Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

This is starting to become my favorite photo op ~ Christmas morning with the girls in front of the tree.  It is still dark out and they have that morning glow and the lights are twinkling. 
It is anticipation and joy and might I say, relief?  All rolled into one. 
 Maybe that is what Mary felt that night in the stable.  We know there was anticipation.  She had already spoken to an angel!  Who wouldn't feel antsy after that?  The joy after giving birth is indescribable.  But the relief that was brought is priceless. 
Because after all the decorating and baking and all the texts about gifts - who wears what and wants what.  The secrets and hiding and surprises and the planning and cooking and preparing.  It is a beautiful thing when it is all over and we can let go and feel the relief.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"
~Isaiah 9:6

Snow Day

I don't think any of us slept well the night before with rumors of snow in the morning.  Once it hit morning we were up staring out the window.  Audrey threw on her coat over her pajamas and just raced outside.  Carissa doesn't even really look awake here!

It brought back such crazy memories of our first time in Washington when it snowed.  I wrote about it *here* The girls were so tiny then!
 There is something about that first morning snow.  It is so quiet!  It is peaceful and gentle and calm. 
 It was a good break between the craziness the Christmas brings. 
Here is one case in point... Candy Cane Jane.  She just had to show up in her scarf and snow boots. This little lady caused quite a stir this year ~ especially for doubting daughters. 
I'd take running out into the snow instead of running around looking for the elf any day of the week!

We Danced...

our way right through December!

Carissa started taking Ballet in August. She is with a really tough teacher named Ms. Ann.  The lady doesn't mess around (I am even a little bit scared of her.) But I can't believe how much Carissa has learned and grown in her class. 

 She took an extra 2 months of Saturday classes to be part of the Nutcracker Production.  Performing in two scenes she wowed me with her gracefulness. 
 They had a show on Saturday and Sunday and sitting through that was one of the most enjoyable parts of this Christmas for me. 
Moving on to Audrey ~ who, have I mentioned, is in Jazz Company?  She performed over 10 times during December at multiple locations. This time was at the Seattle Center on the Winterfest stage.

 We couldn't help but take in some of the sights of the "Big City" while we were down there.  The whole town, to me, is just one big giant thing of coolness. 
 Can you see her on the big stage?  Look she is already performing with the Space Needle as her back drop!  Where to go from here?
 Her little group is so professional.  They just amazed me with their stage presence and how they, well, worked the crowd!! 
 A couple times I caught myself just grinning from ear to ear like a big goof.  (I had only seen the performance about 20 times!) 
It was an awesome way to spend the month.  So proud of my dancing girls!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving on the Coast

Lucky, Lucky Us! 
We got to visit Nick and Megan and Aida, and Anderson, and Greyson in Lincoln City, OR for Thanksgiving.  Can I just tell you that the house just stares at the ocean?  You can be in the kitchen.. Ocean.  You can be walking down the stairs...Ocean.  You can be taking out the trash...Ocean. 
Here we are on Day 1:
It's really easy with Anderson.  You just grab a stick and go.  He rocked his red skinny jeans on the beach and we played and played.
 Carissa was adamant she "hated" the beach. Then we walked down and she ran and chased Aida.
You wouldn't know it after 20 seconds.  The love was back.
Dad + Carissa
(Check out the background waves!  I did not photoshop that in!)
Where was Audrey?  In the water, of course!  On Thanksgiving, on the Oregon Coast, my daughter swam in the Pacific Ocean. 
This is what happened after the Turkey, and the running, and the swimming. 

Here we are on Day 2:
Back on the Beach in Linoln City at Devil's Punch Bowl.

We climbed and explored.  It was a little slippery and Audrey was grossed out by the tidepools.  She was even more surprised when I told her it was the ocean floor she was standing on yesterday.  Ignorance just might be bliss!

Here we are Day 3:
Couldn't get enough of the beach.  This time searching for hidden blown glass along the coastline.  Greyson almost smiled for me!
 It was a great November and we achieved some great successes with Justin's work.  We are firmly finding a home here in the Pacific Northwest and it feels great.  Audrey had some stomach issues resolved and I got some new clients.  We are so thankful and blessed.
Looking forward to our next adventure with this crew!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

12 Glorious Years

Leaves are dropping so fast here but I had to look past the Autumn Beauty and think Spring.  We purchased 50 bulbs from Costco and moved around the soil to bring good stuff to to the top.
Justin dug the holes and I placed each bulb in its one little winter hole.  Row after row I imagined how great it is going to look in April when all 50 pop up.  A little slice of heaven.
How sad I would have been if we wouldn't have planted them!  I think of our last 12 years together (mentally calculating that I have been married exactly 1/3 of my life!), but I think, what if?

