 3 glorious hours.  I may have wasted the first hour running some necessary errands, but once I walked into my quiet house, the espresso machine was the first thing that broke the silence. I may have enjoyed a breakfast cookie and iced coffee… in peace!!

A community my kids adore..

Teachers other than myself…

Time alone in the house…

“healthy” cookies and iced coffee…

Feeling so grateful…