Monday, December 31, 2012

Eastward Bound

On December 10 we left Weimar, CA, and headed south for a week with family heading back to Gary's parents' place in Missouri. I shared our little Christmas tour with you already, so next I want to share about our trip East.

Clockwise from top left: Our car and trailer all packed and ready to leave Weimar. LA. 210 in the carpool lane. The CA desert. Blue mountains. Sunset.

Here are some travel shots of our first day that I posted on Instagram.

We stayed the night in Williams, AZ, tentatively planning to drive a couple hours out of our way the next morning to see the Grand Canyon. I've seen it before, but Gary and the boys haven't. Unfortunately that area of the country was expecting snow later in the day, so after a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant, we decided to continue east.

 This series is completely out of order, so I'll just summarize a few things! The scenery digressed in beauty the further we went. At least in our opinion! It got flatter with less and less color, but we managed to stay ahead of the storm in Arizona and had great weather all the way through New Mexico too. The big orange mountain is the setting sun reflecting on the hills behind Albuquerque. We continued a couple more hours after dark before stopping for the night in Tucumcari, NM. 

The third day was our longest, but our boys are such good travelers that it wasn't bad. I think we were in the car over 14 hours! We drove through the Texas panhandle and through the whole state of Oklahoma. See? Flatter and flatter with less color... No wonder I kept taking pictures!

We finally changed freeways in Oklahoma City. I had to catch that sweet moment of my oldest son tracing the hand of his youngest brother. Cute kids! Our middle son had wanted to stop at Taco Bell the whole time, so we finally made his little wish come true. Funny how the simple things make our kids so happy!

Our drive continued for several hours that night, crossing into Missouri, driving through Joplin and on to my in-law's small town west of St. Louis. We were curious about the tornado recovery in Joplin, having followed the story of the May 23, 2011, disaster, but saw nothing. We did stop at a big truck stop where there was a Caribou Coffee with the tastiest seasonal drinks!

We got to Gary's parents' place safe and sound, though road weary. They had lots of hugs for us and warm beds to sleep in, and that's where I'm headed right now!

Hope you enjoyed the journey with us!

A Christmas Craft

When we visited my brother and sister-in-law a few weeks ago, we all enjoyed their colorful Christmas tree! Last year my sister-in-law made an initial ornament for each of her children and I love how they turned out!

Missy started with plain wooden letters painted white. She traced the letter on the back side of the paper, cut it out and glued it to the front of the letter. Then she embellished the letter with ribbon and a festive little branch. Missy added stickers to spell out each child's name. Each letter was hung to the tree with more ribbon. So cute!

Here are two of Missy's little cuties with one of mine, listening to a Christmas story.

While we were visiting we had the opportunity to see the Endeavour!

If you're in the LA area, go see it! It was really cool to see a real US space shuttle! Here's our little family under the shuttle.

And here are the cousins, ages 1-8. So much character in that bunch!

 The shuttle is in a temporary wing of the museum right now, but they're building a really neat display where it will be set up as though it's ready for launch. I guess I'm a geek enough to think that's so cool!

There's also a neat display of a mock-up ground control room and a simulator.

After seeing the shuttle we saw an IMAX on the Hubble Space Telescope. Also very very cool!

So there you go, a fun, cute craft and a fun, cool outing! So glad we got to see you again, Glenn & Missy and cousins!

Christmas 2012

I'm waaaaay behind in blogging this month, but before the year ends I wanted to post a tiny summary of our Christmas this year.

We left Weimar on December 10. There's more to that story, but I'll save it for another day. We went first to Gary's brother's home in Southern California and stayed with them for about three days. We didn't celebrate Christmas, per se, but we had a nice time together. I'll get to that another day too.

We spent the evening with my Dad and his wife Jan. Their other Grandson joined the fun too. We had dinner together, decorated papers to hang on the tree, read stories and played with toys. Grandpa and Grandma gave the boys the jammies they're wearing in the first picture.

