Snow?


It snowed at Ava's house and Jamey's house today.  That means there's snow at a whole lot of my little buddies' houses.

It doesn't snow here.  Not to be ungrateful to my mom and dad, but don't you think they should have asked for snow before they chose our new house?  Maybe they forgot.

Instead of snow, we're about to have spring.  It's cold and yucky today, but not for long.  Mommy and Ms. Jen were just talking about how February is a great time for visitors to come to our part of the world.  Spring begins gradually, but it's really pretty.  We saw some narcissus blooming by the side of the road today.

So, little buddies, if you get tired of all that wonderful snow, you can come to visit me.  There isn't any here!

Andrew

After taking a few months off, Mommy has resumed having scrapbooking workshops at our house. That means that she makes brownies for our guests (but not for me.) It also means that I get to go do guy things with Daddy and conveniently forget my bedtime! Friday night when Daddy and I got home, baby Andrew was sleeping in our living room while the ladies worked on pictures.  I sure love baby Andrew!


We also got to see him this week when we went out to dinner with him and his parents.  We went to an Indian restaurant, and I tasted my first Indian food.  Since it included lots of bread and rice, I loved it, of course.  Mommy and Daddy say that they have found a new favorite restaurant.  I hope that we get to see Andrew and his parents again soon!

Today's Quotes

"Pepper Jack cheese is healthy for you in your breakfast burrito.   May I please have Mommy say 'thank you' for the compliment."


"Those elephants are eating their grass.  They're pretending they're cows."

Discovery

Mommy made a great discovery: Blogger lets us upload multiple pictures all at the same time! I know, it doesn't take much to make Mommy happy. So, here are two pictures we uploaded at the same time:

Building a castle for the princess

and sleeping with my knees in the air.  Trust me, it's comfy.

Playgroup at Ms. Jetta's

Yipee! We got to go to playgroup this week at Ms. Jetta's with Ms. Jen and Ms. Amy and nine out of ten of us kids (Thea was at school.) These ladies and their kids were our first friends in Escalon and continue to be wonderful. ("They're a huge blessing," Mommy says.)  This was one of our best playgroups.  We are all getting old enough to play independently and happily, for the most part.  The first time we went to Ms. Jetta's, Jared and Ella were still young enough that the mommies blocked off the stairs.  This time, we all got to go upstairs and jump on the beds.  (Ms. Jetta allows that at her house, yay!)  And the mommies really got to chat.  A fun time was had by all!

Here are those of us old enough to eat raisins:  Jared, me, Helia, Annelies, Ella, and Kirsi.

Kirsi and Helia in the cool caterpillar crawl tube.

Here's baby Delia...she got to play with babies Cora and Peter (although they mostly napped.)

I was hoping for boy toys...not to worry, there was a fun Thomas to crawl into.  I got in on the action, too.


Room for everyone!

Samantha


I got to see Samantha this week so that Daddy and Mommy could go see a movie about running. Daddy's training for a marathon, you know! It worked out great for me...I love Samantha!

Merry Christmas!

video

Last summer, I discovered this amazing ramp race at Jared's house.  Mommy and Daddy thought it would be a great Christmas gift for me.  Mommy looked and looked until she found it here.  She ordered it for me at the beginning of November, and it finally arrived last week.  We thought it was worth every penny and worth the wait, too.  So, little buddies, if you want one of these for your very own, you might want to order it now if you want it in time for Christmas.  Or, you can just come play with mine. There are four cars, and I'll share!

Uncle Mel and Aunt Jan

Uncle Mel and Aunt Jan came for a quick visit last week. It was fun to have them in our house and bond with them, since we haven't seen them in a year. Uncle Mel and I played with the animals, and Aunt Jan read my animal magazine to me. Thanks for visiting, Uncle Mel and Aunt Jan!




Emma Faith


Here is a picture of her! Welcome to the world, little Emma!

Candy Land

Now that I'm old enough to play games, I got to try out another one with Mommy and Daddy:  Candy Land.  It's as fun as Chutes and Ladders!  Thanks to Uncle Todd and Aunt Corinne for this new game.  It has cards instead of a spinner and gingerbread guys instead of kids.  I won the game on my first try (and Mommy and Daddy really didn't "let" me win.)  Mommy and Daddy are finding that the attention span of this barely-three-year-old is about a game and a half.  Games are great fun.  Little buddies, you can come over to my house and play games with me anytime!

Bliss

What I'm Building



Complex tunnels, roundhouses for the trains, and towers...that's what I'm building.

Today's Quote

(This morning, before church.  Bear in mind that Jonathan's still having I/you mix-ups.)


