Celebrating Ali’s Seven Years

01 Feb

I just couldn’t be happier to have celebrated Ali’s seventh birthday with our family earlier this month. She is an awesome kid and has gained a lot of confidence this year. It makes me really proud to see her coming into her own and spending time together is a joy. I am also happy to have celebrated in the way she chose. We spent a fun-filled weekend in Big Bear!

Of course we ate,



Went to the playground,


There were presents,

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And cake!


We went bowling,


Found the small patches of snow for throwing,


And kicking.


And found the big patches of snow for tubing,

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and tubing,

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and tubing!

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Even though it was a busy weekend, Ali still found time to cuddle with her cousin,


And hang out with her brother!

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Happy Birthday Ali Joy, thanks for another great year!




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Those Friends

30 Sep

In case you are wondering, we are really good people to be friends with. We always consider our friends needs first. For example, when our good friends move away, we consider their feelings. We could get a group together to tell them how much we all love them and will miss them, but we know that will just make it harder for them to leave. Instead, we found some like-minded good friends to get together and make them glad they are leaving. You know, be just mean enough to make them look forward to making new (hopefully better) friends.

That’s right Vanolis, you can count on us!

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“Just Leave Already” cake courtesy of Aaron and Holly Peck.

Here are the kids on the Vanoli’s moving-out day.

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We have so many wonderful memories and traditions with these kids. Ali and Hannah are absolutely best friends, and that is really saying something because they each have a very sweet group of girls in their lives. They can hardly help it though. Their first play date was when Ali was only two days old and Hannah was two months.P1010611

It has been a joy to watch them grow up together and treasure their friendship.

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March 2013 when they were both five.

I could post about 100 more pictures of them over the years, but for that I can just scroll back through previous posts here on this site and see pictures of all the years in between.

I am so thankful for all of the fun memories with these two and look forward to seeing where God takes them both on their separate paths and the plans He has for each of them!




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Central Coast Kids

02 Sep



What is not to love about the Central Coast? Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, unusual wildlife , art everywhere. It is a great place to visit and we enjoyed a Fowler/Smith/Hawkins trip to Morro Bay last month to soak it all in.


We took a day trip up to Ragged Point, where they had awesome toys like sticks and trees.

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We also stopped along the way to view the elephant seals in all of their glory.


It was the first time the kids had seen them and it was fun to share this sight with them.

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Besides these critters, Gigi was our whale lookout, pointing out spouts, at every beach stop!




01 Sep


Never mind, it’s all good.



Thanks for clearing that up for us Coop!

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June and July – Just the Highlights

31 Aug

I wanted to be sure to include this picture in this here little online photo album, so I am going back in time to Father’s Day and this picture of the kids celebrating their awesome, fun and loving Daddy. That day we relaxed and had a picnic at the park while the kids played, then took a short scooter/bike ride.




The highlight and focus of July was Luke’s birth day. We were so happy to finally get to visit with his adorableness in the comfort of home (actually not until August). We love you Lukey!




07 Aug

It has been a long time since I have added to my online photo album here. So long that I took a couple of tries to enter my password before I got it right.

In the midst of the busy summer, we have done our best to soak up what we can. We had spent a lot of time swimming, and the kids have both come a long way with their swimming skills this summer.

We love the pool!


My little fishes mostly want to be under the water, so most of the time, this is what I see.



They do occasionally come up for air though. At least as often as other mammals that live mostly in water do.



Another thing we have been soaking up is time with the Vanolis before they move this fall. This last weekend the kids got four days in a row of “Hannah-time”.


One of those four days included a trip to the fair where we slid instead of soaking.


Super fun on the slide! Next time we will have to go to the other side of the fair and do the really big one!




Birthday Month

29 May

It may be a couple of weeks after his actual birthday, but it is still Silas’ birthday month and so there is still time to celebrate our new three year old! Silas is still the same affectionate, energetic boy he has always been, and this year he has been gaining independence, learning to keep up with the bigger kids, and developing his interests in many things with music and instruments leading the list.

To this mom, his smile is melting and charming beyond belief, and it may be the downfall of us both.

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He has more energy than ever and would like to be riding, running, jumping or wrestling most of the time, but he can also settle in for a movie or a book or even just a good cuddle.



Life with a three year old is not super-great for dogs as a rule, but they manage to have a workable relationship with treats and licks and reluctant tolerance on their part.




I am still very happy and blessed by the love that Ali and Silas have for each other. It may be because of or in spite of many things, but I will take it as a gift!



So Happy Birthday Month Silas. You are a little man with lots to say and lots to do and we promise to pray for you and support you as  you begin this next year of adventures!


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Posted in Big kids


Easter 2014

22 Apr

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We enjoyed yet another wonderful Easter. It began with Ali’s school Easter program. Those kids sang and danced their hearts out. The twelve kindergartners were so sweet while they were sitting in the audience waiting for their turn. They sang along as the younger classes performed and quietly giggled together. They have clearly bonded over the last two years of preschool and kindergarten. Ugh for the fact that we will all be going our separate ways in a few months.




The day before Easter a few neighborhood families got together and had a community Easter Egg hunt. We all brought eggs for the kids to hunt so we now have quite a variety of candy. It was the first time we have tried this, in fact it was actually Ali’s idea, and we are now talking about expanding and inviting the whole neighborhood next year.

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Finally on Easter morning we had more egg hunting to do!

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We held with tradition and had a wonderful Easter day at Matt’s parents house, with plenty of friends and family around, lots of food, swimming and celebration.

He is Risen!