Vacation Part 5 - Bellingham, WA cont.

>> November 1, 2010

Before we started our road trip to Washington, we searched for family friendly things to do along the way.

One of the things we came across and put on the possible list of things to do was a hedge maze in Skagit County (where the tulip festival is every April). 
We considered visiting on our way to Bellingham from Medford, but there was a HUGE accident that closed down Interstate 5 in Chehalis and added quite a few hours to our trip. 
Then we considered going on our way back to Seattle from Bellingham but we didn't want to limit our time with our friends so we decided to see if they wanted to join us.
It turns out, it was located right by Tyler's work and we were going to have to go near there to pick him up anyways. The only bummer was that he didn't get off work in time to join us.

We had so much fun. 
And as a bonus, we all got a basket of berries with our admission to the maze.

(I love this picture!)

That evening we had dinner in.
Watched a movie.
And just enjoyed spending time together.

On Sunday, we spent the morning sharing in worship with our friends' new church family.
Came home for lunch and some lazy Sunday afternoon time...

Then we headed back to Fair Haven to experience "the bookstore".
(If you know Tyler and Dusti, you know what I'm talking about.
If you don't - this is one of their favorite place to spend their Sunday afternoons)

My kids LOVE books.
Bookstores are Merritt's favorite kind of store.
And Molly LOVED reading to anyone who would listen.
Really - she didn't even need someone to listen.
(Now I understand how they can spend hours here.)

After the bookstore, we grabbed some dinner before heading to our next destination.
Our friends suggested a family friendly pizza place with DE-LICIOUS food.
And to pass the time while waiting for our food, they bring the kids a ball of pizza dough to play with - or eat - or....

Tyler, Dusti, Micah, Asher, Eden,
We had an amazing time with you.
We miss you immensely and wish we lived close enough to do this more often.



Vacation Part 4 - Bellingham, WA

>> October 31, 2010

I LOVE Bellingham!
While we were there I told our friends that I wish there was a real floo network between Hanford and Fair Haven (If you don't know what the floo network is, that tells me you've never read Harry Potter.)

We specifically went there to visit some friends who moved there last year.
I was so grateful we had a few days to visit with them.
We even got to worship with them on Sunday morning at their new church.
When it was time to get in the car and make our way to our next destination, it was hard to say goodbye.
And tears were shed.
Our kids had so much fun together.

I took A LOT of pictures.
If pictures bore you, it's time for you to say goodbye, because I had a hard time narrowing down what to post here and so there are A LOT of pictures in this post. (I did put them into photo collages to make the post a little smaller.)

On Saturday we went into Fair Haven, walked down the boardwalk, picked flowers, ate berries (that were still a little too sour), drank coffee, played - a lot, caught crabs, climbed trees, had fish & chips and the best soft serve ice cream we've ever eaten...

Mason and Micah had so much fun together...

As did Asher and Molly...

Notice how windy it was?
It actually started raining on us while we were getting lunch.
It was such nice August day for us.

After spending the morning and early afternoon in Fair Haven, we headed off to our next destination - The Berry Farm Hedge Maze and picking up Tyler from work.
I'll post the rest of our adventures in Bellingham tomorrow.


What do you do when it's too hot and humid to step away from the AC?

>> October 4, 2010

Today was a BEAUTIFUL day in Hanford, CA
Especially after the past couple of weeks that made it seem like we lived in Florida instead of CA.

The days have been no fun for anyone.
It's too hot to go out and play and the kids are going stir crazy inside.
My genius husband worked past the heat though and got the kids playing outside.

I was trying to get some work done at the computer and heard LOTS of laughing and screaming coming from the backyard. When I went to check out the fun this is what I found at the back door...

And this is what I found in the backyard...

I actually drove through snow today on my way to Irvine for a workshop that I'm attending tomorrow.
I hope summer is actually done.
I'm grateful it feels like fall today.


Vacation Part 3 - Medford, OR

>> October 1, 2010

I only have a few minutes, but I wanted to share our short stop in Medford, OR.

