Wednesday, December 19, 2012


It seems that Noah is making a lot of new friends in Kindergarten including his friend Olivia who gave him this picture that she drew for him.  Cuteness abounds :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Thanksgiving on the beach, it doesn't get much better than that!  For Thanksgiving we headed down to Southern California to see Pete's family.  We rented a house on the beach so that we could take Buffy with us and we were blessed with beautiful weather.  And the best part about going to the beach in winter is that there is hardly anyone there! 

I thought the water was pretty cold but I don't think the kids even noticed.
Aliyah and I practiced running on the beach to get ready for the big Thanksgiving day Turkey Trot.  I love the determination on her face!

Getting ready for the turkey trot with the cousins.  Aliyah ran the entire 1k and earned her first medal and Nick came in sixth of all of the children running. 
On Friday we went to Disneyland and although it was crowded for the holiday, somehow we managed to not wait in a line longer than 15 minutes all day thanks in part to planning and good use of the Fast Passes.  We stayed long enough to watch the parade which was extra special since Santa made an appearance. 

Noah got a little upset when the Princesses started to make their way through the parade but Nick comforted him, what a nice big brother! 

Beach, turkey trot, Thanksgiving with the family and Disneyland definitely made for a memorable holiday!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Little Girls

Sometimes our house can get a little crazy with all the boy stuff so it's nice to stop and have a tea party every now and then :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Apple Hill

Tis the season ... for apples!  Two weekends ago we went to an area near us called Apple Hill.  We were experiencing our nice Indian Summer so even though it was Fall it was still really warm! 

We visited four different farms and one brewery.  We fed farm animals apples that had fallen off the tree...

and Aliyah went on her first pony ride (she had a death grip on my  hand!)

And of course we picked lots of apples.  I thought thirty pounds of apples was a lot but apparently that's enough to last two weeks in our household!

A rare picture of all three actually smiling.

This was at the last farm of the day where they had a little pond.  Boys, pond, sticks, life doesn't get much better for them :)  We definitely hope to make this a fall tradition!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Whale Watching

On our last day of summer before school started we wanted to do something really great to celebrate the change from summer to beginning of a new school year so we went whale watching!  Unfortunately, our camera battery died so I only got these few shots with my phone but we had a great time.  We went out of Santa Cruz on a three hour tour, a three hour tour.  We didn't end up shipwrecked, but we saw dolphins, sea otters, sea lions and a beautiful humpback whale.  We saw the same humpback several times as it would surface for a few minutes and then dive.  When it would dive we would get a wonderful view of the tail coming out of the water and then going straight down.  It was a gorgeous day on the ocean and a great way to celebrate the last day of summer break. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beach Fun

Right after school got out we headed down to the beach for a long weekend where Nick was playing in a soccer tournament.  We were blessed with near perfect with weather to play in the sand and surf.


Noah demonstrating his skills with the Asian squat while digging for sand crabs.

 Aliyah enjoying playing in the sand.  Every once in awhile I am able to capture her "true" smile rather than her "mom is taking a picture so I'll say cheese smile."  I must say though that getting the sand out of her hair was a major undertaking!

 Pete and Nick playing baseball in the sand between soccer matches.

Nick playing in one of his three sand soccer games of the weekend.

Cooling off in the waves after the last game.  It was a perfect weekend to kick off our summer fun :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Memorial Weekend

Hey, I'm only three weeks on posting pictures :)  Memorial Weekend we had no games, no birthday parties, no plans... and it was great!  We did what we love which is just get up and go wherever sounds like fun for the day.  For that particular weekend that included cherry picking...

Hiking among beautiful Redwood trees..

And checking out the WWII airplanes that were visiting our local airport.

I LOVE this last picture of Noah.  He'd had enough of the camera filled weekend and was ready to do something else (can you guess what?)

We are trying to keep summer relatively low key and unscheduled so we can enjoy more days like these.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Busy Spring

If you are wondering why I've been such a bad blogger this Spring, here are some pictures to demonstrate what almost every weekend looked like.  There were soccer games...

Baseball games....
Looking for bugs on the sidelines...

Trying to find shade on hot days ....