Next we headed to my Mom's place in Ventura. We ate out one breakfast, read stories together, and took a walk or two. The boys like to lounge in her tub and I was able to make an ornament wreath that I've always wanted to try! I made it from dollar store ornaments and a wire hanger and hung it with dollar store ribbon. I love how it turned out, though like so many of my projects it cost more, took longer and made more mess than I had planned on! We had a fun time with Grandma with the highlight being our early Christmas gift exchange. Grandma always spoils "her boys" rotten!

From Ventura we headed east back to Missouri. That's for another post too! But once we got here we had a few days to regroup, get presents for each other and get ready for the actual Christmas day!

I took lots of pictures of the boys but none of anyone else! Sorry, Grandma and Grandpa! I was playing with the settings on my camera, trying to get the perfect shot of the boys. I don't think I really got one, but my favorite is this one:

Here are some other fun pictures from my experiments:

And because I can't let go of any of these less-than-perfect shots, here's another collage of my cuties!

So that's a recap! I have about 10 more posts written in my head, so stick around! Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Easy Christmas Votives

My oldest son, Jonathan, came home from Sabbath School with an adorable votive candle that he had personalized by adding bits of tissue paper with glue. I immediately thought how fun it would be to duplicate this craft for Christmas!

I ran all over Auburn looking for cheap glass votives. The ones shown here are from Walgreens and aren't super cheap, but very pretty finished. I found different ones at WalMart later. They're not the same shape but will still be cute. I also asked Jonathan's teacher where she got hers for the class and she said Michael's. They weren't the filled kind so you have to use a tea light inside. Just so you know!

I had my 3- and 5-year-olds help tear the tissue paper. I went back and ripped these pieces smaller and smoothed out the wadded up bits. Cute kids. A little paper goes a long way!

We then painted the outside of the votives with glue, then stuck tissue paper bits all over. 

I bet you can guess which is Jared's (3), mine and Jonathan's (5). I helped the kids flatten and smooth the tissue paper and fill in the bare spots.

I thought this cute ribbon from the dollar spot at Target would be a great finishing touch, so I glued that on too. 

Jonathan didn't want red paper on his candle. 

Jared wanted his to look like mommy's. Aw...

And I never took a proper 'after' photo, but here's one from my phone! We love how the candle shines through the tissue paper.

This was an inexpensive, easy craft that can be easily personalized with the colors you want. Jonathan enjoyed the project, but Jared (age 3) was a touch frustrated by his sticky fingers.

What crafts have you done this Christmas?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Weekend Walk at Weimar

I love the fall colors we were able to enjoy in Northern California this year.

And I love these boys. Have I mentioned that before? Cuz I do. Just a smidge.

We took a Sabbath afternoon walk around "The Loop" at Weimar last Saturday. I brought my camera and thought I would share some of the campus and some little cuties too!


On our laps around the campus, I always had the boys stop at the sign to wait for me and the stroller to catch up to them on their bikes!

admin building




music building
Our little Josiah has been wanting to walk more and be in the stroller less. Funny to think that when we got here he was still rather unsteady on his legs! Now he can walk the 1/2 mile loop!



Weimar Inn

AFCOE building
 Gary's teachers had offices in this building. AFCOE is the program Gary just finished. It stands for Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism and it trains lay people how to reach out to the community and share their faith effectively.

Cafeteria again

Oh, those eyes!

dee dee doh!
Josiah, always wanting to copy his big brothers, recently started saying, "Dee dee doh!" We figured it meant "ready, set, go!" >>Insert proud parent ravings here.<<

Bell tower

Classrooms - different side

Yay! The new haircut makes me actually want to snap self-portraits with my Sweetie. :)


The chapel served as Gary's classroom. It's slated to be reno'd soon as it is too small for the college + academy + resident families to use as intended.


Jonathan - forced smile

Jonathan - tale end of a real smile

Jonathan - his version of a smile

dee dee doh!

Jared, copying and being copied

Sweet faced boy!

Josiah's blue eyes

Josiah - 18 months

Enough photos, Mom, let me play with this pine needle!

An dorm

A renovated dorm

Men's dorm


The trains ran through right by campus.

A peek at our dorm.

So there you go! Hope you enjoyed our Sabbath afternoon walk around Weimar College!


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