Jonathan:  You have a very pretty dress on, Mommy.

Mommy:  Oh, thank you, Jonathan, that was so kind!

Jonathan:  Would you like to hear Mommy say "thank you" because you gave her a compliment.

Mommy:  I did say thank you, Jonathan, that was a nice compliment.

Jonathan:  You gave Mommy a compliment and that made her heart feel better.

Congratulations to Ms. Aleasia and Mr. Jeremy!

They became parents yesterday afternoon!  They had their baby girl, Emma Faith, at home and everyone is doing fine.  She was 8 lbs., 8oz., 21" long.  We'll share pictures when we receive them.  Ms. Aleasia is Mommy's downline with Creative Memories and Mr. Jeremy and Mommy went to college together.  Congratulations to the new family!

The Year in Review

To all our family and friends-


If you just got your Christmas/New Year's letter and are looking for our year in review letter, just click here to read it!

Enjoying a Beautiful Day...


and making Daddy's birthday cake.

Today's Quote

At that house, the boys and girls are going to give Toto a birthday cake, and he will blow out the candles.  And it will be a train birthday cake with freight cars.

Watch Out For Cold Meds, Little Buddies!

Click here to read more.  And your big buddies might want to watch out, too.  The FDA can't decide whether they're bad for kids up to age 6 or age 12.

Tonight's Quote

(Said while Mommy and Daddy were tucking me in...and I was stalling.)

If Mommy stays here, we will run out of time for a nap.  And if we run out of time for a nap, we will be very sad.

Great Gifts


Here is a picture of a gift from Mommy's good friend, Jo.  She made a bulletin board for our Christmas cards a few years ago.  It was a fantastic gift, and we love it because she made it herself.  Thanks for the great gift, Jo Jo!  You can hardly see what she did, though, because we received other gifts from so many friends and family:  pictures!  We love pictures around here.  We could have filled three or four bulletin boards with these Christmas pictures.  Some of you who sent your pictures early got covered up by more recent pictures.  Sorry about that!  We appreciate all the gifts from everyone this year.


We finally have our Christmas stuff down as of this past weekend.  But, I still get to play with my nativity set.  I get to think about Jesus' birthday all year long!

I Made It Up Myself

"The Deuce Coupe has driven in the hoop."  It's a great rhyme!

Emily and Micah

Emily and Micah both still need our prayers.  Emily went home from the hospital yesterday, but her fever came back again last night so she is being readmitted today.  You can check her website over to the right.  Micah is off of oxygen now, which is good news.  His big brother is sick, though, which means his family can't be together.  And there are many areas in which Micah and his family need prayer, especially for the next few weeks and months.  You can check his website over to the right in the grownup section.  Thank you for praying for my new little buddies!

PS-About Toto

We've had a lot of questions about the next step after selling Toto, so I'll fill you in on the details.  There are a couple of company cars that nobody is driving where Daddy works.  Daddy has the long-term opportunity to borrow one.  So, since we didn't really need to insure and license two cars, we sold one.  Mommy and Daddy say that saves our family money.  I personally think that Dingo is lonely.  But, we're all thankful for the unexpected blessing.  Today is Daddy's first day of driving the borrowed car.  Hopefully Dingo will like it.

"The Disciples Are Looking at the Animals"

Potty Training


I guess it's about time to mention that I don't wear diapers anymore.  A week and a half ago, I gave up diapers for good.  We had a couple of false starts with potty training when I was two and thought I was excited to use the potty, but after a couple of days, it was pretty obvious that I wasn't ready yet.  This time I was ready.  Mommy read a book from Graham's mommy, cleared the calendar for a few days starting on Jan. 2, and all we did was work on using the potty.  And I do mean ALL we did.  In this picture, I'm watching a potty video with Andrew, who I taught to use the potty.  He sure did have a lot of accidents.  I had a few of my own, too.  But I'm mostly done with accidents now.  (And I had to add that the library has a lot of good potty books and videos!)  Anyway, I'm happy to be a big boy and I'm pretty proud of myself!

Goodbye to Toto


"Toto is a little bit sad because he has to go away from our other car."  Today, we said "goodbye" to our loyal car, Toto.  Mommy and Daddy bought Toto the first fall they were married after Toto had been rescued from a tornado.  Toto carried Mommy and Daddy to both coasts and back before I was even born.  He took Mommy to her job at the middle school every day.  He drove me home from the hospital when I was a brand-new baby.  And, he drove us lots and lots of places after I was born.  We put about 130,000 miles on Toto, and he was a good car.  Now he's helping another family.  Goodbye, Toto!  You were a good car, and we'll miss you!

