Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Josiah is 27

Josiah turns 27 today. Many know him as the Chick Fil A employee who went viral by caring for a customer at the Sunset Mall. I still love that he got caught doing something great in this gotcha society.

Today he's turning 27......and we couldn't be prouder of the man of God he's become. He has mentored many young men and women through his job at Chick Fil A and through "life."

He is the Senior Director at one of Chick Fil A's newest restaurants in Lynnwood, WA. This store is currently #1 in the chain for average peak hour lunch sales...and #3 for average peak hour dinner sales.  It's been fun to watch his leadership style develop. We continue to pray as he strives to eventually own a Chick Fil A.

Josiah has stepped naturally into the Kuya/Manong role. Kuya/Manong - oldest brother in the Philippines, a third parent.....he is loved and respected amongst his siblings and his care, respect and love for his parents is top notch.
Michael & Cy @ Michael's retirement ceremony

Cy and Stephen share a birthday -  Jared and Jamin in the back

Cy & Arielle
Cy & Bre at CFA in Lynnwood
Cy & Krista at a Spurs/Blazer game in Portland, OR

Heading to San Francisco
I love Cy too - but there are no pictures of he and I together! ::snort:: 

Happy Birthday, Son! Believing you see the realization of many dreams this year. 

Play Dates!

We had a play date today!  We hustled through school (or a majority of it) and went over to see Desiree (and children). Allison has moved on to Quantico, but was home visiting family. It was so much fun to meet Striker and spend time with Desiree and Allison. They were the leaders of a PWOC evening Bible study which I loved to attend. 
Allison and Striker
 We prayed for these babies - Quentin our little warrior who went through chemo before birth with his Mommy and Striker - who had the audacity to be born AFTER his Mommy pcsd from Beale.

Quentin, Desiree, Allison, Striker
The kids played too

So refreshing to spend the afternoon with these two! 
 Anna was gone for a bit - but Sydney and Stacia enjoyed playing and Anna joined them later. 

We came home, got dinner arranged and Stacia and I left for our second play date of the day. We were thrilled to spend some time with Emma while her mom and Dad went out.  I can't tell you how fun it is to hear Emma shout, "De'Etta is here" with great gusto and joy. Everyone needs to be wholeheartedly loved by a  preschooler or two. I'm just so happy they remember us - it would be crushing if they'd already forgotten us. ::snort:: 

Stacia and Emma

Offering me her ice cream

Watching Winnie the Pooh

One is never sure how bedtime will go when watching children....Emma was the easiest to put down yet....and she OWNS her routine. We love this little family and it was great fun to spend time with Emma. 

Monday, February 08, 2016

Oops - We Blinked.....

and Nolan turned 17. I'm not sure how - but there you have it. Our 7th child is now 17. If we'd stopped having kids after two we'd be well into old geezerdom by now.  Nolan has been titled the "gentle giant," by several moms of pre-school boys. He IS so gentle and fun for them to play with.  He sets the tone for much of the day to day sibling action in the Caboose - and it's good. 

Here - he Skypes with Arielle before Japanese lessons. 

Our loop has only 4 sites in it - 3 of them are filled. 2 of them by men who work full time....so we have lots of space to throw or kick a ball, throw a Frisbee or fly a kite....

I didn't bring spring form pans - and we really don't have room to store leftover ice cream in our freezer anyway.....but Michael came up with a great solution so he could make an ice cream cake for Nolan. This looked great! Tasted better. He made it in my bread pan and flipped it over. We still haven't had real candles in the trailer - this time because I forgot - not because of safety. Nolan was a good sport for the photo op anyway. LOL

Nolan opted for a game of Seattleopoly  - Alex won; I lost.  We could use a bigger table for games. 

Happy Birthday, Nolan. May your year be filled with growing in favor with God and men. 

Friday, February 05, 2016

#WYFF - The One Where we Play with the Kids

Another week in the history books! Another two weeks of school done. One week closer to our release from Beale. We should be able to hit the Interstate in four short weeks. IF the VA has scheduled and completed appointments by then - surely they will. Right?

I'm doing #WYFF as a quick glimpse of our "time on the road,"  it's been a bit demoralizing to do Beale over and over and over, but we trust there is a purpose for our extra months here.

Our highlight today was kicking Matt and Rachel out so we could play with the kids! Matt was selected for a quarterly award - and tonight was the banquet.  Thanks to Rachel for sending this photo! Aren't they stunning?
An adopted Daughter and Son in Law

Joy asked Matt, "Are you a policeman at the show?" He was in dress blues. Darling girl.

Rachel thinks of everything. She had a couple of Papa Murphy's pizzas for us. We picked up a veggie one - without cheese for our odd dietary needs.  Our first order of business was to keep Ellie (Elly/Elianna/Eli) smiling and get the pizzas baking. I took over Ellie duty and Michael took over the pizzas.  Here's a bigger photo so you can check out the pizza cutter! It's a light saber - it makes NOISE when you cut with it. The kids knew the sound. LOL

The Force is strong in Mr. Mike
Nathan cracked us up when he saw the pizza. "Why is there grass pizza here?"

