30 September 2016

Family Science Camp Part 1

So excited to be at camp with our friends!

There were four of us families from the desert.

 Our cabin.

Time for a nature hike with my little cub.

Brandon, our guide.

They look like a pre-teen band. :) 

Zach finds a rather large pine cone.

Taking a rest on one of the hammocks.

Ga Ga Ball was all the rage at camp and the kids could not stop playing it!

Eat. Play. Rock. (And look adorable while doing it.) :)

Pretty lights in the evenings gave it such a cozy ambiance around the campground.

Zach loved the bean bag toss.

Our very own Goldilocks, trying out his sister's bunk.

Melissa reading aloud the One Year Bible in the morning to the kids.

A sweet morning photo.

Karen, me, and Melissa in front of the coffee/gift shop.

Playing "Gorilla, Man, Net."

The pictures don't do this camp justice. It was so picturesque and quaint!

This was my favorite family devotion:
We broke off into families and read John 13:1-17 about Jesus Washing His Disciples Feet. Then we talked about how we might better serve one another in love. Next, we painted each other's feet, created a piece of artwork as a keepsake (with our feet, of course!), and then we washed each other's feet, just as Jesus did for his disciples.    

Zach provided our actual footprint.

Washing daddy's feet.

These are all symbols of our meaningful time here together.

Wow! I cannot say enough about our first organized family camp experience. From the spacious cabin to the food, from all the fun activities to the incredible staff members... not to mention, the beautiful campground village itself!

We were totally impressed.

We simply could not get over how inexpensive it was! Truly, it's the best kept secret for families who like adventuring together. Shhh. :) 

Easily, this was one of the BEST experiences the girls have ever had! In fact, they're already counting down the days until next year!

So many great memories were made!

Part 2, coming up...

26 September 2016

Family Fellowship and Prayer

A sweet time of prayer.

Zach sat still for approximately 3.7 seconds.

 He loves to take pictures.
So at least there's that :)

 Tetherball in the backyard.

 Lots of help today cleaning the pool.

 Lunch time.

 Karen, Janette, and baby Paislie.

 Morgan and Joe.

 Melissa and me.
(Once again, someone at church was talking to her today and they thought they were talking to me. Hilarious!)

 These two: Zach and Mallory splashing in the pool.

Love all of these kids.

And these sweet girlfriends.

 A sleeping angel.

Zach test driving the Blodgett's van.

We're studying Philippians in CBS and Paul's use of the word fellowship differs from the modern usage. He refers to fellowship as the participation in a common objective work, rather than a subjective experience. 
Fellowship is an active partnership, not a passive social experience.
With that in mind, after a LONG break, we're so happy to resume our monthly gathering with our friends in fellowship. I mean, real fellowship. Not just getting together and having fun. This involves sharing what we learned from the morning's teaching at church, as well as bearing one another's burdens through prayer and encouragement.

We are so blessed to have this group of friends to walk through life with! I think my favorite part of the day was just seeing how all the kids listened so intently to our discussion time and prayers.

Our children know we are far from perfect. We don't know it all or have it all together. But more than that, through our struggles, we hope they see our need (and theirs) for a Savior whose grace covers all.

What an awesome God we serve!

24 September 2016

Meal Plan Week #4

Whew! I don't know about you but we've had (and continue to have) a busy and full week! On top of all our regular activities, we drove to LA to pick up our new car this week. We LOVE the car but hated the traffic! #brutal

This month marks the 10th year of us living in the desert. Other than moving further away from my family, we do not miss LA one bit! #noregrets

We're also happy to be resuming and hosting (after a LONG break) family fellowship time again on Sundays after church. It's only once a month but this one happens to fall this week so yeah, busy!

But guess what? I'm about to get a little break. Well, at least in the cooking department of my life. :)

Next week, we're so excited to be spending Monday thru Thursday up in the mountains at Family Science Camp!

We've heard some wonderful things about this camp! This will be our family's first experience with something like this and we're so happy that some of our friends are coming along, too!

So needless to say, dinners are being provided by the camp. As well as breakfast and lunch! Hello, vacation! :)

I'll probably be exhausted from chasing Zach through the woods all week but hey, at least I'll get a break from cooking, right?