Last Week

Last week, we got to see Uncle Jake and Aunt Laura. They were having a meeting about their movie, and we got to watch a little of it. It's fantastic, and we're really excited for them.  We met at a place that was really fun for kids!  And the dinner was so yummy.  I think I had about seven helpings of pasta.  Since I did a great job being quiet during dinner while Uncle Jake talked about the movie, I got to play games with Daddy afterwards.  I also enjoyed lots of attention from the ladies:  Aunt Laura, Ms. Jenny, and our new friend, Ms. Nikki.

Here I am with Ms. Nikki.


Any friend of Aunt Laura's is a friend of mine.

I love Aunt Laura!

My first Ski Ball experience

And my first Lucky Ducky experience


And my first racecar video game experience.  All the games at this place were for kids 12 and under.  Mommy says I'm ruined forever-now I know that quarters go into these machines and make fun times.  Daddy said he hadn't thought of that.  We had a great time, though.  Thanks for inviting us, Uncle Jake and Aunt Laura!

What I've Been Up To

Discovering my utensils

Putting very important things in the oven and refrigerator


Reading bedtime stories with Daddy

From Emily's Grandma

Here's part of a note from Emily's grandma about how she's doing.  We'll share more news as it comes.


"The doctors are thinking it is Kawasaki Disease but a definite diagnosis has yet to be made. However, all of her symptoms indicate that it is this disease and they have started treatment accordingly. There is no known etiology of the disease. They treat the presenting symptoms of which Emily has all (fever of greater than 5 days, skin rash, irratibility, red eyes, red lips). The treatment is with IV gamma globulin (which they gave her yesterday) - apparently it is a one time infusion over 10 hours. The purpose is to boost her immune system to fight off the disease. The other form of treatment in aspirin. The aspirin is used as a blood thinner to protect her from developing blood clots. This disease has the potential to cause the arteries of the heart to develop anuerysms which increases the risk of blood clots. Daily echocardiograms of the heart are performed to identify and tract cardiac involvement. The echo done yesterday was suggestive of some cardiac involvement, however, the pediatric cardiologist said that the echo that was done did not provide him with enough information. So, I am certain another echo will be done today. "

Thanks to everyone for your prayers for baby Emily, and we hope you'll keep praying.  Updates are now available on her website, so we'll watch for updates there and hope you will, too.

Emily Update

Emily's situation looks pretty serious, so the doctors are transferring her to the children's hospital in a bigger city via ambulance.  The latest news is that her heart's arteries look inflamed.  Complications of Kawasaki Disease affect the heart.  We'll post more as we learn how she's doing.  Please keep praying!

Emily Update

Baby Emily is getting ready to be admitted to the hospital. She's just waiting for a bed. The doctors suspect Kawasaki Disease and are calling in a pediatric cardiologist. Please pray for Emily.

Prayers for Emily

Please pray for baby Emily.  She is really sick and her doctors can't find the reason.  She might have to stay in the hospital.  We'll keep you updated as we find out more.

The Year in Review-from Mommy


Dear Family and Friends,


Happy New Year!  Those of you who are on our snail-mail list are probably receiving our snail-mail New Year's card and picture right about now.  Here's the letter we promised!  To our faithful blog readers who are not on our snail mail list, this letter is for you, too.  Thanks for being interested in our lives!  A note to those of you who are new to our blog:  If you look over to the right-hand side, you can take a look at our friends' blogs or look at our old posts by date.  You can also post your own comment at the end of this letter.  We love comments!  Oh, and the other posts are usually written from Jonathan's point of view.

As you may have already read, we've been in our new home for just over a year now.  We're thankful the move is behind us.  We have so many dear friends and family who helped us in so many ways on both ends of our trip, and in the middle, too!  Thanks to everyone for the many ways you supported us.

Jaunary...  After we got here, Jeff spent time adjusting to his new job working with tomatoes instead of greeting cards.  We had the pleasure of spending time with family nearby instead of getting on a plane to see them.  It was great to be near them and have Jonathan get to know my side of the family better.  We started doing our best to see my mom and my dad at least once during each week.  We don't always make it but we do the best we can!  Also, Jonathan and I worked on finding friends and activities to fill our days once we had the unpacking under control.  I met my neighbor, Amy, whose son is six months younger than Jonathan.  She was so kind to introduce me to some of her friends, Jen and Jetta.  Amy, Jen, and Jetta were my first friends here and continue to be good friends to me.  They had an informal playgroup and included me in it.I'm really thankful to have met them.

