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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Life's Hike

Today was a 10 steps backwards kind of a day. There were quite a few steps forward, Capper came back jazzed after his 10 day vacation with Gramps to Canada!! I had a successful day of work. We went to AWANA (which is always fun for the kids, exhausting for the adults). But we also found out we didn't pass our foster care license renewal. And we found out that a rental home we own, which flooded during Hurricane Harvey, which we've invested plenty of money in to renovate after this incident...flooded again today. But it's just money right? It's just stuff, right?

I read a blog post about a dear friend struggling with cancer today too.

I worked with families who are struggling with mental illness today too.

I am sure I drove past individuals who are desperate to pay bills and make ends meet.

And I am here. I am warm. I am fed. My sweet, SWEET, children are tucked in their cozy beds. My husband sits upstairs, and he is faithful. He will never leave us or our family. He will faithfully get up and go to work tomorrow long before the sun rises. And the sun WILL rise...a new day...maybe a 10 steps forward day, maybe not. But regardless of what the day brings and whether or not I feel "blessed" or "cursed" or somewhere in between, I still have plenty to be thankful for. And I still have the joys (and tears) of four amazing children to remind me that life may not be easy but we can still laugh and have fun. So I'll get up in the morning (and likely 5 times during the night if the last few nights are any indicator) and I'll build our community. Our community of 6 in this home...I'll have a friend over for lunch who is learning how to cope with the chronic illness of a child...I'll meet with other moms to fervently pray for our children and the school they attend...and I'll remind myself, be not discouraged. We have plenty to be thankful for!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Getting Closer

Packing is like parenting, you spend all day doing so much and at the end of the day there's so much left to do! Does anyone else feel like your possessions multiple when you're trying to pack them? Somehow that small closet is like Mary Poppin's purse, you're so close to having it empty for so long it seems it will never be complete. Let's not mention the kids' bedroom!!

A common answer around here is, "I packed them." For example, "Mommy, where are the colored pencils?" "I packed them." "Mommy, where is my purple hairbow?" "I packed it." "Mommy, where are my snow boots?" "I packed them." Who thinks of snow boots when the daytime high hasn't been below 80 degrees in weeks??? I think it's just a game to see how many things they can think of that I may have packed already. Even leaving their favorite toys to pack until last, I've been busted quite a few times packing something that they "really really really wanted to play with today!" 

So I am plugging away, getting a few things in a box while the baby naps and the big kids are busy with the toys I haven't packed or watching a show on Netflix. And hoping the house will be ready to pass temporary occupancy inspection in time...

Two months before we moved from Oakland I posted this photo. I think it's time for another!

In case you can't read it:

  • Birth of Baby -60
  • Finish New House 2 days
  • Move to New House 3 days
  • Start Kindergarten 7 days
  • Start AWANA 8 days
  • Return to work from maternity leave 12 days
  • Avoid Big Changes For... 365 days





As the kids say, "it's actually turning in to a real house!" Thanks to the timeline crunch, there's almost been more progress made on the house this week than in the entire past year! Instead of just feeling stressful, the season is getting exciting!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Full Speed Ahead!

I gave up on not starting projects while waiting for baby
A month has flown by...a month since our family became "Royal, party of 6"...and another week flew by between when I started this post and tonight, when I plan to finish it...I know life only seems to speed up but I have a feeling this is an especially accelerated season.

To back up a bit: Waiting for baby brother felt long. The kids knew he was coming in June so every day beginning on June 1st I'd hear some sweet and excited voice inquire, "Will baby brother come today?" Since I was thoroughly convinced he would be early, I kept answering with enthusiasm, "Maybe!" But then his due date came and went, and they started to doubt he'd ever come; I was about to join them. Finally, 9 days after he was due and one day before he would have been evicted via induction, I woke up with contractions as I had nightly for over a month. But this time, for the first time, they didn't fade away!

Minutes old, before the midwife pinched him to make him cry and pink up!
We welcomed beautiful Burns Louis into our family on June 30th, he almost made a liar out of me as I'd told the kids he'd arrive in June. This guy has been keeping us on our toes since the day I realized I was pregnant so I should have expected nothing less!

Beginning that morning, life has just picked up speed! Having a newborn in the house is magical and precious and seeing big siblings interact with their baby brother is even sweeter.
We've been trying to savor this time. Daniel took a week off work and then a couple days each week for 2 weeks. The kids and I went to my parents' cabin near Spokane with Daniel's Mom, his sister, and her kids. We had a blast! When we returned home we were shocked when our landlord let us know that she had someone waiting to move in to our current home and we would need to be out by the end of August.
Pool Time with cousins
That news set us into a frenzy! There was no way our house would be ready considering all the delays but perhaps we could at least get it ready enough to move our possessions in! Daniel has spent almost all of his waking time either at work or working on our house. I've spent all of mine either nursing a baby, driving to pick up flooring/plumbing parts/etc., packing boxes, or loving and caring for our 4 sweet kids. We've even enlisted the help of "the bigs"! This afternoon was spent with a "kids list" in Sophia's pocket that she was in charge of reading to the other two. They had jobs and we had jobs. There was a bit of griping, and some tears from a tired Evelyn, but we weren't going to leave until everyone was done with their job. Between Sophia's reading and scrap wood-moving, Capper's ATV driving/hauling/debris pick up, Evelyn's babysitting/dog-sitting/odd jobs, Daniel's mailbox installing/trim moving/sweeping, and my general site-clean-up we got the house ready for this week's work which includes interior painting and countertop templating (not done by us, thank goodness!) It's not exactly what we had planned for maternity leave but I am so thankful to be on maternity leave. And considering we moved from California to Washington when Daniel didn't even have a "for sure" job and Evelyn was 5 weeks old, this should be easy right??

