Game Day Photos

game day photos

JD bonded with another dirt-loving two-and-a-half-year old at one of Daniel’s games. Don’t you love those moments when you come across another bird with your same feathers?

The vast majority of these photos were taken by our family photographer, Aunt Janet.  Thank you, yet again, Janet!!

Baseball season has been time-consuming but joyous this year. Joshua joined a team late in the season that was short on players because after seeing his brothers enjoy playing so much, he wanted in on this action too! That puts Joshua in the “Mustang” league, which is an exciting game to watch. At this level, the players get to pitch, get out in three strikes, and even steal bases.

Caleb and his buddy, Aiden, are having a ball in their league as well. Alan is their coach, and Caleb and Aiden have some mad serious baseball skills. In fact, we were so confident in these two that we let them also play for Joshua’s team last week, as their team needed a couple of back-ups, and Caleb and Aiden held their own. They may be the youngest players on the team, but you’d never know it. Both boys scored one point for Joshua’s team, and the funny part was that Caleb even struck out and still scored a run. How? Well, when the catcher dropped the ball, Caleb stole first base! I didn’t know you can do that either, but I saw it with my own eyes.



Daniel is in a tee-ball league. I may not fully understand all the baseball rules, but by golly I’ve got tee-ball down pat, and so does Dan. I love to watch him catch the ball and throw it to first base. (See those cleats? Those were Joshua’s when he played tee-ball!)



Nonna and Aunt Janet got to see Caleb and Daniel’s games.


It was super cold!


By the way, my nails have been quite the hit.

I may not play ball, but I do support it. :)


Okay. I just realized I had promised 17 Mile Drive and Seal Pups in this post. Next time! Really really!


42 Beautiful Photos of Monterey, California

Janet took these beautiful photos of Monterey for us. These include the aquarium, the beach, a hotel, a farmer’s market (where we met some parrots), and Cannery Row.


JD contentedly held the parrot, until the bird owner said, “Show your mom. Where’s mom?”…..


…..Then JD looked up and realized I was gone. You can see the panic on his little face! I had slipped off to the car to get something.

Monterey photos

The Del Monte Hotel rose garden


A Joshua tree! These are not native to the area, but we were excited to see one since we do have a son named Joshua.


The hurricane-like winds made the family photo a lost cause.


It may look inviting, but the water is like 40 degrees, in my estimation, and quite full of sea life.


I love that Joshua is old enough now to read all the information at the aquarium and help his brothers too.


The itty bitty penguin habitat is Daniel’s favorite.




Leopard sharks, a native to Monterey Bay


Way back in the day, the sardine fishing and canning industry were big business in Monterey. So that’s why they call this street Cannery Row. There is no Canning going on here now, just tourism, shopping, and eating.

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Check back tomorrow! I’m planning to upload photos of 17 mile drive, a scenic route that hugs the coast from Pacific Grove to Carmel! Or maybe I’ll do the seal pup photos next…



Sometimes there just isn’t enough coffee.


Right now Daniel is washing his hands after his hour-long worm hunt. All he found was a slug, which he tried to bring into my house. Joshua put a hard stop to that. What would I do without Joshua?

JD is upstairs NOT napping. Caleb and Joshua are outside playing with a friend. I’m chugging coffee in a last ditch effort to hold on to wakefulness. A friend of mine is out walking, trying to coax her labor pains into a pattern. Alan is at school, chipping away at his thesis work.

Ah, the great circle of life.

Today I feel tired, sleepy, and wiped out. (I volunteered at Dan’s preschool from 9 to 12 this morning.) I have carved out a lull in the day, and I am hoping it will hold, but my wildest dream right now is of my pillow.

Why am I so tired? We had company for a week, and we went sight-seeing with them. The boys had their end-of-year-school program, and Joshua said all of his lines from memory! Woo-hoo! We now have some more friends staying with us, and they are expecting a baby this weekend, so this is exciting.

Yesterday my friend Chanda came into town, knocked on my door around 1PM, and said, “Let’s go to lunch. Come on. Right now. Bring the boys.”

(You HAVE to watch this video from that luncheon. So funny: JD Falling asleep at dinner)

So I did. It went surprisingly perfectly, and now I have a new favorite restaurant.

On the health front, my fevers are creeping back into my life, but my heart has calmed down completely.

I think I could go upstairs and sack out for the next 12 hours. Sometimes there just isn’t enough coffee.

