Three Full Days…

Before we are swept into 2015 I’ll share our full three days of celebrating…

We had a very quiet Christmas Eve. Early in the morning we braved the parking lots at Costco and Safeway and bought the last minute items we needed for Christmas day. We bought a Costco rotisserie chicken and macaroni & cheese for any hunger pangs we might have as we got ready for Christmas day.

Our Christmas Eve service followed the theme of peace in the midst of pain and chaos. We enjoyed singing traditional Christmas carols with a few modern twists and we even had snow fall during the service inside church! After work on Christmas Eve Andrew and Katie arrived for the night enjoying our treats from Costco and after Dear and I went to sleep I heard Josh and Laura arrive for the night after they celebrated with Laura’s family.

Early on Christmas morning Dear and I heard some ducks quacking and it took us a while to spot them on the neighbor’s roof. A quacky good morning made us smile.

More presents were added next to the tree as Dear and I slept.

We woke the kids up to a favorite Christmas CD by Twila Paris to see what gifts Santa delivered to our stockings.

Our breakfast table was all ready to go for our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of Swedish Pancakes that Dear makes for us.

After breakfast I changed out the table for our Christmas Dinner with two places added for Dan and his fiance Jamie who were on the road from Eastern Washington to join us for dinner and the rest of the weekend.

Christmas Day 008Our meal on Christmas day was our traditional Prime Rib Roast and Yorkshire pudding with roasted root vegetables and creamed corn.

Our kids with their loves!

The original family with our three children.

Our oldest, Josh, married Laura in 2001.

Our youngest, Katie, married Andrew in 2011.

Our middle son Dan who will be married to Jamie in 2015.

All of us together.

The day after Christmas we had another fun evening celebrating Dan and Jamie’s engagement and Katie’s birthday with family and friends. We had appetizers and Dear’s Tomato Rice Soup for our gathering.

Katie, Andrew, Steve (BIL), Lana (My sister), Beth (mother of Dan’s best friend growing up), Dan, Jamie

Laura, Dave (Father of Dan’s best friend growing up), Dear, Ellen b., Josh and Katie. Unfortunately Dan’s best friend growing up was home sick along with his little daughter so his family wasn’t able to join us.

We toasted Dan and Jamie and then we sang to Katie before she blew out the candles on her Applesauce Spice Birthday Cake.

Our hearts are full and flowing over.

Dan and Jamie left our home on Sunday morning headed across the mountains again to Eastern Washington. We got the text that they arrived safely and that is always a good text to receive.

How are things at your place?

Autumn Begins…

There are some tell tale signs of Autumn around here…


One of the first I notice every year are these great dew dropped spider webs.


Sometimes the creator is centered just right on the web.

We had a party yesterday afternoon to celebrate the Engagement of our daughter Katie and Andrew. It was a last minute open house since Andrew leaves today for his Infantry Training in North Carolina at Camp Lejeune. Twenty of our dear old friends and family came by to celebrate. Some of these dear old friends are only in their twenties, but you understand what I mean by old. When important events like these come about it’s interesting how you appreciate the ones who have been around and connected to your life through the years. It might not be that you see each other regularly anymore but they were there when Katie was born, or at her 5th birthday party, or her 10th birthday party, or at church with you way back when. You’ve kept up with each other over the years and now it’s time to get together again and celebrate another important milestone in life.

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.

We do not know when the wedding will be. We have to wait and see when the military will allow for some days off for Andrew. We are up for the challenge and we’ll get what little we can get done till we have an idea of the time of year we’re planning for. When the date is set we’ll be off and running with a lot of flexibility and we will “Choose Joy” in whatever comes our way! We do get to go dress shopping though~~ whoohoo!

Photobucket replaced all my photos with ugly black and grey boxes and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.

Engagement Party in Clovis, California

On Sunday we hit the back roads North to Clovis where my cousin Jim who married my college buddy Jeanie live (Jeanie and I met when we both were Home Economics majors at Cal-State, Los Angeles). Their youngest son Jeff asked Heather to marry him and she said YES! So because of the excitement of it all an engagement party was planned. Here’s the happy darling couple…

I told you they were darling. See that fabulous blouse she’s wearing? Jeff bought that for her while he was in Italy with his family a few weeks ago. Good taste and it looks smashing on Heather.

Clovis is about 4 hours away from us by car and we didn’t just get there by snapping our fingers so I’m going to show you some of the scenes from the route we chose to take this time. We went on a back road through Ojai on Highway 33. This route took us over and across the Los Padres National Forest.


It was very dry and hot (but 10 degrees cooler than Saturday). We saw lots of interesting landscape. Lots of huge bolders that looked like they could fall on us around several curves. The tunnels and canopy of eucalyptus trees were very cool. We finally made it over the winding roads through the forest to the flat lands of Central California. We went through an area of oil refineries and saw this great old oil Derick.

We arrived for the main event at Jim and Jeanies and the real fun began. Jim and Jeanie have a Spanish style home on a very large piece of property that is just perfect for large gatherings of people. They’ve done a beautiful job with landscaping and adding great features to make the house and yard invite you in.


There were lots of people and great food that Jeanie with my cousin Katrina’s help prepared themselves. Appetisers, Russian Chicken (MGCC recipe), Beef with aujus and salsa on the side, pasta salad, fruit salad, and rice pilaf. Yummy! One of Jeanie’s girlfriends from her Bible Study made all the cookies, heart shaped brownies and cookie bars. I love how she decorated the cookies. I asked her if she’d come to my next party with some of her fabulous cookies :0)


But the best part of the day was seeing old friends and relatives and getting re-acquainted and caught up a little with each other.


Jeanie and Ellen b. ~ Jeanie’s Swedish roots welcome sign ~ Jeanie with her sister Kathy B. ~ My cousin Katrina with her husband Andy and daughter Kristen ~ The engaged couple Heather and Jeff ~ Jeff’s older brother Ben ~ Ellen b. and Dear ~ My cousin Jim praying for the couple and meal ~ Cousins: Jim, Ellen b, and Katrina.

Hi Katrina…I know you are out there now :0)

The last time I saw Kathy B. (Jeanie’s sister) was in 2005 at a different celebration here in Clovis.


This face to face meeting was very special for me because since 2005 Kathy B. and I have both started blogging and I have gotten to know and love her more through our blogs. It’s just something special to meet with bloggy friends face to face. Kathy B. blogs over at Count it all Joy. She truly has chosen joy through her suffering and has a special place in my heart.

Thanks for the wonderful party Jim and Jeanie. Congratulations Jeff and Heather. It was fun celebrating with you! May God bless you and the uniting of your families with His love and joy!

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I posted on my blog from 2007-2015 hostage and replaced them with big black and grey boxes with threats. So discouraging…as I’m slowly trying to clean up thousands of posts!