American Heritage Girl

“I promise to love God,
Cherish my family,
Honor my country,
and Serve in my community.”

~ American Heritage Girls Oath

My daughter participates in AHG instead of Girl Scouts, a growing trend among Christians and conservatives who think that the Girl Scouts have gotten too liberal. It’s your basic God, country, and excellence program focused on civic service, citizenship, and character. Sofia loves it. Here she is receiving her badge for participating in Operation Christmas Child.


“Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The puppet show at our friend’s birthday party was funny – cf. this photo.

Sharks and dolphins and whales, O My!

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. ~ Albert Einstein

In case you can’t recognize these three creatures, they are a shark, a dolphin, and a whale, according to my 4 year old boy. Gotta love the imagination when the electronics are turned off!

Ice cream makes me KWAYZEE!

Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.  ~Don Kardong

Tuesday nights is dollar scoop night at Baskin Robbins. We go even during the winter because it gets us all out of the house instead of being cooped up, and it’s festive to get ice cream. Here’s my youngest mugging for the camera.

Sisters piggybacking

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.  ~ Marion C. Garretty

My oldest (the responsible one) and my youngest (the effusive one).

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.  ~Marion C. Garretty

I won, you lost!

“That’s what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we’ve changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning.” ~ Richard Bach

Every morning when I drop my boy off at school, we go in the door to the right, pictured here. Also, we race down the jagged/curvy lines, and inevitably, he ‘wins’ and delights in telling me “I won, you lost!” I’m not naturally competitive (though I do like intellectual sparring ;), but my boy loves to win and hates to lose. He cries when I beat him to fastening the seatbelt every morning.

We’re slowly teaching him that losing is no reflection on his worth, but that’s gonna be an upward battle.

Like a gerbil

“I love to go to the playground and watch the children jumping up and down. They don’t know I’m firing blanks.” ~ Emo Philips

My kids love to play at the local FunWorks. Here’s a pic on the inside – yes, I go inside too :D.

Girl in a pipe

“It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents.” ~ Eric Hoffer

My youngest makes great faces, esp. when she is concentrating.

Piscetti girl

No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention. ~ Christopher Morley

My third and youngest child has a big personality. Here she is creating her usual facial mess with ‘piscetti.’ Kids make life fun.  More photos below, but not cropped or edited.

Hollywood starlet

“The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise” ~ Alden Nowlan

My 7 year old daughter chose a Halloween costume called ‘Hollywood Starlet.’ I hate when they grow up three years at a time.

Boy in the rear-view

“A boy is a magical creature – you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock him out of your heart.” ~ Allan Beck

There are certain times when your kids are just adorable – mostly when they are quiet ;). Like when they are sleeping, or in the moments like this one in the morning on the way to school, when my boy looks thoughtful and serious – he’s still waking up. Love him.

Cowgirl with lamb

“The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don’t know what you’re doing, someone else does” ~ Anonymous

My little girl with lambie in one hand, tail in the other. Patterson Halloween parade – hundreds of kids from local schools walked down the center of town to parade in their costumes. I like small town life – the schools were all close enough to downtown to walk.

All my joy

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them
Psalm 127:4-5

Missing out on raising children would have been missing out on life – nothing else compares – not fulfilling your potential, seeing the world, or accomplishing great things. To successfully enjoy lovingly parenting your children is the second greatest mission one could find, second only to participating in the gospel.


My two year old is a messy eater. This is purple cupcake icing.

She has, as you can see, really large eyes. This may be what is known in Mexico as ojos tapatios, which is a complement given to women from the Mexican state of Jalisco (my wife’s birthplace), who are known for having large, beautiful eyes.

There are songs by that name, a 1961 movie whose title was translated “Mexican eyes,”  and of course, this year’s Miss Universe is from Jalisco, and her eyes have been a centerpiece of the discussions about her beauty.

A place to learn

“If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?” ~ Dr. Laurence J. Peter

My brainy 6 year-old and her new desk setup. She is so pleased to have a place to do her homework, other than the kitchen table.

Inspired art

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~ Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert)

My 6 year-old daughter’s depiction of father and mother.