Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jesus

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Highlights from 2007 for our family include me starting this blog that allows you all a peek into our everyday goings on...

Shell finished out her Junior year of high school and began life as a Senior in the fall, as a third year varsity volleyball player. She has such a heart for children and is in her second year in a partnership between the high school and local elementary schools that allows her to serve as an aide in a kindergarten class. She also volunteers with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and works part-time at a pre-school. She is looking southward for college...Southern California, that is :) We will keep you posted on more specifics as the time nears.

Gabby is in 1st grade now and is still enjoying being homeschooled. Aside from math (her absolute favorite), her favorite classes that she takes at the HomeChoice Academy include chess and World Crafts. Horses are an obsession with Gab, whether it is drawing pictures of them or riding them, or making up stories about them, she just loves them. Of course, she loves just about any animal and is always asking if she can have another kitty or puppy.

Ian is four years old and all boy. All it takes is our one boy to balance out this house full of girls. His pockets full of dirt and rocks, sticks and leaves, keep me busy in the laundry room. Despite owning two pairs of rubber boots, he still manages to get his shoes soaking wet every day and has more than once worn flip flops in the rain, simply because they were the only footwear not missing, stuck in mud or too wet to wear. He loves to draw, color and create and our house is filled with his art work, from tiny little "webs" (huge spiderman fan!) to collages of many pieces of paper taped together, he is quite the artist.

Evie has gone from active baby to super active toddler! I can't even say she keeps us on our toes, because that would indicate that we were, in some way, on top of her many exploits...but, no, she has left us in the dust :) Music is still her favorite thing. She dances and sings to everything and loves to make music with instruments.

Jeff switched jobs in November. He is now working for Epiq Systems in Beaverton, OR. His commute went from less than 15 minutes to about 1 hour and 15 minutes one way. Despite the time on the road, he really loves his new job and is excited for all the opportunities it presents. He still serves as an usher at our church and now, also, has a group of guys that he meets with for Bible study and prayer in the morning once a week. He was also the culprit behind our becoming leaders of a small group (5 couples) at our house twice a month. We have been so blessed by this group, and I am so grateful for his faithfulness to God's calling him to lead.

I started out this year as a witch. (no comments from the peanut gallery, please) The White Witch, that is, in a production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Then I jumped right into another production, "The Curious Savage", a great play with the chance to work with many friends...however, just too much time away from the family, so I decided to take a break for the rest of the year. The break from theater gave me the chance to start up the scrapbooking group at church again. It is such a blessing, once a month, to scrap with friends, meet new faces and enjoy good fellowship. I am in my second year homeschooling Gabby, (and Ian and Evie in a less structured way!) it is amazing to be so connected to their learning process...I learn just as much as they do.

We wish we could see everyone of you in person to wish you a Merry Christmas! But until we are able to...know that we are sending our love to you and praying for you this season and always. God Bless you!


Jeff, Annaliese, Shell, Gabby, Ian and Evie

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gabby is 7!

We celebrated her birthday with friends and family on Decemeber 1st at our house. It was a horse themed party, complete with pinata. Since we had not had a formal party for Evie, we also celebrated her 2nd birthday again. Gabby decided she wanted to give presents to orphans in China this year, instead of receiving gifts for herself, so the invitations requested baby toys and clothes instead of presents for the birthday girls. Everyone brought lovely, generous gifts for the orphans and many also brought gifts for Gab and Evie! It was a wonderful time!

Gabrielle about to make her birthday wish.
(we are pretty certain it has to do with a horse!)
Happy Birthday, Princess!

Celebrating with Chuck E. Cheese

we actually had no idea that our youngest was a "Trekkie"!
Evie says--Live Long and Prosper

Tonight, on Gabby's actual birthday, we went to Chuck's, ate pizza and played games. Chuck E. even stopped by our table and gave Gabby a special birthday ice cream sandwich.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

To family, to friends, to health, to life, to love, to fun, to trials, to growth, CHEERS!
Lord, we are so thankful for it ALL.
Make us ever mindful of your goodness and mercy...amen.

Monday, November 19, 2007

We have a two year old!

Oh my! Two!

When looking at this photo of Evie today... is amazing to see her one year ago!

Opting to go 'hands free'!

Checking out her new fun, chair from Grammie and Poppy!

We celebrated Evie's birthday today with a yummy, cake. Ian and Gabby decorated the house beautifully and Evie enjoyed opening her presents. It was simple and low-key, and very enjoyable :) We are planning to celebrate her birthday again, along with Gabby's, in December.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Evangeline!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Evangeline's dedication

Evie's picture on the big screen. We are standing to the far left.

Jeff and I, along with family and friends, dedicated Evie to the Lord today. It is a public commitment to raise her in a Godly home to know Jesus and the love He showed to us by dying on the cross in our place.

