Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kyla's Recital and Tea Party...with Grandma!

We have had a great weekend celebrating Kyla as her 6th birthday approaches next week.  It all started with a special guest arriving at the airport on Saturday- Grandma!  I told Kyla that we had one more errand to run to get ready for her party.  She was wondering why we ended up at the airport, and then she spotted Grandma!  She was so surprised!  So was Keanan when Grandma walked into his room!
Makeup and hair done - ready for the recital!
Grandma got to join us for Kyla's second ballet recital.  She was a leader in her class and did a great job.  Here's the video:
Today after church was Kyla's birthday tea party.  Lots of fun with friends, and Grandma had a special seat at the table too.  We get to hang out with Grandma till Tuesday evening :) Instead of presents, Kyla decided to raise money to support children who are waiting for sponsors for her birthday.  So far she has raised $140! 
While the girls were having a tea party, Keanan, Zac and Josh went go-kart racing!
Kyla's actual birthday is Saturday - but unfortunately, the Superbowl is here (we can see the stadium from our road) so we are getting out of town.  Our destination is a HUGE birthday surprise!  More to come next week!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Adventures: Bald Mountain Trail

We had a busy but fun weekend.  Ballet class, friends over for dinner, church, ballet recital rehearsal, and a short hike.

We went to the top of Bald "Mountain" on Sunday afternoon and were rewarded with some great views.  This reminded me of the Bald Hills back in Yelm, WA - in fact the Bald Hills might be higher!

And this morning, Kyla lost her first tooth!!  Just in time for her birthday tea party next weekend :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Uneventful Weekends - But An Adventure FiIlled Week!

Our weekend adventures have been pretty quiet these last two weeks due to rain (much needed) and sickness (first cold in a long time).

The kids and I did, however, have some fun adventures during school last week.  In our study of US History we have reached the point of the California gold rush and California's statehood, so it was the perfect time to take the week off of our normal studies and have a "California History Field Trip Week"!

On Monday we visited the New Almaden Quicksilver Minning Museum, about 30 min from our house.  Since it was the middle of the week, no one was there and we got an awesome private tour by the park ranger.  We learned a TON about mercury, how it was used during the gold rush, and life in the minning hills.  I was so into the tour, that I failed to take any pictures.

On Tuesday we went to the Sunnyvale Heritage Museum (we live in Sunnyvale).  This was a fun trip because we had two other families join us and I had called ahead to set up a tour with one of the docents.  Did you know that the Murphy family (who settled in Sunnyvale) where part of the first wagon party to come to California?  And no one died!  We learned a lot about the Murphy family and early life in the Santa Clara Valley.  Again, I was so enthralled that I forgot to take pictures!

On Wednesday we planned on going to Oakland to view the museum of CA - but this is the day that sickness struck Kyla and I, so we all stayed home.  Thursday was PETRA and our weekly library visit - the kids have become crazy readers!

On Friday we went to History San Jose Park.  This is a really neat place where many historic buildings from the valley have been relocated and preserved.  It was a beautiful day and we had a great time walking around the park and learning about each building and house.  We especially liked the one room schoolhouse, and the kids thought the double seater outhouse was crazy!  In the first story of the historic hotel building is a candy and ice cream parlor that was open for business, so of course we needed ice cream cones!  The only picture I have from the week is the kids in a play trolley car:
We are all on the mend from the sickness and hope to get out and do some hiking with friends this weekend.  Have a great week!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Adventure of 2016

Happy New Year!  We had a party at our house on New Year's Eve with some friends to bring in the New Year with New York (9pm) - complete with sparkling cider and fireworks!  Then the kids went to bed :)

On New Years day we decided to go for a hike at Portola Redwoods State Park.  We had visited here about a year and a half ago when tiptoe falls was only a few drops of water.  Thanks to our recent rains, here's what it looks like now:

Unknown to us, they remove the bridges that cross the creek at this park during the winter, so we had to do some sketchy rock hoping to get across.  Thankfully we all made it with dry feet.

To round out the first weekend of 2016 we had a great time at church and then went and bought a new-to-us car, a 2013 Jeep Patriot!

Both kids have rearranged their rooms this weekend (it's fun to have a new look) and we're having dinner with friends tonight.  So far 2016 is great!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Four Words - 2016

2015 is now the past.  Our family has had a wonderful year full of God's amazing blessings.  As is our tradition, at the beginning of each year God puts a word on my heart to pray and focus on for each person in our family.  Let's re-visit 2015's words before we move on to 2016:

Zac - CREATE - Nailed it.  All I can say is "he built stuff".  Crazy stuff.  Lot's of stuff.  And he's loved every minute of it.  Sorry that I can't expand on any of this, 'tis the way of the secret start-up company.  :)  Just know that all went extremely well for Zac in 2015.

Jen - BLESSING - My prayer for 2015 was that I was a blessing to those around me.  Zac, the kids, friends, our church family, our BACH group (Bay Area Christian Homeschoolers)... It has been a joy to serve those around me in many different ways, but I think I was blessed more than I was a blessing!  The hardest group of people to be a blessing to was my kids.  My temper got the best of me more often than I would like to admit and I responded in harshness instead of gentleness.  But this year I think I was able to identify this issue and deal with it way faster than previous years.

Keanan - CONTROL - Keanan loves to be in control of his environment and circumstances, but we have seen him grow in letting go of some of this last year.  He has also grown a ton in self control.  Instead of throwing a huge fit when something upsets him / doesn't go his way, his will remove himself from the situation and go calm down before coming back to talk about it.  This has been huge for him.  He is such a strong, passionate kid that it can be hard to channel this for good instead of evil.  But with God's help, he is courageously fighting the battle well.

Kyla - BOLD - Kyla can be timid and shy, especially in new circumstances, so my prayer for her in 2015 was for boldness.  She had an amazing year in this regard!  For the first time Kyla performed with her ballet class in front of an audience in February, then she went on to perform on a real stage in a full length ballet in June!  She loved every minute of it!  This year in PETRA (weekly co-op history/bible class) Kyla was given permission to attend the 1st/2nd grade class even though she is technically too young.  Part of the requirement of this class is to give presentations in front of the entire class (about 25-30 people).  She has done two so far this year (on spinning wool, and on mouse lemurs) and done great both times!  It is still a struggle sometimes to greet new people, but her boldness is definitely growing.

And now our words for 2016!

Zac - PATIENCE - Zac has many things coming up this year, exciting things.  But he will be needing to wait on God's perfect timing, not ours.

Jen - GENTLENESS - I need to work on responding with love, not harshness.  Especially towards the kids at around 5:30pm each day...

Keanan - FAITHFULNESS - Keanan can, not abnormally for his age, twist the truth or leave out some details when it suits his needs.  Or get caught up in the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law.

Kyla - KINDNESS - Kyla has a sassy streak that is not very kind.  It's my prayer for her that she displays kindness instead of meanness, especially toward a certain brother.

All four of these words come from the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.  We want our lives in 2016 to bear good fruit for the Lord.  Please pray these words with us this year.

Happy New Year!