While searching for a hotel to stay in between Angels Camp, CA and Bellingham, WA, Bruce's cousin suggested we check out the Super 8 Motel in Medford. She said it would be a fun place for the kids to stay. When Bruce mentioned it to me I had flashbacks of my mom looking for a Motel 6 when we traveled, because it was cheap and usually clean. Now Super 8 Motel is not usually the place with the GREAT FUN FOR KIDS reputation. In fact, it usually has the same reputation as the Motel 6 we looked for when I was a kid - CHEAP AND USUALLY CLEAN.
But the suggestion came from a family member who lives somewhat close to Medford, so we checked it out. And the kids are still grateful to Marianne for the suggestion.

Check it out...

Oh yes, and look who learned to swim this year...

We got up early and hit the road, even though the kids begged for the pool "just ONE more time?"
We had to get driving so we could reach Bellingham and these FABULOUS friends...

There's so much more to share, but that's for another post.


Vacation part 2 - Gold Country cont.


There were so many things to do and places to see around Angels Camp.
We gave the kids some options and these are the places we ended up...

Jamestown - Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

I wish we had been here on a weekend so we could've ridden the train.
It would have made the visit more exciting for the kids.
There are definitely some historic trains in Jamestown, but not historic for Gold Rush reasons.
They're historic because of how many movies and TV shows have been filmed here.
This is where the Petticoat Junction was.
This is where the Ingalls family caught the train when they left their little house on the prairie and went to the big city.
Movies such as Unforgiven and Back to the Future III were filmed here.
It was fun to see some of the sets and props that are used.
All that being said, I wish we had gone to Columbia first so we could have spent more time there and less time here.

The same day we visited Jamestown, we went to Columbia to pan for gold.
(Something Merritt REALLY wanted to do.)

What a fun experience that was, but by the time we were done panning for gold, the city was shutting down for the evening. This is a place we will definitely come back to explore more of.
(Hopefully the summer before Mason studies CA history.)
This little city has not burned down or shut down since the gold rush days AND they've worked very hard to preserve it. We missed getting a stagecoach ride but that is something we will definitely do the next time around.

Mercer Caverns
The Gold country is full of different caverns. The Mercer Caverns came highly recommended so we decided to check them out. This was definitely a highlight for the whole family. I was surprised at how well the kids did with listening to the guide (who was GREAT) and not touching (a VERY stressed rule.)

We were all pretty amazed at how they toured these caverns in the late 1800's by candlelight and rope - 16 stories underground.

Tomorrow we'll head to Oregon and Bellingham, WA


Vacation Part 1 - Gold country

>> September 30, 2010

Yes, I am FINALLY getting to share our vacation with you.
This vacation started because my family was having a reunion in Seattle.
Because we had to drive, we took it slow and made it a fun AND learning experience for the kids.
Merritt had just finished studying CA history so we decided to make a few stops in a couple of the historic gold rush cities on the way. And then some GREAT friends offered us their timeshare for a couple of days right in the middle of the historic area - Angels Camp.
So right after our worship gathering on Sunday, we piled in the car and started driving.

Our first stop (only about 3 1/2 hours away) - Angels Camp (the home of Mark Twain's famous Jumping Frog Jubilee)

The kids were excited to be out of the car and officially on vacation.
And they LOVED the time share we stayed in.
Especially the rec room and pool - and the cable TV, which we don't have at home.

And they LOVED the yogurt shop in town...

We need one of these in Hanford!

Tomorrow I'll share about some of the sites we visited in Gold country.


A Month?

>> September 28, 2010

I just looked at my last post and realized it has almost been a whole month since I posted.

At the beginning of this month we had a lot of computer trouble that took me about 2 weeks to get figured out. We are up and running again with a new external hard drive, which I am still organizing.
I feel like I've been cleaning and organizing my computer all month.
And really, I have.

My plan today was to finally get my vacation pictures up here and play a bit of catch up, but alas, the pictures are on Bruce's computer. (See why I've been organizing? I need everything in one place so I can find it when I need it.)
I will get them off of his computer and onto the new hard drive that is now networked
and then onto this blog tomorrow.

I'd do it tonight, but I'm off to worship practice and my prayer meeting.
Hope you have a great evening!!!


