Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas is here!

Our kids performed in their first play with our church on December 9th.  "The Secret of Snowflake County" was the name and there were about 70 of our church youth participating.  It was awesome, and such a joy to see our kids loving the process of learning songs, working with others, and praising Jesus.  Some of the songs from this play are definite keepers in our Christmas song line up! 
Emmy got a solo singing Silent Night, and she totally rocked it, and just loved doing it!  The 'tap' dance she did with her friends was super cute--because they were just too stinking cute up there!  Zeke wasn't really doing the play, but at one of the last practices was asked if he would want a cameo as a candy cane in one of the songs, which he was happy to do and had fun with.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zeke advances in Jujitsu

Now that I have a break from school, I'm going to try to catch up on some of the happenings around here.  At this point, I think I'll go with the most recent and see how far I can make my way back... I think I still have to update summer stuff!

Zeke has been participating in jujitsu again through a local dojo, Mountain Storm.  He is really into it, we go about 2-3 times a week.  He's also started the combat class, which is a really intense workout and team that travels to competitions and such.  He won't be combat competition ready for another year or so, but he's enjoying the challenge and it's helping his skills and confidence to be in the mix with the older students.
Yellow belt for Zeke!  Promotion ceremony 12-12-12.

Zeke's 1st jujitsu competition was an in-dojo tournament.  Great introduction to competing.  There were 4 students in his division and he ended up taking 1st place!  Zeke only was able to participate in the wrestling match this time due to time constraints, but he really enjoyed it and is already talking about the next time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grandpa Al & Sara's visit-July 2012

We were so excited to welcome Grandpa Al and Sara to the Motherlode this summer for the first time!  They rode the Amtrak train into Modesto where we picked them up--the kids loved it... except for the hour or so delay on their arrival.
 Once here, we enjoyed lots of eating, playing, and relaxing.  We walked down to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning and got lots of fresh fruit.  On the way home, we stopped in for an early frozen yo-go yogurt treat which we enjoyed eating outside at Courtyard Park in downtown Sonora.  The afternoon was for resting and relaxing, and Brian came home from his backpacking trip just after dinner.  It was great to have him home and to enjoy the rest of Grandpa and Sara's visit with us.  Sunday, we all went to church and out to the casino for a yummy all you can eat brunch--we knew we had to take Grandpa there!!!  Then in the afternoon, we tooled around Columbia State Park to see some of the gold rush town-stuff and be outside.
One of the highlights for me and the kids was Grandpa teaching my kids the Nut Game.  I was able to video the instruction for future reference :).  The kids loved it of course... but we have to find the good walnuts (we could only find shelled peanuts... what kind of small town do I live in, anyway?).
We took them back down to the train on Monday.  We loved the time with them and were so glad they were able to come up and see our neck of the woods. :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Words for Fall

Each year now (the last 2 anyway, and I plan to continue), I choose a 'one word' for the year (idea from Ali Edwards)--this year, it's PRIORITIES.  I love it so much that I challenge my Guidance students choose a 'one word' for themselves for the semester as one of their first assignments.  I love to see how their one word plays itself out during the semester and how, even when almost everyone chooses a different word, they end up weaving in and around almost everything we do in class. 

For the past few semesters, I've created a word art picture with their words in photoshop (read: time consuming!) because there is just something cool about seeing all their words together and in print.  This time around, I have been introduced to wordle.net.  What a fabulous and fun tool... and perfect for my project!!!  Check out the results (after about 10 minutes of messing around--saved me hours!!!)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday Afternoon

We're going on a camping trip with our small group in a few weeks, and heard about a nice campground we wanted to check out.  Couple that with kids who needed to get.out.of.the.house. and it made for a nice family afternoon drive and swim in the creek nearby Clarks Fork campground up Hwy 108.  Pizza at Pie in the Sky for dinner was a nice topper to the evening as well!
Family fun on a Sunday afternoon!

Emmy took all these pictures :)  She was having fun directing the shots!

My boys being boys.  Zeke took the picture of Ethan with the apple--love that shot!


The Tuolumne County Recreation Department was offering some pretty fun (and affordable) things to do this summer.  Between everything we have going on, we were able to sign up for swimming lessons (happening later this month) and golf lessons from a pro at our local course, Mountain Springs. 
Today was Zeke and Emmy's first experience with 'real' golf.  They had a great time... and looked super cute, I might add :).  One down, 3 more lessons to go.  We'll see if they take to it!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Summertime always means projects around the Miller house!  We've been working on a room for Emmy and other various odds and ends.  So excited that today I finally crossed a project off my to-do list that has been on there for about 4 years or so...

