Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

We had fun celebrating the new year with the Mertzel family... good friends, good times!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Celebrating the reason for the season...

A friend sent me the song in an email with the following back story...

About the Song...

While at the mall a couple of years ago, my then four year old nephew, Spencer, saw kids lined up to see Santa Claus. Having been taught as a toddler that Christmas is the holiday that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, he asked his mom, "where's the line to see Jesus"?

My sister mentioned this to my dad, who immediately became inspired and jotted words down to a song in just a few minutes. After putting music to the words, and doing a quick recording at home, he received a great response from friends. He sent the song off to Nashville without much response, except for a Christian song writer who suggested adding a bridge at the end of the first chorus. My dad then asked if I wanted to record the song to see what we could do with it. I listened to the song, made a few changes to the words to make it flow better, and we headed to Shock City Studios.

It was at the studio where Chris, owner and producer, rewrote the 2nd verse and part of the chorus... with goose bumps and emotions high, we were all hopeful and felt like we had something special. The demo was recorded in just under 2 hours and sent off again to Nashville... still no response.

Then 2 weeks before Christmas last year, my cousins Greg and Robbie decided to do a video to see what we could accomplish on YouTube. The first day we had 3000 hits and it soared from there. We received e-mails, phone calls, Facebook messages from people all over asking for the music, CD's, iTunes, anything... we had nothing. After a couple of meetings with Chris following the amazing response, we got serious. We headed back into the studio this past spring... this time with guitars, drums, bass, pianos, choirs... the real deal.... and here we are today.

Getting iTunes set up, a website put together, and loving that thousands upon thousands of Christians have come together... remembering the true meaning of Christmas. Out of the mouths of babes come profound truths that many adults can not understand. Hopefully Spencer's observation will cause people all over to reflect on the love of Jesus, and that one day we will all stand in line to see Him. We are most thankful to our Heavenly Father to have this chance to share our music with you.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas is almost here!

We began our Christmas festivities with our traditional day after Thanksgiving trip to get our tree. Once again we headed out to Home Depot and then the girls got to pull out their own ornaments to decorate the tree. Ryan and I got to sit back and watch as the girls happily worked together. How precious it is to watch them s they ooh and ahh and recall their own little stories about their ornaments. This year I took them to the Christmas Tea at our church. They wore their Christmas dresses and I did their hair. And what could be more fun than decorating cookie with friends! The Rye came over yesterday and had a creatively wonderful time with different colored frosting and candies.

This is the most wonderful time of the year!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Disneyland with Avery and Miles

We had fun at Disneyland and CA Adventure with Avery and Miles who were visiting from Washington... the girls call themselves cousins...

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The highlight of our Thanksgiving was the game that Hannah orchestrated. Based on "hot potato", Hannah played music while we passed around the Thanksgiving bear (given to Hannah a few years back by Auntie Jen and Uncle Brett). When the music stopped, the person holding the bear had to say what they were thankful for. Alyssa carefully recorded our responses with Cousin Laurie offering spelling assistance.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Alyssa's Preschool Thanksgiving

Alyssa is thankful for her wonderful teacher, Mrs. Lynne. Mrs. Lynne loves sunflowers.

Before the kids enjoy their Thanksgiving feast of popcorn, grapes, string cheese and brownies, Pastor Kay always shares with them a story to illustrate how we should be grateful to those around us. Her friends Mr. Turkey, Goose and Duck helped tell the story today.

Our gift to our classmates is a trail mix of foods to remind us of the First Thanksgiving Feast that mommy found in a magazine once. Alyssa helped fill the bags and signed her name to each tag.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Colonial Life at Riley's Farm

It was a cold and crisp November morning. The scene was beautiful with fresh snow from the rain the day before dusting the top of the mountain and the turning leaves.

With an engaging group of characters who led us through different aspects of colonial life, the girls learned about the games children played, candle making, the gear of a soldier, how to weave, proper manners and etiquette, how to churn butter, the job of a blacksmith and writing with a quill pen.

Most of the time Alyssa was ready to go to see her Auntie Ruth because she was cold and Hannah was thoroughly engaged.

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Friday, November 11, 2011


When I first saw this I thought it was a pictures of me... but when I asked Hannah,she explained that the hand was waving to get my attention and that this was a picture of her trying to tell me that her ears hurt from the cold she has. Whew!!!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Embrace the Rain!

Hannah loves, loves, loves, loves, loves being out in the rain no matter the time of year. It's 59 degrees here in usually sunny Southern California. SO excited she was today that after romping a bit outside to collect rainwater for water color painting, she had to take her coat off to dance around some more! And when I finally told her that she must come in, she was still beaming over the experience, telling me how glad she was that I was here to watch her.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Charlotte's Web

Along with Gramma, we saw the most delightful production of Charlotte's Web today at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. The cast told the story of Charlotte's friendship with Wilbur with only five actors. The girls didn't even realize that there were only five people playing all the characters.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

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Halloween wasn't my favorite holiday growing up. Sure the candy was great, but figuring out costumes wasn't. The first few years of Halloween with my girls was fun, but as they are getting older and much more opinionated, the whole costume thing started to feel a bit messy.

That's the way things started out this fall... a little messy. Hannah wanted to do group costumes and Alyssa didn't. At one point they both wanted to be Rapunzel... really? We went back and forth and then I asked out of desperation and not really thinking it through myself... how about a character from a book we've read?