She was very curious with all of the goings on around her, but did very well through the whole service. (about 20 minutes long)

It is still so amazing to me that I get to be her mother.

I am so in awe and so grateful.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

My dad is ...

...the happiest reindeer!

ian, dad, gabby, evie and my sister, christianna...last Christmas.

...Vanna (Danna?) White!

...hmmmm. nice, dad. moving on...

...a super, fabulous dad who deserves much better than a 'just-after-midnight-(because-Arizona-is-dumb-and-does-not-do-daylight-savings-time)-oh-my-goodness-I-can't-believe-I-almost-forgot-your-birthday-call' call from his eldest daughter!

I love you, Dad!!!

Happy Birthday!

Halloween tradition continued...

let the sugar overload begin. just outside Daddy's work with their loot bags filled from trick-or-treating throughout the cubicles.

admiring their handi-work in carving the pumpkins

our precious Tink!

me and my mom. the mechanic and the hippie.

Peace. I dig it, man. ( :)

After we visit with the Loughs and get pictures of the kiddos in their cute costumes, we head to mom's house. Her neighborhood is always full of activity, and this year was really busy! We walked around the block a bit, but as usual, the kids really weren't that interested in going very far and just wanted to head back in to gramma's to eat their treats and drink yummy cocoa. Gabby has become quite the candy distributor, with Ian pitching in to help her once in a while...and Evie, well...she only escaped completely out the door and had to be caught by kind parents waiting on the sidewalk and returned to us...twice. She is so, so fast.

Halloween tradition

this group photo just wasn't going to happen.

remove the youngest two, and it's not too difficult to get a shot of Tiger Lily (Gabby), cheerleader (Hannah), Captain Hook (Ian) and Darth Vader (Justin)

hey! speak of the little ones...Evie and Owen as Tinkerbell and a frog.

on the couch they are better contained, even some smiles!...however, it does look as though Owen is texting for someone to get him out of there!

Ever since Gabby and her friend, Hannah were tiny, we have met them each Halloween to photograph them, and, of course, all of the siblings that have been added since!

As Hannah's mommy, Heather said, trying to get a group photo of all 6 was exactly like "herding cats"!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Homecoming Dance

Michelle and Michael

the couples that all went together.

the volleyball gals that went to the dance.

As previously reported, Shell was asked to the Homecoming Dance. What was not made clear was that she did, indeed, say "yes!" Here are some fun pictures from the evening.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

It was fabulous! (except I am still waiting for that phone call, Rebecca...) love you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Catching Leaves

Evie was determined to catch a falling leaf.

Didn't happen, but the leaves still provided much Autumn fun!

Friday, October 12, 2007

How to Eat Like a Child

Demonstrating her eating technique is the lovely Evie Gove.

Carefully place the macaroni on the handle of the spoon. Why? Using the right end is too easy.

Better yet, forgo all utensils and just tip bowl of food into mouth. It's faster.

Finally, pretend to be asleep when anyone notices you are dumping your food all over and making a mess. You look cute and might get in less trouble.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A super "Sweet" request!

Shell was asked to the Homecoming Dance today via cake.

The requesting young man, Michael, had "Happy Half Birthday! Will you go to Homecoming with me?" written on a huge cake for her and brought it, along with roses, to our house this afternoon.

(Shell is officially 17 1/2 today...and any of you who know her well, know that birthdays, even half ones!, are VERY important to her :) so that is a big plus for Michael that he also acknowledged her 1/2 birthday)

Unfortunately, I did not get a photo before it was partially eaten...but you get the idea!

Jeff did make good on a long standing threat to have any boy asking to date Shell fill out a detailed application before granting permission. Michael took it in stride and we should have the results back soon...of course, as it states on the application, he "must allow 5-7 years for processing" !!!

He, actually, has our initial stamp of approval--hey, he brought us cake, he can't be all bad :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Well, at least it doesn't strike the same place twice!

Lightening hit a tree in our backyard last night at 6:05pm.

Jeff, Gabby and Ian were at Shell's volleyball game, so it was just Evie and I playing inside, when I realized that it was hailing really hard. I grabbed her and the camera and headed out onto our covered patio to get some shots of the accumulating hail (what can I say? I'm a photo junkie!) and just as I snapped a picture of our hail-covered hammock, there was a super bright flash, loud, LOUD boom and one of our trees exploded. There were tree chunks flying everywhere...and later we realized that some of them came within a couple of feet of where I was standing with Evie.

