Can I tell you how excited I am to be finished with the marriage posts?
I can finally move on to other things!

Dec 6, 2016 -Picking our Christmas tree from Indian Rock tree farm!
A first as a family.

One of those being a review of my last year.
I use to do "Best Of's"
 (my yearly review of the most visited posts during that year),
but its been a good while.

 Occasional 2016 posting left little content to read
and a very quiet blog.
So, I'm doing my best to get back in here 
and stay a little more current.

Who even reads this stuff? lol

Honestly, it's for me.
To keep this- sometimes too tired to put makeup on, 
frazzled brain, got too much swirling in my head,
got absolutely nothing in my head, need an outlet,
 want to be creative but don't always have the energy, mama on her toes.
And for anyone who just might get a little encouragement
or something positive out of it.

Because I was absent for a while, 
I thought today's post could serve 2 purposes:
1) Update you a "little" on life around here and
2) Do it by sharing a few monthly highlights of 2016(lots of pics),
which may or may not make it on the blog officially.

Would you humor me?
Sit back and let me ramble a little :)

I'm also including the most read post out of the few I DID post
 because this just wouldn't be like my Best Of's without it.

Here goes!
click here for specific month

FYI, any links I share are purely informational
and because I really liked/appreciated them. 

Happy New Year!
Hubby still works in NV (wed-fri)every week.
Just before the new year we went up with him for a few days
 to celebrate it there.
Having snow was a plus too because we just don't see that in Sacramento. 

 My big girl making a snow angel.

Hubby taking little M for a ride.
Then we made it home in time to celebrate this little guy's 2nd birthday!

Little M's 2nd birthday! 

He had a Miles from Tomorrowland party later in the month
because it's still too close to Christmas for most people.
(hoping to share eventually)
We did lots of fun things this day
 including a trip to Fairytale town

and an evening visit to the Global Winter Wonderland
to finish off his celebration.

It was a great day but COLD!!!!

This was my little guy's last bottle ever.

I know, it was beyond the recommended age of 1
but hubby and family just wouldn't have it lol
At this point he'd already been potty training, on and off
for a good 6 months too and of his own prompting.

This was one of those days that hubby was gone.
 I knew I had to do it then, when hubby couldn't disagree with me
and wouldn't have to deal with any baby fits if it went down roughly haha.

 I was totally impressed/relieved,
 little M fussed a few minutes the following night,
then hardly nothing the night after.
By the time hubby got home, little M was free from the bottle. PHEW!

Hubby was a little sad he missed the last bottle but totally understood.

I don't have an official photo of it,
but it's kind of a big deal for me.
This is the month that I really wanted to see some outward change
to sort of represent the changes I was feeling inside.
Changes and growth I felt the Lord was helping me with.
So, I did something super simple to my appearance.
I started to wear my hair straight down the middle.
I know, huge right?!
 Not really.
Why the middle?
I use to wear it like that as a child.
I thought to myself, If I could rock it then I surely could now. 
 Maybe something about that childhood freedom,
before life got complicated;
appealed to me.

Well, it was harder than I thought.
Confidence to change, required me to not care what others thought 
and just proceed for myself.
So it did get easier.
And now I don't even give it a second thought!

Ombre 10 with Dollar Tree buds I already had.
My big girl turned 10!
Because it fell on a Sunday, we celebrated with family on Saturday
and with church friends on Sunday evening at a pizza place.
We reserved the real celebrating for the following month
 where we would to Legoland for her 10th, just like big brother had.

My dark haired beauty!
 3.20.16- 3.24.16
This was our Legoland trip!

My sis joined us and helped split the cost of the amazing hotel we stayed at.
It was a short distance from the park and they shuttled us in!
(I'll talk more about the trip in the future)

 Last time we came (2013) I was pregnant with little M.
It was fun having him with us officially and he really enjoyed himself.

Beach time before the long road home

Happy Easter!

 Grama/mom trying to get little M. to say cheese.
He wasn't feeling so well, so this smile was a stretch for him.

He loves his siblings!

April Fool's day!
My big girl tried fooling me haha.
She removed a battery, left me a treat and note.

Little M and I joined big brother and his charter school 
to the reenactment days at Gibson Ranch Park.

It was such a great experience and we learned a lot of cool things.

We had a field study day and chose this unique toy museum in Historic Folsom.
It wasn't very big but had lots of cool toys all from a private collection
 and even some that were a little creepy haha.

