'Muff'in Dome

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Year in Review – 2016

My blogging has been sporadic and sparse this year. Much happening with my family and not a whole lot of time to sit down and type out words, even though I have many bouncing around in my head to share.

So, although, I had planned on this being a ’12 in 12 photos’ post, it has turned into more. A quick recap of the year in photos and a few words.

Here’s to 2016. You were good to us.

January

Carmel beach - Jan 2016

Carmel Mission - Jan 2016

wall of water - Jan 2016

jelly fish - Jan 2016

walk for life - Jan 2016

ferry building SF - Jan 2016

We took our annual trip to Carmel and Monterey to visit the Aquarium for Homeschool Days. End of the month had us traveling down to San Francisco for the Walk for Life and a quick weekend getaway in the city.

 

February

Valentine kisses - Feb 2016

top of the Space Needle - Feb 2016

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tea in Victoria - Feb 2016

tiny photographer Victoria - Feb 2016

Princess Evey - Feb 2016

We attended a Valentine’s party at a friend’s house where she had a great photo prop wall set up — Lucie was hamming it up! We went to Seattle {part one and part two} and Victoria, BC as a family, where Steve was quietly taking the Washington State Bar Exam {he passed!}. We loved the Pacific Northwest and hope to travel there again soon. The girls’ cousin, Rosie, celebrated her birthday with a tea party towards the end of the month, and the girls loved dressing up for the occasion.

 

March

exploring water - March 2016

Blessed is She retreat - March 2016

Candy Land - March 2016

Easter - March 2016

petting baby chicks - May 2016

The Fountains - March 2016

Post rain walks were a huge hit this month for watching leaves and sticks float down the runoff. I went to a Blessed is She retreat in Phoenix — my first time away from the girls for a weekend — and had wonderful, much-needed quiet time with the Lord and good friends. Evey learned her first board game, Candyland, on my childhood game board. Easter was a beautiful day with family {and chickens!}. And there was twinning at the Fountains.

 

April

bouquets to art - April 2016

tea at the palm court SF - April 2016

garden helper - April 2016

morning popsicles - April 2016

first time bowling - April 2016

swearing into the Bar - May 2016

I went with a mom and friend to the Bouquets to Art exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, followed by high tea at the Palace Hotel. My little helpers got us going on our garden. It was hot enough to eat popsicles for morning snack by the end of the month. The girls had a blast during their first bowling trip. And the greatest highlight of the month was watching Steve get sworn into the Washington Bar at my parents’ house by a good friend of my mother.

 

May

 

capital crew - May 2016

pencil behind ear - May 2016

family photo - May 2016

eating strawberries from the patch - May 2016

riding with lettuce - May 2016

Evey's tomato plant - May 2016

dancing for great grandma - May 2016

May snow play - May 2016

I watched my brother, Raphael, in the Southwest Junior Rowing Championships at Lake Natoma. Morning cutie with a pencil in her ear. A gathering at my parents’ house had everyone in attendance. More gardening {lots of strawberries and lettuce!}.  Evelyn enjoyed working with her tomato plant housed in it’s own special red cage. We celebrated Great-Grandma, AM’s “39th” birthday again. It was still cold enough for some snow to be on the ground at the cabin!

 

June

water play - June 2016

holding a ladybug - June 2016

running together - June 2016

hula hooping - June 2016

Golden Gate Bridge SF - June 2016

playing xylophone - June 2016

hiding in a tree SF - June 2016

at the beach in Santa Cruz - June 2016

Santa Cruz beach - June 2016

chillin in the sand chair - June 2016

daddy's day - June 2016

carrots and chard from our garden - June 2016

corn tassels - June 2016

strawberries from the garden - June 2016

birthday girl - June 2016

Water play began this month and we spent a large part of the summer splashing in that little pool. A trip to the cabin involved a little hike where Lucie found her favorite–a ladybug–and Evey enjoyed running with Jed. I took the girls to Children’s Discovery Museum in Sausalito and we had a blast exploring all day. Father’s Day weekend found us in Santa Cruz, spending ample time at the beach and checking out the “little red lighthouse” {a great discovery due to this book}. Wonderful summer produce from our garden! And a little someone celebrated her second birthday at the end of the month.

