family photos by my lovely friend

It's been awhile since we've taken some family pictures...and my amazing friend Julie has the eye & skill to capture anyone!! She is so gifted and really loves what she does!! We so appreciate her taking the time to fit us into her schedule, and capture our family for posterity.

It is so rare to capture all five of us smiling at the same time, in the same direction, etc. But somehow, Julie did it - even each of their unique personalities too!! It also helped that she is so playful & energetic with the girls, and that she knows them well. We went to Wilder Ranch - a favorite spot of ours. Here's a few of our favorites:

One of the best parts of taking picts with Julie, is that her kids came along for the fun - and they really helped to get the girls laughing and acting normal. It might help that Asia & Bella are also such buddies!

Thank you Julie!! ...for your sweet friendship & your generous heart. You have really amazed us with your skills girl!! These pictures mean the world to us!! Love you!! xoxox


yippee for FREE events with friends!

I have been working on this post for WAY too long, and even made a fun video of pictures, since I have so many that I want to post. But for some reason, blogger will not upload my little montage of picts. Oh well!!

Here is one glorious day - filled with lots of friends, and lots of FREE things! Two of my favorite things!! ....thanks to a wonderful homeschool blog that I follow - I found out about a FREE day at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. I somehow registered & got 5 free tickets within the 24 hour window! I remember going here as a little girl, but it has been renovated/upgraded and is so beautiful! We made a day of the trip to San Jose with wonderful friends & Jamma too!!

The kids had so much fun on the carousel, the roller coaster, the petting zoo and climbing & sliding everywhere!! Sydney wanted to pet every goat and give them all hugs. E&S wanted to ride the roller coaster over & over & over. Their squeals of joy were priceless, and they were so brave!!

There were tons of climbing structures & slides galore. The kids had endless energy to spend chasing each other around the park. I got a work out trying to keep up with them!!

Also, there were lots of kiddo rides - cars, bugs, swings & scooter races that made the excitement even greater. How many kids can you squish into this tiny coupe??

Landon & Asia-bug!!We had such a special day with these beloved friends!!

And yet, our day was still going....we had planned to meet more friends at the San Jose Museum of Art for a FREE tour of the gallery! (and dinner @ The Spaghetti Factory) The girls had been asking to see their special buddies (N&A) for awhile!
The Art gallery was so quiet and calm, and there were so many exhibits to amaze us & learn from. We really loved the Kids Art Packets to inspire creativity! We just plopped ourselves down to admire some art, and write poetry about our favorite paintings. I was inspired by the girls' insights and ability to appreciate art in their own unique way! I am in awe of the special friends that we are surrounded by, and so very thankful. (notice the large Trojan Horse in the background - Asia was so excited to see a small replica made from paper!)

We adore these sweet & spunky red-heads!!
We love you B-fam!!


@ the beach in winter!?!

This California weather is so beautiful! We are taking every opportunity to soak up the sun & nature while we have the chance. Winter weather in NW China right now is way below zero, with huge snowfall, ice sculptures downtown, and multiple layers of long johns. Should I feel guilty?? ...um.....nah!!

Daddy went surfing today and us girls played in the sand while trying to spy him on the waves.

We mostly made castles and buried little sisters.
Relaxing in this natural beauty and fresh air brings healing & peace!
...but I will be ready for my China winter soon enough!!


this one wants to surf....

We took a walk on the cliffs tonight...
We brought a yummy snack dinner and watched the waves & surfers.
We watched the sun sink into a sea of gold and pink.

And she told me she really wants to surf.

I can't wait for that day, Miss E!!


tooth #6

Miss A has lost yet another tooth, leaving 4 gummy holes in her smile! She loves to show off her toothless grin, and still find ways to eat carrots. This one came out while eating a granola bar...and no, she does not believe in the tooth fairy anymore....but she is helping to keep the secret going for her sisters. We love your beautiful smile Asia!!


we miss you daddy: 15 days/15 photos!

Daddy has been gone on a business trip for the last 15 days. This is the longest we have all been in two different places and we've missed him like crazy! We sent him a picture/highlight of each day that he was gone, just to include him in our daily joy. The girls had so much fun deciding when/where to take a picture for daddy, and they smiled extra big since they knew he would smiling be on the other end. This was such a FUN project for all of us!

Day one : driftwood castles on the beach!

Day two : pajama party & crafts

Day three : sand & pine cone picnic with friends
Day four : found a nest! ...picnic outside in the garden!

Day five : two-for-Tuesday @ froyo in SC! (the girls were so excited!)

Day six : fun night with little buddies - Sydney really wanted daddy to see her skinned knee.

Day seven : special breakfast together....

Day eight : park adventures with sweet friends

Day nine : do you remember this place??
This is where I walked down the aisle on our wedding day 9+ years ago!

Day ten : sandy girls! yes, Asia is loving the sand and she is holding part of a dead crab!
Day eleven : a pile of kiddos - the McCarlson's!
Day twelve : peaceful walks with Nana
Day thirteen : Poppa on the puppets = 6 delighted girls!

Day fourteen : bouncing in Poppa's truck

Day fifteen : hugs at the airport (poor daddy is so tired from travel) ...but mommy is so overjoyed!!


special highlights to remember...

sweet reunions with old buddies:

another hole in her mouth...three to be exact!

a first theater visit : three giddy girls!
family reunion!! three generations! 23 in all!!


enjoying the sunshine

The weather here has been glorious! You just can't stay indoors. Daddy also leaves in 6 days...so we fill our days to the brim with family, friends, sunshine and adventure. Our thankfulness overflows....

sand in our toes feels normal now.

the driftwood is waiting for imaginative hands to create new designs...

burritos on the cliffs with Poppy!

walking along west cliff with the girls
Thank you Jesus for this life you have given me!!
(and for my hometown!)


M&J - the first wedding of 2011!!

What a wonderful way to start off the new year!! Our sweet J (along with her entire family and friends) planned the most unique and beautiful New Year wedding with her beau M. Every detail was hand-made with their personalities in mind: coffee house, antique touches, Italian cookies, art & music, poetry readings, and beauty everywhere! We are so glad we got to be here in town for this amazing day!

Another amazing detail: brother & family were skyped in from Japan!! We love you J&M, and we love your entire fam!!

pictures taken by Julie Cahill Photography - she's amazing!!