Utilizing my handy dandy Cricut (Jubilee cartridge) and cream colored vinal, Ethan helped me cut out the letters to Psalm 126:3.  This verse was on my friend Jessica's Christmas card quite a few years ago and I have kept it on my idea board ever since as something that needed to be up in my home.  It adds a little touch to my kitchen wall and I love that you can see it as you enter the house.  The Lord has been so good to our family, and we truly are FILLED with JOY!!!

Pictures of Emmy's room to follow...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Emmy's birthday present

Emmy has asked for a couple of years now if she could get her ears pierced, and we decided that it would be a fun birthday surprise to let her do it.  So, for her birthday, she unwrapped earrings that went with an appointment at a local salon.  That appointment was yesterday.  We (my mom and grandma) picked up the kids early from VBS (they are attending Calvary Chapel's VBS this week since we will be missing SBC's this summer) and headed there. 

The gal, Julie at Studio 3, was absolutely wonderful with Emmy.  She let her pick out the studs (apparently it's not just the standard gold balls anymore!) she wanted and then talked her through everything.  She even sounded the piercing gun close to Emmy's ear so she wouldn't be scared of the noise.  Emmy was super brave and only cried for a minute or two afterward.  As soon as someone doted on her about how beautiful her new pierced ears were, that smile came through and she was on the mend. 

She is loving her new look and can't wait to show them to everyone! :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our new kitty

Emmy was surprised and over the moon when she found out that some friends of ours had found some baby kittens and wanted to give her one of them for her birthday present!!!  So, after her party on Sunday, we went to the Crawford's house to pick up the newest member of our family.  Emmy named her Oreo.  We're guessing she's about 5 weeks old or so, super tiny and fluffy, super cute and loves to snuggle.  While keeping her safe inside, we are also playing with Oreo outside as much as possible to keep her comfortable so that she'll be ready for that transition better than our last little kitty. 
Emmy has her little buddy and she couldn't be happier (everyone else likes her, too)!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Field Trips!

I am so blessed that my semester at Columbia College (work) ends at the end of April so that I have no work schedule during all of May!  Because of this, I was able to attend all of the end of the year field trips for both Zeke and Emmy's classes.

Emmy's class trip to Safeway.
The manager of our local store is a dad of one of the boys in her class, so it was even more special that we got some personal attention throughout our tour.  They had yummy treats in every department (but stickers from the butchers!!!) so everyone loved that.  We went to the store today and Emmy thought it was very cool that she'd been 'back there.'

Zeke's class trip to the Stockton's Children's Museum.
It was a beautiful day and after the long bus ride with two classes full of 2nd graders, we were ready for some lunch and then some great fun exploring.  The museum is set up to help children learn about life in the Central Valley, popular careers in the area, and everything is hands on and fun. 
The bonus about this field trip was that we went on May 24, which is Zeke's birthday!  Super fun way to spend a birthday school day!

Emmy's class trip to the Sonora Library and Heaven for Kids Park.
This was a walking field trip, as these places are right next door to the school. Neither of these places are new to Emmy, as we go to both regularly, but it was still really fun to go with her class, have story time, and playtime with her classmates.  It was a beautiful day and it was fun for me to get to hang out with Emmy, and the parents on the trip, too! :)

Zeke's class trip to Baskins & Robbins.
This was also a walking field trip, as 2nd graders can make it a bit farther to the nearby shopping center.  They got to walk into the deep freezer where they store all the ice cream and learn to make their own ice cream cone clowns.  It was a fun and low key trip!

Teacher Gifts

I have so many posts to catch up on! There was tons of stuff that happened w/in the last month like 2 kids birthdays, end of the school year field trips and kindergarten graduation, our annual trip to Avila, and more.  I figured I'd start with the simplest one... end of the year teacher gifts.  I already posted the gift recipe book we did for Mrs. Braga (Emmy's teacher)--which she loved!!!  This one is what we did for Mrs. Fox. It is actually a repeat performance of the one we did for Mrs. Braga when Zeke was in kindergarten.  

I took pictures of each kid in Zeke's class on our various field trips, used my handy dandy cricut to cut out flowers, had each kid write a note to thank Mrs. Fox on the back of their flower, and had parents donate gift cards (or cash).  The parents were very generous and in addition to the thoughtful notes from the kids (yes, we did succeed at bringing tears to her eyes!), she got over $300 in gifts!
I found this flower pot at our local Walmart, as well as the other needed supplies of floral foam, green moss, flower stick/stems, and paint pens.  I used orange, yellow and red cardstock from my stash and double stick tape to get the flowers around the stems.  The gift cards were wrapped in the wire on the floral stems and stuck into the foam.  I wrote the quote on the ceramic pot with a red paint pen.  Zeke asked if it had come like that or if I put the words on--he couldn't tell (which was a compliment that it turned out so well!)
Everyone--and especially Mrs. Fox--loved the gift!  I'd better start looking for gifts for next year, I'm running out of good ideas!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What I've been working on this week...

