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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Vitamix Wet Chopping

I've had my Vitamix blender for a couple of years now.  Of course when I first got it, we were making smoothies daily.  Then I've moved away from eating too much fruit so I haven't been blending or using my Vitamix as much as I'd like.  I remember sampling a tortilla soup at a Costco demonstration.  It was delicious and very easy to make.  At the time, I'd just figured I could google the recipe and make it at home.  Of course after searching it, I couldn't find the one they'd made.  Urgh!  I know this dang blender can do so much more than smoothies and I really want to use it more.

So when a friend told me about this "wet blending", I was intrigued.  She said she blends all of her vegetables this way and it's amazing.  You just coarsely chop up whatever veggie you're using and fill the blender with water.  Pulse the blender a few times and then strain it and you have perfectly minced veggies.  I tried it with cauliflower since I love cauliflower rice, but rarely feel like going through the effort with my food processor.  It literally took seconds!  I was amazed.  And it turned out fabulous!!

We've all talked about sharing recipes.  Someone at the gym even has a recipe for the tortilla soup!  I can't wait to get my hands on that one.  What's your favorite way to use your Vitamix?  I'd love to try some new things with mine.

November happenings

Where did the month go?  It was a busy one, but great.  We knew Stephen would be coming home for a visit but didn't have exact dates.  It came down to how the water polo team performed.  With  Ali's birthday falling on Thanksgiving this year, we had to have her party the weekend before.  She wanted to go ice skating and then have everyone come back here to hang out until around 10:00.  She was planning to have the girls all sleep over that night.  I convinced her to skip the sleep over part because she was leaving the next day for camping at the beach with Paige.  We also were in high risk for rain that day which scared the heck out of me.   What was I going to do with 20 or so kids locked in my house for 8 hours?!  Thankfully the weather held out and there wasn't a drop of rain.

They were so cute.  On their own, they piled up their cell phones and left them on the table.  It was a great day!  Then they all went home, Ali slept late, then woke up and headed down to camp at Huntington Beach with her friend Paige until Wednesday.  She got home just in time to enjoy Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving day gave us another task to get done.  Stephen was leaving to go back to school in a few short days and wouldn't be home until Christmas break.  So we had to head outdoors for their annual Christmas photo.  Luckily it was a beautiful day.

We took these photos and several more in about 10 minutes.  Then I had to run inside and finish getting ready before everyone arrived for Thanksgiving dinner.  The girls asked if they could keep my camera to take a few more shots, and boy did they ever.

They had a lot of fun doing their photo shoot.  And it ended it a yummy meal shared with family.  That was just a bit of the fun from the month.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ali's New Job

Ali has an online shopping habit.  Luckily she's pretty good at searching out a good deal.  Most of her purchases are less than $20, but at any given time she's got open pages on her web browser with at least $500 in her shopping carts.  While I don't want to encourage her habit I am impressed at her inventiveness.  She typed up a flier and asked me to put it on my Facebook page.  I copied it below.  It turns out the timing was perfect.  I'd posted something about babysitting for Nikki a few years ago and didn't get any interest.  But after posting this for Ali I had a few people inquire about babysitting, pet sitting and she's even started tutoring.  She is tutoring a friends daughter that's in the 5th grade.  It's a perfect start.  She is working on how to help her process the information she learned without giving her the answer outright.  I'm so proud of her for working for what she wants.  Beside the fact that she will earn some money to support her habit, she is learning some valuable skills.  Love these kids!

Hardworking 8th grader wanting to earn her keep

I am willing to do all of the following:
·  Tutor those my age (8th grade) and younger
·  Babysit
·  Petsit

Please call if you are interested:

Monday, November 4, 2013


This was an odd year for Halloween.  It was on a Thursday night and neither of the girls had Friday off from school.  Ali had invited over a bunch of kids to go out trick or treating.  She'd wanted to go out on their own but a parent had asked if we'd be with them.  Plus Leslie had Millie and Parker that wanted to go out we had to be with them anyway.  I told Ali we'd just trail behind and they could run ahead.

But first we had pumpkins to carve!  I bought three pumpkins; one for Ali, Nikki and Bill.  And Bill had big ideas of what his was going to look like.  But then Ali had two ideas and wanted to do both.  So Ali and Nikki did two designs.  One on the front of their pumpkin and one on the back.  Only I didn't get photos of the finished pumpkins somehow.  Trust me, they were awesome!