 

July

examining flowers - July 2016

all american - July 2016

parade time - July 2016

pretend photos - July 2016

sitting on the dock - July 2016

hammock time with daddy - July 2016

swinging fun - July 2016

Serene Lakes parade - July 2016

first fish! - July 2016

blowing seeds to the wind - July 2016

flower child - July 2016

camping hike - July 2016

Evey photog - July 2016

first ferris wheel ride - July 2016

A busy, wonderful month full of much exploration! We spent a week at the cabin to celebrate the 4th of July — lots of fun with family! Then, we hopped over to the coast to spend the following weekend at Gerstle Cove State Park to camp with our dear friends, Evelyn’s godparents. And finally closed off the month with a trip to the California State Fair where Evelyn got to go on her first ferris wheel ride {worth the hour+ standing in the blazing sun!}.

 

August

blowing bubbles - Aug 2016

fishing together - Aug 2016

our sunflowers - Aug 2016

SLO beach - Aug 2016

catching seeds - Aug 2016

hanging with my girls - Aug 2016

Winding down the summer with one more trip to the cabin for bubble blowing and fishing. We grew some beautiful multi-colored sunflowers in our garden which often graced my kitchen window. I ran away to SLO with my sis-in-laws for a weekend away complete with a requisite trip to the beach. Evelyn loved pulling the seeds from the cornflower seed pods to store away for next year. Hamming it up as we say goodbye to summer!

 

September

playing in the yard - Sept 2016

BIS retreat - Sept 2016

knit hat - Sept 2016

cheers in Sac! - Sept 2016

camping dirt play - Sept 2016

large painting - Sept 2016

play dough play - Sept 2016

writing her name - Sept 2016

going up the slide - Sept 2016

Dwindling summer evenings at the Labor Day BBQ. I went on retreat with my Blessed is She writer team in Minnesota/Wisconsin for a weekend–so wonderful to meet many bright faces I had only interacted with online before. Knit up this lovely hat for myself with Ginny’s yarn and my first pattern from Making Magazine.  Happy Hour during an overnight in Sacramento. Off to our last camping trip of the summer at the Calaveras Big Trees with Gram and Pumpkin where Lucie got as dirty as she possible could. Many great activities from our Homegrown Preschooler curriculum this autumn, including BIG painting, homemade play dough, and writing our name! We took Daddy with us to explore Fairy Tale Town on a rare day off.

 

October

Seattle date - Oct 2016

Multnomah Falls - Oct 2016

rain play - Oct 2016

playing in the rain - Oct 2016

first fair isle - Oct 2016

circus - Oct 2016

pumpkin patch - Oct 2016

explode the code - Oct 2016

Apple Hill - Oct 2016

apple picking - Oct 2016

Halloween - Oct 2016

Steve and I got away for a long weekend to Portland, a place neither of us had been before. {Our first weekend away since having the girls!} Much needed rain for California didn’t stop us from going outside–a different kind of water play from the summer, but so fun! I finished my first Fair Isle hat–a sweet little cap for Evelyn–with my favorite new yarn from Quince & Co. that I picked up in Portland. Evey’s wish came true and we went to the circus after I won tickets to a show! A pumpkin patch, of course! Evelyn completed her first school workbook. Fall just wouldn’t be fall without a trip Apple Hill, enjoying the colors of the season, as well as apple picking {and eating} in our nearby orchard. And rounded out the month with Halloween and a reappearance of Anna and Elsa.

 

November

hiking with uncles - Nov 2016

Veterans day parade - Nov 2016

backyard bonfire - Nov 2016

train museum - Nov 2016

turning 4! - Nov 2016

cousins holding cousins - Nov 2016

crazy faces - Nov 2016

digging out - Nov 2016

building a snowman - Nov 2016

cracking eggs - Nov 2016

building together - Nov 2016

knitting - Nov 2016

thanksgiving tree - Nov 2016

Thanksgiving - Nov 2016

A final trip of the season with uncles to Apple Hill. Joining in the local Veterans’ Day parade. A backyard bonfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows. A trip to the train museum in Sacramento to celebrate Evelyn turning 4. Lucie enjoyed holding her newest cousin, Zachary. Headed up to the cabin for the first big snowfall of the season. Steve did an excellent job digging us out. And we made a fantastic snowman. Our resident egg cracker. A moment of working together that doesn’t happen too often. Lots of Christmas gift knitting. Our family thanksgiving tree. And Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house.

