27 January 2015

A day in the life of a little brother

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Introducing Zachary to the ducks.


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Story time.


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Tummy time.


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All pooped out.


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Naked exercise time. :)


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Dreaming of more milk.


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More story time.


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Dress up time. My poor baby!


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Watching his sisters do school work.


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Play time: practicing his grip (without smacking himself in the face).


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Sitting up…


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Before falling down. :)


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And last but not least, taking a snooze on sissy while she reads.

22 January 2015

“The Drop Box” coming to a theatre near YOU!

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In 2013, I found out about Pastor Lee and his amazing work in Seoul, Korea. I wrote about Brian Ivie, the young filmmaker from So Cal who read about Pastor Lee’s ministry in the Los Angeles Times and later, went to meet him in Seoul. Consequently, it was an experience that would change him forever and inspire him to make this powerful documentary. The Drop Box has gone on to receive numerous awards and recognition. Now, you can see this film for yourself on the big screen in a limited 3 night release on March 3, 4, and 5.  Don’t forget to bring your tissues!

For locals: The movie will be shown at the Century Theatres @ the River on March 3rd.



“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” ~John 14:18

18 January 2015

Happy Birthday, Dad

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We miss my dad so much. We didn’t want to let his birthday go by without celebrating him.


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Playing baseball in honor of you, Dad.


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Madi & Zach: the cutest cousins EVER. And yes, she put her arm around him. After she played with his ear for a little while. :))


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To the hiking trails! In the background is the new hummingbird and butterfly garden they’re building by the entrance. Should be ready by Spring!


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Such a perfect place to remember dad.


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Cousins are the best.


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My mom’s close friend, Cecilia joined us for the celebration and memorial.


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Auntie Emily in her favorite spot: Surrounded by babies and getting a work out, too. Carrying about 40 lbs!


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So fun to go through this baby stage with my sister in law.


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Daddy and his girls.


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Time for birthday cake pie! My dad loved apple pie and ice cream.


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Grateful for each and every year we had you, Dad.


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More baseball!


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The kids had so much fun!


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Lastly, we kissed the balloons and let them fly up to heaven. Happy Birthday, Hapajee!

The Lord gave us beautiful weather up in the mountains to celebrate my dad’s birthday this weekend. We thought it might be cold but it turned out to be absolutely spectacular! Oak Glen was one of my dad’s favorite places. In fact, it was he and my mom who introduced us to it years ago. We have so many fond memories there as a family so it only seemed fitting to gather here in honor of him.

We all miss my dad greatly. Although he was a man of few words, his presence was a force, all on its own.  I miss seeing the utter delight and joy he had for his grandchildren. I miss seeing his eyes light up and his smile take over his usual stern face. And even though there are some days that I still can’t believe he’s gone, the hope of seeing him again outweighs my sadness.


Besides, it was too beautiful of a day to let anything but joy and peace reside in our hearts.

We love you and we miss you everyday, dad.


16 January 2015

Mom mode vs. wife mode

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Because sometimes, when the opportunity arises (even during the middle of a busy week and you’re feeling really tired), you jump at the chance to date your husband again.

I don’t know about you but rallying to go anywhere in the evening for a mama of little ones can be tough. In fact, I try to avoid it at all costs. Who wants to refresh their make up (or put on make up, for that matter?), figure out something cute to wear (instead of that comfy T-shirt that has spit up and snot all over it), or take that pony tail down that you haphazardly threw up that morning?

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m pretty much in “mom mode” all the time these days. Our days are filled with schooling, music, bible study, reading, meals to prepare, grocery shopping, doctors appointments, library, play dates, dolls, diapers, laundry, etc.!!!

Oh, the never ending laundryyyyyyy! :)

Don’t get me wrong. I‘m not complaining one bit. I love it all. I love feeling spent at the end of each day. Why? Because I know I’ve spent my day serving the ones that have been entrusted to me. Please don’t mistake that to mean that I always serve them well. I have my struggles just like everyone else but what a privilege and a blessing it is to be a stay at home mom!

But guess what? I still want to be a wife, too! (I know somewhere, my husband’s smiling really big right now).

My husband is the only one that I will absolutely make the effort and jump at the chance to make that switch from “mom mode” to “woman he married.” Let’s face it, date nights are hard to come by but when the opportunity arises, you can be sure, the perfume will be sprayed, the lipstick will be applied and the heels will come out. So often, our husbands have the weight of the world on their shoulders, don’t they? They have a ton of responsibilities and unfortunately, all too many times, in the grind of each day, it’s our husbands who often come last.

This post isn’t so much about encouraging anyone else, it’s about reminding myself…

First and foremost, I am a wife and then a mother.