So, yeah, life is crazy, but hey! Good news. JANET took pictures. She has a better eye, more photography skill and patience, and a better camera. It’ll take me weeks to share them all, so let’s get started!


Caleb and Joshua at a robotics festival. These engineering blocks were fun and useful. Anyone know where we could get a set?


JD sweetly watched Daniel zip this remote control under-water robot (much like a Polaris) around the pool. Then he also got to take a little turn.


Daniel was a master of this game. The object was to get the robot to pick up the diving rings, and he was good at it. The creator was all impressed with the Dan Man.


The boys stood behind JD’s chair to be in a picture with him. Monkey see, Monkey do. JD hopped up and posed with his chair too.


having lunch out as a family, a rare event!


I like to take pictures of him eating vegetables because it makes me so happy.

Sometimes there just isn't enough coffee.

A grand ballroom…..with 3 little boys running wild in it. Who are those boys? No idea, dear. Don’t look at me.


a tiny rodent skull, found on the ground from an owl pellet

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…And Caleb just walked in with two bloody knees, from playing baseball in shorts, so I should go clean him up. We wish you all a restful weekend, no coffee required.






Why Cope When You Can Conquer?

I’ve been reading this book. It looks like this:

Why Cope When You Can Conquer?

 It’s an encouraging book. It asks an annoyingly high volume of questions. I never did enjoy answering questions. See, it’s a Bible study guide, but it’s not one of these where you have to watch a video or attend a class to go with it. You can totally just read the guide on your own. (But I did warn you about the questions.)

Don’t worry. The book is still worth it. You can’t read it without learning and growing in your faith. There’s this one particular story that struck a chord with me this week. It’s in Lesson 6: Where to Run in Trouble.

The author, Juanita Purcell, asked this: “When did the Israelites discover they had been delivered from Sennacherib’s invasion?” Read 2Kings 19:35

It was the morning. 


Purcell said this, and she’s referring to a time when Senacherrib of Assyria was attacking Jerusalem in the 700sBC, “As the enemies gathered against the city of God, the nations were in an uproar. Yet the Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night. This miraculous event was no big deal to God. He doesn’t even tell us how it happened. Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  (source 1, page 62)

So I had to dig into my Bible, into 2 Kings chapters 19 and 20 to remind myself what exactly was going on here.

Big surprise. Hezekiah was king. He’s my favorite king of Judah. This was the kingdom of Judah, not Israel. Israel did indeed fall to Assyria, but Judah (the southern kingdom) didn’t really. (They fell to Babylon later on, after Hezekiah.) This was because of leadership. They had Hezekiah, and Hezekiah had God.

This is what Hezekiah did when he found out that Assyria was coming for him. He prayed:

“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it….” (2 Kings 19:14)

Yep. He got a threat letter.

“Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord.”  2 Kings 19:14-15

It goes on to describe his prayer. But I mean, basically, “God, save us from these horrible people!!” I just love how the Bible tells us that Hezekiah spread the letter out before the Lord. He was a man who took his prayers seriously, so God took Hezekiah’s prayers seriously. King Hezekiah had great faith.

My take away here: “Trust in the Lord. He will solve your problems in your sleep.”

Oh, and you might be wondering how the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 soldiers while the  armies were sleeping. Historians speculate that it was a plague of mice, an outbreak of the Bubonic plague. *oooo eebidy jeebidies*

I don’t know what problems you might be facing today, but God will lead you to the answers that you NEED, if you ask him to. Have faith and trust in the Lord, and he will not let you down. He is trustworthy. I tried so many things this past year to figure out my health problems, and eventually I was actually able to overcome my chronic joint pain by simply dropping gluten from my diet. That was not a conclusion I ever suspected, but God answered my prayers through the advice of my doctors and my friends. Praise God!

why cope when you can conquer

Carmel Valley, photo by Janet

So have no fear. Trust in the Lord. He will solve your problems in your sleep.


1. Why Cope When You Can Conquer? by Juanita Purcell, published by RBP Women’s Studies, 1999

2. 2 Kings 19 and 20, The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan 

3. Wikipedia, Hezekiah

Field Trip Week: Rose Gardens and Santa Lucia Preserve

Field Trip Week

I have found some of the most beautiful rose gardens in California.