Now onto the big night.  Fourteen kids ended up being here.  It was great to see all of them dressed up, and not just the lame costumes.  They all looked great!  Ali and Paige had gone up the street to a church festival for about an hour before everyone showed up.

I think this is the 5th year this group has come up to our house for trick or treating.  It's grown each year, and always is a lot of fun.  It's sad to think this was probably our last year of joining them.

Nikki went up to her friends house and they went to a party.  She wasn't able to stay out too late because of school the next day, so it was a pretty uneventful evening.  Although the funny of the night for me was when the kids all got back to our house and were sorting their candy in the living room.  The doorbell rang and a little boy of about 3 and his bigger sister said, "trick or treat".  I said hi and gave them some candy.  They started to walk away when the little boy turned and said to me, "there's a lot of people in there".  I told him yes there were.   He started to walk away again, then turned and asked, "did they go easter egging?".  I laughed and said, "yep they just got back".  His sister finally pulled him away but he was adorable.  Makes me miss when the kids were so little and took it all in.

Oh and as a side note, apparently Stephen enjoyed Halloween as a college student.  I think their celebrations went on for several days.  But I did get a few photos sent to me.  This was my favorite:

Yes college, what's not to love.  Miss my babies!

Friday, October 25, 2013

All new Ali

Ali finally got her braces off!  She initially was told they would be on for 12-14 months.  Needless to say, they were on longer.  I'm not sure how much longer, although if you ask her she could probably tell you to the day how long she wore them.  Part of it was her not wearing her rubber bands as diligently as she should have.  But either way, they are off and it's before high school.

I think she was looking pretty great at this point.  But she'd been asking me to let her dye her hair darker with a temporary color treatment.  So we went to Target and picked out a nice chestnut brown.  It was really easy to apply.  Although I realized about mid way through that we should've bought two boxes because she has so much hair.  But since we weren't sure if she was even going to like it, we decided to just proceed.  It turned out really pretty.  The top had more color than the bottom, but the under layer of her hair is darker naturally so it worked out fine.

It actually looks a lot like Nikki's hair now.  I think she's happy with it.  Although her friends gave her mixed reviews.  She's getting all dressed up for a bar mitzvah tomorrow so I'll post a photo of her all done up.

Okay here is the follow up photo of Ali and Grace before they headed out to their party.

Homecoming 2013-Part 2

Now for the good part of the evening.  As we were finishing up, people started to arrive.  It worked out well that we finished her hair and makeup at the house that was hosting the pre-party.  This also happened to be the same family that hosted the pre-party for Stephen a couple of times so we knew they'd have a good yard for photos.

We went out into the backyard and watched as everyone started filtering in.  The girls were all beautiful in their sparkly dresses, sky high shoes and false eyelashes (that was the one thing Nikki was sad to miss out on by not getting her makeup done).  The boys all looked very handsome as well in their new suites and bright ties.  Immediately they all started grouping up and mixing and matching for photos.  Here are a few:

Nikki and Cassie (the family that hosted)

Alex and Nikki doing the flower exchange

Maddie, Cassie, Jillian, Nikki & Jenny

They looked beautiful!  By now everyone had arrived and had taken plenty of photos.  We tried to take some full group shots, but I didn't get any worth posting.  There were 17 couples and all of their families.  It was way too many people in one place.  So the party bus was at the curb and they loaded up and headed out.

They drove the bus from Upland down to BJ's Restaurant in Chino Hills.  They wanted to have plenty of time to enjoy the bus.  From there, they went to Damien High School for the dance.  After, one of the boys invited them all to go hang out at his house.  Finally about 2 am a group of girls headed to Jenny's and they crashed there for a few hours.  Nikki had a soccer game at 11:40 the next day so she couldn't hang around long.  All in all it was a great night and one that I hope she will have fond memories of when she's old, like me :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homecoming 2013-Part 1

We somehow made it through another Homecoming!  I'm finally admitting that it's just way harder with daughters and dances than it'll ever be with sons.

