Exploring Red Bluff

It’s amazing how you can take your hometown for granted, how you can completely miss the beauty of where you live simply because you see it all the time.

When I lived here I didn’t always appreciate the subtle things that make our area beautiful. The huge mountains are obvious and I love those, but there are so many things I appreciate now more with each visit.

One thing I love about Red Bluff is the abundance of oak trees. I went out today in search of a single oak tree in a field to photograph. I drove around for two hours and never found exactly what I was hoping to find, but I found some beautiful areas in the meantime. Here are some photos from my phone and my camera.

Continually look for the beauty all around you. God’s creation is diverse and amazing – there’s always beauty to be found.


Our Southwest Adventure: California

This trip had been planned and anticipated for over a year, so the fact that it has already come and gone is astounding!

It all started in Pennsylvania with my parents flying across the country so that my mom could turn around and fly back to California with Tori and me (to assist with all of Tori’s things). The guys remained in Pennsylvania working on our bathrooms – our long-awaited remodel! We’ll blog about that soon.

The girls spent 2.5 days in Red Bluff seeing family and friends before heading south to Central California to see more family and friends. We stayed with Uncle Rob and Aunt Susan (and forgot to get a picture!) and enjoyed our visit. It was so great to see my college roommate, Leslie, and her family, as well! It has been YEARS.

Friday morning we headed to Southern California to show Tori where Mommy went to college (APU), and to meet up with many college professors and friends.

Read about our APU adventure here!

After a wonderful afternoon there, we headed to my favorite outdoor mall in Ontario – Victoria Gardens. We met up with so many dear college friends and their families that evening.



After spending the night in Ontario, my mom, Tori, and I picked up Brennan and my dad at the airport and headed to Disneyland! It was very crowded, so we didn’t get to ride very many rides, BUT the “Paint the Night” parade made it worth the heat, the crowds, everything.

See pictures and read about Disneyland here!

The next morning we began our journey to the Grand Canyon!

Tori’s Bucket List: Go to Disneyland

Being from California, I have gone to Disneyland probably one hundred times – mostly thanks to having an annual pass (when it was cheap!) most of the years I lived in Southern California. I love Disneyland and I wanted Tori to experience the magic there, especially when we were offered tickets from a Team Tori friend! Thank you, Carmela, for your generosity!

Since it’s their 60th anniversary year, they have a brand new parade called “Paint the Night” and we had heard great things about it. Supposedly they have one million lights in the parade itself! Once we heard that, we knew we had to take Tori to see it. So, we added Disneyland to our trip itinerary with Grandma DeAnne and Grandpa Ken and made it happen!

Our day didn’t go as planned, so we didn’t make it into the park until 5pm. And it was hot (over 100 degrees) and crowded (holiday weekend, and a Saturday), so we didn’t get to take her on as many rides as we would have liked. BUT, it was still magical and so much fun!

We were so blessed to be able to briefly meet up with some members of our Krabbe family – Judson‘s parents and sister, Jessie, who gave Tori an adorable stuffed kitten – as well as some of our RYFO friends. Thank you for coming to meet up with us! Brennan’s friend, Todd, who recently moved to California, also joined us and we enjoyed his company.

We took Tori on a couple of rides before the parade and that apparently wore her out because she slept through most of the very loud, very bright parade. What can you do with any kid in those situations? Haha. She was tired and she wasn’t willing to wake up for anything. The adults enjoyed the parade, though, and agreed that it was well worth the crowds and the heat.

Tori woke up when we got on the tram to go back to the RV and she seemed so enthralled by it. It cracked us up! We felt like a “normal” family at that moment because kids are SO unpredictable and you never know what they will enjoy (i.e. the box instead of the toy).

We pray that we will have another opportunity to take her to Disneyland because there is so much more for her to see and experience!

Tori’s Bucket List: Visit Mommy’s College (Azusa Pacific University)

When we determined over a year ago that we were going to California and Arizona in October 2015, a visit to APU was immediately placed on the list of places we wanted to go during our short stay. I attended college there and it was an incredible experience personally, academically, and spiritually.

So, after our circumstances changed and we were creating Tori’s Bucket List, it seemed natural that she should go to see where Mommy went to school since we’re going to see Daddy’s school next week. 🙂

Azusa Pacific University is in Azusa, California, which is just east of Pasadena.

(Photo credit: http://www.apu.edu/azusa/about/eastcampus/)

I studied there from 2001-2005 and graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in American History. I worked at one of the three campus libraries all four years, three of those as a research assistant (called a Navigator at the time).

We didn’t get to do as much on campus as we had planned because we got stuck in traffic (do you expect anything else from Southern California? Haha), AND it was 103 degrees outside that day, so we needed to keep Tori cool. But, we were able to show Tori where Mommy worked and studied, and she got to meet some of Mommy’s friends, a favorite professor, and her mentor/supervisor/boss. Of course, we bought her an APU onesie while we were at the bookstore 🙂

She also had a great nap while we were there 😉

We pray that she will have the opportunity to choose to go to APU in 17 years ❤

#ToriTuesday Update!