Now, more than ever, it seems like we have to be intentional about carving out time just for us. It takes effort (and the help of Grandma) but it is worth it. And I don’t think it’s so much about what we do or where we go on a date, it’s more about feeling reconnected, like we’re on the same team, and reminding ourselves of all the reasons why we’d choose each other over and over again.

After all, he didn’t marry me for my mothering skills (thank God), he married me because he loved everything else… well, mostly everything. ;))


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I’ve been joking to Morgan by saying, “In just 8 more years, we may get to go on a weekend getaway.”

Even if that’s the case, Lord willing, let there be LOTS more date nights in between. :)

I declare every month, “Go date your husband month!”

And if you’re in a season where you can swing it more often than that, good for you.

Enjoy it, sister!

15 January 2015

Easy Homemade Dill Pickles

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We used Organic Persian Cucumbers from TJ’s. My favorite kind of cucumber! So crunchy and seedless!


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We cut some into chips and some into spears.


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Next we measured out the liquids. 


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Then we added some fresh dill.


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Some whole peppercorns…


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And minced up some garlic…


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Add the liquid to make the brine and seal the lid tight. Store in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.


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This is how it looked after 48 hours. A little less vibrant green in color, just like a pickled pickle should be. :)

My girls have never been fond of pickles. Which was kind of odd to me because they’re not picky eaters and they love kim chee and anything sour. Plus, they tolerate eating these plain cucumbers all the time. Anyhow, this was technically a science project they were working on and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand (except the dill, which I picked up last week). So I said, “Sure, let’s make homemade dill pickles!”

I was curious… Can making pickles at home really be THAT easy?

Well, the answer is YES!! It really is THAT EASY.

If you like pickles, you have to give this a try. You may never go back to buying a jar in the store again. Your homemade version will taste fresh, clean, crisp, and delicious. I also loved that this simple recipe had no fancy pickling spices, etc. Like me, I bet you already have most of the ingredients at home. Plus, this has no preservatives, yellow dye, or words you can’t pronounce. :)

And guess what?? After tasting THESE pickles, now my girls can’t get enough. THEY LIKE PICKLES! They munched on them as a snack and even asked to eat them for dessert!

Happy {healthy} snacking, friends!

Easy Homemade Dill Pickles


  • Cucumbers (any kind)
  • 3½ cups water
  • 1/ ¼ cups plain white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or cloves
  • Peppercorns (this is to taste but about 20 per jar)
  • Fresh dill (as many sprigs as you want. we did about 5 to a jar)


  • Start by cutting the cucumbers to your preference- into chips, spears or keep them whole.
  • Add the water and vinegar to a saucepan over high heat and bring to boil.
  • Add the sea salt.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add the fresh dill into a large mason jar.
  • Add the pickles in chips or spears or whole and cram as many as you can fit in the jar.
  • Next add the whole garlic or minced garlic to the jar.
  • Add the peppercorns to the jar.
  • Once the vinegar and water has cooled completely- dump it over the cucumbers in the jar.
  • Seal the jar with a very tight lid and shake to mix all the ingredients together.
  • Pop in the fridge for 48-72 hours and Boom! All done.

14 January 2015


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I see you!


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Our little linebacker in the making.


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I love this boy with his crooked smile.


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Little man indeed.


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Who, me?!


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His favorite spot for naps and cuddling. On mama. :)


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And that he was… At least for that moment anyway. :)

These are just some of my favorite photos of our growing boy lately.

  • He currently weighs over 17 lbs.
  • He’s in 9 month clothes and quickly growing out of size 3 diapers.
  • His neck and head control seem to be getting stronger.
  • He’s learning to grab things with his hands and puts everything in his mouth.
  • He’s obsessed with propellers or anything that moves above him.
  • He likes to watch Sunday football with his daddy.
  • He absolutely loves cuddles, foot rubs, and warm baths.
  • He talks quite a bit (oohs, ahhs, and ohs).
  • He enjoys the great outdoors.
  • He does NOT like teething.
  • He’s beginning to sit up on his own, with some help.

He’s actually over 6 months old now but developmentally, he’s around 4 months old… Catching up, though!

We can’t get enough of how cute he is around here. Every day he changes and we get a front row seat.

The last of his FOUR post-adoption social worker visits will be completed this week. Yay! That means we’re one step closer to a court date. Of course, to us, he’s already a Gough but we’re ready to make this formality “official.”

We recently changed pediatricians and took Zachary in for his 6 month well-visit. The doctor couldn’t believe he was a preemie or that he went through everything he had earlier in his life. The doctor said he looked perfectly healthy!

Praise the Lord!

What an awesome work God has done (and continues to do) in healing our son.     

To Him be the glory!

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