We read a lot of books, so it could have gotten really out of hand, but instead the few suggestions I offered up were quickly agreed to. Alyssa wanted to be Fern from Charlotte's Web, and Hannah, Anne of Green Gables. We had everything for Alyssa's costume already. And although Hannah initially wanted the fancy blue dress with the puffy sleeves from the older Anne, she settled on the orphan Anne newly arrived to Green Gables. Whew! Thanks to a few friends one with a straw hat and the other a burlap bag and a new pair of boots and red hairspray (our only costume purchase!), our Anne costume was complete!

Hannah's 'dress" is an old XL t-shirt that I found in our rag pile. I cut off the sleeves and added a few hand sewn stitches to fit it up on the sides. Hannah has asked if she can wear it as an everyday dress...

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tanaka Farms Pumkin Patch

We went to the pumpkin patch with our Park Academy home school group. It was a hot day and didn't feel at all like pumpkin picking weather! We also picked some veggies different than what we've grown in our summer garden.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Learning the Books of the Bible

Hannah and Alyssa have been going to KWAP (Kids with a Purpose) at our church on Wed nights. They sing "I'm Gonna Learn the Books of the Bible" ALL day long... So I found it on YouTube along with a video by Go Fish called Bible Book Bop...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekend in Indo

We spent a long weekend in the desert. It was HOT the first two days and then it cooled down to the 90's with a lot of wind. We enjoyed spending time in the pool at the end of the day.

Things we did:

Palm Springs Air Museum featuring WWII airplanes
Watched "The Sound of Music" for the first time with the girls
Children's Museum of the Desert
Bought ice cream and prayed it wouldn't melt before we got back to the resort!
Fed the ducks

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alyssa's First Day of her last year of Preschool

She once again had waffles with ice cream and chocolate syrup for breakfast. And daddy brought her to school. Her teacher is Mrs. Lynne.

Alyssa was wired when she came home, but crashed at quiet time, sleeping for 2 hours!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Soccer Season is Underway

Hannah played her first soccer game. It was a 'friendly" (preseason) game. Hannah was timid when it came to actually kicking the ball. When a play didn't go her team's way, she would put both her hands up to her head (too cute!) She also found it important to chase the pigeons off the field during the game. Hannah is #2.
Alyssa brought her own chair and watch the whole game (unlike at practices when she asks to go to the park to play the whole time!)
The oranges were by far the best part of the game for Hannah... that and cheering her team on.
And so it's official. I'm a soccer mom. I only offered to coordinate the snacks for game days and the other mom who is helping out with getting the banner, making the hair bows and collecting fundraising money already had a soccer mom water bottle, so she told me I could have it.

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We spent the afternoon with Elizabeth, Matthew and Sarah at Kidspace before the headed back to Idaho.

The girls got to visit with Rosie again...

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tide Pools at Newport Beach

We spend the day visiting with Elizabeth, Matthew and Sarah. We went to the beach and explored the tide pools. What fun!
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Monday, August 29, 2011

Hannah's First Day of School

And so begins Hannah's First Grade year. We also decided to join a homeschooling group called Classical Conversations. Hannah will be learning the history timeline, human body, Latin, art, music, scientific method, US History and the geography of the US on Wednesday mornings. And that's only what she's learning on Wednesday mornings!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Brown Widow Egg Sacs

And then there were three! We discovered these egg sacs and then were informed by our neighbor that they were brown widow eggs sacs. Kaleen also told us that there was a group who was collecting them for scientific research. So we went online, found that UC Riverside Department of Entomology was doing the research and explained how to collect the eggs and spider. Daddy was put in charge of the actual collection. Hannah and Alyssa sent a letter to Rick Vetter explaining where we lived and where on our property we found the spider and eggs sacs. It was fun to receive an email reply back too!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Picnic Table

As of June 28, 2011, new federal rules took effect banning the manufacture and sale of baby cribs with drop-down side rails. The cribs have been linked to at least 32 infant deaths since 2000, according to the National Institutes of Health. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, drop-side cribs are dangerous.

So what does one do with the once accepted and now rejected cribs?

Ryan made Alyssa's crib into a table! He based his design from the Crate and Barrel, Table in the Bag (

I must say that my husband is one clever man!

End of Summer Party

Thank you to Emma, Georgia and Mack who invited their summer play friends
over for a summer finale day of water play!
We had a fun summer with you and a fun day with your friends!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hannah's Artsy Food creations

Above is a tasty dish made especially for her daddy who graciously ate/drank.
It consisted of crushed Joe's Oh's and leftover microwave popcorn, regular and buttermilk, peanut and sunflower butters, topped with fresh peaches and a straw.
A week later, Hannah insisted on creating "Fruit Stew". Daddy offered yogurt instead of milk for mixing in the finger jello and fruit Hannah chopped into tiny bits!
Another favorite past time is to create pictures with her food.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hannah Plays Soccer

Hannah was super excited about playing soccer.  She jumped right in with the other girls and did all the drills.  She was also a little possessive of her soccer ball.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Preparing for Soccer

Sadly, Alyssa missed the age cut off for AYSO by a few months, so she will have to watch from the sidelines this year.  The girls wore their skating knee pads in lieu of shin guards and I just love the fluffy skirts!  Take a close look at Alyssa's rock star pose... she's got that snarl down pat!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Norton Simon Museum

I believe that these pictures say more than a thousand words...