Friday, October 28, 2011

a monkey birthday!

My little Jovie is 3. I took her to Target to pick out some birthday stuff (plates, napkins, etc.) in full expectation that she would want a Tinkerbell, Princess or Butterfly themed party. What did she pick? The Paul Frank monkey stuff. That's my Jovie. My sister, Piper, nicknamed her "Monkey Girl" a while back and ever since, she has taken to monkeys. So, a monkey party we had! I found the cake idea on Smitten Kitchen and since I originally had no idea I would be making a monkey face, I didn't make ears. Instead, I improvised by using ladyfinger cookies we had in our cupboard, stood 3 of them upright and simply frosted around them for the ears. It worked great!

Jovie is such a joy. She has a terrific attitude and shares with Pear so nicely. Jovie really has a giving heart and it is neat to watch her go throughout her day and bless her family. I love that anytime she forgets what she was going to say (example: she comes up to me, "," I finally say "yes Jovie?" ....pause) she looks at me and smiles and says "I love you." I love that she is so girly. I adore her big blue eyes and the chubby cheeks that she's holding onto for a little bit longer. The way she talks makes those around her smile. I've enjoyed three years of my little girl's life, I am looking forward to the rest!

It's 5:45am here. Good morning birthday girl!

My little monkey.

Waiting for her guests to arrive with her monkey mask.

The monkey cake.

My beauty in her birthday dress.

Pretty girl.


Pin the tail on the monkey. Props to Stephen's mad drawing skills.

Make a wish!

The boys, being boys in the back yard.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1 little, 2 little, 3 little pumpkins...

It's that time of year again. The time that Stephen tries as hard as he can to skirt around going to the pumpkin patch. The time that the kids and I anxiously wait for the sun to peek out in hopes to go to the pumpkin patch. And finally, the day comes that I convince Stephen that we will go to the big dirty fields full of pumpkins. We really had fun! Pear went from one to the next debating whether it was the right one for her. Jovie seemed to gravitate to pumpkins that were rotten, had no stem or some other such flaw. And of course Pike simply loved the fact that there was a field full of "balls." He'd pick on up and carry it a couple of yards, then drop it for another. What fun it is to celebrate life with the changing seasons!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Ground is shaking all around me. I have several close friends that are suffering from cancer, miscarriage, infertility, and disease and it is breaking my heart. I don't understand why these sweet people have to go through this. I don't understand why I am healthy. All that I know is that I don't know the end to the story that God has written for each individual. I am proclaiming this today for both my life and those around me suffering:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Image found here on Etsy

Friday, September 23, 2011

Our new house

These pictures are long overdue, I know. But, let me just tell you, it is a feat to get this house cleaned up AND take pictures before it's a mess again! And then to upload them to the computer and post them...but alas, here they are:

The front of the house.

The family room.

The dining room.

The kitchen.

The back of the house.

The playground.

The backyard and my lovely raised edible bed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What am I?

I don't like coffee.

I have an amazing sense of smell.

I am constantly hungry but a very picky eater.

I love to sleep.

....Did you guess that I AM PREGNANT? Ding, ding, ding! You're right!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Is she in preschool?

This post from A Magical Childhood hit the nail on the head for me. As the school year is starting and I now have a four year old, I am often asked if she's in preschool. My response is that we are homeschooling. Sometimes I wish I could go into more detail as to why and what my strategy is but usually it ends there. The bottom line is, I find my kids to be at such a vital stage of life. Each of them need as much attention as I can give them. They are sponges soaking up everything around them and I want the things that they absorb to be good character, a loving and compassionate heart, a desire to share, creativity, an excitement to learn and read, a desire to obey, friendships and memories with those that will be with them forever (their siblings). I want to use every situation throughout our day to exemplify and explain God's goodness and love. When we sit down for lunch, we thank God for our food. When someone hits or does something that is wrong, I explain God's desire for us to be kind and gentle and to not get angry but to be patient. When one of them takes a toy or does something wrong, I explain how we need to ask for forgiveness, not only do we say that we're sorry, we ask them to forgive us and the other child gets to offer up, "yes, I forgive you." I know, parents can do all these things and their children can still go to preschool, but for me, those few hours of the day that they are being molded at preschool by other children and other teachers (whom I'm sure are wonderful but they are not "mom" and they don't know my child like I know my child) are just too precious for me to spare. Yes, Pear knows how to read. She can count upwards of 40. She can write letters and numbers and she knows what an octagon is but none of this REALLY matters. I have no doubts that all of my children will excel in their education, not that I am a great teacher or that they were born with Stephen's book smarts. I truly believe that when you have a child that is balanced, has parents that care and invest in their children (time not money) the education will naturally come. It is human nature to desire to learn and when given the opportunity and encouraged by those they love, they will exceed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