What if we wouldn't have taken the time to bring all the good stuff to the top? I marvel at all the little things we have talked about and planned and how now we are starting to see the beauty in bloom!!
I am married to my best friend and I am so lucky.  He is generous and caring and loving and so gorgeous. 

I learn more about him all the time and feel like God hand-picked us for each other.  What will our next season bring?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween 2013

Whoo made the coolest pumpkin???
I am rather proud of this creation - loving how I embraced the negative image...
This year, as I carved away at Audrey's pumpkin, I started to have some weird revelations.
My first thought was that we take our eager children to wonderful pumpkin patches and urge them to pick there best EVER pumpkin.  Encouraging them to search for good carving sides and great stems. 
We pull out the KNIVES and tell them to back the heck away.  It's for adults only.
Oh sure.  We try to make it look like fun by forcing them to stick their little hands in the pumpkin guts.  (But really that is so we don't get all sticky and they do the dirty work.)
Then we (the parents) carve our little hearts out and gloat about how amazing OUR pumpkins turned out. 
The Parents then turn the lights out and practically light the pumpkins on fire - screaming at our kids to stay far away. This is all perfectly normal.  In fact, millions of people do it every year! 
Then to continue the Halloween insanity we urge the children to dress up.  Pick anything you like we tell them.  This is your chance to be whoever you want to be.  Until, that is, we get to the costume store.  Then the story changes to: this is your chance to be anything you want to be under $19.99. 
Audrey is already on to this.  This year she just used an old skirt from her last dance performance.  We were feeling bad so we grabbed a $4.99 scarf from the Party Story.
It was the least we could do.

Carissa is 7.  She wanted to be a zombie cheerleader and just look dead.
I am not sure how to translate that but we just went with it.  Because, well, as I am starting to realize, Halloween is kind of weird.
Ok, next revelation.  Now that the pumpkins are lit, the costumes on, we begin to walk.  The parents start to explain that the more we walk, the more candy we will receive.  The kids quickly catch on.  The enjoy walking, knocking, running, walking, knocking, running. Until they realize they have to walk HOME.  That is the painful part. 

So we tell them that when you get home you can look at your candy!
Oh the candy!  Which leads me to my last revelation. 
We count the candy...
We sort the candy...
We inspect the candy...
We throw out the mints...
We trade the candy...
Can we eat the candy?

Just one and it's time for bed.
Not really sure when the kids will get that Halloween is crazy, weird, and kind of not that fair but for now I guess I will embrace it.  More Twizzlers for me!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Pickin' and more

Going to the pumpkin patch is one of the many things I was looking forward to moving back up here.  There is nothing better then a hayride, hot apple cider, and picking out your own pumpkin. 

 This year we went to Bob's Corn which boasts an amazing corn maze.  Last year we attempted a farm maze at Tolmachoff Farms and it was an experience we will never forget.  We didn't wear the right clothes and were very, very unprepared when we stepped into the maze.  Long story short we had to find an employee to guide us out after an hour of searching for an exit. 

This year we saw the corn maze and then looked away.  The experience is still raw...

The farm this year had 4 acres of pumpkins that we could choose from; some straight off the vine. 

 Not only did we get pumpkins but we scored two ENORMOUS zucchini squash for $1 each! 
 No pressure there to use every last inch of those vegetables.  I made butternut squash soup, 4 loaves of zucchini bread, froze 4 cups of shredded zucchini and then made roasted squash just last night. 

This is how much I had left after I made all 4 of the breads. 
Feeling Culinary...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A little bit wet.

Yes, I know, it rains in Washington.  But honestly, not usually THIS much and all at once.  This past September is has broke a record of the wettest September since they started tracking rain levels. 
Go Figure!
Life must still go on - just a little bit more soggy.  So soccer games are still played and I have to say the girls don't really seem to mind. 

 The spectators (at least Carissa and I) try to keep our spirits up.  The large umbrella is a must.  The rain jacket is essential and I just picked up some of the cutest rain boots, so that helps too. 

It hasn't been all wet though. Last Thursday it dried out just in time for a field trip to Jubilee Farms. I just can not stress enough how jealous I am of these people living off the land.  The strategic rows of crops.  Little neat squares of flowers and herbs.  It is like a living Excel Spreadsheet.   The hogs and chickens don't even seem gross. 

 Check out this carrot!!  It felt so good to dig in the dirt with this girl.  She is just so dang beautiful and I am so glad I am able to tag along still on fieldtrips.

Here is the farm house.  And the rows.  Isn't is just pretty?