 I think he was a bit worried we'd make him eat it. I'd been teasing he and Zach earlier in the week by telling them I would bring liver and brussel sprouts.

We are not responsible for the mark on Ellie's forehead
Mr Mike, Gemma and Ellie

We were relieved at all the smiles Ellie had for us - though we caught none of them on the camera
Ellie and Gemma

The kids all had a great time playing. Poor Nolan had to stay at the Caboose. He's been fighting an awful flu, cold bug this week. 
Stacia & Joy
 Two years ago this little one made me an honorary Grandma when she named me "Gemma." She stole my heart....and the boys weren't far behind. We love these kids. She was delighted I caught this expression....I asked her if this is the new Joy smile. 
Joy turns 4 this month

Alex, Seth and Zach - where is Nathan?
 After dinner the boys put on a Lego movie for us. We'd never seen it before so it was a treat. I had to get a photo of Mr. Mike and Ellie - not sure why but he doesn't have the Grandpa label. I told them they could call him Peepaw...he wasn't appreciative and said that is a Dakota only name.
Mr. Mike and Ellie
We truly were blessed to get to spend time with the kids. Thanks for asking us, Matt and Rachel.

#WYFF (Where's Your Feet Friday) is sponsored by Fulltime Families. View more of our Friday exploits by clicking the #WYFF tab above. 

Bella Has a Room

"Someone" is going to need a new AWANA shirt shortly. Yes, Bella has a room - in the womb....
30 weeks! 
But also in the apartment! This room is turning out so cute! The walls, the furniture, the tiny clothes.......

But most of all this room houses dreams, prayers and hope for a new generation.

Bella has a room - and we're all over-the-moon excited.  

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Campfire Community

Campfires are fantastic. Campfires, with neighbors, rock.
We envisioned ourselves as road warriors - moving every 3 or 4 days, parked amongst awe-inspiring views, exploring ever-changing backgrounds.  Instead, we have been parked at a Military Fam Camp since the end of October.  We were surprised to find a community with 10 or 11 active-duty-permanent residents, 10 or so couples which stay 2 - 4 months each year, and about the same number which travel in and out -  spending a few days "on their way."  

We've enjoyed meeting a variety of people in our time here.  Our original plan was to be here for a few days as we switched over to retiree id cards. The hosts were helpful when we discovered we'd need to stay a significant amount of time, but they told us we'd have to move sites. It seems our site was reserved by a couple which visits each year from Nov - Feb.  They suggested a spot, we suggested we simply move one over - which we did.  Tom and Sandy moved in hours after we moved over.

Tom and Sandy are inspiring (but that will be another post that has been germinating since June), they have been great neighbors. They've always had a friendly word for us - kids included. They helped Nolan and I retrieve our kite from a tree. They rescued Featherstone during a fierce wind storm.  Tom helped Michael replace our hot water heater element. Sandy shared encouragement with me about how to support a husband who happens to be a disabled vet.

Tonight, we enjoyed campfire community. They shared stories and tips from their years living full-time in an RV. Due to Tom's health, they now have a home in Sequim, WA and travel down here once a year to be near family. They've never joined a campground membership (Thousand Trails et al) saying they prefer not to live like "sausages."  We shared how campgrounds are more congested and expensive than we anticipated. We discovered even State and National parks require reservations. They're option of choice has been military Fam Camps. We hear, however, many of these are full a year in advance. Who knew?  We discussed the benefits of staying in one location through the summer. The idea of staying put so shortly after being released to travel is not a happy thought.....but we are considering the benefits of knowing we have a spot when the rest of the world hits the interstates.

Tom and Sandy pull out for Sequim in the morning. They will be back in Nov for a few months. We will be coming back to the neurologist every three months - we expect our paths to cross again. I wish we'd met them 20 years ago when they were full-timing - but then we wouldn't have been. ::snort::
Tom & Sandy's home on wheels
Note - it seemed awkward to take a photo of Tom and Sandy and so I didn't. I regret not having a photo. 

Mexican Rice and Black Bean Casserole (Vegan, Instant Pot)

I found this recipe at My Plant Based Family. I love it as I can make one meal for all of us. 

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup uncooked dry beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste (or 1 8 oz can tomato sauce with slightly less water)
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)


  1. Dump all of the ingredients into your pressure cooker and stir once or twice.
  2. Close the lid and cook on manual for 28 minutes.
  3. Once done, allow the pressure to come down and open carefully. If you are in a hurry you can do a quick release.

My Notes: 

  • If you use a different bean you may need to adjust cooking times
  • This makes a side dish, topped with tomatoes and avocado it makes a yummy rice bowl, or throw it in a tortilla for a burrito.....family adds cheese and we're all good to go with a nutritious, quick meal.