New Friends

>> September 2, 2010

A couple of weeks ago we were in Lakewood for the wedding of some friends.
Bruce and I were photographing the wedding and because of unforseen circumstances, Molly ended up going with us. (You can read more about it here)

There were so many great friends there that we hadn't seen in a long time, and that we didn't have near enough time to catch up with. One of those friends had a daughter shortly before Molly was born and they've never met, but guess who was at the wedding?
YES. Molly finally got to meet and play with Emma.
They had a great time playing together. I wish we could have play dates more often.

And speaking of play dates...
After the reception was over, there was another reception at the beach over a bonfire.
The friends we were staying with offered to keep Molly while we went, which of course we jumped all over.
But in the midst of that, Molly made some more great new friends.
She LOVED her play date with Mark.

Thanks again Mark and Holly.
And I'm looking forward to your visit Jenny. (yes, I'm going to hold you to it!)



>> August 19, 2010

I know... I need to post some vacation pictures.
In all honesty, I just barely got them all off of my camera and I don't have time to get them ready for my blog yet, because I have a newborn shoot tomorrow before we get ready to leave town for a wedding we are photographing on Friday.

I DID want to share this special guy with you though...

Malachi was born 2 days after we got home from vacation.
We didn't think we were going to make it home in time for his arrival because his mom was having lots of contractions on and off before we left town and we were gone for 2 weeks.
So the joke around here now is that he was waiting for us.
But really, he was actually born on his due date and right on time.

These were taken just a little while after his arrival into this world.
There is so much poking and prodding, weighing and measuring, cleaning and fussing with by the nurses right after birth.

He sure is adored.
I think mom and dad will be in this position a lot in the weeks to come as they just marvel over this new gift to their family.

And somebody's a big sister now...

Congratulations dear friends.
Thank you for letting us be there to capture these moments for you.
We love you!!!



>> August 11, 2010

Hi friends.
I know it's been a long time since I've posted here.
For those of you who didn't know, we took a 2 week vacation all the way to Bellingham, WA and back with LOTS of stops in between.
I promise, I'll post lots of pictures soon.
It's been so nice to have a break from everything and just rest.

In case you haven't followed Bruce's blog, the winning name for the doll was Ruby.
Bruce has been posting her adventures here if you want to read them.

We got home from our vacation at 2:30 in the morning on Sunday, my good friend, Emily, had her baby on Tuesday and the boys started school today.
The business has definitely resumed!

While we were in Washington, we got to worship with our friends, the Joneses, at their new church.
They had a guest worship leader (who I was familiar with from Saddleback Worship conferences years back), and one of the songs He led us in has stuck with me. I don't exactly have the words to share why. I have sat here writing and rewriting this sentence trying to express what singing this song last Sunday (and as I've listened to it since then) did for my spirit. It was one of those moments where I could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit so strongly and couldn't stop the tears from streaming.
I had to come home and buy it and I can't wait to lead Epic in worship with it.
In the meantime, I'll share a video of Phil Wickham leading Saddleback Community Church in worship with it.
(I posted the lyrics below the song in case you don't have time for the video.)

I'm walking through the bright white gates
Breathing in and out Your grace
All around me melodies rise
That echo with the joy inside
So I start to sing

But I can't sing loud enough
I can't sing loud enough
When I'm singing for You my God
I can't sing loud enough
I can't sing loud enough
When I'm singing for You my God

With a thunder roll and a brilliant light
Your glory boasts and the heavens shine
Saints and angels stand in awe
Captured by the beauty of it all
So I fall to my knees

But I can't bow low enough
I can't bow low enough
At the vision of You my God
I can't bow low enough
I can't bow low enough
At the vision of You my God

I can't hold it all inside
I'm reaching for the one
Who brought me out of death and into life

And I can't lift my hands high enough
Lift my hands high enough
When I'm reaching for You my God
I can't lift my hands high enough
Lift my hands high enough
When I'm reaching for You my God

Phil Wickham
© 2009 Seems Like Music | Phil Wickham Music (Admin. by Simpleville Music, Inc.) | (Admin. by Simpleville Music, Inc.)


More of You God and less of me

>> July 20, 2010

The other day I had a friend tell me that she was struggling with sensing God and was struggling with how to get out of the slump.