It's an exciting and exhausting season. I was very disappointed when I realized I had to cancel our annual Mom and Kids camping trip for the first time in 6 years but it was the right decision. There's just too much happening in life right now...like fruit ripening and a need to obey the Royal Urge to pick and process it!!

And with that, I'll let the jam set and finish typing because I hear the baby crying, goodnight!
Also this lady turned 3 last weekend
Fancied up for a birthday shopping trip!



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

#RoyalHouseBuild June 2017

Building is fun for the kids, they love to help!
Yes, I've left you hanging. I've heard the questions, "how's your house coming along?" It is coming. Slowly but surely, it is coming. Did you realize how many steps there are to building a house?? I thought I did, but I was wrong. The longest step is the waiting. The waiting for permits which took years, then the waiting for the weather to be right, then the waiting for subcontractors to be available...and waiting for them to show up...and waiting for an opening in the next subcontractor's schedule because the last one took too long. I've decided it's best if I know very little about the process of who is supposed to show up when and why this isn't installed yet and how much longer it is all going to take. We'll stay in our cozy double-wide, soon to be a half-dozen people, packed in a tad bit like sardines, but happy. And laughing, and excited for the adventure of moving to our new home in...not June anymore...probably not July...maybe August??
Siding was a pretty exciting step!

The siders took their lunch seriously, BYOM!
Testing toilet seats, not quite as exciting


Insulation, again, not so exciting, but it does give the illusion of walls!
Yes, now our rooms will be quieter!
We've gotten our money's worth out of our little trailer! 


The artwork that is about to be covered.

Daniel removed a window for the sheetrock delivery
Sheetrock means we have real rooms!!



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

50 Things to Do This Summer

In case you are interested in our summer plans, here are some of them! #RoyalSummerList2017

Strawberry Picking
River
Canoe
Seattle Aquarium
Vinegar and Soda
Pick Asparagus
Blow flowers
Hawk Creek
Sports Camp
Michael’s Craft
Water Balloons
Fishing/Crabbing
Candy Ball
Pajama/Popcorn/Movie Day
Bowling
Make Ice Cream
Blueberry Picking
Home Depot Craft
Giant Ice Cube
Ice Cream Sundae Party
Review AWANA Verses
Sprinkler
Friends BBQ
Park Picnic
Champion Ice Cream
Swim
Fall City Days
Seattle Waterfront
Mom and Kids Camping
Sticky Ickies
Pick Apples
Splash Park
North Bend Cinema
Shop at Treehouse
Marshmallow Sculptures
Facepaint
Small Fryes Shakes
Sleepover at Grandma A’s
Fox Island Beach
Toilet Paper Roll Sculptures
Catch Bugs
Make Ice Cream
Shaving Cream clouds
Rattlesnake Lake
Fireworks shirts
Movie Theater
Bubble art
S’mores
Slip-n-Slide
Hike SFFT

Monday, April 24, 2017

#AnellahSmiles 2 Years Later


Two years, seven hundred and thirty days...it seems like a long time and in many ways it is. We have a new home started now, and another daughter, and expecting another son...but there's still a space in our lives. I wouldn't say it's an empty space, it's a space filled with memories of joy and laughter and color and sparkles. The space created by the amazing little lady, Anellah! The tender girl who knew she was born with a purpose and fought to live for the first year, then excelled at living and thrived, continuing to draw people in with her vibrant spirit, and who, in the end was ready to go see her Lord face to face. To meet The One she prayed to and believed in and whom we prayed to for healing that came in a way we would not have chosen.

In many ways it is not long at all. The process of grief, long and often unexpected...sometimes leaving me shocked at how something hits me hard, hard with the pain of loss. In bed, on dark nights...at times I can't sleep, rehearsing the last few days which feel like yesterday. Wishing I'd said something different or done something different or loved better. Not wishing I could have saved her, but wishing instead that I'd been more patient, more kind, more gentle...when I didn't realize the end was so very near. The world wants us to "move on" and "get over it" and in so many ways we have, but I also want to "hold on" and "remember" because the more days that go by, the fewer people we are friends with that knew her...they are missing out...because really she was incredible!

Tonight we hold on. We read the memories her friends wrote down for us. We look at pictures and laugh at memories. Tonight, as 2 year old Capper eloquently said, "I'm not sad she died, I'm happy because I knew her."


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring Break

Packed up and planned out, through the door and on the plane, our family vacation started off without a hitch...and would you believe it, the entire week went off without a hitch!?! A week of sun in Colorado Springs, a week of 6 cousins playing together, a week with very few tears and plenty of smiles! Three days of water play at Great Wolf Lodge, and the rest of the days filled with limiting plans so the kids could just play. Because that's what they really wanted to do, not be tourists, not go on adventures even, just play together. It was beautiful. I'm so thankful for my brother and sister in law who hosted, the family with whom we rarely talk to until we're together. And then it's talking and eating and laughing and getting caught up...until next time. The people you can just pick up where you left off and not feel guilty about the lack of letters or phone calls or emails because you know we're all living this crazy parenting life together even halfway across the country and sometimes focusing on the family in front of you takes precedence over small chat with the ones living somewhere else. And you know it's ok that the email you've been meaning to send since getting home almost a week ago hasn't been sent yet.