The weekend after our birthdays was absolutely gorgeous. We decided to spend the afternoon hiking at the Lowry Nature Center. Jeff had fun testing out his new video camera. I had fun taking photographs. And Ellie had fun exploring.

I’ve also made a few layouts already using some of the photographs from that day.



Jeff’s birthday falls 3 days after mine and he loves to tease that we are the same age (at least for those few days each year). I baked a spice cake and Ellie helped with the decorations. (More sprinkles–because you need those on a birthday cake!)

Ellie had the coffee table all set for her Dad’s arrival home. The gifts, cards, cake and balloons all were in order.


Guess what they’re singing?


Father and daughter.


Ellie picked out this  little bear for her Dad. I think it’s so he has his own stuffed animal for when they play.


Jeff checking out some of his new classical music CDs.


New running shorts to help keep him motivated (and they’re not black).


Enjoying Anna’s card.


Anna’s clever collection of  Jeff-isms. Our favorite was Jeffy peanut butter.


Quite an original tribute to her favorite step-dad.


A Dad and his kids. Happy birthday honey–you’re still a year older!

Last week parents were invited to sit in at dance class. Ellie’s was on Monday. They demonstrated how they stretch at the barre and on the floor. They showed all 5 ballet feet and arm positions and did a number of across the floor exercises. It was also the class where their recital costume is revealed and orders placed. Ellie’s class will be wearing a cute dress that has a white fitted bodice with embroidered flowers and a long, flowing, pink skirt.

I used these photos from dance class as part of a 30 minute challenge last Saturday to make this layout.

Anna’s jazz class was on Tuesday night. At her level they are leaping and turning all over the place. They do much of their work across the floor and it’s good to see that the instructor insists on working both left and right sides. Anna isn’t as thrilled with her costume, a black and red biketard, or maybe it’s the fishnet stockings that go with it. Anyway, I’m sure she’ll look amazing in it as always.

One week ago I turned 48 and I admit to being middle aged now. Besides the changing of my age, a lot of other things in life are changing. I’ve started a new job–so far just part-time, but I’m so enjoying working with a wonderful group of professionals. Physically I’m more aware of my diet, eating healthier, exercising 5 out of 7 days, drinking lots of water (and almost no pop) and minimizing sweets. And spiritually, my husband and I are in agreement with changes for our family. I am embracing these life changes, because, really what choice do you have?! I’m not in charge. So many of these changes are answers to prayers that I’ve had for so long. I’m excited to see where God is leading in my life and family.

Ellie and Jeff baked dark chocolate brownies and added pink frosting and sprinkles (because it’s just not a birthday treat without sprinkles).

Looks yummy!

One of my presents to start the holiday season.

Smiles on the birthday girl.

Celebrating with some of my kids…missing two (Brandon at college and Anna at tumbling practice). I did have a mini celebration with both girls after school at the Dairy Queen. Brandon sent me birthday greetings on facebook.


Us..aren’t we a cute couple! After our short family celebration Jeff took me out to dinner where I enjoyed a wonderful grilled salmon.

It was a wonderful birthday and I know it’s going to be a wonderful year for me.

Anna recently started participating on a competitive cheer team in the area and a week ago her team had their first competition. It was an exciting event with many good teams.

Anna’s team really brought the energy and attitude and did everything they were suppose to do.


I was so proud of my girl and her teammates.


All three teams.  The youngest team took first place in their division. The senior team was there for support but did not participate due to too many injuries.


A third place finish was something to be proud of.

Here’s a layout I made of Anna and her MVC All Star teammates cheering on the participants at last month’s Diabetes Walk.

“Piles of Smiles”

“Peter’s Pumpkins”


“Pumpkin Carving”

“Pretty Panda”

“Halloween Looks”


By day Anna became a pretty panda complete with argyle socks…

While little sister, Ellie was “in her satin tights, fighting for your rights and the old red, white and blue” as Wonder Woman.

Anna’s middle school class held their party at Funky Minds. She was in charge with Eliza to organize the party.

By night, Ellie changed into a disco dancer.

While the panda put on a few more layers to stay warm. Anna went out with her friend, Ali, so we didn’t see her much.

Ellie, Belle and the pumpkins on the porch:

Ellie had to wait until Dad came home from work, but she kept busy handing out candy to the early trick or treaters.

She was so excited by the time Dad got home. It was hard to keep up with her as she ran from house to house. But after an hour at this pace she decided she was done.

Love the note at one of our neighbor’s houses.

The loot:

Anna came home earlier than expected. I didn’t get a picture of all of her loot but it weighed in at over 6 pounds.

It was the night before Halloween and pumpkins needed carving in order to be ready to stand vigil outside our door.

Getting ready to work.

Ellie came up with a plan on the way to the pumpkin patch the previous day so out came her drawings to work from as she carved.

Dad supervised the carving. But she really didn’t need much help this year for the first time. I guess for Ellie, 7 is the magic age for pumpkin carving.

The work area. I prepared Anna’s pumpkin since she was out shopping with a classmate for their party.

A pumpkin carved.

See how it matched the plan.

Ellie and Daddy.

Mommy and Ellie and Belle (her doll). The smaller Christmas tree pumpkin was for Belle.

Anna arrived home in time to carve her pumpkin.

I think she is positively in love with her pumpkin man.


Now we are ready for Halloween!

Two days before Halloween and the girls ask, “Are we going to get pumpkins?” Of course we are! And of course we headed to our favorite spot: Peter’s Pumpkins and Carmen’s Corn. Jeff passes this place on his way to and from work daily and we love seeing Anna’s former Spanish teacher, Carmen when we visit.

OK, so maybe Anna is a bit big for a wagon ride.

Ellie is a much better size (at least yet this year) for Jeff to pull.

Not so fond of this odd-shaped pumpkin. It went back.

Jeff and Ellie headed one way looking for the perfect pumpkin.

While Anna headed another way.

Here’s the one Ellie liked.

Anna picked this one.

And Ellie needed a second one for her doll this year.

Pumpkin weight lifting.

Girls among the pumpkins.

Jeff and the girls and pumpkins.

Me and girls and pumpkins.


Carmen and Anna. Carmen was Anna’s Spanish teacher for six years.