At the end of the day

I think of these things:

Pear: "Mom, I want to have 4 kids. 1 boy, 1 girl, 1 more boy and 1 more girl. And the girls will be twins and the boys will be twins. And I will name them all fruits! One girl Orange, one boy Banana, and a girl Raspberry and a boy Huckleberry."

Jovie: "Mom. Mommy. Mommmm! Mommy." Me: What Jovie?" Jovie: "I love you." And then she grins. And I can't help but grin and say "I love you more!"

Pike: Walking around saying "Ma-ma, Mama, Ma-ma." Grabbing my leg and giving me a hug. And then when I pick him up, he says "Mmmmmm-uh!" Basically his way of giving a kiss and saying I love you.

In case you couldn't tell, I love my kids and I think they love me. Even though I am impatient at times. Sometimes I'm lazy. Sometimes I lash out and say something I regret. God's grace is big. I am still learning the whole mommy business. I am still learning this whole life business! Thank you God for your grace. Who am I to be blessed with such gifts?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I want to be...

Soma Communities - Missional Community Profile - Tacoma, WA from Soma Communities on Vimeo.

This video inspired me. I want to BE the church. It's not about a Sunday service. It's not about singing songs. It's not about 5 people or 500 hundred people. This life, my life, is about serving Christ. About worshiping God through every aspect of my life. I want to live my life with purpose- to love people, to reach the lost, and to worship my God.

Thanks, Rebekah, for the link!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What to do? I know what!

I just stumbled across this list and I think it's great! So many times I want to spend quality time with my kids and I just can't figure out what to do. Here are a hundred simple things that will make your toddlers giddy. I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The process of buying OUR house...

WARNING: This is long and probably boring. But for my records, it is here.

I hope that when you buy your house, it's not as stressful as when we bought ours. The past two months have been a roller coaster. When we began looking into houses and I called our lender to get pre-approved for financing, she advised me that there was no way we would be able to buy a house right now. We either needed to make more money, pay off our van and/or have a lot more cash to put down, and/or look for a house in a much lower price range. As none of those things were really an option, I advised our realtor that we might have to stop looking at houses and wait a little longer to buy. He suggested that we contact a lender that he works closely with as she has been able to get a lot of people loans when they were told no elsewhere. I called her. She didn't blink an eye. She said we could get a loan NO PROBLEM! She guaranteed an FHA loan requiring only 3.5% down and she actually second guessed as to why my lender said there would be an issue.

I'll give you a little bit of our scenario:

We purchased our duplex 3 years ago. We have rented half and lived in the other half. Lenders will only qualify rental income as part of your income if it's been rented out for a year and is on your previous year's tax statement. So basically, on paper for the lender, it looks as though we are losing $1200 a month on that duplex (after paying the mortgage payment, taxes and insurance.) In actuality, we are cash flow positive with the duplex but like I said, the lenders have to do what their guidelines say and because we've been living there for the past 3 years and not collecting rent for the upper unit, we can't include that as income.

We have an FHA loan for the duplex. We were advised by our first lender that you are not allowed to have two FHA loans at the same time. The second lender advised us that we are an exception. FHA allows two FHA loans 1.) if your family outgrows the home, (which ours most definitely did,) and 2.) if your first FHA loan is an investment, (which ours most definitely is.)

We proceeded on with the lender that didn't blink an eye, has 25 years experience (as compared to the first lender having 5) and put in an offer on a home. After some negotiating we came to an agreement on price and negotiated a budget for the builder to pay for our choice of appliances, our choice of window coverings, our choice of landscaper (thanks Uncle Dean!), granite countertops and wood floors. All this was good but it required a $5000 non-refundable deposit in order to continue with our choices. This deposit would go towards our down payment at closing. Before signing the dotted line and writing the check, I checked with the lender, she said we are golden. She re-ran credit checks, re-looked at all of our info, we were golden. So, we took the jump and 4 weeks later, the house would be done and be we thought.