February...  Our new home has taken us away from some people but brought us closer to others.  Now it's easy to see our friends, Charlie and Paola and their kids, Sophia and Antonia.  James and Karyn came out to see Karyn's family, so we got to see them on that trip, and Jonathan and Jamey got to play together while we visited.  And regardless of the distance, we'll always enjoy visits from Jeff's parents.  There are not many pictures posted of their February visit because soon after they went home, my grandpa passed away unexpectedly.  We all miss him and were not ready to say goodbye.  Here are some favorite pictures of Grandpa with Jonathan.

March and April...  We enjoyed the early spring in the valley (it actually starts in February with the almonds) and were surprised that it was still winter in the mountains.  (They call it "going to the snow" here.)  We took a trip to go hiking and found that about 3 ft. of snow where we had planned to hike.  Snowshoes would have been helpful, but we had a great time!  We continued to become better friends with Amy, Jen, Jetta, and their kids and husbands..  We enjoyed visits from Kathy, Sarah, and Gretchen, all old friends with camp connections who are much nearer to us because of our move.  Another benefit of being here is that Jonathan can use the bed my siblings and I used, and my brother brought it over here for us.  Jonathan switched to sleeping in it and said goodbye to the crib with no problems!  We had to take him in for a CT scan because of some concerns the doctors had about his facial asymmetry.  We finally got the scan done on the 2nd try, and everything was fine.  Right afterwards, we enjoyed a chilly family campout and Easter at home and with family.  Pizza Day at the "tomato factory" was another fun highlight of the spring.

May...  We enjoyed more visits!  This time they were with Krista and Jacob & Laura, all college friends.  We also found our new church home and began making friends there.  It's a small, friendly church, and we are enjoying settling in there.  Jonathan got glasses.  He had an easier time adjusting to them than we did.  He looks so grown up now!  We had fun hiking and seeing old friends, going to the coast with  new friends, and another chilly family campout.

June...was a big month for us.  We traveled back to Jeff's roots to celebrate his parents' 60th birthdays.  We also enjoyed a visit from three sets of couple-friends...and their kids...all at the same time.  It was great, especially the trip to Yosemite.  I put the finishing touches on some rooms I had painted.  We discovered the joy of the local fountains with little buddies, Ella and Jared.  And I also helped teach the K-1 class at Vacation Bible School.  Whew!

July...  A much calmer month!  Jeff was getting ready for his first "Season" which would last until October, so we went to the coast for one last big day together as a family for awhile.  I got some time to myself to do some scrapbooking.  I'm still enjoying Creative Memories.  You can see my site here if you type in my name and state.  We celebrated our 8th anniversary!  We also enjoyed a visit from Mark and Jennie (the same couple that just welcomed Micah into the world.)

August...  Still tomato season!  We managed to get away for one hike as a family.  Jeff helped start an Ultimate Frisbee group, something he'd been missing a lot.  We enjoyed a visit from John and Cheryl.  They always help us a lot with home improvement projects, and this time they built Jonathan a sandbox under the playhouse they had previously repaired.

September...  Still tomato season!  Here's a picture of Samantha, our beloved babysitter from our church.  Since Jeff was so busy with work, Jonathan and I went on a big trip.  We spent some time with family before hopping on the plane to meet Tim and Jo's new baby.  We had a fantastic time with Tim and Jo and the boys as well as other dear friends and family.  We continued getting to know families at our church better as we experienced little-girl birthdays here and here.

October...  The end of Tomato season!  As I look back at October's posts, I can see that we were starting to get into a routine of life (finally.)  Our life involved work, play, time with family, new friends, and old friends.  A highlight of the month was getting away to the city-just Jeff and me.

November...  This is usually the beginning to a very busy fall and Christmas season for us.  We had some really fun times this month:  Disneyland with Jake and Laura, and a trip to see Jeff's side of the family for Thanksgiving.  I also had my CM Open House, and Jonathan chipped and cracked his front teeth.  (Amazingly, they were gray but have turned white again!  We have one more checkup for them next week.)

December...  We'll always be busy because of the normal Christmas activities, but Jonathan's birthday and my birthday add even more activity to the season.  He really "got it" this year and had a great time turning three.  I think he enjoyed celebrating Jesus' birthday just as much, as you can tell from what he said here and here and here and here.  We hope you experienced the joy of Christ's birth this year and continue to remember his amazing gift throughout 2008.  We loved being able to celebrate Christmas with our nearby family so easily, but we missed the other parts of our family that are far away!  We also added a new dimension to our lives this month:  officially pursuing adoption.  You can read about it here and follow our adoption blog here.  We finished an amazing year of transition with a fun evening with Dave and Jen and the girls and a refreshing snowshoeing trip.  We also thought a lot about what was going on last year at this time and dearly miss everyone we left behind.

