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Hello, dear reader and friend! We are no longer updating this diary with our adventures, but if you care to click the link below, you’ll find yourself at our new blog (with even better happenings and adventures, we assure you!):


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Bears, and Pumpkins, and S’mores, OH MY!


Fires are one of our favorite things! A nice, crackling fire in the fireplace is a perfect way to end a cold Autumn evening. And with a house full of women, Quinn stepped up and became the lumberjack that he truly was meant to be:


Chopping wood is not the funnest part of having a fire, but it must get done! Even when a wandering Nero from next door happens in on the chopping.

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“Nero! Get out of the way!” ~Quinn


Emily was a little bit more lenniant with Nero…


So after more and more chopping,

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It was finally time to start the fire!


And though fires are all nice and dandy by themselves, there is something EXTRA special about adding s’mores to the mix:


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Eating s’mores inside is almost better then having them outside, as there are no summer mosquitoes to munch on YOU.


Now tomorrow is Halloween, and what would Halloween be without pumpkin carving? WELL! This year was Emily’s first time carving a pumpkin…and for a first timer we think she did pretty good!


Laura chose to carve smaller gourds, aren’t they adorable?



Abby chose to do an elegant carousel for her design:


And though Emily had fun, I don’t think she was ready for the gooey insides of her pumpkin…

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While carving, Laura sported part of her costume: a lovely little lady bug!

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Quinn had lots of concentration while working on his pumpkin, which was necessary for the complexity of his design: The crest of Hogwarts, from the Harry Potter book series.




During this time Melissa worked at her sewing machine, enjoying the fire in the fire place and the candles burning in pumpkins.



A relaxing way to spend Halloween Eve, unlike the night before (but you’ll have to read on for that story!).

The Story of the Big Black Bear

Last night, Emily and Quinn had just gotten into bed when a frantic knocking met their ears. Abby ran into their kitchen, “Emily! Quinn! You need to come out here!” Poor Abby had been trying to go to bed as well, but Cedar had been barking up a storm. In this season, that means a bear is lurking.

She had looked out the windows, but had seen no bear. She had even gone down to the basement and opened the back door, which turned out to be a mistake. A bear was right outside the door, happily getting into the scraps and garbage from the last couple of days.

Upon hearing that a bear was in the yard, Emily and Quinn quickly put on boots and coats and ran outside. While Emily chased off the bear (well…really she just got up close to it and yelled “Leave our trash alone!” several times), Melissa asked her to “Please don’t get eaten!!!”.

The bear did listen to Emily. But not before sticking its big black head into the trash can and taking a bag (or some ‘take-out’ if you will) down the hill with it. Quinn and Emily then wheeled the trash can inside to make sure no more trash would be gotten into.

And everyone lived happily ever after. Except Cedar. Who did not get any sleep with a bear outside in the yard.

The Lighthouse


One of our favorite picnicking locations is Sentinel Island, where the Sentinel Island lighthouse shines off over Lynn Canal. This last summer we were able to visit the lighthouse several times, sparking bursts of creativity!

Abby of course did what she so loves doing: drawing.

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On our first visit out to the lighthouse, we were on a mission. Namely: to find blueberries. Paul, Quinn, Laura, and Abby all reassured Emily that the island had the best blueberry crop they’d ever seen. And that remained to be seen when there were no blueberries to be found. So instead of filling the many empty bags that had been brought, everyone went their own ways to enjoy the sunshine.

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But like I said, there was creativity at work!

We love all sorts of music (though the family wishes Quinn would not wake them up with Klezmer music), so Emily was inspired by the lighthouse to make a music video to a song by one of her favorite bands, The Hush Sound. But to do this we would need to make a return journey to the lighthouse (oh darn!).

For this video, Abby would need to make several costume changes…



And Emily’s younger brother Henry would need to come along for the fun (and to hold up coats against windows to get the perfect mood lighting for filming. Thanks Henry!).


