Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy, Happy New Year!

Looking back at 2010, it really was a good year.  It was the first full calendar year that we've been in Santa Paula We had all our birthdays  here- including Rob's big  BBQ & Blues party.  Mid year we took some time to really pray about where we were supposed to be as far as ministry, and felt God calling us to a small church right down the street from us.  We are so excited to fully be here in S.P., and to be teamed up with such amazing people.  We are very expectant to see what God has in store for 2011, as it has already gotten off to a very exciting start.

After Christmas we took a trip up north to mom's for an extended Christmas.  On our way we stopped at Bravo Cheese Farm, which is right next to the freeway, and has a gas station/produce stand attached.  We first went to Bravo last summer, when we went to see baby Simeon.  I forgot my camera- uggh!  This time I made sure I had it- this place is amazing.  From the outside, with the freeway traffic rushing by, you would never know what awaits you on the inside- a lush little escape, full of vintage things- some farmy, and some not-so-farmy (like the pull-slot machine with the oranges and lemons!), and lots of crazy signs.  As if that weren't enough, they also have a huge tree house that you can climb up, and they have a cool petting zoo with the typical goats, chickens and bunnies, and also two donkeys, turkeys and birds.  We love Bravo Cheese Farm! (And, yes!  They have cheese and sausage-y stuff, too!)

Yee-Haa for  Bravo Farms!

Gabe looks pretty good on a chopper...

I would love to drive this around town!

All original inhabitants

What a chubby cute head!  It's a donkey, btw ;)

Every kid's tree house dream!
 And Now For The Signs:

How Super-Cool is this?!  If only it worked...

After our detour, we were back on the road, making tracks for Grandma's.  The kids had been so excited about us going, and were really hoping for snow.  This is what met us:

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go
  There was just enough to look pretty and to play in a little.  It was freezing though!  Sarah, Eva and little Simeon drove up, minus Caleb, :( who was sick (it's definitely been goin' around!).
Together again!
Mom spoiled us, all the way around, as usual! :) She made fudge, and my favorite- her snowball cookies (so glad we didn't find the extra tin until late in the game...probably saved me a stomach ache!), and a new, old recipe of my great grandma's that was amazing.  It was a sugar cookie recipe, written in her handwriting (of course, I'm making copies!).  Very different than what I'm used to, they were very crisp.  Sarah thought they tasted a bit like those Danish butter cookies you get in the tins.  The kids loved them.  She made ribs, and chicken mole- oh yum!  She really needs to put in a treadmill.  This sign from Bravo sums up our culinary stay at Mom's:

For New Year's Eve we stayed up and watched Guys and Dolls until 2am, breaking at midnight for a toast and watching the ball drop.  Gotta love seeing Marlon Brando dancing around like that!  New Year's Day we kicked off by having breakfast with Jason and Schaunna- what a great start to the year!  Rob got an invite to play an instrument of his choosing at their church that night, which he gratefully accepted!  By going, he also got to see a few other friends as well.

Sunday came with more visiting.  Our friends Ben, Kristin and Andy stopped by and brought us a little travel pack of snacks for the way home- so very thoughtful and sweet!  Definitely need a longer visit. Then we had a carload (well, two!) of friends drive up from Galt to see us- we are so thankful for our great friends (and family)! :)  Mom outdid herself again with YUMMY chicken wings and a mess of finger foods.  When you visit, Mom- it will be your turn to relax...I'm cooking and spoiling YOU!  I can tell you there was much laughing, many pictures taken (even in secret- WHO got a hold of Ricky's phone and took 88 pictures without him knowing....??!)  Jodi, would you know anything about it?!    ME: "Hey, Ricky- on your new iPhone, does it automatically put the pictures into albums?" RICKY: "Here, lemme show you...WHAT??!!" HA!  They looked something like this:

But multiplied by 88!

We definitely played games- organized (like our word game!), and not:

Ciara, I think we have a rotten connection!

Jodi, Mom and I steal a moment...

Such silliness...

This New Year is looking to be one great year!

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