Once signing the dotted line, we put our duplex unit on craigslist. The first person to look at it wanted it and they met all of our qualifications so it was set. We were to close on 6/24 and they were to move in on 7/1. That would give us a week of buffer to move and clean the old place out. Well, time passed and all was well. The house was done. We called Nora (our lender) daily to check and see what the progress was, ask if any info was needed and if we would close on time. The answer was always yes. Until 6/24 came along and there was a hiccup. The underwriter had a problem with us having 2 FHA loans. Nora assured us that we should be closing the next day. We are fine. We can TOTALLY have two FHA loans! Basically a week went by and we heard the same thing every day. We moved out of our duplex, on 6/29, as agreed and moved our stuff into our new garage to allow our new tenants into the duplex. HOWEVER we weren't allowed to move anything in the house as our builder's bank will not allow it. So, we spent the night with my folks.

On 6/30 Nora called and said not to be freaked out that everything is still going to be fine. There's nothing wrong with our file, we were just in the stack to be underwritten and they were extremely busy. Most likely it would be the next day. Oh, and that we may have to go conventional but that's a worst case scenario thing. (This meant more $ down and more time for a new application.) I freaked out. What?! Are you serious? How can this be? Oh, and she was leaving for 6 days for the 4th of July weekend. Stephen flipped. He called the regional manager and gave him a piece of his mind. He was helpful and responsive and he said that he would do everything in his power to speed up our loan process. Also, he said he was pretty certain that we would NOT be able to have a second FHA loan. But we'd have to wait until the underwriters get to it. Oh, and did I mention that our underwriter also went on vacation? Yep. She did. And left us homeless.

7/7 came around and we were still homeless everyone was back from vacation. The regional manager advised us that morning that we heard back from underwriting and we were going to have to go conventional. Nora advised us that this process would be much faster and we would be able to get it hopefully within a week. That is... if we could come up with the extra cash. Praise God and thank Uncle Rick! Otherwise we would've been out the countless hours and thousands of dollars invested in this house. And we still would've been homeless! So, on the path of conventional loan.

We were given an underwriter with cancer and was out sick for a couple of days. (Bless her heart and I do have pity, but please, can't you give us someone that is actually in the office?) So our file sat there. Once approved by her, it had to be approved by another set of underwriters. A week went by and NO progress. Another weekend. Another week and we were finally beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel but no! They now required us to refinance our van (to get our debt/income lower because they couldn't count our duplex income!) So, we rushed to get that done and of course, the loan officer that started our process Thursday morning, left early that day and then was out on Friday! So, we proceeded with the office manager who normally doesn't do loans! But we got it done so that we could move onto the next phase of our loan. (I'm not going to go into the detail of that afternoon. It was one of the worst days of my life.) Nope, we still couldn't close yet. It had to clear underwriting again. Monday came and oops, the underwriting manager who had to sign off on our file WAS ON VACATION! Are you serious? Yep. I am. Another week and still homeless. Monday came and I told Nora that we had better be signing because Stephen has lost 10 lbs in a month, I am going crazy and my kids have slept on the floor long enough. Not to mention the inconvenience we put our families through for the past month! "I know, I know." is what she said. I have never been so frustrated with someone in my life! The reason I was so frustrated with her is because we trusted her as a professional and she failed us. Big time. We could have been out a home and not had any $ to put towards another home. She promised us something and fell way short.