Emily’s youngest sister Valerie would also end up helping. In fact, she volunteered! Even when Emily said she would need to jump in the ocean. Of course, she told her that in July…and then didn’t end up filming until an early (very cold) August morning. Abby had to get in the water too (she says her fingers didn’t warm up till the following day!). I don’t think they’ve quite forgiven Emily yet…

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Quinn’s favorite part of the music video process? Building THIS giant fire on the beach:

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And Emily’s favorite part? The very last scene:

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So without further to do, here’s the link to the music video we made for The Hush Sound’s ‘Lighthouse’. We had so much fun putting our acting and filming skills to good use, we hope you enjoy it!


Meant To Be In Nature


The sun shone so brightly yesterday, that a few of us decided to go for a walk as the sun set (much earlier then usual I might add, since winter is almost upon us!).

Quinn has gotten a new toy to play with: a special helicopter that allows him to film from great heights! In the sunny weather, he took it out for a spin over the beach.




Meanwhile, the girls went off for a walk among the towering trees.



But the sunshine felt so warm in the chilly fall weather, that we found ourselves spending most of our time sitting in a particularly sunny patch.

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Abby even found a swing on our little walk (and made good use of it!):

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Upon walking back to find Quinn, Abby remarked on the lovely day, and even lovelier scenery, “I think God meant us to be out in nature.” Emily quite agreed with her, and was inspired to write the following poem:

We are meant to be in nature

among the trees and on the sea.

We were meant to climb the mountains

and rejoice in their great beauty.

For this wild Alaskan frontier

sings a song that’s all its own.

It sings the praises of a Creator

that this whole world has known.

We can see His hand and signature

in every leaf and flower.

When we marvel at the stars above,

we marvel at His power.

So lets sing along with nature,

though we may not know each rhyme,

about our Loving Farther.

And another mountain we’ll climb.

Adventures with Quinn & Emily – Swimming and Fresh Snow


Fresh snow appeared on the mountains earlier this week! With the weather growing colder and colder with each passing day, Quinn and Emily decided to do what any sane person would do. Go swimming!


Well, that is…get waist deep in the cold Alaskan ocean. But you know what we mean!


The sunshine helped make it feel warmer then the actual 38F degree weather.

But not by much…

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Cedar, however, did not seemed fazed at all by the sudden chill. In fact, she spent much of her time running after fish.


She does this quite often when we take walks down on the ocean flats outside our home, but this time was different. Yes, this time she caught something.


A poor little flounder. She didn’t even try to eat it! Just left it on the beach to die. Quinn was very distraught and put the poor fish back into the sea, but we both knew it was too late.


But Cedar did not stop there. She caught two more fish! The third time around she was smart enough to realize that Quinn was not happy with her. But this only caused her to take the fish farther from the beach, as if to hide it.





You cannot hide your evil deeds from us, Cedar!

When we left her to go back up to the house, she followed shortly after us, carrying a newly caught flounder in her mouth (which she took all the way up to the front yard).



That is the face of a dog who is not ashamed of her actions. 

Meanwhile, Paul was very excited! His corn plants had finally born fruit…or vegetable?



Corn was on our plates that evening and, though they were small, they sure were tasty!

A few days later, even more snow had fallen on the mountains, warranting a hike up Eagle Crest (Laura, Quinn and Abby are all vey excited, and practically counting down the days until the ski area will be open!).


The views were breathtaking, as they always are (especially when Emily is so out of shape, phew!), and the snow seemed closer then ever.


Cedar (the fish killer) came along as well, and waited patiently for tired out Emily.


Soon, (much to Quinn’s delight) this entire autumn view will be white with snow. But until then we treasure hikes in hiking boots, and not snow shoes.



Hello. Emily here.

So! I don’t know if any of you have noticed. But I have been with the band ‘officially’ since July 12th, of this year. And I’ve been with them unofficially (as their biggest fan and supporter) since Fall of 2013.

