Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So Much To Be Thankful For

As we finish up this holiday season and this year, I know I have a very important choice to make. I can look back at the year with all its changes and challenges and begin a very long list of things that could have been better, should have been different, or that I failed to do at all (such as blogging!). The other choice, of course, is to look back at the year and see the DAILY blessings that my family and I received. Jesus is without a doubt the greatest blessing we are given today and every day. Beyond His grace and love, every other blessing I receive is icing on the cake! And yet, as I look back and look around, I see blessing after blessing after blessing. How can it be that we are so blessed?

At the Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting at the Crown Center Plaza

  • A loving and supportive marriage
  • The best kids on the planet
  • A new (to us - 100+ yrs old to everyone else) home in a great downtown neighborhood
  • Brand new sewer lines (like I said, I'm choosing to look at the bright side)
  • Many sets of grandparents that add depth and breadth to my kiddos' lives (and date nights to our lives).
  • A heart overflowing with friends and family that we are missing. It's wonderful to know that we have people praying for us and missing us, too.
  • A great church family here in Kansas City that we are connecting with and finding how we can best serve.
  • A small community group in Lee's Summit that is seeking to love those God has put around us.
  • The hope of new friendships. We've met some pretty awesome people that we look forward to becoming close with in the year to come.
  • Financial challenges that help us take a step back and re-evaluate what is important, necessary, and remind us that we can trust God to supply our needs. We constantly see His faithfulness.
  • TIME. Time to teach our kids and play with them since we are homeschooling them (for now). Time to rest, read, explore, be creative, be intentional, and be focused on what we think is important.
  • GRACE. We are so aware that we do so many things that aren't right or best, so we are very thankful for the grace God extends us through Jesus and therefore the grace we can extend to ourselves and others.
I know there are more things that I'm forgetting to put in this list, but even writing down these few things has lifted my spirits and made me hopeful for the year ahead.

What does God have planned for us in the year to come? We don't know specifically, but we are confident it will be good. We plan to keep our eyes open and daily pay attention to what blessings are all around us.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Fun

I intend to start blogging on a more regular basis very soon. We will be starting our "school year" in a few weeks, and I am planning in time to write. Until then, however, I have a few topical blog posts planned to cover what we've been up to since we arrived here in Missouri.

Once we unpacked and settled in to our new home with Dave and Jewell, one of the first things we did was research fun things to do in and around Kansas City. We made quite a long list and have been having a great time crossing things off.One of our first outings was to the City Market in downtown Kansas City. It was crazy busy, but lots of fun and full of pretty and yummy things. We learned it wasn't the best place to bring our "cadillac" stroller. Other than getting some great fruits and vegetables, we did have another "first" occur at the City Market. Danya was enjoying a fruit smoothie when all of the sudden she let out an ear piercing scream and dropped the smoothie. Yep, you guessed it, her first brain freeze.

That same day we went to a park that I went to when I was a kid, Penguin Park. I have fond memories of this park, but they've added a TON to it and made it WAY COOLER than it was 30 years ago! The large animals are all that used to be there. They had swings or slides coming out of them. Now they are surrounded by all sorts of fun toys. The girls had fun running from one area to much to see and do. Cooper spent the entire park visit swinging.

One of the next fun outings we went on was a family date to the Plaza for cupcakes, walking around, and then listening to our brother-in-law's band (Red Guitar) play. There was surprisingly great weather, and the kiddos loved the cupcakes, the fountain, and listening to the band! I have to say that my girls have some great moves.

Well, this post is getting long enough, so I'll start working on the next one. Stay tuned for scenes from the 4th of July, my trip to Omaha, dance camp and lots of cute kiddos ;).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Big Move

My last post brought this blog a little closer up-to-date, but as I was looking through pictures, I noticed a few from the BIG MOVE that I wanted to share. So, here they are.....

Loading the Truck - big boy tetris!Ready to hit the road!
Bye-bye, Nampa...
My dear, sweet friends, I miss you more than I can express. You made cleaning and leaving my house for the last time fun!
Our post-cleaning lunch at the Mona Lisa....mmmm, yum! Fondue makes saying good-bye a little easier. It was also great to have Becki, Mindy, and Heather stop by to say good-bye in the parking lot!
One final look at my cute little farm house.

Relaxing on my parents' back patio with my sister, "the cousins", and my parents. We miss you all.
The airplane trip was so smooth with the kiddos! I'm so thankful that we got to take the faster mode transportation. Moving across the country with a 5, 3, and 1 year old could have been a lot worse. We had a good day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oops...did I forget to blog???

I think I did forget to blog! So much happened between the end of January (when I, like most people effected by the fresh clean slate of a new year, had such high aspirations of keeping an up-to-date log of our family life) and today. I've made many a blog in my mind during these last 4 crazy months, and I've taken many pictures, thankfully! I have not had the time or energy, however, to sit and think and write....until now. So, here's a brief re-cap of the last 4 months and some pictures to ease my blogging conscience and free me up for future updates.

February was a very busy month of home renovation and packing prior to putting our house on the market in March. We cleaned, organized, thinned, painted, re-sided the shed, etc.

March was a crazy month of keeping the house "show ready" and being available to drop everything and "mop ourselves out of the house" when someone called to see it. We didn't know what to expect with the market as crazy as it is, but we showed our house about 4 times a week (which was more than we were expecting for sure).

Daddy date

Easter Dresses

We got a full price offer on April 1st (no foolin'). The closing date was set for May 13th, so we had 6 weeks to pack, see everyone a few more times, visit our favorite restraunts one more time, get in all those doctor appointments that we'd needed and prepare the kiddos for a major change in their world. Needless to say, those six weeks went by very quickly. There were lots of tears and, thankfully, lots of encouragement by those we love for our new journey. We definitely felt "sent". The last week prior to our move, the kiddos and I moved in with my dad and step-mom while Josh and his mom and step-dad did the bulk of final packing, organizing, and packing the truck. We had fun and definitely wore out my parents! Once Josh and Dave were on the road, a great group of ladies came to help me do the final scrub on what WAS my favorite home. A bunch of hard working, extremely loving ladies that I miss DAILY! The kids and my last day in Idaho was filled with packing and getting on a plane - thank you, Nana Jewell for flying with us. They were so good to travel with.

Look who turned 5!

So now, we're in Missouri. I have a Missouri drivers license, Missouri plates on the van, a new address, and I think my kids are already talking with a little southern I guess it's official! The transition has been so much easier than I expected. God is truly good to me, all the time! The girls are loving all the new adventures that we have been able to go on. New parks, new sights, new friends to meet, new churches to visit, new family to play with, and probably more that I'm not thinking of right now. Living in a bigger city is definitely allowing us more opportunities for outings! Cooper has been the slowest to adjust to our new life. He's been clingy and fussy, a mama's boy, since we got here. Getting sick, more teeth, and biting a big chunk out of his tongue haven't helped matters either. He's coming around, though, and I expect him to be back to his happy, talkative self in no time.

Josh and I are doing well. We're excited to find a church body to meet with on a regular basis and some close friends. Living with Dave and Jewell has been balm to my soul. Moving to a new town and losing close contact with my friends and family in Idaho might have been so much harder if I felt lonely and disconnected. Instead, God blessed me with dear "in-laws" that have buffered this move from start to finish and bring joy to our whole family. It has also been a blessing to have all of the other family and "old" friends around. We've actually been very busy and connected since we've arrived. With all the get togethers and activities that we've been doing, it's hard not to feel like we're on vacation. I just recognized recently that I needed to help my kiddos and myself get into some sort of routine so that we could really start to settle into our "home". We're starting our Sonlight pre-school curriculum, getting a chore routine going, and adding more rhythm to our days.....and striving to Enjoy Each Moment. Thanks for reading all the way through this one. I'm planning on getting back to blogging once a week or more now that I'm up to date ;).