When we were done, we explored the area a bit
and got to watch some of the bike tour going right through.

The best part was doing it as a family
and eating yummy pizza at a local place.

Little M got dedicated this day,
a little later than we had hoped (2+yrs old) but finally got to celebrate his little life.

Hubby and long time family friend P. who's much more like family.
They cooked for 2 parties, the 1st being for family and 2nd for close friends.
It was a great day!

 And this is Tia "Bit Bit"
 little M's honorary Tia B or Auntie B.
We've known her since she was a toddler herself!
Before M was even conceived she kept asking about us having more babies.
She would tell me that she was praying for us to have more 
because she knew I wanted more but hubby was indecisive.
That went on for months, maybe even a full year.
When we finally shared we were in fact having another little one
she excitedly asked if she could be his Auntie or Tia.
There was no denying her, she had helped me pray in baby #3!
"Of course!" I said. 
She then asked if my older 2 could start calling her Tia too lol
I said, "that's a different story, they may be a little too old to start that now,
 that'll be up to them" haha.
She's such a cutie!
Well, this cutie who is now 18, loves on my little guy,
 is always willing to help out with him and blesses us so much!
Thank you Tia Bit Bit.

The day we built my big boy's IKEA dressers and just in time for his 13th birthday.
Not hard but so time consuming.

ML's furniture built and moved from his old room
to his new one.
(sharing soon about the switch)

FB / YouTube 
This was a special evening of celebration!
Long time childhood/family/ministry friends were releasing the first
official single from their band the "Outgo".

The band is made up of singer/songwriter/performer Missy Robertson,
background vocals/piano, sister Christina Robertson
and family friend, Cole Callejo on the drums/guitar.

They have worked so hard,
 served and ministered to so many people, 
this night was all the more meaningful.
To see people use their talents to bless others is amazing.

Another reason I mention this group
is that Missy finally got to share that she auditioned for the VOICE!!!!
Her first appearance/blind audition just aired too.
It was a packed house at our church for her audition viewing
and let me tell you we are #TEAMMISSY all the way!

 I won't spoil the fun,
check it out to see who's chairs turned
and which coach she chose.

 Our big boy (literally), turned 13!
He had a Star Wars themed day, 
including a movie marathon that spanned a few weeks.
Making time for the series was some serious business.

He opted for brownies again
over cake/cupcakes.
(hoping to share his day soon)

We're 1/2 way there!

Me and my big girl M.S.

Dad bbq'ing in the back

Family pics

The day I got to wear some new, beautiful, hand crafted jewelry! 
Why is that a highlight?
First of all look at her personalized note,
 and the beautiful packaging!
Just made me feel special :)
I know you'll feel the same.
Shelly is a wife,
 mama to beautiful kiddos,
talented, educated and creative!
Purchasing from her Etsy shop was a pleasure and a blessing.
She's currently on break but according to her recent update,
is working on new items and will be in her shop soon.


7.17.16 - 7.21.16
Youth summer camp!
This was a first for our oldest and pretty hard to let go!
He was ready and thankfully his older cousin was going as well.
Even better, lots of people I love and trust were going to be there.
They knew how tough this was for first time parents 
so they kindly sent us updates and posted TONS on FB.
Love the family I got in my church.

It is such a beautiful location and my big guy had a great time!
That's him on the canoe.

7.22.16- 7.24.16
Camping for hubby's 43rd birthday!
It had been YEARS, so it was a fun experience for all of us.
We camped at the Thousand Trails, Lake of the Springs location
 up by Oregon house, Ca.

My family grew up camping here from about the early 80's.
We had many summers of camping in my Grama B's RV,
setting up the campsite, pulling out the attached shade,
rolling out the green "grassy carpet",
preparing meals both indoors and out,
playing UNO and other games till we got bored
and exploring!

When she passed in late 2005,
the question over keeping the membership was posed.
I'm so thankful my mom, sis and I chose to keep it going
because it keeps us close to Grama's memory
and allows the next generation to experience it.

One of the games we played

Crepes for breakfast!
 My big boy SOOOO exhausted from the late night activities
at youth camp, just days before.

Making dinner!
And we're pretty Mexican lol
We brought our Carne Asada, salsas, chips,
tortillas, rice and beans for an amazing outdoor dinner one evening.
Who am I kidding enough for lunch the next day too.

There's no rule that says its got to be burgers and hotdogs all the time.
But we enjoyed those as well.