To end this long story it was not until the following Monday, 7/25 that we officially closed on our house. We were finally allowed to move in on 7/19. I love my new home! That wretched, stressful month is over and I will never go through that again, (please God!) Our family was so gracious and helpful. I owe you all! My kids woke my parents and siblings up at 5:30 am for far too many mornings. We emptied your refrigerator. We put Stephen's brother out of a room for a few days. We were stressed and most likely grumpy most of the time but alas, it's over!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Yes, we do live in a free country and I have been freed by Christ, but that is not where I am going with this post. It has been 5 years, folks, 5 years of being attached to a baby as either the womb in which they grew or their food source through nursing. Since my kids are only 20 and 19 months apart, I was pregnant both times before I had even quit nursing. And this week marks freedom for me. I am neither pregnant nor nursing! Yay! It is a little bitter-sweet but mostly just sweet. Nothing says that I won't be pregnant again someday, (other than Stephen, but what does he have to do with it! ;) Seriously, Stephen and I disagree on this subject. I continue to want a couple more of these adorable monkeys running around and he continues to enjoy getting out of the baby stage more and more. Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying the seasons and getting out of the baby stage but I just see our family having even more fun with even more children! Our agreement is that we will discuss the subject of more children when Pike is 2 years old. At that point we will hopefully agree one way or another.

We shall see....

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

just one of those days!

You know, the kind that you roll out of bed with a fussy baby at 5:30am after a long night of receiving next to no sleep. The kind that after refereeing a couple of squabbles you decide to go and fix breakfast only to run out of pancakes because the kids wanted thirds. Once the kids were cleaned up, the baby crawls to you crying due to messy britches. You change that. Figure out something for your own breakfast (you didn't get pancakes) and then your second child hollers, "mom, I went poop!". Fix that. Come back to eat your breakfast standing up just to insure you can swallow. Mid-morning snack time now. Second child spills water all over the clothes you just put on her. Change those. First child doesn't like the cartoon you picked out so she throws a tantrum. Fix that. Take a shower. Baby's awake from nap. Poopy again. Change that. Second child wants lunch (yes, even though it's only 10:30am, she's been awake for nearly 5 hours!) Lunch time everyone! Oh, bummer. All we have are apples and peanut butter. That works. Apples and peanut butter everywhere! Second child has peanut butter from her head to her toes- literally. Once she is washed and her clothes are changed AGAIN, I hear the toilet lid slam. Yep, second child did not close the toilet lid and third child decided it was a fun bucket of water to play in. Not cool. Clean him up. First child is now hollering, "mom, I'm all done and I need washed!" Clean her. Sit for two seconds and hear a crash. Third child fell down the stairs and was stuck between the rail. Bloody lip. Soothed that. By this time, it was time to just go for a drive. Everyone gets locked in their seats. Nobody gets hurt. Nobody makes a mess. Just peace and least one could hope. Second child goes into hysterics because her skirt is too puffy in her car seat. Pull over, fix the skirt, fix the seat belt and continue on. It's 11:30am and I wonder why I'm ready for bed....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Going to the Dentist

For most parents (and kids) going to the dentist is a drudgery. Thanks to my siblings positive outlook on it and Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry here in Olympia, my girls loved their visit and look forward to the next! Both Pear and Jovie passed their first visit with flying colors. I think picking out their tooth brush was their favorite part.

Here is a video of them re-enacting their visit to the dentist. Snippets in time like these really make me smile. They push me through all of the squabbles and messes and training times. The video may be boring to you, but to me, it's a joy. Enjoy!...or be bored.

Am I dreaming?

I know you know I haven't been posting on here very frequently. Well, that is, if you actually come here to see what I'm up to frequently. But, you may not know why. Let me tell you. WE ARE BUYING A HOUSE!!! A NEW house! With plenty of space! With a private back yard! On a dead end street! With a beautiful kitchen! And....a playground in the back yard! Am I dreaming? It still hasn't sunk in yet. It probably won't until a few months after we move in. But I feel like I'm dreaming. But if I'm dreaming, I probably wouldn't be so tired by the end of the day. You see, we are still working on projects to complete this here duplex we are living in. In fact, I really shouldn't be blogging but rather painting the final touches in the kitchen. Ah, oh well, I'll get to that. Yes, so we are finishing the remodel on the duplex, taking care of 3 kids, figuring out the finishing touches on the new house, Stephen is working his day time job +2 side jobs and we are packing and organizing so that we can move in approximately 30 days. We are busy. I don't mind a bit! I will be posting more on the new house and the completed duplex soon. But for now, I'm off to finish more projects!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby Dude!

