Thursday, December 26, 2013


We had a wonderful Christmas at home this year. The Gallachers and Fields came over on Christmas Eve for our 5-course French Dinner. The kids played together while we ate, and then we started the games:  Puzzle races, Head Bowling, White Elephant Gift Exchange, "Christmas Tree" Decorating, and the Musical Unwrapping Game. It was such a fun night!

 Joseph and Leo.

 White Elephant Gift Exchange.
 Mary and Evie decorated as Christmas Trees.
 Head Bowling.

The Fields and the twins!

Christmas morning was fun too. Leo got lots of Star Wars toys- Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, and the Speeder were his favorites. Also the Star Wars mask that he asked Santa for. He was a happy boy!


Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you enjoyed your day in PJs as much as we did.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This year has been a wonderful year full of love, light, fun, friendship, learning, and miracles. We thank God for our family, our friends, our home, and all the things that He has blessed us with. Most of all, we thank Him for our Savior Jesus Christ.  May His light shine in us, and through us.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, 
good will toward men."     -Luke 2:14

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a joyous New Year!

Singing, Singing, All the Day...

If you know Jack, you know he LOVES the band Oingo Boingo. This 80's band has been Jack's favorite since he was young.  The band no longer performs, but their lead singer Danny Elfman is still creating music- mostly for movie soundtracks like Beetlejuice, Batman, Men in Black, Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland, Oz, Epic, The Nightmare Before Christmas, etc. And Jack loves all of it.

If you know Leo, you know he LOVES singing songs. He is always humming or singing some song. Of course, he usually combines a couple of his favorites into one awesome song...   One of my all time favorite combos is:  Follow the Prophet (a Primary song),  and the Star Wars theme song.
Seriously awesome.

Another favorite song is from The Nightmare Before Christmas. (one of Danny Elfman's movies)  Leo sings the song "Making Christmas, Making Christmas... me-so-fine."     (I think it's supposed to be "is so fun", but I like his version better)

Another favorite combo... Frosty the Snowman and  Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.


Sunday, December 22, 2013


You all know the joke about kids playing with the BOX more than the TOY that came in it?  We laugh because it's so true.  As Christmas approaches Jack and I have been contemplating the many gifts we have bought Leo over the last (almost) 4 years. What have been his favorite toys? What does he play with the most?

Our answers made us laugh.  And in this photo, you'll see why. These are Leo's favorite toys of all time...

It isn't the train table, the lego sets, the superheroes, or the tool bench.  It's the everyday items we have around the house. To be precise, it's an ear thermometer, mini stapler, label maker, a used ink cartridge (in yellow) tied to a rope, a steamer basket, a nightlight, a light timer, a kitchen meat thermometer, an apple corer/slicer, an ice scraper, and camera tri-pod.

I wouldn't consider any of these to be great toys, in the traditional sense.  (and we keep most of them hidden out of site because of sharp edges, risk of electrocution, choking hazard, etc.)  But Leo LOVES them. He loves to twist and turn the knobs, dials, and levers. He loves to push the buttons and pretend the label maker is a walkie-talkie, or a calculator. The tri-pod is often a submarine periscope, or a cannon. There are no limits to his imagination, or the wonderful ways he will use these "toys".    In fact, as we gathered these up to take a photo we have been reconsidering some of the Christmas gifts we bought for him.  Maybe we SHOULD just give him a box-- if it's full of gadgets.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Adoption Update

Well, we finally finished our Adoption paperwork and have been approved by the agency!  This very long process is done, which means... Now, we wait!

Once a birth mother picks us, and we are "matched", we will get that magical phone call...   we can't wait!
I guess you could say we're "expecting"....

Here is our little video, if you'd like to pass it along:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Jack's Birthday, Ford's Theatre

Happy Birthday Jack!  He took the day off work, and we went on a daytime date.  Breakfast at a diner in DC (it was kind of a dive), the best hot chocolate EVER from Le Pain Quotidien, and then a play at Ford's Theatre.

We saw A Christmas Carol- which was a really great production. The Theatre is small, but very lovely, and it was so interesting to see the booth where President Lincoln was shot, as well as the house across the street where he later died. They have a nice little museum there.

Little Drummer Boy

We went to the mall today for photos with Santa. It was a "snow day" so Jack didn't have to go into work. (The big storm that was expected only dumped an inch or two of snow, so it ended up being a great day to run errands) This was our 4th year with this same Santa.. and Leo charmed us with that darling smile of his. Cutest kid ever!