ANYWAY! Has anyone else out there noticed that I’m not in ANY of the band pictures!? Well. I thought that should change.

A bit before the wedding (while putting together an adorable slideshow of all my childhood photos) Laura and I had this following conversation:

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Well Laura, be careful what you say. Because I have the newest poster for the band right here:


Oh but don’t worry, I didn’t stop there. Since I haven’t yet been put into any of the band photos…I figured I better take things into my own hands.


You’re welcome.



Yes, I think it’s safe to say I’m really becoming part of the band.

MS Amsterdam – Part 4

We had a wonderful time on the ship, and it was nice to have a break from our lives at home.

Abby’s favorite part of the cruise was dancing, even though Emily has stolen her partner away. She danced with Paul almost every night (and looked very fine while doing it)!


She even took some shots of Emily and Quinn, after they went dancing one night:



Emily’s favorite part of the cruise were the teas that were held! The tiny tables were set so prettily,


and quickly filled up with scrumptious things to eat and drink!


Quinn’s most favorite parts were of course the pools, where he spent a good deal of time:

(It was most fun in rough water, when waves formed inside the pool as well!)

He also loved the food served on board (the sushi and dessert most), and I’m sure everyone else would also agree with him.



But his favorite meal was breakfast!


Our last shows on the ship went really well (with not a single person being sick!), and before we knew it the week was up and it was time to come home.

Quinn was excited to sleep in his own bed once again though…


As hard as getting on the ship with all of our gear had been, getting off was even harder. Especially when you had a stream of tourists to go through:


Although we didn’t stay in Kodiak very long, it enchanted us with its ocean views and sunshine. We had pulled in at dawn, and the morning sun had shone pink and purple in the sky (though that didn’t make it any easier to get up early and pack):


Goodbye Amsterdam! We’ll see you next summer!


The flights from Kodiak were simply stunning in cool autumn sunshine, and were made more exciting and adventurous in the tiny plane we rode in:




Of course, Juneau was wet and rainy when we flew in. But this small city is home to us, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well…most of the time…

MS Amsterdam – Part 3

After leaving Seattle, we had a straight three days at sea while we sailed to Kodiak, Alaska. Since we had already explored every inch of the ship, and since no shows were lined up till the very end of those three days, it wasn’t a surprise when boredom set in.

How did Quinn and Emily combat this boredom? They set off to sit in every chair or couch on the ship!








Sadly, the task was deemed impossible, and they gave up. But as you can see they made a pretty good dent in all the chairs and couches the ship had.


Most of the days out at sea were rather gray or stormy,


but when it was nice dance practice was held out on the top deck!

It was a bit too windy though (and we didn’t want Abigail being blown away).



We were honored when the crew asked us to participate in their weekly church service. We all met in a little room where we played a few songs with Mark (the usual music leader of the group), and listened to a wonderful message by the ship chaplain Pat.



It felt so good to be able to worship the Lord with this group of people (mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia).

Afterwards, we were all met by warm handshakes and hugs from everyone who came, saying thank you and telling us how wonderful it was to meet us. They even asked to take a group photo with us, to which we were happy to be a part of:

The Spirt of the Lord was truly felt in that small gathering, as it says in Matthew 18:20-

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”


To read the next installment of this trip, click here:


MS Amsterdam – Part 2

We made several stops along the way to our port of call, Seattle. But we were all often busy with practice (or being sick that first and second day), so not everyone was able to go ashore in some places.

Ketchikan was one of our first stops, and it seemed just like Juneau!


Though Emily stated it was because the same tourist jewelry stores in downtown Juneau, seemed to also be in downtown Ketchikan.

But it really was a lovely place, and the weather even cooperated while we were there!

After that the weather seemed to get better and better, warranting nap times in bedroom windows:

Our next stop was Victoria BC! We pulled into port very late in the day, around 7:00pm, so we didn’t get to do all that we had wanted to do there. But the city was lovely by night!