My little Pike turned one year old today. As overused as this phrase may be, it is true, I am amazed how fast time flies. This year has been very hard, very fun, very trying and extremely blessed. Pike has giving me more kisses and snuggles than both of my girls combined. He is the sweetest little boy. His laughter is contagious. And, as annoying as it may be to have your hair pulled and your belly kicked in the middle of the night, when he turns over to cuddle, it almost makes up for it! (He doesn't sleep with us all the time but lately it seems more often than not.) Pike loves to push toys and furniture around the house to support his chubby little legs and their attempt at walking. However, when he lets go, he drops to the ground and crawls as fast as a race-horse. Pike loves food and continues to let the world know that by making loud grunting noises and squeals as he eats. Unfortunately this love of food drives him to pick up every scrap and crumb he can find on the ground and the scraps of bread or other items containing wheat don't agree with his little body. Pike loves to be outside, he'll crawl with bare knees on concrete or gravel but if you stick him on grass, he won't move an inch. Don't even try to get those toes to touch the grass, he'll bring his feet to his chest and begin to squirm immediately! I have so enjoyed my baby boy this year. Happy birthday little Pike Henry.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I can taste the memories...

Do you have certain foods that bring back memories? Fried chicken- Grandma's house. A slightly under-baked chocolate chip cookie- an afternoon snack made by mom. A fresh croissant- the air in Paris. And a Mocha Coconut Frappuccino- the days over 7 years ago that Stephen brought me my favorite treat from Starbucks while at work. Before we were dating. Before I knew he would one day be my husband. I had a crush, but nothing more at that time. The fun thing is, they stopped making the Mocha Coconut Frappuccino after that year and just now are bringing it back! I went to Starbucks the other day with every intention of getting an iced mocha but when I saw that, I just about jumped out of my seat! The barista asked me as I pulled up to the window, "so you've had this before, huh?" I didn't give him my life story and the memories it brought back I just said, "yes! And I'm so glad I can have it again!"

Monday, May 2, 2011

cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls have always been a favorite of mine. As a child, on occasion, my parents would treat me and my siblings to Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. Most kids would probably start with a half, maybe end up eating a whole. I ate 2! I ended up sick on the way home. That didn't taint my love for the sweet rolls of goodness! Here is my tried and true recipe:

2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup sugar +1tsp sugar
1 cup warm milk
2/3 cup butter melted
2 tsp salt
2 eggs slightly beaten
7 cups of flour

3/4 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp cinnamon

4 oz butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

In measuring cup dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in warm water. (I can tell the water is just right when I can swirl my finger in it and not be scalded.) You will know your yeast is active when it bubbles and becomes foamy.

In mixing bowl with paddle attachment combine 3 cups flour, salt, milk, butter, eggs and yeast mixture. Beat on med-high until well combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl and change attachment to dough hook. Add additional 3 cups flour. Knead and add additional flour as kneaded to create slightly sticky, ropy dough. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and turn dough a couple of times to create a smooth, elastic ball. Place in buttered bowl, cover and let rise 2 hours or until doubled.

Roll out dough into a 15"x20" rectangle. Spread softened butter over entire rectangle. generously sprinkle filling onto dough. Roll up dough. Cut into rolls approx 1 1/2" thick. (I use dental floss to cut my rolls. Get a strip of dental floss. Slide under dough gently. Cross the floss to create an 'X' and pull tight. Voila!) Place rolls in buttered pan butting rolls up against each other to encourage upward rising. Cover and let rise 1-2 hours, until just reaching the top of the pan. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, generously top with the icing and then devour these delicious rolls!

These can also be made the evening before if you wish to serve them for breakfast. Once you roll them up and place them in the pan, refrigerate over night and then follow through with the rising in the morning. You may have to add an additional 30-45 minutes to the rising time though. Or, if you keep your house cool as I we do at night (60-65 degrees) you can prepare them right before bed and let rise overnight. (So long as your house is cool, they shouldn't rise too much.) Then bake them as soon as you wake up!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Facebook Envy

Have you read any of the recent articles on Facebook Envy? I find them slightly funny and all too true. Do you have certain acquaintances who seem to have everything together and the perfect life? I have a few that make me mad (not really, but I do get a little envious) because their kids are on the perfect routine, they get solid sleep, their house is always clean, they are always having fun and they are cute to boot! Really? How do they do it? Or do they.... I don't really buy it. You know, the more I think about it, we are all sinners. We all have issues. Some are more evident than others but none of us live a perfect life. So, just in case any of you thought even for a second that this messy life I'm living is better than yours, I'm doing this post just for you. To make you happier about your own life, though mine is greatly blessed, it is nowhere near perfect. And I want to take you into the nitty-gritty, the part that most don't see or hear:

For the past 4 years, I have rarely slept for a solid period longer than 3 hours. My average total sleep per night is 6 hours.