And then every Sunday night for about an hour and a half, I am doing Aliyah's hair.

The last few months have been really busy, a little too busy for my liking in fact.  Both boys were playing baseball and Nick started playing competitive soccer.  In addition to sports Nick also had first communion classes once a week and then had his first communion at the end of April along with both his birthday and mine. Those pictures are on the old camera but hopefully I'll get around to downloading those soon. 

The sports are all wrapped up for Spring and we are looking forward to lots of unscheduled weekends of summer fun!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mothers Day

For Mother's Day in addition to wonderful handmade gifts from each of the children, Pete got me a new camera.  I wish I was a better photographer and I wish I was interested in getting a great camera and learning how to use it but as much as I want to be that person, I'm just not.  My dearest husband realizes this and bought me a camera that will hopefully take pretty good pictures without me having to do much except point and shoot.  I could look up what kind of camera it is or I could say that it's pink, it's got a long lense, it's heavier than your normal compact camera and I like it a lot.  Here's the first shot we took (and yes, I'm in my snuggy that Pete bought me for Christmas.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Snow Day

Aliyah's birthday is March 5 which is a perfect time to go to the snow!  Now if her mom could just get around to posting birthday pictures in her actually birthday month...

Tide Pools

Recently we went to one of our favorite day trip places, the tide pools!  We had a nice sea food lunch and then had fun exploring all the critters of the ocean. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Daddy Time

Pretty soon after we came home from Ethiopia it became clear that Aliyah was bonding with me more quickly than she was with Pete.  We figured this made sense since she'd had all female caregivers in Ethiopia.  Plus, everything we've read indicates that it's normal for adopted children to bond with one parent more than the other. 

Fast forward a year and Aliyah still clearly prefers mom over dad.  With the boys, if one of them gets hurt or is sick, they are just as comforted by dad as by mom.  Pete wants that same relationship with Aliyah so he is working to improve their bond.  One way he's been doing that has been putting Aliyah to bed and getting her up most days.  It's really helped to strengthen their bond and one night recently, when Pete was at basketball practice so I put Aliyah to bed, she requested that I read her bedtime story on the floor because that's how "daddy does it". 

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Gotta love winter in California!  We've had some great spring like weather lately.  Last weekend we went for a bike ride and to feed the ducks.  It definitely felt more like June than February.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Melkam Genna

Last weekend was Melkam Genna which is when Ethiopians celebrate Christmas.  To celebrate the holiday we headed to Oakland to have an Ethiopian feast.  We love watching Aliyah when she eats Ethiopian food.  She tears the injera and scoops up the wats like a pro.  Nothing is too spicy for her and she has a huge smile on her face throughout the meal. 

This trip we convinced Nick to try some of the food.  He was hesitant at first but he found a non-spicy corn based dish that he liked.

Noah wasn't as adventurous and stuck to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I brought for him.

And to top off our great meal, the restaurant had our favorite Ethiopian beer, St. George.  I've looked to see if we can buy it anywhere nearby or even order it and I haven't been able to find a resource.  I guess it will be a special treat for mom and dad for when we go to Ethiopian restaurants.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Age Differences

One of the biggest changes to our family since bringing Aliyah home has more to do with age differences rather than with having three children.  As the boys get older there are so many more activities available for them but unfortunately Aliyah is still a bit young to participate in some of them.  It's challenging for us to find something that is fun and interesting to 2, 5 and 7 year olds.  So while we definitely still try to do lots of things together as a family of five, it's not all that uncommon for us to divide with one of us taking the boys some place and the other parent doing something with Aliyah. 

During the Christmas break we had a few of these occassions and one of those was when I took the boys ice skating while Aliyah hung out with dad.  Nick had been skating a few times but this was Noah's first time.  I helped him around twice and then he said that he didn't want my help and wanted to do it by himself. 

He started off holding onto the wall..

Then he started venturing off the wall a little..

And by the end of the day he was skating!

We told Noah that if he gets good enough at skating that he can perhaps try ice hockey and he thought that was a great idea.

And soon enough Aliyah will be old enough to join in a lot of the same activities as her brothers if she wants to.

For now though, she is happy to do things like ride the train...

While her brothers do things like go sledding..