Follow by Email

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 2017

The day is done, now the Roomba will run, and I'm sitting in front of the fire. Reflecting on a perfect day of snow and gifts of family and food and the greatest gift in the world. I've had a few months of silence on the blog, life has kept me running! New baby, new house, new school for the kids, and now the year is coming to a close. I think we are leaving a season of survival and moving to a new season of fun and community and hope. And what better day to begin that season of hope than on the day we celebrate the greatest gift coming to the world?

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 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
Seattle Aquarium
Vinegar and Soda
Pick Asparagus
Blow flowers
Hawk Creek
Sports Camp
Michael’s Craft
Water Balloons
Candy Ball
Pajama/Popcorn/Movie Day
Make Ice Cream
Blueberry Picking
Home Depot Craft
Giant Ice Cube
Ice Cream Sundae Party
Review AWANA Verses
Friends BBQ
Park Picnic
Champion Ice Cream
Fall City Days
Seattle Waterfront
Mom and Kids Camping
Sticky Ickies
Pick Apples
Splash Park
North Bend Cinema
Shop at Treehouse
Marshmallow Sculptures
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

Monday, April 24, 2017

#AnellahSmiles 2 Years Later

Two years, seven hundred and thirty 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 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.

Monday, February 20, 2017

"I sho do wike ife cweam"- Evelyn 2.5 Years Old

Exciting few weeks around here. Starting with Super Bowl Sunday...not so exciting for me but we spent it with good friends and it began to snow...and snow...and snow! The next day was our 20 week ultrasound and since we'd be finding out the gender we planned a party for Monday evening. But the snow never stopped. All night it continued and we woke up to a winter wonderland!

Of course we also woke up to a lack of electricity and internet. Ironically we'd placed the order for a woodstove for our new house just days before! Monday was chilly but when I could no longer convince everyone to "stay in bed, it's warmer there!" we boiled water for hot chocolate on the propane grill and toasted bagels on it for breakfast; a mix of staycation and snow camping.
Sweetie Saying Good Morning to our landlord's horse
Everything cancelled, no school, no appointments, no garbage pick up, no way of leaving our road without skis. So we played. We built a snow wall which was fun but never ended up being used for a snowball fight, we hiked down the road in the silence of the snow to the river and tested to see who could throw the biggest snowball into the water, and we appreciated the electricity when it came back on and we stood on the heater grates excited for warm air. I can't think of a better reason to have an ultrasound and party cancelled than a surprise snow day!

That week we enjoyed the last of the snow and by the end of the week our new house was back to taking shape. The roofing was delivered and the plumbing was close to completion. Even the windows were installed!

The end of that week my parents took ALL THREE kids for the ENTIRE weekend to their cabin 4+ hours away. They left Friday at 5:00am and didn't return until Monday evening. What a quiet weekend we had and what a loud weekend they had! But everyone had a spectacular time making memories and Evelyn loved going to be in her "fweeping bag" like a big kid. The kids had a BLAST with Gram and Gramps while Daniel and I stayed home. We didn't do anything exceptional, but everything we did, we did together. And we went out to eat wherever we wanted on whatever schedule we wanted. Glorious. When Daniel went to work Monday I pretended it was my birthday and ran errands at a leisurely pace, stopped for frozen yogurt, and checked out Daiso to see what junk I "needed." It was finally the day of my ultrasound and getting to see the little baby wiggle around while ultrasound technician comment over and over about how active the baby is was the best gift!!

Our exhausted happy kids went to bed late Monday night and when they woke up the next day Capper said, "Wow, that was a short night!" They did a good job of treating me well for my birthday and I only had to pull the "Please do it for me? It's my birthday?" card once or twice. Capper is quite the generous gifter and almost couldn't wait until Daddy was home for me to open my presents! The evening was spent with family, a friend, and the decadent chocolate brandied cherry cake I brought home from a bakery in California a few weeks ago which had been waiting until that day in the freezer. Of course the "adult cake" made its appearance after the kids were cozied up for a much earlier bedtime than the night before!

Finally, on Thursday, I opened the card from the ultrasound and couldn't believe my eyes. I read it over and over. I set it down and came back to it later. I considered asking Sophia to read it for me to make sure I was reading it right (but I didn't want to give away the surprise). I excitedly made a cake and filled it with BLUE candies. I filled a balloon for the kids with BLUE confetti. It was going to be an exciting party!! That evening my parents, my grandparents, our neighbors, another couple, and even Daniel's Mom came over for the BIG REVEAL.
My Happy Baker


Grandma A stayed overnight
It's been fun to think and plan now that we know the gender. I had to spend my Carters Rewards before they expired so I've started buying a few adorable outfits since Capper's were given away years ago when we found out our "final" baby was a going to be a girl! It's fun to think about the rooms in our new house differently and plan on Capper sharing with a brother. Sweetie and Evelyn have been looking forward to sharing a room and I think he was feeling a bit lonely.

Building a LEGO replica of our new house complete with stairs and all the bedrooms!
Today was President's Day so no school for the preschoolers and no work for Daniel. We left Daddy to work on the new house while we went on a hike with some friends, being inside was starting to get to us after a wet weekend! This upcoming week is mid-winter break so tomorrow we'll go to the Seattle Aquarium and Wednesday evening we'll enjoy not being out late for AWANA. But other than that it will probably be a pretty normal week. Normal if that's what you can call anything we do around here.
Clearing the trail of some of the smaller debris left by the snow storm

Friends, Fruitsnacks, and Snoqualmie Falls