I have some days that my kids nap well. Most of the time though, I'm lucky to get Pike to sleep for a solid hour.

I complain daily about how tired I am, (Obviously this is a HUGE crutch in my life right now,) how much I wish my kids would sleep, how much I need a break!

I sometimes send all three of my kids to their beds, they all three cry, just so that I don't yell or spank them in anger. Sometimes I just need space to think, gain patience and move on.

My toilet is dirty right now.

My floors have had spilt milk under Jovie's place at the table for 4 days now. Maybe I'll get it mopped today...maybe not!

We have termites in our wall. Gross! And it's expensive to treat. Don't worry, we're getting them treated this week. There goes my shopping spree!

Jovie asked this morning, "mom, you happy?" to which I responded, "yes. I'm happy." She then said, "you just grumpy." This conversation takes place regularly. Sometimes she responds, "you just grumpy." Sometimes it's, "you just tired." Either way, she's right.

I am sick of figuring out meals and cooking. If there were better restaurants around here, we'd be eating out every night of the week. I just don't want to think about it!

We have weeds growing everywhere! The lower lawn (if you can call it that) is completely covered in moss and honestly, we'll keep it that way because we have to mow it less.

I feel so pathetic, I haven't read a book from front to back in years. And this isn't because of kids. It's because I am lazy.

I have belly fat. Yup. I do. Three kids does that to you. Well, and the fact that I eat dessert almost every night. I am working on getting it off BUT not hard enough.

My bedroom is only clean about 2 days out of the month. It's the last on my list. It's easy to close the door when company comes over and that's just the way it is. If you have seen it clean, consider yourself lucky!

I get mad at my kids sometimes. Even little Pike. I'm not proud of this fact, just being real.

Sometimes Stephen drives me nuts! (Again, just being real :o)

I like the idea of baking with my kids. In actuality, it's a ton of work and it doesn't happen very often these days. When it does happen, I find it stretches my patience immensely.

I've wasted about 1 1/2 hours on the internet today and my toilet is still dirty and my floors have still not been mopped. Whether these things end up clean tonight, you may never know!

There you have it. This is the honest-to-goodness me. I hope you feel good about yourself. Because tomorrow, I will most likely be posting the good things in my day...all three of them! Just kidding.

He is Risen!

Over the weekend, we celebrated the fact that Christ arose and is alive. Celebrating with family and friends cannot be beat. I love it! Saturday morning we feasted on chocolate and almond croissants, scrumptious eggs and ham and an assortment of fruit, with Stephen's family. The kids had a blast searching for hidden eggs and they ended the hunt by finding the most treasured prize, God's Word.

These are the remnants of a breakfast enjoyed.

Opening their eggs and discovering all of the candy!

The kids on the hunt for the treasure.

Grandma Therese explaining why the bible is the best treasure. (Jovie found this special prize and it also had $5 hidden inside!)

Aunt Lolo and Pike.

The kids getting ready to enjoy the giant chocolate bunny that Great Grandpa Elven gave to them.

On Sunday, the kids woke up to their Easter baskets and an egg hunt in the living room. We celebrated with my family that afternoon. We ate braised BBQ beef, three bean casserole, an assortment of salads and desserts. I made a fresh fruit tart with pastry cream to share. The kids enjoyed another Easter egg hunt and we now have more candy in this house than we should eat in a year!
Jovie finding eggs.

Looking through their baskets.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm craving...


A night in a luxurious hotel.

A family trip to Disneyland!

A boat ride through the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

Sipping a coffee at a busy cafe in Paris.

An exciting day of shopping in New York.

A relaxing day at the beach in Maui.

