Valentine’s Dinner 2020

On Friday, February 14th, 2020, Warner Avenue Baptist Church had a Valentine’s Day Dinner. The young people did an EXCELLENT job planning an enjoyable evening for 14 couples. They transformed our fellowship hall into a romantic, candle-lit restaurant. They had a western theme complete with western decorations and entertainment.

Using card tables, each couple had a table to themselves. It came with a candle, menu, cloth napkins, silverware, and flowers.

Table Setting for the Valentine’s Dinner

Here’s the menu. Because some people (including Tim and Jeri) had special dietary restrictions, some additional items were prepared.

Jeffrey singing “I’m My Own Grandpa.”

Josiah told some jokes and riddles for meal-time entertainment.

Jeffrey and crew led the audience in “Deep in the Heart of Texas”…complete with hand clapping.

Jeffrey sang an old love song.

Katie and Lizzie led the singing of “You Are My Sunshine.”

At the end of the evening, the entire kitchen staff joined the musicians in singing “Happy Trails.”

Jason, Hannah, Jeffrey, and Josiah after the meal.

Jason, Hannah, Jeffrey, and Josiah after the Valentine’s Dinner. Click photo for full size.

Here’s a picture taken of Lizzie, Victoria, Jeri, and Tim in the kitchen after the meal.

Lizzie, Victoria, Jeri, and Tim after the Valentine’s Dinner. Click photo for full size.

Here’s a picture of Nicole, Joanna, the three Thomas girls, and Lizzie in the kitchen after the meal. Clean up has begun!

Nicole, Joanna, the Thomas girls, and Lizzie in the kitchen after the meal. Click photo for full size.

Here is a digest of the evening.

Living Room Transformation!

What a surprise! Sarah took Jeri and Tim out to lunch and a movie on Saturday. Little did they know that the rest of the family (including Hannah) were busy giving our living room a total makeover. It looks great now!

New sectional, new coffee table, new end table, new lamps, new curtains, new area rug, new mirror, new room decor, and new wall hanging (artwork by Jason Pau).

What a blessing! Everyone enjoys relaxing in the living room now. Thank you, everyone!

Here’s the BEFORE picture.

The “Before” Picture. Click photo for full size.

The AFTER picture.

The “After” Picture. Click photo for full size.

A time-lapse video of the transformation.

First Avocado

Finally after a several year wait, we picked our first avocado! It weighed in at 15 ounces (nearly a pound) and was about five inches in length. (And, yes, we zeroed the scale before we weighed it.)

Our First Avocado. Click photo for full size.
Tim holding our first avocado. Click photo for full size.

Girls in Venice, Italy

Nicole, Joanna, and Victoria left on Sunday, November 17th, 2019, for Italy. Departing from LAX, they connected in Paris for a flight to Venice (their first destination).

Nicole and Victoria in Venice. Click photo for full size.

Of course, they had to have some authentic Italian pizza.

Victoria, Joanna, and Nicole at Libro Pizza. Click photo for full size.

Victoria at Cafe Vero.

Victoria at Cafe Vero. Click photo for full size.

Nicole at St. Mark’s Square. St. Mark’s Campanile (in the background) isn’t really tipping over…just a bit of lens distortion.

Nicole at St. Mark’s Square. Click photo for full size.

Nicole and Joanna at St. Mark’s Basilica.

Nicole and Joanna near St. Mark’s Basilica. Click photo for full size.
Victoria taking a picture of Nicole. Click photo for full size.

Nicole and Victoria over a Venice waterway.

Nicole and Victoria over a Venice waterway. Click photo for full size.

Victoria and Nicole on a street in Venice.

Victoria and Nicole on a street in Venice. Click photo for full size.

Converse House Reunion 2019

Saturday, October 5th, 2019, was the day of Tim’s dorm floor reunion. Tim and Jeri also drove up to Ames the previous night to visit with a lot of the guys and their spouses.

Saturday morning, Grandma Stogdill took us out for breakfast to the Cracker Barrel restaurant. Aunt Vickie and Rachel as well as Grandma’s good friend, Katie, were able to join us.

