Sunday, October 19, 2014

This and That

These two fall asleep like this all the time.  

RIP Ellie.  While chaperoning a youth dance our big van was smashed to oblivion.  Some guy was driving down the road at an excessive speed, clipped the back of my van and rammed it up the curb and onto the lawn of the church.  When someone came to tell me what happened I thought they were kidding.  Then I thought, how much damage could they possibly do?  As it turns out...a lot.  The whole frame of the van was bent and it was totaled out by the insurance company.  Sad day, especially because Ellie was an old model with low mileage that we got for a sweet deal.  And, we had just put new tires on the car less than a week before the accident.  We ended up getting more than we paid for the van but still ended up with a car payment on a new one.  We're just thankful that no one was in the car at the time and figure that for whatever reason we needed a 15 passenger van instead.

Liam getting his baseball award.  Yeah, we're not playing baseball again...

One night Owen didn't come home when I called him.  It was unusual for him and I was pretty upset about it.  I kept going out and calling him to no avail.  Then finally we heard meowing but couldn't tell where it was coming from.  We first thought he was stuck in the AC unit.  Finally we looked up and found our kitty on the decorative ledge of the house.  Ben had to get on a ladder to get him down.  Funny kitty!

Arguably the cutest beach buns of the season.  This girl didn't like the feel of sand while crawling and has taken to full time walking.

Liam's creation at the park one afternoon.

Face paint a la Meilani

For mom's birthday we went to SF to ride a carousel.  My mother is funny.  She's loves a mean carousel ride!  So we indulged her.  

We visited the sea lions too.

I love this inquisitive boy.  His smile melts my heart!

Mountain House High School Grand Opening

The last year has been grueling for Ben, and for our whole family by extension.  I think we knew when this job fell in our laps that it would be a significant undertaking, but that Ben would also be instrumental in creating something bigger than just a new high school.  He's spent virtually every waking moment over the last year formulating the structure of a high school for the future.  He's poured over bell schedules, curriculum, technology, budgets and more.  His vision is coming to fruition and we could feel the enthusiasm within our community as we attended the grand opening of Mountain House High School.  In a way, this day signified for me the reason we felt drawn to this little town 6 years ago.  Not only has it become a great place to raise our little family, it's become a place where we can serve the community we love so dearly.

Ben explaining the features of the school on the VIP tour.

The quad

Board Member David Pombo

Superintendent Kirk Nicholas

Former Congraswoman Joan Buchannan who's been a HUGE support to Mountain House and our school district.  She's a democrat and I voted for her.

Board member Matthew Balzarini

Ben giving his (our) speech (at 10:30 pm the night before, he asked me to whip something up):

It is an absolute joy and privilege to be here with you today on this momentous occasion.  Four years ago the governing board of the Lammersville Elementary School District led the charge to unify our school district with the specific vision and purpose of creating Mountain House High School.  Our critics said it couldn’t be done, that we would never have our own high school, and yet today, together we stand on this beautiful campus to celebrate another new beginning for our students and our community.  The process of unification and building were grueling, with board members and district employees facing many uphill battles in the midst of a staggering economic downturn.  In November, 2010 the New York times labeled Mountain House the most underwater town in America and yet despite the stigma and the vacant homes, our governing board, and the community at large, rallied together with the goal of providing a comprehensive educational experience, Kindergarten through twelfth grade, for all Mountain House students.  The buildings surrounding us today stand as a physical reminder of the rebirth of our community, a symbol of the greatness that can come about when community stakeholders are united in purpose.  Although the classrooms are still empty and the chatter of students is yet to be heard, the process of building Mountain House High School has touched us all.  On our journey to become Mustangs our sense of community has been strengthened and our lives enriched through our relationships with one another as we’ve worked towards a common goal.  Today as you tour the campus you will be wowed by the physical structure of Mountain House High School.  For many years into the future these buildings will provide the backdrop for countless students as they forge their own relationships, learning, growing, and developing as they go.  It is an honor and privilege to be a part of this process.  Our teachers and staff members stand ready to provide our students with an exceptional educational experience.  In closing I would like to personally thank the the many individuals who have helped to make this possible. Thanks to our friends at Nichols Melberg and Rosetto, Wes and Dan...thanks to the folks at Mountain House developers and LDC, Dave and Frawn...thanks to our many friends at Turner construction...there are too many to name...thanks to Joan Buchannon who championed the cause of Lammersvile Unified and Mountain House through it all...thank you to the governing board members past and present, for their determination and vision is seeing Mountain House High School to fruition: President David Pombo, Mr. Matthew Balzarini, Ms. Sharon Lampel, Mr. Shane Nielson, Ms. Michaela Vergara, Dr. Chris Cunningham, Dr. Atul Khanna, and Dr. James Hiramoto.  In addition I’d also like to thank Mr. Dale Hansen, former Superintendent of the Lammersivlle District.  He has truly been a miracle worker throughout the entire unification and construction process.  Mountain House High School would not be here today without his vision and leadership.  I’d like to thank Dr. Kirk Nicholas, and Dr. Kushwinder Gill, Lammersville Unified School District's Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for their support.  Their direction and vision is what truly drives us in establishing a 21st century classroom experience and world class educational opportunities for our students.  Finally, I would like to thank the community members of Mountain House. Without your faith in our district and it's leaders none of this would be possible. We look forward to sharing this new facility with you today and always. Thank you and Go Mustangs!

Honoring former Superintendent Dale Hansen by naming the baseball field in his honor.

and our future Mustangs!

Fun at the Fair

A little summertime fun at the fair.


Sariah, Ruby and I went to Colorado with Ben's parents for my nephew Kai's baptism.  It was a fun and relaxing weekend and such a treat to have some alone time with Sariah...well kind of anyway.
Sariah was a big fan of the four wheelers at Mandi's parents house.

Sariah and her smiley ways were a source of entertainment the whole weekend.

Abba and Rubs napping...or meditating as the case may be.

Mutti too

Me and my girl.  I sure love this spunky girl.

The cousins had a blast playing together.

The only picture we got of all of us as we were headed back to the airport.  It was too quick of a trip, but we were thankful for it.

Ruby loving the airplane!

Summer Party

The littles and I went to our friend's annual Welcome to Summer party.  I can't remember where Meilani and Eli were, but they had other engagements that day.  Eli made the banner though which turned out cute.

Seth and his BFF Emma

Ammon Wammon enjoying the water

Sariah and her buddy Violet enjoying the treats in matching swimsuits.

Ruby went through countless popsicles, happy to feed herself. 

And Liam, the water gun way to bring on summer.

Joy School Graduation

Sethie singing at his Joy School graduation.  Another year in the books!

The little graduates

Oh this boy gives me a run for my money, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

So thankful for these great friends.  Love 'em to pieces.

Laurels No More

These lovely ladies recently graduated from High School and are now off to college.  This was their last day in Young Womens.  I'm so proud of them.  It's been a great privilege to see them grow in the gospel.  This Sunday was a little bittersweet knowing they won't be at Mutual activities or Sunday lessons anymore but I know they'll be amazing in all they set out to do.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity we have to serve in the church and for the relationships that are built as a result.  My life has been enriched by my associations with these girls.  I have learned a great deal from them.

Nicole, Me, Michaela and Morgan