 

December

Advent candles - Dec 2016

counting gingerbread buttons - Dec 2016

Advent calendar - Dec 2016

Christmas crackers - Dec 2016

mama quiet time - Dec 2016

SF store windows at Christmas - Dec 2016

decorating Christmas cookies - Dec 2016

cutting out gingerbread - Dec 2016

decorating cookies - Dec 2016

fallen Christmas tree - Dec 2016

fancy dinner - Dec 2016

Nutcracker - Dec 2016

first quilt

snuggling with Gram - Dec 2016

sledding with Pumpkin - Dec 2016

Evey skiing - Dec 2016

Christmas chaos - Dec 2016

dad's new hat - Dec 2016

Christmas morning donuts - Dec 2016

Christmas breakfast - Dec 2016

doll house play - Dec 2016

Christmas girls - Dec 2016

Christmas napping - Dec 2016

Lot’s of great things this month! We dove into Advent with gusto, but fell off a bit when I got sick. The girls enjoyed the Advent calendars and a look at celebrations from places around the world, while I got to dive in deeply with BiS’s Advent journal. We took a trip to San Francisco to take a peek at the magical displays in the storefront windows. Many cookies were made and decorated. Our tree fell over {but we repositioned the bottom to stay in the stand better and had no further accidents}. On the eve of Christmas Eve we went out for a fancy dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and to the Nutcracker at the Sacramento Ballet. I completed my first quilt, a gift for my brother, Dominic. We had a Christmas weekend at the cabin, complete with lots of snow fun! And a Christmas celebration at my parents’ that involved deep sea diving in wrapping paper by the young ones. My dad sporting his newly knit hat! Christmas morning was quiet and wonderful. And Lucie snuck in plenty of naps during the holidays!

 

Wishing one and all a Happy New Year 2017!

Thanks for taking this look back with me!

Made Great By Love

I had the privilege about a month ago to take some family photos for dear friends of mine, Matt and Catherine. These family photos weren’t just your average family photos, though.

They contained a message of hope, a message of love.

mcadoption7

“Great love can change small things into great ones…”
~ St. Faustina

During this Year of Mercy that is quickly coming to a close, the Lord has placed strongly on their hearts a pull to begin moving forward in the adoption process. It has been a desire on their hearts for a long time {for both, since before they knew each other!}, but the time has finally come to truly begin.

mcadoption-2

They are two of the kindest and caring people I know. I am certain that any children placed in their care will be greatly blessed and well-loved.  They are the godparents to my eldest and are to several other children of friends. This attests to their great love and faith. We love their hearts.

mcadoption6

Matt and Catherine have set up a YouCaring page where they are asking for donations to aid in the expensive process, a burden which is too much for them to take up on their own. They are relying on God’s grace and the kindness of others to make this possible.

Would you consider giving

I have a little incentive for you! I will be holding a raffle of this cozy, knit hat {retail value: $60} for every $20 in donations that is given to their fundraising page between now and December 6, 2016, 11:59pm PST. {So if you give $100, you will be entered 5 times!} Giveaway ended. Winner contacted.

knit hat

I knit this hat by hand with some of the warmest, squishiest yarn from Quince & Co. It is 100% American Wool, all natural. It is the softest, not in any way scratchy, and one of my favorites to knit with. My husband has a similar one that he loves to wear in the cold weather.

handsome husband

It would be a perfect Christmas gift, or you can keep it for yourself to stay warm this winter!

 

Also: Our friend, Jeni, is also hosting a fundraiser for this lovely couple. She’s offering shirts and sweatshirts for sale in a variety of colors with a quote from Hebrews 13:8. A simple, powerful message in sizes to fit all members of your family. The proceeds from the sales will go towards bringing baby Helgeson home.

 

Whether or not you are able to give in a financial way, Matt and Catherine ask your prayers for this endeavor. Let’s support them in this grand adventure!

mcadoption-4

 

November is National Adoption Month, so thank you for, especially, for supporting adoptive families this month! 

#write31days ~ Day 26: Musician-in-Training

little-mandolin-player

little-mandolin-player

little-mandolin-player

Both my husband and I love music–listening, playing, you name it– and it seems our daughters feel no differently. Steve often takes out his mandolin to play for the girls and Evey always asks to help play it. She’s been doing this since she could barely stand.

Now, she’s asking for one of her own but I think we’ll wait a bit. 😉

#write31days ~ Day 25: Sprinkled With Love

sprinkled-with-love

pink-straws

pink-baby-sprinkle

A dear friend of mine recently welcomed their first girl {second child} into the family. As she and her husband like to wait for the surprise at the very end, we decided to do a little meet-n-greet sprinkle after the baby was born so we could sprinkle her with pink or blue accordingly…pink it was!!