Click here to view this photo book larger

A combined idea of a recipe book and a photo gift, I spent this last week putting this album together for Emmy's teacher, Mrs. Braga.  She's a fabulous teacher and thought that this could be a really cool class gift.  Thankfully, other parents thought it would be fun, too, so we got together pictures, recipes and monetary contributions and I went to work. Thankfully, we got enough donations to cover the expedited shipping! I just got it done today and the fastest shipping gets it here on Monday--last day of school is Wednesday!!!  Yikes!

Create your own personalized photo books at Shutterfly.com.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Girls Trip 2012

For the 2nd year in a row now, I have gotten to get away with my friends for a weekend to Capitola!  This year we had a great, relaxing time--scrapbooking, walking the beach, enjoying amazing weather, trying out the famous Gayle's Bakery, playing games, reading... it was awesome!!!  Cap that off with some shopping at the Gilroy Outlets on the way home and my girl tank is full!!!
Highly unlike me, I left my camera at home (on purpose)... I had my phone and took just these two pictures.  Another thing highly unlike me is to not get pictures of the people on the trip.  So... I doctored up the picture to show who I was living it up with for the weekend!  Echo was the drink master--aren't they pretty?

Spring Break & The Living Desert

During our visit to Idyllwild over Spring break this year, we took a day to drive down to the desert and check out the Living Desert.  It's basically a zoo, and we had a great time seeing all the animals and watching the shows with Grandma and Pa B.  Ethan's favorite was the giant train display they had in the middle of the park. I think he probably spent a total of 2 hours throughout the day just watching all the train action and running around the whole thing.
 My favorite was the baby girafe.  She was born in October, so she was only 6 months old or so.  We also got to watch a girafe drink from the water hole... never have seen a girafe do that before... it's quite a process!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Performance Week

Well, I'm a bit delayed in the posting of this (what's new?), but now with my semester at the college done, I can turn my thoughts toward other (and more fun!) things... including downloading all my pictures off my camera and updating our blog!  Also, I'm looking forward to being able to go on field trips this month with each of the kid's classes as well as catching up on things around the house.  Hopefully, many more fun posts to come soon! :)

In March, we had what I called 'Peformance Week'--super fun!
Zeke's class (along with all the Sonora El 2nd graders) put on the annual 2nd grade "Garden Hoe-Down" on March 21. They practiced for weeks and each class had a part of the action.  This was so very cute and it was great to see Zeke up there on stage.  I video taped the performance, so the pictures are all from after the show, but here are a few of the shots I was able to get.

 Then on Friday, March 23, Emmy's dance class through the Mountain Youth Children's Theatre put on their Spring Recital. Emmy's class performed three routines. Again, I video taped instead of taking picutres, but I have to tell you this was absolutely priceless. 
Emmy LOVED being on-stage and stole the show!  She had a smile, she did her very best, and she was glowing!!!  There were many acts from the other classes they offer--the whole show was so impressive and it was so fun to watch all these kids, it got me excited for Emmy to continue with this organization--everything from voice lessons to acting to dance, all age appropriate and encouraging. 
So afterward, I asked Em if there were any other classes she would want to do.  Her response?  "You know those girls who stood up and sang by themselves with the microphone?  I want to do that."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My kitchen floor this week--train mania for little Ethan :)

March 4- Table Mountain w/ the Pfeiffer's & Moberg's for Keely's birthday.  Beautiful and fun!
Many of you may know that our little kitten, Anakin, who was only 6 months old, got ran over by a car a few weeks ago.  These pictures were taken just before that happened.  It was a common sight for Anakin to be snuggled up with Emmy where ever she was.  She drew lots of pictures of him, too.  This one was one of her best.  She addressed it to Mrs. Braga, her teacher, and the writing to the side says, 'Anei is my cat' (in her best spelling on her own :).  We miss our little Ani, Em keeps asking when we can go get a new one.

Zeke has got his nose in a book almost every free moment.  March is 'Hat's off to Reading' and he gets a prize for every 2 hours of reading.  He has pretty much turned in a page every day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine's Day Prep

Inspired by a post on Pinterest, we created these cute Valentine's Day cards for each of the kiddos classmates.  The kids had fun doing this--from taking the picture, deciding their own wording (just did this with the text feature in Picasa) and then putting the lollipops in (I punched the holes so it would work right).  I loved how they turned out and it was a fun and creative craft project we did altogether.  Now the kids are enjoying the leftovers! :)

These were the original pictures of each of the kids.  I think they felt silly standing there with nothing in their hands, but they were good sports and let me take lots of pictures to try to get it just right.

It was a little hard to capture great shots of the final products because the lollipops made the pictures bend, but I think they turned out pretty darn cute!

Now to turn my thoughts towards their class parties...
Happyy Valentine's Day!