How about you? Where would you go?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

all ears

Next to Stephen, my mom is my best friend. I call on her for anything and everything from how to make a pumpkin pie to how to potty train a child. She is all ears when I'm excited about some idea that I've concocted which may or may never come true. She is my help when I'm in desperate need. She is my sounding wall when I need to vent about kids and life. I've been thinking about how much I complain. Over the past few weeks, I've complained to my mom a lot about how little sleep I've had, how hard it is to take care of sick kids, how exhausted I am with everything. She simply listens and sympathizes and encourages me that it is a tough season and I'm doing a good job. You know what I was thinking about? Why doesn't she one-up me? Why doesn't she say, "oh yeah, you think you have it rough, think about me!"? Here's a brief example of one point in life in my mom's shoes: she had 3 teenagers (13,14,16) keeping her up late, a newborn baby (Racer) waking through the night, a toddler (Hutton) who cried in the middle of the night because he had to go potty, and a near 4-year-old (Piper) who had just been diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes who required blood sugar tests and sometimes shots in the middle of the night. On top of all this, she and my dad had just opened a small business (United Package Express) in Aberdeen on top of my dad's full time job as a UPS driver. Oh, and she home-schooled us all! Wow! And that was when there were just 6 of us kids, she has 3 more since that point in time. But, does she ever compare my little complaints which I make out to be huge with her chaotic life? No. She doesn't because she is the epitome of a selfless mother. And I have her to look up to. She simply listens and sympathizes. I want to be like my mom in so many ways and this is just one way that I hope to learn and grow from her. She is a good listener and her heart for her children (me!) is so big. I'm still learning how to be thankful in all situations and how to see the cup half full. Some days are better than others but I do know that I have it good. My life is blessed. And when I just can't take another squabble, or another cup of spilled milk, or another sleepless night, my mom is there with ears open to listen and tell me I'll get through. And if you ever need to vent or complain, call me, I want to practice being a good listener, encourager and sounding wall!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I want to be a homemaker...

I always wanted to be a mommy. Getting married and having children was the one constant goal throughout my childhood/teenage years. I always envisioned staying home to keep the house tidy and to play with the kids. I never thought about the days that we might be sick and yet mommy doesn't get a "sick day". I never thought about the days that kids, or mommy might wake up on the wrong side of the bed and just not be able to kick of the grumpys. I never really thought about the times when the laundry would consume the couch. I thought about the adorable faces, the giggles, the cuddles. I thought about the tidy house and the wife that is all dolled up in an apron with dinner coming off the burner right as daddy comes home. Everything was so my mind. I don't write this to express how horrible it really is. It's not. In fact, I think that all of these slumps and the outrageous amounts of clothes consuming my couch, the fact that I have a crying kid at my feet if and when I do have dinner coming off the burner shows that my life is real. I have a good life and it's REAL. Perfect, no. Wonderful, yes! And in this reality Stephen loves me. God loves me. My kids love me. My parents love me. Even my in-laws love me (I'm pretty sure.) I am so thankful that all of these people in my life have supported me in my desire to be a homemaker. As much as it may be looked down upon by some, I have had nothing but encouragement. When people ask what I do, I hold my head high and say, "I stay home." I hope to encourage my girls to do the same, if they desire so. Currently their favorite book is I Want To Be A HOMEMAKER by Carla Greene published in 1961. I'll leave you with the closing line from the book:

One day Tom hung over the fence and said, "I'm going to be a pilot when I grow up."

"I'm going to be a cook, cleaner, nurse, teacher and an artist," said Jane.

"You can't be so many things," said Tom.

"Oh yes I can," said Jane. "A good homemaker is all of those things."

Monday, April 4, 2011

better late than never!

Have you ever had a project where you set a timeline to complete it only to watch that timeline come and go and you never even started on the said project? That's pretty much the story of our lives. When we purchased this house 3 years ago, the deck was rotten. The kids couldn't go out on it and we were hoping to complete the deck before our second summer in the house. But that didn't happen. Life happened. Kids happened. Nearly a year after we were planning to complete the deck it is done! Stephen continues to amaze me with his skills. Sometimes I wonder if there's anything he can't do. The kids absolutely love having a deck! I can't wait to let them eat picnic lunches out there. For now, they go out for short bursts to watch the birds or play with toys out there. Oh, and don't you love my girls' middle of the day outfits? Jovie dug that dress out of my baby clothes bin (it's just a little small) and Pear is wearing her staple- pajamas.