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Rachel, Katie, Grandma, Vicki, Jeri, and Tim. Click photo for full size.

After breakfast, we stopped by Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines. The main goal was to get some steps. Grandma Stogdill tries to get 8,000 a day.

Jeri and Tim at Jordan Creek Mall. Click photo for full size.

Then Tim and Jeri drove up to Ames. First we visited with our good friend, Annette. This was during Iowa State’s home football game with Texas Christian University.

Then we drove to Campustown and saw some old and a lot of new places. We found a place to park and began walking towards the stadium. We first stopped at the Memorial Union.

At the Memorial Union. Click photo for full size.

Here we are next to Lake Laverne.

Next to Lake Laverne with Friley Hall in the distant background. Click photo for full size.

As we walk to the stadium, people are leaving the game. (Iowa State won 49 to 24.) We got a picture in the stadium.

In the stadium after the game. Click photo for full size.

We had a great turnout for our reunion. Our group photo had 39 guys. (A lot of us also met the night before in Ames at an old fraternity house that was converted into a bed and breakfast.)

Converse House Group Photo 2019. Click photo for full size.

After the reunion, we started the drive back to Des Moines (well actually Johnston). Initially we thought to get a few slices of pizza at Casey’s but they were only selling whole pizzas. So we decided to stop at Hickory Park. It was a spur of the moment decision.

The parking lot was packed; apparently lot of people leaving the game had the same idea. Once inside, the hostess told us the wait would be about 20 minutes. Because we weren’t in any hurry, we decided to wait. Fortunately we were called back in less than five minutes.

We split a plate of deep fried appetizers and a veggie burger.

Eating at Hickory Park. Click photo for full size.

We finished with dessert. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with chocolate chips and a cookie. It was so sweet and rich that we didn’t finish it all.

Hickory Park Dessert. Click photo for full size.

Smile

Jill, Maggie, Laura, Joanna, and Victoria (in order of appearance) sing “Smile” (music by Charlie Chaplin, lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons). “Smile” was the concluding piece for Dr. Ali’s voice recital at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA on Saturday, September 28th, 2019.

LA County Fair 2019

Because Josiah is now 13 years old, we didn’t get free passes to the fair via their school/home school education program this year. Although we had to pay to get in, we were able to choose a day nearly perfect weather. It was partly cloudy with a high around 80 F.

Previously we were planning to attend the fair, the previous Friday. However the high that day was predicted to be around 100 F. We opted not to go that day.

Tim and Joanna worked from home in the morning. Then around 1 PM, the five of us (Jeri, Tim, Joanna, Victoria, and Josiah) headed out for the 50 minute drive up to Pomona.

Approaching the entrance to the fair
Approaching the entrance to the fair. Click photo for full size.

Because we arrived at the fair starving, our first stop was for food. We found a vegan food truck, Govinda’s Veggie Bomb. We bought three of their Atomic Tacos, a Yogi Bowl, and their Bomb Nachos. Joanna also picked up an order of Chipotle fries from another vendor.

Josiah and Tim waiting for food from Govinda’s Veggie Bomb
Josiah and Tim waiting for food from Govinda’s Veggie Bomb. Click photo for full size.
Victoria, Joanna, Jeri, Josiah, and Tim having lunch
Victoria, Joanna, Jeri, Josiah, and Tim having lunch. Click photo for full size.

Of course the fair has many vendors. One that we seem to visit every year sells women’s dresses. Some are made in Italy; most are from India. Tim liked one that Jeri ended up getting.

Victoria, Joanna, and Jeri looking at dresses
Victoria, Joanna, and Jeri looking at dresses. Click photo for full size.

The girls did some shopping and found some dessert.

Victoria and Jeri at the LA County Fair
Victoria and Jeri at the LA County Fair. Click photo for full size.

One of the must-sees for Josiah were the steam engines. The train museum is on the fairgrounds and has a number of old trains.

Josiah next to a steam engine
Josiah next to a steam engine. Click photo for full size.
Josiah and Tim standing next to the wheel of a steam locomotive
Josiah and Tim standing next to the wheel of a steam locomotive. Click photo for full size.