What a week it has been. We returned home from California early on Thursday morning, did laundry, repacked, and worked at Milton Hershey School Saturday and Sunday. 

We have had lots of house guests since we returned and will have more this week (including three bands through RYFO.org – we are a host home through this ministry – check it out!). 

(Outlands, from San Diego, stayed with us Sunday night)

To say we are tired is an understatement, but we are happy and fulfilled so it is worth every moment. ❤️

Tori really enjoyed California again and we were so thankful for the opportunity to be there again with my side of the family, especially since my grandfather passed away while we were there. It was a joyful time of reunion, laughter, and remembering. 

                                                                       Most of my family members have only seen Tori three times so they greatly cherish each visit. I am so excited that so many of them are flying out to celebrate Tori’s first birthday with us! 

On Friday, Tori was measured for her new stroller and apparently loved the sample one because she fell asleep!   
Here are some more pictures from the past few days for those who aren’t on Facebook or Instagram.



Last Friday we took Tori to her pediatrician to address the throwing up and to check her lungs. The doctor is having her take antibiotics for ten days as a precautionary measure against aspiration pneumonia. 

This Friday Tori will have an upper G.I. Study to check on her Nissen since she has been throwing up through her mouth so much. She will also see a pulmonologist for the first time. 

She is doing pretty well, overall. So are we, though we are physically and emotionally tired. 

Please pray for Brennan and me as we not only navigate this new stage of the disease but also the emotionally straining issues that have come our way. Terminal illnesses affect everyone differently and unfortunately it has caused some relationships to be strained, and it is heartbreaking. All we can do is continue to pray. ❤️

God is still great, and He is still in control. We have seen Him work in amazing ways through our baby girl and we pray continuously that He will choose to heal her here on this earth. We know you all continue to do the same and for that we are eternally grateful.

Thank you for following our story and loving our Tori ❤️

California Adventures

I am from California, for those just now joining us on this journey. I spent my first 25 years there – eighteen in Northern and seven in Southern – and then moved to Pennsylvania almost seven years ago. We try to come back every six months, and we brought Tori for the first time in November. Most of my family still lives in NorCal and it will always be home.

Once we found out her diagnosis we knew that it was imperative that we bring her out as soon as possible so that my family could spend time with her.

So, yesterday we made the journey across the country from Harrisburg to Redding. Three flights. 13 hours of travel. Worth every moment.


Tori did really well until the last flight from San Francisco to Redding, when she got fussy. But that flight was short so it wasn’t terrible.

We flew over my hometown and I had never done that before! It was so fun to be able to recognize things from the air.


It is SO good to be home, with my family and friends, and I am so thankful for all of the support we have here in Red Bluff.

We have a busy week ahead both with family and friends (some coming from Oregon and Washington, and more from Central California), but also fun things in town. It is Rodeo Week here (Red Bluff has the world’s largest three-day rodeo), so there are a lot of fun things around town to do!


There’s no place like home. ❤️

Being Californian…

Sorry for the generic post. I’ve seen many of these types of things, but this one was strikingly true. Had to share (my edited version–not all were appropriate)! I know that some of these are stereotypes, and not all apply to me, but some do…okay, that’s my disclaimer. 🙂


– I say “like” and “for sure” and “right on” and “dude” and “bro” and “peace out” and “hella” and I say them often.

– I know what real cheese & avocadoes taste like.

– I don’t get snow days off because theres only snow in Mammoth, Tahoe and Big Bear.
(Instead, we have flood days, smog days, and heat days, LOL)

– Summers are really hot, and winters are really cold. And by “really cold” we mean that its usually in the 50’s or 60’s and the only reason we are complaining is because we are still wearing tank tops and flip flops.

– I can wear sandals all year long. (yay!)

– I go to the Beach – not “down to the shore”.

I know 65 mph really means 80+.

– I’ve been to “Frisco” (aka San Francisco) and have eaten fresh clam chowder out of a sourdough bread bowl.

– You judge people based on what area code they live in (i.e. “the 909”), and when asked were you’re from, NorCal and SoCal are completely acceptable terms of reference.

– I might get looked at funny by locals when I’m on vacation in their state, but when they find out I’m from California I turn into a Greek GOD.

– We don’t stop at stop signs…we do a “california roll”

– I can get fresh and REAL Mexican food 24 hours a day.

– All the TV shows you “other” states watch get filmed here.

– We have In-N-Out (Arizona and Vegas are lucky we share that with them).

My own addition to the list: Believe it or not, we actually have REAL Christmas trees, from our own forests. We do not (typically) decorate palm trees. 🙂 (Based upon a real question asked of me in Pennsylvania).