We declared last week “Field Trip Week”, and had ourselves a grand ol’ time. We visited the aquarium, a beautiful rose garden, a robotics show, and Santa Lucia Nature Preserve.

The big boys practiced their lines for their upcoming end-of-year parent night, we squeezed in a few math lessons, read a few books, and welcomed Nonna and Aunt Janet to town.



I don’t think it’s possible to walk through a well tended garden of roses and not feel inspired.



The boys saw the perfect rows of hedges, declared it a maze, and started running.



There they go!


Even little boys appreciate the magic of a rose garden.


Now for stop two on our Week of Adventures: Santa Lucia Preserve

This place, located in Carmel Valley, is thickly wooded, and it is, unfortunately, not open to the public. We only got to go because we all tagged along on Daniel’s Preschool Field trip as chaperones, drivers, and siblings.


We were supposed to be relatively quiet, stay on the trail, not touch anything, and always stay behind the guide. They told us these rules before the trip began, and I began to question in my mind if JD and Caleb were going to make it…..but I am happy to report that we were all as good as gold, even me. I was actually quite content to not touch the owl pellets, the mosquito larvae, or the spiky leaves. 


Looking up


They had photos of animals that have been seen in recent years on the bridge on the property. Yep. A black bear.

There were also pictures of bobcats and coyotes. I said, “Oh. We have those in our neighborhood.”

Then I saw a photo of a mountain lion. I added, “Oh, I hope we don’t have those in our neighborhood.”

The nature guide smiled. “You do,” she assured me. Apparently, central California is the mountain lion zone.


JD, counting something on his fingers, hopefully not how many wild predators he’s seen on our street….




We also had a “family presentation” two weeks ago at our Classical Conversations campus.

Joshua and Caleb created this poster, which I thought was pretty doggone cute. Caleb is especially interested in prehistoric Megalodon sharks.


Caleb and Joshua’s poster


This week Donna and Aunt Janet are going to Point Lobos.

And now for some good ol’ fashioned fun. Nothing like balloons under shirts.


Apparently it’s a really fun way to wrestle.



I’m afraid last week will be a tough act to follow! But here we go…

Wishing you all a happy week! I’ll leave you with my current theme song, via YouTube:



Visitors, Busy Times, and the Best Daddy and Husband Ever


Eating healthy has gotten much easier, as I’ve experienced such drastic results. I have zero joint pain at this point. I am amazed. This is me with my Subway salad. They will make any 6 inch sub into a salad for you.

What a week. I don’t even know where to start. It was one of those, but if I explained I’d have to tell a whole bunch of other people’s business, and I’m not all about that. I like to have friends….sooooo  I’ll just say it was a big week. Things went haywire. Big things. Everyone seems to be okay. And through it all, we’ve seen the Lord work in so many ways. Praise the Lord we do not have to do life alone. We have a Father in Heaven who cares, who is involved in our lives. Through sickness. Through fire. Through hard decisions.


redwoods in Carmel Valley, California: Check out the elbows on this tree.

Jeremiah 33:3

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”


Luke 1:37

For with God nothing shall be impossible.


I’m wearing my week-long heart monitor this week. They need more information on my v-tach in order to do an ablation.


I used to say, “One day we will get our act together, things won’t be so crazy.” Ha! It’s never gonna happen. This is our act. This is it.

I used to think, “Once these kids get bigger, I will be calmer. The house will be cleaner.”  Ha! Will it, really? Nah. You know it’s these very kids that keep us laughing and keep us from taking life too seriously.


the play-doh line-up of 3 minions and a snowman

For instance, we have Nonna and Aunt Janet in town. Sweet little Daniel sat in the bathroom with Janet, watching her put on her make-up and talking her ear off.

“I like your neckwace. That’s the cross, like Jesus died on. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. We all sin. Everybody sins. Except not my daddy.”

Oh!  The preciousness! Of course, Janet chuckled and gently explained that Daddy’s not perfect either, but Jesus is.


The families on the boys’ basketball team gave Alan a hefty gift card to California Pizza Kitchen for his coach’s gift. We put that to use right away. Thanks, team!!

I love it. I love that he thinks Alan is that perfect, and he is pretty perfect, really. Not many men do all that Alan does.  Alan has been my greatest blessing this year. I’ve had health problems. It took me a long, drawn out process to figure out that simply dropping gluten from my diet would take away ALL of my joint pains. It’s hard to believe. It won’t work for everyone, but for my body, it was the root cause of my joint pain. It’s gone now. I wonder if I could even take a car trip. Maybe I’ll test it one day soon.