After the photos we walked around the mall, looked at toys, and ate sushi at this cool conveyor-belt restaurant.  Leo liked drumming with his chopsticks...

Tonight we acted out the Christmas story using Leo's Fisher Price Nativity Set. When it got to the part of "Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, I went to get my bottles of essential oils. That's right- Frankincense and Myrrh- two amazing essential oils that are as precious today as they were back then.  I am so grateful for these gifts of the Earth, and how they empower me to take care of my family's health. So awesome!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Frosty the Snowman

Snow, lovely snow!   Karin and Rebecca came over today, and we built a snowman in the front yard.  We are loving the snow, and hope that it sticks around for Christmas....

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Grandma and Grandpa's House

After our week at the beach we went up to Grandma and Grandpa's house with them  (they live about 3 hours away).  We decorated the house for Christmas, made salt-dough ornaments, and played with Grandpa.

We used to stand on my Dad's hands like this when we were kids...  I can't believe he can still do this! (not bad for an old guy, as he says)  Leo enjoyed it.

We flew home on December 5th, just in time for the Christmas party at Leo's preschool, and getting ready for Christmas, which is just 3 weeks away!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thanksgiving at the Beach

We flew to California for our yearly pilgrimage to Carpinteria. Thanksgiving at the beach (and Camping) with all our extended family is the best!  The weather was perfect and we enjoyed many warm days playing in the sand and surf. Leo loved playing with cousin Bridger, and all the other cousins that were there too.

Us with my parents, my sister Jen, Chad and Bridger.

Leo and Bridger help Grandpa to build a sand castle and moat.

We counted about 60 of us for Thanksgiving dinner this year!  I made the stuffing and my famous "Orange Gravy"...  as usual. And we actually succeeded in getting everyone together for a photo!

I realized a few months ago that this annual trip to the beach really is our "Family Reunion" so I put together some fun activities for us to do together. We helped all the kids make Indian vests from paper sacks (just like the ones we made in Grade school), we played "head bowling", and made a pirate treasure hunt for the kids...  It was a lot of fun. We will definitely be doing it again next year.

Another highlight of the week- the spectacular sunsets!  They were incredible!

Leo rode a bike (with training wheels) for the first time this week. It was a little slow going at first, but after 10 minutes he was riding like a pro.  (I think a new bike will be in his future) He loved it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meditation Retreat

My friend Felice, who teaches Kundalini Meditation, came here from California to do a Meditation Retreat.
We rented a lovely cabin in the Shenandoah Valley for the weekend. There were only 4 of us (plus Felice) but it turned out perfectly.

Me and my dearest friend, Rebecca.  We are soul sisters.

Felice with Jessica and Rebecca.  Lisa was also there. Why don't I have a photo of her?

The setting could not have been more lovely.  The sky was blue, the trees were ablaze in red and orange, and the mountains were purple in the distance. We drank tea on the balcony, ate healthy salads, meditated, prayed, and felt closer to God. At night we sat in the hot tub under a clear sky, with a billion stars. It was spectacular.  

Yummy salads, catered by me!

 Our hot tub and stunning view.  It was an amazing weekend that I will never forget. We all returned home feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and renewed.   This meditation is wonderful.  It's changed my life.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween and Fall Fun

Leo's love of Star Wars continues.
A friend gave us this hand-me-down costume for Anakin Skywalker.  Not only was it a great Halloween costume for him, but he's had a lot of fun wearing it- almost daily.

The kids in Leo's preschool class all looked so cute in their costumes!  
(Lots of super heroes, and princesses.... what a surprise)

We went "Trunk-or-Treating" at the church on Saturday, and had fun with some friends.  We also went to the "Dia de los Muertos" festival at the American Indian Museum. Leo decorated a skull, and we looked at all the colorful displays.

We also visited the Annandale Fall Festival, where Leo rode some rides, we ate corn dogs and popcorn... and then Leo disappeared for 15 minutes, which gave Mom and Dad a serious heart attack.  We finally found him, coming out of the dollar store, shoplifted items in hand.  (yikes)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Camping at Pohick Bay

Another great campout at Pohick Bay with the Hansens!  The Gallachers joined us too, this trip, and all 7 kids had a blast roaming the woods, playing with sticks, roasting marshmallows, and sleeping in the cabins.  We really love this place.  The weather could not have been more perfect- warm Fall days, with cool nights that were just right for a campfire!

The kids loved riding bikes down the ramp, playing on the playground, and hiking the trail down to the lake.