First a follow up to the dress.  We went the weekend after shopping in LA to Fashion Island.  We went into Bloomingdales and within 20 minutes, she'd found the dress she really wanted.  She went in knowing if we didn't find what she was looking for, she would have to wear the dress from LA.  She said she'd just felt pressured to buy something while we were there and really didn't like that dress.  So it was a real win to find the one she loved at Bloomingdales.  And it was on sale so we ended up with two dresses for the price of one.  Scored!

Back to Homecoming day.  She now had her dress, jewelry, shoes, nails done and appointments for hair and makeup.  So the day should've been a breeze right?  Hmm not so much.  Her hair appointment was for 2:15 and makeup for 3:45.  We got to her hair appointment a little early and surprisingly her good friend was in the chair having her hair done.  Neither of them knew they were going to the same place.  When it was Nikki's turn, she showed the girl the picture of what she wanted.  She was also very clear and said if you can't do it exactly like this, I will just wear it down.  The girl confirmed that it wasn't a problem.  She also knew what time we had to be out of there for makeup.  So at 3:30 when she was still not even close to being done, I stepped outside to call the makeup place to let them know she was going to be about 15 minutes late.  Well lo and behold, they didn't have her scheduled for makeup!  What?!  After a few minutes on the phone, the lady told me she'd call me back after talking to the stylist.  Now at this point Nikki's hair was just about wrapped up.  When the stylist asked Nikki if it was good, Nikki paused.  She finally told  her that no, it wasn't loose enough.  That was the most important part of the style, that it remained very soft.  So the stylist said it wasn't a problem, she'd fix it. So she pulled a few pieces out and tried to get more softness.  Finally at 4:00 we walked out of the salon.  No sooner did we turn the corner, Nikki burst into tears saying how much she hated it.  She said it was nothing like she wanted.  Unfortunately I had to agree with her that it didn't look anything like her photo.  In fact it looked almost identical to her friends hair that had been there before her.  I got the feeling it was the only updo the stylist does.

You can see here, she is just about to burst into tears.  So we get into the car to start to head up to her makeup appointment when I realize they never called her back.  I call them back and am put on hold.  After being on hold for over 5 minutes we decide that it's never going to work.  Even if they got her right in, people were supposed to meet at her friends house for pictures at 4:30 and it was 4:00 already. So I dropped her at that friends house, ran home got her makeup, dress, etc and headed back over there.  The mom was working on Nikki's hair while I helped her get her makeup done.  It was nothing like the relaxing, happy day I had planned for her to have, but in the end we got it all done and she looked beautiful.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Teenagers and Dating

I know that kids all develop at different rates and am trying to help guide all three of ours through the teenage years as best I can.  The problem comes when I am not quite sure how I feel about what I'm trying to guide them through.  In this instance, it's dating.

Stephen transferred into public school in 8th grade.  He had his first girlfriend soon after being surrounded with all of these new kids.  It was short lived and cute.  Then he entered an all boys high school and didn't worry himself over girls, which was fine with us.  By his junior year, he was widening his circle of girl friends and more easily able to date since he was driving.  So he had a few girlfriends and we didn't think much about it.  We knew he'd go off to college and hopefully someday find the girl of his dreams.

With Nikki, it's been a little different.  A boy asked her to "go out" in 6th grade.  She'd said yes, but then the kids at that point we're into holding hands or hugging each other goodbye.  She wasn't comfortable with that, so I told her it was always okay to blame me and say that she wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend.  That day, she went to school and took care of business and wrote off boys for awhile.  Now that she's sixteen, I've pondered the thought of her dating again.  I mean, I'd really be fine if she wasn't ready to date until she went to college.  The problem comes in when you haven't had any experience dating, and then are thrown into a pool of sharks.  Not that all guys are sharks but I feel like it'd be like going from 0-100 in the blink of an eye and I think I'd rather her start now and learn slowly. I think this thought has been coming up for me because I have a few friends that are LDS.  They have a tradition (and I'm not exactly sure on the specifics) that they are not allowed to date until they are sixteen.  But at sixteen, they start dating.  From what I understand, the boys have to call up one of the girls from their ward and take them out on a date.  In my opinion, you date someone to help you figure out what you're looking for in a spouse someday.  If you don't date many different types of people, you won't have anything to base your choice on.  Now these dates they go on are very casual, but they are getting great practice.  From asking the girl out and the girl accepting, to learning how to converse with the opposite sex.  I absolutely love this idea.  Problem is, we aren't LDS.  I think it would be weird for me to call up one of my friends with a son and ask them to have their son take my daughter out on a date.  Who knows maybe I could start a new trend.