As you can see, this letter has turned into a novel...I'm not sure how many readers actually made it to this point!  If you did, I'm impressed.  Thanks for taking time to read about our lives.  We are so thankful for the many blessings in our lives, particularly all the people who mean so much to us and fill our lives with joy.  Happy New Year to all of you!

With love,
Jeff, Amy, and Jonathan

His Name Is Micah!

Nathan's new baby brother's name is Micah.  You can see pictures of him and read more on his family's blog.  Enjoy!

One Year Later-from Mommy

Here we are, one year later! We've made it to the one year mark in our new home and our new life. We have so much to be thankful for: so many special people we've left behind as well as our nearby family and new friends who are all great blessings to us.  Last January 7, Jeff was finishing a harrowing cross-country drive from his parents' house, and Jonathan and I were finishing that leg of the journey by plane.  My mom had been here at our house to direct the movers as they brought in our stuff, and the new neighbors were wondering who in the world had enough stuff to fill a big rig's trailer.  (Don't worry, our stuff shared the trailer with other families, too!)  Special thanks to my mom for enduring that day.


I took lots of "before" pictures and promised to post them, but I didn't at the time...so here are some of our favorites.

Walking in...

The living room (which is now red!)

The kitchen.  This is the first room in our house that I painted.  I got started on painting last January and I'm almost done now.  I have one wall left to do, and that last wall (behind our bed) is taking me a long time to tackle.

Jonathan's room

Sweet sleep!

What we've since called "the yellow bedroom" that is now set up as a nursery

another favorite picture taken the 8th.  Unpacking was a huge job!

We also had a backyard to discover.  You can see here how much Jonathan's play structure leaned.  Thanks so much, John and Cheryl, for helping Jeff to fix it up!

We knew the first year would be a big adjustment, and it sure was, but we are so thankful for all the ways that God has taken care of us-particularly having our family nearby, having old friends and family come to visit, and all the new people we've met that we're thankful to count as our friends.  We're thankful for all of you!

Congratulations to Nathan!

Congratulations to my little buddy, Nathan, who became a big brother yesterday when his baby brother was born.  You can learn more about him here.   We hear he's beautiful and can't wait to see a picture!  Thank you for praying about him being born via emergency c-section yesterday.  Nathan's mom, Ms. Jennie, is also hoping to be transfered to the same hospital as her new baby soon.  Congratulations!  You can read more on their blog to the right under "Nathan's Mom."

Please Pray

Hi friends and family,


Please take a moment to pray for our friends, Mark and Jennie.  Jennie just went in for an emergency c-section to deliver their baby boy who is not quite 35 weeks along.  He also has Downs Syndrome.  You can read more on their blog.

Thank you!

For Those of You...

who will never, ever have snow at your house (like me,) try this snowflake making site from Design Mom.  We love the Design Mom blog!

Bring on the Peanuts?!

Hi little buddies, maybe our parents should have let us have peanut butter earlier.  What do you think?  They can read about it here.

Another Use for Hungry Hungry Hippos


I knew those little black buttons had a really important job...

Catching Up on Christmas Pictures-Part 2

This is where I go to play in the nursery at church.
We go to a church that has "fellowship" on Sundays.  That means that everybody goes to eat and talk after the service is over.  Here's where the kids eat and talk.  Sometimes there's not room for all of us.  This time, I'm sitting to the left of Miriam, one of my favorite big kids in the world.

Here I am at a Christmas gathering eating a gingerbread man with Natalie.  Neither of us eat many cookies, so this is serious business.

Here is Ms. Linnea handing a gift to Natalie.  Natalie and I passed out all the gifts.

Here's Great Grandma gathering her stack of gifts that I'm bringing to her.

Here you go, Great Grandma!  

Here is our family going down the stairs on Christmas morning.

Let's find out what's in this stocking.

Now let's open this gift from Sam and his family.  (It was Mater PJs and Lightning McQueen silverware!)

Here's our crew having brunch at Grandma's later on Christmas morning:  Daddy, Mr. Sean, Uncle Todd, Aunt Corinne, Grandpa Don, Grandma, me, and Aunt Amanda.  Mommy was in her usual spot in this picture.

Here's a picture of us before my funny exclamation...

and afterwards.  We can't print what I said here because this is a blog for children.  Let's just say I was repeating Uncle Todd's words.