Well it's only been 11 months since I last updated this blog. I guess it could be worse - 12 months! I update my Facebook page with pictures and details all the time so I tend to be a little lacking in the Blogging arena. So without further ado, let's recap:
Lexie turned 5 years old. We threw her birthday party at SuperFranks in Pleasanton. They enjoyed an afternoon with zip lines, basketball, miniature golfing, video games, skeet ball, tumble mats and lots of pizza and cake.
We did throw a little simple birthday party for Lexie at home on her actual birthday. We handmade her cake and she absolutely LOVED it!
Next up - Lauren's Birthday. Lauren turned 3 this year. We celebrated with the Gardner side of the family at Grammy's new house:
Even Grandpa got into opening the presents!
March surprised us with some out of sorts weather. One day is was chilly and we all needed jackets, the next day it was time to run around with no clothes in the sprinklers. Weird California weather.
Here Milenko tries to prove that he still has it in him to skateboard. He didn't crash, but the skateboard is definitely put away!
Enjoying an afternoon with Baka & Deda (Milenko's parents Ivan & Carol)
On St. Patrick's Day the little leprechaun came to our house. He turned all of our milk green (as you can see by Brayden's bottle) and he even jumped in the pool because that turned green too.
While at the St. Patty's Day parade - a huge favorite for our city since Dublin, CA is the sister city for Dublin, Ireland - a professional photographer captured the Dugorepec & Head girls hanging out together.
Later on that morning, you could see that girls all bundled up while Daddy drinks a warm coffee to heat himself up.
Looks like everyone is tall enough to go on this ride at the St. Patty's Festival.
Easter Time! The annual Easter Egg hunt at the Larsen's house was so much fun. The weather was amazing and the kids had a fabulous time. We got together with the Botell's, Heads, Shabazian, Larsen & Fernandes families.
Kris, Laura, Kimberly & Debbie
Brayden searches for Easter Eggs.
Here they come to look for eggs!
Celebrating Milenko & Debbie's birthdays was VERY low key this year. Our family went to my in-laws house and we had a great BBQ lunch/dinner. The weather was unusually warm and the kids romped around in the sprinklers for an hour or two.
Brayden giggles with Daddy's Kuma, Anita.
Best Buddies - Bella & Mommy
No, Brayden doesn't like it when Deda tickles him. Nope, not at all!
The most handsome guy in the world with one of the 3 cutest girls in the world.
Bake and her beautiful granddaughters.
In May we celebrated Grammy Charlotte's 64th birthday. I made rack of lamb, steamed carrots and potato-fennel gratin for dinner. Yes, it was all home made. For dessert, I prepared a raspberry torte cheesecake, yes, home made as well. Exhausted as it was too make it all, it was a beautiful dinner and the whole family enjoyed it.
Birthday girl - Charlotte
Dad - Bob
Sister-in-law, Michelle (isn't she beautiful?)
My lobster - Milenko
Time for summer fun. School gets out and the pool is open!
On Bella's last day of school she presented her 1st grade teacher, Anne Wiser, with some beautiful hand made gifts.
Our family joined Club Sport in Pleasanton at the end of May. We enrolled all the girls in swim lessons. They all took to the lessons like fish out of water. By the end of the 8 week period, Bella was swimming laps in the large olympic size pool.
Lexie is being taught the breast stroke.
Bella learns how to properly swim - no more doggy paddle!
Lauren has a good kick in her swimming. Still not quit ready for the big pool by herself though.
Lauren & Brady
Father's Day at our house is always fun. The girls all created home made cards for Daddy. (Boy, we're a do-it-yourself craft family!)
Who doesn't love 4th of July and Fireworks?? Not our family! This holiday is up there with Christmas and Halloween! We spent 4th of July at the Larsen's home this year. We brought ur own fireworks and had a potluck with the Larsen's and Head's.
Greg & Lauren with a neighbor, Marianne
Brady learns to hold sparklers
Just after 4th of July our family headed out to Woodward Resevoir for a 4 day camping trip. Grammy, Grandpa, Uncle David, Auntie Michelle and cousins Nic & Chris joined up. The Burdusis family met up with us for one of the days.