After sitting here writing this, it has become more clear to me.  I don't want any of my kids having that boyfriend/girlfriend that is all encompassing at this point.  I don't want them to forget their friends, or spend every waking moment together.  I do want them to appreciate the opposite sex, feel comfortable and learn slowly what they are looking for in the future.  Now just to figure out how to get that for them?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Nikki is going to Homecoming

Nikki and her friends were bound and determined to all go to Homecoming together this year.   Last year, Nikki went with a boy from the water polo team.  It was a fun group, but not her closest friends.  So this year, they plotted and worked trying to be sure each girl had a date.  Not only a date, but one that would be accepting of going with the girls group of friends.

Last week Nikki and a few of her friends asked us moms to take them into LA to go dress shopping.  At that point not one of the three girls had even been asked to go to the dance.  They all assured us that they had verbal confirmations, but the "official asking" had just not been done yet.

Nikki had planned to go with Alex.  Now Alex had sort of liked her back in freshman year.  In fact he was going to ask her to Homecoming then.  But at the time, we decided she was getting too nervous about a dance and told her she couldn't go.  In the meantime, Alex has had a girlfriend (or two) and Nikki has moved on.  So this year when I started hearing his name come up, I thought it would be interesting to see if it worked out.

Turns out it did work out, although not how he'd planned.  He'd bought her a soccer ball (because they both play) and was going to bring it to practice with some flowers with the word "Homecoming?" written on the ball.  Thursday night when he'd planned to ask her, she came home sick after school and didn't go to practice.  So he ended up having to come to our house and ask her here. I think that was way tougher on him than doing it at the soccer practice.  So I give him big points for doing it alone here.

So the deed was done and we were able to go into LA to shop the next day with two of her friends and their moms.  We had a ton of fun, although who knew how exhausting it was!  We shopped for over 5 hours and Nikki couldn't find a dress.  The other two girls both had found one, so the pressure was on.  Finally Nikki settled on one that she was happy with.  We made a last stop for jewelry and at 4:00 finally headed out to get some LUNCH!  We were all starving and exhausted, but our mission was complete.

It really wasn't the dress she was looking for, but it looked cute on so she went for it.  Now she's wanting to go this weekend to local stores to see if she can find the one she couldn't find in LA.  Luckily we don't have any plans this weekend, so we'll see what comes of this.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Move In Weekend for the College Boy

Last weekend was move in day at Santa Clara University.  Luckily for us, Stephen had moved in a month ago for polo.  We decided to use the weekend as a time to see him and possibly catch some of their games.  As it turned out though, the team was playing at Cal and it was about 45 minutes away.  Since they were having festivities on campus, Stephen got permission to stay at the school.  We thought it would be a great chance to visit and show the girls a college campus up close.  Turned out we were wrong on both counts.

Stephen's roommate was supposed to move in on Saturday at 8:30 am so we had Friday evening to ourselves.  So when we got there on Friday, we had a quick dinner.  We had called a few places on the way out, but reservations were scarce since parents had all probably arrived that evening.  So we opted for Pizza My Heart right across the street.  It was actually pretty good, although they were packed too.  Then we headed up to his dorm room.  We helped him download some software he needed and then we were just kind of hanging out.  Bill was about ready to head out when Stephen said to us, "um not trying to be mean or anything but what time do you think you'll be heading out.  Some of my girl friends just invited me to go get ice cream with them."  Yeah we can take a hint.  So we all walked out together, he jumped on his longboard and headed out while we headed back to our hotel.  Yeah whatever, so much for missing us.

