Happy Memorial Day Paul!

Paul, otherwise known as Harold to his sisters, is serving his country in Iraq.  He is E.O.D., which to us civilians, is Navy talk for the Bomb Squad.   And I for one, sleep better at night knowing he is out there.  Which I know is kind of backward.  Most people lose sleep when their loved one goes to war, but it is his job, and he loves it.  And there is no one I would trust more with my life.



Here are some things you should know about my brother:


He grew up with three older sisters, who played with him as their real life doll, and called him Pooh Bear, and made him play Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons.  And he went into the Navy the second he graduated from high school…hmmm….but, he still loves us.  He would make us brownies and cookies whenever we asked, and with a group of girls, nothing says love like chocolate!


He is a very loyal and thoughtful friend.  Throughout his life he has had great groups of friends.  His childhood friends would make me laugh like crazy, when they all got together.  He has a neighborhood posse now who not only have get-togethers that last well into the early morning hours, but they go on vacations together.


He keeps a CLEAN house.  And yard and truck, and everything else that he owns.  And I’m sure that it also serves him well in the Navy.  We like to tease him about it, but I’m sure that’s because we’re all jealous!


He met his soul mate when he was 35.  And we all couldn’t be happier.  Kim is perfect for him and she blends into our family as if she has always been there.  And she’s also one wicked good cook!  We are thankful that he has her to come home to. 



He is one generous guy.  The whole Gardin clan descended on his house right before he left for Iraq.    7 kids, 10 and younger.  And all their parents.  He has always been a great uncle.  The kind who send the kids on secret missions, sneak them a cookie when a parent isn’t looking, cuddle with them, but is not afraid to keep those 7 kids in line.  Maybe it’s something they learn in their military training, but when those kids are all getting a little rowdy, all he has to do is give them a look or a “hey” and they snap to attention.





For all those moms out there (like our mom, who was only doing what she thought was for the best) who forbid their little kids to play with pretend  guns and weapons,  all I can say is…




We love you and miss you, Paul!  Angels watch over you.

Birthday Boy

Today a certain boy turned 11!


It was a day filled with goodness.

From Swedish Pancakes, to a lunch date and bike ride with daddy.  From phone calls from around the world and across the country with well wishes, to Lego playing and swinging in the hammock with Mommy.


From taking the day off from school, to a party with his best buddies with Legos and Star Wars Lego Playstation.  As he fell into bed, he declared it his “best day ever and only 364 more days until the next one!”

Things we are loving right now… by Avy

DSCN5604A new to us “environmental lawn mower”  as Asher calls it, which mom painted aqua!

DSCN5602Herb shopping one night, walking up and down the aisles for an hour.  We decided on Orange Thyme, Pineapple Sage, Stevia to sweeten our drinks, Basil, and Rosemary.

DSCN5558We were so excited to meet our new cousin Lucian.  He is sooooo cute!

DSCN5584Cousin Sara is awesome!  Doesn’t she have cool glasses?!


Asher surprised mom with lunch one day.  He spelled out “I Love You” in mini chocolate chips.


A science presentation we did for our parents and grandparents, which included 4 experiments about the ocean.


Doing school outside.


Painting on the patio.  And a weekend on the farm with Nana and Papa, going to a museum, playing goldrush 49’ers, morel mushroom hunting, and playing with our grandparents.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately…by Avy

181In Science, I turned this into…


174I’ve taken piano lessons at my next door neighbor’s house for a while.   My brother takes them too.  I enjoy piano very much.  One night I wanted to start composing.  I composed a song called “See” and wrote words for it .   I liked it so much that I shared it with my piano teacher.


I decided that it was time to redecorate my room.  It hasn’t been changed since I was 2 years old, and I am a lot different now.  Before I painted my room, my walls were light green and light purple.  Hot pink and bright orange are two of my favorite colors, so I decided that those should be the new colors for my room.  I got a new lamp from Target that has silver circles for its shade.


I take dance at Hearts In Step Christin Dance Academy.  One day I heard that one of the teachers was trying to get some dancers to dance at Home School Day at Barnes and Noble.  The teacher asked me to dance and I performed a hip-hop dance solo.  Since we were at the mall,  we got a pretzel at Auntie Anne’s.  My mom’s cousin Jana and her daughter Maren came and watched me.


I have an awesome life!