Brayden found it to be hilarious when he fell into the lake with his clothes on.
Lexie, Lauren & Bella - SUPER STAR!
Nic & Chris stay warm by the fire while Dan makes sure Lexie FINALLY gets out of the water!
What's better than a nap in the tent?? A nap on Grammy's lap! DUH!
Yes, that is my caucasian child, Lauren, on Grandpa's lap. Diaper wipes just won't do on this one!
Nic & Chris
Bella & Milenko
The Gardner Family: Michelle Dave, Chris & Nic
Donna & Ryan
On our way home from the camping trip I got a call from my best friend in Los Angeles. My godson had been in an accident and was on life support. Immediately upon arriving at home I turned around and caught the first flight to Long Beach. Hayden was at the UC Irvine Medical Center and they didn't know if he would make it before I got there. Fortunately, I did.
Many of you know Hayden & Kaitlyn as my Godchildren, Nephew & Niece and Ring Bearer/Flower girl in my wedding. In fact, the last time most people up in Northern California saw the kids, this is what they looked like:
Hayden was crossing the street on a Saturday night and tripped and fell just as a car was passing. Hayden was hit and the damage to his brain was so severe that the doctors believe that he did not feel any pain at all.
I arrived on Monday night and was able to stay until Wednesday. Hayden died on Wednesday night. I was there when he came into this world and was there when he left our world. I know that I cannot come close to knowing how Michelle must feel by losing her son but Hayden & Kaitlyn were the closest things to my children for the first 10 years of their lives. Losing Hayden was and still is like losing a son. I miss him terribly and do not go a day without thinking of his sweet smile.
Instead of a funeral, Hayden was cremated and they held a "Celebration of Life" service for Hayden at the Saddleback Church in Southern California. I flew back to SoCal for a few days for that. A reporter from the OC Register was following the story and below is one of the pictures he posted in the paper:
I wrote a poem and told a short story of my last day with Hayden. I didn't have Milenko there with me and I started to break down in the middle of my talk. Michelle's boyfriend, Darren, came up and help me just as my knees buckled. He became my rock while I was up there and I was able to finish my talk.
Although the stage may look small from this angle, there was seating for 700 on the bottom and another 400 in the overflow in the top balcony. The bottom was completely packed and there were quite a number of people in the balcony. It was evident that Hayden certainly touched many lives in his short time here on Earth.
When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.
In an attempt to get back to normal life, we threw an "End-of-Summer" party for the girls. We had 11 ladies spend the night the weekend before school started. Amazingly, it was not bad at all.
Although I did the 20 year reunion for my class last year, the Class of 89 had their reunion in September of this year. The organizer, Kelly, was running late and asked me to help put on the show. Since I had already done it the year before, stepping in was just simple and it went off without a hitch!
Rachel, Me, Kim & Kelly at the Class of 89 Reunion
Lexie started her first day of Kindergarten at Fred! She got the same teacher that Bella had back when she was in Kindergarten, Mrs. Moirao. Funny thing, Mrs. Moirao's husband was my principal at Bollinger Canyon when I was in Elementary school.
Lexie's 1st day at Kindergarten
BRAYDEN TURNS 2
I swear he was just born yesterday! Where did the time go?
Cousins, Nic & Chris celebrated with us for Brady's birthday!
Brady's favorite part: CHOCOLATE CAKE!
Lauren's 1st day of Preschool! Such a cutie pie!
Do you wonder what we do with our spare time?? Just ask the girls who are super star soccer players. Bella & Lexie have both proven to be outstanding soccer players this year. Both are on the advanced team and in addition are on the advanced league as well. They both practice 3 days a week and have games on Saturdays. That's a lot for a 5 and 6 (almost 7) year old!
Bella lays into that ball!
Lexie scores an average of 4-6 goals per game.
Hmm? I wonder if it has anything to do with their coach??