Fall Beginnings

Gone are the days of jammies til noon, bronzing in the sun, playdates at the park and everything else that is Summer!  The Oregon rain is falling, the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air we're back to the grind with work, preschool, dance, callings, holidays and my beloved calendar (I don't know how I would function without it!)

This is Londyn's second and last year of preschool before the big "K" word... clearly I'm having acceptance issues with the fact that my baby is growing far too quickly.  
She goes to preschool Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and takes dance on Mondays & Tuesdays. She loves going to Miss Rebecca's school and is always asks to do "school" when I'm making dinner.  I can't believe how quickly she is picking up reading!

Fun times in the month of September

Andrew is working lots of overtime these days.  With a new Fab opening at the beginning of next year, they are swamped with work.  He has also been helping the scouts in our ward with their Space Exploration merit badge.  They will be launching rockets soon!
A few weeks ago, he worked a 12 hour night and then picked up a group of student volunteers at George Fox University to clean up Zoe's cemetery.  He was up for 24 hours before he was able to crawl into bed!

I have been busy reinventing myself!  We are always striving to better ourselves but I have found so much motivation for growth after Zoe has given me a glimpse into my eternal potential.  It is so fulfilling to set goals and reach them or even surpass them.  Some even being miracles... for example, not a sip of Diet Coke in the last 70 days and running two 5k races in the last month!
I started dental assisting in my dad's office and work there two days a week.  It has been about 7 years since I last assisted in oral surgery but I'm amazed at how easily most of has come back to me.  I still have a lot to learn but it's rewarding to refresh on an old skill and make some extra money doing it!

Team Zoe @ the Portland Color Run with friends Erin & Kristin

"ran" into my niece Kaylee after the race!

At the finish line with my nieces Mikayla, Kam & Mary and sis-in-law Bec

My dance business has really taken off this year!  I currently teach 5 classes with 42 students.  I love the new venue I'm teaching at and have added Tap into my three younger classes.  I am so excited about all of the new opportunities to reach out to heart families through my business.  
I now have a scholarship in honor of Zoe for a child with a congenital heart defect to take dance classes with all expenses covered.  The first recipient is named Ellie and I can't help but think of Zoe every time I see her.  She is such a joy and I am so blessed to feel her special spirit in class every week.  

After class with some of my cute 3 to 5 year olds

I am also very excited about the Hope for the Holidays event that I've started this year.  Each class is competing to collect brand new toy donations to be delivered to Randall Children's Hospital where they will perform their holiday routines for the patients and staff at the beginning of December.  It has been fun to see my students come up with their own creative ways to get their donations!

We still have bad days, but more importantly... we still have eachother.
Life isn't easy, but life IS good.
Happy Fall!

Joy in the Journey

"Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family." 
- President Thomas S. Monson

August 28th, 2013
Over the pas few weeks, we have been trying to plan what to do on Zoe's first anniversary. It has been so much easier to have a plan with all of our Zoe first this year. But for some reason, we have been at a loss with this one. It was much easier to celebrate her birthday, but much more difficult to "celebrate" on the day she died. All we knew was that Andrew would take the day off and we would spend it together as a family.

Last Monday I had a crazy idea and thought of just running away from everything and going somewhere fun. Surprisingly, Andrew jumped on the "spontaneity train" with me and I have been frantically preparing for the past week.

We have kept our lips sealed because we hope to pull off an epic surprise for Lulu!

Right now we are getting ready to board our flight to sunny California. We will wake Londyn up tomorrow morning for every child's dream come true, Disneyland! This will be a first for both Londyn and Andrew.

Saturday is the 31st and we plan to remember Zoe by wearing red, releasing balloons on a beautiful sunny (not Oregon) beach and reflecting on the precious memories we have with our youngest daughter, while making new ones with our oldest.

We can't think of a better way to celebrate Zoe's life than to see the sheer joy on Londyn's face at the first sight of Disneyland, the happiest place on earth! 

Disney or Bust!


Teacups, Meeting Minnie, Toontown
Andrew's Favorite Ride: Star Tours
Kacie's Favorite Ride: Space Mountain
Londyn's Favorite Ride: It's a Small World & Space Mountain

Fantasy Faire

Mickey's Soundsational Parade

Cinderella's Castle

Disney California Adventure


Mater, Bug's Life, Mickey's Fun Wheel
Andrew & Kacie's Favorite Ride: Radiator Springs Racers
Londyn's Favorite Ride: Little Mermaid

Lulu loved the Tower of Terror.  She thought the hotel lobby was scary but loved the ride.  When we were walking away from the building, she said "That hotel is breaking apart!"

My absolute favorite experience was our special dinner at Goofy's Kitchen.  The food was absolutely divine, while the atmosphere was family friendly and comfortable.  We got to meet so many characters who came right up to our table, eager to startup conversation.

The princesses were truly magical!

two peas in a pod

Here's Lulu on our way home from our last night at the happiest place on earth.  You know it's true when she fell asleep within seconds and still had a grin on her face.

Saturday was Zoe's anniversary.  We checked out of our hotel and hit the road spend our last two days with my cousin Elisha and her family in San Marcos.  We remembered her by wearing red and releasing red balloons for at the beach.  It was a beautiful and peaceful day.

The day did not pass without shedding a few tears, but at least we were together.
My sweet Grandma just called me in tears after reading this beautiful poem in the October Ensign magazine. 

Fear Not, My Child 
by Larene Porter Gaunt

You came to us from God—
a child so pure
that in your trip to earth
you didn't need to stay and prove to Him
that you would do His will.

God only needed someone willing
to create for you a home—
and then to let you go.

How blessed are we,
for He has chosen us.
And though we weep,
peace comes in knowing
that death will only bring
the sleep that wakens you to life again
to breathe the warmth of paradise.

Fear not, my child.
We will be together soon
and hold you in our arms—
encircled in celestial love
that unites us with our God.

I love the look on Londyn's face in the bottom photo when she was watching Zoe's balloons in the sky.  

We went to church with my cousin's family on Sunday and then headed to the airport to fly back home.  It was a sad reality to be leaving sunny California and the magic of Disney.  We had the most amazing time and can't wait to return!