So there you have it.

Meal Plan Week #4
  • Mon-Wed. provided by the folks at Thousand Pines.
  • Pre-made frozen Lasagna. #keepingitreal
Between unpacking, starting school again, and just getting back into the swing of things, who wants to think about what's for dinner? Lasagna will tie us over until the weekend.

Sounds like a plan to me!

20 September 2016

Happy Homecoming Day, Zachary!

It's hard to believe Zach was so tiny. This was the first day we met him, over 2 years ago! He only weighed 3 lbs.
My little love bug! Look at that great head of hair, though! ;)

Meeting the newest member of our family. What an incredible moment!

A couple of weeks later, he was transferred to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.
This was the FIRST time I held my boy!

He was still sick here at almost 36 weeks but getting better!

A week before coming home. Our little warrior!

The morning of discharge finally arrived! Oh, HAPPY DAY!!

The car ride took 12 hours. We stopped in Bakersfield to have dinner at Ben & Lucy's but still, it was a long and grueling trip home.

International or domestic, I always say ALL our kids took about 12 hours on the final leg of their journey home. Zach's discharge day was a bit surreal. We were SO TIRED from all the emotions and from staying up (pretty much all night) with Zach in the hospital the night before. Yet we were also on cloud nine! It had been one heck of a summer! So much touch and go... The reality of all those answered prayers and that God had actually healed our son. It was nothing short of a miracle and we were so very grateful!

It was a cloudy and drizzly September morning in San Francisco as we left the hospital and crossed the street to the parking garage with our new son. I remember thinking that after being alive for 75 days, he was actually taking his first breath of fresh air (outside of a hospital or ventilators). 

Zach slept most of the time and I pretty much just stared at him the whole way as Morgan drove.

It was the ending of a challenging but life changing chapter in our lives and yet a whole new chapter was just beginning.

These last two years have been the most difficult years we've ever gone through as a family. We've faced many trials and challenges. Not just with Zach but in many aspects of our family life.

But God.

He's been so faithful through it all.

He restored our boy. Developmentally and physically, he's doing wonderfully and he continues to amaze us with the growth we see in him every single day. By saying yes to a 28 week old preemie, one never really knows the issues you might encounter (either now or later). In that regard, we are beyond blessed and thankful to the Lord for Zach's good health.

Fast forward two years...

He's one active kid who loves to play with his sisters.

 Have dance parties in the kitchen...

Hang out with GIANT bears at Costco...
(He's holding his shovel because he likes to hold something in his hand, always).

Reading and memorizing all the books.

 Doing puzzles with sissy.

Trips to the park.

Learning to fly. :)

Trying chopsticks for the first time.

Doesn't everyone eat their pizza with chopsticks?

He absolutely loves to go on golf cart rides around the neighborhood.

His version of ice skating at home. :)

Zachary has come full circle in many ways and he's brought more love and joy to our family than we could have ever hoped or imagined. He has a sweet soul. He's also one passionate and determined little boy. Duh, of course, he is!!

This weekend, a friend of mine mentioned to me the fact that she can already see Zach's uncontainable spirit and how she just knows he's going to do something great for God.

Her words were such an encouragement and confirmation to me!

We know that God has an awesome plan for Zach's future. Morgan and I pray all the time that we, as his parents, would be able to help him channel all of his God-given passion, zeal, drive, and enthusiasm in a way that leads him to fulfill his purpose and calling, all for the glory and honor of God.


What a perfect word for our son.

We love you, Zach!

 We naturally enjoyed his favorite meal on his special day. This boy loves his pizza (and his daddy!).

 And then he got to go up and down the escalator, quite a few times! He loves escalators, too.

Three of the best blessings EVER!

Me and my girlie girl, Grace.

 The girls, just being silly.

 Photo by Grace.

 See? Over and over again. :)

 Gough, party of FIVE!

Doesn't everyone take their two year old to a casino for a special celebration? What the heck?! :)

We didn't actually go to the casino party of the resort. We just love their Pizza Kitchen (and bowling alley)!

Happy Homecoming Day, Zachary!

You are LOVED beyond words and we are so grateful for the joy and privilege of being your forever family.

On Instagram

© Brave Soul. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.