Evidence that I actually WORE the swimsuit 
I despised having to own a few years ago haha

our tent

This little guy wouldn't leave us alone throughout the night!
It turns out we left some of the crepes exposed
and he finished them off.

Our first Hot August Nights in Reno!
Also our last trip before school started.

The first day of school!
My 8th, 5th and wishes he could go to school too,
We were all dreading it because our summer was so short.
It seems as though they keep shortening them.
We made the best of it, except little M. 
He just couldn't understand why he had to go home 
while his siblings got to stay in school.
There was some crying involved.

Sun Valley Resort, Idaho
for the 100th Anniversary of Sinclair Petroleum.
It was such a blessing to get away, even if it was for business.
I'll take that kind of getaway over none.

My mom, sis and MS blessed us greatly
by handling childcare and all the daily duties for me.

We rarely go to buffets, so attending a few was a major treat
and downfall lol 
And they weren't your typical buffets either,
 5 star all the way.

I packed on a few pounds by the time the trip was over, seriously.

Heading to breakfast and the first of many sessions.
And still there was food available EVERYWHERE we turned!

One of our lunches

We tried to stay active but it was no match for the AMAZING food.
We also had to sneak a Starbucks stop along the way 
because I missed my coffee earlier in the day.

Such a beautiful property.
Every building, store front and restaurant, 
was gorgeous and the grounds immaculate.

Aside from the guest speakers at the sessions and authors we got to hear,
 there were so many activities to participate in while at the resort
and lots of photo ops.
This one was of the Dino which would be in the Macy's parade later on in the year
and a luncheon we attended under the umbrellas.

We enjoyed a western night with entertainment, outdoor activities,
more delicious food and photo ops.

We attended a semi-formal awards ceremony dinner on our last evening. 
Earlier in the stay attendees got a chance at drawing 1 of 10 lucky spots for this Cadillac.
Ultimately those 10 guests would then draw for the winning key.
We didn't get a spot but it was fun watching it go down.
What a suspenseful 20 minutes!

Even though we were away from the kids, we had daily conversations with the kiddo's
and adults in charge.
 In my daughter's case, CONSTANT contact through the Viber feature on their tablets.
Those are her drawings above, a perfect example of one way she communicated
and the extent of her missing us while we were gone. haha

I had just sent her the picture with dad and I about to go to dinner
and she sent those drawings back.

She had questions about everything we were doing,
and at the specific time in question.
Sometimes it felt like I wasn't gone at all lol

Entertainment for this evening was a private concert
with Vince Gill and Amy Grant!

Funny thing is, hubby and I were just a few feet from them earlier in the day
but I froze, eek!
Hubby prompted me to take a photo with them
but I chickened out.
Honestly, I didn't want to bother them on their weekend either,
even if they were there to perform.
I grew up listening to Amy's music at home so it was pretty special just to see her that close
and again at the concert.

We had a later flight our last day so we enjoyed a peaceful
peddle boat ride.

We talked about how blessed our week had been, 
the amazing opportunities the Lord had afforded us all these years, 
 our family and our future.
We enjoyed every second of it.

As much as we loved having this time together,
indulging in the food, sights and activities,
we MISSED our family.

It was a long way back, with delays and flight transfers
but worth it to be home in our own beds and near our babies.

Family pictures for mom's 60th birthday
She had said the only thing she wanted was a family picture with all her kids.
It had been YEARS, the last being in our childhood.
So my sis and I surprised her!
Her birthday was the 8th 
but we planned for photos and a trip to San Francisco that weekend.

Little M and Dad at Bubba Gump's for grama's birthday lunch.

It was freezing!
Along with the cold, lots of seagulls flying around.
We were pretty fortunate not to get hit with droppings 
but not my sis.
She has the worst luck with these birds, 
this is probably the 3rd or 4th time its happened to her
in the history of visiting SF.

This is a pretty significant day.
My kiddos got haircuts
but the biggest change was for my oldest.
He finally agreed to go shorter!
I LOVE long hair on boys but for him it had been a security thing
for many years.
Change is hard for anyone, so I never pressured him
but I didn't ignore it either.
I spoke with him on numerous occasions 
what fear could do to someone, even in the small things.
In this case, hair.
That self esteem and confidence have to come from who we are in Christ, 
who we know ourselves to be,
who we're striving to be,
 and not just the outward appearance.
If he could challenge himself to go shorter (one small step)
he could challenge himself in other areas and feel the PRIDE
that comes with it.
after searching different styles (which I had done previously)
 we came across one that was similar to his previous hair just shorter.
Surprisingly, he agreed!
It was just enough of a change to make a huge difference
but challenge him to step out of his comfort zone.