The lovely Empress Hotel was lit up grandly, as were the parliament buildings, turning the night into what seemed like an early Christmas festival.



When we finally pulled into Seattle, the weather had changed drastically from the cold autumn temperatures we had left in Juneau.

The sun shone brightly, the sky was blue, and it got up to 80 degrees!


The ship docked and passengers left, making room for the next wave of people to board for a new cruise. The process would take the whole day, so Quinn, Emily and Melissa decided to walk into the city to their favorite place in Seattle: Pike’s Place Market.

The walk to the famous market was a bit over three miles, but they all agreed it was well worth the trip!


It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, so the market was packed with people. Smells of everything yummy and beautiful mulled through the hallways packed with stalls.


Flowers were everywhere. Emily could have filled the entire camera with pictures of them!




But the beauty didn’t stop there. Fruits and vegetables of all types (some we didn’t even know!) were on display, making all onlookers feel hungry.





The small stalls of the market held everything from pasta to peppers! And the freshest fish and other seafood you could get in the city:



Although we wanted to try almost every delicious thing we saw, we went away from the market with a carton of raspberries, apples, and some nectarines. They may have been gone before we reached the ship…

But before we left, Quinn insisted on getting a picture with this pretty gold pig, and Emily got a big bag of sweet smelling lavender, for future craft projects back home.


And before we really wanted to, it was time to head back to the ship. Those three miles went a lot quicker on the way back though…



By the time we got back to the ship, we were ready to cool off. We weren’t used to 80 degree temperatures, but we were sure happy for them!

The outdoor pool probably doesn’t see much action on Alaska cruises, but we were excited to test it out while in the sunny climate of Seattle:


And all too soon it was time to leave Seattle as well.

Goodbye, Seattle! We shall see you again soon!



To read the next installment of this trip, click here:


MS Amsterdam – Part 1


Last week we loaded up the truck and got ready for our week-long cruise on the MS Amsterdam. Instruments of all types, suitcases, and even a cat found its way into the truck.


We may have even left with poor Nero, our neighbor’s new cat, who likes to come over and scare away birds and sneak into the house. If Emily and Quinn had not spotted Nero hopping in among the cases, he’d have gone with us on the cruise!



Fortunately for Nero (as it is common knowledge that cats don’t like water), he did not get taken with us, and soon we were ready to head out.


Cedar, knowing what all the bags and suitcases meant, looked very sad as we packed up. She knows from much experience, that when we leave, we leave for a long time.

Don’t worry Cedar! We’ll be back sooner than you think!


Xochie on the other hand, did not seem to care wether we left or not (or in fact, wether we lived or died).


That is the face of pure evil.

Anyway! Once everything was all packed, it was on to the dock, where our home for the next week was waiting!


The next hour or so was a constant move of equipment, suitcases, and instruments.

First we got them out of the truck:


The we got them to the dock, where LOOK! The Amsterdam awaited us!


Then we lugged it all up the gangway, through security, and into a big pile:

It was then divided up and hauled to our rooms (where everything fit nicely into the tiny closets and cabinets).

Laura found her room so comfortable, she put on her pjs immediately and would not leave her nice new bed:


Not long after arriving, it was time to say goodbye to Juneau!




Quinn even ran to wave goodbye as the ship sailed farther and farther away…


But there wasn’t time to rest long, there was practice to be done!



After playing at the tram all summer, it was fun to be up on a big stage (with bright lights and a fog machine to play with!).


Backstage was fun as well, with lighted mirrors and a screen to show you the stage:


Look! We’re famous!


Sadly, Quinn and Emily both got very seasick as the ship pulled out into open water along Alaska’s coast. Quinn was able to play and sing (though very pale), but Emily went straight to bed after our first show. Thankfully after that first day, no one got sick again.


To read the next installment of this trip, click here: