Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What We've Been Doing!

Well, it appears it has been awhile.  Well, let me use my camera phone to give you a little idea of what we've been up to!  

This girl, has been a wee bit marker happy:

We celebrated Malachi's 5th Gotcha Day at a local park with the family! 

And some Ethiopian food of course! 

Both boys are in the middle of soccer season! 

Taekwondo is going really great!  They are both Little Warrior Yellow Belts now.  Check out this incredible flying side kick!  

The kids were thrilled when the first sign of fall hit the air!  Our area has seen the hottest summer on record, so the fall air is a pleasant change! 

But the heat has made the garden very happy (well, half of it. Some of the veggies did not enjoy the heat so much).  We've given away a lot of veggies and still ended up with a freezer full of goodies.  So I wouldn't say my first year as a gardener was a total disaster, but I definitely learned a few things. 

Peter went out with all of my family bottom fishing in the ocean.  They all had a good time and brought home plenty of fish!

I made super yummy (and healthy) coconut flour and coconut oil rockfish!  Even the kids loved it!

These two just melt my heart! 

Lillybelle is growing very fast! She finally said Mama, and also Tickle Tickle Tickle.  She's taking steps and quickly entering toddlerhood. She also loves popsicles. 

With the return of fall, also comes football season!

Showing off those (wobbly) walking skills! 

Did I mention it is football season! 

We have 3 kids in Awana this year!  

These two cutie pies, I tell ya!

One of my favorite parts of fall:

We brought out a blast from the past of my childhood for the kids. They've loved playing with it. 

We've had a very good summer as a family and look forward to an eventful fall with some big changes coming up!  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eagle Crest 2015

A relaxing, and longer than a weekend vacation away with the kids, is a rare treat.  We have been looking very forward to our scheduled trip to Eagle Crest Resort with the kids. Peter and I have loved our trips down there as a couple and we knew with the kids getting older that they would really love this place too. My parents were down there at Eagle Crest too, so it made for a fun little getaway!  

One of my most favorite parts of Eagle Crest are the units.  A challenge with our family is finding a place big enough to fit us all in and still be affordable.  But Eagle Crest is the perfect size for us!

                                                     All the kids piled into their room!

                             And we got our own room!  A rare treat when vacationing with the kids!

Another of my most favorite parts is the jacuzzi tub. Yes, I have one at home too but I rarely have time to use it.  But on vacation, I have plenty of time to relax and read books in the tub!  That's my idea of relaxation!

Eagle Crest is also a blast because there is just so darn much for the kids do!  We had barely checked in and it was time to hit one of the pools!

Eli spent a lot of time looking for deer.  Fortunately it didn't take too long before they came around!

                               There are also numerous parks for the kids to run and play at!

They would get just a little tired!

More fun poolside for Lillybelle. I am sure she will have a bit more fun the next time we come.

Look at that smile for daddy! 

They loved lunches on the deck while watching the golfers. 

And their friendly deer they nicknamed "Buddy"

We hiked and wore them out in the canyon! 

And chased Lizards

There were lots of lil baby deer for the kids to look at.  Eli thought they looked like donkeys. The deer are everywhere!

We love how beautiful it is out here. Maybe dreaming of a vacation home down here when we retire.  We could split our time between Eagle Crest and Ethiopia ;) 

Feeding the ducks (and geese)

And feeding "buddy"

He stopped by nightly at my parents condo and would peek in at them until they would come out and feed him some apples. 

It has truly been a wonderful vacation and it was soooo needed for our family. We've had so much fun together and are feeling relaxed and excited to head into fall!  Already dreaming about next time and the kids are begging for us to bring them back! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

On Parenthood

Well friends, we are edging towards the end of another weekend. And can I just be honest here for a minute?  I'm tired.  Peter is tired.  This life of being parents, well it is A LOT of work in case you didn't know.  The craziest part of all this is that we lay in bed at night and reminisce on the craziness of our life and just think "we did this to ourselves! We made this little army of minions- by choice!"

Now before you get the wrong impression, I love my life.  All I've ever wanted to be was a mommy.  But for some reason, this summer has been exceptionally exhausting in the realm of parenthood.  I remember a few years back, and the moment I found out I was pregnant again.  I looked at Malachi who was barely 1 years old in his high chair and I looked over across the room at Eli, barely 6 months old in his high chair and just wondered how in the world I was going to do it.  I knew that little baby I was carrying was a blessing, but I also knew some very challenging days were ahead. And I was right!  That first year with 3 babies was very hard. Every day was a struggle to just make it to bedtime.  Looking back now, I truly don't understand how we made it!  But we did!

Peter and I were fortunate enough to get to go away for one night on our anniversary.  Can I just say, it was so stinkin much fun.  The wonderful thing about being overwhelmed with a house full of kids, is we didn't waste a second of our freedom together! It was just so nice to escape parenthood and act like we were "just a couple" again for a short time!  There were moments of those 24 hours that I can't wait to have that light at the end of the tunnel of parenting!  Empty nest is gonna be a great time!  But these days are great times too. And I know I am going to miss these days.  I'm not the first woman to have 4 very young children at home.  Someday I will reflect on the chaos of these days and miss how little all these babies once were.