Family fun at Mill View Ranch, Camino, Ca
It was our first time and only by accident.
The roads were closed off on our usual exit and it led us to this little area!
It was a great find and really nice for families with littles.
We'll definitely visit again.

Play area!


Play structures 

 My kiddos playing "church"

Indoor/outdoor gift shop 

High Hill Ranch is our usual stop so we had to visit before going home.
The sun wasn't our friend haha 

Annual trip to Bishop's pumpkin farm 

Going out to the pumpkin patches

Our pumpkins!

I LOOOOVE the Fall!
I love the trips we take, the weather changes and the colors.
I wanted my house to be about fall from the front door to the back
except my backyard didn't have much color wise.
We love sitting outdoors but we only had a few pillows outside and the outdoor cushions.
I wanted more but in the fall colors.

I found an awesome shop on Etsy!
(I'm still pretty new to Etsy, so this was such a blessing)

I didn't want to spend a ton on a seasonal thing but
I had plenty of thrifted pillows which could be covered.
That's where the shop comes in!
Her shop has SOOOO many beautiful designed indoor/outdoor pillow covers, 
for any style, occasion, color scheme and affordable.
She is highly recommended and even has SALE items!!!

Miss Karen and I had regular contact; she truly cares about your experience
 and the items you purchased.
She too is such a sweetheart!
She shipped out quickly and I was so excited to to set it up and show the family.

Close up

We seriously couldn't stop looking at our backyard, 
we loved it even more now.

En route to Virginia City, NV
for the Day Out With Thomas event!!!!

Oh my goodness, I was probably just as excited as my kiddos to do this. 
It was going to be little M's 3rd birthday in Jan 2017 (Thomas themed too)
so we celebrated early at the Thomas event.

Virginia City was the closest to Sacramento and didn't require special lodging.
 It was only about 20-30 minutes away from hubby's NV apartment,
so it was reasonable to drive to NV, stay there and go together.

Hat and whistle were part of an online deal, so I HAD to get it for him.
I got a ticket discount as well for being on their email list which was nice!

Free activities for kiddies.

We had LOTS of fun!

My big boy tried playing it cool,
 but I KNOW he loved it as much as the rest of us.
He used to be a Thomas and friends fanatic himself and then grew out of it.
Then little brother came along and the interest was there again.
They all love playing trains!

My baby got a big boy haircut 😢
He has STRAIGHT hair, grows fast and kept getting in his eyes.
It took me a bit to get use to it.

Target shopping.
My kids get bored so they'll ask for my phone.
I limit play time so it's usually "NO" for games 
and "YES" to looking at old pics and videos.

Except, when I get my phone back,
I end up with silly photos like this lol

Do your kiddos do that?
I can't complain, they're keeping entertained 
and out of trouble.

Schlotzsky's Bakery Cafe
Have you been to or heard of this place ?!?!
We had not. 
It's the ONLY one in northern Ca.
This was another happy accident.
We were traveling up to the Camino, Ca area for our Christmas tree.
We stopped for a gas & potty break and THIS place happen to be 
connected to the gas station.
It's like gourmet fast food and so yummy!
I got the Pick2 deal: "Shrimply the best" spicy shrimp mac & cheese
and the Tomato basil soup.
To top it off, they sold CINNABON
and other delicious treats.
We WILL be back again.

 Indian Rock Tree farm
This too wasn't planned.
The farm we were going to ended up NOT being open,
so we drove a bit and found this BEAUTIFUL location.

 Family and friends!

Dad carrying the tree down 
and little M helping me with the free clippings 

They'll cut for you or you can borrow one of their saws and self serve.

 It was more expensive than a tree from a lot
BUT our tree lasted for SOOO long.
It really was worth it.
Just a few needles fell compared to tons from other trees,
even into mid Jan!
Hubby just wouldn't let it go.

Tree set up days later.

Our Christmas family photos!

This is their 3rd Christmas together and I just can't believe
how much my babies have grown.

Well, that's it friends,
the 2016 review of my little family and our lives.

NOW for the most read post of 2016

I'm not surprised, I had fun preparing for 
and sharing it.
 Snoopy themed party

I'll be seeing you soon!


Popular Posts