While I was the one with the fevers, the heart problem, and all the doctor appointments, Alan was the real hero here. The man had to take up so many of the things that I usually do and do them for me. The boys did some too, but Alan has missed class so that I could see doctors. He’s been busy and probably stressed. This is his last quarter, and he’s in a time crunch to get his thesis done, but he was there for us.


Alan and Caleb, at Caleb’s baptism

Thank you, Alan. We have such a beautiful life together. I’ve never appreciated you more than I have this year. I love you, I love you, I love you!

You did a home-run grand-slam job with the whole “in sickness and in health” part of our vows this year.


We have Nonna and Aunt Janet in town, so we might even get to have a date night tonight!!  I am so excited!!


Janet and the boys at a nature preserve yesterday: We always have a blast when they come.


Now on to date night!






Keeping Eyes on Daniel


My boys have recently gotten on a board game kick. JD, who is completely incapable of actually playing or understanding any of the games, is the one who started the phase. He is constantly asking to “play games.”

It’s 1/2 exciting because I think board games are a fantastic pastime. They are educational and team-building. I mean there are so many advantages! And it’s 1/2 groan-inducing, because, hello, we do still have a two-year-old.

Yesterday morning, JD started out his day by pulling down the Stacking Cups game, one that all four of them truly love.

The oldest two enjoy playing the game for the purposes for which it was intended. Daniel does too, but he also enjoys joining JD in his antics, which is exactly what happened.

First, Daniel tore up the box trying to open the wrong end of it. I swooped in half a minute too late and helped him, so at least he didn’t completely destroy the box…

Then Daniel and JD built “ice-cream cones” out of the cups. One after another. And they licked them, and licked them, and licked them. Oh, it gets worse. Then JD began throwing cups around the room, much like people throw candy out at parades.

I suppose you are wondering why I had not stopped all this cup licking and throwing sooner.  Well, I did. I tried, but I was again just not quite fast enough. I think I was doing laundry or one of the other billion tasks people expect homemakers to do while they simultaneously supervise and educate small children.


We have a lot of deja vu. (Joshua and Caleb wore these exact same costumes.)

So anyway. Cups ended up all over the place, and Caleb walked in and discovered this mischief. As chief owner and biggest Quick Cups fan, Caleb was not impressed. But thankfully, he is Caleb, so he very nonchalantly got down in the floor and started picking up all the cups. I made his roguish little brothers help him. (See, I do try.)

Caleb got the game all put away in the box. I was back to working on cooking in the kitchen, and Daniel walked in, looking seriously worried, and whining:

“Mom!!! Caleb said that he’s keeping eyes on me from now on.”

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. It was funny. He should actually be thankful that was all Caleb did or said.

“I don’t blame him, Daniel. Every time he turns around, you and John David are scattering or destroying his things. You deserve to have him keeping eyes on you.”

Caleb followed behind Daniel, staring him down. He kept that act up for a good while.

Poor Caleb. Two little brothers! And Joshua! Three of them! Haha!!  And as for keeping eyes on them to curb the mischief, good luck with that, Caleb. I’ve been trying that for 10 years now. As you can see, I’ve lost a lot of my resolve.


JD, sitting on a table, wearing tiny pants, blowing his whistle as hard as he can.

A Few Updates on Things I’ve Mentioned 

Today is the anticipated heart doc appointment. Hopefully, by the end of the day I’ll have a date set for my heart procedure. That’s where they go in and burn off the trouble-making cells in my ventricles. Should be a grand ol’ time. I’ll let ya know what I find out.

I’m still sticking to my goal of beginning and ending each day with Bible reading and prayer. I’ve kept up my journal too. There’s even a page dedicated to tracking my fevers, per my doctor’s request.

We have only one week of Classical Conversations left! Sad and exciting too! Joshua even has several lines that he will get to say at the closing ceremony.

We’re setting up for a fairly insane May and June. Alan and I have been discussing plans constantly, and it makes me feel excited. We’ve had entirely too much monotony and sadness around here lately anyway. We’d like to have a FUN spring and summer.

“Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop: but a good word makes it glad.”   Proverbs 12:25

“The righteous is delivered out of his trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead.”   Proverbs 11:8


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