Here are some pics from the last gatherings of friends....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

He's walking

I know, as a mom, that children each grow up and reach new milestones on their own timetable. I am not a mom that gets concerned when my child does not transition to the next phase at the traditional time. I have recently become aware, however, that I had accepted some basic boy-girl stereotypes without even realizing it. Having two girls and then a boy made me not really know what to expect with my little guy. What I did assume was that he would advance physically and then verbally....I was SO wrong. My girls crawled at 9 months and walked at 12. Danya was very verbal and Shea was a little less verbal. Cooper started crawling at 9 months, but it has taken him til almost 14 months to start walking more than one or two feeble steps. (As I write this, he is teetering from couch to coffee table, around toy pile on the floor, and then over to me in my chair. He still walks like baby frankenstein with his arms stretched out in front and legs a little too stiff. SO ADORABLE!) His verbal skills far exceed his physical skills at this point, though. And this still surprises me. He has many words and mimics so many more. He says "Hi" in a very excited voice when he sees someone for the first time in a while. He asks for his "Dodle", knows all his family members by name (Shea, Dada - danya, Daddy, Mama, Bopi - poppi, Nonni, Nana, Papa, even Brandy- my parents' dog), says bye bye whenever someone puts on their coat and even nigh nigh with a wave when it's time to go to bed. He knows dog, cat, dance, jump, stomp, go-go, all done, more, eat, clap, stinky, sock, shoe, bath, ca-ca (coffee ;), up, down, help, stuck, no-no-no, fire, hot, no touch, gicky and of course the universally useful THAT! My favorite words he uses were not intentionally taught to him, but rather caught by him. Whenever he asks for food or his bottle, and sometimes even a toy, and you give it to him, clear as day he will say "thank you". So sweet and unexpected. When he's not saying one of his many words, he is rarely silent. He makes sound effects, sings, fusses, or just makes beautiful noise.

So, today, as Cooper and I are home sick from church, I am enjoying my little boy in all his unexpected wonder. He's so very different from my girls, and different than I expected a boy to be. I look forward to all he is going to teach me as he grows into the man God has designed him to be.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simple days...

I'm thankful today for a morning of nothing out of the ordinary. Just me, my husband, and my kiddos at home, doing normal every day type things: working, playing, reading, sitting by the fire, eating, cooking, and enjoying each other. I'm thankful that we didn't have to get up and get going. The pace of the morning was refreshing. Normally, I'm all for having something on the agenda (and I do this afternoon and evening), but I'm learning the joy and the necessity of having unplanned, but productive, down-time. I am a better mommy, and my kids thrive when we live at a slower pace.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

He wants to do it himself

He's growing up so quickly. He asks for his "dodle" by name. He prefers to lay on the floor and hold it himself. I love to watch his personality begin to shine through. Mostly, I just think he's adorable, fun, and growing up WAY too fast. This moment I get to enjoy 3 times a day, and I will cherish it while it lasts.

Good Food and Excellent Entertainment

If you were just a passerby on the street, and happened to look through my front window last night, you might not have seen anything that struck you as out of the ordinary or worthy of a blog post. But, in my continuous quest to enjoy the ordinary, I'm finding that so many day-to-day events are showing themselves to be noteworthy...even extraordinary. So, last night, we had my sister, her family, my dad, and step-mom over for dinner. We had Chicken and Cashew Lettuce wraps ( good!)and Fried Rice. We had just enough room to get everyone around our table, the card table, and the kiddie table. The food was so good that there was not a single bite left for leftovers. After dinner we had coffee and watched two adorable little "ballerinas in training" as well as some scenes from Swan Lake (Because we're cultured like that).Just a normal evening, but so full of love and blessings and laughter. I'm so glad that I'm learning not to take these moments for granted or even to dread all the effort required to make them happen. These are the moments that I want my life and my children's lives to be made of.
Today, the day after this wonderfully ordinary evening, I am thankful for a hard-working husband that is fetching, hauling, chopping and stacking fire wood. I am thankful for a few hours of complete quite, peppermint tea, some one-on-one time with my 2 littles, a 1 year old who already says "tank you" whenever I hand him something, and cousins that love and play with my kiddos (dispite a 10 year age gap). So much to be thankful for!