After the girls finished some shopping, they joined Tim and Josiah to see the trains.

Victoria in the train area
Victoria in the train area. Click photo for full size.

After the trains, we wondered around saw and heard some fun stuff. They had some cutout displays.

Victoria, Joanna, Josiah, Tim, and Jeri near the midway
Victoria, Joanna, Josiah, Tim, and Jeri near the midway. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Jeri chased by a dinosaur
Tim and Jeri chased by a dinosaur. Click photo for full size.
Victoria and Joanna driving an old Chevy
Victoria and Joanna driving an old Chevy. Click photo for full size.
Josiah and Victoria eating popcorn at the fair
Josiah and Victoria eating popcorn at the fair. Click photo for full size.
Josiah grocery shopping at the fair
Josiah grocery shopping at the fair. Click photo for full size.
Tim is pointing out a ride to Victoria, Jeri, and Josiah
Tim is pointing out a ride to Victoria, Jeri, and Josiah. Click photo for full size.

We took some pictures with the Ferris wheel behind us.

Joanna, Josiah, Victoria, Jeri, and Tim with the Ferris wheel behind
Joanna, Josiah, Victoria, Jeri, and Tim with the Ferris wheel behind. Click photo for full size.
Jeri and Tim with the Ferris wheel behind
Jeri and Tim with the Ferris wheel behind. Click photo for full size.

Victoria’s Voice Recital

Victoria worked VERY hard to get ready for her voice recital. She would stay at Orange Coast College many afternoons. Lizzie would help her on piano and Joanna would be her coach.

Mai, Victoria, and Joanna. Click photo for full size.

Mai and Victoria opened the evening with a beautiful duet.

Victoria and Mai alternated sets of two or three pieces.

Here is a piece that Mai sang. She, too, sang very well.

The final piece of the recital was trio sang by Mai, Victoria, and Joanna.

As an encore for Mai and Victoria’s voice recital, Sarah, Joanna, Jeffrey, and Lizzie joined to perform Jazz Talkin’. This sophomore voice recital was required as part of Orange Coast College’s Music program.

After the recital, there were snacks and refreshments outside. This was conducive for people to hang around and visit.

Visiting after the recital. Click photo for full size.

Lizzie’s Graduation

Sunday evening, June 23rd, 2019, Lizzie graduated from high school. Grandma Stogdill flew from Iowa to join us for the weekend. It was nice seeing her again. Here’s a selfie taken before the ceremony.

Tim, Jeri, Grandma Stogdill, Nicole with Jeffrey, Victoria, and Sarah in the row behind. Click photo for full size.

This year Warner Avenue Christian Academy had two graduates: Josh and Lizzie. Here they are playing a piece together with Josh on violin and Lizzie on piano.

Josh and Lizzie playing. Click photo for full size.

As per tradition, each graduate had a slideshow that displayed his or her life from the beginning. Here is Lizzie’s.

Pastor Steve gave an encouraging address to all reminding us to keep learning. This is only the “end of the beginning.” Then he presented the diplomas.

Pastor Steve, Josh, and Lizzie. Click photo for full size.

After the ceremony, we had a reception in the church’s fellowship hall where we had food and drinks.

Food table at the reception after the graduation. Click photo for full size.

Of course there was also cake and ice cream.

Lizzie with the graduation cake. Click photo for full size.
Joanna, Victoria, Lizzie, Sarah, and Nicole with the cake. Click photo for full size.
Photo time with Jeffrey. Click photo for full size.
Some Pau girls, McNabb girls, and Grandma Stogdill. Click photo for full size.

Josiah and his church friends really enjoy playing with Nerf guns. Here he is trying to pop a balloon with a gun that can shoot small balls pretty hard. (The balloon didn’t break.)

Josiah trying to pop a balloon with a Nerf gun. Click photo for full size.

Here is Lizzie’s graduation photo.

Lizzie’s graduation photo (taken with a Pixel 3a)

Here is a video collage of the day.