Saturday was move in day.  He had to be up early anyway so that his roommate could move in, so we headed to Bill's Cafe at 8:30.   Turns out that was a good plan because the place was packed when we left.  We went back to the hotel to pack up and check out.  He went to go meet his roommate and go sign up for ROTC.  Yes he'd decided on Friday before we got there that he is going to do Army ROTC.  I'm not sure how he's going to find the time to add that into his schedule, but we'll just roll with it for now.  Anyway after checking out we decided to go walk around campus with the girls.  Perfect timing, it started POURING!  The only other time they'd been on campus was Stephen's freshman year of high school we'd gone on a tour and yep it rained then too.  We'd gotten all the way across campus when it really started coming down.  We had to duck into the parking garage for about a half an hour since we weren't really dressed for downpour.  We had dinner reservations at 5:45 and could tell it was going to be about all we got from Stephen.  I can totally understand though, the campus was alive with new people and he'd already been having a great time with the people he'd met so far.  So we picked him up at 4:00.  We walked around Santana Row for awhile and then had a really nice dinner.  Afterwards, we brought him back to his dorm, said our goodbyes and started the long drive home.

I don't know.  It wasn't exactly how I'd hoped the weekend would go.  It was so rushed and a little crazy.  But it was great to see him and great to see how much fun he's having.  It would be really hard to leave your child knowing they weren't fitting in or were miserable.  Luckily we didn't have any doubts that he's in a great place.  Now we just have to wait until our next visit.

The picture quality wasn't great, but we were happy to get  a few pics :)

That was his last night of play time.  He started classes today.  In fact, it's 8:00 PM right now and I think he's just getting out of his last class.  Monday is his really long day.  I hope he calls tonight, because I'm anxious to hear what he thought of it all.  But I'll leave that up to him.

Nikki made Captain!

Today was Nikki's first day of tryouts for high school soccer.  They planned to have the girls tryout Monday through Thursday and announce the teams on Friday.  Last night Nikki sent the coach an email letting him know that she'd have to leave early since her club practices conflict and right now club has priority.  He said that was fine and that he needed her to stay after practice today.  We joked and said he wants to make her captain.  She laughed and said that maybe it was captain of the JV team. Which wouldn't be so bad, except she was pulled up to Varsity mid way through the season last year so she was really hoping to play Varsity this year.

She called me after tryouts today to let me know she had to make a stop before heading home.  I asked her what the coach had talked to her about.  She said he'd pulled four girls and asked them if they wanted to be captains.  Weird that he asked, right?  Well the reason being is that two are sophomores, Nikki is a junior and the last girl is a senior.  He told them he understood if it put them in an awkward position and if they didn't want to do it to let him know.  Otherwise he was going to make the announcement tomorrow.   Nikki had second thoughts for all of the reasons the coach had articulated.  But after talking to her, she decided that other people's opinion of her shouldn't stop her from doing something that will be good for her for many reasons.  Many of those reasons, I don't even think she's aware of.  But I can say that I am so excited for her and proud of her!  I can't wait to see what the season has in store!

This is a photo from her club season at a tournament over the summer.

This rather blurry shot was from last year's high school season after she'd gotten pulled up.

Monday, September 16, 2013

New room for Ali

Ali has been on our case about redoing her bedroom.  She keeps close tabs on when her brother and sister got this or that and has decided this is the year she is due a remodel.  For the meantime, she's taken over her brother's room while he's away at college.

Stephen and Nikki both have upgraded to a full sized bed from a twin.  After our last beach day, Ali was so exhausted she didn't want to shower before going to sleep.  I told her to sleep in Stephen's bed since I needed to wash his sheets anyway.  Apparently she slept so well she decided to move in there until she got a bigger bed for herself.

Yesterday she and I headed over to Mathis Bros while Bill and Nikki were in Bakersfield for soccer.  Ali was really leaning towards a canopy bed until we saw what they had to offer.  She didn't love any of them, so we walked the showroom to see what else interested her.  Her first choice was as she called it, "so her".

It was definitely a princess bed.  The outside edge is all mirrored.  Luckily I was able to convince her it would be very limiting for bedding choices.  Plus it was over $2k, so we moved on.

We searched all of the youth beds because those are the only ones available in full sizes.  Unfortunately I think because they were all decorated in kids themes she couldn't find any she liked.  We did find a queen sized bed that she really liked

This one had drawers on the end board that would be great storage for all of the blankets Ali likes to keep.  But after measuring the bed, we have determined there's no way a queen sized bed would fit in her room.  It would literally be all bed.  So our options now are to either find a full sized bed elsewhere or possibly switch her room with Stephen's room.  That would be a lot more work for us, but might be the best option.  As for now, I'm going to keep looking for a full sized bed.  We'll see where this takes us.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Beach Day

Last weekend Nikki had a soccer tournament all weekend and her friend Sydney had her birthday at the beach on Saturday.  We were able to do both, but it wasn't the whole day at the beach we enjoy.  So we talked to Sydney's family and decided we'd all  meet at the beach the following Saturday.

That's exactly what we did!  We didn't get up early, nope we slept in first.  Then we picked up a few of Ali & Grace's friends and headed down to Huntington.  We got there about 11:30 and enjoyed the beautiful day until about 7:00.  After that, we headed over to the pier where we all had Ruby's Diner for dinner.  We rolled in about 10PM and were so happy to have gotten another day at the beach!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fun Stuff at Polo Practice

Last night was the night we were set to host dinner for Stephen's water polo team up in Santa Clara.  When I got a text from him around 5:30, I thought it was going to be a question about the dinner.  Turns out he was texting to let me know his front tooth had been knocked out at practice.  No it's not the first time and no it probably won't be the last time.  My initial reaction was frustration that he probably wasn't wearing his mouthguard.  I finally got him to call me and he said he was wearing his mouthguard, but that his teammate had elbowed him just right.  He said his reaction was to spit his mouthguard out when it happened.  Which then caused his tooth to sink to the bottom of the pool.  I asked him what his coach said.  He said he told him to put some goggles on and find the tooth.  Here's an old photo of Stephen without his tooth when he was still wearing a flipper retainer instead of the bridge.

He said the real bummer is that the dentist up there can't see him until Tuesday.  So he gets to go the whole weekend looking like the photo above.  I told him to get a flipper retainer made for these kind of emergencies but he hated the flipper so much that he says he'd rather deal with the toothless smile.  My only concern is that his teeth will shift.  But what am I to do at this point, he's a man now and has to make these decisions.  Oh the joys.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

1st day of school

It was another year of staggered starts for the kids.  I actually like it because it gives me some individual time with all three.  But it cuts the summer short 3 weeks on each end because we can't take a vacation with one still in school.  It's also a bit of a bummer for the first one to start school because we usually stay on vacation until the day before the first one starts.

This year Nikki was the lucky first one.  Luckily she wears a uniform to school so there wasn't any back to school shopping to be done.  The other plus was that she's driving now so when they got the school supply lists she was able to meet her friends at Target and all get their shopping done without me.  Yay for that because I hate school supply shopping.  Her friends drove over on the first morning of school and carpooled.  They were so adorable.  It's hard to believe they're already juniors in high school!

Nikki, Cassie and Jenny

The next one to start school was Stephen.  Well I take that back, he left for school but did not start.  He had to report in to Santa Clara for water polo on 8/21 even though school didn't start until 9/23.  So we jumped on a plane, stopped by Bed, Bath & Beyond and picked up all of his dorm gear and moved him into his temporary dorm.  He'll be there until 9/12 and then he'll move into his permanent dorm.  He'll have a few weeks alone and then his permanent roommate will move in on 9/21.  We will go up on move in weekend and visit, but luckily won't have any moving to do and can just enjoy our visit.  Here's a photo of Stephen and his temporary roommate Nick.  Nick is one of his water polo teammates.  So far they're having a great time together!  Maybe at move in weekend I'll get his day before 1st day of college photo.

And last but not least was Ali.  She just started 8th grade on Monday.  So we had the most time to hang out and get her "stuff" done.  As it turned out we did a lot of it after school started.  She did get some back to school clothes, but she didn't get her haircut or pedicure until after the first day.  She had two summer projects that she swore she wouldn't be working on at the last minute.  And lo and behold that last weekend, they weren't complete.  So she didn't get to get her other stuff in.  And then I made her wait for the school supplies until after the teachers gave her their lists because it always changes.  And did I mention, I hate school supply shopping.  But I think that's a whole other post.  

Ali and her gang always walk to the corner after school and sit and visit for about 10 minutes before getting in the car to go home.  This year, they'd decided to meet there before school to so that they could visit as they walk.  It worked out great for her 1st day of school photos.

Paige, Ali, McKenna, Lauren & Isiah

All in all it was a successful start to another school year.  Even if it makes me sad how quickly they're growing.  But I do love having teenagers!