Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Melinda!

It was 20 years ago today we were blessed by God. Melinda Elizabeth Sanford was born into our family at 12:30pm on August 30, 1990.

Months before she was born the Lord gave her mom the name 'Melinda'. Dad however wanted the name 'Rebecca'. They did agree that if it was a boy it would be Phillip Connor. It was just an hour before the baby was born that Dad blessed Mom with agreeing to the name she believed was given by God.

"Melinda" means 'honey' and "Elizabeth" (also her mom's middle name) means 'consecrated to God'. Today all can see that she was appropriately named by God as her hair is the color of honey and her heart belongs to the Lord!

Melinda wore home the same dress her mother had worn home from the hospital 27 years before and her Gramma had worn when she was an infant...a beautiful handmade white cotton dress.

Melinda has always been a 'daddy's girl'!!

When Melinda was seven years old the Lord moved us from Virginia to Illinois. We discovered 'Starved Rock' which looks much like the Blue Ridge of VA. Melinda poses for the camera even back then.

'Sugar and Spice!!' Amazing how you can take Mom's coat, Dad's handkerchief, Granddad's hat and Uncle Richard's glasses and transform a 13 year old!

These two horses at Aunt Lee's are the reason Melinda loves horses! She first rode them when she was one and a half years old with her mom. Here she is years later still loving those beautiful creatures.

At fifteen years old and straight hair is in!!

Today! Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Prov 31:29

May the Lord richly bless you Melinda as you are such a blessing to many...your warm smile and ready laugh brings joy to many...your steady confidence and firm faith brings comfort to many...your sentimental heart and deep love brings encouragement to many.

Happy Birthday, Melinda 'Blessed' Elizabeth Sanford!
You are blessed of God!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ending with a bang!

Well everyone July has now ended... Personally I cannot believe that it is over and never to come again. Our family sure did make sure it left with a huge bang though! From singing the National Anthem at a Baseball game, to helping out with a friends wedding reception, to Threshing day. We made sure to live it up to the fullest. Here are a few pictures of the events:

First up we have a Peoria Chiefs baseball game organized by a family in our church. When we got to the field we were pretty sure it was going to be "rained out" since it was pouring down. But after awhile the skies cleared and then sun sort of showed itself. As we waited for them to re-sand the diamond some of the people from church got our voices warmed up for singing. We were all a little nervous but after getting down in the field and starting to sing, I think we all were so happy and blessed to be there that our 'butterflies' left us and we sang to the Glory of God. Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of this so you will have to trust my words instead. :)

The girls and their sweet friends. :)

My ever lovely and gorgeous parents whom we all love very much. I think they enjoyed the game.

After the game was over Dad had gotten passes so the kids could run the bases. Here is a picture of the girls running...

The boys turned it more into a race and here they are running as well...

Our dear friends asked us if we would help out with their daughter's wedding reception. We were ever ready to help and so we dress in black and white and went over to help serve. Here Jess, Rebecca, and I stop for a picture together.

The guys sitting at the "helpers" table.
All of us lined up to help serve people their food.

And what reception is complete without dancing?? All of us 'helper's were blessed to be able to join in the celebration while our parents did the clean-up! Here we are all dancing our hearts out.

And another picture of us dancing...

Saturday our parents decided to have a fun morning/afternoon of just family time. So they took us to what is called "Threshing Day" out in Tremont. They had tractor exhibits, tractor rides, horses, and fun things like that to entertain you.

Here Zach and Elaina are watching as a machine turns hay into bales.

As you can see they had tons of tractors there.

Here Daddy is showing us what everything is called. Having been raised on a farm he knew a whole lot of information and was glad to be able to share it with his children.

We even got to ride on the tractor-thingy.

A beautiful Clydesdale filly and her mother were on show. We all got to pet these huge horses.

At the end of the time they had a tractor parade. It was neat to see all the hard work these men put into fixing up the old tractors.

And I think that catches you up on our life!

God bless y'all!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh what a beautiful life...

Hello everyone, I am sorry for not keeping y'all more up to date on what has been happening in the Sanford family. God has blessed us more than our wildest dreams and now I want to share with you a little bit of what we have been up these past few weeks in July.

First off we have our annual 4th of July party. This year was a little different for us since it was the first year our brother Garrison was not able to join us. Being a bitter sweet time made it difficult for some of us. But that didn't stop us from having a great time with the friends God has blessed us with.

Food is always a must at parties. This year there was a wonderful buffet line with lots of yummy food. Although I will say there was a lot of watermelon too. :)

After playing sports and talking away the afternoon. We all settled down to listen to why America is a free nation. Dad had some questions he asked and then Ashton read the Declaration of Independence.

No Summer party is complete without S'mores!

This year we got a little more extravagant and bought lights for the Volleyball court. We played well into the night and had a blast.

This year Pastor went all out and bought us some good fireworks! Here is just one picture of the amazing sight we beheld in our very own back yard. These actually went up into the air and didn't just blow smoke! Which is a new concept from our past 4th parties. ;)

Thus ends our 4th of July party. It was a smashing success and we were thankful that the weather was bearable. :) Now we cannot wait for next year!!!