I had a ton of fun gathering up items of that lovely hue and putting together an afternoon tea. She asked that guests give only books as gifts to add to their library, but we threw a few other fun girly things in as well. 😉 {Couldn’t help it!}  We enjoyed a wonderful Sunday afternoon meeting her daughter and sipping tea with a few tasty morsels.

{By the way, she has the most gorgeous light that floods her house in the afternoon. Perfect for photos! It was just a tad hard hosting and photographing at the same time so I only managed to capture a few.}

#write31days ~ Day 24: Churching Ceremony

churching ceremony

In the extraordinary rite of the Catholic Mass, the Churching ceremony is still often performed after a baptism. The Churching ceremony is done in thanksgiving for the child that was born and prayers are said over the mother for healing after birth. It is truly beautiful.

#write31days ~ Day 23: Dinner Time Mess

milk mess

milk mess

milk mess

If given the opportunity, this is what my daughter chooses to do with her dinner. Every. Night. She can’t get enough of watching the milk fly. It is much more fun than actually eating or drinking what she’s been given. This one is a fun-lovin’ gal and she will take her entertainment in any way she can. {Plus, she likes to get dirty.}

#write31days ~ Day 22: St. John Paul the Great

WYD-2000-Pope-John-Paul-II

WYD-2000-Pope-John-Paul-II

 

A little #tbt today seemed appropriate today….
{so technically these are old pictures — but great to revisit, nonetheless!}

It is the feast of one of my favorite heavenly friends — St. John Paul the Great. I was blessed to be in his presence on two occasions — World Youth Day in Rome in 2000 and the one in Canada in 2002. These photos I am sharing today are from Rome.

It was my first time traveling abroad and I can say for certain, at the time, I did not realize the immensity of the privilege I was given, both in terms of travel and being in the presence of a living saint. I was just sixteen. I was excited to be there with my friends. And I was inching my way to catch a glimpse of this holy man just like every other pilgrim. But it wasn’t until much later in life, after he had passed onto his eternal reward, that I started to more fully appreciate those sweltering days back in the summer of 2000.

His exhortations and encouragement to the youth that I have read over and over again — “Do not be afraid!” “Duc in altum: Put out into the deep!” “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures…”  “I propose to you the option of love, which is the opposite of escape.” “From the depths of my heart I want to give thanks to God for the gift of youth, which continues to be present in the Church and in the world because of you.” “I look with confidence to this new humanity which you are now helping to prepare. I look to this Church which in every age is made youthful by the Spirit of Christ and today is made happy by your intentions and commitment.”  — his seemingly endless thoughts on true love {living the gift of self}; his delving deeper for us in his encyclicals into the intersection of faith and reason, the value of human life, the Rosary, the dignity and vocation of women, the value of family, better ecumenism, the greatness of Truth, etc.; and his wonderful example of redemptive suffering up to his final breath.

My life, my vocation, who I am today has been shaped by the thoughts and prayers of this great man. Thank you, John Paul II. We love you!

 

WYD-2000-Pope-John-Paul-II

#write31days ~ Day 21: Ballet Leg Warmers {Yarn Along}

I finished Evelyn’s ballet leg warmers yesterday and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. I had a few hiccups in the beginning, and even had to frog the first one I did after I was almost completed with it. You can see more in my notes here.

Evelyn was excited to try them on so we grabbed her ballet attire for a complete ensemble. The jazzy red skirt even came out of the drawer at the end. She performed a few grand jetés to express her excitement!
first-position

fixing-her-slippers

fly-fly-like-a-butterfly

pique

passee

curtsy

leg-warmer-detail

little-dancer-red-skirt

leap!

sauter

 

Joining up with Ginny’s Yarn Along today.

#write31days ~ Day 20: Welcome, Sweet Girl!

Just a quick post today to give a warm welcome to my newest niece, Genevieve Marie, who was born yesterday! We are so glad you are here!!!

evey-and-genevieve

#write31days ~ Day 19: Killing Time

Yesterday I got an early morning text message that my newest little niece was on her way into this world! My mom was on sibling watch while parents were at the hospital so she called me to see if we wanted to kill time with them while we were waiting for the good news of baby’s arrival.

We headed to Folsom for lunch and a walk along the bike trail, bringing along two of the coolest, craziest uncles in town. 😉
girls-and-uncles

superheroes

jump-shot

sisters-walking

with-grandma

walking-with-uncles

independent-lu

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