Don't we all go through seasons like that?
I know I do, but I am starting to realize how my pattern works.
Something happens either physically, emotionally or spiritually that causes me to seek God and lean on Him. I spend QUALITY time with Him MORE than once a day. Eventually, I am at a place where I am sensing His presence everywhere I turn around. I start to get comfortable and start spending less QUALITY time with Him in my day and before I know it, I haven't picked up my Bible just to meet Him in over a week.

And sometimes that week turns into a month.

And then I struggle to find God again because I'm so caught up in ME.

I read this devotion from Charles Spurgeon the other day and wanted to share it with you. I urge you to read it more than once or maybe even read it out loud to yourself.

“The ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven wellfavoured and fat kine” Genesis 41:4

Pharaoh’s dream has too often been my waking experience. My days of sloth have ruinously destroyed all that I had achieved in times of zealous industry; my seasons of coldness have frozen all the genial glow of my periods of fervency and enthusiasm; and my fits of worldliness have thrown me back from my advances in the divine life. I had need to beware of lean prayers, lean praises, lean duties and lean experiences, for these will eat up the fat of my comfort and peace. If I neglect prayer for never so short a time, I lose all the spirituality to which I had attained; if I draw no fresh supplies from heaven, the old corn in my granary is soon consumed by the famine which rages in my soul. When the caterpillars of indifference, the cankerworms of worldliness, and the palmerworms of self-indulgence, lay my heart completely desolate, and make my soul to languish, all my former fruitfulness and growth in grace avails me nothing whatever. How anxious should I be to have no lean-fleshed days, no ill-favoured hours! If every day I journeyed towards the goal of my desires I should soon reach it, but backsliding leaves me still far off from the prize of my high calling, and robs me of the advances which I had so laboriously made. The only way in which all my days can be as the “fat kine” is to feed them in the right meadow, to spend them with the Lord in His service, in His company, in His fear, and in His way. Why should not every year be richer than the past, in love, and usefulness, and joy? I am nearer the celestial hills, I have had more experience of my Lord, and should be more like Him. O Lord, keep far from me the curse of leanness of soul; let me not have to cry, “My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!”, but may I be well-fed and nourished in thy house, that I may praise thy name.
More of You God and less of me.


Name Our Doll Contest

>> July 11, 2010

Update: Bruce's blog is being stubborn and many are having trouble leaving comments there, so you can post your entry here too. So much for trying to keep everything organized in one place.

Name our Doll Contest

In two weeks from today, our family will embark upon our summer adventure as we drive to Seattle for a family reunion. Whenever we take long driving trips, we try to make it fun for the kids. This time will be no different. We have lots of fun planned, making several stops to see the sites and visit some friends. We thought it would be fun to take this pretty little doll along for the trip and see what pictures she might pose for as we travel and as she meets new friends. You can read more about her and her future on Bruce's blog.
Before we leave though, we need a name for our doll. And we want you to help us choose. Simply post a comment on Bruce's blog with your suggestion. We will have our life group vote on the names on Tuesday, July 20 - the last time we all get together before we leave. The name with the most votes will win. It will be the name she carries with her throughout our family trip, on our blogs, and will remain with her as she is sold for our missions fund-raising.

There is a prize involved for the person who first suggests the winning name... a $10 iTunes gift card.
(If more than one person suggests the same winning name, the first person who suggested that name will be the winner.) And your name suggestion must be posted on Bruce's blog to be counted.

All right, go here to make your suggestion and be entered to win the $10 iTunes gift card.


Happy Independence Day

>> July 4, 2010


Happy Father's Day

>> June 20, 2010

My father died when I was 7 years old.
So for many years Father's Day was a reminder that I didn't have a father.
But then I got married and Bruce and I had children of our own.
And now Father's Day is a reminder that I am married to an amazing man
who is an amazing father.

Happy Father's Day Bruce.
We LOVE you!!!



>> June 19, 2010

Destiny used to live next door to me.
I miss seeing her smile every day.
But at least the time she and her family spent as our neighbors was time spent building friendship that didn't end with their move.
And last week I was privileged to see her graduate from Jr. High.

Destiny, we are so very proud of you.


You are a beautiful young lady with great things ahead of you.
Thank you for choosing to include us in your life!




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