Next up we have our amazing trip to California!!!! Tiff and Ben have been married for a little over two months now. But since they could not bring out all of their Californian friends to the wedding in IL they decided to throw a CA Reception on the 17th of July. We were invited to come but only a few of us could make it... meaning Mom and I. But since we were going we were able to take two of the McD girls with us as well as Ashton. Thanks to certain people who made that possible. (You know who you are) ;) So off we went, waking up at 2:45am to get to our flight in St. Louis. Here we are looking ever so happy to be alive at this hour.

Our flight into Oakland was canceled and so we were told we would have to stay the night in a hotel and catch the next flight in the morning. But God had different plans and we were able to make a detour to Phoenix, Arizona and make it to Oakland around 10:00pm instead of our original time of 1:00.

We were all very happy to finally make it to CA after having been up for 24 hours straight. This picture was taken in route to CA from AZ. Don't we look happy to be awake in this picture?

Praise God, we finally made it to Tiff and Ben's house!! Ben took us out to Cold Stone Creamery to get some delicious ice cream and then we headed to their new adorable house to sleep. The next morning we didn't have too much to do so we went shopping with Tiff and we even got to eat at In-N-Out which I must say is very good.

That night the whole Hector family came down to Tiff and Ben's house and we had a lovely meal together in her dinning room. Here we are cooking and waiting for Ben to get home from work.

On Thursday all thanks to the Schroeder family, we were able to got Kayaking down the river. It was great fun getting absolutely soaked and, for Mom and Mel, tipping over and falling in. ;) While paddling down the river we had a great time just hanging out, talking, and *cough* fighting *cough*. All in all it was a great experience! But sadly there are no pictures of this event because of the danger of the water and cameras.

On Friday we woke up and headed up to Mountain Ranch to see the "other Hector's". And to help set up for the big day on Saturday. Once getting there we were put to work setting up tables, folding and wrapping napkins, and decorating the whole beautiful house.

All work and no play, made Jack a dull boy. So we made sure to get lots of play into our day. :) I love these people... :D

Right before dinner we headed out to take a quick look around the property. Here we are.. not staged for this photo at all. :)

The big day finally came and with 233 people all over the house and yard we had a blast! Towards the end of the day the Schroeder girls and I started a wonderful game of Volleyball. It was boys against girls and we crushed the guys! *yeehaw!* But after that we split the teams evenly and played a bunch more games. Here I am serving for our team...

This is us three girls with two amazingly wonderful people who God blessed us all to be friends/family with.

Two more amazing Hector's get their picture with us. :)

And the two most amazing of all... Tiff and Ben! Mr. Hector gave a beautiful toast to the Bride and Groom and here they are drinking together.

After the party was all over we finished out the night with DANCING!!! Josh C. did a great job calling the dances for everyone. It was a wonderful way to end the day. *happy sigh*

Next day was Sunday and worshiping at the CVP church. It was a beautiful service and Pastor Walker did a wonderful job bringing us the Word. After church we headed over to Ben and Tiff's house to quickly change, eat lunch, and then head out to the beach! :D :D Here we are enjoying the waves and lovely view.

Jess, Mrs. Hector and I had a great time soaking up the sun and just enjoying each other's company. I love those two people. <3

After the beach the Hector's took everyone to a seafood restaurant close by. Not being much on seafood I didn't know what to expect. But now after having a delicious bowl of clam chowder, trying octopus, and some sort of other thing that Ben made me try, I think it is safe to say it was all GREAT! As long as you don't think about what you are eating. *huge grin* ;)

Alas all good things must come to an end... :( Our trip to California was waaayyy too short. But it was amazing!! God has blessed us with friends that feel a lot more like family and I am so unbelievable happy and thankful for that. Before dropping us off at the airport. Thomas (our driver for the day) took us up to a look-out sort of area and we stopped to enjoy the beautiful view. After that he also sweetly paid for Starbucks! Which keep us happy and awake for the flight home. :)

Here is our group, minus Mommy, getting a picture together at the look-out.

Four smiling faces. Happy for the time we had together again and yet sad for the separation that was about to come...
None of this trip would have been possible if my Mother had not agreed to come with us and be our "adult supervisor" for the week. A HUGE thanks goes to her for allowing us to make these sweet memories that will last us a life time. Thank you Mommy!!! Love you!!! :)

And that is the end of our trip.... Although we are sad that it is over we are still so unbelievably happy that God saw fit to bless us to have such an amazing time with everyone in CA especially the New... Young... Hector's!!! Woohoo! :) Now we all cannot wait to see everyone out there again and we are trying to be patient for next May when Presbytery rolls around. Until then life must go on...

Thanks for reading!
God bless y'all!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This week we have been crazy busy getting our home and yard ready for our annual 4th of July party. We are all very excited! But in preparation of this event we have been non-stop busy doing...



Working on this:

And practicing this as much as possible:

But all of it is for this:

So I think it may just be worth it. God bless the U.S.A!

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!! :)

God bless all y'all!