I was terrified to even go back in the house, I didn't know if I could touch the door knob. The air felt all "fuzzy" is the only way I can descibe it. My ears were not ringing, but Evie was super quiet for about 10 minutes (she seems just fine today, but we are still going to have her hearing checked). Once I worked up the courage to go inside, I discovered that the phone and computer were dead and I had left my cell phone in my car that Jeff drove to the volleyball game! I had his car, but no car seat for Evie--I felt so isolated that I just scooped Evie up and ran to the neighbor's house. I was more afraid of being alone in the house for another 2 hours than of being struck by lightening as we ran, because, afterall, it doesn't strike the same place twice, right?!

Aside from a blown out computer modem (replaced for free today by Qwest) and the neighbors' garage door openers not working, oh yes, and our poor tree....there does not seem to be any real damage. And, as we heard on the news later last night, there were funnel clouds spotted in the area! W feel very fortunate, Evie and I enjoyed an hour of conversation and play with neighbors that we rarely connect with (with the houses so spread out, it can be days between even seeing each other!), and we have quite a story to share :) --Praise God for His hand of protection!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

On the first day, in the first grade...

So, I am a bit behind in getting this post up, but last week, Gabby's HomeChoice classes began.

She is taking Chess, Spanish, Adventures in Music, and World Crafts this year, along with the PE and swim lessons she is continuing through the YMCA and her ballet with On Your Toes Studios.

Her favorite class, so far is Chess. She wants to play all the time. Mommy does not know how to play, but plans to learn soon. Gabby has volunteered to teach me. Oh, to have the confidence of a six-year-old. Only 2 classes under her belt and she is already offering her expertise :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dinosaurs at our house!

The whole gang out dino egg hunting.

Dinosaur excavation site.

Hannah, Gabby and Hannah admire their finds.

Justin watches as Jessica carefully unearths her dino.

Ian prepares to extinguish the "volcano"on his Jurassic cake.

Ian's 4th birthday party was this evening. We invited a few prehistoric guests as well as some of his friend's and we all had a wonderful time...digging for dinosaurs, hunting down a dino nest filled with eggs, making dinosaur magnets and especially, eating volcanic cake! ...and after all that, when we asked Ian what his favorite part of the party was, he said "jumping on the trampoline"...aaaahhh now that's why mommy and daddy stayed up all night planning activities and burying dinosaurs and eggs. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ian!

4 years old

and here are some of Ian's favorite things:

* green




*his castle that daddy built for him in the playroom

*cars--especially monster trucks


*making things "go"




*"shooter things" (his words, not mommy's)

*life cereal




*writing his name

*finding "I" "A" and "N" in signs and labels

*snuggling (especially with mommy, which mommy loves!)

Happy Birthday, Little Man!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of the Last Year

Today Shell took her first steps in the halls of Heritage High School as a Senior.

The beginning of the end of the high school chapter.

She is off to an amazing start as captain of her varsity volleyball team and we attended the team's first tournament today, where they won 4 of their 5 matches. What an amazing start to the season!

We are so excited for her this year as she readies herself for life beyond high school...

Colorado Springs Getaway

Our feet at the pool.

self portrait before dinner.

me and romadin.

a night shot of the hotel that blurred, but you have to see the beautiful sky.

me, in the pool.

Jeff had a conference in Colorado Springs this past week, and, with the help of Shell (the super sister, and wonderful daughter who did both mornings and evenings with the kiddos!-wow! what a wonderful treat for us--we love you!), Gramma Lee (who sacrificed her birthday retreat for the sake of helping with the grandkids--much love!!), and 2 dear friends (I love you Heather and Vanessa!)...I, Annaliese went with him! We stayed at the Broadmoor Resort, a five-star (oh my) hotel and spa.

Oh! It was lovely! Five days (ok, so two of those had some travel in them, but almost 5 days) of he and me time :) I have to admit here that it was mainly me time, since Jeff was actually working most of the trip. I was able to spend time at the gym, to walk around the beautiful grounds of the resort looking at the ducks, swans, squirrels and various birds. I also went horse-back riding one morning. It was really amazing; riding trails around Pike's Peak.

In the evenings, my hubby and I were able to relax together. We even went two nights in a row to an old-fashioned bar called the Golden Bee where a rag-time piano man played songs and everyone in the bar sang with him. It was such fun...and yes, Jeff did sing along.

We were also able to spend an evening with my step-sister, Kelsey. She works for a home builder in Colorado Springs, and she took us around to many of the beautiful models in the area. A dinner at the Elephant Bar, a really unique restaurant, topped off the evening. It was great seeing her again, and we agreed that it cannot be this long between visits next time!

Our final day at the Broadmoor was spent relaxing at the pool. It has two water slides to the side and the main part is a "zero-entry" pool, which means it is like walking into the steps, just a gradual slope. The pool looks like it flows right into the lake behind, it is just gorgeous. I am actually jealous of us now...ah...back to reality this week!