I find it kind of comical that I have a running list of "Things to do in my free time".  That list just seems to keep growing and nothing is getting checked off of it. I don't even know why I try.  Just getting the basics done of cooking, cleaning, refereeing, homeschooling, classes, workouts is barely doable in the hours I have each day before we crash at the end of the night.

At the moment we have a very energetic 5 year old, a stubborn 4 year old (who asks hundreds of questions every.single.day), a 3 year old who is constantly testing boundaries, and a very high needs and opinionated 12 month old.  Yeah, writing that all out explains a lot.  I literally feel like all I do each day is meet needs, correct misbehavior and referee fights.  And maybe that is what this life of motherhood is all about in this phase.  Behind all those challenges I see with these kids, I see good gifts in each of them too.  That energetic 5 year old lives life to the fullest each and every day. Full of courage, and always willing to tell the truth, even if he knows he did something wrong.  A 4 year old who is very curious about everything in this world, who is learning and will not allow others to walk all over him.  A 3 year old who is very tenderhearted, but tough and mighty and a force to be reckoned with.  A baby girl who is a fighter and who works hard at things that come easy for others. She knows what she wants and she's going to get what she wants.

Life is hard, but life is beautiful.  It is a wonderful and hard privilege to get to parent these kids.  I never expected it to be easy. Our lives were blessed hard and fast with this family.  I know we are in just a bit of a tough phase right now, and as we just live life, day by day, that eventually things will feel easier again and I will look back at this post someday and think "how did we do it?".  Parenthood is tough, but it is a wonderful gift!  We are creating and raising the next generation of this world.  Well, of course that will not be an easy task to take on.  Fortunately I already see the hearts of these little ones and they are beautiful people!  So here's to pressing on for another day, another week, another month! We got this!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just Keeps Getting Better

Today Peter and I celebrate 9 years of marriage.  It feels impossible that it has been that long, but we've sure lived a lot and been on an adventure since that day.

We really were just two kids in love, with pretty much nothing!  Peter was still in school and we were just so young!  But our hearts were full of love and our heads full of dreams. We were prepared for it to be hard, for it to even feel like work. But I could have never imagined how great it would be!  Silly me, I kind of thought our wedding day was the peak of our love, but boy was I wrong.  It was just the beginning!  

As I've thought about or 9th year together, I often find myself thinking about this song:

Link: It Did

We've been on quite the journey.  It seems we always have a new adventure in life, but things have remained somewhat calm lately. And it has been good!  We've grown so much as a couple over this last year and I can honestly say, things are better than ever! We've grown a lot in vulnerability and communication. I think a lot of that can be attributed to Peter and his willingness to forgive me often, communicate honestly, and listen intently even if I am babbling in the middle of the night and he has to get up for work in just a couple hours.  He is a good man.  

We've had so much fun this year.  We probably had our smoothest transition yet to the addition of a new family member.  We've been on lots of fun short trips and even a trip to Disney World and the absolute highlight of this past year, 10 days in Ireland together!  We find fun and laughter in the chaos of everyday life with 4 young children and we enjoy and always prioritize time together in the midst of it all.  Marriage has never ever felt like work for us and I consider that a blessing!  We've built ourselves a strong foundation from the beginning and now those roots seem to be digging in deeper and growing bigger and stronger as each year passes.

A year ago at a marriage class I was a part of, the speaker mentioned how her and her husband read through the chapter in psalms each year that correlates with their anniversary year.  We started this last year and last night as we were reminiscing wedding memories (the few we still remember!)  we read through Psalms 9 and picked our theme verse for this year.  I might have had a different verse in mind but my husband our leader picked Psalms 9:1 and has declared this year a year of praise for our marriage.

Psalms 9:1 "I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart. I will tell of all your marvelous works."

God has guided us and helped us grow all these years, and our marriage is good!  I think it is awesome to get to spend this year marveling and praising over what He has done through our marriage. And how fitting that we are already thinking and dreaming of the celebration we will go on for our 10 year anniversary so why not celebrate this whole year through!    

 We are going to have a wonderful day of celebration as my husband whisks me away for the night.  A night away seriously sounds so refreshing at this moment and just what I need!  So here's to us at 9 years!  I love you Peter more than you can even know.  I am so lucky to have you as a husband.  You support us, you lead us, you work harder than you should have to, and you always at least consider all the crazy adventures I want to embark on!  I couldn't ever ask for a better, more loving father for our children.  You show our boys chivalry daily and teach our daughters what a tenderly loving, and devoted father is. You love others and have a Biblical passion for the orphans and widows in this world.  You work 55 hour weeks consistently and yet never complain and still devote yourself fully to us in every spare moment.  You embody love in everything you do.  I feel so lucky that you chose to spend your life with me.  You are a great man!  Here's to loving you for all our remaining years together!